Kingdom 51

There are 2 things I need to clarify and underscore from what I said in Kingdom 50. First, please note that the 4 questions approach I shared in Kingdom 50, is only an approach. Not a formula. That actually is more for us to understand the good news clearly in our own minds first before we attempt to share it with others. And before we can share anything, I said this already but let me say it again, we need to discern if the person is listening in the first place.

A long time ago, I read this somewhere, someone said the problem with Christians all over the world is that they are always trying to give answers to questions that people are not asking. If you are not asking a question, the answer someone is trying to give you is quite meaningless, right? I mean imagine if someone comes up to you and tries to teach you how to bake a cake when you never asked for it, and you have no interest at all, nor do you see any reason why you should be interested in that. You might say, but surely salvation and the meaning of life is not the same as baking a cake. Isn’t the meaning of life and the eternal destiny of people the most important thing of all? That’s what we might think, but not everyone thinks that way.

Many people have concluded that there are no answers and no one can be certain. That’s because of, I think, a pervasive skepticism and unbelief nowadays, that has been spread from the West to the rest of the world. As soon as you try to share with anyone, many think you are trying to impose your views on them. I’m not saying don’t share with anyone unless they are seriously seeking. Because perhaps your sharing might start that seeking in them, but the question I think we need to ask is, how can people first of all come to the point of seeking answers to the meaning of life? Something we need to think about. I’ll talk more about this later.

Second point is this, when I said the rich man did not need to be told that he needed to be born again, I do not mean that he does not need to be born again. Everyone needs to be born again. Jesus said that’s the only way to enter into God’s Kingdom. But the fact remains that Jesus did not tell him that he needed to be born again. What he needed to hear was something else. Each person needs to hear only what he needs to hear at any given point in time. Whether people realize it or not, I believe everyone is actually on a spiritual journey of discovering the meaning of life and each person is of course at a different point on their journey. What may be relevant for one may not be relevant for another.

We live in a very diverse world. In one part of the world, in affluent Europe, people are fighting to have the right to euthanasia, or assisted suicide. In another part of the world, people have been pushed by forces beyond their control to end their lives. More than 100,000 farmers in India committed suicide in the last 10 years. Talking to someone contemplating suicide in Europe would be very different thing from trying to talk with a farmer in India who is about to commit suicide. What is necessary and meaningful for one might be totally meaningless for another.

So we need to discern where each person is at on their spiritual journey. If someone is trying to survive and their attention is focused only on trying to get their basic needs of water, food, clothing and shelter met, they will probably not have the time or attention to think about the meaning of life. We must help them with what they need first. It will not do to talk with them about becoming disciples of Jesus until their basic needs are met first. Jesus fed the hungry before He told them that life is more than food. Otherwise how can the good news be good news to them? We would have to be the good news to them first before we can meaningfully share the good news with them.

Some of you have heard me share about the woman who showed up at a church after an earthquake. This happened somewhere in India. I won’t mention where. She showed up asking for some rice for her family. The guy at the church told her that she had to listen to the gospel first. She looked like she had probably walked many miles to this church and she looked like she really needed a drink and some food, but this guy took no notice at all of that. To him, the most important thing was she needed to be saved. Never mind if she and her family had not had any food to eat or water to drink in days. He did not even ask her if her house survived the earthquake or if anyone had died or was injured and needed help. The poor lady was so disgusted and disappointed by that church worker’s response, she walked away in tears. What would she think of Christians and of Jesus after that?

We might say c’mon people should not be so confused in their minds. Christians or the church is not the same thing as Jesus or God. But you know what, not many people can distinguish between the two. And why would anyone be interested in hearing about the God that someone worships if that person comes across as an uncaring religious bigot, right?

On another point, I already mentioned this in Kingdom 49 about how people nowadays are not as simple as they were 30 – 40 years ago. I think many people might need healing or a straightening out of some twisted ideas in their minds first before they can even understand the gospel. I’ve been teaching in many countries. After 23 years of interacting with people from many different cultures and nations, I’ve found that not many people can think clearly. I think like how there are adult literacy programs for people to first learn how to read before there is any point in giving them a tract or Bible portion to read, I think for some people there might be a need to teach them to think first before we can share the gospel with them. Somehow in their growing up they might have missed some vital processes that are necessary for clear thinking.

So many people, including the educated, are so confused in their minds by their culture and their environment and their upbringing, and the biases and prejudices that they have absorbed, that they simply cannot see past the cobwebs in their minds to understand a simple presentation of the gospel. A lot of this I think has to do with their worldview which I shall talk about later.

I recently met 4 neurosurgeons that were trained by the most prestigious Christian Medical Hospital in India. They told me that the West and Christians should have stayed away from India completely. They attributed all the problems in India to the West and to Christians. They said the West and Christians had done nothing for India. This is despite the fact that they themselves had obviously benefited from the medical training they got from that hospital which was set up by Western missionaries. How they could reconcile that self-contradiction is hard to understand, but clearly what they needed was something else before the prejudices in their minds could be removed. Otherwise all that I was trying to communicate to them was being filtered and was being misinterpreted.

It’s not just bias and prejudices in cultural upbringing that affect the minds and understanding of people. There are also deep emotional wounds that affect the minds of people. Many young people today I think are so damaged in their minds and emotions by their exposure to distorted ideas of reality that they cannot even appreciate what love is, or what responsibility or accountability is, or what trust means. In that case, how can we talk to them about an abstract God who loves them or that they are accountable to Him and will be judged by Him, or to put their trust in Him? In other words it is not such a straightforward thing to share the gospel with people. Some people have to go through healing and others might need to go through various stages of having their filters removed first before the truth can be appreciated.

This is true even for people who are in church. Jesus asked people, “Who do you say I am?” Some saw Him as a good teacher. Some saw Him as a prophet. Many today see Him only as the founder of a religion. Nothing more than that. Even in the church, many in the church today see Him as someone who died for them 2000 years ago to save them from hell. And today? Well today He protects us and blesses us. You know what I mean? I could be wrong, but in my estimate I think more than 90% of people in churches today have yet to have a real encounter with Jesus.

Even in the gospels, we see that Peter had 3 encounters with Jesus, before the stark reality of who Jesus is, finally hit him. The first was when his brother Andrew brought him to meet Jesus. The second was when Jesus healed people and cast demons out of people in his mother’s place .. or was it his mother in law’s place in Capernaum? The first two encounters made no impact on him at all, it seems. It was the 3rd encounter, when he caught no fish at all, after a whole night of fishing – you know the story – that’s when he finally gave his life to Jesus. What was it that finally opened the eyes of Peter? Something for us to think about.

Having given you the 4 questions approach, I must share with you how I came to know the Lord. When I first heard the gospel, all that my friend told me about why Jesus died on the cross for me, actually made no sense at all to me. But when he told me that God has been waiting for me for a long time, waiting for me to return to Him, it was like God Himself spoke those very words into my heart at that very moment. Later that night, alone by myself, I got down on my knees and gave my life to the Lord. Not just accept Christ so that I can be saved. In fact I wasn’t even thinking much about hell or that I needed to be saved from anything. In my case I actually heard God calling me to Him and I surrendered my life to Him.

BTW, I was once in a missions conference .. this was many, many years ago, and the speaker asked how many in the audience came to Christ and gave their lives to Christ when they first heard the gospel. There were only 2 hands that went up among more than a thousand people there. One was mine and then there was another guy. We were the exception. Usually people take longer before they come to the place of surrender. But the point is this, at the end of the day, it’s not a question of being convinced in the mind. Every person needs to have an encounter with God and hear Him calling them to Himself.

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it

Kingdom 50

This is a continuation from Kingdom 49 on the question of how we are to share the good news of the Kingdom with people. There are many aspects to what it means for God’s Kingdom come to this world and for us to be part of God’s Kingdom. But at the very outset we must understand this. God’s Kingdom has come to crush and overthrow the kingdom of Satan, and the kingdoms of man, and for this world to be restored to being under God’s rule, or God’s Kingdom. Remember Daniel’s vision in Dan.2? He saw the Kingdom of God as a rock that crushed all other kingdoms and it grew into a huge mountain that filled the whole earth. This is the big difference between the salvation gospel that is usually preached about going to heaven, and the Kingdom gospel that must be preached. This world must be confronted with the Kingdom of God.

God told Jeremiah in Jer.1, that there has to be an uprooting, tearing down, overthrowing and destroying of all that is not of God, before there can be a building and planting of what He will accomplish on the earth. What was that about? Primarily it was about Israel. God was going uproot Israel or Judah rather from the promised land and tear Judah apart. He was going to send the Babylonian army to destroy Judah and take them into exile. But it was not just about Israel or Judah. If we read Jeremiah carefully, we will see it was also about other nations. Basically, about the kingdoms of this world. For God’s kingdom to come, the kingdoms of man have to go. Before the Kingdom of God can be established on earth, all the false foundations upon which people’s lives and everything else this world has been built upon, has to be uprooted. And all that has been built upon these false foundations have to be torn down, overthrown, and destroyed.

