First the Kingdom part 17, Coming in Power.
From the beginning of our discussions concerning the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven, We have tried to bring a back a balance which constitutes a major change in perspective for some. For many years I was taught that the Kingdom of God only belonged to the future. For the most part I heard about the experience believers would have in heaven with Christ after they die. In other times I was told about His eminent return to judge the world and to set up His Kingdom then. I was told nothing about the presence of the Kingdom of God in the earth now.
Please do not misunderstand me. While I have made a serious effort to show from the scriptures that Jesus Christ has already begun His reign in many, we do not discount the many passages in scripture which point to a grand and glorious future in the Kingdom. In both the old and new testaments we find many places that speak of indescribable power, glory, peace and joy to be experienced here on earth as well as in eternity. To claim all such events as in the past or present is to weaken the very force of the language and weaken the very hope that God has placed within our hearts! It is even difficult for me to understand how anyone who has truly spent any time in the presence of Christ could possibly be satisfied with the present state of humanity! We of all people must know that He would not be satisfied!
Let me tell you now that while all of the encouragement and joy I have in the present comes only from the presence of Christ in my life, much of that comes from what He has revealed to me by His Spirit about our future in the Kingdom of God! The difference in how I have come to understand it all today is that you and I have a part now in the Kingdom as that future unfolds!
Christ has come in power already many times. First He demonstrated His power over sickness, disease, and even nature. Finally He submitted to the judgment of evil men for the glory of God and to atone for our sins. In glorious power He returned from death in a resurrected body, and gathered his followers to confirm His Lordship in them.
After that He promised that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them, and that by His power they would witness of Him throughout the world! In Luke’s record in Acts, we see that promised power in action, bringing thousands into the Kingdom of God.
The Holy Spirit has always been with us since that time, and has often expressed that same power through His church in marvelous ways throughout history. Those of us who truly know our own weaknesses also know how dependent we are upon His sweet presence and mighty power to live as effective witnesses for Him!
Like immortal words of the great entertainer, Al Jolson, who said “You ain’t heard nothing yet!” concerning the glory of Christ we can say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
The Spirit of God in His prophets have given us a few small snapshots of what is in store for those who love Him. From these and the witness of the Holy Spirit in us we can actually be “caught up,” as the apostles Paul and John were to see the future even clearer!
1 Corinthians 2:9-10:
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
Perhaps you have seen some strange things coming from people who believe the Holy Spirit is leading them. I hope that does not cause you to shrink back from considering what the Spirit of God might teach you as it lines up with the apostles and prophets of Christ when He was certainly leading them! Consider the more abundant life that Christ said He came to give you! That is one with victory in your life today and even hope for untold millions of others on this planet! God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance!
There is a great and wondrous mystery surrounding the future coming of Christ to the world. In all honesty I cannot comprehend it! There are aspects that in the Bible seem absolutely terrifying! And yet every true believer and lover of Christ has this tremendous longing for His full and final appearing. Even today we recognize that He has appeared to us in some form, and that very appearance has changed us. From the Word of God we know that our transformation is ongoing and that we can continue to experience Him progressively. However from the Word we also know that there is a change coming that will eclipse anything that anyone in the history of the world has ever seen.
It thrills me to think about it! It also thrills me to know that we are not simply waiting for some great event in the future. We are tasting the powers of the age to come now, and we get to participate it it today! Eventually I want to talk more in detail about that participation. For now I hope we can simply revel in the knowledge that the Creator and master of every single atom and molecule in this entire universe has a wonderful purpose and destiny in mind for us all. The vision of that purpose can become brighter and brighter each day as we move toward it with each step.
At the end of the journey our Lord Jesus Christ awaits for a meeting with each of us face to face. At the end of history every eye shall see Him! His reward to those who love Him and faithfully serve Him is that final transformation. When we see Him as He is, we become like Him! When He finally and fully appears, we get to appear with Him in glory! Then the groaning of the physical creation will end. When God’s sons and daughters come to the measure of the stature of His fullness, when they are fully conformed to His image and are finally revealed, then the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of death and corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God!
My hope is that our hearts and minds can be filled with the vision of His glory today, but also that such a vision will empower us to fulfill His will for us. Yes there is a future ahead that is beyond words to describe it. That future begins now, as we continue to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We may not even understand all of what that means to us at the moment, but He will reveal all in His time.
For now we can cry out with our brother John in the Revelation, “Even so come Lord Jesus!”