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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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To which Kingdom do You Belong?

Personally, I look forward to dwelling with Christ in a new heaven and earth where I will know and experience the righteousness of God. I implore you to make certain that you belong to the kingdom of God, which cannot be shaken and will never be moved. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes:

This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:27-29 ESV)

My dear friend you are in some kingdom or other at this moment. Are you in the kingdom of God? If not, you are in one or other of the kingdoms of men. They are already collapsing before your eyes and when you come to die – and we have all got to, every one of us – the National Health Service cannot cure death, we have all got to die. My dear friends, I have got to die. I am older than most of you and I will have to die probably before you but I have got to die and give an account. Those kingdoms of men will have nothing to give you then. H G Wells, as I have quoted, admitted it. Many others have admitted it still more recently. They are getting old and they are failing and their faculties are failing. They no longer have got their good looks, their friends are dying and they are bereft and solitary and hopeless – and they have nothing.

Do you belong to one of those kingdoms? See the unutterable folly of doing so. The whole of history condemns it. Look at this other kingdom, all you have to do is to acknowledge your failure, to acknowledge your desperate need and just as you are without understanding it at first, just to say, ‘I believe, help Thou my unbelief’. Ask God to have mercy upon you and to give you enlightenment and understanding. Ask Him to have pity upon you and He will do so. It is a gospel for anybody – whosoever believeth, it does not postulate any great brain or great wealth or great learning or anything else. The common people heard Him gladly, I read about Jesus Christ. Why? Because He understood them, He sympathized with them, He loved them. He had come into the world, laying aside the insignia of His eternal glory, in order that He might redeem them. This is all He asks of us-and the moment you enter into this kingdom, you will be amazed at the change. (“A Kingdom which cannot be Shaken”)

Filled with the Fullness of God

Christians are commanded to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and all other necessities shall be given unto them. Men are fearful, however, that if they should follow this command, all would be taken from them. George Whitefield writes:

And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:22 ESV)

[T]he eternal Son of God came down and shed his precious blood; for this end were we made, and sent into the world, and by this alone can we become the sons of God. Were we indeed to judge by the common practice of the world, we might think we were sent into it for no other purpose, than to care and toil for the uncertain riches of this life: but if we consult the lively oracles, they will inform us, that we were born for nobler ends, even to be born again from above, to be restored to the divine likeness by Jesus Christ, our second Adam, and thereby be made meet to inherit the kingdom of heaven; and consequently, there is an obligation laid upon all, even the most busy people, to secure this end; it being an undeniable truth, that all creatures ought to answer the end for which they were created.

Some indeed are for confining religion to the clergy, and think it only belongs to those who serve at the altar; but what a fatal mistake is this, seeing all persons are indifferently called by God to the same state of inward holiness. As we are all corrupt in our nature, so must we all be renewed and sanctified. And though it must be granted, that the clergy lie under double obligations to be examples to believers, in faith, zeal, charity, and whatever else is commendable and of good report, as being more immediately dedicated to the service of God; yet as we have been all baptized with one baptism into the death of Christ, we are all under the necessity of performing our baptismal covenant, and perfecting holiness in the fear of God: for the holy scriptures point out to us but one way of admission into the kingdom of Christ, through the narrow gate of a sound conversion: And he that does not enter into the sheepfold, whether clergy or lay-men, by this door, will find, to his everlasting confusion, there is no climbing up another way.

Besides, what a gross ignorance of the nature of true religion, as well as of our own happiness, does such a distinction discover? For what does our Savior, by willing us to be religious, require of us? But to subdue our corrupt passions, to root out ill habits, to engraft the heavenly graces of God’s most holy Spirit in their room; and, in one word, to fill us with all the fullness of God. (“Worldly Business no Plea for the Neglect of Religion”)

Christ Will Reign

There is only one way into the kingdom of God. It is the message of Hebrews and the Bible as a whole. There is only one way. It is by believing that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. It is by believing that Jesus Christ has taken our sins upon Himself and borne our punishment and thus reconciled us to God and opened to us the gate of the kingdom of God. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes:

This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:27-29 ESV)

A babe was born in a stable, not in a king’s palace, in a stable in a place called Bethlehem.

Why was He born in a stable? Because there was no room for them in the inn. Everybody booked their rooms in the hostelries, in the inns and though a poor pregnant woman comes along on the verge of giving birth to a baby, nobody would vacate the room. They would not do it then, they would not do it now! They said, ‘She should have booked her room earlier! Why should I go out?’ The selfishness of mankind. So the babe was born amidst the straw in a stable and the little child was put into a manger because there was no crib. Who is this? This is God’s eternal Son. They called Him Jesus, but He is very God of very God. God has visited and redeemed His people! ‘God so loved the world’ that had rebelled against Him and spat in His face as it were. ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ [John 3:16]. He is the King of the kingdom and He says so. He heals in the name of the kingdom; He invites people to come into His kingdom. ‘Come unto me’, He says, ‘all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ [Matthew 11:28]. And He has and He does and He alone can do so and the whole story of true Christianity is of this kingdom being extended. Men and women in every age and generation being added unto it. The kingdom of God is going on.

There are times like the present when it almost seems to be invisible – but it is still there and when men begin to deliver their obituary orations over the death of the Christian church, God revives her again and on she goes and thousands are added and the kingdom is going on and on and on – and it will go on until it is finally completed and the kingdoms of this world shall have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. (Revelation 11:15). Thank God in spite of all that is happening in this world tonight and it is black and it is dark, but as certainly as we are here God’s purposes are ever sure and Christ is going to reign over the whole world from shore to shore and pole to pole – and nothing will be able to resist Him. It is an absolute. (“A Kingdom Which Cannot Be Shaken”)

Focus on God’s Kingdom

When man fell in the Garden of Eden, God said there would be strife between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent – but the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head. God is bringing order out of disorder. God will undo the misery and the folly of man. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes:

This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:27-29 ESV)

Some of the most miserable restless people in the world tonight are multi-millionaires; these wretched people you read about them in the popular newspapers who get married five, six, seven times – do they know peace, is that the life of the film-star, the pop-star, or your multimillionaire? Oh, the tragedy of these miserable people who think you can buy peace and tranquility and happiness with money. No, No, God has said that it cannot be done. There is not peace, saith my God, to the wicked. And while the people of this world are wicked there will be wars and rumors of wars. Nations are but individuals writ large and if a man cannot live with his neighbor why do you expect a country to live with its neighbor? God has told us this. These are absolutes, my friends; you cannot get away from them. The world is proving the truth of them tonight. This is God’s Word and there is not peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

What else does this word tell us? Well thank God it does not leave us at that. If it had left us at that every one of us would be doomed and damned to all eternity. There would be no hope for any one of us – ‘For we have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God’. ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’ [Romans 3:23, 10]. Thank God I have a light here, I have a hope here. What is it? Well, it is this that while men in their folly have been vainly trying to build their durable kingdoms and empires, God has been bringing in His kingdom: ‘Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved’, God’s kingdom. This is the way to understand history – forget all about kings and princes and queens and births and marriages and deaths and pomp and ceremony and all the ritual – forget it all! Concentrate on this – what God has been doing – God has been bringing in His kingdom. (“A Kingdom Which Cannot Be Shaken”)

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