14- LIFE IN GOD'S KINGDOM -Communication - Part 2
By Colleen Donahue
As a NEW believer you and the Lord will be discussing the issues and problems concerning your life. But soon enough, as your own life starts changing and some of your problems recede, you'll gain confidence to daily approach the Father and you'll start to cast your net out to others. It's similar to a newly married couple. At first, all the discussions revolve around them. Where should we live and work? What do you think about this or that? But soon, as children come, they have more to think about than themselves. Communication changes to become about caring for the children.
In this study we'll focus on a new aspect of communication with God. Every believer has a job to do in God's kingdom that requires on-going communication to be able to do what God wants you to do and to fulfill HIS purpose for your life.
1. As believers, saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and given new life, there will be a natural shift in our priorities. What is that shift?
2 Corinthians 5:15
Since man was created, God has been working through Jesus to reconcile men to Himself. And now in these later years after Christ's death and resurrection WHO has God given this task of reconciliation?
2 Corinthians 5:17-18
2. Therefore what becomes our main job while we are alive on earth?
2 Corinthians 5:20
Ambassadors represent a government in a foreign country. As believers our real citizenship is now in God's kingdom. Physically however we each live in a country on earth ruled by men. Ultimately Satan stands behind all earthly governments -- even those like democracy that we consider the best of man's government. In these three verses how does Jesus refer to Satan?
John 12:31 / John 14:30 / John 16:11
The Greek word for ruler in these verses is "arche". This is a political term used to denote the highest ruling authority in a given region.
LIFE IN TWO KINGDOMS
This may be a new thought to you, but as believers in Christ we live in two kingdoms. The Kingdom of God is concerned with establishing the rule of law through love. The rule of God is established wherever God's will is obeyed and Christ's character manifested. The Kingdom of God always looks like Jesus. It therefore looks like humility, grace and service. Love for God and men is its defining mark.
Before we get back to our topic of communication it's vital that every believer knows that they live in two kingdoms and what the difference in those kingdoms are. For this will influence our communication and ultimate actions.
THE CONTRAST OF TWO KINGDOMS
A. It's a contrast of trusts.
-The Kingdom of God is backed by the power of the cross. It produces a "power under" people that enables them to change.
-The Kingdom of man is backed by the power of the sword. It produces change by exerting "power over" people.
B. It's a contrast of aims.
-The Kingdom of God transforms behavior from the inside out so that we can advance the will of God.
-The Kingdom of men transforms behavior through control so that its own self-interests can be advanced.
C. It's a contrast of scope.
-The Kingdom of God advances the love of Jesus to all people, all the time and in all places.
-The Kingdom of men is the advance of ones own country, religion, tribe or ideology.
D. It's a contrast of response
-The Kingdom of God never returns evil for evil. Instead it returns good for evil.
-The Kingdom of men display tit for tat, eye for eye and tooth for tooth.
E. It's a contrast of battles.
-The Kingdom of God has no earthly enemies because we love our enemies and treat them as friends.
-The Kingdom of men has many earthly enemies and we battle them.
3. Conservative, religious people of almost any religion believe that our enemies are "the liberals", "the gays" (homosexuals), "the pro-choice advocates", the "evolutionists" etc. etc. But we are not called to fight against any of these people. Paul tells us clearly who the enemy is.
This means that our battle is against the cosmic powers that hold these people in bondage. Our one task as Kingdom of God citizens is to fight FOR people.
4. Jesus taught that there would be many who seem to believe in all the right things and do many good deeds in his name. However, at the time of judgment He will renounce them. Why?
We must understand that there is no such thing as a Christian world government. A nation may hold noble ideals and adhere to just principles but that does not make it "Christian". A citizen in the Kingdom of God must be careful not to align himself with any particular version of the Kingdom of the world -- even if we feel it is a better version. However good a particular government maybe it is still influenced by fallen principalities and powers. Thus, we should not be shocked when Kingdom of the world leaders act contrary to Jesus and his ways. However good the Kingdom of the world may seem; it does not hold the answer to the world's problems.