I don’t mean the destruction of buildings, businesses, universities, families and lives, although that’s what is going to happen when Jesus returns. Jesus said in Lk.19, if people do not surrender to Him as King now, they will be destroyed when He returns. But before that, all the uprooting, tearing down, overthrowing and destroying that must take place, are in the minds of people, because it is from the minds of people that the whole world is what it is. You heard me say in Kingdom 10 that outside of the garden of Eden, man figured everything out for himself. He figured out what’s work, what’s marriage, what’s sex, and business, and economics, government, money, science, art, religion, and what’s the meaning of life, and what’s the ultimate purpose of life. Everything! All the wrong ideas in the minds of people about life and about everything else.

It is upon these ideas that the kingdoms of man have been built. So all these false ideas need to be uprooted, torn down, overthrown, and destroyed. And they all need to be replaced with God’s truth about all these things – God’s truth for every aspect of life. Since there are so many truths for every aspect of life, and for what it means to be in God’s Kingdom, that we will continue to learn till the rest of our lives, how much can we share each time we want to tell people about the Kingdom? Are there core truths that must be shared each time? Is there an irreducible minimum that must be shared?

I don’t think that would be the right approach. I think what each person needs to hear, or to know, is what is relevant and needed for that person according to his or her situation at that point in time. Each person who encountered Jesus in the gospels encountered a different facet of the Kingdom. Nicodemus needed to know he had to be born again. But not the rich man. The rich man had to give up his kingdom. But Nicodemus did not need to be told that. I think it also depends on how much the person is ready or has the time and attention to listen. Another thing is this, God may use different people to break up the hard ground as it were, another person to water and soften the soil, another one to plant the seed, another one to water the seed, and another one to harvest. But what if we are given the opportunity and the person wants to get the whole of the big picture, and he has lots of time to listen. I mean what if he really wants to know? In that case how are we to present the good news of the Kingdom to him? Where do we start?

Can we go straight into Jn.3:16? Yes I think we can, provided we give the true meaning of Jn.3:16. You’ve heard me share what that is in Kingdom 22. Not what most Christians think it is but what it really means. Jn.3:16 as you have heard me say, is the solution. But what is the problem? In order to understand the solution, we must first understand the problem, otherwise we will misunderstand the solution. But in order to understand the problem, we must go back to the original design. Salvation as we already know, is restoration back to God’s original design. Not an escape plan from this world. The common understanding of salvation as an escape plan from this world, and from hell to go to heaven, does not solve the problem of sin, nor the mess that has resulted. God’s solution for that, is for His Kingdom to be restored on earth. So how are we to share the good news of the coming of God’s Kingdom to this world? There are of course different approaches we can take but the approach I would usually take would be to ask 4 questions :

  1. The world is in a mess? Why?
  2. What was God’s original design? Or why did God create us?
  3. What went wrong?
  4. What is God’s solution? (That’s where we will tell the good news of the Kingdom)

First question, the world is in a mess. Why?

What is the problem? I think the root cause of all the problems in the world is the self-centredness of man. I think almost everyone will agree with that. The Bible calls this the sin nature. We are all self-centred. We love ourselves. We look out for ourselves. We live for ourselves. There is very little care or concern for others. There is very little love in the world. We all know what the world needs is love. If only we would love each other, then the world wouldn’t be in such a mess, right? But we can’t seem to love. Why is that? Why is everyone so self-centred? Did God make us self-centred and put us on this planet to fight each other and sort it out among ourselves? Of course not. So this leads us to the second question :

What was God’s original design? Why did God create us and put us on this planet?

The Bible tells us that God created us to be like Him and that God is love. So if we are like Him, we would love. We would love Him and we would love each other. That’s what we were made for – to love. But the Bible also tells us that that can happen, that we can be like Him, only if we are one with Him. Not separate from Him. We were designed to be one with God and under His rule. Not to operate apart from Him. So this leads to the third question :

What went wrong? How did man become so self-centred?

In the beginning, Adam and Eve was with God and under God’s rule. Like the earth that revolves around the sun and draws energy and life from the sun, man would have life so long as God was their centre and so long as man remained under God’s rule. Being made in the image of God, Adam and Eve was given free will.  But with that fee will, Adam and Eve listened to Satan and chose to be independent of God. Through their choice, they acquired the ability to have their own wisdom to decide things for themselves. God was no longer their centre. They became their own centre. That is how man became self-centred and separated from God.

So at first there was only God’s Kingdom. But when man chose to be independent of God, he in effect left God’s kingdom, and became king of his own kingdom. Another thing is this, because man listened to Satan, he in effect came under Satan’s authority. So the Bible tells us that the whole world is under Satan’s kingdom. And that’s also why the Bible talks about 3 kingdoms – God’s Kingdom, Satan’s kingdom and the kingdoms of this world, or man’s kingdom. That independence and self-rule and self-centredness has passed down to all of us. We are all independent of God and we rule ourselves. This leads to the fourth question :

What is God’s solution? (which is also where we will tell the good news)

God’s solution is to restore us to His original design so that we can be one with Him again, and under His rule. The good news is this. The good news is Jesus came to defeat Satan and set up His Kingdom on earth so that we can be restored to being under God’s rule and back to being one with Him, so that we can love Him and love each other.

For anyone who wants to return to God and be in His Kingdom, 4 things are necessary :

First, our sins must be dealt with. God’s solution and the good news is that Jesus came to be the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, and this is where we need to talk about the wrath and judgment of God against sin but also His love for sinners. And that’s also where we present Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life, and explain why Jesus had come to die for the sins of man, and why we need God’s forgiveness. Otherwise we continue to be under God’s judgment.

Second, our sin nature must be dealt with because what separates us from God is not only our sins but our sin nature – that self-centred self in us. Man must repent. Unfortunately this is usually not adequately explained or where the truth is actually compromised and people are given an easy gospel. People are told that once their sins are forgiven they are reconciled to God. No, no, no. That’s not true. Unless people surrender to the Lordship of Christ, they are still kings of their own Kingdoms and they are still separated from God.

The good news here is Jesus defeated Satan so that we can be set free to enter into and become part of God’s Kingdom, but the good news comes with the bad news. The person must be confronted with God’s Kingdom. To enter into God’s Kingdom and to be one with God again, he must surrender his kingdom. He must surrender his independence and come back under God’s rule. That’s what it means to repent.

And he also needs to be told what it means to be in God’s Kingdom. We are not only saved from, we are saved to – to be in God’s Kingdom. In the Kingdom, the law that governs us is love – we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbours as ourselves. Practically what this means is we are to live no longer for ourselves but for God and for others. So all our money, possessions, career, business, family, pride, ego, everything must be surrendered to God. All that we have and all that we are, including our skills, is meant to be shared with others, especially those in need. Unless people are told this, they will remain kings of their own kingdoms and still enslaved to Satan’s kingdom.

But who can seriously do that? I can imagine many who are hearing this are saying, “Are you serious? Is that what we are going to tell people right from the beginning?” Of course. Jesus never compromised with the truth. He said unless a man forsake all, he cannot be His disciple. He also said if any man wants to follow Him, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Him. This is where the third thing is necessary.

This is the third thing : total surrender is only possible, if we have God’s Spirit. We can only become one with God and be like God and live in God’s Kingdom, if we have His Spirit. This is where the person needs to receive the Holy Spirit and he has to be told that he has to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Otherwise he will revert to living for himself. You already know this, in everything between God and man, there are 2 parts : God’s part and man’s part. God will not make man surrender. Every man needs to make the choice for himself if he wants to surrender. If he does surrender to God, God will do His part. God will fill him with His Spirit.

The fourth thing we must explain is this, even though we surrender our independence to God, sin has so infected us that we still have our sin nature with us till the day we die. That means we will have to live a life of continually choosing to live for God and for each other. Not for ourselves. This is where God will use the problems of this world to work on our character so that we can be changed to become like Him.

Finally, if we are in God’s Kingdom, when we die, we will be with God in heaven. If we are not in God’s Kingdom, we will be forever separated from God, in hell.

I think that’s the basic framework. Of course you’ll have to explain things and expand on things here and there, depending on what are the questions that are asked. Before I end, please remember what I shared in Kingdom 49. We are not to just preach the good news of the Kingdom, we must also be His witnesses. I hope this has been helpful.

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it

Kingdom 49

Before I get on with anything else, several people have asked me to address this question first : Now that we know that the good news is the Kingdom, not salvation to go to heaven, how are we to share the good news or the gospel with people? Before I answer this question, I think there are several things I need to say about sharing the gospel :

First let me ask a question : Not everyone responded to Jesus, but think of the people in the Gospels who did : Peter, John, Andrew, the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well, and others : What was it that brought them to Jesus? Was it because they came into a cognitive understanding of the truth or was it because they came to experience Jesus Who is the Truth?

What we are called to share is Jesus, not just a belief among so many others beliefs that people can choose from. God can use a donkey to speak for Him if He wants to (Num.22:28), but that is not His primary objective. If the Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, not a concept, or philosophy, or belief, and not just someone who lived 2000 years ago, but He is alive and living in us now, and if we are to be the primary conduit by which people will come to know Him, then we must ask, “What do people see or detect when they look at us?” Acts 4:13 says when they saw the courage of Peter and John and they realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they recognized that these men had been with Jesus. They recognized that these men had been with Jesus. So what do people encounter when they encounter us?

