good news

Remembering the Reign

There is a lot of turmoil and confusion in our world today. One does not have to look very far to see battle lines being drawn and emotions running high in the world of politics /culture. From the upcoming presidential election to the issues regarding public bathrooms, there are a lot of a heated discussions and impactful actions occurring. It can be easy to get caught up in such, and it is fairly easy to begin to be either pessimistic and downtrodden or angry and confused....or possibly some combination thereof.

As followers of the Messiah, we are to live in this current world, but not to be of this world. Let us keep ever in our hearts that the kingdom we have joined is not “of this current world” (see John 18:33-38; Matthew 6:10; etc.). Knowing the nature of the reign of God should instill confidence, contentment, and courage in our hearts...if we belong to Him.

“Be subject for the Master's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor (president) as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as slaves of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor (president)” (1 Peter 2:13-17; compare with Romans 13:1-7).

It should to be clear that we are to honor and submit to our governing authorities...whether we personally agree with their decisions (or like them) or not. But if submitting to a civil authority ever conflicts with Divine commands, then we also know how we ought to respond: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29; see also 4:18-20).

Some more important reminders/observations:

Spiritual liberty is far more important than civil liberty (liberties). I am unaware of any passage of Holy Writ discussing the merits of civil liberties. It is righteousness that exalts a nation (read that somewhere in an old book with lots of wisdom)...not political function, structure, or liberty. As odd as it may seem to some, a lack of civil liberty actually breeds commitment among God's holy ones. History (both inspired and non-inspired) abundantly testifies to the way persecution fans the flames of spiritual and numerical growth within the body of the Messiah. Read Acts 4:1-4; 5:41-6:1, 7.

Individual repentance brings a nation back from ruin, not leaders or voting booths. Hearts changed by the good news leads to changed lives – all of which then leads to a changed people. The good news of the King is the Divine power to save and make people right before God (Romans 1:16-17). We will never truly change any nation by our vote (or any kind of political effort)...the only way to truly change a nation is to live within and to proclaim the rescuing reign of Deity.

If Jesus is to truly be our Master, then He must be the Master of every arena of our lives – including the workplace, the grocery store, and the voting booth. May the Messiah be the Master of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  

End of the day truth: Jesus is King of kings...let us strive to be His loyal subjects! May we never be ashamed of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah, for it is the Divine power for deliverance to everyone who believes.    

For His infinite worth,

Gantt     

Are You Engaged? (Philippians 1:27-30)

Well, are you engaged in your Christianity? Are you actively engaged in living for the King of kings? Is your attention intentionally focused upon glorifying Deity, serving His people, and reaching the lost with His kingdom message?

Correspondence

After expressing his gratitude for the ancient Christians in Philippi (Philippians 1:1-11), the apostle Paul describes and explains some current and pressing issues in his life (Philippians 1:12-26). The apostle to the Gentiles then exhorts, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27a). What does Paul mean by living in a way that is worthy of the good news of the Messiah? Can you honestly say such about your life?

It seems that the apostle is encouraging us to behave in such a fashion that corresponds to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6:1-23). We are to conduct ourselves as loyal subjects in the reign of Deity, to live in daily submission to the King. Now that the Messianic kingdom has arrived, let us all turn from sin and start believing in the good news of Jesus (see Mark 1:14-15). Paul says something very similar in his letter to the Ephesians: “As a prisoner for the Master, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1). It truly is a powerful and challenging thought...living worthy of the good news of the cross and of Christianity. Jesus died for us...are we willing to live for Him and to live like Him? 

The term Paul uses to refer to our conduct literally refers to living as a model citizen in a city (see Philippians 3:20). Philippi was a Roman colony, and the Philippians would have been quite familiar with the concept of citizenship and having certain obligations to live up to in being a part of a greater whole. We are to dedicate ourselves to living according to the law of life that is found within the Scriptures of the Messiah.

Cooperation

After telling the Philippians to live in a manner that corresponds to the good news, Paul then explains the purpose as he says, “so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27b). These next few lines focus in on the work of unity within the people of Jesus. A lifestyle that is appropriate in relation to the good news will automatically lead us to standing together and striving together for God's holy truth...even in pagan society.

As Christians, we are to be caring for the needs of, sharing our possessions with, and bearing the burdens of our fellow-workers in the reign of Deity. Our mission should be to spread the good news of Jesus throughout the entire world as a family unit. In fact, the Philippians were participating with Paul in the work of the good news of King Jesus (see Philippians 1:5; 4:10-20).

Courage

“Not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of the Messiah you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have” (Philippians 1:28-30).         

To be continued...

For His infinite worth, 

Gantt