The Life of Christ - Developing an Inner Circle of Followers (4) - Thursday, February 8th

The Life of Christ - Developing an Inner Circle of Followers (4) - Thursday, February 8th

And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.” With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples. Mark 4:30-34

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

Today’s passage addresses our need to “picture the kingdom of God.” The center piece of God’s kingdom is the new covenant which focuses on the role of the Holy Spirit. Through the forgiveness of our sins God comes to dwell in us by the Holy Spirit and works to produce the righteous life in us that was not possible through the old covenant. All those who enter into this Divine enterprise are members of God’s kingdom. The features of God’s kingdom are first those that are of a spiritual, inward, and personal nature – that is, the heart. This is the kingdom in view from His first coming until His second coming. The kingdom that is in view at the second coming of Christ will include added features that are of an earthly, outward, and universal nature. Christ will then rule and reign on earth as King but always the central feature of God’s kingdom is his rule over the hearts of willing people who have received redemption provided through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

Jesus makes it clear that His Kingdom (from his first coming until his second coming) is not of this world. But this does not mean it is not operating in this world. Our mission is to bless the world with the kind of love and care God gives to us as His children. When the opportunity comes, we share the message of salvation with those God is using our lives to bless. What an exciting thing it is to be a part of a spiritual kingdom that is influencing and winning the world one person at a time as individual lives are touched and reclaimed for God (good place to remember from today’s passage the image of the tiny mustard seed growing into a great tree that increasingly influences and blesses the world).

What does the world see when they view those who name the name of Christ. Do they see our light shining in such a way that our good works cause them to give glory to God. As we yield to the Holy Spirit living in us so that we live for Christ and others rather than ourselves, our righteousness will exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees by a long shot. Holy Spirit living is what Christ’s kingdom is all about today. When we walk in step with the Holy Spirit we will have consistently righteous behavior and we will have an inner peace and joy that pervades our inner being and flows out and touches those around us. The impact of this kind of kingdom living must not be underestimated. God is powerfully working through His Spirit to touch the world through His people.

There will come a day when Jesus will rule the realm of mankind as well as the hearts of mankind. Today is not that day just as it wasn’t when Jesus was here training his disciples regarding his kingdom (He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples). Someday he will return and become King of kings and Lord of lords here on earth. So, we must be about the business of influencing the hearts of the people God brings our way. We do this by serving them and seeking to be a blessing to them in every way possible. With this touch on their lives from us, which runs counter to a culture that dominates and exploits so many, they will want to know the God who empowers us to live so differently and so lovingly. We will then introduce them to Christ and His saving grace and we will know the joy of a person who is reached and transferred from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of the beloved Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, I am a willing person who has experienced the forgiveness of sins. You live in my heart through the Holy Spirit and I am learning to let you rule over my heart and life. Your plan, your provision, and what you are doing in this world is so much bigger than just me. And yet it includes me and it is thrill to have you at work in my life through the Holy Spirit. Your kingdom is all about the Holy Spirit touching the world through my life and the lives of your people everywhere. May your light, love, and blessing overflow from my life to everyone around me. What a joy and privilege it is serve you and your ever expanding kingdom. Amen!

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