Seek First the Kingdom of God

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What prevents us from seeking God’s Kingdom? Why do we need God’s Kingdom? What was Jesus’ purpose in coming to the earth?



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Well, a very happy Sabbath again, brethren. It is a joy and a treat to gather together with God's elect on the Sabbath, to have the opportunity to have the relationships that we do here in the church. Now, as your pastor, I've got something to tell you today that may be a bit disturbing; and that is, we are all seeking the Kingdom of God, but I have come to find that there, in fact, are TWO kingdoms being prepared, not one! Now, I know this will shock you and may disturb you; but, nevertheless, this is what I'm convinced of now. There are two kingdoms.
 
The first kingdom we know of as "the Kingdom of God," and we look forward to that kingdom coming to this earth at the return of Jesus Christ. We're familiar with the preparations that are being made for that kingdom; and we're all involved in that, to one degree or another. But now I've learned of a second kingdom.
 
The second kingdom is also being readied. It's being worked on with great energy and fervency. Now, you're going to have to help me a little bit with the name of the second kingdom. If you're taking notes, you might write down, "the kingdom of..." and then you have to help me put the name there after this kingdom, OK? Because it varies from person to person. It might start with your name or my name, and it very well does. So you could just write, "the kingdom of..." and put your name there. But it can include other things as well. It might include your country's name.
 
Many people...not many, but several people have been telling me, "You know, it's so important that we get involved in and fix some of the things that are going wrong in our country; and our church needs to get involved. Stop these gay marriages." Some of our brethren over in Africa say, "Why can't the United Church of God intervene and stop some of the political turmoil and some of the wars that are going on? We need to get involved." Some people in this congregation have told me recently, "You know, we need to stop some of these things that we hear of in the news, of the nation drifting away from God. We need to help pull this nation back and reform the society that's around us. The godlessness—the distancing of this country and whatever country you may live in, from godliness. If we all only would now vote and become activists, we could turn the tide." So you might just want to add in a little of that, as you watch the news every day and kind of see how your candidates are doing for the upcoming election. Check the local talk shows, the radio shows, see how the political parties are doing. Check the news from around the world and see how your country's armies are doing and the conflicts and the wars. You know, defend your party or whomever the leader is that you feel should be in or needs to be in.
 
You know, we kind of watch that stuff and get close to it sometimes and start participating, even mentally; and if we're not careful, we have this second kingdom—the kingdom of my name, your name, my country, my aspirations, my personal aspirations, my goals, the things that I want to come up with in this life. And so, the kingdom of me and my society is important to me, to some degree; but this is a rival kingdom to the first kingdom, the Kingdom of God. I've got news for you. These two kingdoms existed during the time that Jesus Christ walked on this earth. These were rival kingdoms then.
 
Today, the sermon is entitled, "Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God." I wanted to show you today that back in the time of Christ there existed two rival kingdoms that were going head to head the entire time He walked on this earth. We're going to examine these two kingdoms during that time period; and in doing so, we will find out something about ourselves that we might not have seen or fully understood. We also will find out something about Jesus Christ that we may not have fully understood.
 
Back in the time of what we would call zero BC or AD, sometime about 2,000 years ago when the Romans had entrenched themselves in the area they called Palestina, there was great anticipation among the Jewish people for a Messiah. Oh, it was surging. It was raging. It was pulsing. It had been for some 700 years, ever since the Israelites had been taken into captivity in Assyria and following that, the Jews had been taken into captivity in Babylonia; and they had longed to see some of the prophecies in the Bible, several hundred prophecies that spoke about a Messiah that would come and that would re-establish a nation of Israel and Judah and free them up.
 
Let's take a look at one of the prophecies that was very focused on about the time of Jesus' birth. Jeremiah, chapter 23, and verse 5. Jeremiah, chapter 23, we'll begin in verse 5:
 
Jer:23:5-6 — "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness..." Now, notice these words here very carefully, because they're going to keep coming up during the sermon. "... I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved..." Imagine what that meant during the time of the Roman occupation. "...Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." In Hebrew, that's the name that He would be called, "The Lord Our Righteousness," or "The Lord Is Our Righteousness." In other words, He is our means of salvation.
 
