Read with me, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.”
What does Romans 12:9-10 mean for us today?Our love must be sincere. The dictionary defines sincere as free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings. Love that is sincere flows from true affection and honor, it is not made up. Love doesn’t lie or manipulate. True love is just that, true. It always seeks out the true value of the other person. It always believes the best, and hopes for the well being of another. It is deficient in nothing except deceit or pretense. It is honest, pure, unfeigned, and heartfelt.To the same extent that we are to truly love, we are also to hate evil. Love is the force that makes us stand up for someone else, defend them, and remind them of the truth God has said about them. The love we have for one another should spur us on in our pursuit to eradicate every vile and evil thing that comes against our loved ones. We can easily do this by clinging to that which is good, in us and in others. Love allows us to seek it out, embrace it, and champion the person as valuable and loved. It becomes easy to love others when we choose to intentionally seek out and cling to what is good about a person. Our devotion should be to love. When our devotion is to ourselves and our own wants, it is quite hard to truly love others. Our devotion should be to always seek the better in each other, and elevate each other to a higher standard. Sincere love allows us to not compete with each other, seeking our own gain and validation, but love asks ” how can I love YOU better?” in loving well, we manifest Christ, encouraging others to love and seek Him, also.
Read with me, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you…”
1 Thessalonians 3:12
There is a way of loving others that can only be accomplished by a work of God in your heart. He alone is able to increase our heart’s capacity to see the value in others and love them accordingly. To love them as Christ sees them, not as I see them. To love them according to what Christ has done and who He is, as opposed to what they have done. We need to come to a place where we regard people not according to perceived faults, but according to the amazing value the price Christ payed has placed on their lives. When we become Christ focused it becomes easier to see someone else’s value because we are not self-absorbed but love focused. We cannot live in the past of what others did to us, we need to allow God to increase the capacity of our hearts to abound in love towards them.
Pray with me, “God, thank you for loving us so perfectly, and calling us to be perfected in this love. Help me see the good in others, help me realize their value and worth, let me love like You do. Teach me what it means to love honourably. God, I want to live a life of love and honour.
Read with me, “ Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
What does 1 Peter 4:8 mean for us today? Love covers a multitude of sins, ours and those of others. Sins, unfair treatments, ignorances, arrogances, dismissals, hurts, lies, and pride are just some of the everyday things people do that I can think of that easily causes offence in our hearts. Every single time we are faced with situations that include offence, we get the honour of choosing love! In honor we get to cover that person rather than hammer on the wrongs. There is no greater love than laying down your life for your friend. Covering someone’s sin looks something like this – saying no to vengeance, saying no to always having the last say, not needing to be right, forgiving, not reminding someone of their faults – while being right. Laying down your life for someone requires you to remove your own will and opinion from the equation. Essentially, this means saying NO to myself, and saying YES to love. The greatest commandment is to love, and if this is particularly difficult, it could be due to the fact that too much of ourselves are still in the way of loving the way Jesus demonstrated. There is a beauty that comes with loving someone deeply, it speaks of selflessness. It sets the other person free from guilt and condemnation. Love liberates them, and us. Love covers. While the blood of Jesus washes us clean of sin and we do not possess the power to rid someone of their sins, we do however possess the power of choice to cover them in love. What a dynamic way to live like Jesus, laying down our lives in order that someone else could be free. Let your life speak of the love of God, let your life demonstrate the practicality of dying to self. Let your life proclaim that He is Love.
Read with me, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13
Would your relationships look any different once you realised true love means laying down you life for someone else, persistently seeking the well-being of another above your own? True love inspires compassion as opposed to anger, patience instead of irritation, Godly love covers, it doesn’t expose and humiliate. Laying down your life for someone you love could very well mean you keep quiet and let them speak, you allow them to have an opinion, you listen to understand. There is no I in love, it is not self-seeking, aka I am not thinking of me when dealing with you. Fighting? Let love win.
Pray with me, “ “God, thank you for providing us with a love that covers us and sets us free. Your love is amazing. Help me recognise it and embrace it. I pray that You empower me to live this love out loud. Let me love people to freedom. Help me forgive as I have been forgiven, and love as I am loved. “
In our first part of this study we have looked into some foundational scriptures proving that Jesus came to bring a spiritual reality rather than a physical one. It is a spiritual kingdom rather than a physical one & a spiritual people instead of a natural one.
