Category Archives: Kingdom

The Kingdom of God – pt.3

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         We do not hear much taught on the conscience. This is a revelation that the apostle Paul had, and I believe it to be of vital importance if we are to be a people of faith. Understanding the function of our conscience will help keep us out of the “kingdom of me.”

Conscience is commonly defined as the voice of the soul.

          The apostle Paul was aware that a clear conscience is essential to our relationship with God. He makes reference to its importance throughout the New Testament. In the book of Acts Paul makes this statement:

Acts 24:10 “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

          When we are feeling conviction from the Holy Spirit, that simply means that our conscience has been offended. We have done something that is in direct disobedience to the Lord. Be it a sin of commission, or omission, the bottom line is, when we violate the King’s word, our conscience knows it and communicates that in the form of conviction.

          If we are not a born-again citizens of the Kingdom of God, our conscience cannot always be trusted because our perception of everything is based solely on our natural senses and life experience.

A better definition of conscience is: Co-Perception or Co-Perceiver.

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          If we are born again, our spirit man has been transformed, recreated with a new nature, a new moral compass. Our spirit is now one with the Holy Spirit and can be trusted to keep us walking in the Kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (Amp) Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].

          Our conscience is no longer limited by our senses and experience. It has been altered because we have been born again. We now have a co-perceiver. The Holy Spirit perceives the mind and will of God and communicates that to our conscience. Our conscience perceives the amount of light and revelation that we have and holds us accountable for walking in that light. They work together to give us a co-perception.

          Let me explain the function of conscience in a little more depth. Let’s look at two scriptures from Proverbs:

          These two verses are tied together. In Proverbs 20:27 the word lamp could also be translated candle. In modern terms, we would use the word flashlight. God uses our spirit like a flashlight so we can search for His council by the Holy Spirit in our inner man. (co-perception)

          Our inner man consists of our spirit, our soul, and our mind. These three parts of our being are spiritual. I think we miss that truth sometimes. Words are spiritual, therefore thoughts, your mind, and your soul are spiritual. They need to be in the proper spiritual environment and fed the proper spiritual food to rise to the place God intended. Our conscience resides in our soul, our mind.

          Our spirit is incorruptible, our soul and mind are not. They can be corrupted. When corruption takes place in these areas we have a breakdown in communication between us and the King. Our conscience is our protection against corruption and deception in these areas.

          When the Holy Spirit communicates something to our spirit, that information is then processed through the filters of our mind and emotions. This is why it is so important to be constantly renewing our mind to God’s word. If the filters are unclean, the communication becomes tainted, cloudy, and obscure. When the line of communication breaks down, it cuts us off from receiving instruction and correction. It makes it very difficult for us to stay on the course that God has laid out for us.

          Most cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc. are internal combustion engines. They are basically air machines. The more air they can push through the engine, the more power they can produce. You can have the largest, most powerful racing engine in the world, but if it can’t breathe the air properly all that power is never realized.

           My lawn mower has an air filter that I have to clean several times a year. If I don’t clean the grass and dirt out regularly the mower loses power and becomes hard to start, and eventually quits until it can breathe again.

          The word for spirit in the bible can also be translated breath. The Holy Spirit breathes life giving communication to our spirit. That breath of God is then filtered through our soul and mind. If those filters are not continually renewed, and washed by the Word of God, we will slowly but surely lose power and eventually stop moving forward altogether.

          We must discipline ourselves to constantly renew our mind to the Word of God. Read it, study it, meditate on it, speak it, and pray it out over our lives and circumstances. When we do this, our conscience becomes an internal compass that can be relied upon to lead us through this life supernaturally, and into God’s will and purpose for our life.

          The Holy Spirit always guides us into truth, (John 16:13) therefore our conscience can always be trusted. If we continually give heed to our conscience, we will become sensitive to the voice of the Spirit. When we live this way, supernatural encounters with God and a knowing of the future are the natural byproduct.

John 16:13 (Amp) But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father—the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future].

          The account of the Pharisees and scribes bringing a woman caught in adultery before Jesus and “testing Him” to see if He would violate the law is a great example of how our conscience works. When Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” something amazing happened.