Now the total number of prophecies in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah, as I said, were in the hundreds; but some of these were focused on very closely. In putting together the timing of the prophecies in Daniel, they were expecting the Messiah to be born right on time, right at the time when Jesus Christ was born on this earth...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
 
Twenty years in advance of that, Herod, known as "Herod the Great," allied himself with Rome and was given the title by Rome, "King of the Jews." KING OF THE JEWS! Herod saw himself as this Messiah, the one who would come and save the Jews; and so, Herod for twenty years had been rebuilding the temple, had been building up all of Palestine under Judea, in that area. He had wanted himself to be accepted, ingratiated by the people as the King, the Messiah. He was half Jewish. But the people rejected him. They saw him as a Roman ruler preventing them from being autonomous. But, nevertheless, Jesus Christ was born. Everyone was pretty much expecting it right then. Herod the Great, if you remember, [when he] found out that He had been born, sent out people to check and find out where so that he could go kill Him because he didn't want a rival Messiah. He couldn't do that, so he ended up killing all the firstborn...or, not the firstborn, but all the young children two and below, the males. Jesus actually had to be taken to Egypt until Herod died.
 
About 30 years later, Jesus Christ's ministry would begin. The oppressed Jews were now praying with greater fervor than ever. Every time a holy day came up, there was a resurgence, a fervor of anti-Romanism. They expected the Messiah to stand up and lead them to a golden age—the Kingdom of Israel, the Kingdom of Judah. They prayed that this King that had been prophesied would come and deliver them from the Roman overlords and restore Israel to national greatness. Hopes ran high. The Messiah was due to appear. All they had to do was find Him. "He's got to be here somewhere. Just got to be here somewhere."
 
In Luke:3:15, it says:
 
Luke:3:15 — Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, John the Baptist, whether he was the Christ, the Messiah, or not...
 
So they had to check him out.
 
Let's go to John, chapter 1, verse 19, and see some of the discourse.
 
John:1:19-26  — Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" They're the religious leaders and they want to know, is this Messiah? Is this the son of David? "Who are you?" He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ. I am not the Messiah." And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?," another term by which they called the Messiah and which prophesy looked at the Messiah or referred to the Messiah. And he answered, "No." Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" He said: "I am 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Make straight the way of the Lord,"' as the prophet Isaiah said."   Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, "Why then..." still not giving up on him being the Messiah, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the [Messiah] nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. Messiah is here." Messiah was there, and he's telling them, "I'm here to announce it. There's One among you, but you don't know Him, for some reason."
 
Why didn't they know Him? Several times after Jesus began His ministry, when He performed a miracle, people would say that He was the prophesied son of David. Remember that
 
prophecy back in Jeremiah, that He was the prophesied son of David? The Pharisees also viewed Him in these terms. Let's look in Matthew 22, and verse 42. You see, toward the end of His life, toward the end of His ministry...
 
Matt:22:41-42  While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, "What do you think about the Messiah, the Christ? Whose Son is He?" What was on their mind about Messiah? And they said, "The Son of David."  The son of David. David was the principal chief king by which all kings of Israel were measured. There was to be another king, a greater King, that they would call the Son of David, to come; and they focused on that Messiah as the coming new ruler of the Kingdom of Israel. That's what's being spoken of here.
 
Verses 43-46  He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool"'? If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?" And no one was able to answer Him a word...
 
That was a whole different mind shift from where they were going with the kingdom that was to come, with the King that was to come, with the Messiah. A crowd seeing Jesus heal a man said, "Could this be the son of David?" When He made His entry into Jerusalem, the crowd threw down the palm branches and they threw down clothes in this path, and they said, "Hosanna, son of David." They were ready! They were ready for this kingdom of Israel to take off, overthrow the Romans. They had been working on this for some time and hoping for millennia...well, centuries. I shouldn't say millennia...centuries.
 
