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




We look at the 3rd and 4th 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 third characteristic of kingdom people is that they are Jesus oriented above all else. They love Jesus, follow Him, and desire to be like Him.

This sounds so simple - what all Christians should be!




Sadly, in the church, particularly in 'Spirit filled' streams, people tend to follow a pastor or leader rather than Jesus. The reality of this is seen when a pastor falls. People leave the church and many leave God too. Also, pastors have the almost impossible job, of placating people who are there to have there own needs met, rather than to surrender all to Jesus.

This 'king' style leadership (often initiated by the people rather than the pastor) has led to the church operating in a non-biblical way. You see, our church system today, both in organisation, and often in preaching too, does not follow the teachings of Jesus, nor the pattern of the New Testament church.




This leads to all sorts of problems for kingdom people within the church as others do not understand why they are not prepared to 'follow the system'.

When church leadership have differences pointed out to them by kingdom people, these people are told not to be rebellious, to be real, to be pragmatic rather than idealistic. We must keep 'bums on seats', we can't offend people, hierarchy and rules are necessary to keep 'good order', etc., etc..

The natural tendency of man (more so than woman!) is to take the church back towards the that of the Old Testament with its formal structure and hierarchies, overlaid with a message of wellbeing and success when one accepts Jesus as Saviour.

However this is not the real message, or example, of Jesus.




The message of Jesus was one of both repentance and love. The example of Jesus was both forthrightness when dealing with sin (particularly so to the 'religious' people), coupled with grace, love, humility and servanthood (to the will of the Father and to serving others). This resulted in personal hardship, finally ending in death on the cross. He was opposed by the Romans, the religious hierarchy and often, the common people too, when He taught that their way of life was ungodly. The apostles too, faced similar challenges in their lives, with all except John being martyred for their faith. Following the example of Jesus is not an easy life!




When the New Testament church was formed, it was relational not organisational, organic not structured, family not hierarchical. And it seems, the church in Jerusalem, at one stage had 5,000 odd adherents, so size is not an excuse for excessive formality.

Again, when kingdom people draw attention to 'non-Jesus', unscriptural activities in the church, they receive the same reaction He did! This has been true, down the ages. Consider Wesley, Booth, Finney and many other great 'revivalists' who preached it as it really is! Effective? To many - yes! Reviled? By many also!

Preaching is a hugely difficult thing to do in the image of Jesus! I wonder why so many want to do it! But then, I am human also, and in the natural can understand the desires and status that accompany it. Paul also understood the problem and gave the answer:



2 Corinthians 4:5



The consequences of preaching a wrong message are dire!



Galatians 1:8



My friend (I hope you still are!), do me a favour. Please take the time out to read right through the 4 Gospels, putting aside preconceptions, theology etc., and simply absorb Jesus, His character, His life, His teachings, for He comes alive through them.

It could change your life. It will revolutionise your ministry.

Are you prepared to take the risk?





A fourth characteristic of those who truly seek the kingdom is loneliness. Loneliness not only from worldly non believers, but also from most fellow Christians.

This is not being super spiritual or elitist, but simply stating reality of those who desire a deeper spiritual walk.

Nor is it unique to today. Rather, it is a common characteristic among the 'spiritual greats' of the Old Testament from Noah, who was rejected by his contemporaries when building the Ark, to Moses, isolated for 40 years in the desert, to the prophets in general who loved their people, yet God more, as can be seen in the unpopular messages they gave and the inevitable negative responses they generally received in return.

Jesus Himself often withdrew from society too.



Luke 5:16



While it is great to have the support of others, ultimately the walk of the cross is one which we must do by ourselves, just as Jesus experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane, in personal agony while His disciples slept.



Matthew 26:36-40



Yes, His ultimate experience of the Cross was walked through alone.




The Tabernacle of Moses was a pattern of the church today.

The people could come in through the symbolic gate of salvation to the Outer Court of repentance.

Smaller numbers (the priests) entered the Holy Place, symbolic of entering into the realm of the Holy Spirit.

However, only one man, the High Priest was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of God Himself.




While Jesus 'positionally' opened the doorway for us into the Most Holy Place, symbolically shown when the veil in the Temple was supernaturally ripped from top to bottom. Not many however, choose to 'experientially' enter that place of total submission to the will of the Father, to let Him take over their life.




In a general sense, we can be saved, baptised and join a traditional or evangelical type of church. We can be filled with the Holy Spirit and participate in a charismatic or pentecostal fellowship. But there is no formal way of entering into the kingdom, the bride, the overcomers, or however you wish to describe the final church of God. For this is a personal matter between you and God.

A walk by oneself. A walk of trial and testing. A walk not understood by the majority of Christians who are content with salvation itself or with the addition of Holy Spirit release.

That great servant of God, A. W. Tozer, expresses this far more eloquently than I.

The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another. He seeks to persuade people to give all to his Lord and asks no portion or share for himself. He delights not to be honored but to see his Saviour glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his Lord promoted and himself neglected. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and overserious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else. He learns in inner solitude what he could not have learned in the crowd that Christ is All in All, that He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that in Him we have and possess life's summum bonum.

If you find yourself in this position today, be encouraged, for you are not alone. There are others experiencing the same personal isolation as you. And, of course, our God is our greatest friend, more than we could ask for or need.





With a look at the fifth and sixth characteristics of kingdom people.





It is sad but true that if we truly have a heart for following Jesus our walk will most likely be a lonely one. For few understand. Most think we are extreme. Except Jesus of course!

Historical Overview

The Role of Women at the Time of Jesus

In her own domain, a woman's religious and social status was high, but in the eyes of the Law she was inferior, being coupled with minors and slaves in the rabbinical writings of the Mishnah. Her ineligibility to perform in public religious life is reflected in the ancient synagogue prayer: 'Blessed art thou, O Lord God, king of the universe, who hast not made me a woman.'

Source: Bible History Online.



So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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