Which Kingdom Do You Belong To?

Photo by Nils Nedel on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew 17. As you’re turning, let me ask you:

What is the greatest threat that faces America today?

Some would say “The Coronavirus”. Yet more people die of cancer every year than those who die of Covid-19. Dr. Beatrice Tiangco, director of The Medical City’s Augusto P. Sarmiento Cancer Institute, compared COVID-19 and cancer. She noted, “The COVID virus has a life span of less than a month. It dies on its own — usually in seven to 10 days — without treatment.” As to the cancer cell, she noted, “{Cancer} does not know how to die. Only surgical removal, chemotherapy and radiation can kill it. If you do not kill or remove every last cancer cell in the body, the remaining ones will grow again, sometimes more aggressive than before”(found here).

Some would say “Socialism”. Many young people have grown up in colleges that pushed Marxism and Socialism. Many of our politicians today are openly supportive of Socialism and Communism. I have to admit as a retired military man, this mentality frightens me. I have seen Socialism and the anguish it brings first hand. I pray that as a nation we never go this route. Is this our greatest threat? Well,

Others would say “Racism” or “Systemic Racism”. Though I’m not going to argue this point, I do find it interesting that such a racist nation as America would elect a black man, Barack Hussein Obama II, the 44th President of the United States (2009-2017). I do believe there is a racism, because we ALL are sinners who fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). I do not believe that we can effectively legislate racism out of the human heart. This is something that only God in Christ can do. Oh, that we would all come to Christ, for in Christ all are my brothers and sisters, regardless of color!

These are all big problems that face our nation, but I believe the biggest problem we face is the loss of Christian Identity. The Christian is to be …

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

The Church is the “light of the world” because it reflects the way and teachings of Jesus Christ, “THE Light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5). Jesus told us to:

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The Church is to be doing good works for Jesus, shining in this present dark world.
The Church is NOT to be one with the world.

The Church will NEVER be one with the world, not and be the Church. The Church is IN the world, but not OF the world. The great Evangelist Billy Graham wrote in the article, “In the World, But Not of It”:

The Bible says in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world.” The Bible teaches in Galatians 1:4 that, “[Christ] gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age [cosmos].” In other words, the world was such a great danger to our souls that this danger caused Christ, the Son of God, to go to the cross to deliver us from it.

Throughout the Bible, the lines are definitely drawn between the world of unbelievers and the world of the children of God. “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Jesus Himself said, “The world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14-16). Again Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

The Bible also teaches that the Christian will face opposition in the world. “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution,” said the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:12.”

God Loves Everyone, And Proves it In Christ

Matthew 17:22-23 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 23 and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

When Jesus first walked this earth, those who followed Him thought that He would overturn Rome and return a son of David back to Israel’s Throne. Jesus will do this one day, but first our Lord came to make payment for our sins. Jesus knew Who He was, and why He was here. Jesus started telling His disciples of His impending death, burial, and resurrection. After Peter acknowledged Jesus as “THE Christ, THE Son of the Living God” the Bible says:

Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

And again,

Matthew 17:12 I say unto you, That {Elijah} is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they {wanted}. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

John the Baptist, whom Jesus likened to Elijah the Prophet, was killed for preaching Christ. Jesus Himself, the Son of Man, will also have to suffer. Did you know that around one third of the New Testament is focused on the last week of the life of Christ? Why is this so important? Because we are sinners, and God is holy. Jesus had to suffer for our sins. He had to bear the brunt of our punishment. The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Jesus Christ gave His life for the sis of the whole world. The racist is a person who is not saved, for Heaven shall be many colored. John the Revelator looked into Heaven and saw the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ being worshiped by the elders of Heaven:

Revelation 5:9-10 … they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Heaven shall be populated by believers in Christ of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation. As that old song goes:

Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight!

No person shall have dominance in Heaven but the Son of God. We make much of color among humanity, but Christ makes much of faith.

When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, believing that He died for our sins and rose again for our justification, then God brings us into His Family, the Family of God. The Bible says:

Galatians 3:24-29 … the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Once you received Jesus Christ by faith, trusting His work on Calvary for your lives, then the Spirit of God came and adopted you into the Family of God.

Romans 8:15 …. ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Jesus Christ died for you, dear Christian, to take you out of darkness, and to bring you into the Light of God. You no longer belong to Satan. You are no longer of the blood line of Adam. YOU ARE GOD’S POSSESSION. YOU ARE GOD’S CHILDREN. The Father has, upon our faith in Jesus,

Colossians 1:13-14 … delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

When the Disciples heard Jesus talk of His impending death the Scripture says:

Matthew 17:23 … they were exceeding sorry

They could not understand why the Master had to go to Calvary. But we, today, understand why. God shed His Son’s blood to build the Family of and Kingdom of God. We who are saved belong to God now. We do not belong to this world. We belong to Jesus!