If you study the life of Jesus carefully, He didn't concern himself with the solution of worldly problems --- and there were many in his time. He had not come to usher in an improved Kingdom of the world government, an improved Judaism or to start a new religion. He came to transform lives one by one from the inside out.
If Jesus didn't come to solve worldly problems, then we should understand that isn't our central job either. Our job is to draw our entire life from Jesus as branches on his vine and then to manifest that life to others. In truth we may be the only Jesus that someone will ever see.
5. I agree that it may be more gratifying for us to assume a morally superior stance and vote against "the sin of _____________" thus doing our Christian duty. Read this situation to discover why we are unable to take a morally superior stance over anyone.
John 8:1-11 (especially verse 7)
6. So we live in two worlds -- a physical one and a spiritual one. Of the two the spiritual one is actually more real because it produced the visible world.
Whatever we see in the physical world has a corresponding and greater reality in the spiritual world.
2 Corinthians 4:10-18
7.God wanted to establish the invisible Kingdom in the visible world. He created men with a spirit, soul and body so that we could communicate in both kingdoms. With our spirit we communicate with God. With our soul (mind, will and emotions) and body we communicate and relate to other people and ourselves in the physical world. In this verse Paul confirms the three parts of us needed for communication.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
When we are restored in our relationship with our Father God, we become reconnected to the source of our life. We thus acknowledge that we came from God, that we depend on Him and must be sustained by Him. Through Christ's sacrifice, we were cleansed from all sin which made our human spirit fit for the Holy Spirit to dwell within us once again.
When the Holy Spirit indwells us then we have direct access to the King and we no longer have to just depend on others to teach us about God. The Holy Spirit becomes our live-in tutor. He fills that empty space inside that we all feel -- a sense that something (really someone) is missing.
8. Because of our restored relationship we also have restored dominion over the earth. This means that we have the ability to influence the world around us. We thus become reconnected to the assignment for which we were born.
9.The Holy Spirit came to empower us for work. We are here to impact the earth for Heaven's purposes. You should memorize this verse for in it are the two priorities of every believer. What are they?
Lest there be any confusion, our first priority is the Kingdom of God. God has snatched you from Satan's Kingdom of Darkness and brought you into His own Kingdom of Light.
As a citizen in his kingdom all your love and allegiance now belongs to Him. You are glad to be under his rule and authority and everywhere you go God's kingdom goes with you because of God the Holy Spirit indwelling you. For in a kingdom wherever the king is there is also his kingdom. The Kingdom of God government resides in a person not a place. Like it or not, wherever you go there will be God's kingdom. We become the representative of God's authority and power which is why our second priority is righteousness.
10. We have an awesome responsibility as ambassadors to represent our king to others and to do it well. Why?
When we "talk the talk" but don't "walk the talk" we give nonbelievers a good excuse not to want anything to do with God. When we don't seek for righteousness we easily get caught up in "good causes" and promoting an agenda. This is what happened in Christ's own time with the religious leaders and Pharisees. What does Jesus warn?
When we hunger and thirst for righteousness (right-standing before God and men) what does Jesus promise?
COMMUNICATION FOR KINGDOM PURPOSES
11. It's the Holy Spirit indwelling us that gives us our ability to communicate with the heavenly government. And this is the only way we can fulfill the purpose and will of the king. It's Jesus who opens the way for us (by his death and resurrection) to have an audience with God.
Then, it's the Holy Spirit's power within me that becomes my means of speaking with and hearing the Father.
12. Here is how our communication with God as his ambassadors works:
A. God wants something done. He can't do it apart from us because he has given dominion over the earth to men and women and He will not trample over the authority we have been given.
B. Therefore He communicates something that He wants done to the Holy Spirit indwelling one or more of his children. Then the Holy Spirit tells us.
1 Corinthians 2:11-12
C. I "hear" the Holy Spirit speaking within me what God wants and I begin to pray the request back to God.
D. I do this through the authority of the King-Son (Jesus). Together we go before God.
E. God listens as we ask Him for the very thing He wants to do. We can confidently be assured of it.
1 John 5:14
F. Then God sets things in motion to accomplish his will and we are confident that it will be done. We can be confident of this even before we see it happen.