Let's go to John, chapter 6, verses 14-15. We will see that people actually wanted to force this upon Jesus.
 
John:6:14 — Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, how He had made a lot of food for a lot of people out of a little bit, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."
 
You see, they asked John, "Are you the Prophet? Are you the Messiah? Are you the King?"
 
"This is the Prophet who is to come into the world. That's pretty good. Not only would He make a great king, but He could feed us, too."
 
Verse 15 —   Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king...take Him by force to make Him king over Israel, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
 
Let's go to Mark, chapter 1, verse 14, and begin to see something here a little different about the concept of the Kingdom and what people had in their minds.
 
Mark:1:14-15 — Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, not the restored kingdom of Israel or Judah, but the Kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand..." or has come near or, as the Greek here for that word can mean, "to join, to draw, or to approach." It is through Jesus Christ and His work and His ministry that people could draw near to the kingdom, that could approach the kingdom, that could join the kingdom. This was His purpose. This was His mission, as we're going to see. And so He said, "Repent, and believe, have faith and works, in the gospel."
 
This was His mindset. One hundred eighty degrees different than the mindset of the Jews and the Israelites that were there, that wanted to restore a physical kingdom. Jesus was among them and is among us as the entry point into the Kingdom of God. He said, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved." That's from John:10:9. That was His comment, "I am the door. I am the way. I am the door. I am here and I have come. The Kingdom of God has come near. It is here. It is available," through Him. He had come as the way into the kingdom. He had come as the truth of the kingdom. He had come as the life, eternal life within the kingdom for humanity. The way, the truth, and the life of the Kingdom of God. He said, "No one came come to the Father...no one can come into that kingdom, except through Me." And there He was, in the midst of them. It was available. It was opportunity, but nobody was interested in His kingdom. Instead, everyone was interested in their own kingdom. You had leaders who were interested in their personal kingdom, plus their country's kingdom. You had individuals, even the disciples had their own little thing going on with their personal life and this kingdom of Israel that they were so focused on. They were so excited that they were picked and were part of the Messiah that was there. They were ready to go forward in their concept of their kingdom.
 
Here's this human focus on the kingdom, you see. We all have it. The kingdom of your name, my name, and anything we want to attach on beyond that. It's not wrong, but God's kingdom has to be first, sought first. It's not wrong to have things. It's not wrong to have ambitions. It's not wrong to have family, careers, goals, etc. We've been put on this earth, and blessings will flow. But where is our primary emphasis?
 
The disciples assumed that Jesus Christ would lead an uprising. The Jewish world would overthrow the Romans and a new political entity would take place, and who better to do it than this miracle-working Jesus Christ. The disciples were pretty excited about that. Some of the disciples even argued among themselves about who among them would have the primary positions in the new government of the kingdom of Israel. That's what they were fighting over. That's what they were arguing over. They were putting it together. When Jesus was betrayed, they asked, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword now? We're ready. We can do it. We've been up all night praying." One of them even got going a little early and got an ear off before Christ stopped him. That was followed by dismay, bewilderment. Jesus Christ was killed and they buried Him. They didn't get it. They couldn't understand it. After a short time, the disciples finally said, "I'm going back to my career. I'm going back to work on my little personal kingdom. I guess this kingdom of Israel thing isn't happening. I go fishing."
 
Even after His resurrection, the disciples still had this mindset. Imagine the renewed excitement over in Acts, chapter 1, verse 6. Let's go there real quickly. The renewed excitement. "Wow! He's back up! And He came through the door that was locked! Now He has more power than ever. He'll make a better king than He did before!"
 
Acts:1:6 — Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? We can do it now. You really are powerful. Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
 
Let's go back to Mark, chapter 6, now and begin to see some things through the eyes of Jesus Christ and put into perspective the importance of one kingdom over the other. Mark, chapter 6, verses 7-11.
 
