The greatest emptiness in much of today’s church-culture, concerns the Kingdom of God.
Almost no one speaks of His Kingdom. This writer has sat through hundreds of sermons in churches, and revivals, and media ministry presentations, containing nothing at all concerning it. And yet, it is His Kingdom which is His purpose (1).
His devotion is to His Father. His Father causes Him to ask all of us to repent, because His Kingdom has come near. His Father caused Him to be sacrificed, killed by His requirement, with blood spilled, in order that those in His repentance be made acceptable unto His Kingdom (2, 3, 4).
When one compares the above with so many who claim His Name, and given His Word, the results are quite terrifying.
There are many fond of crosses, who devote themselves to wealth and power of this world, in devotion to favorite politicians. They suggest, or imply, that “Christians” should seek strong political domination, in order that the purposes of the Lord to be forwarded. And this is exactly wrong. The purposes of the Lord cannot be thwarted at all, in any way, shape, or form, by any power that was, is, or will become (5, 6). When the USSR and East Germany were trying to strangulate, there were very strong underground movements of Christ, and the same is true in such places today. And when strong political domination is achieved by “Christians”, the result has always been evil. Unbelievers are publicly cursed, despised, and persecuted, treated like dirt. The prostitutes are run out of town. Entire entertainment districts are stolen from their owners by “Christian” lawyers and legislators and those who buy them, and razed. The so-called “Christians” justify themselves by various despicable Puritan ethics which the Lord Himself condemned. They love only those who are like them, and curse everyone else.
Why is this terrifying? Let’s ask simpler questions. Is it not terrifying, to witness quasichristians devoting themselves in ethics condemned by the Lord? Do we, perhaps, despise the true testimony of God which He has delivered to us through the Old Testament, the testimony which the Lord Jesus discussed over and over as absolute truth (7, 8)?
There are others who claim the Christ, who may be doing even worse, if this is possible. These often grew up being encouraged to believe in what some of them call a “starter God”, a god-ish man who never does anything unpleasant to anyone and who laughs a lot, who wears a red and white outfit and a long white beard. When such believers become adults, this dead faith often remains hidden inside them, and they seek it in churches. And churches desperate for foolish ears, warm bodies, and money, give it to them. Over time this false faith has grown and grown. Now, in a great many places, there can be no discipline at all, and most of the Word of God in Holy Scripture is despised in terrible and vile fashion, because the standard of “goodness” is often the guy with the outfit and the mostly brainless midgets, rather than the Son of God, who has stated that His Father shall require enormous amounts of suffering of many, of His followers and not, in this rotting, filthy, God-condemned world (9).
And yes, this is a God-condemned world (10). The Lord was sent to rescue His harvest, people of His choosing, unto His Kingdom (11). After His harvest is complete, it is time for the end, for the destruction of this world (12).
And yes, all who know and love and serve and are repentant unto the Father in Heaven in this day -- all four of those -- do not have cause to fear Him as Abraham did. We have cause to know that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, will comfort us through suffering (13), suffering by which the Lord will keep us humble (14). But it is equally true that to whatever extent that our devotions are not holy, we do indeed have cause to fear. To the extent that our faith is in nations, or national laws, or human institutions, or man’s knowledge and ability to improve anything, we have much reason to fear, because all of that faith shall fail us at the end of our times in this world if not sooner, and there shall be consequences (15). And to any extent that we despise the Word of God, in which it is written over and over again that God is closely aware of, and capable of furthering and stopping, every single thing that ever occurs, we have much reason indeed to fear. The Lord Jesus has been given all authority over this world (16, 17). This means not only every delicate flower and every disease, but every bullet moving out of every gun, and every toy, is His, and anyone else is only borrowing by His permission and with His encouragement (18, 19).
If our devotion is to power or privilege in this world, if we do not throw away false faiths and do not devote ourselves to Him according to His descriptions of Himself, we shall suffer, and the results will never be good. But if we seek His Word, and His truths as He has quoted Himself speaking in Holy Scripture, in devotion and love of Him, in repentance unto His Kingdom, He will respond. As He responds, all of the suffering which we shall suffer will be to develop us for the better, and He shall give us much reason for joy before, during, and after, for ever!
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(1) Then Pilate entered the government headquarters again and called Jesus and he said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you speak from yourself, or did others
speak to you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own people and the chief priests gave you over to me. What did you do?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this
world. If my kingdom were part of this world, then my servants would fight so that I would not be given over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate then said to him, “Are
you a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born, and for this purpose I have come into the world, so that I would bear witness to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
(2) The true light, which gives light to all men, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world did not know him. He came to his
own, and his own did not receive him. But to as many as received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. These were not born of blood, nor of the will
of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
(3) From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
(4) He took the cup in the same way after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
(5) As he was now approaching the place where the Mount of Olives descends, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty
works which they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him,
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Jesus answered and said, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would cry out.”
(6) The high priest said to him, “I command you by the living God, tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus replied to him, “You have said it yourself. But I tell you,
from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
(7) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the tombs of the righteous. You say, 'If we had lived in the days of our
fathers, we would not have been participants with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' Therefore you testify against yourselves that you are sons of those who killed the
(8) Heaven and the earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the
Father. As the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the
day that Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away—so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
(9) God will bring tribulation and distress on every human soul that has practiced evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. But praise, honor, and peace will come to everyone who
practices good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
(10) For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are only the beginning of birth
pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you. You will be hated by all the nations for my name's sake. Then many will stumble, and betray one another and hate one
another. Many false prophets will rise up and lead many astray. Because lawlessness will increase, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations. Then the end will come.
(11) Jesus went about all the cities and the villages. He continued teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease and all kinds of
sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were troubled and discouraged. They were like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest
is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore urgently pray to the Lord of the harvest, so that he may send out laborers into his harvest.”
(12) As it happened in the days of Noah, even so will it also happen in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married, and they were given in marriage, until the day
that Noah entered into the ark—and the flood came and destroyed them all.
(13) If you love me, you will keep my commandments, and I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Comforter so that he will be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The
world cannot receive him because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
(14) If I should choose to boast, I will not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I will keep from boasting, so that no one will think more of me than what he sees in
me or hears from me. To keep me from boasting because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger from Satan to afflict me—so I would
not become overly proud. Three times I begged the Lord about this, for him to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
So I would much rather boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ might reside on me. Therefore I am content for Christ's sake in weaknesses, in insults, in troubles, in
persecutions and distressing situations. For whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
II Corinthians 12:6-10
(15) For no one can lay a foundation other than the one that has been laid, that is, Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay,
or straw, his work will be revealed, for the daylight will reveal it. For it will be revealed in fire. The fire will test the quality of what each one had done. If anyone's work remains,
he will receive a reward; but if anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, as though escaping through fire.
I Corinthians 3:11-15
(16) Jesus came to them and spoke to them and said, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.
(17) “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: 'These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like polished bronze: “I know what you have done:
your love and faith and service and your patient endurance. I know that what you have done recently is more than you did at first. But I have this against you: You tolerate the woman
Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she is not
willing to repent of her immorality. Look! I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great suffering, unless they repent of her deeds. I will strike her
children dead, and all the churches will know that I am the one who searches thoughts and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. But to the rest of you in
Thyatira, to everyone who does not hold this teaching, and does not know what some call the deep things of Satan—to you I say, 'I do not put any other burden on you.' In any case, you must
hold on tightly until I come.
Revelation of John 2:18-25
(18) The earth is Yahweh's, and its fullness, the world, and all who live in it.
(19) ...and one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
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