I believe that like Jesus, who is the truth who became flesh, we who are made in the image of God also need to live out the truth in the flesh, so that people may not only hear the truth but sense the force of the truth as it were, in our lives. Peter said to live such godly lives and to be ready to give to everyone an answer for the reason for our hope (1 Pet.3:15). Why would anyone ask us the reason for our hope unless there is something about us that is radically different, that is going against the current of this world? Something about us, that captivates them so that they somehow cannot ignore the message we are sharing with them. Otherwise why should anyone listen to us? So this is the question : What are our lives speaking?

What Jesus called us to do is not only to preach the good news of the Kingdom, but to also be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). What does that mean? The word “witness” in the original Greek is “martus” which means to testify, which is to tell what you have seen or heard or experienced. It’s a word that is commonly used in a court of law. You can only be a witness of something you have seen or heard or experienced. You cannot be a witness of something that someone else told you or something you read on the internet, for example.

For the apostles, they testified of their personal experience of Jesus. They knew Him personally. They saw the miracles of course. They saw Him heal the blind, raise the dead, walk on water, and stop the storm, and come back to life after He was crucified to death. But I don’t think it was so much the miracles they saw that they were witnesses of. It was more their experience of Jesus. They witnessed how He forgave the woman caught in adultery. They witnessed how He loved the poor, the nobodies, and rejects of society. They experienced Jesus washing their feet. They saw how He responded in love to the evil of man.  They experienced how Jesus cooked for them and fed them and was tender towards them even though they had run away from Him. I think that was what was the most important thing they were witnesses of. Their own experience of Jesus.

What about us today? We were not there to witness all that. So what are we witnesses of? I believe we must be witnesses of our personal experience of God – of how real He is in our lives. How He speaks to us and guides us and corrects us. How He is there with us through the struggles and trials in our lives. How He keeps providing for us miraculously for example, as we keep giving to people in need. How He does miracles in our lives. How He delivers us out of impossible situations. How He reveals things to us miraculously that later proved to be exactly what someone else needed to know or to be encouraged at that point in time. In other words we are to be witnesses of the Jesus we personally know. The Jesus who rebukes me, but who also forgives me, despite the sinner I am. Despite my breaking His heart so many times. The Jesus who spoke to me this morning. The now Jesus. Not just share about the Jesus of 2000 years ago that we read in the Bible. In Jn.17:3 Jesus said eternal life is knowing God the Father and knowing Jesus the Son. That is what people need to see and hear – our personal experience of God.

Not all of us have powerful stories of how we were set free from drugs or crime, or anything like that, but if you were set free from pride or fear or shame, that’s what people need to hear. Paul for example would testify of how his keeping of the law gave him no assurance or peace of mind that he was right with God. So what is your experience of God? If for example you are from a well to do background, and you can testify to how you came to realize that the world and all its materialism does not satisfy, but what a joy it is now for you to know the love of God and to share that love with people, especially those in need, that would be something powerful that speaks of the truth operating in your life.

Second point is this. The human psyche or the human mind is a very mysterious thing. There are always early adopters or believers. Then there are late adopters or seekers. Then there are the never adopters who are either indifferent or antagonistic. On top of that there is the deception of the enemy at work which blinds people. Many of us want to convince people that they need to be saved, but you know what? That’s not our job. Jesus told us that people are in darkness and Paul told us that Satan has blinded the minds of people so that they cannot see the truth. For whatever reasons, whether it’s because of a terrible past, some people are so hardened and blind that despite all the love we can show, nothing can penetrate through that hardness and blindness. Anyway whatever the background of the person, the eyes of people have to be opened or they cannot see the truth. But only the Holy Spirit can do that. None of us can. Jesus said no one can come to Him unless God draws them to Him (Jn.6:44). So we need to just do our part, and pray, and leave it to God to do His part.

By the way, we must remember this. It is not what we intend to communicate that counts. It is what they hear and what they see that counts. We need to be aware of how we are coming across. It won’t do if what they are hearing is that they must believe what we believe. I have witnessed several times some very zealous guys trying to win people to Jesus. They were really putting people off but they didn’t realize that. It is a tragedy when people become closed and turned off because they were put off by insensitive Christians.

I was trained as a lawyer and I practiced law for 10 years in the courts, and I think I’m pretty good at arguing, but from a long time ago, I already saw that it is not about how to win an argument or how to convince people. People are not so easily convinced anymore anyway. Thirty or forty years ago, I think people were more simple. Today, it seems that the whole world is infected with cynicism and skepticism. Most people are wondering if there anything really authentic in the world today. So do people see authenticity in our lives?

Third point is this. We can’t give the same message to everyone. We have to be sensitive to who we are talking to, and how the Holy Spirit is leading us to speak to this person that’s in front of us. Two persons came to Jesus with the same question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” – the legal expert in Lk.10 and the rich man in Lk.18, but Jesus did not respond to them in the same way. The legal expert already knew what he had to do, but religious keeping of the law will not give him eternal life. What he needed to know was the true essence or spirit of the law which is love. But for the rich man, the good news was bad news to him – he had to give up what was holding him captive. Basically he had to surrender his kingdom if he wanted to enter into God’s Kingdom. Another thing we can see in the gospels is this. As far as we know, the only person Jesus told that he must be born again is Nicodemus. No one else. So not the same message to everyone.

Talking to a Hindu would of course not be the same thing as talking to an atheist, or a muslim, and talking to a lawyer would not be the same as talking to a college student for example. Even if you are talking only to muslims, remember this, not all muslims are the same. And not all lawyers are the same either. Every person is different. We have to be discerning and sensitive to how the Holy Spirit is leading us. Jesus said “The Son can do nothing of His own except what He sees the Father doing. For what the Father does, the Son does also.” Jn.5:19. Then in Jn.20:21, Jesus said, “As the Father has sent Me, I send you.” That means we are to operate in the same way. Follow His leading. If we are sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, He may reveal something to us of the person we are talking to. Like what the Holy Spirit revealed to Jesus when He was talking with the woman at the well, that will cut through all the discussions and arguments and get to the heart of the matter.

Keeping all this in mind, let’s ask, so what is the good news we are to preach? The good news that we are to preach basically is the coming of God’s Kingdom to earth. Not about going to heaven. The Jews at the time of Jesus knew what it meant when Jesus and the disciples told them the Kingdom was near. Why? Because they had been waiting for the Kingdom. But for most of us who are listening to this, we are not Jews. We are Gentiles. So how are we to frame the good news of the Kingdom? How are we to explain that and call people to respond to that? Think about that before you listen to Kingdom 50.

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it

Kingdom 48

I’m in India. It’s very hard to find any place in India where there is no noise at all, so if you hear any sounds in the background, just don’t mind it. In Kingdom 6, I said if God wants His Kingdom on earth then we have to do 3 things : First we have to wake up to the Kingdom. Second, we have to surrender our kingdoms to Jesus. Third we have to consider what it means for God’s Kingdom to be on earth and work with Him for His Kingdom to advance. I’ve talked about the first two things already – waking up to the Kingdom and surrendering our kingdoms to Jesus. Now I’m going to start on the 3rd thing or the 3rd part of this series of talks on the kingdom. How are we to work with God for His Kingdom to advance?

To give you some idea of what we are going to cover in this 3rd part, here are some questions I am going to address :

First thing, before God’s Kingdom can come into any place, before we can work with God for His Kingdom to advance, we must first be clear what it means for God’s Kingdom to be on earth, right? I’m not talking about the time when Jesus will finally return to establish a new heaven and earth, where heaven and earth becomes one. I’m talking about now before that happens. Jesus said all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him, and therefore we are to go and disciple nations. Paul said Jesus must reign until He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power, and when everything has been subjected to His Lordship, then He will hand the kingdom over to His Father. 1 Cor.15:24-25. So there is a process involved.

God’s Kingdom advances as domains are brought under His Lordship, and we are to work with Him towards that. So we must be clear what that is. What would it look like when the Kingdom comes into any place now before the final return of Jesus? Before we can make a table, we must have a picture in our minds of the table we want to make, right? What would the table look like when it is completed? So what would it look like when God’s Kingdom comes into the life of an individual, or a family, or into a community, or into a business, or a school, or a factory, or into a nation?

Another way to ask the question would be to ask what’s the culture of God’s Kingdom? In Kingdom 4, I said that every kingdom has 3 things – the king, his subjects and the domain of his kingdom. I did not mention it at that time because I wanted to focus on the question of domain, but there is a 4th thing in every kingdom. Every kingdom like every people or nation, has its own culture. The Japanese, the Americans, the Arabs, they all have their own culture. They each have their own unique characteristics that make them Japanese, and Americans, and Arabs. So what is the culture of God’s Kingdom? What kind of people, what are their values, what are their practices, how do they live their lives, how are they in relation to God and to each other? That’s all very important because the advance of God’s Kingdom is actually about communities and nations being transformed by the culture of God’s Kingdom.

