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Kingdom Minded

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The Kingdom of God is a refuge for the believer and an inspirational hope in a dark world.

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It’s Time to Become Kingdom Minded

I’m grateful to have had Mary Gautreaux with us last week to open up a series of thoughts about the Kingdom of God and the need to be more “Kingdom Minded” than ever before. As the events of 2020 began to unfold and continue into this year, I found many of the beliefs that I held as a citizen of this country to be challenged. It seemed like conventional wisdom was being turned upside down. I was reminded of the passage in the Book of Romans.
Romans 1:18–32 NIV
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
That was a lengthy passage, but I think you can agree that this is a vivid description of the world in which we live. However, it should not lead us to despair.
“Courage! though the skies are clouded,
Blackest clouds will pass away;
Courage! though the future’s shrouded,
All is clear to Him as day;
And ‘His purpose’ shall endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.”—Grosart.[1]
Of course, we know that our hope is in Jesus Christ – not the Red, White, and Blue plus Christ. This is why we must become more Kingdom Minded than ever before! The Kingdom of God is a refuge for the believer and an inspirational hope in a dark world.

The Kingdom of God is Eternal

I hope to encourage you today that, for the believer, the “blackest clouds have passed away” and that “all is clear to Him as day”. If you were here last week, Mary shared with us about the many castles that she saw in Europe. The rulers of Europe were limited in authority and power. They couldn’t support the armies necessary to maintain a vast kingdom. This is not a problem with the King of kings. Let’s go back to a vision that Daniel saw:
Daniel 7:13–14 NIV
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Although the world around us may be chaotic, our King Jesus is not confused, and His Kingdom continues in strength and purpose.
Today we must be more aware of the Kingdom of God than the stock market, the presidency, Executive Orders, and on and on. Fix our minds on the Kingdom. Know the King. Listen to the words of the King….and live!

Realities of the Kingdom

Kingdom Minded People Think About the King

In the years while King David was on the run from King Saul, he surrounded himself with some amazing fighters who were loyal and courageous. In one instance, David wished aloud that he wanted some water from a well in Bethlehem. The problem was that Bethlehem was occupied by the Philistines.
2 Samuel 23:13–17 NIV
During harvest time, three of the thirty chief warriors came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors.
How much is a cup of water worth? But the issue isn’t at all the value of the water, it is the value of the King in the sight of the 3 warriors. What is King Jesus worth to us? Are we willing to do the exceptional for the King?

Kingdom Minded People Understand We are in a Battle

Often when Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God, Jesus would tell a story that had a protagonist and an antagonist (good guy and bad guy). Here are a couple of examples:
[Table would not transfer in]
To Nicodemus Jesus says that you cannot see the Kingdom of God unless you are reborn
What the illustrations I’ve just mentioned have in common is the fact that Jesus is pointing out that we are in a battle. Paul tells the church in Ephesus this very same thing:
Ephesians 6:12 NIV
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Whether it is expressed as birds that steal the seed or proud people not willing to humble themselves to be born again, there is a real struggle that is on-going. We make a big mistake to think that life is all unicorns and rainbows. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German minister during the darkness of Nazi Germany. He wrote this about the cost of grace:
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.
I think he is saying the same thing that we are saying today, there is a conflict going on. The Kingdom of God demands a mindset that realizes the treasure and the cost.

Seek First the Kingdom

Kingdom minded people think about the King and realize that they are in a struggle against the enemy of the Kingdom. There are many other attitudes that we should have and we will look at some of these attitudes over the next couple of weeks. However, I want to remind you of what Jesus spoke…
Matthew 6:33 NIV
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Jesus is saying rather than being like the pagans who are concerned about their physical needs, the citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven should be concerned about and seek after the things of God. He does not say seek for the kingdom which is what Jesus would have said if He was addressing this command to unbelievers. Seek for it to get into it was not what He was saying. He was speaking to those who are kingdom citizens to make the interests of God's kingdom their priority. Kingdom citizens should ponder "Is what I am going to say or do going to advance God's kingdom and glory?"[2]
What consumes you? Have you ever noticed that what you seek you find? If you are tempted to sin [gossip, promiscuity, anger, resentment, drunkenness] we manage to find it. This world is corrupt and the corruption is running rampant. It is time, it has always been time to seek the Kingdom of God. It needs to become our passion!

It is a Beautiful Kingdom!

As we set our body, minds, and spirits to seek the Kingdom of God we will find that it is infinitely beautiful. The Apostle Paul wrote
Romans 14:17 NIV
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
Righteousness – the quality of being in agreement with God’s law
Peace – the state of well-being and concord [unity]
Joy – the experience of gladness
Which World?
"How is your son John doing?" said a pastor to the father of a prosperous young man.
"Oh," said the proud father, "John is doing very well. He is really getting along in the world."
After a moment's hesitation, the pastor asked, "Which world?"
Yes, that is the important question. As you get ready to go to your work in the shop, the factory, the office, or the home, what is your chief interest? Is it merely to make money and enjoy yourself, or is your desire to live your life today for Christ?
Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God" (Mt. 6:33). Put first things first. Your life here will last at best a few years, but the life hereafter will last for eternity. If you have settled your eternal destiny by trusting the Lord Jesus, surely you can trust Him for material things.
What is your greatest desire for today? Is it to please God and lay up riches for eternity? Or is it merely to "get along" in this world?
Jesus said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Mt. 6:19-21). —M. R. De Haan (Ibid)
I am resolved no longer to linger, Charmed by the world's delight; Things that are higher, things that are nobler-- These have allured my sight. --Hartsough To make the most of today, Be Kingdom Minded
[1] Smith, J., & Lee, R. (1971). Handfuls on Purpose for Christian Workers and Bible Students, Series I–XIII (five-volume edition, Vol. 4, p. 204). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
[2] Preceptaustin.org
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