Mark:6:7-9 — And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He commanded them to take nothing in the way...Now, imagine this. You're sent out to go do some evangelizing, and He says, "Take nothing except a walking stick." Nothing else. It says, no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts, no money, don't take anything but tie-on sandals, and do not even put on two tunics. Not even a change of clothes. Hmm? Why is He saying this? Now, the next thing He says:
 
Verse 11 —"And whoever shall not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake the dust off your feet for a testimony against them." Well, that tells me I might not eat that day. I might not be invited to spend the night there. Jesus says, "Go do the work and don't be concerned about what you eat, what you drink, where you sleep, how you'll be taken care of." If you do the work of God, God will take care of the things that you need. You don't have to be concerned about that if you're doing the will of God.
 
Jesus' focus was on doing the preparation for God's kingdom; and if we have Christ in us and we are in Christ, the Father will provide what is needed as we do those things in preparation for His kingdom. But the disciples were focusing on the here and now. They saw the here and now. We just go down a few more verses here in chapter 6, verse 34, and...
 
Mark:6:34-35 — And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them...Why?...for they were like sheep not having a shepherd. What was His focus? Feeding the sheep, bringing in the strays; and so He begins to teach them many things.  For when the day was now far spent, the disciples came and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late, and there's nothing to eat. We should send the people off to buy something to eat."
 
Verses 37-38 — But He answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat. That's your focus. Why don't you feed them?" "Huh?" And they said to Him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?" Jesus here is going to show them, "You go do the work; God will provide." So He said, "How many loaves do you have?"..."Five, and two fish."  Sat everybody down, divided them up.
 
Verse 41 —   And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples...
 
Verses 42-44 — So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.  Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.
 
That's not important. You don't need to worry about that. If you're doing the work of preparing for the kingdom, God knows what you need before you ask.
 
Verses 45-46 — Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.
 
Jesus Christ was on a different track. It was frustrating to be at cross purposes all the time with people who had their little kingdoms that they were worried about and the little details of my life and "How am I going to survive? What's going to happen to me? Am I going to be happy? Am I going to be healthy?" It wasn't His focus. It was at cross purposes and He went off and prayed.
 
In Matthew, chapter 11, verse 12, we see this can even get kicked up a notch or two because sometimes people want to force Jesus Christ into their kingdom. Just as the Jews wanted to take Him by force and make Him the king of their kingdom, sometimes you and I, as human beings, will want to take God, the things of the Bible, and cram it into our kingdom, sort of make it fit. In Matthew 11, verse 12, it says:
 
Matt:11:12 —  "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it, or try to take it, by force." Now, if you look back, you will find John the Baptist was killed. Jesus Christ was forced and then rejected and killed. Saul came breathing against the believers, trying to get rid of them because he didn't want a rival kingdom. He was later converted and became Paul. The religious Jewish leaders did not want some other kingdom coming. They killed the apostles. Later Rome did not want any other concepts or any other kings or kingdoms rising up; and they began to obliterate, to kill off. Century after century, down through the dark ages people were burned at the stake. Inquisitions took place to force a different concept upon people, and, actually, upon God.
 
Let me just read you something. I got this off a web site entitled "Catholicdoors.com."
 
"It's sad to say that mislead denominations are using Chapter 24 of the gospel of Matthew as the signs of the end time to support their falsehood of the second coming of Jesus Christ to physically reign on the earth for a thousand years."
 
Some religions don't want Jesus Christ to return and set up a kingdom. Now, we know an end-time prophecy and you can read in Revelation that finally when Jesus Christ returns with His kingdom, the armies of the world will unite to fight Him, to make war with Him. They don't want God's kingdom, but they want to use God and they want to use the Bible and they want to pray to God and get His support for their kingdom. And they'll twist the verse that says "anything you ask in My name, the Father will give you...for your kingdom." No. You have to read the preceding words about having Christ's words in you and having Christ in you and you in Him and being so connected that you are doing the will of the Father in preparing for His kingdom. And then if there is a need and you ask, the Father will provide it.
 
People have long tried to take the kingdom or remake the kingdom by force, is one explanation. There's another explanation for that as well.
 
