Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hunger for The Kingdom Of Heaven

Today people are turning away from many local churches and seeking new gatherings of believers where the presence, power and work of the Kingdom of Heaven is evident from the fresh presence and work of the Holy Spirit among them. People always prefer the new wine, the fresh oil and manna from God because there is life in it that begins life in everything it touches.

They are also hungering for the restoration of relationships with God and other believers. The people of this generation want more than nice people with a form of religion just as those in the New Testament did. 2 Tim 3:4-5 ...Rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! NKJV

In the book of Acts there are repeated references of the believers being filled with the Holy Spirit? These references are in two basic categories:
1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit or initial experience
2. Fresh fillings of the Spirit as the believers gathered and God worked in and through them by His Spirit.

These fresh fillings were the proof that the Spirit and life of God were present and at work. The "Kingdom of Heaven" or "Kingdom of God" is at the very heart of all Jesus did and said. In fact, you could say that His teaching was the proclamation and His actions or works were the doing or demonstration of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus did His signs and wonders by the Spirits Power and the Father’s authority.
Phil 2:5-11 speak about him humbling himself. His water baptism with the Spirit coming on Him shows us that He did theses mighty signs by the Spirit's power.
John 17 Jesus proclaims that He has done all that the father commanded.

When we read the Gospels and the New Testament, we repeatedly see the terms "Kingdom of Heaven" used 32 times in Matthew and "Kingdom of God" used 70 times from Matthew to II Thessalonians. This concept, more than any other, depicts the impact and purpose of Jesus coming.
The Jewish people longed for Messiah to come and to restore Israel as an independent state with God ruling over His people. Throughout the intertestamental period or that period between the Old and New Testaments leaders rose up who had as their primary purpose to see to it that Israel would be a free nation again.

God, however, had another plan. This plan was revealed in the Old Testament, but the true meaning was hidden from most. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. In Acts 28:23-30 Paul teaches about the Kingdom of God and Jesus from the five books of Moses and the prophets. We know that the Old Testament law, sacrifices, and prophecies are but a shadow of what Jesus the Messiah (or the Christ) came to do and teach.

This Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus came to proclaim was not what many expected, an earthly Kingdom; it was instead the completion or fulfillment of what they should have expected, and because of this, it was even greater than their expectations.

Let’s look at few key verses in order to understand more about this Kingdom of God.
1. In Mk 1:15 we see Jesus telling us the time is fulfilled (there is no more waiting needed); the kingdom of God is near; turn from your sins and believe the good news (Gospel).
2. In I Cor. 15:50 Paul tells those to whom he is writing that flesh and blood cannot inherit this kingdom because the flesh does not last forever.
3. In Acts 28:23-30 it says that if the people hear and obey the good news, they would be cured or mended by God. He would cause them to be well again. This would be healing for the whole person; this would include the body, the soul, and the spirit.

"The Gospel is more than asbestos underwear for the soul." It is about the restoration and freedom of people under the rule or reign of God as their savior and king or lord. The Kingdom of God as made evident in the New Testament is a Kingdom of people being moved by Holy Spirit of God.

If we are to have truly New Testament Church that can once again turn the world upside down and reach this generation with Gospel message of life, it must be one in the power of the Spirit. Let me repeat what I said earlier. The people of this generation want more than nice people with a form of religion just as those in the New Testament did. 2 Tim 3:4-5 ...Rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! NKJV They hunger for the life giving Spirit of the one true God to be present and at work in and around their lives, just like God planned when He created them! They desire relationship with God that is alive and vibrant not stale.

Will you join me in asking God to give us Spirit filled Churches and leaders who will never be the same because of their own encounters with God, which will result that this generation can taste and see that Lord is good and they can discover Him in all His splendor, majesty and be in awe that He chooses to work through and with us?

The Kingdom of Heaven requires the Spirit of the King working in us and through us to others.!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

To you it has been granted ...

To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,

Mt 13:11a