The Laws of the Kingdom of God
Jesus said in John 10 that He is the “door” to the sheepfold. John 10:7-11 (NKJV): “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. … If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. … I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.’”Now, years later, I look back at that vision with keener spiritual insight and fuller understanding. I believe we have failed miserably in communicating the fullness of the Gospel. The message of the Church has almost exclusively been focused on the afterlife—“Jesus died for your sins once and for all so you can go to heaven when you die and miss the burning hell. Say these few words, and you are in!”—and doing good works. The Gospel is good news. One well-known minister calls it the “nearly too good to be true news.” Now that stirs the imagination and gives cause for doing some digging! Perhaps if people knew there was so much more to being a Christian than what they have been hearing in the average local church or on television, they would hang around long enough to learn some things, some things that will help them with overcoming in this life and waging spiritual warfare.
Those who have believed will come in through the gate and go on in to find pasture. The atonement—the sacrificial death of the sinless Lamb of God on the cross—paid for our sin penalty once for all and, thus, our entry into the sheepfold, but Jesus never intended for us to take up residence in the door. The Good Shepherd leads us into green pastures. That’s abundant life! There lies beyond the door of salvation a kingdom that is filled with promise and provision when we understand and press on into it. Jesus has already paid the price for that, too. It reminds me of my trips to Six Flags and Epcot Center. When we walked up to the ticket counter and paid our money for a ticket, everything inside that gate was open and available for our enjoyment. We were limited only by our own choices.
Has the charge to make disciples expired? If it has, then part of my Bible is missing! "But where do we start?" you might ask. Well, we could start with the elementary principles of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1-2—repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment—and then learn to be skilled in the word of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action) in Hebrews 5:13, and then practice, by reason of use, having the senses trained to discern both good and evil—to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law (AMP).
The Bible says that as born-again believers we are IN the world, but we are not OF the world. We are citizens of another Kingdom, and that Kingdom has different laws. The laws that the citizens of God’s Kingdom live in are not natural laws, they are the supernatural laws, they are higher laws, they are absolute laws. Where do we find these laws? They are written in the Word of God. When we study the Word of God, the laws of the Kingdom of God are written on our hearts (Heb. 10:16), so that we might not sin against God. How do we sin against God when we are trying so hard to please Him? By coming short of the things that bring glory to God, by not living in faith according to the laws of His Kingdom, by not bearing its fruits. Matthew 21:43 says, “I tell you, for this reason the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the fruits of it.”
We have to stand on the Word of God, no matter how bleak things seem to our natural eyes and ears. When we are brought before a judge because of our faith, we won’t worry about what to say because the laws of the Kingdom will be activated by the Holy Spirit when they are written on our hearts. We must start believing the absolutes of the Kingdom of God and not the relative reports of man. Those relative reports of man that are affected by a fallen world condition or the kingdom of satan can be changed by faith in Absolute Truth (God), His Absolute Word, and what Jesus accomplished on the Cross. Jesus never once considered a natural report, whether it was a lack of wine at a wedding, a huge hungry crowd, a thunderstorm on a lake, the illness of a child and a servant, or the death of a good friend. He addressed each according to the laws of the Kingdom, and the water turned to wine, the people were fed and had food left over, the winds calmed, the child and the servant were healed, and the friend came out of the grave. Jesus was operating within Kingdom Laws!
If we are going to walk in the Spirit, this includes recognizing that we are citizens of another Kingdom. We are not bound by the laws of the natural world when we are walking in the Spirit. This has got to get strong in our spirits and our minds. Let’s truly walk in the Spirit, all the way, in all of the storms of life. Jesus said the works He did, we would do and greater. How many really believe that? Not many, I’m afraid. We need a mind change. We need to stop judging truth by our five senses. We need to put on the mind of Christ and begin to look around us with a Kingdom perspective.
How do we administer the laws of the Kingdom of God? There is no magic formula, no quick-fix. We begin activating Kingdom Laws by being in close relationship with the King. We must be submitted to the King in obedience and humility. I can’t help but remember Joseph who spent 18 years locked in a prison. His only ally was God. As he learned obedience by the things he suffered, he found favor in the eyes of the king. This led to Joseph’s appointment to a position of great authority. Do not think you will gain apostolic power and authority in the Kingdom of God by skipping this process. Only those who are “like Him,” those who have resisted sin and suffered through to obedience, will rule and reign with Him. I suggest a study of James 4.
How did Jesus affect all of the needs that he encountered? He spoke to them, just like God spoke the world into existence. As disciples of Jesus in the Kingdom of God, we activate Kingdom Laws by speaking in agreement with them by faith. We must speak the results we are looking for by “calling things that be not as though they are.” Our right to do so is because we are hidden in Christ in the Kingdom of God. When we speak, God sees Jesus speaking, and all of the laws of His Kingdom will be activated on His behalf. Praise His Name!
In Mark 4, Jesus was in the boat with the disciples when a hurricane force windstorm came and threatened to sink the boat. I think most people miss the fact that the storm came in spite of the fact that Jesus was there; His presence did not prevent the storm. I’m sure everyone on that boat would have gone swimming if somebody had not taken authority over the storm. It was only when Jesus spoke to it in the authority of the laws of the Kingdom that the winds were calmed. Jesus asked the disciples in verse 40 (AMP): Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (even after the miracles they had witnessed on the Mount)? If the disciples had addressed the storm themselves, Jesus could have rested after His long day of teaching.