Another question we must ask of course is, what is the church? You heard me say in Kingdom 3 that the church is not the Kingdom and the Kingdom is not the church, but they are related. So how are they related? What is the church in relation to the Kingdom? When Jesus talked about the church, He never explained what He meant by “church”. And no one asked Him what He meant by “church”. But imagine if someone had asked Jesus that question, what do you think Jesus would have answered? In other words, what picture or vision did Jesus have of the church? Or what did Jesus expect His disciples to be/do in terms of being the church and acting as the church after He left them?

And what about church planting? Is Church planting Biblical? I mean is that what Jesus called us to do? Jesus talked about His Kingdom coming, and He said He came to drive Satan out. Then He said as the Father has sent me, I send you. So we are to work with Him to drive Satan out – out of communities and nations. Not just plant churches. So what does it mean to work with Jesus to drive Satan out of communities and nations? In other words, how can the Kingdom come into communities and nations?

John tells us the whole world is under the control of the devil and he deceives nations. In what way are people under the control of the devil or how are they in deception? Paul tells us that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the truth. How are people’s minds blinded? This is where I will go back to the subject of worldview and we will examine the different worldviews that are blinding people. We will see how these worldviews are also influencing and blinding Christians with terrible consequences both in their personal lives and what they understand and practice of church and ministry. Especially when church leaders are blinded by their own native and surrounding culture. So Christians are blinded not only by their salvation from this world worldview but also the worldviews of their native and surrounding cultures.

How can the eyes of people be opened? How can people come to realize they have been looking at life through false worldview spectacles? And we cannot be talking just about individuals. Jesus commanded us to disciple nations. We have to ask how Satan and his principalities and powers can be displaced from ruling over communities and nations. In Matt.12:28, when Jesus said, “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you”, the “you” He was referring to, He was not talking about driving demons out of a person or out of an individual, but out of a community. So how can we work with Him to drive Satan out and disciple communities with the truth and culture of God’s Kingdom?

There’s lots of teaching already that you can get on spiritual warfare, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time to tell you what you already know, or what you can find elsewhere. But there is something that the Lord has put on my heart to share that perhaps is not being taught elsewhere – not that I know of anyway. Before we can use the Word of God and prayer as the weapons of our warfare, I believe God first wants to change us to become a weapon in His hands. So not just how to use the weapons of warfare that God has given us, but how we must become a weapon in God’s hands.

A closely related question is this – why didn’t Jesus when He came, why didn’t He just destroy Satan and get rid of him? Why come first time and then have a period of time where He leaves us to fight against Satan and to disciple nations, before He comes again? If you have listened to Kingdom 29 and Kingdom 35, I think you would already know the answer to that actually. It has to do with God restoring us to authority to take dominion back from the devil.

Another question we must ask of course is, what are the keys of the Kingdom that Jesus talked about. And what is the rock that Jesus said upon which He will build His church? The keys of the Kingdom are of course key or pivotal to how the Kingdom can come into any place on earth, so we must have a clear understanding of that. And when Jesus talks about building His church, is that the same thing as His kingdom advancing, or is that a separate thing? A closely related subject to that is prayer. There I will be talking about prayer not from our perspective but from God’s perspective.

Earlier when I asked what is the culture of the Kingdom, I’m sure everyone listening to this would already know that amongst other things love is surely the central or most important thing in the culture of the Kingdom. So we need to ask, how are we to love people?

And here’s a question that’s very close to my heart : Why did Jesus say He was anointed to preach the good news to the poor? And why did He say the Kingdom was for the poor? Who are the poor that Jesus referred to? What about the rich? What about the rest of people who are not poor? What about the poor in spirit? What did Jesus mean by the poor in spirit?

If we are to follow Jesus to have the same focus and concern for the poor as He did, how are we to love the poor? Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom” – does that mean it is better they remain poor? Should we also all become poor? Or does loving the poor mean that we need to help them out of poverty? In that case how can we effectively help the poor come out of poverty? Why is it most poor people can’t seem to ever come out of poverty? What is poverty actually? Is poverty related to culture? Why are some nations more progressive while others are struggling to free themselves from poverty? Why are some nations mired in poverty despite many years of external aid?

And what about the offices, schools, universities, restaurants, and different business industries that many of us are working in, that are in very modern urban centres. How can God’s Kingdom penetrate into the modern secular world we are working in?

OK, these are just some of the questions I will be addressing. All these questions are of course related to one another with a lot of overlap between them. As I attempt to share with you what God has put on my heart, I will also at some point address things like the prosperity teaching and what has come to be known as the 7 mountains or 7 spheres teaching.

One thing I must ask you to do if you are not already doing it. Please pray for me. Please pray that God continues to give me revelation and wisdom and show me how to fit things neatly into 5-10 minutes messages. Not easy to do that. And please pray that I share with you only what is from the Lord. Not my ideas, but God’s ideas.

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it.

Kingdom 47

I ended Kingdom 46 with how this present world we are living in with all its problems is really a test and an opportunity to learn to overcome and to learn to love. When we see this bigger picture we will no longer see trouble and suffering and challenges as a bad thing to be avoided. Every challenge, every trial would be seen as an opportunity to learn and be changed to become more like Christ.

Another thing, when salvation is seen as restoration, to be restored to being one with God and to love, then instead of hiding in our church buildings, or detaching ourselves from this world, like what some eastern religions teach, or seeing salvation as escape from this perishing world to go to heaven, instead of that, instead of hiding, detaching or running away, we would get out of the 4 walls of the church to work with God in what He is doing on earth, Amen? Like what Jesus said. He is not taking us out of the world but sending us into the world. We are to be in the world but not off the world. Working with God for His Kingdom to come into every place where the devil has been stealing, killing and destroying. I elaborated on all this from Kingdom 31-35.

This of course turns everything upside down, not just for our individual lives but also for church and ministry. But that’s exactly what Jesus came to do. Jesus came to turn everything upside down because man had turned everything upside down. So when Jesus turns everything upside down, what He’s really doing is He’s turning everything back upright – back to the way it was meant to be. One day when Jesus returns, the big shots, the rich, and the powerful will be cast out. The nobodies and rejects of society will rule with Him. I know I haven’t mentioned this earlier, but I’ll tell you more about this later. So the thing is this – instead of an introverted focus of having a big church, and big this and big that, we would, like Jesus, go to the nobodies, the unlovely, the outcasts, the downtrodden, the rejects, the lonely, and those who are forgotten. That’s what it means to be like Christ. That’s the main thing Jesus came to show us of what His Kingdom is – what I would call the heart and soul of the Kingdom. I’ll elaborate more on this in subsequent clips.

Another upside down thing or paradox is this – true joy and fulfilment comes from loving and giving because the more we give and love, the more we would become like God, which is what we were made to be. But the more we are immersed in ourselves, and accumulate, and hoard and serve ourselves and seek fulfilment for ourselves, the further we will be from finding it. Why? Because the further we will be from what we were created to be.

OK, so now we go back to the question, how can we truly love and be changed to be like God? We have to go to God to receive His love, and be changed to be like Him, so that we can love like He does. But this is the thing, no one will by themselves, of their own accord, go to God to receive His love, or be changed to become like Him. We are not only naturally self-centered, we are naturally very self-sufficient. That is why for God to change us to become like Him, He not only puts His Spirit in us, He allows trouble and suffering to break the self-centered self in us. It is only when we are broken that we will go to Him to be healed and we will learn to receive His love. I talked about all this from Kingdom 36–39.

Then from Kingdom 40–43, I talked about how in fact God designed us such that only He can fulfill our need for unconditional love, for identity, and purpose, or security, self-worth and significance. When people don’t realize it is only God who can fulfill their need, they will strive on their own to get it, and they will crave for it from man. But they will end up frustrated. But when God’s love fills us, we will be healed and delivered from the grip of self. Jesus calls all who are weary and burdened to stop striving on their own but to be yoked to Him instead.

There is something I already mentioned in Kingdom 14 that I need to bring up again. I have been asked this question many times, “When you say that as we work with Jesus to disciple nations that is how Jesus is going to drive Satan out, are you saying that we will succeed in getting the whole world to gradually and eventually be transformed into the Kingdom of God?” Let me make it very clear that that is not what I am saying. The end of the story has already been written. That is not what will happen. The world, as a whole, will reject Jesus. But He still expects us to be salt and light to infiltrate and permeate the world with the truth, and culture, and values of His Kingdom.

Many Christians are looking at the terrible state of things in the world and they are thinking it is an impossible task to do that. I think they are right. As I watch the news every day, it’s like the whole world is getting more and more enveloped in darkness to the extent that whatever we might be doing is not making even a small dent on Satan’s kingdom. But we would be mistaken if we throw up our hands and say, “So why try? It’s impossible!” Or I have heard leaders say, “If Jesus is going to wipe everything out and start all over again when He returns, why work at trying to bring any change to this world?”

I’m sorry but I have to say that that is a wrong way of thinking. Imagine if William Wilberforce, have you heard of him? Imagine if he had sat back and thought it pointless to try and do anything about slavery, because Jesus would someday come and wipe everything out and start all over again anyway, would slavery have been eradicated? And what if Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and others throughout history that have worked hard and fought for civil liberties, respect for human dignity and clean government, and emancipation of the poor, what if they had all sat back and thought it pointless to try and do anything because God is going to come and destroy everything one day anyway? And what if countless others like Issac Newton and Edison who blessed us with modern inventions and changed life on earth, what if they had thought the same? Can you see how absurd that kind of thinking is?