John 8:7-9 (NKJV) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again, He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

          I find it interesting that the oldest began to leave first, and then on down to the youngest. The older ones had enough experience to know that they could not keep the law, they had tried. The Pharisees and scribes had violated the law so much that their conscience was desensitized, calloused, and seared.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 (KJV) Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

          Their seared conscience made them legalistic and judgmental. They could not keep the law themselves, so they tried to hold everyone else accountable to it. Yet when Jesus spoke the truth, their conscience immediately responded in a right way. Jesus is the Light, the Word, and the Truth. He was speaking the word of truth and shining a light on their sin. Even their seared conscience wasn’t calloused enough keep them from doing what was right.

        The conscience, when exposed to the light of truth, will hold you accountable for walking in that light. This is the primary function of our conscience.

        If you know anything about cooking a good steak, you know that you must put a good “sear” on both sides of the meat. It creates a barrier to hold in all the flavorful juices and helps to keep the meat from drying out.

          When our conscience is seared it also creates a barrier. That barrier holds inside the destructive sin that brings death and darkness and hinders the light of God’s word from entering in.

          When Jesus confronted them with His profound statement “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” the candle of their spirit burned bright and exposed their sin. They dropped the rocks that they were so eager to throw and turned away from their sin because of their conscience convicting them.

      James says the Word of God is like a mirror.

James 1:22-24 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

          When our conscience is confronted with the truth, it will always make us look at our self, as if in a mirror. It will point to what is right, true, and just, as well as what is wrong and needs to be changed. If we willfully and continually violate our conscience, it becomes seared, desensitized, and numb. The more it is seared, the more indistinct the voice of our spirit becomes, and being led by the Spirit becomes increasingly difficult. It is an extremely dangerous place to be.

Avoiding shipwrecks

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          In 1 Timothy we see a powerful truth about faith, and how its function is tied directly to our conscience.

1 Timothy 1:19 (NIV) Cling to your faith in Christ and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.

          You may be familiar with the term “shipwrecked faith”, but are you aware that this shipwrecked condition comes from a violation of conscience? Oh, how important it is to listen to our conscience! It is our direct line to the Holy Spirit.

          When our conscience is violated we lose peace, and carry around a strong sense of emptiness and conviction. Our heart is telling us that we have missed it, we have gotten off track, we have violated a Kingdom command. Our faith then becomes shaken, and our confidence in God’s ability and provision is compromised.

        We believe with the heart and the mind. If our heart is in perfect harmony with God, faith comes easy, but a violated conscience will not allow our own heart to believe. We may still agree with it and acknowledge it in our mind, but in our heart, we don’t have the ability to believe because of a violated conscience. Look at what John says about how our heart works.

1 John 3:20-22 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

          Our confidence in God comes from knowing in our heart that we are in good standing with God. When we walk in willful disobedience, we try to function outside of kingdom principles and cast away our confidence.

Hebrews 10:35,36 (NKJV) Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

          To violate our conscience and not address its conviction is to cast away our confidence in the King, and our faith becomes shipwrecked. Our clear conscience keeps our faith ship sailing smooth.

For the next lesson in this series, click here> The Righteousness Of God pt.1

The Kingdom of God pt.2

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 Boundaries of the Kingdom

       In every area of our life that we do not acknowledge God’s rule and reign, another king rules there. This other king is a selfish, childish, petty king. This king is influenced by lust and fleshly desires. This is not a loving, caring king. This king is vindictive, judgmental and prideful. This king wants to exalt his throne and be like God. This king is willful and disobedient. This king… is you.

       Yeah, I know, you may have thought that I was going to say the devil, but no, it’s you. If you have areas of your life that Jesus is not Lord over, then you have decided to preside as king over those areas. You have violated the most important Kingdom principle; Obedience.

The kingdom of me.

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       Willful disobedience violates the light of truth, and goes directly against the will of the King. When that happens you now attempt to serve two Kings. King Jesus, and king ……………<(your name here). The Kingdom of God and “the kingdom of me”. Just saying “the kingdom of me” sounds pathetic doesn’t it? Go ahead, say it out loud. How does that register in your spirit? Pathetic, right?

