Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Two Kingdoms

For the Church, the kingdom of heaven has arrived in the heart of each believer. 

The millennial kingdom on earth concerns the people of the land, the Israelites. 

Parted The Waters

Moses parted the Red Sea and brought the Israelites safely through the dark waters and to the other side. 

Jesus parted the seas of man and brings the Church safely through the dark waters and to the kingdom of heaven. 

Binds The Strong Man - Matthew 12:28-29

Matthew 12:28-29 ESV 

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

Where Jesus is becomes the kingdom of God. In these verses the kingdom of God is in the body of Jesus which has come near, even in the midst of His own people. 

Jesus goes on to describe His presence and action as "he first binds the strong man". The someone is Jesus. The strong man is Satan. Those whose eyes have been opened are no longer deceived. We are the freed captives led by the risen Savior who are transferred into the kingdom of heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Repent And Believe - Mark 1:14-15

Mark 1:14-15 ESV 

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The light called forth by God has at last arrived in the darkness of the world. The light has taken the form of the Son of Man and in the words He preached as He proclaimed the gospel of God. 

The fulfillment of the word of God spoken before the advent of time enters into the time of man. It then is fulfilled in the heart of man allowing him to enter the timeless presence of God. 

"Repent and believe!"

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Well Pleased - Mark 1:9-11

Mark 1:9-11 ESV 

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

The Messiah was prophesied in Scripture to be a Nazarene. And so He was. 

It is fitting that John would baptize in the Jordan river. Just as the baptism of repentance would allow one entrance into the kingdom of heaven, so would the immersion in the Jordan be necessary to cross over into the the promised land. John announces by his actions the transition from the Old Covenant to a New Covenant and from the promised land to the corresponding kingdom of heaven. The crossing into the land will entail the crossing of the river of repentance and the sacrifice on the cross. The same applies to us today. We must cross the river of repentance to enter the promised land. We must apply the cross to our own will for the will and life of the Lord. 

Coming out of the water, Jesus sees the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descend. The expanse between the waters is no longer watertight. The veil between man and God is torn. 

His baptism on the cross allows the Holy Spirit to descend on all His disciples who enter the body of Christ. God sees those as His beloved sons with whom He is well pleased. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Little Farther - Matthew 26:36-39

Matthew 26:36-39 ESV 

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Gethsemane means "oil press." In this garden of decision, the man chosen and anointed for the salvation of mankind would choose to obey God, and what a difference that will make. Salvation will come to many. 

This passage, like no other, clearly and emphatically confirms the humanity of Jesus. He goes a little farther in the garden, but goes a little deeper in the earth of His human body. There the angst and despair of the frailty of the man rises to His lips. With His face to the ground, He prays to the Father from the depths of His manhood for the cup of His sacrifice to pass from Him. But His thoughts return and give obedience to His Father's will above the earth. The final temptation is past. 

He knows the weakness of the flesh because He has experienced it firsthand. But He has overcome the flesh, that is, He has overcome the world. 

We all are familiar with the weakness of the flesh. Jesus has provided and shown the only way to overcome the flesh, that we might enter the presence of the divine. He came into our presence to make this possible. We can meet Him there. It's just a little farther. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Into The Wilderness - Mark 1:12-13

Mark 1:12-13 ESV 

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

A time of testing and trial in the Scriptures is often associated with a period of forty days or years. It rained for forty days and nights during the flood of Noah. The Israelites struggled in the wilderness for forty years and here Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days. 

When our eyes are opened we can see the wilderness around us. It is populated with wild animals and trials previously unseen. It is this sight that allows us to avoid or deal with the world in a way only made possible by walking with the Lord. He will lead us through and to the other side. We have the comfort and presence of the Holy Spirit as our companion along the way. 

In Job we see God allowing Satan to test and afflict a man to teach and confirm a worthy servant. In the end, his righteousness is rewarded and Job has a better understanding of God and himself. This is God's plan for those He loves, to teach and discipline His sons and daughters. 

Satan is still roaming the earth today, going to and fro, accusing and tempting all he can find to stray away from the life of the Father.