It was the 1950’s. This was a special day. We washed the car and put red, white and blue ribbons on it. Then drove the 25 miles to Dubbo to see the queen. We situated ourselves near a small pergola in the Dubbo Park. Soon Elizabeth the Second and the Duke pomped past with their entourage. They were gone in a moment.
Don’t be among those who come close to the Kingdom but have it pass you by. Jesus met a man who believed he had it all. This young man was comfortable and satisfied with himself and his religion. Some of less charitable disposition may have observed that his religion was himself. This was not to say that he was an overly selfish person. Only to say that his religion consisted of ideas about God that that were strictly his. Jesus urged, ‘Sell all that you have and follow me.’
‘When he heard this, he became very sad ..’ Luke 18.23 NIV.
The Kingdom is about God’s identity before it’s about ours. Our identity is formed in the Father and is expressed in as us when we live as His sons. This is to say that who we are is a state of being – our state of being in God. This is an all or nothing thing, a ‘you can have only one master’ state of affairs. The only identity that counts is our life in God. God has given us a life in Himself through Jesus. Jesus is in all ways our life in God.
The gospel of the kingdom is the manifestation of the Father in the sons of God. It is the expression of the Son of Man in the disciples of Jesus. This gospel is both our re-joining to God and our restoration to rule under God over circumstances and eventually the planet. Gods plan, intimated in the old covenant and realized in the new, is Christ as our life - Christ in us personally and Christ incarnate in His people as the new creation. New people, new society, new Kingdom and new earth come about because Christ is in is and He lives by the Spirit as us. The rejuvenated earth is Him in us. This is what we must live from Christ in us rather than in religion and in dead externalities.
To participate in this Kingdom we must sell all and follow Him.
Christ LIVING AS US is remarkable because it defies rational thought, or at least the kind of thought regarded by the secular mind as rational. Christ as us is a paradox and a mystery. He is distinct from us, et manifests His life in our diversity. We are individuals and separate from Him. Yet His life becomes our life. In Jesus we and the Father are one. As we flourish in our uniqueness we both represent Him while being ourselves. As a result we have all the colours of the community of Jesus while displaying the wholeness of the Father in unity. This is what it means to be sons of the Father.
We are sons because there is none of us and all of Him. Yet in this arrangement we become our real selves.
Father was not dismayed by the emergence of the knowledge of good and evil. Heaven was not taken off guard. Before the foundation of the world heaven had a plan to ensure the victory and then the supremacy of God’s sons and daughters in God’s Son. Through Israel the law would be used to show man that needed a savior. The old covenant law and services would point to the Lamb of God. Then the Lamb would come, the righteousness of God in person who would take away the sins of the world. The one who is the light and the life of the world would be your life and the life of all who believe.
In the old testament the life of God was sought in commandments and ceremonies. In the new testament our life is Christ. Jesus is not only a means to righteousness. He is that righteousness and the life of God in you. But you must ‘sell all’ by agreeing with His plan. You are crucified with Christ. Yet you are alive because He lives in you.
In the old testament God could be near people, instruct them in dreams, counsel them through angels, come upon them with His Spirit and demonstrate His power through signs and miracles. But as yet He lived in no one. There had been no Son of Man, no Messiah and no word made flesh. Living in His people, becoming one with them awaited His incarnation as the son of man through Mary. Then came the outpouring of His Spirit at Pentecost. From henceforth the Jesus who walked in Palestine would walk in all who believe.
In this age Jesus is with us and in us. As the Lord’s supper indicates, we eat Him by believing in what He has done and embracing what He is doing – BEING OUR LIFE. As our hearts embrace Him we are imbued by His Spirit. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are incarnated in us. They make their home in us. Living as sons and daughters is not striving to copy Jesus. It’s Jesus living within and making us a copy of Himself from the inside. It’s is agreeing with what God has already done and affirming what He has already made us.
'And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven' Matt 18.3 NIV.
CLUTCHING OUR DELUSIONS
The man who thought he was rich but was actually poor, reveled in an identity woven from the time of his youth. He and many like him had formed themselves from a system and culture that they imagined conferred a status and identity. There are believers who do this today. They have this perspective they put on – an extra Jesus identity that purports to make them more like Jesus. But it does not. It enfeebles them in the name of their religion.
Today there are things Believers have believed and kept from their youth that are both erroneous and distortions of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to all. But is inherited alone by those who yield all of themselves and their ideas to follow Jesus.
'But what does Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son' Gal 4.30 NIV.