       Before you serve a king, you need to consider the authority, power and resources of the king you will serve. Is he a good king? Does the king have the power to save? Does he have the power to heal? Can he confer blessing, and power? What are your rights and privileges under this king? Are there any kings more powerful than him? How long will his reign be?

       If you ask yourself these questions before disobeying God, you will be less likely to set up the “kingdom of me”. For in the kingdom of me you must get your own deliverance, your own healing, and your own provision through your own power and resources. Obedience to the King prevents the kingdom of me from being established.

       Just like all other kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of me have boundaries. The boundaries of both kingdoms are established by the same thing; our free will. When we submit our will in obedience to the King’s word, the Kingdom of God expands and the King is exalted. When we disobey the King’s word, we set up our own kingdom with its own boundaries. The boundaries of that kingdom are set up to keep God and the light of His word out.

       Make no mistake, there are only two kingdoms in the spirit realm that we see in scripture. The kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. The kingdom of me is the kingdom of darkness.

       The Lord has made us a steward over the Kingdom of God in our heart. As a wise steward, we are expected to expand those boundaries within us. God expects increase. The only way those boundaries are expanded is by proper stewardship of our free will. This equals obedience. Walking in the light of the truth we have been exposed to. The more we obey the King the more light we will be exposed to, and the more His Kingdom grows within us. The more expansive His Kingdom becomes, the more authority we are able to walk in and the more power is released in and through our life.

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The Garden of God

       When we are born again, God recreates our spirit as a model of the Garden of Eden. Paradise within you, perfect and complete. In our inner man stands the Kingdom of God. What an awesome thought!

       We know from scripture that the Garden of Eden did not cover the whole earth, but was located in a small area in Africa at the head of four rivers. Adam was placed in the Garden and was instructed to fill the whole earth and have dominion, bring it into subjection, and subdue it. When we are born again, the Kingdom of God within us is small, but just like the first Adam, we are commanded to be fruitful, multiply and fill it up! We are to fill ourselves up with God and take dominion over our entire being, subduing the carnal man and bringing him into subjection. We should always be taking new territory in our hearts. This results in the restoration of the image of God in man, which is our created purpose.

Genesis 1:28  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

       There were many trees in the midst of the garden that were beautiful and good for food. The two trees specifically mentioned in the midst of the garden where the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God’s instruction to Adam was to eat of every tree in the garden except the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, because in the day he did, he would surely die. ( Genesis 2:17)

       Just like the original Garden of Eden there are two trees in the midst of the garden in our heart. We have the Holy Spirit representing the tree of life, and we have our free will, our own personal authority, which represents the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

       We are the body of the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). We can walk with God just like the first Adam did by the Holy Spirit living within us. The model is very much the same, with one little difference; we are the last Adam’s body. Instead of Adam walking around in the Garden, Adam walks around with the Garden inside His body. This is one reason Jesus is called the last Adam.

       We have a stewardship just like the first Adam, and in like manner, we have only one thing that we must not do. We must not eat of the tree of our free will. For in the day we do, we will surely die. Our free will represents our right to say no to God, and it represents our ability to know evil. If we continually walk in obedience to God, we will only know good. Saying no to God always brings death in some measure, but say yes to God brings abundant life. Disobedience not only brings death, it makes it painful the whole time we are dying.

For a continuation of this message, click here> The Kingdom of God pt.3

Defining the Kingdom pt.1

 

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Defining the Kingdom – part 1

       Authority is defined as the right to influence, command, control, direct, and delegate.

       Kingdom authority is based on ownership. The King owns everything within His kingdom; the lands, the buildings, the resources and the people. What the King owns, He has dominion over. What the King doesn’t own, He has no legal right to exercise His authority over. Outside of His Kingdom the King has no rights, no dominion, no control, and very little influence.

       Christians in general have a catchy little phrase that they throw around and it sounds like this: “God is in control!” Is He in control of everything? Do you really believe that? If so, I recommend you hide your religious cows because this teaching will likely take them straight to the butcher.