When will our faith grow to where we can stop being timid and fearful and begin to speak peace, deliverance, and healing to the adverse winds and circumstances around us? Peter even walked on the water as long as he did not doubt. Philip was caught away to another location by the Spirit after baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch. Kingdom laws are absolute. They will not fail. It is our faith that fails us. Many times, because of our timidity and fear, our simple lack of acting allows disasters to happen. I believe we are all given warnings if we will heed them. Sometimes they come in the clarion call of the Word or the prophet, or sometimes in the still, quiet voice of the Spirit. It is vital that we have our senses trained to discern good and evil. For some people, it is easier to believe that the sovereignty of God will take care of everything. From the Scripture above, we can see that the storm happened even though Jesus was aboard the boat. An action was required, a doing of the Word, saying to the mountain.
Two years ago, when I had first moved back to Texas after a decade away, we had a volatile springtime—high winds, flooding in many areas, and tornadoes. I have been in the habit of "speaking to the damaging winds" during storms. One evening, there was an outbreak of tornadoes all around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. There were tornadoes in all of the surrounding areas. The weather was so bad that regular TV programming had been preempted in order to give constant updates. They had just reported that two tornadoes were headed in our direction a few miles away. I looked out the window, and my hanging flower baskets were blowing sideways. I began to speak to the damaging winds and rains to cease and be still in the name of Jesus. I thanked God for His awesome power to deliver. Within two minutes, a weather bulletin came on TV saying that ALL TORNADO WARNINGS HAD BEEN CANCELED. My friends, that is the Kingdom of God at work! I must confess that a few days later, we had reports of some approaching storms with 30 mph winds. I thought to myself, "I don't need to pray for winds that are only 30 mph." I learned a good lesson because the next day, we discovered that a section of our back fence had blown down, and our canvas cabana had taken flight and landed in a twisted up pile in neighbor's yard. Brethren, one ought always to pray! (Luke 18:1).
The Kingdom of God is established upon righteousness, as we find in Hebrews 1:8-9 AMP: “the scepter [royal or imperial power or authority] of Your kingdom is a scepter [rule] of absolute righteousness (of justice and straightforwardness). You have loved righteousness [You have delighted in integrity, virtue, and uprightness in purpose, thought, and action] and You have hated lawlessness (injustice and iniquity). Another translation of righteousness is “being in right relationship with God.” What is right relationship with God? This is yet another law of the Kingdom: He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30). There is not room for two on the throne; one or the other is going to get bumped off. God gives us free choice. If we want to rule our lives, He will step aside. But when I am in charge, most assuredly I am going to mess it up! As I decrease and become more hidden in Christ, He will increase. When I have truly surrendered to my decrease, I can confess, It is not I who lives, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20); I live and move and having my being in Him (Acts 17:28). To have a blessed life in the Kingdom of God, we must give up our life (our own rule) for His sake. If we try to save our comfortable and secure life here, we will sacrifice abundant spiritual life in His Kingdom.
In Mark 4:30-32 (NLT), Jesus asked, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”
The Kingdom of God is a mystery. The mystery is that God gives secret counsel to the citizens of the Kingdom that is hidden from the ungodly who willfully reject the truth. Mark 4:10-12 (NIV) says: When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ”they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!" What does this mean? Remember Joseph. He learned obedience by the things he suffered. Only those who have resisted sin and suffered through to obedience and are "like Him," will be allowed to rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom. People can exercise faith and do some great things ... for a while. But like the seeds that fell on stony ground, it won't last. And it can even do some damage in the process.
There are many paradoxes in the Kingdom of God. We will list a few.
Matthew 16:25: For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 23:12: For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Acts 20:35: It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Matthew 5:38: You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Romans 2:15: The law of God given to Moses was written on tablets of stone, but the law of Christ is written on the fleshy (not fleshly) tablets of the heart as it is made soft and receptive by the working of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 18:3: We do not go to the Kingdom of God as warriors, but as a little child.
Matthew 23:11: The greatest of all is a servant to all.
Matthew 10:39 AMP: In the Kingdom, to go higher, we must go lower. Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].
Matthew 13:12: Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
Matthew 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Jesus emphasized this when He told His disciples at the collection box that the poor widow who put in two mites gave the greatest gift because the wealthy gave from their surplus, but she gave everything she had to live on.
There is nothing that God has not prepared for those who love Him. Do we believe it? Do we trust Him? Do we really know the Word and the power of God? I’m afraid if we did, there would be more signs and wonders in our midst.
From Pastor Jim Mann's Catalyst e-mail:
We can be correct, theologically speaking—minding our biblical Ps and Qs—and still be faithless. We can know the story …… of Peter walking on water – and never get out of the boat,
… of David defeating Goliath – and never go into battle ourselves,
… of Jesus feeding the 5,000 – and never trust God with our loaves and fish.
Let's not be hearers only but doers of the Word, moving in power.