Many Christians are also thinking the Kingdom is somewhere up there in heaven and one day it will somehow explode into the world with a big bang at the return of Jesus, and He will come and clean up the mess and we will have a brand new earth then. Meanwhile we have nothing to do about the problems of this world. You know the Jews in the time of Jesus were thinking exactly the same thing? Read the parable of the servants in Lk.19. In Lk.19:11 it says, “While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.” See? But Jesus told them that was not how it is going to happen. There is a process involved before the Kingdom will be fully established on the earth. There’s work to be done. There is a task He has given to each of us to do. Woe to those who think .. “Well .. the Kingdom will come when it will come. There is nothing for us to do about that meanwhile.”

When Jesus returns, He is not going to appoint anyone to be in charge of anything unless they have first proven themselves to be productive in what has been entrusted to them. When we read this parable in Lk.19 together with the parable of the talents in Matt.25, we can see that those who neglect to use what God has given them, their natural gifts, their knowledge, skills, money and time for the work of the Kingdom, they will be regarded as having been in insubordination and they will be regarded as His enemies and they will be destroyed together with those who refuse to submit to Jesus as King.

Whether we will succeed in changing anything or anyone, or whatever is going to happen or not happen, is actually quite immaterial. We are called to be salt and light to be agents of change irrespective of whether we will succeed or otherwise. Just like, we are to love, irrespective of whether our love is received or rejected, right? We are simply to be children who reflect who our Father is.

Although this world as a whole will reject Jesus, there are many lives and communities and many areas of darkness that we are to work with God for His truth and life to undo and reverse what the devil has done. Paul told us God can do exceedingly far greater than what we can think or imagine, according to His power that works within us. Eph.3:20. And Jesus said it is God who can make what is impossible, possible. In Zech.4:6, God said, “It is not by might nor by power but by My Spirit”. Only the Spirit can establish God’s Kingdom. Unless God directs, all our cleverness and ideas are flesh. The ways of the world cannot do the work of the Spirit in people. We are to learn from Jesus step by step and moment to moment dependence upon God. Working with Him but resting in Him at the same time.

OK this ends the second part of this series of talks on the Kingdom of God. In Kingdom 48, I will start on the 3rd part, which is, What is the Kingdom and how are we to work with God for His Kingdom to advance?

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it.

Kingdom 46

In Kingdom 45, I ended with this statement : True spirituality is not an invisible private self-focused thing inside a person, or inside the 4 walls of the church, true spirituality is love. The opposite of love is not hatred. The opposite of love is self. To love is to be centred on others, not on ourselves. As with individuals, so also with church. Christians are so focused on church, church, church and church, and the church is so focused on itself that they cannot see the needs of people around them.

Another thing, so long as the church is focused on church, it will never see the Kingdom, and God’s plan to restore His Kingdom on earth. Instead of church growth, we need to look outside of the 4 walls of the church and step out to work with God for His Kingdom to advance. Here’s something I did not share earlier. There was once I asked some leaders at the end of a Kingdom workshop what they got out of the workshop. They said their eyes had been opened. But they asked, “How is it we have been leaders and pastors for so many years, and we’ve all been through seminary, and some of us even teach in seminary, but how is it that we have never seen all this before?” I told them there’s a Chinese proverb that says, “When you are on the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.” They laughed and one of them said, “So all of us were born on the mountain and we never came down that mountain.” The church not only cannot see the Kingdom, the church cannot see what it has become.

Why are we so self-focused and immersed in ourselves? Well as I’ve said in Kingdom 45 it is because of the sin nature in us that makes us naturally and hopelessly self-centered. Jesus confirmed to the legal expert that unless we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbour as ourselves, we would not have eternal life. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we can’t do that. And if we want to make sure that we do what it takes to qualify, like the legal expert, that’s not loving our neighbours. That’s loving ourselves. So we are in a predicament. We cannot love and yet we know what Jesus said. So what is the solution? How can we truly love? I addressed this question from Kingdom 24–28. The solution is not to try and argue ourselves out of what Jesus plainly told us and try and base our salvation on a wrong understanding of Jn.3:16, nor is it to go the other extreme of trying to force ourselves to love. That would really be going back to the law.

The answer is neither to remain in denial nor to try and save ourselves, but to go back to God. Apart from God, we cannot really love. In fact Jesus said it is impossible and it is only God who can make it possible. But that does not mean there is no responsibility at all on our part. In everything between God and man there are 2 parts – God’s part and man’s part. Man cannot do God’s part and God will not do man’s part. In order for us to be truly reconciled to God and be one with God, we have to do our part. We have to yield and surrender our kingdoms to Jesus. And we need to choose to love. Then we need to learn to receive God’s love. That’s where I shared with you Joe Ozawa’s dream.

Receiving God’s love first of all heals us of our own emptiness, frustration, and brokenness that comes from striving on our own. Second, it enables us to love as He loves. When we do that, when we yield and surrender and ask God to fill us with His love, then God will do His part. He will enable and empower us. In Jn.15 Jesus talked about the vine and branches. Branches cannot bear fruit unless they remain attached. Jesus said if we remain in Him, He will remain in us, and we will bear fruit. Jesus also said that we can ask the Father to do it in us, so that we can bear much fruit, and that will be evidence that we are His disciples.

Salvation by grace we will discover is not just receiving God’s forgiveness but includes God fulfilling His own law by living in us and through us. The purpose of being reconciled and reunited with God is not just so that we can escape hell and be forever with God in heaven. The purpose of being reconciled and reunited with God is so that we can be one with God. When we are one with Him, we can be like Him and we can love as He loves. That was what Jesus prayed in Jn. 17. It is going back to original design. Not to become like God independently of God, which was what the devil suggested to Adam and Eve. But to become like Him through being one with Him.

From the beginning to the end, that is God’s one and only agenda. Christ in us the hope of glory. And that is also what glorifies God. Not big church buildings and big meetings, which is just self-aggrandisement, but people who reflect His character. Of all that God created, nothing glorifies Him more than when man who is made to be like Him, actually becomes like Him. Jesus said it is by this that people will know we are His disciples. Not fantastic preaching. Not even miracles. It is when we love each other as He has loved us.

God is love and He created us to be like Him so that we can love – to love Him and love others. But the full potential of becoming like Him and the ability to love cannot happen unless we are first given the power of choice. Love is not something that can be programmed into us. If God could press a button in us to love Him, that wouldn’t be love. Love is not love unless it comes out of a heart that is free to choose. So God gave us choice. That’s where I shared with you the story of my dog Betsy in Kingdom 28. Remember my dog Betsy? Betsy did not become my dog until I let her go and she came back to me. In the same way, God had to let us go to give us the choice whether to return to Him. But choice means little until it is tested. That is why God not only put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden, He put the devil there.

Contrary to what many Christians believe, the Bible is clear that the fall of man into sin, and Jesus’ coming to earth as saviour was not an afterthought rescue plan, but was pre-planned and ordained by God from the very beginning. Paul says that God Himself subjected the whole of creation to frustration in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Adam and Eve and all of us would have to be tested. One day the perfect will come. Meanwhile the world would be put to the test, as well as given the opportunity to learn to overcome and to learn to love – what would each of us choose?

I did not say this earlier, but Paul told us in 1 Cor.13 that when the perfect comes, everything will be revealed. But before that happens, it is while we are living in the imperfect, and while our knowledge and understanding is partial, that we are tested, and we can also learn to love. When the perfect comes, there is no need any more for faith, or hope, or learning to love.

As you heard me say in Kingdom 35, if we remained in the garden of Eden where everything is perfect we would never grow and mature. We would never learn to love. It is only when we are put into a situation where we are challenged by the limitations of this 3 dimensional physical world we are in, and the limitations of time, and challenged by our own weaknesses and limitations, and challenged with the needs of others .. ha  .. that’s when we are repeatedly faced with a choice whether to love others or to love ourselves, right? Shall we die to self and put others first? Or shall we choose to love ourselves instead, to put ourselves first and save ourselves? I always give this simple illustration whenever I’m teaching in India. It’s lunch time and there’s 20 of us, but only 5 packets of Briyani. Who gets to eat the Briyani and who doesn’t?

That’s why in the present imperfect, there remains faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love. It is when we choose to reach out in love despite being wronged, or despite being falsely accused, or misunderstood, or despised, or when we are in want or suffering lack ourselves, that’s when we unite with God’s desire for us and by His Spirit we are changed to become more like Him.  That’s why God subjected the whole of creation to frustration so that through pain and agony, and through trials and suffering He would purify and refine for Himself those who will look like Him, and walk like Him, and think like Him, and feel like Him and even smell like Him.  They would have learnt to overcome self, and overcome the devil, and overcome the world.  Then they would be ready to reign and rule with Him. Paul says the angels and the whole of creation are waiting in eager expectation to see who in the end will be revealed as the children of God. That’s the “behind the scenes” story I told in Kingdom 29. But, we must remember this. Not trying to become like God apart from Him, but becoming like Him through being one with Him.

