My big idea for today is that we become more kingdom minded. My prayer for us today is that with God’s help we would become more focused on Him than we are on our neighbors. If you have your Bibles today you can join me as we turn to, you guessed it Romans Chapter 14 starting at verse 17.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.Romans 14:17-18
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points. Let’s take a look at my first point.
We Must Focus On Kingdom Priorities.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,Romans 14:17
Here Paul continues to make his point using the divisions regarding the dietary restrictions of the Jewish law. These Christians in Rome, and I’m sure also in other places, were drifting from the priorities of the kingdom of God. Let’s look back to one of Paul’s earlier comments.
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.Romans 14:1
The priorities of the kingdom of God are not those “disputable matters.” Not any of the doctrinal ideas or what ever foolishness we are on that week. Rather, find solidarity in those areas that concern our salvation, His righteousness, or other common goals of the faith. We must see that by Paul’s instruction, if we embrace a unified presence/spirit in the body of Christ and under His righteousness there will be a kingdom result.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Matthew 6:33
Here in Matthew, Jesus speaks primarily about worry or anxiety regarding daily physical needs, but the context of Jesus’ words here are working in concert with Paul’s instruction. To seek not the things of this world, but instead chase after His kingdom and His righteousness. And in his kingdom of righteousness you will find peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
I believe that because of Paul’s Jewish background, he was most definitely thinking of the Hebrew concept of Shalom/Peace.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
This denotes a perfect or a complete peace. A divine or supernatural peace.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.John 14:27
Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is fleeting and superficial. Happiness, actually depends on what is happening
Joy and peace are attached here by way of the Holy Spirit.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”Nehemiah 8:10
We must seek kingdom priorities. Ultimately, it is these kingdom priorities that keep us free. As we shift our personal focus to the Kingdom of God and its culture of divine righteousness, we will find ourselves free from our psychological prisons. These prisons/bondages are built by our own fears and anxieties. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I want to be free in the Holy Spirit. We ought not build these bonds for ourselves and we ought not force them on others. We must seek (for ourselves and teach others) kingdom priorities.
Let’s move to my next/final point.
We Must Seek Kingdom Outcomes.
because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.Romans 14:18
The kingdom outcome here lies in our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. In relationship to God, we have favor and have become pleasing to Him. That favor is also extended our way by the body of Christ. The world will find any fault they can and condemn Christians because of Christ. But those who know Him will receive us with their approval.
As we live by the priorities of the kingdom of God. Keeping clear of quarreling and “disputable matters” and focusing on the righteousness of Christ, a few things will become a bit clearer. Our anxiety will decrease. Our relationship with Christ will increase. We will find greater peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. And we will be in a position of favor with God and his people.
How do we begin this journey? I’m glad you asked. We pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us. We ask that He reveal to us the areas in which we need to work on. Many times, we think that God will just fix it in us like a snap miracle. Sometimes he does, but not always. Sometimes we need to learn the lesson. When we ask the Holy Spirit to show us and how to work on that area. This puts us into partnership with God and when you and God are on the same page, you better look out. Because something is about to happen.
I’m going to close with this:
God has made us free and provided a path for us that is both pleasing to God and harmonious among fellow believers. Don’t let the enemy rob you today. Don’t let the enemy continue to abuse you today. Be free from bondage in Jesus’ name. Let me ask you this, are you ready to seek his kingdom today? Are you ready today to refocus/recalibrate yourselves toward his righteousness?
Will you be open today to laying down those disputable matters and becoming more unified in Christ Jesus? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? This is truly the work of God. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today.
Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late.
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.
Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me.
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’