Monday, March 03, 2008

Subersive Seminary - "The Kingdom of God"

On Sunday, March 2nd, our house church spent the day (from 9am to 2pm) looking at the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Kingdom of God together.

Here's a bit of what we discussed.

First, Jason Wright looks at what the Kingdom looks like and how we're called to enter as little children.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." - Jesus, Matthew 6:33

Matthew 18:1-4
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

What exactly did Jesus mean when he said to “become like children”?

Did he mean we should be:
- whiny
- messy
- clumsy
- impatient
- impulsive
- boisterous
- booger eaters

???? Probably not what he was referring to…

Perhaps he meant …
(Not complicated, simple) Dictionary Definition
- Humble
- Trusting
- Dependant
- Vulnerable
o Not guarded or protected by walls
- Living in the moment
- Not anxious for tomorrow
- Open and Teachable
- Creative/ Artistic
o All kids in Kindergarten are artists! Year by year it becomes less cool, until there are only a few “artists” in grade 8.
- Joyful
- Resilient / Not holding onto grudges
- Not infatuated with money
o Kids losing / mishandling money… need to be “taught” how to cling tightly to their cash.

And what and where is this Kingdom of God that He spoke of??

The Kingdom of God is a giant sandbox for us “children” to play in… and it’s here right now.

Matthew 6: verses 5 and verses 26-37
5"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”

26"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

It’s when we begin to complicate our lives with “stuff” and “things” and the maintenance, protection, and monthly payments on the “stuff” and “things” that we begin to lose our ability to be like children and trust God. We start to worry and fret SO MUCH about tomorrow, that we are no good for today.

“All of these things will be given to you”
-Hummers, 60” plasmas, Season Tickets, and Hawaiian time-shares.

I see the Kingdom of Heaven in the backseat of our Ford LTD station wagon in 1979…

“Are we there yet?” My brother, sister and I would continually whine from our oversize vinyl backseat; Our feet swimming in Twinkie and fruit roll-up wrappers on the floorboard. We impatiently nagged Dad because we were tired of waiting to finally get we were going. We felt the need to stretch our legs, use them to run around, and be released from the long sentence of “keeping still”.

Although the barrage of “are we there yets” pelted the front seat like machine gun fire, that didn’t mean we spent the whole trip questioning and wringing our hands over every lane change, stop light, or u-turn. We simply trusted that our Dad had it all under control and that he would deliver us to our destination safely.

-Jason Wright

My portion was a bit longer and dealt with the Gospel Jesus preached and how we deal with the "Upside-Down" nature of the Kingdom of God...among other things.


The Kingdom of God is the present reality which breaks into this illusion of ours intermittently, like very bad cell phone reception. It’s God’s way of saying, “Can you hear me now?”

In fact, experiencing and living in this Kingdom Reality is, in itself, an exercise in the Kingdom principles of “Letting Go” and “The Power of Weakness”. When we give up on our strength and wait for God’s power to come and to move it’s a testimony of our trust in His promise to us that “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like Eagles”, resting and gliding under the power of the wind of the Holy Spirit.

Waiting and trusting in His power, not our own, taking confidence in His strength, not ours, is a demonstration of The Power of Weakness in action.

For us, this coming, advancing, intermittent reality is counter-intuitive. We’ve been born into this illusion – falsely labeled “Reality”- and have been immersed in this do-it-yourself mentality all of our lives. We need to learn to “Re-Think” everything – or as Jesus said, to “Repent,” (Metanoia = Rethink), “for the Kingdom of God (Heaven) is near” (Or, “It is within our grasp, our reach, and close enough to touch.”)

It is very much like taking the red pill and finding ourselves wide awake in a reality which is upside down and backwards from the world we have been born into. At first we reel with the vertigo of a world where up is down and the first are last. Those who humble themselves are exalted, the greatest is the servant of all, and those who lose their lives find everlasting, eternal life, even though they die daily. This is the Kingdom of God.

Welcome to reality. Because this upside down world, we quickly discover, is NOT upside down, it is right side up. We have lived so long, head over heels, immersed in an illusion of selfish fulfillment and a pursuit of more, more, more, that we need to detoxify our minds and hearts and flesh in order to remain in God’s Kingdom Reality.