But privately people recreate the kingdom concept into a personal kingdom. You know, a man's home is his castle. There's the start of your kingdom. You know, that's your focus; that's where you're going to put all your energies in life. That's where you're going to put all of your first love, and you'll pull religion into that; you'll pull your country into that. Your first love will not be on the Kingdom of God, but rather something that you're cooking up or I'm cooking up. These things of physical origin—we call them carnal—but physical things can become our focus; and when they are, it's not what God's about. Now, these things aren't wrong at all and we can enjoy them. Many times God will bless us with more physical things, and we should use them to prepare for God's kingdom—not to focus on them and get sidetracked into creating some false little kingdom of our own that would fade away, that would rust. Rather we should use them to help us pursue God's kingdom, to enjoy them, to appreciate them, to serve with them, to let them assist us in seeking, as Peter said in II Peter, chapter 1, verse 11, seeking "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." There it's called the everlasting kingdom. It's not some little temporary thing that we would try to patch together. The everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
Now let's go to Matthew, chapter 6, verse 24, and see what Jesus Christ is saying here.
 
Matt:6:24 — "No one can serve two masters...," two objectives that are primary in your life, two initiatives that are big and that will take your time and your mentality, "...for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
 
I wonder how many people understand what "mammon" is. "Mammon" is a Chaldean word and it means "confidence." It's referring to self-confidence. You can't serve God and self-confidence. Now, what is your own kingdom? Why do you fix your kingdom, your career, all this stuff up and, you know, get retirement accounts and insurance and, you know, you're trying to make yourself as confident as you can in the future, as self-reliant as possible, as self-confident. Feed in enough funding, enough things, enough stuff, enough food, you know, dig yourself a bomb shelter, lay in 20 years of food...that's what we're doing, you see. You cannot serve God and self-confidence. Or another meaning of that can be "riches opposed to godliness." Riches opposed to godliness, self-seeking, self-confidence.
 
Verse 25 —  "Therefore I say to you, do not be anxious for your life..." Be anxious for your life! That's not the life that you're going to be able to hang onto, "...what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on." Remember what Jesus said to His disciples when He sent them out? "Don't worry about those things." That's not what's important. God can take care of that easily. "Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" Especially to God, our Father. 
 
Verse 30 --"Therefore if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much rather clothe you, O you of little faith?"
 
Now there's an interesting term...I'll digress here just for a second. "O ye of little faith" we're familiar with; but in the Modern King James Version, I believe they correctly translate this as a name that Christ called the disciples on occasion; and it was "little-faith." He called them
 
"little-faiths." That's "little," dash, "faiths." And if you look through the Modern King James,you'll see that when they were not exercising faith, He would call them "little-faiths." It's kind of a cute name. You and I can be called "little-faiths." We get concerned about what we're going to eat, what we're going to drink, where we're going to live. If we are focused on our kingdom, then, yeah, we've got a problem; but if we're focused on God's Kingdom, the point is, God is more interested in that and He knows what you need.
 
Notice what it says:
 
Verse 31 --"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we be clothed?'" 
 
Verses 32-33 — "For the nations...," the other kingdoms...if it's a nation, it's a kingdom. You've got the Kingdom of God and your kingdom, or any other kingdom. He's saying all the other kingdoms are focused on this, for the kingdoms "...seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness...," now, just to show you that all those other things aren't bad, He says, "...and all these things shall be added to you."
 
Seek first the Kingdom of God. We're to put aside our own kingdom. It's not that you can't have it, and I'm not saying we should be unbalanced; but I'm saying, you can't serve two kingdoms; and He's saying the same thing. I'm just repeating Him. The question for us is, which kingdom are we more interested in. Which one each day do we rise and serve—His kingdom or our kingdom? I'll tell you, in my life, too often it's my kingdom; and every day I need to get up and put in my mind God's kingdom and make that first and primary and push aside and push down and make secondary my kingdom.
 