Do The King’s Kids Pay Taxes To The King?

Matthew 17:24-25 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 25 He saith, Yes. …

Word Study When Jesus and his band of disciples came to Capernaum, the Publicans quickly found them. The Publicans were hired by Rome to insure that all people payed their taxes – what the King James calls “tribute”. This is the Greek word δίδραχμον dídrachmon, (pronounced did’-rakh-mon), which means a double-drachma or half a shekel. This wasn’t a great deal of money, but it was a tax that citizens were to pay to the King or to Caesar. When asked “Don’t Jesus pay taxes?”, Peter immediately answered “Yes”. But Jesus questioned Peter. He asked Peter:

Matthew 17:25 … of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

The children of the King never pay taxes. Only those who are not in the family pay taxes. Peter answered Jesus:

Matthew 17:26 … Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

Jesus’ children – saved by faith in Him – are not primarily citizens of this world. We are citizens of God’s Kingdom. Our King is Jesus Christ. Jesus said that, technically, the children are free. Jesus Christ is the Way to God (John 14:6). Jesus Christ is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). We do not belong to this world, but to another world, a great spiritual realm.

And yet, we still live in this world. Though the children are free, Jesus told Peter:

Matthew 17:27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

As Christians, our primary allegiance is to the Kingdom of God. The children are free. However, as citizens of this earth we do pay taxes lest we offend them. Jesus had Peter and His disciples do an extraordinary thing in order to pay that tax. Jesus was showing us our God has limitless resources, and that He will meet our needs. What did the Apostle say?

Philippians 4:19 … But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Jesus Christ is THE Son of God, come from Heaven to save us. When we receive Him as Savior and Lord we become sons of God.

Galatians 4:4-7 … when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

The Son of God gave Himself for us, so that we, believing in Him, can become sons of God. God takes care of His children. By having His disciples – mostly ex-fishermen – go fishing for the money, Jesus is showing us that God our Father will ALWAYS meet our needs in this life. We just need trust Him. As the Church of Christ we must always remember that we are called to God’s Kingdom FIRST. If you are saved then God calls you to serve HIM first, His Kingdom THEN the kingdom you find yourself in. The Apostle said:

Philippians 2:12-16 … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 holding forth the word of life

The Church and the Christian always stand separate from the darkness of the world. We are the Light of Christ. We are to shine for Jesus, always holding forth the Word of Life.

Value In The Kingdom Of God

As Jesus has been talking about kingdoms, now the disciples question Him.

Matthew 18:1-4 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Our Lord Jesus loved children. He said:

Matthew 19:14 {allow} little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus now uses a little child to describe the Kingdom of Heaven. The disciples want to know how they can achieve GREATNESS in the Kingdom of Heaven. How can we please the Father?

  1. Jesus called a little child unto him”. You please the Father when you hear Jesus calling your name, and you come unto Him. You must come to Jesus when called. Jesus said:

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Jesus said, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (John 7:37).

God has done everything He can do to bring you into His family. But there is something you must do. When Jesus calls, you must come. The Pharisees, the keepers of the Law, kept coming to Jesus to reject and persecute Him. And yet Jesus kept on trying to reach them. Jesus told them:

John 5:38-40 … {you religious Pharisees} have not {the Father’s} word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

When the child heard Jesus call, he ran into His arms. The child did not linger where he was, wondering what his playmates might think. He came when Christ called.

  1. and set him in the midst of them”. Jesus put this called child “in the midst of them”. No Christian is saved individually to walk with God individually. We, once saved, become a part of God’s Kingdom. We become a part of a local Church, a group of believers who love the Lord and serve the Lord together. The Bible says:

Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

A local Church is a body of believers who, like little children, have humbled themselves to God in Christ. We come together to love and support one another, encouraging one another in the faith. We provoke one another to love and good works, serving God our Father for the glory of Jesus.

Matthew 18:3 … Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven

We are to believe with the faith of a little child. We are to trust that our God will care for us. He will, you know. Our God gave the most for us at the Cross of Calvary. Will He not now care for us? As the Apostle said:

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

God loves us, and will care for us as a good Father will do. We came to Jesus when He called. We believed that He died on Calvary for our sins. We hold that His Word is true, and trust Him to lovingly care for us as we go through this life.

Child Of God, You Belong To Jesus!

Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Beloved, the Church must re-discover the Kingdom of God. We must get back to what the Lord has told us, back to the Bible. If we will, God will protect us, and help us move mountains as we promote His Kingdom.

We must back away from the devil’s devices. We are not of this world. We are of a higher world, a greater world, and Jesus Christ is our King. God promises to protect us. When He said:

Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Christ looks after His children. He will not fail us. He will protect us. So let us, as His children, draw near to Him, and to His Word. Let us live our lives to honor Him, not to please the world. May God touch your hearts with His Word and Spirit. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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