The Kingdom of God

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
Luke 13:18-19 

Faith was described, by Jesus, as capable of moving mountains upon being the size of a mustard seed. Here is yet another mustard seed comparison: the kingdom of heaven is like a mere mustard seed, developing into a tree able to house many creatures.

Paul once described his work of evangelism as sowing, while his fellow workers watered. However, he stated it was God himself who causes growth. Somewhere, sometime, a mustard seed was sown into someone, watered, and the faith began bearing fruit as the Lord caused growth.

Our kindness spreads, for it is written in John 13:35, ‘” By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.'”

Therefore, the kingdom of God is as a tiny mustard seed, a mustard seed of faith, sown into one (into us Believers) and grown into a mustard tree. All those surrounding are able to tell if we are followers by the love we contain for one another, and therefore, our work of evangelism is aided. People are drawn to the kingdom and it spreads, growing and attracting many creatures (new Believers).

 

The Extent of Humility

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
John 13:14 

Our God is the God who delivered the Israelites from Egypt through a single man. By his own power, he parted the Red Sea. He delivered Daniel from a den of lions and Jonah from the belly of a while upon his repentance. Our God’s presence was so glorious, one could not look upon its wholeness and live.

Yet, he sent his son, Jesus Christ, in the form of a being of flesh and blood in order to fulfill the law for our sake. His own son was rejected by man, beaten and spat upon, though he committed no crime, no wrong, in the sight of God. Because of him, we are granted salvation through simple faith, in which, even if our faith the size of a mustard, mountains can be moved.

There he was, on his knees on the ground, washing the filth from his disciples, his friends, his family’s feet in an act of humility, even before he was soon to, with knowledge, willingly allow himself to be betrayed for our sake. If our Lord’s extent of humility had such great depth, how much more ought we serve willingly and with joy!

The Truth

When you become a believer, knowing the truth becomes so much more important than ever. We are given the Spirit of truth to guide is and a desire to know more about God and his truths. We learn to fight lies with scriptural truths and share the truth with those who struggle. The Lord gives us understanding to see that Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through [him]” (John 14:6).

The honest way to show God you want to know him and the truth is by immersing yourself in his word. There, he reveals himself to you and teaches you, giving you stepping stones for a close, personal relationship with him. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). As you read more and hear more, your faith is strengthened because, “consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17).

As you grow closer to God, he is already sanctifying you, changing you. When God is our hope and our solid ground, we need not to fear. Jesus freed us from our sins and fights for us. “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalms 18:2).

 

Verses to reflect on:

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).

God’s Will

Our God knows all–which is much more than we know. We know that God is in control of all things and works everything for the greater good of his children (the ones who have received salvation through faith). “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). God’s purpose is God’s will, where we find that nothing can escape it. The good news? Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the LORD, “‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

It’s easy to fall into a trap of worry and anxiety, especially when you can’t control your situation. But the God of Angel Armies is orchestrating your life for the better, according to the overall big picture. You need not ever worry, for he knows what you need and will provide you with it.

Matthew 6:33-34 says to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

As a recap, we know that God is all-knowing. He called you to his love through the death of his son, and he desires only good for you. If you seek him above all, he will provide you with everything you need. His will is “good, pleasing, and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Therefore, pray for faith. Kneel consistently before our God and pray that he will strengthen your faith to believe and trust God’s will.

 

Verse to reflect on:

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

The Holy Spirit

After Jesus’ resurrection, he ascended into heaven after appearing to his disciples, but not without the promise of help to come: the Holy Spirit.And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).  The Spirit is given, as a gift from the Father, upon receiving Jesus Christ into our life as our only and true savior.

Now, to begin, we must first be on the same page about the Trinity. The Trinity consists of God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Though God is omniscient and omnipresent, he and Jesus remain in heaven. “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). But the Holy Spirit is within us. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).”

The Holy Spirit upholds many purposes. In John 14:26, Jesus tells us, “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” In Romans 8:26 we’re told that, when we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us, to the Father, in groans only they understand.  Jesus also says, “‘But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you’” (John 16:13-14). The Holy Spirit teaches us, guides us, and seals our salvation.

 

Verses to reflect on:

“…Because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

   

Joy

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”

Clearly this states that the joy of our Lord is our strength, but how so? And how can we obtain this joy? If we look at some of the Psalms, we can find much rejoicing. David was a man constantly threatened with death and betrayal, yet he speaks often about finding joy in taking refuge in, and trusting, God. “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you” (Psalm 5:11).

Devotion to and trust in God to work out his will in your life leads utmostly to joy. And that joy is our strength. When I’m happy, I sing. When I’m happy, I can’t help but smile. But when the Holy Spirit fills me with joy in knowing that I am loved, forgiven, chosen, and saved, I feel undefeatable and I have the strength to battle whatever comes my way. So rejoice in your salvation, rejoice in thankfulness, sing his praises, and trust God.

And if ever you find trusting in the Lord a struggle, don’t give up. Don’t turn away in shame. His love is consistent. Simply, pray for faith in all he is because “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

 

Verses to reflect on:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song” (Psalm 95:1-2).

“Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord
and delight in his salvation” (Psalm 35:9).

 

 

Forgiveness

In one sermon, we walked through love: its entity, its meaning, its definition. Because we are forgiven by a truly loving God, we are able to not only see love in action through Jesus’ life, but we are able to demonstrate love ourselves, rejoicing in this salvation. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Yet, sometimes as believers it becomes so hard to believe we are forgiven, for it comes as no surprise when we hear “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). To what depth are we actually forgiven? How was forgiveness accomplished?

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). Since we are forgiven, we are expected to forgive as well. This is the condition to our forgiveness. For just as if we were to deny Jesus (resulting in him denying us), we are to forgive (in order to be forgiven by the Father).

Forgiveness was accomplished at the cross and by the grace and love of our father. ”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). His son, Jesus, died as the atoning sacrifice for everyone’s sins.

Through confession and repentance, we humble ourselves to our God. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Confession is an important aspect in Christianity. It is us humbly admitting a mistake has been made, and rather than trying to hide in shame, confession brings our sin before the Lord in an act that asks for the forgiveness we received at the cross. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

Sometimes forgiveness can come as a struggle, especially if you carry around hurt every day. But just as Jesus forgave you, it does you good to forgive the one who hurt you as well. Do this not only to receive forgiveness, but as an act of love. If any one of you finds yourself struggling with forgiveness, pray. Ask the Father to change your heart and soften it. With forgiveness, unbelievable healing will come.

 

Verses to reflect on:

“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:35).

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

“‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’” says the Lord. “‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).