Luke, chapter 13, and verse 25...as I have said before, the Messiah's anticipation...or the disciples' anticipation for the Messiah was at cross purposes to Jesus' mission, to His purpose on earth. Could your desire for Jesus Christ, could my desire for Jesus Christ in our life be misplaced? "Oh, no! I need Jesus in my life. I need Him to help me with my stuff. I need Him to help me with my food, my clothing, my health. I couldn't get through my day in my kingdom without Him." Do you see? Could we misplace Jesus Christ and the need for Him in our life? Could we be working against His purpose, as the disciples worked against His purpose? Notice what He says here:
 
Luke:13:25-28  — "When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying {knock, knock}, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from...'" "Who are you associated with?" in other words.  "Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence at the Passover, and You taught in our streets and in our congregations.' But He will say, 'I tell you I don't know you. Where is it you're from? What kingdom are you associated with?  Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out."
 
These were people calling Him "Lord, Lord." Could you and I be calling Him "Lord" and trying to bring Him in but not be known by Him, at cross purposes to what He's wanting to do in our life? Well, what was Jesus' focus, and what should ours be?
 
An angel had told Mary that she was with child and that she was to call her son "God is salvation. You're to call your son, 'God is salvation.'" Remember that prophecy back in Jeremiah, chapter 23, and verse 6? "His name will be 'Lord, our righteousness' or 'the Lord is our righteousness'." Well, here His name is "God or the Lord is salvation." It's through His righteousness that we are granted, by grace, salvation; and this is the name He was to be given. She named Him that. In the Greek, that phrase comes out "Jesus."
 
In John, chapter 1, verse 11, we see Him come; and...
 
John:1:11 — He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
 
This is interesting. He came as the Messiah, but they didn't receive Him. The Jews focused on the kingdom of Israel, Judah, themselves, the Pharisees, the Sadducees. They had all their politics. They had all their personal agendas.
 
Verses 12-13 — But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God...this is the track He was on...to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
 
You know, when Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, questioned Jesus Christ before His crucifixion, Jesus made the statement [in John:18:36], "My kingdom, MY kingdom...you guys are all about your kingdom...My kingdom is not of this world. It is not of this cosmos. If My kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, they would get involved in things, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
 
Well, that took the wind out of the sails from the Roman governor. If there was no rival kingdom, then Rome didn't have a problem with Him; and so Pilate asked Jesus if indeed He were a king; and Jesus responded [in John:18:37], "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth." A different track.
 
Again, He said, "My kingdom is not of this world...My kingdom is not from here." Have you ever stated those words? Have they become your words? It's been a while now since they have become my words. It's good to think about those words, to internalize them, to go ahead and say them...if not out loud, internally. "My kingdom is not of this world. My kingdom is not from here." Begin to shift away from our personal kingdom over to the Kingdom of God. It's a turning point. It's a mind shift. It's something that's very beneficial, and it's something that's rooted in scripture.
 
Let's go back to Hebrews, chapter 11, to what we call the faith chapter. You're probably way ahead of me on this, but just notice what some of the faithful who are waiting for the return of Jesus Christ felt.
 
Heb:11:13-16 — These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Their kingdom was not from here. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. "My kingdom is not of this world," they said, the felt, they lived. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city, New Jerusalem, for them. It's good for you and me to internalize those words, to make them our words, just like our older brother, Jesus Christ, did.
 
Now let's go to Matthew, chapter 6, verses 9-14, and take a fresh look at the daily focus Jesus Christ wants you and me to have. This is often called the model prayer or the model prayer outline; but let's look at this through the lens of Jesus Christ as the king of a different kingdom, as the door, the way, the truth, and the life, the One who came so that we could have an entry point into the family of God. He says:
 
Matt:6:9 — "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven..." We're not looking at human fathers, human lineages, not Abraham, not some human physical kingdom. We're not looking at our little empire or our family. Our Father, the head of our family, is in heaven.
 
