We are living in an amazing time in human history. We are seeing, right before our very eyes, the fulfillment of the prophetic words spoken by the Spirit of God – words spoken so that we would be prepared and recognize their fulfillment when they occur. The message of the Kingdom is again being preached in power.
But as important and as impressive as that fact is, there is still more to come. The gospel of the Kingdom is important, but it must be understood in its proper context. The facts of the Kingdom aren’t sufficient. The Kingdom of God isn’t encapsulated in words only – it has to be received and lived in the context of the power of relationship (1 Corinthians 4:20)
FOUNDATIONAL PREMISE OF THE KINGDOM: VOLUNTARY LOVE (RELATIONSHIP)
God’s desire has always been to release His heavenly power (power of the age-to-come) into the earthly realm.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
4 ...those who…have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, (Hebrews 6:4-5)
In Genesis chapter 1, God manifested His power apart from the involvement of a human instrument. After He created Adam and Eve, He could have continued to only manifest His power as He did before He created mankind – but He didn’t. In His sovereignty and Eternal wisdom He chose to manifest His power through relationship with His people – the ones created in His image. You see, He is eternally a Father, and as such, longs to share His life with His family, thus He runs His Kingdom and releases His power through them.
The Father has chosen to release His Presence and the power of Holy Spirit in us and through us in direct proportion to the degree we live in relationship with Him by dialoging and agreeing with His heart. He will not violate our free will by forcing us to live in relationship with Him.
Holy Spirit continues to draw close to us only when we deliberately draw close to Him by asking for His help and obeying His leadership.
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…(James 4:8)
Our relationship with Holy Spirit will stop growing if we intentionally neglect His leadership in any area of our life. He stops talking to us and imparting the Kingdom realities that were purchased by the work of the Lord Jesus when we stop agreeing with His leadership. He will not force us to relate to Him in love.
3 ...indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete…7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:3-7)
Many find it odd, but it is true nevertheless, that God withholds blessing that He fully intends to give us until we interact with Him in the context of a vibrant and growing relationship. Pressure, pain and spiritual barrenness are meant to cause us to arise out of our passivity and determine to more deeply relate to Him by calling out to Him. Asking the Lord for help is invasive.
2 …You covet and cannot obtain…You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2)
In John chapters 14-15, Jesus summed up the foundational principles of how God runs His Kingdom. Jesus promised to manifest His Presence to those who dialog with or ask God, and who agree with Holy Spirit’s leadership or keep God’s commandments.
13 Whatever you ask (persistently) in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything (for our heart and circumstances) in my name, I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments…21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him…23 …If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:13-23)
Abba loves everyone in the sense of valuing and caring for them. However, He only loves, in the sense of approving of and enjoying, the lifestyle, choices and fruit of those who pursue Him with the intention of 100-fold obedience.
The intentions of our heart accompanied by appropriate lifestyle choices increase our activate dialog (prayer) and agreement with God’s heart (obedience) resulting in a greater release of God’s Presence and power in our lives. This is the essence of wisdom. Anything that we allow to decrease this dialog and agreement significantly diminishes our experience of God’s Presence and power in our day-to-day lives. This, my friends is the essence of folly. It is worth any price that we must pay to cultivate greater dialog and agreement with God’s heart.
Jesus has two calls to the human heart. The first is the call to come to Him – this is called salvation. The second is to abide in Him – this is called relationship. Abiding in Christ boils down to our daily dialog and agreement with God’s heart. When we abide in Christ it results in greater releases of God’s Presence and power in our lives. This is the simple, yet prevailing, condition for how God’s Kingdom is manifest into the earthly realm in this age and in the age-to-come.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 …Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:4-7)
When Jesus refers to fruit in the above passage, He is referring to both godliness in having a vibrant heart in God (Rom. 6:22; 7:4-5; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9; Heb. 12:11; 13:15; Jas. 3:18) and to being a vessel that God uses to release His Presence in ministry to others (Jn. 4:36; Rom. 1:13; 15:28; Phil. 1:22; Col. 1:5-6).
Abiding in Christ is a concept that is so simple that anyone can understand and do it but it is so simple that few do. Scripture constantly validates the wisdom of a lifestyle of abiding in Christ.
27 But God chose what is foolish (so called) in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak (so called) in the world to shame the strong; (1 Corinthians 1:27)
Satan’s priority against us is to lead us astray from cultivating a responsive heart of devotion. Cultivating a responsive heart of extravagant devotion to Jesus takes both time and effort. It does not automatically grow. Rather it automatically diminishes unless we cultivate it.
3 But I am afraid that as the serpent (Satan) deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)
3 I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3 NAS)
There are three main components necessary for the Word to abide or live in us. First, we choose to pursue God with a loving obedience. Second, we regularly feed our heart on the Word. Third, we need the activity of the Spirit to turn our meditation into living revelation so that it delivers us from sinful desires. We do this best as we fellowship with the Spirit (by talking to Him). Summary: we obey God, feed on the Word and talk to the Spirit.