Jesus announced this Kingdom, told us how to see it, how to walk in it and remain in it, and gave us the best news possible: We could enter and begin living in Reality anytime we wanted to.

In the Kingdom of God there is just one King; God Himself. He is a good, loving, kind, and wildly, unpredictably, sometimes uncomfortably intimate, inclusive and wonderful King, and Father, and Friend.

His Kingdom is a place where His perfect will is always done and those who rest in His will are refreshed and delighted and fulfilled and at peace and overjoyed. They are children born into the poverty of excess wealth and selfishness who have been adopted into a new Family of the unending wealth of generosity and the joy of always having enough to share and give away.

This is reality. Before God made this vast oasis called “Space and Time” there was no space or time. Everything was perfectly “Now” and Eternally present with Him. This is the only reality there has ever been. God’s Kingdom was, and is, and is to come.

Our temporary stay in this unusual experiment called “Time and Space” will eventually expire and the temporary Kingdoms of this Earth will soon fade away. The Kingdom of Pleasure will fall to the ground. The Kingdom of Greed will perish. The Kingdom of Exploitation and Oppression and Excess and Fashion and Wealth and Flesh, will all crumble and burn and disappear into oblivion. Only one Kingdom will remain and that is the Kingdom which was here “In The Beginning” – which has even now come, and which we can enter today. And, one day, soon, this Kingdom will break forever into this illusion we drift through for the moment, and overtake all we see and know.

Are you ready to enter this Kingdom? Are you ready to begin living under the awesome rule and reign of The King? There’s just one thing, before you take that leap, before you swallow the red pill, that you should know, so that you can count the cost. Those who enter the Kingdom can only step across the threshold if they pay the price. It’s really nothing when you think about it, when you compare the amazing riches of God’s Eternal Kingdom with the tokens and trinkets of our counterfeit reality. The price of admission, the way to step across, is to let go of this world.

Just as you were born naked and weak and vulnerable and empty-handed into this world, so you can take nothing with you into God’s Kingdom. It’s called being “Born Again”.

The things of this world are not truly treasures. When you die they will stay here anyway, and just as you can take nothing with you beyond the grave, you can take nothing with you when you step into God’s Kingdom.

Jesus only asks for one thing- It’s called Everything.

But what you gain, what you receive in exchange, is beyond anything you can dream of or hope for or imagine. The Kingdom of God, when you see it, when you really understand it, you will gladly rush out to sell all that you have, as quickly as possible, to step across the threshold into Heaven.

This is the moment where many people stop and turn back. Their grip on this world, or its grip on them, is so strong that they can never let go of their tiny, petty lives in this place in order to receive real life and treasure in God’s Kingdom.

If we have really seen the Kingdom, if we really understood and believed that this Kingdom was real (in a way that nothing else can ever be “real”), then we would rush quickly to surrender all that we have and all that we are in order to receive the treasure that does not rust or face or disappoint.

"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." - Luke 9:24

“The Kingdom of God is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44)

All God wants is all of you. All He asks is that you Trust Him and Believe Him and surrender your meager treasures and petty personal kingdoms in exchange for His Kingdom. God wants to be your God. He wants you to be one of His People.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” – Jesus (Luke 9:23). There is no other way but the Cross.

Jesus says it is very hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom.” Who then can be saved? His disciples asked. “With man this is impossible,” Jesus replied, “But not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10: 23-27)

Will you let go? Will you surrender it all? Will you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? This is the only question we need to answer in order to step across the threshold into the amazing reality of God’s Kingdom.

You can stay here, on this side of reality, where you are safe and miserable, in your tiny kingdom where your will is what matters. Or you can sell it all, exchange the handful of crumbling mud for real treasure which lasts forever.

Is your kingdom so wonderful? Aren’t you tired of wearing the crown? Haven’t you suffered long enough under your own rule and reign?

When you are ready to set fire to your kingdom, and surrender your lordship, and dance as the flames consume your empty way of living, He is ready to invite you to experience Reality, today.

There is only One King, and He is good. He really wants what is best for you, and He can, above all, beyond any other, be Trusted. His Name is Faithful and True.

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by me” – Jesus (John 14)

-Keith Giles

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