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The Kingdom of God

   
A message by Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh to all the elders of the seven leading churches in the city of Kuala Lumpur on Thursday at 8 pm, April 13, 2006.

The purpose of tonight’s gathering

Tonight’s gathering reminds us of our Lord Jesus’s Last Supper. Let us have some spiritual food first. It is good to remind ourselves of our Lord’s sufferings and sacrifice through His crucifixion and also it is very good to celebrate His resurrection and indeed very good to celebrate His reign sitting on the right hand of God in heaven.

I thank all the seven churches tonight for your unceasing prayers for me and also the well being of YTL. My public proclaimation of YTL’s leaders being Stewards of God’s wealth is well documented, so is my giving our Lord Jesus all the glory, for YTL’s success.

But, tonight our Lord Jesus wants to say how much He loves His choicest servants that is all of you, and tonight He wants His churches in this city of Kuala Lumpur to unite for His Kingdom.

I am eternally grateful to Jesus and to all the saints and servants of God in ancient times and also today for all their teachings, in helping me understand the Kingdom of God. There is no need to mention all the individual names as there are just too many and all saints and servants of Jesus would only want to boast of the Lord only and not their individual contributions. So I claim no credit for tonight’s gathering as I am merely discharging a duty on our Lord’s behalf. Our Lord indeed is debtor to no man.

I was inspired to share this little short message with all of you tonight. Paul in a letter to the Romans said this, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:5-7

What is the gospel or the good news?

The Gospel meaning the good news, means many things for many Christians and indeed for many preachers. I have heard this preached here locally and also preached around the world. For many, good news means being born again and our sins forgotten forever and spared condemnation to Hell. For some, good news means God is preparing to take us to Heaven as a home. Remember what the Psalms said about heaven and earth, “The highest heaven belong to the Lord, but the earth He has given to man” Psalm 115: 16.  Maybe, Hell was never meant for man in the first place, it was perhaps made for the ultimate destruction of Satan and his demons.

Yet again, good news can mean eternal and increasing prosperity for those who tithe regularly, with material prosperity as an end in itself, and buying an insurance for a passport to Heaven.

There are also some that think the good news means miraculous healings to our diseased bodies and therefore heaven can wait.

For others again, good news means the ability to speak in tongues having been baptized in the Holy Spirit and therefore living proof that they are closer to God and therefore righteous and holy.

However, the Fallen Man always wants religion but God wants a relationship. I know for sure that God is more interested in having a daily communion with us than perfect worship services.

In the garden of Eden before Adam and Eve’s fall there was no altars, sacrifices, songs, sermons, prayers but Adam and Eve walking and talking with God in perfect harmony.

Although our Lord Jesus did speak about healings and taught about some of these things above and demonstrated them He did not preach them.

Jesus preached only one message: the Kingdom of God.

That was His assignment and therefore it is our assignment. We need to preach that Jesus came to restore us to our original and rightful place as His children, as heirs to His Kingdom, and as rulers to have dominion over the earth.

Man fell from this passionate relationship with God and God is seeking to restore all of us back to this beautiful garden experience and we are to enjoy it now, not in some distant day in the future after we have died and gone to heaven.

What is the purpose of Jesus when He appeared to us more than 2000 years ago?

Jesus’s purpose was two fold: to proclaim the arrival of God’s Kingdom and Through His blood, provide entry to the Kingdom for all who would come. This is the good news. This is why we were told by Jesus to preach this good news in Matthew 24:14

Jesus said, “And this gospel of the Kingdom(not just any gospel but the gospel of the Kingdom) will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Every tribe, culture, and people group must hear the gospel of the Kingdom before Jesus can return. The fact that Jesus has not come back yet is proof that His assignment, which He delegated to His followers in every generation, has not yet been fulfilled. I have a problem with the people who are preaching and prophesying that we are in the “last days” and that the Second Coming of Jesus is right around the corner. The misjudging of the timing of Jesus’s return to Earth by Christians throughout history, and also in the recent past are well documented.

Let’s consider the facts: Jesus will return after the gospel of the Kingdom has been preached to all the nations. Currently, the world populations exceed 6 billion. China has over 1 billion people, the vast majority of whom have never even heard the name of Jesus.

India’s population is now more than a billion. Approximately 98 percent of Indians are Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslims.  What this means is these two nations alone, more than 2.2 billion people do not know Christ, and most of them have never even heard the gospel.

Over 800 million people live in Africa. Although Christianity is firmly established in Africa, many African believers have never heard the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

They know Jesus, but they have never been taught about their status and rights and sons and daughters of God and citizens and heirs of His Kingdom.

