As Believers we need to lay down our theology and receive God’s theology about Himself, and ourselves. The gospel of the Kingdom is not this small. We are in dire need of God’s view, particularly when our entire life has been based on misinformation. Certainly this brother does not know more than he needs to at present. He himself is bound by false doctrine and a limited view of the Kingdom of God. People could do all the things mentioned here and still there would be no kingdom of God, no new creation, no transformed world and no peace and joy. There never is until Christ becomes our life and we become human beings rather than human doings.
‘By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames’ 1 Cor 3.10-15 NIV.
Paul is declaring Christ as the foundation and the life. Build on another foundation and we will not lose our place in the Kingdom. But we will have done nothing to build it. The kingdom of God is not a charitable program or a world issues based solution. Neither is it the dissemination of correct morality. It is Christ our life.
The kind of programme in the picture can be the work of those who don’t know the gospel of the Kingdom and life in Christ’s Spirit. Thus they feel the need to demonstrate they are worthy of acceptance with God. The words have an old covenant taint of separation and getting union with God by what we do. It’s a most unsubtle form of legalism and the kind of gospel that is clung to by those who can’t relinquish their need to demonstrate their self-worth to God and observers. Such gospels are based on the personal offence of the cross. But none of us can earn our way into the good books of heaven. Jesus has earned our way there and made us people who belong in the fellowship of the trinity. Jesus joins us to Father and Holy Spirit. Positioned in His life all we touch is ignited with spirit and life. Living from a program we touch nothing with His spirit-life.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ John 15.5 NIV.
As Christian performance addicts we are surrounded by a cloud of non-life of which we are not aware. The Kingdom of God is neither a moral crusade or a charitable program. It’s Christ in you. It’s not a practice but it is His life as your life. It’s the life of our Father manifest as His daughters and sons. This is the incarnation – the trinity in you- which is the main dynamic of the new testament age. Living in this reality, the one Paul describes in Romans 8 we are continual life-givers and all we do transmits the spirit-life of the fullness of God.
There’s nothing contrived about this kind of living and being. No program here. No ostentatious exhibition of kindness and selflessness. No paying back Jesus for His cross. This kind life in Jesus is not religion But it is His life. Just you intuitively being yourself and in doing so ministering healing and life to the needy according to your design. This is all of us touching others with the life of Jesus by being ourselves.
Only those hidden in Christ are revealed as who they really are.
There are a thousand and one ways of multiplying God’s life and all of them based on you being yourself and living according to your design. Living in an agenda you will never be yourself or do what Jesus is doing because His Spirit in you will be smothered by your self-obsession. You will never be complete and always near or outside your real self.
‘My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ Gal 2.20 NLT.
Hidden in Jesus you are always yourself. Unless we are absorbed and desire ever more of God we will never be our real selves and never possess the water of life to minister to the needy.
The more you are absorbed into Christ the more you are revealed as your real self and liberated out of your dead and blind self with your dead works into fruitfulness, sightedness and life. Unless we eat and drink the Son of Man we have no life and our efforts are meaningless in regard to the advance of the Kingdom. There a people who by diligent effort advance a kingdom – their own.
A program of generosity and kindness, as noble and Christ-like as it may seem is not of itself the gospel of Jesus. It is His cross, resurrection and return to live in us by the Spirit to be our life that is the core of the new creation and the Kingdom. This is the foundation that gives spirit-life to all we do.
‘What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ’ Phil 3.8 NIV.
There is the gospel of the Kingdom and false gospels derived from false christ’s. Paul calls these rubbish because they are a counterfeit of the real.
Living from externalities, programs and agendas we are not serving Christ because we are not being ourselves. But as sons who are one with our Father we are authentically ourselves and always fruitful. We only do what Father intends for us to do. All we do is relevant and life-giving.
Each person is a multitude of facets in themselves and all of them channels of the river of life that flows from God into you and out into the dry places of the world. Each of us in the community of Christ is a facet of Jesus and a unique expression of Him. All of us together make up His fullness when we minister together as ourselves where ever we are in the world. Filed with His Spirit and life we generate the new creation where we are.
This reminds me of Martha who wanted to make sandwiches Jesus did not ask for. Mary met Jesus need to offer His love, nurture and life. As a result, Mary became equipped to meet the needs of those about her with spirit and life in a way that an the insensitive Martha never could. Mary absorbed Jesus’ spirit and life to give it out. We can learn from the story of Mary and Martha or we can live the remainder of our life in a fog of well-meaning confusion and impotence.
The good deeds mentioned in the picture are needed and worthy. But they flow when we are joined to the vine and are the branches of this union with God. It’s sad when our activity stifles our union with God and denies a needy world the spirit and life of Jesus than makes a difference between break through and just more of the same.
There is more to the life of Father in His sons than a church institutionalised industry of. Good deeds. The ways of imparting life are as numerous and diverse as the universe itself and the people in it. They are certainly not confined to undoing the effects of sin. Jesus is life itself and those who are His life are the same. In Jesus we are able to love God, love ourselves and love others in spirit and in truth because we are life. Now we are able to touch others with His life to the full.