Kingdom Ethics-part 2
Notice: On Monday we posted part one of the study titled Kingdom Ethics, and as promised we are posting Kingdom Ethics part 2, we will pick up the study at Hope of the MESSIAH.
1. Hope of the Messiah
Hope for meaning in life is something for which all humans search. Hope is the belief that at some point there will be an improvement in the conditions of life and circumstances. The trap individuals often fall into is the belief that they can find hope for meaning in life in the possession of material things.
The appearance of a Savior was the only way for human beings to truly have hope. Even today there are no political, educational, economic, or medical solutions to the spiritual problems-deep in one’s soul.
Paul clearly established that “men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness…. are without excuse” (Romans 1:18, 20). Yet individuals have a tendency to suppress the truth about the real condition of their hearts. Because of the human need God extends salvation through the work of the Cross. Anyone who so chooses may experience the new birth and enter into the kingdom of God.
A. Waiting For The Messiah
Only the Book of Luke gives the account of Simeon. (See Luke 2:25–35.) He was just and devout and had spent his life waiting for the Messiah. By his actions and attitude, this righteous man was obedient to God’s commands and conformed to His will. “It was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26). While he waited, Simeon went about his daily duties, living a righteous life according to God’s law.
The Spirit of God continues to work in the same manner in our times, bringing revelation and illumination to our minds to see certain aspects of what God is doing. As we wait for Jesus’ second coming, we are to go about our daily lives, living according to His precepts in order to be ready for the Rapture.
Simeon was dedicated to God and lived righteous life. We need the same manner of devotion in our day. Our churches need believers who champion the ardent devotion the Lord called for. Holiness of life, separation from the world, devotion to prayer and fasting, and serving in the house of the Lord are important matters that still make a difference.
The challenge of the North American Apostolic church is the huge number of distractions that, if allowed, can intercept one’s desire for God. Social media, entertainment, the mentality of entitlement, and the nonchalant approach to God and spiritual matters hinder the blessings God desires to give. We must be vigilant and give great consideration to the large time blocks being gobbled up by what some may see as the “good life.” Simeon made clear, well-defined choices in his day, and we should find encouragement from his examples to do the same in our day.
B. Introduction Of The Messiah
The event of Jesus’ baptism and John’s public proclamation helped to signal the beginning of the kingdom Jesus had in mind. When John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God, he expressed the purpose of Jesus’ ultimate mission: to die to provide atonement “for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2).
1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
C. Discovery Of The Messiah
When the people heard Jesus speak, they began to follow Him. When we follow, we embark on the path of discipleship, which means there is a willingness to let the Lord have complete control of our lives.
Followers of Jesus Christ are expected to develop certain disciplines. Scripture points us toward prayer (Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2), thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 1:12), and forgiveness (Matthew 6:14–15; Ephesians 4:32). While there is no way to express the whole scope of discipleship, Titus 2:11–13 provides a summary. A true disciple is one who will deny ungodliness, forsake worldly desires, and live soberly, righteously, and godly while looking for the blessed hope of the return of the Lord.
2. The Purpose Of The Messiah
The Book of Isaiah was written around 735 bc. The fulfillment of prophesies in Isaiah provides evidence of the accuracy of the Holy Bible. We can place our trust in the fact that all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God (II Timothy 3:16–17). In a day when the Bible has many detractors, we can point to Isaiah’s prophecies about a Savior and King who would appear on this earth.
Isaiah 61 points to the work of Jesus Christ. No other Old Testament book, except the Book of Psalms, has the richness of character in describing the work of the Messiah.
A. Roles Fulfilled
In addition to the observations above, Isaiah 61:1–2 focused on some specific roles Jesus Christ would fulfill during His earthly ministry:
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Isa 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
The anointing that rested on Jesus Christ was for the purpose of preaching good tidings. The Lord was pointed and clear in His preaching and teaching. While only a small portion of the Lord’s ministry is recorded in the Bible (John 21:25), it seems that the majority of His time was spent ministering to people.
The church today should embrace anointed teaching and preaching because this is the manner in which the Lord intended for His church to be fed (John 21:15–17). The ministry should be committed to bringing the truth of Scripture to congregations that must hear the life-giving message. Conveying truth follows the example of Jesus and is what Paul asked of Timothy (II Timothy 4:1–5).
B. Messianic Roles Not Yet Filled
Isaiah’s prophecies spoke of One who would be both Savior and Judge. Some prophecies were fulfilled with the coming of the Messiah, but the prophecies also spoke of a coming day of vengeance to those who reject God. That day of vengeance was not fulfilled during Jesus’ ministry on earth. This is often referred to as the Day of the Lord.
True worship at the deepest level will always be motivated by gratitude. When individuals meditate on what it means to have the acceptable year of the Lord preached to them, they should shout, “Hallelujah! Thank God for saving me!”
3. The Message Of The Messiah
Few details of the early life of Jesus are given in the Gospels. Other than His dedication in the Temple and the incident of His parents accidentally leaving Him in the Temple where, at age twelve, He confounded the religious leaders, we have no insight into His life before His baptism.
A. Messiah’s Inaugural Address
Following Jesus’ baptism and His victory over the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, Jesus began His ministry in Galilee, in northern Israel. He quickly became popular among the people. Large crowds gathered to hear His teaching.
When Jesus went to Nazareth, His hometown, He went into the synagogue and stood up to read. He opened the Book of Isaiah and read:
Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luk 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
After He closed the book and sat down, He made a claim that sent shock waves through the audience. “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”
B. Reaching The Marginalized
Jesus settled into a pattern that could be a challenge to today’s Apostolic church. He did not seek out the bold and the beautiful but rather those who were the misfits of society. Sadly those who have means and talents often rely so much on their personal abilities that they feel no need to address the deep spiritual needs within.
The Lord came to seek and to save the lost, and the same mandate is for today’s Apostolic church. If the church is to be viable and strong in our world, the same prevailing purpose has to capture us. Paul noted that not many wise or noble people populated the church, but rather the weak and foolish (I Corinthians 1:26–29).
C. Challenging the Status Quo: the Sermon on the Mount
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus endeavored to bring true happiness to the lives of His listeners. Nine times in the Beatitudes, He used the word blessed, which can be translated “happy.”
It is joy that comes from an unerring trust in God. It is a radical call to freedom from this world’s insights and philosophies. This was the message the Lord was anointed to preach to those who would follow Him.
This concludes this study on Kingdom Ethics, we pray that this study has Blessed you and that it has in some way helped to strengthened your walk with the Lord, on Monday we will start our study on “BEATITUDES” Have a Blessed Day In The LORD!