       Let’s start with you. Is God in control of you? Are you doing absolutely everything that the Lord wants you to do? Are you waking up every day and walking out God’s perfect will for your life? Have you done that every day of your life? Are you beginning to see the problem with the whole “God is in control” theology?

       When God gave man dominion over the earth He gave him complete control. Man had absolute control over the earth for a season. This is why man was able to give this dominion away to the devil. That dominion and control was eventually bought back by the precious Blood of the Lamb. Glory to God!

       The truth is, He has left most things of the earth in our control. The Kingdom of God on earth is ours to keep and steward. Our level of stewardship determines how much dominion we have on this earth. We need to acknowledge that and start taking responsibility for it.

       In an earthly kingdom, the king can decide to use his power and resources to overtake more lands and thereby expand his kingdom. In the Kingdom of God, He has delegated that task completely to the individual members of the church. The community, which is the body of Christ, is not capable of expanding the kingdom as a group, or an organization, it can only assist the individual in making quality choices in their lives that will expand the Kingdom within themselves. The size and strength of the Kingdom lies within your control.

 

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Free will – Your own personal authority

       The fact that you have a free will contradicts the very thought of “God is in control.” God did not create man to control him, He created him for relationship. Specifically, son-ship.

       When God delegated His authority to Adam, He also gave Adam his own personal authority, his free will. Free will was given to man because God wanted relationship, not a robotic slave that was forced to submit to His will. God wanted a people that would choose Him, that would believe in Him, that would love Him for who He is. This is the foundation of intimate relationship.

       Free will can be described as the freedom to make choices that are not controlled by fate or divine intervention. The power to act without constraint of necessity. Freedom to choose. For the purpose of this teaching we will use a simplified definition of free will: The right to say NO to God.

       God doesn’t want you to serve Him. He wants you to want to serve Him. If you don’t want to serve God, you are a moral free agent, and you have the right to say no to Him. It is sad, but many are exercising that right every day and paying a terrible price for it.

The most dangerous thing to the kingdom

       How dangerous is this thing called free will? Exercising the right to say no to God resulted in the fall of mankind. It got Adam and Eve evicted from the Garden. It causes people to go to Hell. It causes eternal separation of man from his creator. Free will is the most dangerous and destructive thing to the Kingdom of God. This dangerous bit of authority called free will has been placed in your hands. What are you doing with it? What did the first Adam do with it?

       Our free will was given to us for creativity and expression in relationship with God. It was designed to be used in cooperation with God, not in opposition. When we exercise our right to oppose our creator, we cut ourselves off from the life giving Spirit of God and become a landing strip for demonic influence and every evil work.

Defining the Kingdoms

      When we hear the phrase; “Kingdom of God”, our minds immediately think of another place such as Heaven. The truth is, according to Luke 17:21 the Kingdom of God is within us.

Luke 17:21  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.

       The Kingdom of God on earth is not the same as the Kingdom of Heaven. At least not yet. The Kingdom of God on earth is an outpost of the Kingdom of Heaven. God created Adam from the dust of the earth and placed him here as a steward to rule over His Kingdom. God delegated His authority to Adam and gave him specific instructions on how to exercise that authority. Adam was essentially, the god of this world.

       Look at it like this, The Kingdom of Heaven is the place where God dwells and has supreme authority and absolute rule. The Kingdom of God on earth is the place in our heart in which, at any given time, God’s rule and reign is acknowledged. Therefore we have control of the Kingdom of God. We can cause it to grow and expand by our obedience and submission to the King. Or we can deny the King to rule in His Kingdom, and cut off all power and resources that the King has made available to us. We are the steward of our own heart.

       We know that there is a difference between the two Kingdoms because Jesus is going to deliver the Kingdom of God on earth to the father.

1 Corinthians 15:24  Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.

      What kingdom is Paul talking about here? Jesus is not going to deliver Heaven to God the Father, but the outpost of the Kingdom of God on earth. When this happens, both Kingdoms will be congruent, they will be the same. Until then it is important to understand the differences so that we can function in the Kingdom that God has made us stewards over. The Kingdom in our own heart.

For the continuation of this message, click here> The Kingdom Of God pt.2