Kingdom Inheritance Today - The Kingdom of God Today
The desire to know is in all of us from birth, perhaps before. Knowledge, understanding and wisdom are essential for living as humans generally, and more so for living as Believers.
The apostle Paul lived and preached these things. One marvellous understanding of his is: "I know whom I have believed!". And he knew it very definitely:
"... I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day," 2 Timothy 1'12.
But long before Paul's time, Job showed that he had the same understanding, even though he lived a great many years before Jesus came:
"I know that my Redeemer lives. And He shall stand at last on the earth. And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God whom I shall see for myself," Job 19'25-27.
Paul was in no doubt. So Believers can also say, "I know", "I understand", because it is the Holy Spirit who "Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God," Romans 8'16.
Our Father leaves us in no doubt about where we stand with Him, through Jesus.
The greatest understanding of all is knowing God. That's the blessing of all spiritual blessings:
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: 'Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent'," John 17'1-3.
The Lord is saying that in the receiving of eternal life an unworthy person comes to know God and Jesus His Messiah through the Good News. Paul, who called himself the foremost sinner, experienced it and, by the Holy Spirit, says that "... the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord".
But what does a person need to do to receive it? That is the point, every person knows that something has to be done in order to receive eternal life. Paul sums it up. All unbelievers "... have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3'23).
"The glory of God" describes the kind of life Jesus lived. Any other lifestyle is unacceptable to God because it excludes or even denies the existence of God. That's called sin. And, as Romans 6'23 points out, "... the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". Can anyone do anything about that? The answer is, No.
The way to receive eternal life is by believing that "Christ died for our sins ... He was buried ... He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 14'3-4). So, believe that and change your mind about the old lifestyle. In other words, accept that your self-centred life is sinful and against God and turn away from it.
Pray and ask the Father for forgiveness in Jesus' name and thank Him for forgiving you. Then receive Christ into your heart and life. And God's gift of eternal life comes with Jesus when you receive Him. And so does the knowledge of God. And all true Believers know God, Our Father .
There is no doubt:
"... this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life," 1 John 5'11-12.
This is salvation. You have been saved from your lifestyle of death. If you're not already part of a Christian group who believe these things, look for one. And always remember to check everything, whatever you hear or read or are told, with the New Testament scriptures.
DO YOU NOT KNOW?
Under the Old Covenant there was a time when God expressed His deep sorrow about the low state of His people. Through Hosea He said: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4'6).
But the Father wants His People to possess the powerful understandings He offers through Jesus. However, back then, the Book of Proverbs emphasised knowledge, wisdom and understanding, and their linkage:
"For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding" (2'6).
"Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth" (4'5).
"Wisdom is the principal thing. Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding" (4'7).
Jesus said to some Jews who believed Him: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” John 8'31-32. Paul says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly," Colossians 3'16.
Nevertheless, there's still the need for a reminder or two. For example, Paul says:"... do you not know that as many of us as were immersed into Christ Jesus were immersed into His death?" (Romans 6'3). And "... concerning spirituals, brethren, I would not have you ignorant" (1 Corinthians 12'1).
LEARNING AND KNOWING
Because they are so useful and convenient, mobile phones are at the centre of many people's lives. Believers who have a version of the Bible installed appreciate the convenience. But, just as many people say there's nothing like a book, it's especially true of the Bible.
Such things as underlining relevant scriptures, making cross-references, making notes in the margin (if there's room) and learning scriptures off by heart, all go to towards letting the Word of Christ dwell in your heart richly, as Paul said, and turning a Bible into a personal Bible.
And knowing the order of its 66 books, 39 Old Testament, 27 New, through memorising them from the Contents page, adds to the blessings that come from God's wonderful Word.
The Bible translation that the articles on this website are taken from is the New King James translation. The New Testament is based on the traditional text of the Greek-speaking churches. The Old Testament is based on the Masoretic text which is used for most Bibles. It's also set out in verse form which makes easier to memorise.
Understanding and wisdom come out of learning. And, like Jesus' disciples, every Saint desires to learn. However, their learning and knowing would come in due time. In preparation for that the Lord assured them that "... the Spirit of truth ... will guide you into all truth" (John 16'13 ) because they were unique for the formulation of the Body of Christ. And there were those among them who would contribute to the Word of Christ.
But the predominant contributor, Paul, was yet to be added to the number of apostles, and Jesus gave him special preparation for the ministry.
