Changes God requires in His church today in order to produce the perfected 'bride of Christ'




We commence the final part of our study on the Transformation of the Church, by looking at the characteristics of kingdom people.







The full background to this teaching is available online at this link
DEFINITIONS (For serious students only)



Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue







The primary teaching throughout the church today is 'come to God and your life will (at least) improve or become very successful.'

However, this is not the true message of the Gospel. We are to come to God because we are sinners who need to repent. Repentance is to be the core of our faith, and is to be outworked in a changed life. It is no good simply being sorry about our sin. True repentance is putting sin behind us and walking in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately, I have found that the brokenness required by God in my life in order to transform me into the image of Jesus comes primarily from failure rather than success. From the valleys of life rather than the mountain tops.

Jesus said:



Luke 20:17-18



This is why the message of the kingdom today in no more popular, probably even less so, than it has ever been. To inherit the kingdom we must let go of ourselves, our own precious traits, our own personality, our own desires and ambitions, even our own wallets(!), in order to be molded by the Father, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit into the image of Jesus.

Brokenness comes through trial and tribulation, through failure, through a real need of God, for He is all that we have left.




Brokenness too, comes in stages. It is not a single experience which we go through and come out the other side 'smelling of roses'. For, like peeling an onion, our human personality has to be peeled off, with tears, layer by layer, in order that God may penetrate and fully take over our lives.




To show you that this is not just me, I quote from a very mature (age and nature) man of God, Ron Mc Gatlin: Visit www.openheaven.com

God is preparing a holy people. If you are enduring the pain of failures in life you may be on the road to holiness.

The cost of victory is often the pain of failures. The price of holiness is the laying down of self which may involve failures in natural life. Failed dreams, failed business endeavors, failed relationships, failed ministries and other failures are painful tolls paid along the road to the victory of true holiness. These can all be a part of the return of mankind from natural existence in a fallen world into pure holy spiritual life in the higher realm of holy supernatural heavenly living.

Often those of us who seek God with our whole hearts will encounter the failure of our past lives. All that we honored and trusted in to provide what we needed and wanted in life crumbles along the road to holiness. It is like there are toll booths along the road. At each toll booth we must pay the painful cost of more failure in our old natural lives. In the seasons between toll booths we enjoy increased holiness as God fills the void created at the previous toll booth. We feel really good until we approach the next toll booth where more cost must be paid. Another failed area of natural life brings fresh pain. It is hard but the price must be paid if we are to continue on the road to holiness. Again, we feel the pain of death as more of our old life is handed over at the toll both. And again we have more of God and less of us and less of our old natural lives as we move on down the road.




Money, status, position, ministry or church size, even volume of good works, are worldly measurements of success that belong in the realm of kings, not that of the kingdom.

Holiness costs! Kingdom living costs! Costs everything! Costs our life! Maybe literally as well as spiritually! Requires ongoing change! Ongoing repentance! It is not easy! Extremely hard even! But the result of becoming more like our Saviour and Lord, Jesus, is surely worth the cost. Isn't it?

I haven't fully got there yet. Yet more layers to be stripped and tears to be shed! But I am prepared to pay the price.

How about you?





A second characteristic of kingdom people is a love for the Word of God. They read it, absorb it, and apply it.

This is only natural, as the Bible is all about Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.


John 1:1-2



In Old Testament times, under the Aaronic Priesthood, the priests were the ones who had access to the written law and would convey it to the people.  



Jesus came as the fulfillment of the Law, introducing the Age of Grace. His personal teaching is recorded in the four Gospels. The Gospels reveal the heart of both His message of love and of His life of obedience to the Father's will. Unfortunately today, we emphasise the message and largely overlook the life Jesus led!



Matthew 15:17-18



Paul, in particular, having been brought up a good Pharisee, took the teachings of Jesus and molded them into a basic theology, laying out the primary tenets of the faith.




Of course, it took time before the Bible, including the New Testament, was finally compiled, by the Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea, in approximately AD337.




Then followed a period of 1100 years or so when the church basically went back to the old priesthood system, largely of necessity, as there was no way of printing the Bible during those times. The priests read (and interpreted to their advantage) the Bible to the people, most of whom could not read and write anyway, let alone understand the Latin in which the Bible was written.

At that time, Bibles were made one by one by legions of monk scribes in monasteries. Each one was a work of art. And they were very expensive. Only nobility, or maybe well off merchants, could afford to have one made for themselves.




In the 1400's this started to change. The first English Bible translation was written. Details from Wikipedia follow.

Born c.1320s
Ipreswell, England
Died 31 December 1384 (aged about 64)
Lutterworth, England

John Wycliffe (pronounced /ˈwɪklɪf/; also spelled Wyclif, Wycliff, Wiclef, Wycliffe, Wicliffe, or Wickliffe) (mid-1320s – 31 December 1384) was an English theologian, translator and reformist. Wycliffe was an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. He is considered the founder of the Lollard movement, a precursor to the Protestant Reformation (for this reason, he is sometimes called "The Morning Star of the Reformation"). He was one of the earliest opponents of papal encroachment on secular power.[1]

Wycliffe was also an early agitator for translation of the Bible directly from the Vulgate into vernacular English in the year 1382, now known as the Wycliffe Bible[2]. It is believed that he personally translated the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament.[3] Wycliff's Bible appears to have been completed by 1384,[4] with additional updated versions being done by Wycliffe's assistant John Purvey and others in 1388 and 1395.[5]




In the next century, mass distribution became possible with the invention of the printing press, the first Bible being published by Johannes Gutenberg around 1447.

This distribution of the Bible in the languages of the people gave rise to the Reformation, around 100 years later.




Of course today, we in the West own so many Bibles, so many translations, that most of us no longer truly appreciate what we have. Of course, this does not apply to so many believers in the rest of the world, to whom the Bible remains a very precious possession, if indeed they have one at all.




I have found that those who have a desire to become like Jesus are particularly drawn to the 4 Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, for in these writings the real heart and life of Jesus can be seen. Each Gospel is authored from a different perspective, relating to the understanding of a particular people group. Matthew is written from a Jewish perspective, Mark to the Romans, Luke to the understanding of the Greeks and John to Gentile believers. From the combination of all four, we still today, can get a beautiful picture of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Since the days of Paul, both prior to and after the Reformation, man has built many varying theologies that have led to the divisions in the church we see today.

Kingdom people however, are seeking not a new theology, but rather, to be the light of Jesus to the increasingly dark world we live in today. As Jesus Himself said:



Matthew 5:14-16



Kingdom people are not particularly interested in theological arguments, but rather, in living the life of Jesus they see reflected in the precious Word of God, their Bible, which they know well through constant reading.





We will look at the 3rd and 4th characteristics of kingdom people.





Truly getting into God is not easy! It takes time and sacrifice of self.

In this day and age of instant gratification, few are prepared to make the effort.

But it is worth it!

Historical Overview

The Mishnah and Talmud

The later expositions on the Mishnah by the 'Amoraim' (Expositors ) of Palestine and of Babylonia were known collectively as the Gemara (Completion). The combined text of the Mishnah and the related Gemara is known as the Talmud. These Pharisaic traditions form the basis of orthodox Judaism today.



So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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32. To believe in God is good, to hear from God is great, but to obey God reaps the ultimate reward.

David Tait         




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