Back to basics: the kingdom announced 1

2015-06.1

Matthew 4:17

Monday, February 8, 2015

The rule and order of love and justice and acceptance

King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger. Under his rule, you worshipped as the king ordained, with Sunday attendance compulsory. We have a king and a kingdom whereby the capacity for bringing just order and transformation to a corrupt world is given to us.

Matthew 4:17
Change your life. God’s kingdom is here! (The Message) 

I’m a great fan of the C. J Sansom Shardlake historical novels which are set in the turbulent reign of King Henry VIII. King Henry was a giant among kings in every way, with an ego to match, and he ruled without compromise. His kind of kingdom was one of dictatorial rule by sustaining fear of disobedience, whether actual treason or simply something alleged by an enemy. Subjects, including powerful men at court, were required to show absolute adherance to Henry’s beliefs and views – more of a challenge than you might think because his views, particularly on the meaning of reformation and the nature of the mass, shifted alarmingly. Disagree with the King – or be the subject of an accusation, however flimsy – and you were inviting immediate imprisonment in the Tower of London, facing a horrible death on a charge of treason.

We have a different kind of king who gives us a different kind of spiritual kingdom, a rule and order of righteousness and justice, that we can bring to our world. It is not a rule imposed on us and its hallmark is love and acceptance, not fear.

There are some similarities. It is absolute, not optional, not for us to adapt to what we feel comfortable. And there is still a terrible penalty for disobedience: our disunity or disregard for what the king says. That surprised you! What is this penalty?

The penalty is finding that the just rule doesn’t work any more. The kingdom of God in peace, and freedom from confusion, and injustices being resolved, and lifegiving transformation and blessing – doesn’t happen. God is relatively silent. The enemy is active. The good purposes are being stolen from us. And we are helping others to stay in unbelief and eternal death.

The righteous kingdom of God is what we should be praying for daily, in us and around us. I am a great user of the Lord’s Prayer in which we DECLARE as well as request: “Your kingdom come!” The exclamation mark ks not inappropriate. Our words either bring it or they destroy it. Our actions, which follow our words, either build it or tear it down. Quite a responsibility.

In Henry’s kingdom, his word was law. In God’s kingdom, His word is even more mighty, but the difference is, it is given to us, for US to pray and impose and therefore to bind or to loose what we see in heaven affecting that righteous and just rule.

Jesus goes on to explain this, and to teach what differences come with the kingdom.

Reality check

* Have we been kingdom bringers or those than deny the kingdom of God?
* In this season of repentance and preparation, what needs to change in us?
* We wouldn’t dare argue with Henry VIII – but are we so arrogant that we hold lightly what Almighty God says?

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