|God's Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven|
|Written by arkwriter|
|Monday, 27 July 2009 01:19|
GOD'S KINGDOM ON EARTH
AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray:
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Mt. 6:9-10)
The first thing we learn from our Lord Jesus Christ about prayer is to address God as “Our Father.” In the Old Testament people did not address God in this way. By calling God “Our Father” we have established a very close relationship with Him, something we did not have before we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (Jn. 1:12)
After receiving the Holy Spirit we have an even more intimate relationship with God. “And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” (Eph. 2:17-18) “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:14-15)
God is our Father in Heaven who is not only majestic and holy, but also intimately personal and loving. God’s sacred name is “YAHWEH” which means “I AM WHO I AM.” (Ex. 3:14) “YAHWEH” is a name that describes His eternal power, everlasting presence and unchangeable character. In a world where values, morals and laws change constantly, we can find stability and security in our unchanging God. In many world religions man go and seek their gods in various forms. The One True God of the Christians is the only One who comes down from heaven to seek the lost ones.
The universe has two divisions – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1; 14:19) In the visible heavens are the stars and planets. (Gen. 1:14-17) The apostle Paul wrote about “the third heaven.” (2 Cor. 12:2) Heaven is the throne of God (Isa. 66:1). Jacob dreamed about heaven’s gate. “And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the House of God, and this is the Gate of Heaven.” (Gen. 28:17)
God has given us some truths concerning a few things that will be absent in heaven. What are they?
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow; nor crying; neither shall there be no more pain. For the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) What a wonderful thought to know that these things that are the curse of sin on this earth will not be in heaven at all.
Our God in heaven is full of love. It is through this great attribute of love that He came to save mankind. In order to reflect the condition in Heaven, God’s Kingdom on earth must also be filled with the love of God.
“ Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” (1 Jn. 4:7-12)
At the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ an angel announced: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the cty of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. . . . And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Lk. 2:10-14) In God’s church there must be love, joy and peace of the Lord.
A Church sister dreamed about a great banquet in heaven. There were many long tables laid out with all kinds of wonderful food. There were long chopsticks and spoons. People were joyfully feeding and serving one another sitting on the opposite sides of the table. Everyone looked healthy, happy and contended. God’s people can bring heaven down to earth when they love, care and serve one another. The church sister then dreamed about hell where the people looked horrible, miserable, unhappy and malnourished. They were fighting one another and scrambling for the food. We can make our church look either like heaven or hell.
The beauty, the excellence and the attraction of heaven are indescribable. “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9) What the apostle John saw in heaven is a description of a city that is built with the most expensive and precious metals. “And the construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. . . . And the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: . . . And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (Rev. 21:18-21) Here is how God show that heaven represents the best, the most beautiful, the most precious and the most expensive things in terms that man can understand. God gives us the best things therefore He also desires the best things from us.
In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught His disciples to say: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt. 6:10) There is no doubt what is God’s will concerning what He wants from His people on earth as it is in heaven. He wants the best. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness God instructed them to build a tabernacle. He gave them clear instructions on the quality of workmen who should do the work.
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:” (Ex. 31:1-6) God wanted only experts in their field of building and craftsmanship to work on the tabernacle. This is what He commanded the children of Israel.
The tabernacle symbolizes heaven. It serves as “the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” (Heb. 8:2,5) When the temple was built God had blessed Israel with workmen in abundance: “hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you.” (1 Chr. 22:15-16) In obedience to God’s instructions only skilled and experienced building workmen can be used to build churches. Only the best design and workmanship in a church building reflect heaven and glorify God.
Oftentimes we discuss amongst ourselves whether or not we should build a cover over an area for cooking or a walkway to another building. The main consideration is whether or not we need it. The main function of any building is protection against the external elements of the sun, wind and rain. A building complex is not complete and functional if we are unprotected from the rain in moving from one part of the building to another. In California we may not need it, but in Houston we do need it because it rains so much. We have to distinguish between a need and a luxury. Building a covering is not a luxury but a need. The issue we are talking about is the improvement and progress of our church. If having a covering is an improvement then we should seriously consider it. Completely ignoring it is an indication that we do not want to improve ourselves, and that is not a good attitude for Christians to have. Our church must keep on improving in all spheres of activities.
Another thing we need to consider is whether or not we can justify spending so much money now when we may need to spend it on something else in the future. What does our Lord Jesus Christ teach us?
“And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor." But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her." (Mt. 26:6-13)
The value of anything can only be measured by what you can get out of it. Jesus needed the costly fragrant oil at that moment. To the disciples it was a waste of money to pour it on the Lord’s body. They had plans to use the money for other purposes, but Jesus wanted it at that moment.
We have a building fund that can be used for improvements to our church. Using the funds to improve our church facilities is better and wiser than leaving it in the bank where it earns very little interest nowadays. Money in the bank decreases in value due to inflation. Improvements to the property have become assets even when the property is sold in the future. Building is called real estate and increases in value in time. Jesus wants us to be good stewards of money that can increase in value (Mt. 25:14-30)
When we built this chapel in 1983 I strongly recommended to our congregation to spend $15,000 to buy more dirt to raise our building and the parking lot to prevent flooding. It was a lot of money at that time especially when our congregation had less than twenty members. It is still a lot of money now. Our church members at that time loved God and one another and were all in one accord. We bought more dirt and today we are enjoying the wise decision that was made nineteen years ago. Our small congregation gave their best to God and heaven came down to earth.
In any setting of discussion it is difficult or impossible to reach a common decision when different people insist on their opinions. In last evening’s Bible Study Brother Patrick said. “We pray to God and ask Him for direction and leading. He has given us clear directions and instructions in His Word. Why don’t we follow what the Bible tells us instead of keep on praying for God’s leading?” I totally agree with him. Let us do what God has already told us in His Word, then heaven will come down to earth and our Church will be richly blessed.
May God bless you
A sermon based on this Article was preached by Paul Wong
|Last Updated on Monday, 16 July 2012 02:06|