SEEK THE KINGDOM
By Lamar Carnes
April 30, 2020
Luke 16:16 mentions how we must “seek the kingdom” in this life. Luke was written for all generations and Christians of all times but, I think especially for this generation. I mean in the sense of “what is missing” in the pulpits and classes of modern day Churches.
PRIOR TO BECOMING A CHRISTIAN WHAT WERE WE LIKE?
When God called us, we were lost, without hope, dead spiritually, not seeking God, not interested in God, far away from Him, and specifically as He describes it “LOST” sheep! But, God’s choosing and electing grace reached down and drew us, called us, wooed us, and as He described it, “regenerated us” or “made us alive” or we were “born again” by the Spirit of God” enabling us to trust Him, call upon Him, submit to Him and then begin to live for His glory! As Jesus our Lord said, “Without ME you can do nothing”! God is not looking down from heaven wringing His hands and hoping and under such a anxiety about lost sinners, wishing they would repent and turn to Him, as many today consider Him doing and a aspect of His character! If that is the god whom they worship, he isn’t the GOD of the Bible! The real sovereign God who knows all things, has ALL power to do whatever He wishes to do even saving sinners who are lost!
THE NARROW ROAD WE ARE TRAVELING WITH JESUS ON ISN’T WITHOUT TRIALS!
From the moment of redemption and salvation we are to press forward into the Kingdom of God even though by the new birth we are in the Kingdom, we must keep on pressing! That means being a Christian isn’t really easy – it is “hard”! Living the disciple life is hard! Yes, His yoke is easy and light in comparison to the heavy weight of the Devil from whose kingdom God rescued us. In God’s Kingdom we find hardships, sufferings, persecutions, denial from others, job losses, and many other difficult situations. In fact, losing our very physical lives on earth can be our final moment of living for Jesus! Christianity isn’t “easy believism” nor is it “pie in the sky” lifestyles! Jesus our Lord said quite emphatically, “If they have hated me they will hate you” and “if they persecuted me you will also suffer persecution”. Of course, if no one knows we are Christians, and we do not live and share with others the Gospel we will certainly not be as much involved in “Kingdom life” which guarantees suffering. In fact, we are called to Suffer with Christ! When I read that I was convicted. Am I suffering with Jesus? If I am, how am I suffering? If so, in what manner and what way? Am I really “following Christ” and am I really a disciple of His?
Peter the friend and apostle of the Lord Jesus said, “We are to examine ourselves to make our calling and election sure”! So, it is good to be challenged in these areas. It will always bring us back to Jesus and grant us assurance of our faith and salvation if we are truly redeemed! It also will make us examine our walk with Him and our discipleship. How do I flesh out this Christian walk I have been called to?
Christ would not pass Evangelism 101 in today’s churches. He broke all of the procedures and rules of engagement! Rather than making things “easy” He told people they were going to have to “sell out totally” to Him if they wanted to enter the kingdom! They would have to have an attitude which is like “hate” toward friends, relatives and others in comparison to the love, devotion and actions required to be His disciple!
That is hard! But that is the narrow way! If we allow anyone to come between Jesus and our devotion and service to Him we will not be on the right road of discipleship. Read the life of John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrims Progress. He was a true disciple of Jesus. He had to either quit preaching Christ or go to jail. If he went to jail he would have to leave a wife and children in poverty without any one to help them except his poverty burdened church. Would you and I go to jail for Jesus and leave our homes, our jobs, and our life styles? Would we be like John Bunyan? He was a normal Christian – like us. Do you realize that his behavior was not abnormal at all? It is what Luke’s Gospel message is all about. It is what Jesus’ words mean in relation to “entering the Kingdom” and being His disciple! Do we hear the Gospel being preached like this in today’s pulpits? I hope and pray so! But if not, something is terribly wrong in the pulpits and wrong in the pews because we allow it to be so!
As I near the end of my life in this journey of faith, I am convicted of how much I have failed to live up to His calling. But, by God’s grace I will not draw back but press forward to the end and hopefully one day hear “Well done you faithful servant”! But it will surprise me I am sure, for I feel it is not so in my life! What will be tragic will be those who stand before Him thinking they have it made and have done great things on this earth and He says, “I never knew you”! That has to be the most devastating words a human could ever hear from God! Yet, preachers, teachers and mentors in various venues are leading souls in our generation in this path of easy believism which makes no demands, no life style changes, and no real sell out for Christ at all! Just sign on the line. Just pray this prayer after me. So, they pronounce them Kingdom members but they have NO real heart change! Christ transforms our lives. Even if we fail, we repent and confess. We are always struggling to overcome sin. We are not resting or giving up, but fighting the good fight of faith until we go to be with Him or He comes back for us!
To God be the glory for Great Things He has done! All by His amazing Grace!