Even in Europe and in North and South America few people have heard the gospel of the Kingdom. Many heard about Jesus, and large portion of the people in these places are followers of Christ, but even many of these believers have never heard the Kingdom message. There is still much work to do before Jesus’ assignment of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom to all the nations is fulfilled.

So what is the gospel of the Kingdom?

It is inherent nature of love that motivated the King of heaven, our Father God, to create us spirit children (called mankind) to share His Kingdom rulership.

In other words, man was created for the purpose of rulership and leadership. This is why in the message of Jesus, when He described the age of the Kingdom of God and its provision for man, His indication was that this Kingdom belonged to man even before Earth was created.

Jesus said, "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” Matthew 25:34 

It was God’s idea to share His invisible Kingdom with us, His off springs, and give us His nature and His characteristics.

God in His sovereignty has decided to delegate authority and dominion in the Earth to us – a spirit in a body. This is why God will not do anything on earth without the cooperation of a human. Man is God’s legal agency and access to Earth.

Augustine, an early Church Father, once wrote, “Without God we cannot, without us God will not.” This is a concise description of how our dominion mandate works. Without God’s power and Spirit, we have no chance of affecting the Earth for the Kingdom of Heaven. Without us God will not interfere, true to His word and His original purpose.

Adam lost the Kingdom of God for us

The Fall of Adam was not just a personal act of disobedience, but was essentially an act of treason. Adam committed the ultimate act of betrayal. He lost the most important relationship of all – the Holy Spirit. Through violation of God’s word, he did not only lose his personal relationship with His heavenly Father, he lost a kingdom through abdication as king.

State of the world today

This explains well the state of the world today. Despite our ability to harness technology and significant scientific advancements we are still no better or different from our ancestors of old.

We are more knowledgeable but not wiser; we have more entertainment but less joy; we can go to the moon, but we cannot go home to a good family. We protect animals, but kill our children; we improve the quality of our food but dump them to keep prices high. We have more religion but less love; and we blame others for our wrong choices but take credit for what others do right.

Over the centuries we have watched the creation of a variety of governmental systems including dictatorships, monarchies, and tyrannies, as well as the theories and practices of socialism, democracy, communism, and imperialism. Each of them has had an opportunity to improve the lives of their citizens. Most of them failed miserably.

On the religious front, the record is just as dismal. God’s name was used in vain for wars to satisfy man’s lust for power and territory. We are certainly not proud of The Spanish Inquisition neither are we proud of The Crusades. Religious wars remain today the most violent and the most inhumane.

Why is this so?

This is so because many people are still living in the Kingdom of Darkness including some Christians.

The kingdom of darkness, then, “is a domain where the king rules by ignorance – not in ignorance, but by ignorance.” Satan rules his kingdom of darkness by keeping his “subjects” in ignorance of   the existence of God’s Kingdom.

He fills their heads with lies and deception. Satan controls his subjects by keeping them “in the dark” regarding spiritual truth.

Satan keeps us all very busy doing wonderful ‘religious’ things and important ‘commercial’ things, running circles around us and we in turn running circles around ourselves.

He blinds our minds lest we understand the glorious good news of Jesus. The apostle Paul warned us in this way: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor.4:4).

The Prodigal son and pigpen thinking.

Let us remind ourselves of the parable of the prodigal son, who squandered his wealth with loose living and was subsequently sent to the fields to feed the pigs. He was longing for the pods the swine was eating. He finally came back to his father and thought he deserved to be treated like a slave. His father put up a huge banquet for him and put a ring in his finger instead. A ring of rightful ownership and inheritance again, not a slave! (Luke Chapter 15:22). This is the nature of our Father in Heaven.

For many of us, taking that step will require first a renewing of our minds to get rid of “pigpen thinking.”

Consider Paul’s words to the Roman believers: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:1-2).

Again consider Paul’s reminder to the Galatians.

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Galatians 4:4-7)

The real good news of the Kingdom of God  

The real good news is that our Lord Jesus came to Earth to restore what Adam lost, and He brought a kingdom message. Jesus came to reestablish the government of God on earth and to reinstate His Earthly kings to their rightful place of dominion.

Adam lost a kingdom, not a religion, and therefore the redemptive work of the Creator would be the reestablishment of His Kingdom on Earth.

We are the Kingdom of God on Earth. The Kingdom of God, therefore, is not the Earth itself, but the ones chosen to function as His rulers in the earthly domain. God’s Kingdom is us carrying out His dominion on this planet.

Our Lord Jesus knows we worry too much because of our having lived in the Kingdom of Darkness for so long and therefore, He said, “Seek forth His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33)

The word righteous is a legal term, not a religious term, and it means to ‘position one rightly’. Jesus came to put us back in a right relationship with God, so that we are qualified to receive the promises of God.