I’ll continue in Kingdom 47.

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it.

Kingdom 45

In the previous segment in Kingdom 44, I did a very brief run through from Kingdom 1-43. Just to connect things together in a logical sequence. But I left out many key points. In this segment and the next two segments, I will do an overview of the key points. In Kingdom 44, I said it will take 2 segments, but I found that if its just 2 segments, I would have to leave out some really important things. So it’s going to be three segments, not two. It will basically be the same framework but with more content added to it, plus one or two things I missed out earlier.

From Kingdom 1-10, I talked about how the good news that Jesus and His disciples preached was not salvation to go to heaven, but His Kingdom coming to earth. “Let Your Kingdom come, let Your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven”, tells us that God wants His Kingdom not only in heaven but also on earth. The earth and everything in it belongs to God. The good news is that from the first time Jesus came, God is in the process of restoring everything to what it was meant to be in the beginning.

Man started off in the garden of Eden under God’s rule. He was entrusted with dominion over the earth, but that dominion was lost to the devil when he listened to the devil instead of listening to God. Satan’s lie to Adam was that he could be like God. He could have his own wisdom and be independent of God and rule himself. Satan’s deception worked. As a result, man became independent of God and became his own god. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Everyone is king of his own kingdom. And Satan became the prince or ruler of this world.

But here’s the good news. The good news is that God’s Kingdom has come to invade this world. Jesus came to defeat the devil so that we can be restored to being under God’s rule. The apostle Paul said that we have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness to be in God’s kingdom. So yes Jesus did come to save us, but not to save us to take us to heaven. He came to save us from Satan’s kingdom to restore us to be in His kingdom. Restoration, not escape.

If we are in God’s Kingdom which begins for us when we are born again, when we die we will be with the Lord. But the good news that Jesus preached was not heaven. The good news He preached is the Kingdom. God’s Kingdom will of course not be fully established on earth until Jesus returns, but Jesus made it very clear that the process of His Kingdom coming began when He first came because He had come as the King, and we can be a part of His Kingdom now.

If God wants His Kingdom on earth, then we need to do 3 things : 1) We need to wake up to the Kingdom 2) We need to surrender our kingdoms to God 3) We need to work with God for His Kingdom to advance on earth.

Waking up to the Kingdom involves a paradigm shift : from a “salvation from this world” worldview, to a “God’s Kingdom on earth” worldview. I talked about this from Kingdom 7-10. We need to re-orientate our entire understanding and focus. Since God wants His Kingdom on earth, then instead of trying to get more people to heaven, we need to focus on what God wants on earth. Not just church, and definitely not church as we know it, but Kingdom.

For that re-orientation to happen, Jesus told us that we must become like little children again. Back to zero. We need to have all our understanding, all our ideas about money, business, work, success, happiness, and everything else in life that we gained from this world, that were formed apart from God, we need to have all our ideas overhauled. We need to give God a clean slate. Only then can God begin to reveal the knowledge of the secrets of His Kingdom to us without it being mixed with our ideas.

But many Christians have distorted ideas of life and of the Kingdom. So from Kingdom 12–14, I addressed some frequently asked questions about the Kingdom : Didn’t Jesus say the Kingdom of God is within us? Isn’t “Let Your Kingdom come” actually about a future event when Jesus returns? And didn’t Jesus say His kingdom is not of this world? I explained how each of them were wrong ideas as a result of interpreting scripture out of context. And they are all based on a faulty worldview that ignores what Jesus plainly told us – that He had come to drive Satan out and establish His Kingdom on earth. Paul told us Jesus came to reconcile everything in heaven and on earth so that He would be Lord over all. Paul also said that He is in the process, already in the process, of bringing everything under His Lordship after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. In his dream Daniel saw God’s Kingdom as a rock that smashed and crushed all other kingdoms and it grew into a huge mountain that filled the whole earth.

So how is Jesus going to drive Satan out? How is He going to reconcile everything under His Lordship? In other words, how is His Kingdom going to come? Answer : We have to surrender our kingdoms to Jesus and let Him be King, and Jesus has called us to work with Him to disciple nations with the truth, and culture, and values of God’s kingdom. If Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, and therefore we are to go and disciple nations, then discipling nations cannot be just about the discipling of individuals of their private lives, right? And spirituality cannot be just an invisible private thing inside a person, right? All of art, science, business, education, government, family, everything .. everything is to be brought under the Lordship of Christ.

We also need to do what Israel failed to do – to live out the truth, and culture, and values of the Kingdom so that the world can see what it means to be a community of people under God’s Kingdom. Jesus said the Kingdom had been taken away from them and given to others who will bear fruit.

But what happens when Christians and churches are trapped in a “salvation from this world” worldview and a church-centric worldview and they think that God has no concern or plans for this world? Then they will see everything in a dualism – where things like church, Bible study, and prayer are considered spiritual but everything else is considered not spiritual. What happens when spirituality is understood only as an invisible private thing inside a person? The consequences are of course devastating and heart-breaking. From Kingdom 15–19, I shared with you the terrible statistics of poverty in the world and the pathetic response of Christians and churches. I also shared several stories and examples of that.

How did we get it so wrong? How did we miss the Kingdom when Jesus called the good news the good news of the Kingdom but we thought it was only about salvation to go to heaven? How did we become so focused on making sure we are saved and getting to heaven with no concern for poverty and injustice and everything else that is wrong in the world? I dealt with that from Kingdom 20–23.

I think it all began when man became his own god. That not only separated us from God, it made us self-centered. We are so self-centered that we filter everything, including the gospel, and salvation, and spirituality, through our self-centered worldview spectacles. When we do that even spirituality becomes an introverted self-centered focus.

The reason why we have Jn.3:16 is so that we can get back to Gen.1:26. Jesus came to restore us to God’s original purpose why He created us – to be like Him, and to be one with Him, so that we can love as He loves. To love is to be centred on others, not on ourselves. For that to happen we must of course return to God and yield and surrender ourselves .. our self-centred selves to Him. That is really what Jn.3:16 is about, which corresponds with the Lk.10 dialogue between Jesus and the legal expert, and Matt.25 on the sheep and goats, and what John told us – this is how we know we have passed from death to life – when we love.

But most Christians have missed that completely. Instead of seeing the true meaning of Jn.3:16, we are so focused on heaven and making sure we don’t miss the boat, that just like the priest and Levite who passed by on the other side, we completely turn a blind eye to needs around us. True spirituality is not an invisible private self-focused thing inside a person, or inside the 4 walls of the church. True spirituality is love.

I’ll continue in Kingdom 46.

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it.

 

Kingdom 44

In Kingdom 31, I said I tried to do an overview of what I had covered up to that point but I found it too difficult to do it within a 10 – 15 minutes audio clip, so I decided against it. But I’ve had 2nd thoughts about that. A few days ago, just as I was waking up in the morning, I think the Lord reminded me of a time when I was a young lawyer arguing a case in court for a client.

In that hearing, the judge was really against me. No matter what I said and how hard I tried, arguing this way and that way, I could not convince the judge. His mind was closed. Finally he interrupted me and told me he didn’t want to hear me anymore. It was obvious he had already decided the case against my client. It was very disheartening because I was very sure the law and the facts were on our side but just as I was about to sit down, there was something in me that refused to give up and I asked the judge if he would give me another minute – just 1 more minute to summarise all my points of argument. He looked really impatient and totally switched off but surprisingly he said, “I have already made up my mind but OK, I am giving you just 1 more minute.”

So I quickly summarised all my arguments into 3 succinct points. But after I stated the 3rd point, the judge suddenly sat up and he had this puzzled look on his face. He said, “Hang on. What did you just say? Repeat your 3rd point to me.” So I repeated my 3rd point slowly and deliberately to make sure he did not miss anything. He wrote down word for word what I said. Then he was in deep thought for a while. Finally he looked up and he asked the lawyer for the other side for his reply to the point I just made. The guy fumbled for an answer but he really had no answer because the law and the facts were so clearly in my client’s favor. Then the judge wrote something in his file and looked up at us and he gave judgment in favour of my client. What a dramatic reversal at literally the last minute.

I did not say anything new in the summary actually, but for some reason, somehow the judge did not catch what I had said earlier. But when I reduced everything into 3 succinct points, he suddenly woke up to realize what I had been trying so hard to tell him for half an hour. I guess it might be same in this Kingdom series. We can miss some key points amongst the mass of material I’ve covered, right?  Another thing that might have been difficult to follow is the route, I took from Kingdom 1 to Kingdom 43. How did I get from Kingdom 1 where I started to talk about the good news as the good news of the Kingdom, to Kingdom 43 about being yoked to Jesus?

I don’t know who this is going to help, but I hope it will be helpful. So this is what I’m going to do. For the rest of this segment, I will do a very brief 5-6 minutes, no more than 7 minutes run through of how I got from Kingdom 1 to Kingdom 43. This is not an overview of key points but just a look back at how A led to B, and B led to C and C led to D and so on. And then after that, in Kingdom 45 and 46, I will do an overview of what I’ve covered from Kingdom 1 – 43. Then in Kingdom 47, I will start on the 3rd part of these series to talk about working with God for His Kingdom to advance.

