Series: Other Speakers
Sun am 12 June 2011 – Shane Egypt
Eph. 5:11; John 5:19; Matt. 6:33; Col. 1:18; Matt. 13:44; Matt. 12:38-39; Luke 17:20-21; Luke 6:27-29; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 2:19; Mark 6:3; Mark 9:36-37
As the kingdoms of this age are exposed, they get dismantled. Where the light comes, darkness dissipates; it flees. What is in the darkness is exposed in the light. Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deed – things that are not important, waste our time, or sap our energy – and enterprises of darkness, but instead let your lives be so in contrast as to expose and reprove and convict them (Eph. 5:11- Amp). (Reprove means to take to task; bring conviction). The word is clear; Christ prays, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” How does the Kingdom of God operate on the earth, if not through His sons? His first-born son, Jesus Christ, understood this. Jesus was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). Jesus Christ is operating in the realm of His Father. If we have Christ within us, we can live in this realm – to hear clearly and expose the devises of the kingdoms of this age that try to choke us. If we live in the Spirit and not according to the flesh, then we will hear clearly. We need to be continually washed by the living Word and by the presence of God.
We are seeing a dismantling of leaders in the world who have been corrupted by power. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). We are to seek first – it is a priority. ‘He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything’ (Col. 1:18). What’s the first thing that you think of in the morning when you wake up? It is things that I need to do that day and it competes – it drowns out everything of the Kingdom of God. He knows what you need. If you make God’s kingdom a priority, these things that compete will be exposed in your life and they will dissipate and be dismantled. Sometimes we see what others have; things that we are in need of. These things take pre-eminence in our lifestyle. We need to put the Kingdom of God first.
We need to take hold of, to press in, to seize, immerse, absorb ourselves in, and be consumed by – this principle of first. Then the priorities of this present age will come to the light, and we will recognise that something else is trying to take my time and priority. The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field (Matt. 13:44). There cannot be half-heartedness. The Holy Spirit brings light to where we are committed – whether to the Kingdom of God, or to the kingdoms of this world. “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20-21). There was no belief of the Word already incarnated in their midst and in their lives.
If you want to be first, you need to have the heart attitude to be last. To be great in the kingdom of God is to know how to serve. Being child-like, becoming like a bondservant. But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either (Luke 6:27-29). If somebody hates us, we need to come with the love of God and that hate will dissipate. How do you conquer your enemy? You befriend and you love them. The kingdoms of this age motivate us to be first in everything. These kingdoms want you to believe that the resources that you seek are in this world and that we need to compete for them. The resources come from God! God knows what I need, so I don’t have to rush to be first. I let somebody else go before me, because I know that God will supply all my need according to His riches in glory.
In too many places, the church has become a business organisation, having a minister as a CEO and applying the same principles of this age. We talk about ‘marketing strategies’ and ‘formulas’ as a church. Where did this come from? Do we ascribe to a constitution where you “vote” in leaders? While we were sleeping, somebody came and sowed tares among the wheat. At the end of the day, it becomes an institution; a lifeless monument.
So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith (Gal. 6:10). So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household (Eph. 2:19). A household is a family. We should not be governed by business principles that are in contrast to God’s Kingdom. We should be governed by love, care, fruits of the Spirit. God’s priority is family, not business. When we give more attention to a person of stature, than to a person who is poor – then we are discriminating. The kingdoms of this age make us susceptible to a need to look at people’s credentials and the outward appearance. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James? (Mark 6:3). The people wanted to identify Jesus as a carpenter’s son; they recognised Him as ‘one of us; part of our community.’ The people took offense. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his home town and among his own relatives and in his own household” (Mark 6:4). And taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me” (Mark 9:36-37). Christ is demonstrating an attitude. We need to accept one another. Every joint supplies; if I don’t recognise my relationships in the Body, I can’t get sustenance from it, and there’s a disconnection in the household because there’s a problem in the joining. The reality is – we’re a corporate body. We need to recognise ourselves as having ‘Christ within.’ I am not insignificant; I come to give because I have received from Him. If I don’t do that, the body becomes weak. Christ is clear in His prayer about unity – ‘Him in us, us in Him’. We are not to become like an exclusive operation that has no impact in the world. We will not have accessibility to a person’s grace, except by a revelation of who Christ is, in you. You need to know who you are in Christ; then you need to have a revelation of who Christ is in your brother and your sister. We need to honour one another; to be a body that functions the way God wants it to function.