Kingdom Principle: The Kingdom is the measure by which time is tested and made true.
|Haggai 1:15b-2:9||Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21||2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17||Luke 20:27-38|
I’m not talking about murder, but my vows were until death do us part. Marriage was not designed to work in heaven, as it does on earth. And when something does not work and it has no worth, it is time to get rid of it. We will return to the concept of marriage below, but it is as simple as a watch or clock that does not keep time correctly, it is truly of no use. Earlier this year I threw away my favorite G-shock watch I had for over 12 years…. It was solar powered and set by the global time-line…. And because I could not get it to sync, it became a very heavy bracelet and was trashed…. Also the clock in my truck always seems to run fast… I will set it, then in a matter of 6 months, it is about 5-7 minutes fast… so I reset it 2 times a year – While I can learn to adjust the time, it is truly the time that is adjusting me…. However overall – I have learned not to keep time according to the sun, rather (forgive the pun) but by following the Son.
The Kingdom is the true measure of time and sets the standard of time. 2 Peter 3:8 tells us that with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. You can set your life according to the time of the Kingdom and you will always be on time. There is both chronos and karios aspects of time in “this age” – you can review that if you wish – but here the aspect is not about how time moves in “this age”, but rather how you move into the times of “the age to come”. Another angle on this concept is how control, keeps your focus on time in this age, for in the age to come there is no such concept. Many go through life with God in their pocket. This is a reference to your watch or phone which can control your day and set your schedule. If we get fixed on time as it is set in this age, then we will struggle to have freedom in or abide by time that is beyond this age. In the Kingdom we must come to flow with time, living in both this age and the eagerly anticipating and participating in age to come at the same time. Imagine trying to control every aspect of your marriage. Exhausting! And a true waste of time, energy or effort. Once you are in control, intimacy is no longer possible, for the relationship is not longer one of love, rather it is based in fear.
A Quick example of time, control & fear can be twisted by the enemy as a good thing… I used to plan out all the “sermon series” a entire year at a time. I would pray, seek the Lord, discern the needs of the congregation then walk forward in faith. I wanted to control where I was going, (unto the Glory of God) and for me not to have a plan caused a sense of fear about what if I did not do a good job. (A worth issue of performance anxiety) Then God showed me to flow with him and I eventually discovered the lectionary as a tool by which I can move freely. A testimony in light of this, two weeks ago the “sermon insights” lead a friend of mine to a deeply profound revelation that altered a major event that took place in her life. Those scriptures were not picked out by my for her, or in any way because of the events we can see in this world, rather God moved in “this age” with a power from “the age to come”. Yet on that day, at that time, it all coincided to change her life, three days prior to an event that will continue to have a kingdom impact for generations to follow. God’s flow of time is set to move you in this age, so that you encounter the age to come. When you are in the Kingdom of God – which is everlasting – your experience of time is altered to meet God not the other way around. This week we encounter 4 passages that are all about time, both in “this age”, and the “age to come”. But first I want us to be on the same page with the concepts of “this age”, “age to come”, and “resurrection”
“This age” (Mark 10:29-30, Eph. 1:21, Matt 12:32) is the time prior to the return of the Lord. This age is also clearly under the siege of the enemy of God. (1 Cor. 2:6-8, 3:18, 2 Cor. 4:4, Gal. 1:4) “The age to come” is that which follows Christ’s return. (Matt. 13:24-30, 37-43)The “End Times” or focus on events that separate this age and those to take place in the age to come – create controversy and questions for many. I am of the perspective that Christ will return, his Return will not be known ahead of time, His return will only take place once, (which means no rapture, prior to a second coming) and there is not literal 1000 year reign after this return. (Persecution and the signs of the times will intensify until His return) Much more can be said – look here.
Further, I believe in a physical resurrection, meaning our bodies will be raised. I cannot and will not attempt to explain this mystery here – but resurrection is certainly not mere a spiritual experience. (1 Cor. 15:20, 51-54, 2 Cor. 5:1-5, Phil. 3:20-21) What is more is that after the return of Christ, and the resurrection (Acts 24:15, 1 Thess. 4:15-17) there will be a final judgment. (Matt. 24: 3-31; John 5:21-30, 6:39-54, 12:47-48)This judgment will be the final act of all that was in “this age” including the power and thwarting efforts of Satan and those who followed his ways will be cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:10-15) And one final note – that Eternal life beings in this age, not in the age to come. (Luke 17:21, John 17:3)
So – back to the texts this week….
To live in the Kingdom is to have your identity rooted and established in the love of Christ. (Eph 3:14-21)We have seen this over the last few weeks in our Worth. When our worth is redeemed, and salvation is granted unto us… our identity is found in intimacy with Jesus. This intimacy “in this age” is represented through the marriage bed relationship between a husband and wife. (Ephesians 5:8-10, 17-21, 22-33) But “in the age to come” there will be even greater glory in intimacy with God such that the former will no longer even be practiced. This is why those who choose celibacy and not marriage are choosing what is better for they have their focus on the intimacy of the “age to come”. (1 Cor. 7:1-9, Matt. 19:10-12) This same concept holds true throughout all of Scriptures. (Read the book of Hebrews…and track the concept of better/greater) However regardless of where you find yourself, you are at the right time NOW! For now is the moment of engagement for you, and the LORD hears your cry and will save you. This is true now and forever more, for the Kingdom is from Everlasting to Everlasting. All this is because of the Truth that set’s us Free and it is the Spirit of Truth (John 1:14, 8:36,14:15-17) who brings about this work in our lives such that we can stand firm and hold fast.
Your Identity is the Key to your Freedom. The trick of the Sadducees question was that they linked the woman’s identity to her dead husbands, and “if” there was a resurrection (which the Sadducees did not believe in) then how can her identity be given to her from all 7 (number of perfection) husbands. Is your identity formed by this of this age or of the age to come? Steven Covey, in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people– suggests that your center or Identity comes from where you derive your Wisdom, Power, Guidance and Security.
Freedom is found in Self-Control. This means that nothing outside of you – controls you. Since you have been washed and redeemed, buy the Blood of the Lamb (John 1:29)sin no longer is your master. (Romans 6:12-14) Rather the Spirit of God is in you producing the fruit of Self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)This Control is not to avoid doing bad, rather self-control is choose to believe what God says about us, rather than believing or acting on the lies of the enemy. (John 8:42-47, 2 Timothy 1:7, Eph. 2:1-10)
Self-Control moves toward Intimacy by Faith. (Titus 2:11-14) As I abide with Christ and choose (where I choose – I exercise self-control) to be with Him, rather than to be tempted by the addictions of this world, I continue to grow in my trust and faith in Him. This exchange of time with the King, rather than to give into temptations of the world yields an intimacy that moves beyond this age into the next.