OK, so how did I get from the good news as the good news of the Kingdom, to talking about being yoked to Jesus? I started with this – we must wake up to what the Bible tells us so clearly – that the good news is the Kingdom. Not salvation to go to heaven.  God created man and gave him dominion to rule the earth but man lost that dominion to the devil. But the good news is that Jesus came to drive the devil out to take back authority and dominion over the earth and we can be a part of His Kingdom on earth. From the time Jesus first came, God is in the process of establishing His Kingdom on earth. He is restoring everything to what it was meant to be in the beginning so that we would be under His rule.  Jesus came not to take us to heaven but to save and rescue us from the kingdom of darkness to be in His kingdom. So salvation is not escape but restoration.

How will Satan be driven out and how is God’s Kingdom going to come? Answer : We have to surrender our kingdoms to Jesus and let Him be King, and Jesus has called us to work with Him to disciple nations with the truth, culture and values of God’s kingdom. So all of art, science, business, education, government, family .. everything .. everything is to be brought under the Lordship of Christ.  But how is that going to happen if Christians and churches are trapped in a “salvation from this world” worldview and a church-centric worldview? If we think God no longer has any concern for this world, then we will see everything in a dualism – where things like church, Bible study, and prayer are considered spiritual, but everything else is considered not spiritual, and spirituality is understood only as an invisible private thing inside a person. This is evident from the terrible statistics of poverty in the world, and the pathetic response of Christians and churches. I shared several heart-breaking stories as examples.

How did we get it so wrong? How did we miss the Kingdom when Jesus called the good news the good news of the Kingdom, but we thought it was only about salvation to go to heaven? How did we become so focused on making sure we are saved and getting to heaven with no concern for poverty and injustice and everything else in the world? I think it all began when man became his own god. That not only separated us from God, it made us self-centered. We are so self-centered that we filter everything, including the gospel and salvation and spirituality through our self-centered worldview spectacles. When we do that even spirituality becomes an introverted self-centered focus.

Jesus came to restore us to God’s original purpose why He created us – to be like Him, and to be one with Him, so that we can love as He loves. To love is to be centred on others, not on ourselves. For that to happen we must of course return to God and yield and surrender ourselves .. our self-centred selves to Him. That is really what Jn.3:16 is about. Restoration, not escape. But most Christians have missed that completely. Instead of seeing the true meaning of Jn.3:16, we are so focused on heaven and making sure we don’t miss the boat. Just like the priest and Levite who passed by on the other side, we completely turn a blind eye to needs around us. And we are so focused on church, church, church and church, we cannot see the Kingdom, and we cannot see God’s plan to restore His Kingdom on earth. Instead of church growth which is also self-focus, we need to work with God for His Kingdom to advance.

True spirituality is not an invisible private self-focused thing inside a person, or inside the 4 walls of the church, true spirituality is love. But the sin nature in us makes us naturally and hopelessly self-centered. So how can we love? Apart from God, we cannot really love. In fact Jesus said it is impossible and it is only God who can make it possible. How? When we become one with God, which of course can only happen when we yield and surrender our kingdoms to Him. And then we need to learn to receive His love so that we can love as He loves.

But the problem is this. No one will by themselves, of their own accord, go to God to receive His love, or be changed to become like Him. Why? Because we are naturally very self-sufficient. That is why for God to change us to become like Him, He allows trouble and suffering to break us. It is only when we are broken that we will go to Him to be healed and we will learn to receive His love. In fact, God designed us such that only He can fulfill our need for unconditional love, identity, and purpose, or security, self-worth and significance. If we are not getting it from God, then we will strive on our own to get it and we will crave for it from man. But we will end up frustrated. But when God’s love fills us, we will be healed and delivered from the grip of self. So Jesus calls all who are weary and burdened to stop striving on their own but to be yoked to Him instead. As we do that, and keep in step with Him, we can work with Him and rest in Him at the same time.

OK that was just to connect things together in a logical sequence. I hope it has been helpful. In the next 2 segments I will do an overview of the key points from Kingdom 1 – 43.

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it.

Kingdom 43

We were born independent of God and we are by nature independent of God. This independence is not only with those who are unbelievers, but also in us who are trying to serve God and trying to do what is right and good and necessary. But Jesus calls us to be yoked to Him, meaning not to work on our own. When we are yoked to Him, then we have to keep pace with Him and walk in tandem with Him. There are tremendous needs in the world and we need to work with the Lord for His truth and life to undo and reverse what the devil has done, but only the Spirit can establish God’s Kingdom. Unless God directs, all our cleverness and ideas are flesh. The ways of the world cannot do the work of the Spirit in people. We are to learn from Jesus moment to moment dependence on God doing only what His Father did. No striving. Working with Him but resting in Him at the same time.

In the previous clip I said there are 5 points we can note from what Jesus said in Matt.11:28-30. I’ve mentioned 3 points already. Before I get on to the 4th point, I think should mention that as I am talking about being yoked to Jesus, I am already touching on the 3rd part of this series which is about working with God for His kingdom to advance. I haven’t actually started on the 3rd part yet, because when we really get into the subject of working with God for His kingdom to advance, I will get into specifics, like what is poverty and how are we to work with God for His Kingdom to come to the poor, or how are we to love people, or what does it mean to be a witness for the Lord and to be agents of Kingdom transformation in the world today, especially in our workplaces. Right now as I am talking about being yoked to Jesus, and working from a position of rest, I am only touching on general principles about working with God.

OK, now the fourth point that we must note from what Jesus said. Jesus calls us to be yoked to Him, meaning not to work on our own. This should already be obvious but let me say it anyway because we are so prone to running ahead of Him and doing what we are sure is God’s will, isn’t it? We were born independent of God and we are by nature independent of God. This independence is not only with those who are unbelievers who live their lives in disregard of God, but this independence is also in us. In us who are trying to serve God and trying to do what is right and good and necessary.

I don’t know about you, but as you have heard me mention before, I am a horse sort of person and for many years I was running on my own steam trying very hard to save the world as it were. It has taken many years of breaking but I think after lot of painful breaking .. I think I am finally learning to be yoked to Him. So what does it mean to be yoked to Jesus? Well, when we are yoked to Him, then we have to keep pace with Him. Not pulling ahead of Him or lagging behind. When He takes one step, we take one step together with Him. When He takes two steps, we take two steps in tandem with Him. When He stops, we stop. Easy. No striving. No stress and anxiety. No hurry, nor any unnecessary delay. Whatever He decides is fine. When we are yoked to Him and work with Him, He said we will find rest for our souls. Why? Because when He is in control, and He is leading, we can rest in the assurance that He knows best. So we just let Him lead. We just follow.

BTW, when I say “easy”, that does not mean easy work. The work can be hard. Very hard. The world has been operating on more than 5000 years of lies and deception. The devil has wrecked havoc on this world. Millions and millions and billions of people are in deception. People have wrong and distorted ideas about God and about life. Many are not even sure if there is a God or who He is and what He’s like. So many have wrong ideas what they are living for or why they even exist. So many lives are in ruin physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So much brokenness and division between people, even between ethnic groups and between the rich and the poor. The devil has been very successful at dividing people.

But 1 Jn.3:8 tells us that Jesus came to destroy what the devil has done. There’s so much that needs to be undone. So much death and destruction. So much poverty, human trafficking, crime, injustice, corruption, political abuse, broken families, addictions, materialism, and false religions. Jesus said the devil has come to steal, kill and destroy, but He came to give abundant life. So there is so much we are to work with Him for His truth and His life to come to reverse the death and destruction. Even just distortions of the truth and wrong ideas of spirituality among Christians and churches alone, is a massive thing to deal with.

The needs are tremendous. So it is not easy work. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, so it will require a lot of our physical, mental, and emotional energy. But if we are yoked to Jesus, though the work may be hard, Jesus tells us that inside us we would be at rest. When we depend on Him to lead and direct us, we don’t have to figure out on our own how to go about the work, or to work on our own strength. Indeed we can’t. Only He knows exactly what is needed for each problem and for each situation. And only He can direct us and tell us what to do and how to do it.

We need to be reminded of this from time to time – in Jn.3:6 Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” In Jn.6:63, Jesus said, “It is the spirit that gives life. The flesh profits nothing.” God’s Kingdom can only be established by His Spirit. All our ideas and cleverness are just flesh. From the time I was a young believer the Lord had impressed this deeply into my heart that His ways are not our ways, and the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. It is futile and indeed foolishness if we think that we need to follow the ways of the world to attract people to Jesus. So many leaders nowadays are thinking what we need is more attractive programs, more powerful music, better sound systems and the latest electronic gadgetry. If Jesus were here with us today, do you think that’s what He would do to try and attract and win people to Him? That which is born of the flesh is flesh.

