Rom. 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
One of the most noted declarations that Jesus made everywhere He went was, “The kingdom of God is at hand”. He was declaring from the start of His ministry that anyone could now enter into the kingdom of God, and therefore become a partaker of what that kingdom offers. When you look to scripture one of the most insightful verses we have in defining the kingdom of God is what Paul stated here in Romans 14:17.
In this chapter Paul was dealing with the differences people often get into when it comes to their beliefs, even when talking about the kingdom of God. Then he makes a definitive statement that reveals what the kingdom of God is primarily about. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. This week we are going to talk about these three primary elements that make up the kingdom of God and how they apply to us.
Rom. 5:17 For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ!
The first key to the kingdom is without a doubt probably the most important of all. Take a look closely at the above verse of scripture. Notice it clearly states that those who have received the gift of righteousness are to reign in life through Jesus Christ. A couple things to note here, first of all this righteousness is a gift. You cannot earn this because if you could it would not be a gift. Secondly, righteousness means to be in right standing with God. That was all made possible through the shed blood of Jesus Christ that cleansed you of all sin.
When anyone receive Christ as their Lord they of course become born again. All their sin is washed away by that blood. Sin was what stood between us and God, but Jesus as our Mediator came and filled that gap to take away the sin that kept us from Him, and from having right standing with God. Once this was accomplished and someone receives this gift you now have direct access to the Father, and all that the Father has given to you. When we fully understand what it means to have right standing with God, and we get revelation in our hearts of what we now have a right to, life should no longer be reigning over you, but you should now be reigning over life.
All that came into this earth through the sin of Adam should not be ruling over our life. We have now been given the same authority that Jesus Christ has. He gave us this authority over all the works of darkness here on earth, and I am not just talking about demons. He gave us authority over sin, sickness, disease, depression, fear, worry, strife, and on and on and on we could go. When a believer who has been given this position of right standing with God is not reigning over these things, but they in stead are dominating our life, we are not walking in what we have a right to in the kingdom of God that is at hand. This is not something Jesus talked about in our future, but right here and now.
So much of what Jesus died and paid for Christians often put off into the future as to what will be when they get to heaven. Yet Jesus Himself taught His disciples that when they pray they were to believe God that His will be done here on earth just as it is in heaven. What Jesus has already established in heaven we should be walking in here in on earth.
Rom. 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
When Jesus was raised from the dead and then ascended into heaven sitting down at the right hand of the Father, in doing so He became our intercessor between God and us. The easiest way to explain this is the fact that He bridged the gap that once existed between man and God because of sin. The word intercession doesn’t refer to Jesus praying all the time for us, but in fact His presence next to the Father proves that He fulfilled what was needed to bridge the gap between God and us. By faith in what Christ has done for us we can now receive from the Father what He has promised us through the finished work of Calvary! For us to walk in what the kingdom has for us we must understand this righteousness is a gift, and we must know what we now have a right to.
John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The second key element of the kingdom of God is a peace within that you cannot get anywhere else except through Jesus Christ coming into your life by way of the Holy Spirit. Take note here in verse 26 that Jesus is talking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit whom the Father would send to us when He was gone. The very next verse He talks about this peace that He would leave with us that the world cannot give. This peace comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What many believers haven’t learned yet is one of the primary things as to why we were given the Holy Spirit. It was not just so we could have this feeling of inner peace, which we do have, but it was also given to teach us how to be led by God in this life.
Paul tells us that those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. This means God is fathering them. Before the kingdom of God became available to us through Jesus Christ, no one had the ability to be led by the Holy Spirit within for they were not born again. This is a major part of what God has made available and wants for all His children. He does not just want us to go through life trying to figure things out, but wants to give us the guidance and direction that He brings to help us walk out His will for our life. To many have not been taught this very important truth about their walk with God, and they have fallen for the lie that whatever happens in their life must be the will of God for them.
This teaching, which does not line up with what scripture reveals has kept Christians from learning how to follow God’s leading for their life. God wants us to be totally dependent on Him. When you look back to John 14:27 you see here that Jesus speaks of three things referring to our heart. Peace, being troubled, and being afraid. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits as the number one way that God leads us in this life. We must learn to become sensitive to and aware of this inner peace that is in our spirit man, not in our feelings. When we feel within our spirit troubled, which means an agitation, or fear, which refers to timidity, this is God trying to keep us from making a wrong choice. We must learn to tune in to our spirit man and learn to follow this inward peace, and recognize when He is trying to stop us from making wrong choices as well.
Remember the Holy Spirit will bear witness with your spirit, not your feelings. When you are making a choice in line with God’s will, there will be an absolute peace, a knowing within or what some call a green light that you are on the right track. But when your spirit is troubled, like the agitator in a washing machine, or you just sense in your spirit something isn’t right, a timidity within, He is giving you a red light to keep you from making the wrong choice. We must learn to develop our inner man so we can learn to follow this inward witness.
Psa. 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;…
Last but not least we have the opportunity now in entering the kingdom of God to experience a joy that we did not have because we were separated from the presence of the Father. In His presence there is fullness of joy. This joy is something we need in our life every day. It is a joy that will bring great strength to your life. It will help you to maintain a completely different outlook on life. It can only be experienced through close fellowship with God. If we are not experiencing this joy then we are not getting into the presence of our God, with a desire to simply fellowship with Him. May we never forget that the heart of Christianity is having an intimate relationship with our God. There is joy awaiting us in His presence every day.
So the kingdom of God is at hand, it is here and waiting for us to enjoy. We should be reigning in life through the righteousness Christ has given us, we should be led by the Spirit of God through this inward witness that now abides in us, and we should be experiencing the joy of the Lord as we fellowship with our God and enjoy His presence. Child of God wait no longer, the kingdom of God is at hand, enter in!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker