'You Who Practice Lawlessness'

The Kingdom Turn, Part 7

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7.23

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Surprise, surprise!
My friend Mike Slay refers to this passage as the “scariest verse in the Bible.” (You can visit Mike’s blog here.)

And he’s absolutely right.

The setting is the final judgment. The peoples of the world appear before the Lord of glory to give an account of their lives. A troop appears insisting that they had done all manner of good works in the name of Jesus. “Look at all we have done in Your name, Lord!” And, of course, they are fully expecting some kind of gold star and a seat in the front row of heaven.

'Your Father’s Good Pleasure'

The Kingdom Turn, Part 6

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12.32

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The pleasure of His company
Contrary to what many people seem to think, life in the Kingdom of God is a life of deeply satisfying pleasure.

David understood this, and he remarked that the pleasures forevermore are centered at the right hand of God (Ps. 16.11). This is where Jesus sits (Ps. 110), as He administers His Kingdom and leads those who have made the Kingdom turn into greater riches of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit. And Paul says that we have been “seated with Christ” in the epicenter of divine pleasure (Eph. 2.6), so that our lives can be deeply satisfying, lacking nothing, as we rest in Jesus and the pleasure of the Lord.

'You Shall Receive Power'

The Kingdom Turn, Part 5

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you...” Acts 1.8

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The rip current of secularism
The Kingdom turn brings a new perspective on life, so that those who come to faith in Jesus Christ view their lives, and live them, from the vantage point of eternity. The more we realize the abundant blessings that are ours in Jesus Christ, the greater our passion for Him becomes, as love for Him re-organizes all the other loves of our life.

'Seek First the Kingdom of God'

The Kingdom Turn, Part 4

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness...” Matthew 6.33

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First things...
Everybody understands the idea of priorities. Priorities determine the way we use our time and the ways we invest our strength, abilities, and treasure.

But priorities have to be translated into more concrete terms before we can actually pursue them. For example, “become rich” isn’t something one can pursue apart from some more concrete objectives, such as “get a good job,” “work hard,” “save as much as I can,” and so forth.

'That They May Behold My Glory'

The Kingdom Turn, Part 3

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory...” John 17.24

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The money priority
For many people – undoubtedly, too many – money is the determining factor in all their priorities. It is the great priority that drives everything else they do. But it’s interesting to consider the different ways people pursue this highest priority.

We’re all familiar with the guy who wants to get rich and enjoy all the benefits money can afford. He’s the guy who’ll go to any length to get the money he wants, even if, like Bernie Madoff, he cons and swindles people out of their money in order to line his own pockets.

'More than These?'

The Kingdom Turn, Part 2

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” John 21.15

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The life we should love
In the book of Revelation those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ, who have truly made the Kingdom turn, are described as not loving their lives so much that they would not gladly die for their faith (Rev. 12.10, 11, especially in NASB).

The wellbeing of our lives is not threatened only by persecution, as in the book of Revelation. All kinds of situations can challenge us to consider whether we love this present life so much that the prospect of losing it can depress and destroy us.

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