"Holy is Your name." My name is not holy. Your name is not holy. Our kingdom is not holy. You know, it's just aging and getting old like that old truck parked on the front lawn. That's just the way it's going. The old body's following suit. "Holy is Your name." And if we hallow the name of God, one day He will give us His name. But we don't want to hang onto...so now we are focusing on our Father and the name that He has and hallowing it.
 
Verse 10 — "Your kingdom come." Now we might say, "Oh yes, bring your kingdom. We need your kingdom because, well, I'm happy now but I could be happier if it were here." And we start thinking of how we can benefit from the kingdom coming. You know, I think that's secondary. "Thy kingdom come" has been prayed for 2,000 years and the Kingdom of God isn't here yet. So what does another prayer of saying, "Thy kingdom come" mean, unless it means today into my life, again. "Your kingdom..." The entry point is Jesus Christ. "Your kingdom that has laws, that has a king, that has objectives, needs to come into my life. I need the King in my life. I need His laws in my life. I need what that family stands for. I want to be part of that family today. I want to be in the kingdom, even if it's a begotten child, I want to be in that family of God. I need your kingdom today." "Your will be done on earth in my life as it is in heaven, now, today. Help me do Your will. Help me focus on Your kingdom today. Help it be a part of me and me a part of it, as Christ is in me and I am in Christ and we're all in the Father and we're all in each other."
 
Verse 11 — "Give us this day our daily bread." Well, there's the big shift. We love that one. Oh, that's where we get to go to our kingdom. Now we need to fill it with food and clothing and trucks and health. That's where we get to depart and work on our kingdom. "Give me..." all of this stuff we need for our kingdom.
 
Turn with me, if you will, to John, chapter 6...just hold on here for a second. We'll come back. John, chapter 6, and verse 48. We'll read part way to verse 58.
 
John:6:48-51 — "I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever...
 
Verse 57 — "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me."  What kind of daily bread was on Jesus' mind when He said to pray every day, "Give us this day our daily bread"?
 
Verse 58 — "This is the bread which came down from heaven----not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead." He is not focusing on physical bread. "He who eats this bread will live forever."
 
Going back to the prayer at the end, He said, "For Yours is the kingdom." Yours is the kingdom. Today, the kingdom that I need, [the kingdom] that's my focus and it comes from You and it's coming for You, "and Yours is the power" of the Holy Spirit, for us to be able to reach the kingdom, "and Yours is the glory," the glory which You and Jesus Christ have and which You are going to give to us at His return so that we can have that glory forever, the glory of sonship.
 
So, brethren, we see the need for God's kingdom today, and tomorrow and forever, and for everyone. And this is the kingdom that is so important. This is what Jesus Christ said was the pearl of great price which a man would sell everything in his own kingdom, get rid of, to go get this pearl of great price; and he would sell it every day. Every day he would get up and seek first the pearl of great price, the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. That's a great thing that we have the opportunity to focus on. As we conclude, eventually the Holy Spirit came and the apostles understood Jesus' purpose here on earth. Peter finally got it. Peter got up and loudly, proudly, profoundly proclaimed to everybody who would hear, maybe thousands of people, that Jesus was the Messiah. Notice what he said in Acts 3, verses 18-21:
 
Acts:3:18-21 — "But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets..." Remember all those prophecies? Over 50 were completed, fulfilled, by Christ's first coming. Hundreds of them were stated,"But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets that the Christ would suffer..." "Oh, we didn't focus on that. I thought He was going to come and restore the kingdom of Israel." "...He has thus fulfilled.  Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,   whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things...He was here, folks. You missed Him. The Messiah that you've been waiting for 700 years was here, and now heaven must receive Him. He's gone. He's in heaven...heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."
 
Seven hundred years of hoping, 700 years of anticipation and they missed Him. Could you and I be missing Him in our lives, too? It's possible. We can if we're too busy trying to launch a different kingdom than what He is, just like those back then were trying to launch a different kingdom, and they missed Him. They missed His purpose. Instead, let's refocus on Jesus Christ's purpose for coming, His purpose for calling you and me; and that is to "seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." [Matthew:6:33].

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