It's important to keep in mind that the Word of Christ addresses His Body. Where He said "the Spirit of truth ... will guide you into all truth", "you" is plural. Peter was clear, " ...knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation," 2 Peter 1'20.
The apostles preached the message of Christ and the Kingdom and revealed the spiritual relationship between the New Covenant and the Old. Consequently, the whole message was written down (see Hear Him! on the Menu).
They delivered the whole counsel of God Paul referred to when he said, "I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God," to the Ephesian Elders (Acts 20'27).
The writer to the Hebrew Believers also told them that: "God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel ..." Hebrews 6'17. The whole counsel of God is immutable, unchanging, and "to the heirs of promise", who are the members of the Body of Christ.
Those early apostles and Believer-Disciples had humble and receptive dispositions. Their godly attitudes to learning produced knowing which made all the difference to growing in Christ.
But many people look on the Bible with their own preconceptions so that their dispositions hinder understanding and knowing.
There's a traditional church service in which a churchman leads a procession through the centre of the congregation holding the Bible above his head. Obviously, he is indicating that the Word of God is high above all else, and their thinking, and they are indicating their submission to it by standing under it.
Those two things a true Believer's disposition. It's a disposition of honour, humility, openness, acceptance and submission. The opposite is to stand over it. Put briefly, understanding comes from standing under.
However, there are those who say they believe in Jesus but have preconceptions which produce the opposite, coming from church traditions, theological viewpoints, academic or so-called "scientific" teachings.
While talking with anyone it's good to find out where they're coming from in religious/spiritual experience and what their background is. Usually, a person will talk about their past quite readily. And be ready to offer to pray with the person if it goes that way.
Of course, the foremost demonstration of a godly stand under disposition is Jesus who revealed it throughout His earthly ministry (Matthew 1'1 to Acts 1'8). Later on Paul, Peter, John and many others did the same.
CHECKING AND KNOWING
In the Acts of the Apostles Luke writes about some Jews who lived in Berea (17'11) who are often commended by Bible teachers for their disposition. They were members of the Jewish synagogue. Paul taught them, from their Old Testament scriptures, that Jesus of Nazareth was their Messiah as prophesied.
Paul had recently preached to Jews in Thessalonica over three Sabbaths and the results were amazing. However, some Jews reacted violently and he had to leave. But here in Berea:
"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so,” Acts 17'11.
They simply received what he said and searched the scriptures to check it out, every day. Their disposition was to put aside all Jewish and Greek preconceptions and check these new understandings that Paul had brought to them. And ...
"Therefore many of them believed and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men".
Going through a time of uncertainty can be very tough. But, at the heart of the Lord's Good News, there is certainty:
"... this is the testimony that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life," 1 John 5'11-12.
"... knowing this, that our old man (old nature) was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin," Romans 6'6.
"And whatever you do, do it heartily, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ," Colossians 3'23-24.
There is no place for feeling uncertain!
KNOWING WITH LOVE
Knowing for knowings sake inflates the ego. Paul says: "Knowledge puffs up ..."! But, God's way is "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4'15) because "... love edifies" (1 Corinthians 8'1). It builds people up.
For the one who "knows" the reminder is: "... what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" (1 Corinthians 4'7). So, it's "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God," 2 Corinthians 3'5.
Jesus said: “... without Me you can do nothing" John 15'5. His loving knowledge builds up others and ourselves.
So, "... grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." 2 Peter 3'18.
KNOWING AND SPEAKING
Believers know that words have power to seriously affect lives, one way or the other - and so does God! The book of Proverbs mentions the activities of the tongue 19 times. It's referred to 25 in the New Testament. The probably the greatest of them is this:
"... that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father," Philippians 2'11.
That is the essence of the Word of the Kingdom from the beginning of God's Word to the end.
The apostle Peter echoes this in his first letter:
"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ," 1 Peter 4'11.
He was writing "To the pilgrims of the Dispersion", Jews who were present on the Day of Pentecost. And Paul wrote to Titus to "... speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine," Titus 2'1. Sound doctrine, the oracles of God, glorify the Father.
But James, writing "To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" warns them to "So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty," James 2'12. And again:
"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment, James 3'1.
The reality was as Jesus said, “... every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old,” Matthew 13'52. That describes what Paul and the other New Covenant Kingdom writers did. For this purpose:
"to the intent that now
the manifold wisdom of God
might be made known by the Saints to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,