Now I would like to start by making a statement, we can work through it via scripture as we go.
Statement: Revelation was progressive to the disciples after Jesus ascended.
I hope you saw in our previous study how many times the Jews didn’t understand what Jesus said & represented time & again throughout the New Testament. Even His disciples missed what He said only to get the revelation of what He meant later on.
An example we miss:
Acts 1:6-8 ESV
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.“
We assume since Jesus taught them on the kingdom, that they would know how the kingdom really works. We assume wrong.
Since we handled many scriptures on Jesus & Paul stating that God included the Gentiles in salvation, I want to remind you that Peter(Acts 10), only by a vision God gave him, realised he could go preach the gospel to Cornelius(a Gentile)!
What was it that made Peter not realise this before he saw the vision? I mean it was said many times by Jesus that He would include the nations.
Answer: The Jewish Culture/Laws
Acts 10:28 ESV
And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.
So what is my point? We have to follow their progressive revelation trail to understand what Christ revealed to them.
We know later in Galations 3:28 Paul says “there is neither Jew or Gentile…but all are one in Christ” & this makes perfect sense with what Jesus said about including the Gentiles.
These concepts are important to understanding context in the bible. So let’s start getting to the good stuff. The kingdom is a main part of the end time’s topic. So what did Jesus say about it,
Luke 17:20-21 ESV
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
The message Jesus gave to the disciples to preach was the message of the kingdom.
Matthew 10:7 ESV
And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
When last have you heard your pastor or someone preach and say? “The kingdom is here”
Most of the time the kingdom gets taken out of the present & put into the future or afterlife.
Is there a difference between the kingdom of God & the kingdom of heaven?
2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”[
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Notes: As you can see it does get used in exactly the same way. Matthew specifically wrote to Jews whereas Mark wrote with the Gentiles in mind, this is why they use different terms here.
What the Kingdom is like.
The writer of Hebrews talks about those in the Old Testament who had faith in God. But we know when talking about OT people faith usually starts with Abraham.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
You would think that this would refer to some physical place, right? To many of the OT people it seemed that way.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
The chapter concludes with this.
39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
So this heavenly city/country is provided for us & now they have the same.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
This topic continues to the next chapter as these “faith heroes” are described to be a cloud that surrounds us. This is a present reality. See these verses also from chapter 12
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
How amazing is this? We have come to this heavenly City! Do you know you are in the heavenly city? Paul talks about this reality as well in Ephesians.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Go with me on a short rabbit trail from our topic.
We have to see how they missed what Jesus brought.
We have to break out of the trap of thinking like an old testament Israelite.
John 5:39-40 ESV
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
Notes: It is in Christ that we find life. This may remind us of Paul saying “the letter kills but the Spirit gives life”.
He brought fulfilment
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.
Notes: Do we know that fulfilment is better than something being abolished? If it gets destroyed or taken away, it could be brought back or rebuilt! But when something is fulfilled, it is complete. As the law speaks for itself, we won’t go into details about that in this study. The Prophets speak of what they prophesied. So what they prophesied is fulfilled by & through Jesus.
So if something is fulfilled, there is no requirement for me to fulfil it.
So why this rabbit trail? Because if Jesus says the kingdom is at hand, it means what was promised (prophesied) in the Old Testament is fulfilled in Jesus.
1.And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.
Notes: Peter wanted to honour Jesus, Moses (Law) & Elijah (Prophets) by building tents for them, yet God the Father interrupts Him & tells Him to listen to Jesus!
This is just to reaffirm Who we are to pay attention to & follow. Jesus! Not the law, not the prophets. Do the prophets or the law not matter anymore? No, they finally find fulfilment in Jesus! This means, when we read our Old Testament, we need to be looking for the fulfilment of Jesus there.
End of rabbit trail, back to topic
Jesus & Nicodemus
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born againhe cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The windblows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Notes: This is a great example of someone who was very educated in the Old Testament scripture, yet could not understand the things of the spirit. Note here are two different parts dealing with the kingdom. Seeing & entering into the kingdom. So simply said: Born again is being born of the Spirit. When the scriptures say born “again”, again in the Greek means again, from above, anew. I love that it means “above” as well since it speaks of a higher origin we are from.
Side note: Just reference John 3 here above with Col 3 here below
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
So we know by Ephesians 2 that Paul said that we are seated in heavenly places with Christ. So it should not be too hard to set our minds on things above (since we are born there) & are seated with Christ there. These are all kingdom realities! Let’s look at it practically.
