THE OFFER OF THE KINGDOM – A New Lifestyle

We are going to begin in Romans chapter 1, verse 16.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel. What is the gospel? Well, it is the gospel of the reign. “For I am not ashamed of the reign” would be another way to put it.

When Christ comes to rule in our heart, we live differently. We look different. I’m not saying it requires a particular kind of clothing but our countenance is changed because our reign is taken out and everything that goes with self reign and self will; all is removed. And when you think about it, it’s a lot of uncomely things: pride, arrogance, ambition, greed, all of those things that mark self-reign, and self-will.

Self-exaltation, striving for position, a working to get on top, considering my needs as more important than another’s; all of these things relate to self-reign, and self-will. And, when His reign comes, we take on a whole new countenance, we take on a whole new life style; we are unlike the children of the world. And out being like the children of the world, with a carnal mind set, should leave us ashamed.

Jesus, no doubt, came across to many as a wimp. He perplexed those who were His enemies among the scribes or Pharisees, and the council of Israel, because He would not defend Himself. He would not do battle with them. He always answered them with gentleness, even though His words were often very cutting because they were the truth. It was prophesied of Him, “He did not lift his voice in the streets. He would not bend a bruised reed.” (See Is. 42:2-3) He was gentle in all of His ways and all of His character. He was kind. He moved out of love, because He was love. God is love. It isn’t just what He does, it’s how He is. And Jesus lived in that realm. The divine nature was always working in Him. And if you were to look at what that divine nature looks like, for example, in 1 Corinthians 13, “It bears all things, it believes all things.”

An example of this is in the story of His encounter with the woman at the well. She comes up to him, and what was that dialogue where He knew truth? “You’re right, you have no husband. You’ve had five husbands. And the one you are living with is not your husband at all.” He said it in a way that did not put her off. He said it in a way that did not judge her. She did not respond as if she was judged.

Jesus says in John 12, “I did not come to judge.” He did not move in judgment. He did not put them down. He could have, but He did not. Wouldn’t it be something to see that in the church? Wouldn’t it be something, where our countenance and our words and our lives expressed, “We are not here to judge. We are here to bear. We are here to cover. We are here to always choose to believe the best.”

Boy, that’s contrary to much of the carnal life that is in the church. Wouldn’t it be something if we were to choose to believe the best, to choose to hear what we are hearing in the best light, to choose it? I may know that it may not be; I may know it’s probably different. But if I choose, if I choose to believe it in the best light, then there is power in that isn’t there?

Power to Change –

There is in that tremendous power to influence and change. That will happen when we are not ashamed of the reign of God in our heart, if the reign of God is in our heart… You see, when it says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” it is saying, “I’m not ashamed of the reign, I’m, not ashamed of the reign of God in my heart. I’m not ashamed of the life He has called me to. I’m not ashamed to choose the least position. I’m not ashamed to sit at the foot of the table rather than the head of the table. I am not ashamed to wash feet. I am not ashamed to make a young brother, new in Christ, as more important than myself in a meeting.” Is this coming through?

The working of that “I’m not ashamed of the gospel” in us is by choice, not by performance. It’s by choosing His reign. Now hear this: every thing that I have just said you can do by imitation, but you’ll be a miserable person trying to perform all that. You’ll be washing feet and hating the smell. Am I coming through?

But if you have chosen His reign, if you have received His reign, if you’ve surrendered your reign and your will, if you’ve surrendered your life, if you’ve chosen not your life but His, He performs it. There’s peace in that, there’s joy in that, there’s ease in that, there’s an absence of striving in that. And that’s the difference between a gospel of demand, our trying to perform a Christian life, our always trying to be imitators of Christ, rather than participators in Christ. And that is what we’ve been called to. We’ve been called to participate in His life, not to imitate His life. We’ve not been called to manufacture His life. We’ve been called simply to surrender our life, our reign, our will to receive His. That’s the difference between the gospel of demand and the gospel of surrender; the gospel of performance as opposed to receiving the offer.

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11 Responses to “THE OFFER OF THE KINGDOM – A New Lifestyle”

  1. bill (cycleguy) Says:

    I believe one of the “best” things that the new life is Christ offers is a new life. A transformed life is what 2 Cor. 5:17 talks about. Sadly, we are good at Psalm 150 but not so good at Rom.12:1-2.

  2. Jerald Says:

    You are rigtht Bill. For a few minutes once a week we sing a rousing song and may be even lift our hands a little (as long as everyone else is too). We think that’s worship. It is a start but true worship is laying everything we have and everything we are at His feet, even our lives.

  3. marksan Says:

    I see this little exchange as God’s words of encouragement to me. I am speaking at a church tonight at a women’s fellowship meeting’ and have been asked to speak on lifestyle worship, (I was given this topic cos I am one of those who leads folks in our church in songs of praise – ie psalm 150!). My message is basically that worship is not simply what we do in church meetings but effects every fibre of our beings.

    In other words, my message is – we are ‘good at Psalm 150’ but divorce this from our lives as if worship is simply about singing rather than singing being simply one means of expressing our awe and adoration to God, and that ‘true worship is laying everything we have and everything we are at His feet, even our lives.’

    So thanks Bill and Jerald for summing up my talk so nicely-only I’ll take about 30 minutes to say what you have both done in 5 seconds!

  4. Jerald Says:

    Witty,
    It’s very satisfying to know that someone is actually putting to good use the lessons learned on this blog.
    Please let us know how it went in the women’s meeting and what the response was.
    If it’s recorded possibly you can post your message on your blog. Huh?

  5. Jonathan Hutton Says:

    Hi, great to stumble across your blog. Just this week I was struggling with defining what the gospel is, and came to see that it is “The reign of God is here, change your life, believe this message”. I’d never thought of it in these terms before. Great to find you using a similar language here. Looking forward to reading more.
    God bless!

  6. Jerald Says:

    Thanks for dropping by Jonathan. What Jesus said in Mark 1:14 – 15 has been misinterpreted by some for a while. It’s all about who reigns – us or God.
    If you’d like to read these thoughts from the first, just go to “Pages” and start with “1st – …” I think you’ll enjoy the reading.
    Blessings…

  7. marksan Says:

    The talk went well..I think! Got positive feedback anyway but they may just have be a kind group! As for posting the talk..it was recored but am not confident enough to have the sound of my voice out there in blog land just yet! Will probably post a digest of my talk on my blog tho’..

    have a good saturday
    Witty

  8. Jerald Says:

    Witty, I’m glad the talk went well. In my experience, there’s a difference between positive feedback and pats on the back. I’m sure it was the former.
    I can’t wait to read what you had to say.

  9. willohroots Says:

    Amen! Why is this message not in every pulpit? i hope there is a true revival happening, that the Holy Spirit is moving on all our hearts to accept this message you posted with such clarity. this is the Gospel!

  10. Jerald Says:

    Thanks Will. I pray that many will preach it with clarity.

  11. Gerald Collins Says:

    The good news of Jesus was that he was coming to die willingly for the divorced wife that she could be remarried to her

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