Series : The Kingdom of God
Sunday 26 March 2017 – Kobus Swart
(Rom. 14:17); (Isa. 9:6-7); (Gen. 1:1, 26) (Gen. 3:1-5; 22-23); (Matt. 22:11-14); (John 14:6); (Gen. 4:26); (John 3:3-5, 13); (Rev. 21:5); (Heb. 2:5-9); (Col. 1:13-14, 27); (John 19:30); (John 14:10); (Eph. 2:4-6); (Col. 2); (Mark 1:15); (John 17:22-23); (Acts 17:28-KJV); (Luke 11:2); (Matt. 5:9)
We are looking at the kingdom of God in a fresh way; fresh angles are opening up. We looked at what real joy is all about as opposed to shallow happiness and how God can use circumstances to dig deep in our heart to establish real joy. The next one we will be looking at is the peace of God, the peace of the kingdom. I am prompted to take a little detour first, almost like an introduction to the peace of the kingdom of God. This is a foundation we need to understand the kingdom.
Isaiah 9:6-7 shows that one of the names of the Son is the “Prince of peace”. God never intended that there be a breach between the heavens and the earth; He created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). When you read, “in the cool (breeze) of the day” God came and walked with Adam and Eve, there was a daily fellowship, a daily interaction between heaven and earth because Adam and Eve were created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26). In the temptation of Eve, Adam was standing right next to her when the serpent came and spoke to her. She refers to the tree in the middle of the garden, while both the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as well as the tree of life were in the middle of the garden! Can you see how deception crept in?
Then the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever — therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out (Gen. 3:22-23). The Lord banned them from the atmosphere of fellowship and interaction with God. It could have been eons that Adam and Eve lived in that atmosphere called Eden. They had regular fellowship and interaction. After the Fall came, men began to call upon the name of the Lord (Gen. 4:26). Suddenly there was a distance (breach) between God and man caused by disobedience to the commandment of God. Before that there was daily interaction between man and God. That breach between heaven and earth was caused by the following: man chose the wrong tree. Yes, God said that accessing the knowledge of good and evil would make man “become like Us”, but they accessed it the wrong way. It reminds me of the man in the wedding feast without the right garments (Matt. 22:11-14). How did he manage to come in without the right garment? There are people today accessing the realm of spirit by eating from the wrong “tree”. They are not coming in by eating from the tree of Life! There is only one correct way into the realm of heaven, the realm of spirit, the kingdom of God; Jesus said. “I am the way, the life and the truth” (John 14:6). He is the only way in, but there are people trying to access that realm through other doors…
What did God do to remedy this distance/gap between Himself and man? He sent His own Son! This truth sounds basic but we need a fresh revelation of who Jesus was and is. When He came He was the Word made flesh and in Him there was no breach between Him and heaven. In Jesus heaven and earth were united. (Joh 3:13) And no one has ascended up to Heaven except He who came down from Heaven, the Son of Man who is in Heaven. Jesus was in heaven on earth; you could touch Him but He could switch dimensions any time.
Jesus is also called the first of a new humanity because He came to bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:5-9). There is going to be a company called the “manifested sons of God”. They will be like Him; He will be their older brother. There is another realm called the Kingdom of His Son. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:13-15). All your sins have been forgiven! The sins of the world have already been forgiven. That is called the finished works of Christ. Just before Jesus breathed His last, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). This transference from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son is immediately followed by, …in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
We are seated with him in heavenly places/realms (Eph. 2:4-6). We quote it often but what does it mean? Do we experience it in our daily lives? Are we seated in heavenly realms? Jesus never said that if you are not born again you will not get to heaven. That is not what it says. He plainly says that unless a man is born again by the Spirit of God, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God! (John 3:3-5). Even when we were dead in our transgressions, He made us alive with Christ when He was raised from the dead more than 2000 years ago. You and I were raised with Him.
What is the kingdom? It is a goal, a quest set before us towards which we daily press, the goal of entering into a completely different realm, a different civilisation, a higher order, a different form of government, a realm governed by God. I want to experience that in my daily life, that I am seated in heavenly places in a realm governed by God. Many think the kingdom is a distant realm but the kingdom is right here and right now but in another realm, another dimension. God says the kingdom is within us and in our midst. So the realm of the kingdom of heaven is what it is all about.
When you emphasize the concept of going to heaven to live there forever, the gospel of the kingdom becomes incoherent, you cannot understand it. It will still emphasize the breach between heaven and earth. Christ came and removed the breach and brought heaven and earth together in one. Christ in us, the hope of glory! (Col. 1:27). So we are seated with Him in heavenly places.
We are surrounded by a world, a universe, heavens that the natural eye cannot see. Scientists are trying to probe into the unseen world. There is another realm right here but the key is not to access that by eating from the wrong “tree”. ‘Microcosm’ means the little world. ‘Macrocosm’ refers the large world or the universe – a well ordered whole. When God created man in His own image and His own likeness, man became an epitome of the universe. ‘Epitome’ meaning a condensed representation of something. Man, therefore, is the condensed representation of the entire universe, or man is all the universe in miniature. After the original creation, God began to move to bring the whole, vast creation into fellowship and harmony with Himself. In order to accomplish this God made man in the image of creation but also in the image of Himself. Man is therefore the bridge or the connecting link between God in His spiritual existence and the creation in his visible and material constitution (Eby). God put both Himself and the whole universe into man in miniature – a microcosm of the macrocosm! His purpose is that by and through man all things must be put in subjection to the mind of the Lord. We read in Hebrews that we do not yet see everything put in subjection to man but we do see Jesus (Heb. 2:5-9). Jesus the son of God became the son of man in order to save man. God had to become man to save man. He emptied Himself and took on the form of a bondservant (Phil. 2:7). Jesus as the last Adam condensed all the sad history between the first Adam and the last Adam and squashed it! He is the last Adam. He is also the second man – the first of a new humanity. The provision has been made, the price has been paid. The door has been opened! We are not yet sensing what is in us.
Jesus said, “I am in the Father”, so He is surrounded by an environment called “Father”. He goes on, “and the Father is in Me” (John 14:10). The sovereign God who created all the cosmos is looking for a place to call home and that place is us! He demonstrated that in His son called Jesus Christ. This is the environment called kingdom of God. The kingdom is not something far away, it is not something future (Mark 1:15). Jesus ushered in and opened the door and gave us access to the kingdom of God; that door is open but we must be born again. We have accepted this limited, boxed lifestyle while Jesus made it clear that we are seated with Him in heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6).
The level of oneness we should attain is the level demonstrated by Jesus and the Father being one. Jesus wants us to experience that same oneness (John 17:22-23). Look at the environment we should be in! The biggest evangelistic event of all time is waiting to see this: oneness between God, His Son and us. The world will then believe that Jesus was sent.
What is the environment of the sons of God today? It is God in Christ and we in Him, and that is the environment in which we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28-KJV).
Unless we are going to experience and model the finished works of Christ, things will just go on and on the way they are. Where is the demonstration of the sons for God? The true meaning of the word ‘sonship’ refers to you and me first being sons of the One and Only Living God. That is where sonship starts. (Luke 11:2). Let us demonstrate sonship in the true sense of the word. You must know your Father; His name is the Heavenly Father, the Sovereign God who created the universe, who also recreated us in Christ. We need to break out of our limitations!