Continuing with John 3
John 3 ESV
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Interesting how the NKJV says verse 13.
13No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. – NKJV
Notes: Jesus makes it clear that He is the Man of heaven on the earth. The King James states it in a way to say “He who descended, is in heaven” yet while He stands in front of Nicodemus on the earth.
This confirms the concept we have seen of being from above, seated with Christ, being of the Spirit.
New and living way.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify ourconscience from dead works to serve the living God.
23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
Notes: The Holy Place was the closest idea the Israelites had of humans encountering heaven. Their afterlife was called Sheol or paradise, but when they spoke about where God lives, they spoke of heaven. They didn’t have the doctrines & stories we have put together today (not that our popular concepts are accurate either). As Paul states that the Holy Place & things in it were copies of the true, whereas the true was the heavenlies. This is why the Old Holy of Holies is an example of heaven to us. But now Jesus goes into heaven itself for us on our behalf.
Why would He do this?
19 Therefore, brothers] since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
Notes: He made a way for us to enter! He did this by becoming the Way. What is opened for us? The kingdom, also called the heavens or the Father. These are used interchangeably. Also Jesus is a Priest over us, the house of God.
Prepare a place
1“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Notes: This is a famous passage that constantly gets misused to refer to the future & afterlife. Even at funerals priests are known for saying “the last brick has been laid” indicating their recently deceased persons room/dwelling place/mansion in the Fathers house is now finished in heaven, so Jesus came to take him/her. This is how ridiculously creative we get when we try make everything literal future from symbolical language in the bible.
Much of the confusion started with the word “mansion” from the KJV bible’s translation of the rooms or dwelling place(Greek word is “monh”), because through songs & sermons the concept was cemented into people’s mind of a physical house instead of a reality Jesus spoke of.
First, Jesus says it is the Fathers house. The Fathers house is people. Not just certain or specific people only but rather a group that could consist of anyone that believes in Jesus.
Second. He goes to prepare a place for us & says He will come again. Quick question, does Jesus say this before He ascends to heaven & everyone awaits His second coming? No. Jesus says this before His death & resurrection. So He died (left) & rose again (came back).
Third, He says He comes again to take us to Himself. Did you notice, He did not say He would to take us to heaven? There is a great reason for saying it this way. Someone might say: but yes it means heaven since Jesus is in heaven, so He has to take us to heaven! Yet we already covered parts of scripture saying “we have already come to the heavenly Jerusalem” & “we are seated in heavenly places”. We are not physically in heaven, but in the spirit we stand in a different place.
Jesus goes on to say that they know the Way, He is the Way. When they see Him they see the Father! Yet they could not understand what is spiritually meant & the realities therein.
John 14 goes on:
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Notes: Jesus refers to having unity with the Father, yet says He is going to the Father. Why would Jesus need to go to the Father? To create a space for us to enter into via the spirit so we can be where He is.
More confirmation from John 14
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
Notes: Jesus gives the disciples a time statement “yet a little while” the world won’t see Him but they will. We know Jesus appeared to many after He rose from the dead, so this makes sense with these statements. Jesus also confirms the unity with us, Him & the Father.
Last part from John 14
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “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 (Greek word “monh”) with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
When He manifested Himself after He had risen, they knew it is true what He said. But now we need to get this, His manifestation spiritually is His Spirit becoming one with ours so that we become part of the house of God where we have a room/dwelling place with Him & He with us.
Did you know this Greek word “monh” only gets used twice in the New Testament; both places I quoted from John 14! The word doesn’t get used when referring to buildings or any physical places. The place is created in the spirit for you to unite with the Father & Son while the Holy Spirit helps us realise & grasp these realities.
The Way to the Father is now open. So this is not an end time nor an afterlife passage.
We need to grasp kingdom realities like these if we are to understand biblical symbolic language or end time doctrines.
I hope you see through what I shared so far that these spiritual realities & the fulfilment of them have little to do with literal Jerusalem or Jews. In moving on from here biblical context will become clearer.
Heaven & Earth
This phrase “heaven and earth” gets mentioned many times throughout the bible. We quoted from Matthew 5 earlier. There is this verse & the following.
