The Word of God

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Isaiah 55:11
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Genesis 1:3
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

God does nothing apart from His word. The word of God exists with God. God’s word is God! God’s word is God’s will, it not only accomplishes God’s will but it is the complete expression of God’s divine will and purpose. God’s word is unstoppable and cannot be thwarted. Because the Word of God is actually a person, God’s son Jesus Christ, all of the attributes that pertain to God himself, pertain to his word.

God’s word is:

  • Eternal – Psalms 119:89 Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
  • Pure – Psalms 119:140 Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it.
  • Right – Psalms 119:172 My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.
  • True – Psalms 119:160 The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
  • Imparts Wisdom and Revelation – Psalms 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

Psalm 19 sums it up very well,

Psalm 19:7-9
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.

The Continuing Proclamation of the Kingdom

Philippians 1:12-18

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Many of us view contrary circumstances in our lives as inconveniences and roadblocks to an imagined future that we ourselves have planned and hoped for. Here is Paul chained in prison with guards on either side, cheerfully telling the Christians in Philippi that this has, in fact, resulted in advancement for the Gospel. How does he come to this realisation and perspective? Paul’s perspective is based on the kingdom, he views everything from the viewpoint of how it affects the advancement of the good news of Christ to the world. But he also is concerned for the lives of those around him and the brothers who are encouraged as they see the grace of God working in and through Paul.

Paul acknowledges that people have different motives when it comes to the proclamation of the Kingdom. We should remember this when are confronted with persecution and opposition, even from within the church. Our over-arching concern and focus should be, like Paul, that in every way Christ – the KING -is proclaimed, and in that rejoice.

A Prayer for Kingdom Life

Philippians 1:9-11

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Here is a prayer that expresses the life of a citizen in the kingdom of God. It has several distinct elements.

  • Love that abounds more and more
  • an increase of knowledge and discernment
  • an increasing approval and pursuit of excellence
  • a focus on purity and blameless living
  • filled with the fruit of righteousness – that is the fruit of the spirit
  • a life lived to the praise and glory of God

Gifts and Call of the Kingdom

Romans 11:29

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Alexander Dowie was called to proclaim the gospel at age seven. He said in his biography that the call never left him. Before the call come the gifts. Without the gifts the call is impossible. Without the call the gifts become self-indulgent.

The church needs people with the gifts and call of God to step out in faith to minister the love of God to others.

Ephesians 4:7-8

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

The gifts have been given. The calling is to preach the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20) and has never been rescinded. It is up to us, the church, to use the gifts and fulfil the call to proclaim the gospel and see others enter the kingdom of God.

Dealing with error in the Kingdom

Mark 12:18-27

And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?

Whenever we or someone else disputes Jesus words we must remember that these 2 issues are going to be the root cause.

Kingdom Comfort

Isaiah 40:1-2

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.

Luke 2:8-14

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

The heart of God toward mankind is to extend grace and mercy. The prophet is commanded to speak comfort to his people to proclaim cessation of the hostilities.

Even before Jesus had taken a step or spoken a word the angels appeared to the shepherds to herald the not just the good, but the fantastic news that the Saviour of the world was born and lying in David’s city. Now peace was declared on earth toward all men. Gods demeanour toward men now was seen to be changed toward all men not just Israel his chosen people.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Isaiah 53:1-6

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Kingdom Reality

1 John 1:1-7

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

2 Peter 1:16-18

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain

MarK 12:13-17

And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marvelled at him.

That which was from the beginning , which we have heard which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands,

we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

John and Peter both had and continue to have an experience of and relationship with the eternal, Almighty ruler and Lord of the universe. They walked and talked with him, they were with him and heard him speak and teach. They watched him debate with the rulers and power brokers of his age.

“And they marvelled at him.”

This teaching of Jesus’ might be one of the most profound things he ever said. His response here is so masterful and strikes so deeply to the heart of the human condition in relation to our creator, that we can easily miss the demand to which Jesus calls us. We bear the image of the creator, therefore, we are to render unto God our love and service; because we bear his image.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

So how do we do honour God with / in our body? It is summed up in the 2 greatest commandments. To love God with our whole heart, mind, body and soul and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Ephesians 4:22-29
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

A Parable of the Kingdom

Mark 12:1-12

And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvellous in our eyes’?”
And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.

Here is the nub of the issue for the scribes and Pharisees. They are terrified that Israel will be destroyed by the Romans. That their power and religion would be lost because of some upstart “prophet”. But Jesus points out that their rejection of the “upstart” is both predicted in scripture and he is the very one to bring about the realisation of the coming kingdom of God.

Kingdom Authority

Mark 11:27-33

And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

How dare you? This is really the question in the hearts of the religious elites of Jesus day. They couldn’t really object on a legal basis to his actions. Jesus was completely within the letter of the law when it came to cleansing the temple and teaching the people to place the focus of their lives on God and not on the religious rules of the the elites. His was a return to the fundamentals of the Jewish faith and law. It cut through the extraneous obligations that had been built around the law to “enable” adherence to the law. So it is that they challenge and question Jesus’ authority to do and teach as he did.

Jesus is master of the situation, his response is so insightful it cuts right to the hearts of his antagonists motives. When he asks them about the baptism of John he is essentially asking them the same question regarding John. Where did John’s authority come from? In their answer “we do not know” they deliberately refuse to answer the question. And so Jesus, too, refuses to answer their question. They are wilfully living in unbelief. They don’t want to answer Jesus’ question because it will expose their hypocrisy and hatred of him. It will also expose their wrong motives and exploitative behaviours to the people. It would have set them free to be so exposed, because it would have allowed them to see and be seen through the lens of truth. However, they chose to remain in the bondage of their lies and deceit. Shame, fear, greed, power and corruption had taken their toll in their lives.

How often do we question Jesus’ authority over our lives? When we refuse to forgive, when we continue in unbelief and when we refuse to love others as we love ourselves we reject Jesus’ authority over our lives. These are just a few examples, as we submit to Jesus’ authority and live according to his commands we will experience true freedom and the release from bondage that the rejection of Christ leads us into.

The Heart of the King

Mark 11:20-25

As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Peter is shocked when they pass by the tree that Jesus had found such disappointment in the previous day. The tree has withered away to its roots. For this to happen overnight certainly is extraordinary. Jesus initially links this to faith in God. And makes the surprising claim that whatever is asked for in faith, if no doubt is in ones heart, that will come to pass for them. This is a principle that runs through life. However as he muses on prayer, his heart goes to forgiveness. And the principle here is that if we are to experience God’s forgiveness in our lives we should forgive others with whom we may have issues.

This is really where Jesus’ heart is, the previous day he had been forceful in cleansing the temple. And as God he had a completely valid reason to be angered and offended by his peoples’ disrespect and trashing of the holy placem, which was set apart to allow them to worship him! But Jesus’ heart has already turned to forgiveness. And that is where he tells us to turn our hearts.

We have many opportunities to be offended and to feel hurt by others, every day. Jesus urges us to live in forgiveness and reconciliation. This is the only way to experience God’s forgiveness in our lives.