Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Acts Day 94 - A Tale of Two Kingdoms

7:39 "...and in their hearts they turned back to Egypt..."

There are only two kingdoms. Most of us live with a foot in each one but that can only last for so long. Many of us don't even realize there are two kingdoms, let alone understand where we are in relation to them. Symbolically the Bible sometimes refers to the kingdom of evil as Egypt and/or Babylon.

Just as puppies are born with their eyes closed we too are born in the dark into a dark world where Egypt and Babylon seem to rule the day. The other opposite kingdom is God's kingdom. The differences are stark yet at first glance they can appear similar, not because they are, but because our eyesight is that bad. Only God can free us to see both kingdoms but we're always free to return.

Satan's kingdom is one of selfishness and hate where the strong rule the weak. Science has observed this reality in nature and calls it the survival of the fittest, or natural selection. In this kingdom mercy is folly and compassion is weakness. Consider the following:

"Patience and gentleness under wrong were not characteristics prized by the heathen or by the Jews. The statement made by Moses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that he was the meekest man upon the earth, would not have been regarded by the people of his time as a commendation; it would rather have excited pity or contempt. But Jesus places meekness among the first qualifications for His kingdom. In His own life and character the divine beauty of this precious grace is revealed.
Jesus, the brightness of the Father's glory, thought “it not a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant.” Philippians 2:6, 7 , R.V., margin. Through all the lowly experiences of life He consented to pass, walking among the children of men, not as a king, to demand homage, but as one whose mission it was to serve others. There was in His manner no taint of bigotry, no cold austerity. The world's Redeemer had a greater than angelic nature, yet united with His divine majesty were meekness and humility that attracted all to Himself.
Jesus emptied Himself, and in all that He did, self did not appear. He subordinated all things to the will of His Father. When His mission on earth was about to close, He could say, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” John 17:4. And He bids us, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself” (Matthew 11:29)"

In the kingdom of this world humility is not valued. We honour warriors. We exalt those who win battles and amass wealth. The person who quietly withdraws for the benefit of others is seen as a coward or weak or of little significance. We are blind to what is truly heroic. We judge each other and the world around us by a measuring stick that was created in the factories of Satan.

This blindness we suffer from is genetic. It is a condition from which we cannot free ourselves. Choice is a funny thing. We all believe we have it but if all the options we can "see" are the wrong options how much choice do we really have? Think of a man in a prison cell. He is free to go the left or right. He is free to stand or sit. Yet no matter what choices he makes he is forever in that cell. Now imagine the cell is opened. For the first time he truly has choice. He can remain in his cell or step out into the world beyond it.

The Israelites were slaves in Egypt. No matter what choices they made they remained slaves. Then God intervened. He opened the "cell". He gave them true freedom. Sadly most of them chose to return to the "cell" in their hearts. Do you "see" now what that means?

Judas chose to follow Jesus thinking He would set up a mighty kingdom based on the value system of Egypt/Babylon where the strong are revered and the weak are snuffed out. When Judas' eyes were opened and he could clearly see that Jesus' kingdom was "not of this world" he sold Jesus out. In his heart Judas returned to Egypt. Perhaps in his heart he never left Egypt to begin with.

The kingdom of Jesus is beautifully described in Matthew 5. It's not a kingdom of palaces, but a kingdom of character. We all want the kingdom of palaces but do we want the King of character?

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