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Legacy

Kingdom Values (7)


In the place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the nations will praise you forever and ever. Psalm 45:16, 17

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Good Today, Good Tomorrow
We’re considering the kind of values that should lodge in our consciences, to strengthen them for guarding and directing our minds and hearts as we follow Jesus in the normal course of our daily lives. We’ve examined five values that I think are most conducive to directing our thoughts and shaping our affections in ways most likely to promote a Kingdom lifestyle: calling, seeking, renewal, holiness, and mission.

To these I’d like to add one more: legacy. It should be important to us, a matter of the highest priority, to leave something behind for others, to help them on their journey into the Kingdom and glory of God.

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Mission

Kingdom Values (6)


Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.” 2 Kings 7:9

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Swallowed up in Grace
By the grace of God, those four Samaritan lepers had stumbled upon an incredible boon and blessing. Figuring they had nothing to lose, these poor, starving beggars ventured out to the camp of the besieging Syrian army in the hope they might find something to eat. What they found so astounded and delighted them, that they knew they had to tell everyone.

As we increase in the holiness of God – the result of being daily renewed in our calling from God and seeking His Kingdom – we enter into the new reality of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God, Paul tells us, is righteousness. Righteousness, or holiness, is the character of the Kingdom, the identifying attribute of that realm of eternal life that has broken into human experience and is being advanced on earth as it is in heaven under the watchful eye of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of His Spirit.

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Holiness

Kingdom Values (5)


Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of god. 2 Corinthians 7:1

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The Logical Corollary
The work of renewal is that process by which we “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit”, as Paul puts it. We won’t have much incentive to embrace renewal as a value unless we’re actively seeking the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit to which God is calling us. Hearing and seeking God’s calling are the top priorities in our conscience; renewal follows as a result of our journeying toward the Kingdom and encountering obstacles along the way.

But renewal must be undertaken against a background that allows us to know when our work of renewal is on target. And that background is what Paul refers to as holiness. When renewal is a working value in our souls and lives, and we are being cleansed in spirit and body of all defilements and every Kingdom-deterring thought, affection, word, or deed, then we’ll be in position to “bring holiness to completion” as Paul instructs.

So we need to understand what holiness is and what it should look like in our lives.

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Renewal

Kingdom Values (4)


When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments. Psalm 119:59, 60

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New Values, New Light
Seeking the Kingdom of God in every aspect of our lives will shed new light on our lives in many ways. We will begin to see things in our lives and in our world that are not consistent with the presence and progress of the Kingdom of God, to which we have been called and which we are seeking. Obstacles and roadblocks will pop up to obstruct God’s calling and deter our Kingdom seeking. If we don’t find ways of overcoming these, we’ll end up frustrated and perhaps even abandoning the Kingdom values we’ve begun to embrace.

The Christian life is always a work in progress. What Paul described as a “law of sin” continues to operate in our lives, so that our minds, hearts, and consciences still bear some of the marks and tendencies of a more self-centered than God-centered agenda, and our words and deeds, as result, will always fall a bit short of glorifying God in Kingdom ways (Rom. 7:15-25).

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Seeking

Kingdom Values (3)


“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

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When God Calls
As we have seen, God is continuously calling us into His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2:12). When His calling becomes a default value in our consciences, it will shape the way that we think and feel about our daily lives, so that seeking the Kingdom and glory of God will become the defining orientation toward all we do.

Human beings live for the future. We’re cognizant of our past, and we make our way in life through the present. But humans are future-oriented creatures. That is, we’re always seeking something that lies just ahead of us a bit. Seeking describes a basic orientation to life.

So the question, where the composition of the conscience is concerned, is not whether we shall have seeking as a value, but, in particular, what we will seek as the defining value for all our seeking.

Happily, Jesus has sorted that out for us, hasn’t He?

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Calling

Kingdom Values (2)


For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11, 12

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It Matters Who’s Calling
We all get phone messages. And text messages. And email messages.

Sometimes they pile up, clog up, and jam up. Some we never get to; most will just have to wait. We have other things to do, things we value more than responding to every forwarded message, casual caller, or earnest inquirer. We’ll get to them when we can, that’s the best we can do.

We scan or scroll through our messages throughout the day, just to see who’s calling. Because it might matter. If the message is from someone we want to hear from, or someone who has a claim on us that we must heed – like a boss or a child – then we get right on it. Such messages go to the head of the list and are responded to right away.

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