Friday, May 09, 2008

Jesus and the Kingdom of God

Last week I started reading through the Gospels using The Daily Bible. I'm seeking answers to this question: What would it look like for Jesus to be at the center of my life? Of my home? Of my church? In order to answer that question, I feel like I need to better understand Jesus' mission while he was on earth. This morning I read the Sermon on the Mount. Here's an overview...

Beatitudes - Jesus was proclaiming that His Kingdom was available to all people, but especially to those who were treated well in the present earthly kingdoms. He wanted those who had been treated well in the present earthly kingdom to understand that His Kingdom was different.

Upside-Down Kingdom - this seems to be the central theme throughout this sermon. God sees things differently than we see them. When we begin to understand the KOG, we too will see with different eyes. As Keller says, we will begin to handle things like money, sex and power differently.

Father - We will also begin to think differently about our role and God's role. We don't have to "run after these things" as the pagans do (Matt. 6:32). What are "all these things?" Clothes, money, food, success, worth, etc. God is a loving Father who knows what we need and desires to provide for us. He actually desires to do more than just provide. He desires to lavishly pour out blessings on His children.

Children - When we begin to see things from God's perspective, we too begin to see ourselves in a different light. On the one hand, we are deeply loved children. We are created in the image of God and are made to co-create and cultivate with Him. He has chosen us to partner with Him. On the other hand, we will also come to understand that if it were not for Jesus, everything would be different. We would be totally lost (out of place). This should give us a sense of humility.

Discipleship - "Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matt. 7:14). The disciples were no doubt asking themselves which gate they were walking through. We must do the same. It's probably not a matter of walking through just one time (like I've grown up reading this). It's something that we choose everyday. Discipleship is something that we must choose everyday. Wait a minute. Jesus doesn't even mention discipleship. He mentions life. Jesus came that we would have abundant life. How do we have this abundant life? By seeking His Kingdom. By seeing things from God's perspective. When we do this, our greatest desire will be to surrender our lives completely to Jesus. How do we know when this is happening? We can look at whether or not we are producing fruit: A good tree produces good fruit.

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