When John the Baptist was questioned by his followers about Jesus, John answered,
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 ESV
The longer I’ve tried to grow to be like Jesus, and the longer I serve as a pastor, the more I understand that Jesus is King. He is King and He sits at the right hand of God. There will be a day when I will bow before Him and declare Him King. What I’ve come to realize is how precious my time on earth is, and to figure out how to live for eternity.
Let me explain it this way… After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to many people, especially His disciples, and He taught them some fundamental principles. In Acts 1, He spoke to His disciples about the Kingdom of God. They were concerned about when God would restore heaven and earth, when He would once again rule like He did in the Garden of Eden.
Then, without warning, Jesus ascended into heaven. The stunned disciples stood and stared into the sky. Two men dressed in white appeared and asked,
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 ESV
It’s time to realize how important these words are. We may think what the disciples probably thought… Why can’t we just follow Jesus to heaven? But our desire should be to see Him return.
Jesus shared several parables that pointed out how the deeply religious people were committed to keeping the Law of Moses to the letter. This is where they found their hope. They sought the Messiah’s arrival when God’s earthly kingdom would be restored. But when Jesus arrived, declaring God’s Kingdom was here, these same people denied Jesus and had Him killed.
Many Christians today do all the “right” things - they “keep the law”... They attend church, they give money, they read their Bible, convinced this is the path into heaven. But they miss the invitation to join His Kingdom on earth “as it is in heaven” right now.
Real Christian living is for those who understand “keeping the law” is just a part of really being a true disciple of Jesus. It’s being fully committed to seeing God’s will being done now. The Gospels are not about getting out of this world. They tell us about what God did, what He accomplished, and He is going to do it again in the future. Heaven and earth have already been brought together. It will be completed when Jesus comes again. Until then, God uses you and me to make this earth as much like heaven as we possibly can.
Why would we choose to let anyone or anything else be king in our lives? Jesus wants to be our King and He demands everything from us. He has given everything. He has plans for us, for the church, and for the world that we could never imagine, but we won’t experience them until we make Him our one and only King.
Leonard Sweet said, “the more I discover what I am, the more miserable I get; the more I discover who God is and who God made me, the happier I become.”
C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “Christ says, Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good...Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked--the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.”
We will continue our series on Sunday. See you at 9 or 10:40 am.
Grace & Peace,