Step back for a moment and think about this. What does it take for someone to be born again? Jesus said he or she needs to be born of the Spirit. Now everything we see around us is created, right? Even angels who are invisible to us are created. There is only one thing or only One being in the universe who is uncreated – that’s God Himself and His eternal Spirit. What does it take for someone to have a spiritual birth? That which is uncreated and eternal has to come into a finite being and do something inside the person so that he will have an uncreated eternal nature within him.

Jesus said, “The wind blows where it will. You can hear its sound but you do not know where it comes from and where it goes to. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Who can have any control or any handle over the wind, or make it go this way or that way? In other words, spiritual birth is not something that finite flesh and finite ideas can bring out. As Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”. God’s Kingdom does not come about through the ways of this world.

This is not only in spiritual birth but for anything and everything in the Kingdom. So whether we are talking to someone about Jesus, or we are counselling someone, or we are dealing with some practical issues, God alone knows exactly what the problem is, and what exactly is in the heart and mind of each person. Everything about his past, all his prejudices and bias, and what exactly will open his eyes to bring about a change of heart. Only He can show us how we are to go about doing anything that will have eternal value and eternal results. Right? Think about it.

Fifth point, note that Jesus also said “Learn from Me”, so we are to learn from Jesus how He Himself functioned. In Jn.5:19 Jesus said, ‘The Son can do nothing of His own except what He sees His Father doing. For what the Father does, the Son does also.” This reinforces what I mentioned earlier. Jesus walked step by step with His Father, doing only what His Father did. He also said that what He speaks is not His own but they were given Him by His Father. Not just what to say but how to say it. Amazing. That’s in Jn.12:49-50. Then He told us in Jn.20:21, “As the Father has sent Me, I send you”. So we are to walk with Him in the same way. Moment to moment dependence upon God.

When Jesus said “Learn from Me”, I believe it is not just learning from the examples of what we can read in the gospel records of how He functioned. I believe it is also really learning from Him in each situation we are in. Right now I mean. Moment by moment. Listening to His voice, sensing His heart. If we do that, although everything may be wrong and even in chaos around us, we are connected to Him. Yoked to Him. Keeping pace with Him. No striving. Resting in His love.

Lord we come to You. Help us Lord to keep coming to You. To come to You so much that it becomes natural .. that we will find we cannot live for even a moment without You. We want to be so yoked to You all the time and to rest in Your love. Teach us Lord. Forgive us that we are so slow at learning this. Teach us and do it in us Lord. Amen.

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found herehttps://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it.

Kingdom 42

When we are not getting our security, self-worth and significance from God, then we will strive on our own to get it. But it will be very exhausting and frustrating. Jesus calls us instead to go to Him and be yoked to Him. When we are yoked to Him, though we would be working on the outside, we will be at rest inside. This is the faith that we are called to return to – resting in complete trust and abandonment upon God. We are to be yoked to Him, not anyone or anything else. When we are yoked to Him and resting in His love, we don’t have to strive to be loved and accepted or to be somebody to have an identity, and we will not be fearful of the future. Neither will we need to strive to bear fruit. We just need to remain in Jesus and we will bear fruit. We would function only according to what He designed us to be.

In Kingdom 40 and 41, I talked about God having designed us such that only He can meet our need for security, self-worth and significance. When we don’t realize this, we will strive on our own to feel secure and loved and accepted and to have our sense of identity and self-worth. So we set goals that we think will fulfill these needs in us, but when we feel our goals are blocked, or we feel uncertain about achieving our goals, or we feel incapable of achieving them, then we become angry, or anxious or ashamed. All very exhausting and frustrating. If we think about it, we will realize that all problems in human relationships, in fact all problems in the world, arise actually out of these unfulfilled needs inside of us.

If we are not to strive on our own, how then are we to function? This is what I want to focus on in this segment. In Matt.11:28-30 Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

What is this yoke and what is this rest? A yoke is a wooden harness that farmers put on two horses or oxen to pull the plough for tilling the soil on their farm. So when Jesus talks about being yoked to Him, there is work to be done. But how can there be work and rest at the same time? Sounds like a contradiction in terms, isn’t it?

I’ll come to the yoke later, but first, what is this rest that Jesus talks about? This rest I believe, is the rest that we will experience when our faith is in God, not in people, or things, or systems, or ourselves. You remember in Kingdom 22, I talked about the word “believe” in Jn.3:16? In the original Greek “believe” is “pisteuo”. Pisteuo is a verb which means to surrender, to yield, to abandon oneself in complete trust, and to rest upon. The noun of pisteuo is pistis, and in English it is translated as “faith”, which actually means the same thing. It’s just that it’s a noun instead of being a verb. So what does it mean to have faith in God? It is to be surrendered, and yielded and resting .. resting in complete trust and abandonment upon God.

This is the rest I believe Jesus is calling us to. When our rest or our faith is in God, not in people or systems, or things, or ourselves, then we will find in Him the security and love and sense of self-worth we need. This is what God originally intended us for – a life of total dependence upon Him. Constantly drawing life from Him. The picture Jesus gave us is the Vine and branches in Jn.15. We don’t have to strive to bear fruit. We just need to remain in Jesus and as His life and His Spirit lives in us, we will bear fruit.

What happens if I really know God’s love and I rest in His love? 3 things :

First, if I really know God’s love and I rest in His love, then I don’t have to do anything, or be anything, to earn His love, or anyone else’s love. It will no longer be important how others see me; whether they love me or accept me; and it doesn’t matter whether others misunderstand me or reject me. I know I am loved, and accepted and valued by God.

Second, when I know God loves me and I rest in His love, then I don’t have to try to be somebody to feel a sense of worth. God values me for who He created me to be, not in how well I can perform, right?

Third, when I know God loves me and I rest in His love, then I need not fear anything. I will not be fearful of my future. Nor will I need to strive to make things work in my favor. When God is my security, I know He will provide for all my needs and the needs of my family.

Actually I have more than 23 years of stories of how God has provided. Many years ago a dear sister who is like a spiritual mother to me said this to me. She said, “Eng Hoe, you know the miracle of finances you have been experiencing so many years is I think even more amazing than people being healed of cancer, because the problem of money, of how it grips us, is common to everyone. So you need to share your stories so that people can be set free of this fear.” Perhaps I might share my stories another time, but then again I might not because you know talking about money can so easily be misunderstood as prosperity teaching, ya?

The main thing I want to say is this. Knowing the Father’s love is everything. If we are to be in His Kingdom, I believe this is the first and most fundamental thing God wants us to know deep in our hearts.

And another thing, when we rest in His love, we will also get from Him our sense of worth and identity. Before Jesus started doing any preaching or teaching or healing, His Father said, “This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased”. That’s the same way I believe we are to be in relation to Him. Resting in His love. Not a sense of duty like what the Jews had where they thought they had to do things to please God. Remember what Jesus said in Jn.15, “I no longer call you my servants. I call you My friends.”

But there’s one thing I must clarify. Rest does not mean no work. There is work to be done. Lots of work. While each of us need to rest in His love, it must be remembered that we were created to be fruitful and to multiply. In today’s contemporary language, I believe that means we were created to be productive. Although it is not how productive we can be that should give us a sense of significance or worth, nevertheless God is going to call us to account for the gifts and purpose and potential He created us for.

Acts 13:36 talks about David having served God’s purpose in his generation. So if we love God, we would also want to serve God’s purpose for us before our life is over, right? But we don’t have to figure out on our own what that is or try and achieve anything on our own. This is where we come back to the yoke that Jesus talked about.

There are five things I think we can note from what Jesus said. First, Jesus said, “Come to Me”. That means no formula. No technique. Not going to some prophet and asking him to lay hands on us. Or going to some meeting to catch the anointing there .. as some people put it. We have to go to Him.

Second, Jesus said, Take My yoke upon you”. He calls us to be yoked to Him. Not to be yoked to anyone or anything else. Over the years I have come across cases of people in burnout serving some very ambitious and hard driving leaders. That’s not only in the world but also in church and Christian ministry. Leaders lay unnecessary burdens on their people and put them on a guilt trip to reach out to more people, to save more souls, or to give more money to the church. Some actually shamelessly say it – they tell their people they need to work harder at improving the image of their church. They are putting their people under a yoke of slavery and playing god in the lives of their people. What they are doing is they are actually commanding worship from their people. The word “worship” comes from the word “worth”. To worship is to deeply value and give our worth to something. So what these leaders are doing is they are usurping God in the lives and in the hearts of their people. Let’s remember this – we are to be yoked to Jesus, not to anyone or anything else.

Third, when we are yoked to Him, He promises us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. That tells us that what He calls us to and lays on us is just what He made us for. Not something that is beyond us. Not what people or the world expects of us. Not things that are actually for others to be responsible for. So using the metaphor that Paul used in 1 Corinthians 12, the eye or the ear must function according to what they were made to be. It would not do for the eye or ear to try to do the work of the hand. And the hand must of course not try to do the work of the eye or the ear.

If we are really yoked to Him, He will reveal to us what He has designed us to be, and what part He has for each of us in His plans and purposes. We don’t have to try and figure it out on our own as to what we are to do, or where we are going to end up.

My time is up. I’ll continue with points 4, 5 and 6 in Kingdom 43.

These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found herehttps://goo.gl/KN4JYL  . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it.