The Intimate Connection Between Kingdom and Spirit (part two)
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Last week, we covered the first two of four points examining the intimate connection between kingship (kingdom) and Spirit.
Point One: Where God's kingship is present and advancing by his Spirit, his saving work is evident.
Point Two: Where God's kingship is present and advancing by his Spirit, people are receiving and showing fidelity to him as king.
This week, we will cover the last two points.
Point Three: Where God's kingship is present and advancing by his Spirit, there is divine instruction with attendant human responsibility.
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:14-17
God gives his Word (Torah) to his redeemed, and as they receive and respond to his revelation, he reigns over them and through them in the power of the Holy Spirit.
When Jewish children begin studying the five books of Moses, the first verse they memorize is Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear O Israel the LORD is our God, the LORD alone." That is the original contextual meaning of the word echad in this text; the LORD is our God, the LORD alone. It means you are going to serve God only, and, you are not going to worship other gods.
The second verse Jewish children memorize is Deuteronomy 33:4, "Moses commanded us a law (torah) as a heritage for the assembly of Jacob." They are taught that God's Word is a legacy. Notice the next verse, "Thus the LORD became king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together."
Jeshurun is a term for Israel in their ideal, highest spiritual condition. The word Jeshurun comes from the word yashar, "to be upright." Israel only comes to their full standing as Jeshurun when God is ruling unrivaled. Likewise, you who have experienced the redeeming work of Israel's Messiah only enter into your highest spiritual condition as he reigns over you.
Do you see the picture? This sheds fresh light on the way John closes his first letter, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." (1 John 5:21)
Point Four: Where God's kingship is present and advancing by his Spirit, the powerful works of Jesus are being replicated.
What was Yeshua's answer to the one who witnessed his immersion, blessing from heaven, and Spirit-filling? "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them." (Matt 11:4-5)
Luke gives us essential insight into how Yeshua accomplished these powerful works. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." Did you get that, do you see the pattern? "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19)
In Jeremiah 31:31 we read, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant [brit hadashah] with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt." And verse 33, "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
God promised a renewal of his covenant love. First, it requires the forgiveness of sins. Then he will write his Word in us, on our hearts. We know the first Torah was written on tablets of stone by the finger, the Spirit of God (Deut 9:10). How do you suppose he's going to write the Torah on the tablet of your heart? You guessed it, by the finger, the Spirit of God (2 Cor 3:3).
God continues to reveal his new covenant intent in Ezekiel 36:25-27, "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."
"I will put my Spirit within you," saith the LORD. And what will that Spirit do? Empower you to keep his commandments and help you walk in the obedience of faith. This is the new covenant in Jesus' blood. Hallelujah!
One time I was thinking, why in the world did Jesus not write a book? My answer to people who tell me that I should write a book is simple, Jesus did not write a book. However, one day it dawned on me. Jesus did and is writing books. You are a living book; by his Spirit, he is writing on your heart. It is a story of who God is and what the Lord has done for us, and it is worth hearing.
God's kingship advances—please listen to me, this is very important— when you, when I, take responsibility to walk in the Spirit. It is a partnership. God initiates and we respond to Him, both to will and to do, by the empowering Spirit within us. The kingdom of God advances when God gives revelation and we take responsibility to walk in that revelation.
What is it that uniquely distinguishes Christians as those of Christ, of Messiah? It is the indwelling presence of the Spirit. What we have failed to understand is that the Spirit of God is a Spirit of truth. The one that wrote the Torah originally is now rewriting his heart upon our hearts.
Exactly what does his Torah look like when lived out in the flesh? Jesus of Nazareth, the Spirit-man! Where God's kingship is present and advancing: his saving work is evident, people are receiving and showing fidelity to him as king, there is divine instruction with attendant human responsibility, and the powerful works of Jesus are being replicated by the Spirit of Jesus, living in us.
That, my friends, is good news indeed.