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Series: Kingdom of God; Renewing of the Mind
Sunday am 28 October 2012 – Kobus Swart
Matt. 13:10-19; Mark 1:15; Luke 17:21; (Luke 10:9); Matthew 6:10; John 16:33; John 18:36; Col. 1:12-13, (John 17:21); Matthew 18:1-4; Matt. 13:19; Ephesians 1:10-11, Col. 1:12-13 (Ampl), 1 Peter 1:3-5,
Numbers 18:20, Psalm 16:5-6; (Acts 14:22); (Mark 4:39); (Rev. 11:15)
Theme: We have to experience the continually unfolding understanding of the kingdom of God: repent and believe the gospel, change the way you think about the kingdom. The kingdom of God has nothing to do with a specific date in the future; it does not come with signs to be observed; it is in you. The kingdom of God has come in and with Jesus two thousand years ago. To experience it we must become like a child.
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. (Matt. 13:19). This is our greatest challenge. We need to hear about the kingdom by revelation. What Jesus described may not always be understood the first time, and then the enemy snatches away the Word of the kingdom. It needs to bypass the critical questioning mind and go straight to the heart. Once it has taken root in the heart the evil one can no longer snatch it away.
The kingdom of God has come in and with Jesus 2000 years ago. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Repent here does not mean sorrowful tears, it means change the way you think about the kingdom; it has come! We are talking about having a kingdom mentality. The definition of a mentality is: “A habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations.” Jesus said to his disciples “go and preach the kingdom, heal the sick raise the dead” (Luke 10:9). But if the kingdom mentality is not there our first response after hearing bad news (like sickness etc), will be to reach for every other method or help because of an old mentality. When the kingdom mentality is functional, we will immediately activate the kingdom rule of God in whatever the circumstances.
People are waiting for a date on the calendar but it has nothing to do with “when”; it has come, it is here. The problem is that it does not come with signs and wonders. Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed… (Luke 17:21). Jesus even told the Pharisees, “It is in you.” It was available to them.
The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). If we are truly kingdom citizens having a Biblical kingdom mentality, it will be evident in how we react to every frightening or dangerous situation. Fear was never seen in Jesus. He lived in the fourth dimension (Mark 4:39). A kingdom mindset will give you a completely different response in situations like that.
A kingdom mentality knows that we are not under the government and rulership of this world but we are under the rule of God here and now. Until we practice this we will constantly respond incorrectly by grabbing for the wrong advice or the wrong help while the kingdom of God is within. We need to know how to take dominion over threatening situations. Until the Church gets rid of its “churchy” mentality based on buildings and programs, and until we become true kingdom citizens with not just a voice but a demonstration of the government of God, the kingdoms of this world will not become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15). [John on the Island of Patmos saw thrones (plural) of judgment.]
Through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22), but we must not have a ‘tribulation mentality’. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36). Whilst the origin of the kingdom is not of this world it is going to flesh out and be demonstrated in this world. This mentality is sadly lacking in Christianity today. The right mentality is that we are here to make a change. For those who have an escapist mentality, Jesus prayed, I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one (John 17:15). The escapist mentality is not a kingdom mentality.
How then do we get a kingdom mentality? At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1-4). We have grown up with other mentalities; a poverty mentality, a defeatist mentality or a self-degradation mentality. We do not know who we are, we are insecure, and we do not know what God called us to be and to do. We must now embrace and assimilate a kingdom mentality. How? Jesus says you will not see the kingdom unless you are born again (John 3:3). There is a process involved.
A young child being taught something new does not have the obstacle of an old mentality; his mind is a clean slate. We have to be open for God to re-write the kingdom law on our mind. Blessed are the meek and the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom (Matt. 5:3). Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matt. 19:13-14). Some of our children understand the kingdom better than some of us adults. They have childlike faith, uncluttered by previous mindsets that were imposed on them. It is a good time to instill in them the principles of the kingdom before they become polluted by the systems of this world. How do I receive a kingdom mentality? By becoming like a child.
Not only are we going to possess the kingdom; we are also going to inherit the kingdom of God. It has been predestined for us to become heirs of the kingdom. All we need is to connect with purpose and truth, getting rid of the negative defeatist mindsets. These mindsets stand between us and prosperity, health and the overcomers’ life.
You are called to be kings and priests, not slaves. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11). We have received an inheritance and we must not question that. Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light. [The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. (Col. 1:12-13 Ampl).
We need to press into the kingdom but it has been given to the sons of God as their inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5). This verse corrects a lot of false doctrine. It is not by death but by the resurrection life of Christ that one qualifies to receive the living hope. Our inheritance is not to go to heaven; our inheritance is protected in heaven for us. Heaven is another realm in which God protects our inheritance and it is going to be revealed in the last time, which is not a fixed date on a calendar; it depends on you and me. It is not the end of the age that brings about the manifestation of the sons of God; it is the other way around. The manifestation of the sons of God brings about the end of the age. The responsibility for the delay lies with us. God is waiting for the sons to trigger the final consummation. What is this inheritance? Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel (Numbers 18:20). The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; you support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me (Psalm 16:5-6).
We must embrace the kingdom, becoming like a child (be “born again and again”), each time entering into new levels and having the precepts of the kingdom written on our hearts afresh. We must not lose our faith. We need to believe aggressively, pressing in to the kingdom.