This week we read through 1 and 2 Corinthians and Galatians.
1 Corinthians speaks of the kingdom of God in the context of discipline, cleansing, and the resurrection. Galatians 5, which is in today’s reading, echoes some of 1 Cor. 6, and reminds us that those who live according to the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God.
We’ve been seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness as we have read through the Bible this year and I hope and pray that you have grown closer to God through this experience. I know I have.
Lord willing, as we continue through and finish the New Testament over the next three weeks, let me encourage you to do your best to finish strong. Here’s a preview of what’s coming:
Next week will take us through the prison epistles of Paul: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and almost all the New Testament books that begin with the letter “T.” As you read these look for how we enter His kingdom.
Our next to last week is Christmas eve. How appropriate that our readings this season take us through the coming and coming again of Jesus our Lord and King. In Hebrews we will see how Jesus, our King is our God, how He came to us and as a Man He became our brother, as Teacher He is our Prophet and as David’s Son, in the order of Melchizedek, Jesus is our High Priest. Our King, came from heaven to earth to become one of us, to sacrifice His blood for us, and to become our perfect High Priest.
In our final week of the year as we look at Peter, John, Jude and Revelation we will focus on the return of our King in glory. That evening we’ll launch into our 2018 Saving Mission as we begin a Chronological Bible reading that focuses on sin and redemption, the Saving Mission of God for and with His people.
Today look with me at what 1 Corinthians says about the kingdom of God. In three passages the kingdom of God occurs five times.
First in chapter 4 Paul is writing to some who were in need of discipline. Look at verses 1-5, 14-20.
This reminds me of the big black bill board sign that said, “Don’t make me come down there.” -God.
Go to 2 Cor. 13:1-10. Paul saw himself as their father in the faith, and as the servant of God with authority to discipline the members of this church. This is a kingdom of God principle. A church without discipline is not a biblical church. Who holds the position within our church family to carry out discipline among us as members? God has given us shepherds, elders, who are authorized by Him to do this.
In chapters 5 and 6 Paul uses his authority to have the Corinthian church expel a sinful member from its fellowship. The sin was severe and instead of reacting with grief the rest of the church reacted with pride! Look at chapter 5:1-13. What is happening here is that this church is failing to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. They have neglected mission number one. When church leaders don’t practice discipline the church members will go outside of the church to get it. They will go to the civil courts. Paul sees this as a failure on their part.
At this point Paul brings up the kingdom of God again. Look at it with me in chapter 6:9-11.
We must be cleansed to become heirs of the kingdom of God. We must be washed in the blood of Christ and made holy. God’s kingdom is no place for those that practice wickedness and sinful behaviors. As heirs of the kingdom of God, our very bodies become a dwelling for God’s Holy Spirit. Look at 6:18-20. Our primary mission is to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness so that we honor God with our bodies. He has purchased us, He owns our bodies and He dwells in those that are His people, preparing them for entry into His glorious kingdom.
The final two occurrences of the kingdom of God in this letter are in chapter 15. This amazing chapter on the resurrection begins by reminding us of the gospel. God’s gracious calling for us to enter the kingdom of God and His righteousness starts here.
Listen to these wonderful words of truth: 15:1-8. By God’s grace revealed in this message we who hear, receive, and stand on this gospel are saved. But we must hold fast to our King’s word and submit to His authority or our faith is in vain. God so love us, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life! God has purchased you and me. He who created us in His likeness has redeemed us from our sin and cleansed us by the blood of Christ to be His own chosen people, holy nation, royal priesthood, people belonging to Him who is our Lord and King! Lets look at when we will enter and enjoy this royal inheritance and notice what this says about the ultimate glory for those who keep seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness: verses 20-28.
This is not where we are, but where we will be, IF WE KEEP SEEKING THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS! If we turn away or forsake our first love, we will lose it all! The practice of wickedness and sinfulness is deadly and deserves punishment. Jesus died to take away our sins and save us from them, not so we could keep living in sin, but so we would renounce sin in repentance and devote our lives to Him and follow His will and ways! Jesus rose from the dead to prove His authority over sin and death. For those of us that follow Him faithfully unto death, there is a crown of life in the eternal kingdom of God!
Hear this final occurrence of the kingdom of God in 1 Corinthians 15:42-57.
This world is a wonderful place created by God, but fallen under the curse of corruption. One day, God’s redeeming work will impact not only us but all creation! Romans 8:18-25. These words reveal that the creation itself longs for God’s kingdom to come in its fulness.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name! Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Revelation speaks of the kingdom of this world becoming the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. Could this be the new heavens and the new earth of scripture?
Perhaps all that is natural will become spiritual in God’s eternal kingdom.