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Notes: Jesus says here that “until” heaven & earth passes away, not one bit of the law will pass away. But what does this heaven & earth mean? I mean our literal heaven & earth is still standing! Does this mean we actually still have to keep the whole law since the literal heaven & earth is still standing?
Again we come to the statement that Jesus said; He came to fulfil not just the law, but also the prophets. So what was prophesied by them must be fulfilled by or through Jesus.
So Isaiah the prophet prophesied:
17 “For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
Notes: So this speaks of creating a new heaven & earth, by which I think it is fair to say, the old one would have passed away then since the former things would not play a part in our lives anymore. But once again this scripture gets used to refer to our future instead of Isaiah’s future & those of the Old Testament. Popularly this passage is used to describe heaven after the final return of Jesus. But the problem is that in this passage there are people still dying & sinners being around. People don’t die in heaven, neither are sinners there. The reason this is thought of as heaven in the afterlife is because people skip verse 20 & rather read these.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.
The problem with this is that Paul said in Hebrews 12 that we have (past tense) come to Mount Zion (Holy Mountain) & to the heavenly Jerusalem (New).
In contrast, let us look at scripture actually talking about the afterlife. These people were debating whether there was a rising of the dead or not.
1 Cor 15:
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
Then speaking of the actual second coming of Jesus.
1 Cor 15
23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
Notes: We see that Jesus is not coming back until all things are in subjection under His feet. It is God the Father who works through Jesus since they are one. But Jesus has now made a way for us to be one with them. So we have work to do on the earth as God’s ambassadors here. There is no surprise coming of Jesus. We will deal with the scriptures that lean in that direction in the next study. This following scripture deals with the physical manifestation of the kingdom unlike how Jesus answered the Pharisees: The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed.
1 Cor 15
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Notes: Paul makes it clear that when the spiritual reality of His kingdom becomes physical, it cannot stay the same, but becomes something new. He explains it with these next verses.
1 Cor 15
51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Notes: He says he is telling a mystery! It means, this is a new revelation. This was not the way it was expected. God is going to make our spiritual reality into the physical reality. This is the spiritual reality that the Jews missed, but the apostles caught up with the revelation of the spirit as they ministered. But until the day of His coming, we can live from our spiritual reality, from the heavenly Jerusalem, as the Fathers house, in His Holy city surrounded by those who have gone before us that have been made perfect. It will not be like the Old Testament stories regarding the kingdoms & wars. It is now a kingdom that is heavenly, so we know our Source & our placement. With this we pray: Let your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. We pray this as we want to see our spiritual reality touch the world.
What creation is waiting for
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Notes: Did you see that creation waits for the sons? It doesn’t say creation waits for Jesus to come back? We have this hope because of Holy Spirit that our bodies will also be transformed like we referenced earlier in 1 Cor 15. So there is a full physical manifestation coming of what we carry, but in the meantime we get to manifest what we carry in the spirit.
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Since we are in Rom 8 it is good to mention.
11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Notes: His kingdom, His Spirit is not just dormant or passively waiting for Jesus to return one day. We have an active Person of Holy Spirit & authority of the kingdom to exercise here on earth.
18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosedin heaven.
Peter also gets the revelation that Jesus is the Christ that they have been waiting for.
16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Notes: This is why He gave us the kingdom, so that we could manifest it through His Spirit in us. As He said, He gives us the keys to not permit on the earth what doesn’t look like heaven. It is just the easiest way to explain that scripture. Did you see that it says the gates of hell will not prevail against the church? Gates do not attack, they defend. So we should be offensive with the kingdom of God. More popular end time teaching today sure gives us the false idea that hell’s gates don’t just prevail, but even takes over the earth.
The Jews idea of kingdom
11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence] and the violent take it by force.
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Notes: It is a common mistake made by pastors using this scripture “to take the kingdom by force” as a positive spin on this verse. But even spiritually it does not make sense as we already have the kingdom. But to the Jews it meant having a physical king, so that they could rule much like Old Testament kings where God would help them as a nation & conquer the land.
Lastly I will add the words of Jesus.
33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 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.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
End notes: We are now of His kingdom, therefore we fight with Him by our side. We are servants & sons of His kingdom now. Do you see that His kingdom here had nothing to do with being a Jew? In fact, the Jews at this stage were rejecting the kingdom Jesus brought.
Hope you enjoyed this study.
