First the Kingdom, part 10, The Mustard Seed Conspiracy
What we have been discussing in these podcasts is nothing less than the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ over the whole earth. For thousands of years the prophets foretold of His reign. Then from the very beginning of the New Testament, it was announced that the time for His reign had come. Everything Jesus had to say was related to the Kingdom of God. Great crowds of people rallied around His message and to receive the benefits of His healing powers. But most finally rejected Him when He failed to meet their expectations of Him.
A small band of followers stayed with Him and became His closest friends. To them He explained the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, it was real and very near. Yes it would come in power and the glory of God. Yes it would change everything. But only those who would patiently trust and learn from Him would be prepared for it. Only they would have special insight into what form and how it would appear.
In the story of course, it does not appear that the disciples and apostles understood everything perfectly. Their greatest struggle was with how He should die on a cross. After His resurrection, He was able to make things clearer. In fact He took them through the writings of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms and opened their understanding of the scriptures concerning Him. (Luke 24:44-45). This is the work of what Paul called the “spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of Christ.” (Ephesians 1:17-18)
Before His crucifixion, Jesus told them that the Spirit of Truth, Who was with them, would soon be in them. After His resurrection, Jesus explained the Kingdom of God to them even further before He ascended to His throne of authority in Heaven. Soon after, about 120 of them were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, and began with great authority to declare His Lordship to the world! You see, there is intellectual truth, and their is also experiential truth. His Lordship was not academic to them. His Lordship was real and wonderful. The Kingdom did not come unto them from looking at the skies, or observing the political scene! The Kingdom of God was within them, to demonstrate His power in the earth!
Even then they struggled to understand the relationship between the Old Testament or Old Covenant and the New Covenant that Jesus introduced. In time the Holy Spirit would work this out, but they were already on their way in this adventure to “turn the world upside down!”
We have the advantage of hindsight in looking back at what they experienced and what followed. There were times when the Kingdom was so overwhelming that it looked as if paradise would be returning to the whole earth in a matter of weeks or months. Many gladly sold their possessions and freely shared with those in need. The euphoria did not last, however. The comfort of the Holy Spirit would never leave them, but circumstances would often test their faith in the future of God’s people and His Kingdom.
Persecution, famine, and various trials would come on the young church, and yet it continued to grow. over time, the hope for the Kingdom on earth was replaced with contentment to experience it in the next life. It was left to people like Peter and Paul to keep the expectation and the vision of it alive. To them knowing Jesus and that He said His reign had begun was enough.
We live in a time when many have failed to see the long-term the progress of the Kingdom in the earth. The freedom it brought us has long been taken for granted. When modern Christians see the rise of crime, immorality, terrorism, injustice, pornography, addictions and abortion, they become discouraged. All that is left is to await the end. Those of us who continue to look for more of the Kingdom to come, as God’s will is being done in this earth, are ridiculed. They think we are like those who would “polish the brass on a sinking ship,” or those who “rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
It is only by Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that we can see the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is Lord of all right now! He came to reconcile mankind to God two thousand years ago, and began His reign in the heart of a few. Like that grain of wheat or mustard seed He fell to the ground and died. He planted His life in the hearts of His followers and also in the collective consciousness of humanity. The world can never be the same! As evidence of this, we mark time around the world from the approximate date of His birth in Bethlehem! (Mark 4:26-34, John 12:23-25)
The heart of the Kingdom of God is of course the converted sinner, who lives to love and serve Him. But changes in society are also the result of the leaven of the Kingdom of God, leavening the whole loaf. Rome itself eventually bowed to Jesus Christ. The empire imperfectly served Him as did institutional Christianity. In spite of the imperfections, the drive for a better and just society has persisted. We realize that every advance of the Kingdom has been met with great opposition. Some through violence and others through subtle deception.
It has to be either fear or faith. When we consider only the outward appearances we might become overconfident when things go our way, or discouraged when the other side begins to succeed. The key is to stay focused on Christ and the work He is doing. Everywhere great victories are going unnoticed, just as in the days of the Roman Empire. Will we trust in the methods of Jesus, and follow Him to where ever He leads? Or will we assume the methods of the world, force, intimation, putting forth a false image, trying to impress people instead of pleasing God? If a shepherd boy could stand before a giant armed only with a slingshot and the Name of the LORD, Why do we think we need Saul’s armor?
As for me, I will stand with the meek and humble, those who believe that all things are possible with God. They take the Word of God and live in it by His power and grace! They know that the Father will take the hidden things that are pure and faithful to bring down tyrannical kingdoms that exist for their own glory. Next time we will take a closer look at the simple, and yet effective strategy that Christ has always used to extend His Kingdom here on earth.
We hope this series on First the Kingdom has been helpful to you. To continue in this study with us, we invite you to “like” and “follow” https://www.facebook.com/livingtruthcom/ or subscribe to our blog on https://livingtruth.com