Monday, September 16, 2013

What GOOD Thing Shall I Do?

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall 

exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, 
ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. 

(Matthew 5:20)

Living in the Kingdom of God requires a new lifestyle that is governed by the laws established by God.  However, life in the spiritual Kingdom affects the quality of life in the visible world. 

The lifestyle of the Kingdom of God is exactly opposite of the 
lifestyle of the natural kingdoms of the world

It is different in both structure and principles. 

When you enter the Kingdom of God it is like immigrating to a new country. You must learn a different culture.  In the natural world, "culture" is the behavior patterns which govern life in a given society.  Jesus told the Jews that the test of possessing the Kingdom was bringing forth the fruits thereof.  

Therefore say I unto you , The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  (Matthew 21:43) 

The fruit of the Kingdom is that which is outwardly produced by the inward life flow, just as fruit on a natural tree is the outward product of the flow of life within. If you are a resident of the Kingdom of God it will be apparent in your visible lifestyle.  In the Kingdom of God everything, including yourself becomes new:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold , all things are become new.   (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It is important to know the principles which govern life in the Kingdom of God because you must live by kingdom principles to maintain residency.  Although repentance is the first requirement for entrance to the Kingdom, there are definite requirements to maintain residency after being born into this spiritual realm. Jesus said:  

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.   (Matthew 7:21)  

The will of the Father, revealed by Jesus Christ, was that believers be governed by the laws of the Kingdom.

Jesus said kingdom principles are important and should be our primary concern.  We don't worry and fret over the cares of the world.  

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  Luke 12:29-30 

Jesus taught that the Kingdom should be the primary concern of life. He concluded with this statement:  

But rather seek ye the Kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.  (Luke 12:31)  

If you seek the Kingdom first . . .  its principles, its lifestyle, its Gospel . . . then all other necessary things in life will be provided.

To reign in the kingdom of God we must know its principles!  

Apostle Paul lets Timothy know that entrance into the kingdom comes with a struggle. 

 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:  2 Timothy 2:12

Believers will reign with Jesus in the future Kingdom of God. To "reign" means to "rule with power and authority." If you are to reign with Him, you must know the laws which govern the Kingdom.

A foundation in the natural world is the underlying structure on which something is built. Whenever men erect a building they must first lay a proper foundation. The foundation supports the superstructure or the visible building.   

The foundation of the Kingdom of God 
and its governing principles is righteousness.  

But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy Kingdom. (Hebrews 1:8)

A scepter is a rod or wand held in the hand as an emblem of power or authority.  The authority or power of the Kingdom of God is righteousness. It is not the righteousness of self-improvement or religion. Jesus said,  

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter i
nto the Kingdom of Heaven.  (Matthew 5:20)

The Scribes and Pharisees were religious leaders in the time of Christ's earthly ministry. Their spiritual experience was founded in their own attempts to be righteous. They had many rules, regulations, and traditions which governed every area of life.  The righteousness upon which the Kingdom is built is the righteousness of God. We are told in the word of God,  

The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.(Proverbs 15:9)

The foundation of God's Kingdom stands on righteous men living righteous lives:  

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19)

The foundation of God's kingdom is made up of  Righteous Men (The Lord knows those who are His) who are Living Righteous Lives (Let everyone who names himself by the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it).  There are two levels of commitment to this righteousness. These are evident in the following passages:

And behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.  Matthew 19:16-17

The young man saith unto Him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?  Jesus said unto him, if thou wilt be perfect go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:20-22)

There is one level of righteousness necessary to "enter into life." This is the righteousness that comes through the new birth experience when man is cleansed from sin and begins to live by God's commandments. But there is another level of righteousness known as perfection (spiritual maturity). To achieve perfection requires total consecration from worldly values, standards, or possessions which are precious to you.  This does not mean we all have to sell what we own and give it to the poor. Jesus required this of the young man only because his riches were more important to him than God. 

Nothing in the world can be more important to us than the King. 

To achieve perfection we must abandon the principles of the world and embrace the principles of God's Kingdom.

There are two great Kingdom principles upon which all other principles are based. When asked what were the greatest commandments, Jesus replied:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.   And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.    On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.   (Matthew 22:37-40)  

Mark recorded the same statement in the following way:  

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  (Mark 12:29-31)  

Jesus made the second commandment clear in another way:  

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)  

The beloved physician recorded it this way: 

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31)

To summarize, the two greatest principles of God's Kingdom are:

1.         Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
          2.         Loving and doing to others as you love yourself and want others to do to you.

All other Kingdom principles are based upon these two key principles. 

Each Kingdom principle relates either 
to your relationship with God or others.

(Biblical Studies)


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