At First Baptist Church of Zeeland, we exist to know Christ and to make Him known.

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REGIME CHANGE LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE

December 14, 2017

The first message of John the Baptist was “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. (Matthew 3:2).  The same is declared by Jesus as He launches His public ministry (Matthew 4:17).  Upon that announcement, disease, injustice, and demons are routed and scattered, as Jesus heals crippling disease, casts out demonic insurgents, and calls followers to His kingdom cause.  The first tiny glimpse of the coming kingdom force is seen in fisherman from Galilee.  He proclaims the kingdom as He crushes elements of the old kingdom of darkness and curse, and “great crowds” follow Him.  Great fame follows from Jerusalem, Judea, and even “beyond the Jordan.”  Know what that last phrase means?  It means the “other side of the tracks”- beyond even the scope of the promised lands to the people Israel.  All People are seeing what a coming kingdom might look like.  People are hearing about a kingdom within reach.

 

While that kingdom is not actualized in the first coming of Jesus Christ, Matthew’s gospel gives us a glimpse of what that kingdom will encompass: everything.  Jesus is coming to take it all, to change it all.  Still, aware that initial elements of His mission at this given time is to reveal Himself as Savior to the world and to die for the sins of the world, He stops short of complete, total, and immediate overthrow of everything and everyone. 

 

But, it doesn’t mean we can’t be overthrown right now.  It doesn’t mean there cannot be a regime change.  What does Jesus do right after noticing the large following of His Galilean ministry?  He goes up on a mountain, and He reveals the inner overthrow of the heart that only His kingdom can bring.  In this famous sermon, He reveals what becomes of the hearts of those who have His kingdom reign.  He teaches kingdom living.  The poor in spirit will get full kingdom inheritance.  Some experience economic poverty, but those who see and mourn the poverty of their hearts will truly “get” the kingdom Jesus offers.  The meek will inherit the earth (because they would humble themselves to accept King Jesus and receive the new heaven and earth.  Dominators dominate- the meek are people who do not have to assert themselves to achieve their cause- God will do that for them).   The pure in heart will see God (Proverbs 22:11).  Those looking for a truly clean heart, because they know the heart can be wicked, will see the face of God in their undivided devotion.

 

Christ was teaching His disciples about kingdom living, but He was also inviting the crowds to get a glimpse of the kingdom He offers.  For those who know Jesus Christ as Savior, more benefits are to come in the coming literal kingdom (like no hospitals, no wheelchairs, no 6 degree mornings when you have to drive your daughter to school).  But, the Christ-follower is experiencing some inner kingdom transformation right now even as he anticipates benefits later.  That is why Paul says in Romans 14:8, “we live to God.”  All of our being can be offered to God (Romans 12:1-2).  How?  Because inner overthrow has occurred (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Inner restoration has been accomplished.  The Son of God is living in us so that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9).  

 

So, this sounds like a strange question, but here it comes…Have you been overthrown?  Soon, this entire earth will get rolled up like a scroll, but right now, today, there is the offer of total takeover by Jesus (Colossians 2:6).  You pause in your thoughts here, perhaps, and say, “this is only a pep rally.  Something to get me fired up to follow Jesus.”  Quite honestly, it isn’t.  It is simply what Jesus wants: all of you, so that all of Him can live through you.  I did it again today.  I asked for overthrow.  I gave my whole being over to God.  You can too.  Follow this prayer below.

 

Prayer- “Father is Heaven, You have conquered sin and death and dead, hopeless living.  I want to live your out Your kingdom rule from my insides, from my heart.  So, I offer it to you. Take my heart and transform it.  Overthrow me.  Give me the power and the surrender to live from the inside out.  Jesus, reign in me.”

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