Tag Archives: church

My Kingdom Is Not Of This World…

Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’

John 18:36 – Scripture Of The Weekend (January 11-12, 2014)

Do a word search on “kingdom” in the New Testament, and you’ll be surprised at how often it pops up.  That’s because the kingdom of God was a very important topic in first-century A.D. Christianity, and rightly so.  Jesus preached about it throughout Galilee, declaring that it was at hand (Mark 1:14-15; cf. Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Luke 4:43; 8:1).  It was the theme of both the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 4:23; 5:1-3, 10, 19-20; 6:10; 7:21-27) and the majority of his parables (cf. Matt. 13:44-46).  He sent his disciples out to preach about it (Luke 9:1-2, 59-60; 10:1, 9-11).  He preached about it after he died and was resurrected (Acts 1:3).  After he ascended, his followers preached about it (Acts 8:12; 14:21-22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 30-31) and wrote about it (cf. 1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess. 1:5).

As seen above, while on trial Jesus said to Pilate that his kingdom “is not of this world” (John 18:36).  Other comments he made give us an inclination about the nature of his kingdom.  When a scribe complimented Jesus’ answer about what is the greatest commandment, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:28-34), indicating that the scribe’s understanding of the Scriptures put him in close proximity to the kingdom.  In a way that meant he was close to the geographical borders of a kingdom?  No, for Jesus’ kingdom isn’t of this world.  Thus, Jesus was showing that the kingdom is spiritual in nature (cf. Luke 17:20-21).

Paul’s told the Colossian Christians that God had transferred them into the kingdom of his Son (Col. 1:13).  The writer of Hebrews told the Hebrew Christians that they had received a kingdom (Heb. 12:28).  John said to the churches of Asia Minor that Jesus had made them a kingdom and that he was partners with them in the kingdom (Rev. 1:6, 9).  That tells me that the kingdom of God is the church, Christians are citizens of that kingdom, and Jesus is its King.

Paul also said that at the end when Christ returns he will give the kingdom back to his Father after destroying all other rules, authorities, powers, and after having put his enemies under his feet, including death (1 Cor. 15:24-28).  On that day his angels will take out of his kingdom all who unrepentantly disobey God and cast them into hell, after which the righteous in the kingdom “will shine like the sun” (Matt. 13:41-43).  Christian, what kind of citizen of God’s kingdom are you?  Are you submissive to the King in all things, or are you unrepentant in your sin?  Are you even a part of his spiritual kingdom to begin with?  If not, do what they did in the New Testament (Acts 8:12).  Repent of your sins, confess your faith in Christ, and be baptized into his body (Acts 2:38; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 12:13), which is his church (Col. 1:18), which is his kingdom (Col. 1:13).

And This Is Eternal Life…

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 17:3 – Scripture Of The Day (January 6, 2014)

It is a very popular notion among religious folk who have been influenced by our post-modernistic, we’re-all-okay, everyone’s-right-and nobody’s-wrong society to try to take faith in Jesus Christ out of the salvation equation.  Take this article by Fox News commentator Bernard Goldberg.  He seems to offer a snarky criticism of the Roman Catholic Pope’s recent pronouncement that people who don’t believe in Jesus will go to heaven anyway…while at the same time joining the Pope in questioning the notion that only believers in Jesus will be saved…and then ends the article by denying that he’s an atheist and thus implying that he believes in God.  Confusing, I know…

The truth is much simpler.  Do you want eternal life?  Know that there is only one true God, and know his Son, Jesus Christ.  Those who will be condemned for eternity are those who do NOT know God and do not obey his Son’s gospel (2 Thess. 1:8-9).  What does it mean to know God?  Keep his commandments (1 John 2:3-5).  What does it mean to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Believe in him (Mark 16:16), repent of your sins (Acts 17:30), be immersed via water into him and his body, the church (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; John 3:3-5; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:18), and hold fast to his Word (1 Cor. 15:1-2).

Who Needs The Church?

Man wants Christ without his church. God’s Word says otherwise.

There are many people who go through life thinking that their relationship with God is just fine while they have little or no relationship with the church.  The reasons they give for staying away from the assembly range from hypocrisy, real or imagined, to the idea that they can just as meaningfully worship at the fishing hole, in the garden or on the couch.  The line from the Don Williams song rings true for them:  “I don’t believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate.”  Their view of Jesus may be that he simply wanted to spread a message of love.  They may see the church as a non-vital body part like an appendix that they can just as easily do without.

No one can deny that the church is an imperfect thing.  By its nature it will always be imperfect because it is made up of imperfect people just like the folks who criticize it for its imperfections.  But neither can one deny the church’s rightful place and priority in the life of the Christian…if one believes what the Bible says.  The New Testament simply knows nothing of a faithful Christian who is willfully unattached to other Christians through corporate worship and spiritual fellowship.  Here are just a few of the truths that the New Testament teaches us about the church.

First, the church is the body of Christ (Col. 1:24).  To cut yourself off from the church is to be cut off from the body, to be amputated.  The amputated hand is not only cut off from the arm but also from the head, who is Christ (Col. 1:18).  Let’s be real clear.  The amputated body part dies.  So does the amputated Christian.

The church is also the bride of Christ (Heb. 12:22-24; cf. Rev. 21:2).  Think about that for a minute.  If we are part of the church, we are part of the bride of Christ.  So if we leave the church, what are we doing?  Aren’t we basically walking out on Christ?  Ending our spiritual marriage to him?  (Rom. 7:1-4)

The apostle Paul said that the church is the place where God is glorified (Eph. 3:21).  If one leaves the place where God is glorified, how does that one going about glorifying God?  Isn’t it a sign that this person is more concerned with what they want than what God wants?

Paul also called the church the household, or family, of God (1 Tim. 3:15).  To leave the church is to leave God’s family.  It is to be the prodigal son or daughter (Luke 15:11-32).  And until we, like the prodigal son, “come to our senses,” we’ll be sloppin’ with the pigs.

Peter called the church the possession of God (1 Pet. 2:9).  If we decide to no longer be a part of the church, we decide to no longer be part of what God owns.  Therefore, we are striking out on our own, being on our own man or woman rather than God’s.  That might sound good for a while, this independence, but as far as eternity goes it is the last place we want to be.

Finally, Paul said that Jesus is the Savior of the church (Eph. 5:23).  Do you want Christ to be your Savior?  Do you want him to save you from an eternity in hell?  If you do, then you need to be in his body, the church…because he is the Savior of the church.  The church is who he saves.  Back in Noah’s day, there was only one place to be if you wanted to avoid drowning…in the ark.  Today, there is only one place to be if you want to avoid hell…in the church of Christ.

The church isn’t perfect as it exists on the earth.  We’ve already established that fact and that’s news to no one.  But it is perfect in its design because God is its Designer.  God created it with the realization that it would be populated by imperfect people.  A few of those imperfect people may be insincere hypocrites who have no interest in being truly transformed.  God knows who they are.  But the rest of them are conscientious men and women who are acutely aware of their own sin and shortcomings.  They know they are not perfect in and of themselves.  But they also know they are perfected by the One who is.  So they stay with his church.  You would do well to stay with it too.

Otherwise you’ll spend longer than you bargained for with those hypocrites you allowed to keep you from the church.