1 John 5:15
WHAT DO I COMMUNICATE?
13. Every one of us lives within a family. We live in a town or city. We go to a school, or to work, we worship with others in a church fellowship. God, through the indwelling Holy Spirit will put the lives and needs of these people on your heart. And as He does, you and Jesus will go before Him to talk it out. You may not quite know all the particulars but we are promised that the Holy Spirit will help us.
14. Our roles as ambassadors will expand to ever widening circles of people just like Jesus told the first apostles.
Notice the pattern set. They were to start being witnesses in their own backyard -- i.e. Jerusalem. Then they'd expand a little to all over Judea (still Jewish). They then would cross a border into the land of the Samaritans -- a people that the Jews hated. And finally, the whole world would become their parish.
As ambassadors we represent our government (the Kingdom of God) to others but we also represent others back to our King when we go to him to communicate. All prayer is daily government communication and vital for establishing God's will and dominion in your home, your school, your work place, your country and the world at large.
Here is how communication with God looked like in my own life. Soon after becoming a follower of Jesus my prayers were mainly for myself. In the last study I shared why that was. It was hard to focus on other people's problems when I had so many of my own.
Slowly but surely as my own life changed I began to see the needs in my family and friends. I was also engaged everyday with fellow students and those I knew from my job. So prayer became wider than my own concerns.
Then I started traveling and working both abroad and in my home country. I was now meeting others from backgrounds quite unlike my own. God was again widening my circle.
Then God brought knowledge my way of two things:
A. Children all over the world living without opportunity and basic needs
B. Fellow believers who were suffering and dying for following Jesus
He led me to "adopt" many children who needed financial aide and of course with each name given to me I had the privilege to represent them before God. He also led me to be aware of my brothers and sisters in chains so that I could give and pray as He directed.
You can see that every ambassador for God will continue to have his circle widened so that God's kingdom can reach to the ends of the earth. The only thing that truly stops God working is if we don't communicate with Him. He will never overstep our authority.
All ambassadors feel dreadfully inadequate. What if I'm not hearing or saying things right? Don't worry. The Holy Spirit is your live-in tutor. If you get something wrong he'll make sure you get it right. Just start communicating and it will soon become as natural as breathing.
Before we leave this topic we must look at one more aspect of communicating with God.
THE BELIEVER'S AUTHORITY
15. There is a sad verse spoken by the prophet Hosea that I'd like you to look at.
Here is how the verse is written in the amplified Bible:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you (the priestly nation) have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you that you should no longer be a priest to Me; seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children."
There are many who call themselves "believers" today who have been falsely converted. They have "received Jesus" as fire insurance against going to Hell at judgment day, but have never gone on to seek God through the scriptures, abide in Christ, or be filled with the Holy Spirit. They are ignorant regarding what a decision for Jesus Christ really meant in the first place.
Hosea is talking to "my people" -- not sinners in general, not the world but "my people" who were the Israelites. They were to have become a whole nation of priests ministering to God on behalf of other people who didn't know God. Instead, they rejected the knowledge of God that would have helped them fulfill the ministry God had for them as a nation to reach a lost world. In other words, they neglected studying the scriptures (which is God's word to us) and hence lived their lives without knowing how God thought and what He wanted of them.
16. WHO did Jesus say were truly his disciples?
When we remain faithful to Christ's teaching, we begin to know what belongs to us in Jesus. And this will be the result:
17. As believers we have been given incredible authority when we were born again. In Jesus all spiritual blessing belongs to us whether we realize it or not.
Knowing about this authority and blessing isn't enough. We must ACT on it for it to have effect in our life or others. Who gives us our authority?
Serpents and scorpions in this verse refer to demons and evil spirits. God himself is the power behind our authority and the devil and his forces are obligated to recognize it.
A policeman has all the authority of the state behind him, given to him by the police chief. Cars stop because of the authority vested in him NOT because of the man himself.
So it is with believers. We have been given the authority of God by Jesus. Satan's forces heed us only because of who we represent. We are not strong in ourselves as this verse clearly states. Who is our strength?
18. When Jesus ascended, He transferred His authority to the church, of which He is the head. He knew that we would now be the ones to confront the dark forces that run this world. We would need this authority to be able to fulfill the great commission.
