BIBLE READING: LUKE 17: 1-21; MATTHEW 5:1-16
“And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the Kingdom of Heaven [at all].” Matthew 18: 3(AMP)
As we have understood from previous studies, the Kingdom Culture has to do with Kingdom Values. We will look at Four Guiding Values that members of the Kingdom of God
are required to embody:
(1.) FORGIVENESS: This is a prerequisite for enjoying the Mercy of God. (Lk. 17:1-4) The basis for membership in the Kingdom of God is reception of God’s Unmerited Forgiveness of our sins, accomplished by Christ’s Death on the Cross. As recipients of God’s Forgiveness, Christians are to freely grant the same to others. Additionally, having close Christian friends with whom we can share our hidden areas of sin for prayer and support can also aid in feeling God’s forgiveness.
(2.) FAITH: Christians are expected to live their lives by the dynamics of faith. The question was asked of Jesus regarding how His followers could increase their faith. (Lk. 17:5-6) Jesus indicated it is not the amount of faith that is important, but rather it is Who that faith is in, as well as stepping out in obedience upon that faith. This is an important lesson. The disciples were asking for Jesus to give them more faith, but Jesus seems to be saying that they simply need to obediently apply what they already had. They knew Jesus, what He could do and what He wanted them to do. Therefore, they had all that they needed to step out in trust. Ironically, as we act obediently in faith, we see God provide for and bless us with our faith actually growing as a result.
(3.) HUMILITY: In their positions of spiritual leadership, the Pharisees had become prideful. Christians in contrast are to be characterized by humility. (Lk. 17:7-10) Our salvation was a product of grace and our lives are lived as an overflow and extension of that same grace. There is nothing we can do of spiritual value, and nothing we can become, without God’s Empowerment. It is such a realization that leads the Christian to true humility, which is an accurate perception of what and who we really are. Such a perspective holds no place for pride.
(4.) GRATITUDE: When the Israelites were set free from Egypt, rather than being thankful, their hearts reflexively grumbled and they became discontent with the great provisions of God and showcased a sense of entitlement. This lack of thankfulness plagued them through their entire existence as a nation. Christians, as the new people of God, are to be a thankful people – people who never lose sight of all that God has done for them andis doing for them. (Lk. 17:11-19) An ever-deepening understanding of God’s grace leads to profound and abiding thankfulness.
“Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The Kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display, Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].” Lk. 17:20-21(AMP) In this passage lies the connection to the Kingdom of God. Where is this Kingdom? Jesus says that He reigns in the hearts of individuals who have received him as their savior. His reigning influence in the heart is powerfully manifest in lives that model forgiveness, faith, humility and servanthood as well as genuine gratitude. Hearts in this condition allow Him full freedom to reign, empower and direct. Hearts in this condition also manifest evidence that Christ is indeed reigning in their lives.
Lord, we pray that You help us to be able to manifest Your Kingdom Values in Jesus’ Name. Amen.