Kingdom Principle: Love is the only constant of the Kingdom.
|Jeremiah 1:4-10||Psalm 71:1-6||1 Corinthians 13:1-13||Luke 4:21-30|
The Kingdom of God has been established since the beginning of time. It is better called the Kingdom of the Heavens. Jesus torn the veil of the Heavens and Earth, and ushered the Kingdom into the time and space of humanity. (Heb. 10:19-21) The proclamation of the Kingdom was the core message of Jesus’ ministry. The Kingdom of the Heavens is now present on the Earth, but remains both as an age to come while being in a state of already realized. The reality is that Jesus established his Kingdom on this earth, and he did so by defeating Satan on the Cross. He did this in fulfilling all of the Old Testament prophecies, and bridging that gap that was created by Sin, separating us from God. All this was made complete, so that God might be with us for eternity. Eternity is a reality, but eternal life begins in knowing Jesus. (Eternity without Jesus is eternal death and separation from God – punishment) This post is about the only eternal thing that we can truly touch in this life and world until Jesus Christ returns to make all things new. Love!
We know from the Scriptures that God is love. (1 John 4:16) This week in the scriptures we encounter a more full description of that love. All too often this love has been removed from us as something only God can bring… I argue that while yes – an unconditional love, such as described in 1 Cor. 13 is only from God, however in spending time with God, this love becomes indwelt in us. (last week – I gave a link to a summary of a book called With – the remainder of this post has been heavily influenced by the concepts in that book.) 1 Cor. 13:13 says that faith, hope in love rise above all else and the greatest of these is love. Faith and Hope lay the foundation of salvation in Christ and Love provides the means for gift of life. Love is the greatest for the reason that both faith and hope will have no purpose in the new earth created by God after the return of Jesus. This is where the “not yet” state of the kingdom become itself a realized experience for all those who are found in Christ. Without Faith – one will not see the new creation of our lives on this new earth. (Rev. 21:1-5) Hope is present amongst the trials and struggles of this world, giving us courage as we face fear and death. But after the return of Christ there will be no more fear or death. Therefore only love will be the constant of the Kingdom, that is why it is the greatest.
This is not to diminish the need for or power of faith and hope in our lives. The psalm this week is a picture of faith and hope combined and establishing a life being lived, loved by God. To Jeremiah the words are given… “You must go where I send you, and say what I command you” – this is by faith. And “Do not be afraid” – this is an act of hope. Finally “I am with you” and I will rescue you” – this is the act of love. This love was constant with Jeremiah before he knew it and long after he completes the mission set before him. In this, love is not dependent on his obedience or sacrifice, nor on his own conviction or will. It is God who is love and love is what God longs to “be” with his people. Jeremiah’s role as a prophet to the nations, first to Israel as well as all the kingdoms of the earth was not an easy path. Judgment was to be given before mercy was to be discovered. When Jesus came as a prophet to Nazareth foretelling that the Scriptures had been fulfilled in there healing. He was delivering the mercy of God and delaying the judgment. (This is highlighted by Jesus’ reading of Isaiah 61, where he Luke does not quote Jesus as reading the judgment in that passion, focusing on the salvation.
Jesus makes it clear in the Gospel of Luke that Today, in this moment – Scripture is fulfilled in their hearing… however this was not the message they were expecting to hear, nor did was it delivered in the manner they desired. They wanted judgment to fall on the other nations of the world, and for deliverance to be done through the means of warfare and vindication. Instead they were offered the power of Love to those who were suffering and weak. Jesus tells them that deliverance is not limited to Israel and they will have to look closely at the demonstrations of truth faith and hope which they have overlooked.
Are we ready to encounter God’s Love – TODAY? Are we prepared for our savior to come to us in the clouds?(Acts 1:9-11, Matt. 24:30-31) In this day there will be no other days to come, for this will be the final day and in a twinkling of an eye all things will be made new. That is all things except love – rather that it being made new – in our newness we will be one with God and His love will be experienced intimately, like we have never before.
How has faith or hope been more tangible to you than love?
Whom do you love to be with?
Whom do you struggle to be with at all?
Where might faith and hope play a role in your ability to love those you struggle to be with?