Read with me, “ But the goal of our instruction is love [which springs] from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5
What does 1 Timothy 1:5 mean for us today? This scripture has such an efficient way of bringing to our attention the ever present need for the love of God to be at the centre of all we do, everyday. Our goal, our aim, is to love. Let all we do be done in love, void of manipulation and agendas. This means we listen to, we wait for, we pray for, we trust, we believe another. Love like this expects no return. We all know the famous Bible passage that speaks of love,1 Corinthians 13. Say it with me, ” Love is patient, Love is kind, does not envy, is not boastful or proud.” Imagine being loved like this. Now, imagine loving someone else in such a way that you cannot be boastful, proud, envious, unkind, or impatient with them. Imagine the God of love himself urging us to love with patience and kindness, as HE does. This is the kind of love that ushers in peace and hope. 1 Corinthians 13 also says, if I do not love I AM nothing. Doing life without love in your heart renders you void of purpose. If we are not busy loving, what are we being? The greatest faith, most beautiful tongues, accurate prophecies cannot add the significance to your life that love can. In love alone our lives find meaning. In loving others we add value to our own callings. Not money, not miracles, not ministry, but doing those things in love. The aim of every instruction is love. The purpose of God’s sending is love. The purpose of Jesus’ coming is love. Love never fails, it does not run out, it is not found wanting, because there is no fear in love. Love is redemptive. When we love someone else with perfect love, we drive out their fears, we help them become free, and empower them to live in the redemptive love of God. According to Jesus, the greatest commandment is to love the Lord, and the second is to love your neighbour. It all comes down to loving God and people.
Read also,”Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
Loving others comes naturally to those who know God, because He is love. The more we desire to know Him and become acquainted with who He is, the better we will love. Loving people is so important, loving them well is a testimony to our faith in God. When we love our lives testify that we know Him. Our entire lives should be aimed at loving God and people. It is the foundational element of being reborn and living in Him.
Pray with me, “God, thank you for loving me well. Thank you God, for your love that has been shed abroad in our hearts. Help me to see as You do, help me to love as You do. God I long to love as perfectly as You do, with patience and kindness and gentleness. Help me to pursue every opportunity to be love to those around me. Reveal to me areas where I have pursued my own agendas. Forgive me where I have not loved well.”
LOVE Part 1
Read with me, ‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:18 ,21
What does 1 John 4:18 & 21 mean for us today? We do not have to be afraid. We have a God that loves us to a degree that chases away our fears! It is amazing that He in the essence of who He is chose to give us this love, freely. Also, He loved us first, perfectly. His love driving out our fear is the great empowerment we need to love others. The purpose of our mission on earth is to love (1Tim 5). He came and loved us first, showing us exactly how to love others. It is to be understood that living a life with no fear is the greatest empowering element when it comes to loving people. Fearless love for others is one of the commandments He has given us; to love them, as we love God. We love Him as He loves us. Sometimes, that means loving them first, without reciprocation, unconditionally. Love them without the added element of fear as a driving force for their good behaviour. When we deliberately invoke fear and punishment, we have moved outside of the scope of perfect love and entered into the selfishness of control. There is no fear in love. IF we love the way God intended, we cannot strike fear into the hearts of others. It is one of the most rewarding aspects of life, to see the fear leave someone’s heart as you love them wholly. God is the Father who enable us to love like that, by loving us first. There is no fear involved when we allow Him to love on us, just as we are. It is often the fear that prevent us from approaching the Father, not realizing that in His perfect love is where we will find everything we need and long for. His love is perfect, not lacking in any good things.
Ephesians 4:2 -3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
I love how scripture gives us answers and strategies to deal with everything in our daily lives. God has definitely provided us with solutions that are both workable and easy to understand. He loved us in a way that demonstrates the peculiar dynamic of loving someone without being loved in return, a love that is unconditional. Reading various passages we will see many divers topics that lend themselves to loving well. Ephesians helps us realise that often times loving others will reqire much humility, gentleness and patience from our side. Loving someone else first will require us to be humble enough to deny our own opinions, gentle enough to show them clearly they are loved regardless of differences, and patient enough to do it over and over again. This is the love of God we ought to demonstrate to others, a love that is patient, gentle, humble,kind, longsuffering, and always initiated from our side first.
Pray with me
“ Thank you God for your love that has been shed abroad in our hearts. Help me love see as You do, help me to love as You do. God I long to love as perfectly as you do, with patience, and kindness, and gentleness. Help me to pursue every opportunity to be love to those around me.”