The next few blog post are pieces of a message I delivered at a women’s event recently, the event was titled Crowned. The focus of the message is Kingdom Minded living based on the example of Jesus. Through these post we will look at a scene from the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. In the last post I will give you some principals for kingdom minded living! As I share these kingdom focused points I pray that you will to consider them in your own life.
When I consider the things of eternity I often wonder if Christians allow eternal things to guide them in the way that they should. I often wonder if we hold onto and live out eternal truths in our daily walk. Let me give you an example I often heard women say “I am a daughter of the King”. We even share cute memes like this one:
While there is nothing wrong with encouraging and inspirational words there is something wrong when we just say things like “I am a daughter of the King” but we don’t really live like we are in our day to day life. Let’s consider the example of Jesus as we peer into a scene from His life.
Jesus Rejected A Worldly Crown
Do you remember the day you got baptized?
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just been saved at a youth camp in North Carolina and shortly after I returned home I was baptized. My grandma was so excited to see me come to the Lord that a few days before my baptism she paid a pretty penny for me to get a candle stick perm. (I may be aging my self with the term, so for those of you who don’t know, a candlestick perm is tight ringlet type curls all over your head.) I couldn’t wait to publicly profess my faith in Christ. The day of my baptism I stepped into the baptismal pool with my new hair do and I was joyfully washed clean and raised to new life. When I stood up I literally felt lighter than I had ever felt in all my young years. As I stood up and was taking it all in I started to smell something that had a horribly strong smell, like rotten eggs strong. I suddenly realized that since my perm was so new the baptismal water had interacted with the perm chemicals and the smell was literally filling the entire church.
It was sort of a funny, embarrassing, and unexpected turn to the day. On the day of Jesus’ baptism He encountered something we might not expect also.
John the Baptist was in the Jordan river baptizing people who came to confess their sins. John was preparing the way for the Messianic Kingdom. He proclaimed to the people that that he was baptizing with water but one greater than him would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11). When Jesus arrived at the Jordan to be baptized John did not feel worthy to perform such an act, but Jesus explained that it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). Now the baptism of Jesus was not to cleanse Him from sin, He had no need of repentance. But Jesus’ baptism did identify the sinless Son of God with the sinful people He came to save. When Jesus was baptized the heavens opened up and the Father exclaimed that He was well pleased. At that moment, the gospels tell us, the Spirit of God descended on Jesus and rested on Him (Matthew 3:16-17). This is a beautiful picture of the triune God and a pivotal moment marking the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
Then what we might not expect happens. Immediately after His baptism, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where He would have 40 days of prayer and fasting and then He would be tempted by the devil 3 times (Matthew 4:1-11).
The last time Jesus was tempted by the devil this is what was said: “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9)
You have to understand that at this point Jesus has fasted in the wilderness for 40 days.
Have you ever fasted? I will be honest, I have had times of fasting where I felt weak from just one day and here we see that Jesus did 40! Yes, He is fully divine but He is also fully human and in His humanity I assure you there were thoughts of food, the Scriptures say He was hungry (Matthew 4:2). I assure you that in His humanity He felt physical depletion. These three times the devil tempted Him were actual temptations.
This is why the scriptures say, “…That we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16) Jesus understands the things we are tempted with because He himself endured real temptations.
What the devil was actually doing here was offering Jesus the opportunity to skip the cross and rule the world if Jesus would just fall down and worship him. What is interesting is that the devil was offering something he couldn’t really provide because while Satan may have some authority (1 John 5:19) his power is limited by God who is the ultimate authority (Psalm 24:1) This is what the devil does though he perverts the promises that are before us. The devil was actually tempting Jesus to break the first commandment which says “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3).
Belonging to one kingdom means resisting the temptations of another!
Jesus was not going to fall prey to the devil, and He certainly was not going to accept a role in the kingdom Satan was building. Just a couple of chapters later in Jesus’ sermon on the mount He teaches that we are not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal but to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where no moth nor rust can destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-20). Jesus goes on to say that, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other…” (Matthew 6:24).
The point is that we have to choose what we are devoted to and in order to do that we have to be firmly rooted in where we belong. If you belong to the Kingdom of Heaven then that means you must resist the temptations of Earth.
I want to make something very clear, and I am going to prove it to you from Scripture: If you are saved, you live on earth but your citizenship is in Heaven.
Paul in his letter to the congregation at Philippi says, “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:18-21) Paul makes a point here that those whose citizenship is not in heaven has their mind set on earthy things. It goes with out saying that those whose citizenship is in heaven would have their mind set on heavenly things.
Look at what Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9-10, Peter quotes Exodus 19:6 and applies this to the Church, he says “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Colossians 1:13-14 says “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If you are saved by faith in Jesus Christ then you are reborn into the Kingdom of Heaven, you are a part of a royal priesthood and a holy nation. You have been removed from darkness and placed into His marvelous light.
I am going to ask you to consider, not if you know these things, but rather do you live by them?
Are you firmly rooted in the kingdom you belong to like Jesus was? Do you know whose you are? How does who you are representing impact your life?
If you’re a child of God you are an ambassador for the Kingdom of God, you are an ambassador for King Jesus! We need to remember that we do not just represent Jesus when we are at church or at a church function, or when we are feeling righteous, we represent Him at all times. To our family, to our neighbors, in the grocery store, in rush our traffic. For a Christian representing Jesus is not based on where we are at or who we are with.
Jesus knew that His time on earth was limited. He knew this world was not His home. He knew His loyalty was to His father in Heaven. Jesus knew that the Word of God was more powerful than any temptation the devil could throw at Him. He knew that the lies the devil was tempting Him with was not comparable to the truth of God’s Word.
We are to follow the example Jesus and live like we belong to His Kingdom. We are to live by His commands, the Scriptures, knowing that we no longer belong to a domain of darkness nor are we dominated by darkness. We must know that we cannot please the present ruler of this world and King Jesus at the same time. We can not serve two masters.
If you believe in Jesus, If you believe in the truth of His Word you are going to disappoint people, you are going to frustrate them, you may anger them, and you will certainly offend them because the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). Upsetting the world with the truth of God shouldn’t surprise us but living as Christians who aren’t rooted in Christ, who refuse to live like the cross set us free, who don’t walk like God’s truth still holds power for our lives today, who continue to set the desires of their flesh above the commands of God – those are the things that should surprise us, those are the things that should upset us, and those are the things that should motivate us to change so that we may deepen our relationship with God as we grow in Christlikeness.
Belonging to one kingdom means resisting the temptations of another!
Stay tuned for part 2!