Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Are you bringing heaven on earth?

"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:9,10

The kingdom of God is a present reality

The prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray is embedded in His teaching on how to live life on earth according to the kingdom of God (see Matthew 5:1-7:29). Jesus came as an ambassador of the kingdom to teach mankind about the reality of the kingdom of God as well as to reveal the kingdom of God as it is in heaven. Jesus manifested the reality of God's rule and reign in heaven on earth. In Matthew 12:28, Jesus says, "And if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."

The kingdom of God is a mystery revealed to those who believe

Jesus told His disciples that, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them" Matthew 13:11. Through faith in Jesus the believer is born from above or born of the Spirit, enabling him or her to see the kingdom and to enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:1-8). Once the believer has received the Holy Spirit, s/he is able to discern the things of the kingdom. Paul writes in 1 Cor. 2:14, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

The born again believer is a son of the kingdom

In Jesus' parable of the weeds in the field in Matthew 13:36-43, He explains that, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil." Those who are born again and have received the Holy Spirit belong to the kingdom of God for they have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Col. 1:13). 

As sons of the kingdom we are to produce the fruit of the kingdom of God, the manifestation of heaven on earth!

The fruit of the kingdom is produced by those who hear the word of God and understand it. They produce a crop yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (see Matthew 13:23). Those who believe God's word and apply it to their lives will produce an abundant harvest - the fruit of the kingdom.

How does one produce the fruit of the kingdom?

In order to realise the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven we are to live kingdom lives just as Jesus did. Those who belong to Christ's kingdom will walk as Jesus did and be like Him as He is in heaven (see 1 John 2:6; 4:17). When asked to show them the Father, Jesus simply replied, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father....Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves" (John 14:9-11). Jesus manifested the Father's nature, spoke the Father's words, did the works of the Father and lived in the authority and power of the Father. In other words, Jesus represented the King of heaven and by being His ambassador, Jesus released the King's dominion on earth as it is in heaven.

By revealing the nature of the Father, Jesus manifested the culture of the kingdom of heaven. For example, Jesus came full of grace and truth (John 1:14). We see the realisation of the kingdom of heaven on earth when Jesus forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery (grace) but warned her to leave her life of sin (truth) John 8:1-11. Jesus revealed the King's compassion and holiness, bringing heaven on earth. Likewise, the believer is to imitate God and be holy as He is holy (see Eph 5:1; 1 Peter 1:15,16).

By speaking the words of the Father, Jesus manifested the wisdom of the kingdom of heaven. Everyone was amazed at the wisdom with which Jesus spoke (see Mark 6:2). When we speak God's Word we release heaven on earth. James puts it like this, "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness" (James 3:17,18). In other words, when we apply kingdom culture to our lives by revealing God's nature and speaking His words, we bring heaven on earth!

By doing the will of the Father, Jesus manifested the culture of heaven on earth (see John 4:34). Without His complete obedience to the Father, Jesus would not have realised God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Likewise, the believer must find out what the Lord's will is and obey it if s/he is to bring heaven on earth! Obedience releases God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!

By doing the works of the Father, Jesus manifested His dominion on earth as it is in heaven. The healing of the sick and the driving out of demons was always done in the context of preaching the good news of the kingdom (see Luke 9:1,2; Matthew 4:23).

By walking under and in the authority of the Father and in the power of His name, Jesus overcame the kingdom of darkness to establish God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The same authority and power is given to the believer. Jesus, after explaining that He is the Father's representative, tells His disciples that "anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask for anything in my name, and I will do it" (John 14:12-14). To ask the Father in the name of Jesus is to act as His representative on earth as He is in heaven. The believer is called to continue Christ's work of bringing heaven on earth as a kingdom ambassador "for our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 6:12).

Are you bringing heaven on earth?

I believe as sons of the kingdom of God, we are to produce the fruit of God's kingdom by manifesting heaven on earth as we live the kingdom life that Jesus lived. We are not of this world. We are of God. Let us live as kingdom ambassadors revealing the nature, the words, the will, the works, the authority and power of our King on earth as it is in heaven!

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