Everyday Ethics For The Exilic Minority: Revisiting Christian Identity Within A Confused World
Kingdom Down or Culture Up?
One Kingdom—One King—One Commission—One Mission
The Kingdom of Light: The Great Commission-Go and Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. (Matt 28:19-20)
The Counterfeit Kingdom—A fallen ruler-A false Commission -A failed mission
Satan, the ruler of this world, (Jn 12:31) is trying to set up a counterfeit kingdom, governed by darkness (Eph 6:12), blinding the eyes of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4.4), with the goal of keeping people in his dominion of darkness. (Acts. 26:18). Satan can only counterfeit and he’s good at it.
The Counterfeit Kingdom: The Counterfeit Commission given to the powers and principalities: Go and blind the creation of God, confuse them with the Holy Word. Temp them with the passions of the flesh. Do all you can from allowing them to hear the gospel of Christ. (Gen 3:1; Isa 44:13-17; 2 Cor. 4:4; Rom. 3:11)
- New culture
- New language
- New creed
- Ever changing sexual ethics
- Political control
- Slave to the godless rulers
One choice- be like the men of the culture or be like that one God-man who rules the Kingdom?
- 4 Beasts- Lame attempts at counterfeit rulers (7:1-8)
- The Ancient of Days- Supreme Ruler and Judge (7:9-14)
The Supreme Ruler and Judge has come to teach us how to live:
1. The merciful (5:7)
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways, according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. (Ps. 25:6-7)
Jesus states that those who live in his kingdom show mercy because the one who embodies the law, God, shows mercy.
God does not give his people what they deserve; instead he gives them what they do not deserve.
The merciful are those who demonstrate forgiveness towards the guilty and kindness towards the hurting and needy.
We deserve judgment, but we receive mercy. Therefore, we need to be careful how we live within the kingdom toward those outside the kingdom.
Jesus demonstrates the contrast between his requirements and the actions of the religious leaders, who tend to be merciless based on the demand for strict observance of the law.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." Matt 23:23
For they will be shown mercy…
Without compromising Holiness, believers reach out beyond themselves to love and help others know and experience the great love of God.
Those who receive mercy will demonstrate mercy.
“Once a man has truly experienced the mercy of God in his life he will henceforth aspire only to serve.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
2. Pure in heart (5:8)
He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for a friend. Prov. 22:11
A pure heart is what produces external purity.
While the people of the Old Testament knew the heart was evil, they also believed that God could bring purification and motivation for following him.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me. Ps. 51:10
For they will see God…
Those who have undivided loyalty towards God and his ways will be blessed and rewarded with their greatest hope: they will see God.
“They will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads” Rev. 22:4
3. The peacemakers (5:9)
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility Eph. 2:14
Disciples in the kingdom of God are those who bring the good news of peace found in Jesus Christ.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isa. 52:7
Do the people in your life say, “Your God reigns?”
For they will be called sons of God…
Living Kingdom down as citizens within a godless nation, who offer peace to the restless world will be known as sons of God.
Peacemakers reflect the character of their heavenly father as they carry Jesus’ mission of peacemaking to the world.
Sons and daughters are not trying to be like the men and women of the culture- they are following this one man- the God-Man, who is the King of the kingdom they serve.
The Kingdom of Light is near, and it is filled with citizens who are called to serve with undivided hearts, being merciful, pursuing holiness and bringing peace. Be wise- some of us are confused about which Kingdom we are from. Don’t get caught with a counterfeit. Make sure you know the real deal.
Ask yourself this question: “Will I be like every other man (woman), or will I be like that one man who called me out of darkness into marvellous light?” If you can say yes- you are living Kingdom down. If you say no, you are living culture up. Think about it.