Therefore, our combat with the devil should always be with the consciousness that we have the authority over him. Why do we have authority over him?
19. Satan, as we saw earlier, is the rightful god of this world -- vested in him by Adam. So he has the right to rule over us until we become new creatures in Christ. Once we become new in Jesus, he has no more right to rule or dominate us. Why?
He'll still be prowling around trying to exercise his former power and authority. What caution does Peter give us?
1 Peter 5:8-9
20. Many problems exist because we let them exist. We don't put our holy foot down against the havoc Satan is wreaking in our life or our family because we are ignorant of our authority over him. If we go on in this ignorance, he can destroy us and the people we love. The Rev. Kenneth Hagin in his book "The Authority of the Believer" opened my eyes to these wonderful verses.
He explains that the word for ask is DEMAND. We are not demanding from God but demanding from the devil. The Greek reads, "whatsoever you demand as your rights and privileges...." The devil is not afraid of you or your words but when you come in the authority of Jesus, he knows that he is defeated.
In the New Testament we are never told to pray that God or Jesus would do something against the devil. No, WE are told to do something because we have the authority. Too many of us want to remain babies and have someone else do our praying. But it's time to "step up to the plate." We have authority over the devil in our own life and the lives of our immediate family or household.
Ephesians 4:27 says that we are not to make room or give a place to the devil. This means that he can't take any place in us unless we give him permission to do so. So much happens and continues to happen because we allow it! It's true that Satan runs the world systems. It's true that we live in the world, but we are not of this world and therefore Satan is not running us!
21. God's plan is that we rule and reign in life as kings -- ruling and reigning over circumstances, poverty, disease and anything else that would hinder us. And we can rule and reign because we have the authority. Once we demand our rights from the enemy then we must stand our ground!
Our authority is over demon spirits NOT over the human wills of others. We can't exercise authority over a person's will but we can do so over the spirit that makes them act the way they do. We need to have a firm foundation as to what the Word of God says and then depend on the Holy Spirit to help us in ministering authority.
For example, if a person is on our property, you have authority over him and can tell him to leave. But you don't have authority over your neighbor's property. The best you can do is call him up and tell him about the intruder so that HE can act.
22. At any time you can resist the devil from you or your household and he must go!
But this won't work in a realm outside your own. Satan is the god of this world and his evil spirits have a right to be there. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to help us in communicating and exercising our authority.
As believers, we represent the Kingdom of God on earth. Influencing the people in our life for God and bringing them to Jesus (the door) for entrance into God's kingdom should be our main priority in life. Our second priority is to live our lives in righteousness so that when people see us they see Jesus.
Every person is called to do certain good works that God has prepared in advance for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). To influence your corner of the world for God will require constant daily communication with God. This is facilitated by the indwelling Holy Spirit and by Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for you and your concerns. God will never violate your authority on earth by doing something apart from your asking him about it. But he will act when you ask.
Prayer (the word for communicating with God) is daily government communication. You cannot fulfill your purpose here for God on your own. You need God's resources. For example, you can't see into your co-worker's heart to pray correctly for him. You need God's insights for that through the indwelling Holy Spirit in your life. There will be times you don't know how to answer someone. At that time, you'll look to God and ask for the right words and he gives them to you.
All of us, at every stage of life will be unable to fulfill our purpose without this moment by moment back and forth with God in our spirit. We were put here to work and the one reward for a job well done is more work and increasingly difficult tasks. Make no mistake, none of this can be done on your own.
Every believer has been given every spiritual blessing available and the authority over the power of the enemy here on earth. We are to operate in the strength of the Lord Jesus and the power of HIS might. We have the authority over Satan in our own life and that of our household. Therefore, we must be like the policeman that says, "Stop, go no further. I won't allow it!"
Jesus Christ began the work of bringing back God's kingdom to men by bringing back the Holy Spirit to indwell our own spirit. Now it's up to us to continue to expand God's kingdom. Jesus Christ can do no more work here on earth without us. The Father and Jesus will not overstep your authority. If you don't ask, they can't work and that's a sobering thought.