PMT 2016-042 by Don Strickland
Acts 17:26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Psalm 74:2 Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage!
Ephesians 1:5 He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.
Every nation (ethnos, from which we get our word “ethnicity”) comes from God. As the word implies, nation denotes a common people. Thus, a nation’s origin pertains to common ancestors, or ethnicity, with a common language, culture, and religion. Of course, that fact does not mean that those who are outside that common ethnic group cannot be a part of the nation. In the Old Testament, those outsiders wishing to join themselves to the nation of Israel, for instance, were allowed to do so (Isaiah 56.3). However, for those outsiders to join themselves to the nation, they had to assimilate themselves completely into the nation with its laws, customs, culture, and most importantly, religion (Num 15.13-16 and Ex 12.48-49). Remember Ruth’s words to Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1.16).
Down But Not Out
by Wayne A. Mack
Wayne Mack brings biblical counsel to people suffering from worry or spiritual burnout—two major problems that knock us down. Other chapters treat “downers” such as self-pity, discontentment, discouragement, perplexity, and hopelessness.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Whereas nations generally form from one common people, empires form from a dominate nation forcibly controlling other nations. The resulting accumulation of disparate peoples with differing laws, languages, customs, cultures, and religions creates domestic instability within the empire’s borders. Enough instability, and the empire has four directions that it can go. It can become a tyranny, such as the Soviet Union and China became in the last century. It can fall, such as Rome did. It can downsize, like the Soviet Union or Great Britain did in the 20th Century. Or it may restructure, as the Austrian Empire did to share power in the 19th Century with its large restive Hungarian populace before itself was broken apart at the end of World War 1. Although downsizing is the best option since it can take an unstable empire back to the status of a stable nation, none of those choices are particularly beneficial, in the short term, for the dominate nation.
But what about God’s Kingdom? Since God takes people from “every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” (Rev 7.9) and places them into the Church, it would seem that a great deal of instability is built into the structure. And indeed, from the outside, it would certainly appear that way. The number of differing churches seems innumerable, and growing. Infighting, both legitimate and not, is common. The Church in the West speaks with many voices drowning each other out, as little agreement may be had even on major moral issues. This cultural irrelevancy makes it vulnerable to cultural pressures toward conformity, effectively silencing any message of repentance and forgiveness to a sinful society. And then, of course, we have racial, linguistic, cultural, and the many other issues that come with having members originating and spread across the whole world. But returning to a Church ruled by a Pope (tyranny) is not the answer either.
God’s Law Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)
Summary for the case for the continuing relevance of God’s Law.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
The Church is not an empire, but a kingdom nation. Why do I say that? First, according to the covenant formula which God says repeatedly in the Bible, believers are His people (Ex 6.7; Jer 24.7, 30.22, 31.33; Hosea 2.23; Heb 8.10; and Rev 21.3). We are citizens of His Kingdom. But we are not just foreign immigrants who have entered this spiritual nation. We are actual members of His tribe. We have been adopted and have been made sons and heirs of the King. Read the verses above again. If you have been made a believer in Christ, you are a member of His family (Heb 2.10-11).
Therefore, spiritually speaking, you’ve got Christ Himself dwelling in and renewing you, and thus you are being changed into His likeness. The new birth, which Jesus spoke about to Nicodemas (John 3.1-8), started a process called sanctification. Think of this process as similar to the assimilation that immigrants enter upon when they declare an allegiance to a new nation or king. However, we are being assimilated internally, and the results of that assimilation are being seen in our thoughts, words, and deeds. There will be times when you feel like a foreigner to the Kingdom and out of step with the One who’s at work in you. But time and the Holy Spirit will be ever moving this internal change toward its completion on the day you enter His throne room and finally see Your Sovereign face to face.
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Tagged: church as kingdom, kingdom of God
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