Listen to the message
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Series: The Kingdom of God
Sunday: 13th March 2016 – Kobus Swart
Matt. 18:1-4; Rom. 14:17; (John 3:1-5); Col. 1:13;
(Mark 1:15); (Rom. 12:1-2); Heb. 11:1, 3, 8-10;
(Hab. 2:14); (Prov. 23:7); Matt. 13:10-11, 19;
(Matt. 6:33); Rev. 21:1-5
God wants us to live with a Kingdom (God’s government or rule) mentality. A good place to start is to remember that the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).
The disciples came to Jesus saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matt. 18:1). They still had the old mentality and they saw the kingdom as an earthly kingdom, a structure with people in rank. Jesus surprised them all and called a child to Himself and set him before them saying, Truly I say unto you unless you are converted and become like children you shall 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). Link this statement with the following: I tell you the truth; no-one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:3). Then Nicodemus asked ‘how can a man be born when he is old he cannot enter a second his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ He was stuck in the old literal physical mind-set. Jesus was saying something deeper than that. You cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless you become like a child.
What is unique about children? A child has no history of defeat, of unanswered prayers and failures. A child has a clean and pure imagination with no past experiences. We are so full of past experiences that it haunts us sometimes and it affects us the way we read life. We react from old experiences. If we can actively understand and embrace and experience being transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His beloved Son, we will never have to battle sin consciousness again. We will have a new consciousness, living under a new government. Many Christians are still battling sin-consciousness with guilt and feeling undeserving. Children do not have that problem.
How many years have we sat under preaching stimulating and stirring up sin-consciousness instead of telling us the truth of what happened when Jesus came. Tell me about the finished works of Christ so I can walk in the realm of His government. We need to be renewed in our mind (Rom. 12:1-2). We need to think differently because we are trapped in old out-dated mind-sets. That is why there is no spiritual growth. We will respond differently when the spirit of our mind is renewed. This is not referring to the brain; the brain only responds to what is in the mind.
We should think on things which are from above and not what is being placed into our minds by the newspapers and news of what is going on in the world. What goes on in our minds will activate the brain to do certain things. You need to see the difference between the brain and the mind. That is why the Bible says you need to be renewed in the Spirit of your mind, in your sub-conscious. How can you think about things from above when you only read the newspaper? How often do we read the Bible? How often do we fill our sub-conscious with the Word of God? We need to see the invisible. Everything that exists that was ever created came from the invisible (Heb. 11:3). Reality is greater in the invisible than in the visible. We need to see the invisible. How? Everyone has an imagination. We need to clean it up and fill it with Godly things. As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Prov. 23:7). The heart is more than the brain, it is your subconscious mind; it is your subliminal self. Refuse negative doom and gloom thinking, and fill your mind with God-thoughts. God is mindful of us (Ps. 8:4). It means His mind is full of us. How about us being mindful of God?
Is this only going to be the experience of a remnant or all of Christianity? And the disciples came to them and asked: “Why do you speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them: “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted” (Matt. 13:10-11). Not everybody heard what He said, that is why He often spoke in parables. In the close interaction between Jesus and His disciples they often asked Him to explain what He meant and He would break it open. 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). Correct hearing is so important. Repetition is the mother of learning; hearing it over and over until it takes root. If you do not hear it the first time, the birds of the sky will come and pick up the seeds and you will not benefit. Hear the word of the Kingdom. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you.
Become like a child. Children are rich in imagination. We are made in the image of God. In the word imagination is the word ‘image’. Even the outsider, the person not born again still carries the image of God. It may be marred or in serious need of cleansing, but it is there. Do not trust the world to activate that pure imagination; it will only come from the Word of God. Imagination has the capacity to make connections between the visible and the invisible. Your imagination can be powerful if used correctly. Imagination has the capacity to make connections between heaven and earth.
We had a futuristic view of the Kingdom, one day in some golden era. Do not believe that! The kingdom of God has come in and with Jesus Christ over two thousand years ago. It is in a process of unfolding and invading society through us. That is God’s plan. Imagination has the capacity to make connections between the present and the past; between the present and the future, it can bridge the gap. If we can live by a kingdom mentality, our lives will begin to change. As Christians our largest investment is in the invisible. Imagination is indispensable. It will change the way we think and change the way we live. It is only by means of imagination that we can see reality in context. What imagination does with reality is the reality we live by. The first mention of the kingdom was when He said, “Repent! Change the way you think.”
Hebrews 11 talks about the faith heroes; all those who died in the faith. The list does not end there, it includes everyone who died in faith since then, believing yet not receiving that which was promised, but they did not stop believing. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). Most people today will only believe if they see it or feel it, but true faith manifests before you have what you are believing for. It is the assurance of things hoped for and the proof of things not seen. That makes you a believer. Today’s materialistic world has done away with that by putting something in your hand to make you believe. The word ‘hope’ touches the word ‘imagination’. True faith is the assurance of things hoped for and it activates my imagination so I can see the answer. Faith like that of a child! The word is there to activate hope in God’s goodness, in His love, His mercy and His Grace, yet we sit trapped in a negative mind-set.
When Abraham was called by faith, he went to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; he was obeying without seeing literally and physically. He went out not knowing where he was going (Heb. 11:8). Faith requires obedience and action. Most Christian’s today say, “First show me or give me something before I move”. Abraham obeyed. By faith he lived as an alien in a land of promise, as in a foreign land dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise. He was looking for the city which has foundations whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:9). You can put the kingdom into those verses. He lived as an alien (foreigner) in the land of promise! What does it mean? If we allow hope to rob us of our present experience we run the risk of becoming aliens in the land of promise (=the Kingdom of God). The kingdom of God is not something which is in the future, the Kingdom of God is here, but we have not grasped the reality of it. We are waiting. When is the kingdom coming Lord? The kingdom of God is within you, it is here, it is amongst you. It is another realm waiting for you to identify with it, to connect with it. Ultimately it will invade the whole world because this earth will be filled with the glory of God as the waters covers the sea (Hab. 2:14). Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all the other things will be added (Matt. 6:33).
The world system has so conditioned our minds that we have become orphans, aliens in the land of promise. Let the following Scripture activate a holy imagination in us: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away for there is no longer any sea. And I saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying behold the tabernacle of God is among men and He shall dwell among them and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be among them. And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes and there shall no longer be any death, no longer be any crying or mourning or any pain. The first things have passed away and He who sits on the throne said, Behold I am making all things new (Rev 21:1-4).