What is the law or ‘constitution’ of this Kingdom?

 Let us look at  (Mark 12:28-31), for an answer.

The Greatest Commandment

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

"The most important one”, answered Jesus, is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."

Did Paul not remind us in 1 Corinthians 13 about love?
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Paul’s letter to the Galatians on the Fruit of the Spirit is again consistent with Jesus’s commandments.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23)

The first three flavours of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy and peace can only be tasted when you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second three flavours of the fruit: patience, kindness, goodness, having loved God and loving your neighbours and the last three flavours of the fruit, faithfulness, gentleness and self control having loved God, and yourself.

The nine flavours of the Fruit of the Spirit are indeed a reflection of our holiness and our righteousness. Holiness is a measure of the distance we are to God and righteousness is a measure of our right positioning with God.  I am also sure that if we dig into the inner recesses of our heart, we are indeed not holy and indeed not righteous, in other words we are not as near to Him as we think and we are not as rightly aligned to Him as we wish.

What else is the Kingdom of God like?

It is a Kingdom where our King gives and our King serves and the King’s purpose is to give life in abundance to all His citizens.

That is His original purpose to give us dominion on this planet’s resources.

It is certainly not a kingdom of Man, it thrives in rape and plunder and lusts in the domination of Man. Just look at the state of politicians in office and office politics!

Jesus set a great example by washing His disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. If we are His kings in this Kingdom, we must also be giving in nature and we must also be keen in service, remembering the way and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, our King of kings. We must imitate Him, a servant King.

How is the well being of the Kingdom of God measured?
The well being of His Kingdom is measured by the well being of the Kingdom citizens. As I have mentioned earlier, the citizens of this Earth are not well and many citizens of God’s Kingdom are also not well.

We are supposed to be enlightened and Rulers, yet are we still slaves with pigpen mentalities. How are we going to preach good news of the Kingdom with our lack of God’s resources and still full of fear and anxieties, stuck with a pigpen mentality!

Why are our prayers not answered?

Many of our prayers may not be answered because we may be asking nonsense from God.

God did not answer Job when Job was looking for an answer to the sudden demise of his position, his wealth, and his family. In fact, God rebuked the other three counselors to Job for talking ‘nonsense’. Why?

C.S. Lewis noted, we do ask nonsensical questions all the time. It is like asking how many hours is a mile or is yellow round or square.

When our prayers are not answered, maybe just maybe, we are asking nonsensical questions and also nonsense in spiritual terms. Maybe, we seeking His blessings first before we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness.

It was through the acknowledgement of God and trusting His perfect purpose, that Job was restored and rewarded two fold!

How then do we win this battle against the Kingdom of darkness?

We are taught and taught very well indeed to fight this battle with God If we are to be part of His army then we must put on His armor. Paul instructed us.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…..

 

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

 

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

 

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints


Pray also for us, that whenever we open our mouths, words may be given us so that we will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,” (Ephesians 6:10-19). This is the right prayer for all of us, all the time.

 

Are we all righteous and holy with God tonight?

I intend to do this every year if it is in God’s will and according to His purpose.

 

This gathering is good as it give us all precious time to reflect on our holiness and righteousness with our Lord Jesus. It gives us time to reflect whether we are preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God correctly and adequately.  It gives us time to reflect whether we are still having the passionate personal relationship with our Lord Jesus, our first love.

 

Let us all reflect tonight if we are closer to the Shepherd, our Lord Jesus or are we sheep that have been feeding on the pastures with our eyes down and have unwittingly wandered away from Him.

 

Our Lord set aside a Sabbath, a holy day a week for a purpose. It is to reflect on our holiness, in other words to reflect of how near we are to Him. It is now that I understand clearly why our Lord Jesus is always looking out for the lost sheep that have wandered away. It is now I understand why Jesus warned his disciples before His crucifixion that the shepherd will be struck and the sheep will be scattered. It is now I understand why Jesus told His disciples to feed and take care of His sheep.

Finally, on this auspicious occasion of our gathering to honor our Lord Jesus and His honoring in turn of His choicest servants, let us be reminded again of what our Lord Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:7-17)

The state of our welfare, the citizens of the Kingdom of God, in the physical, financial and spiritual realm, are the only evidence of the existence of the Kingdom of God where our Lord Jesus reigns, that believers and unbelievers will ever see.

We are the living images of citizens of the Kingdom of God that are supposed to have a passionate personal relationship with our Lord Jesus, and in so being loves our family dearly, our family in Christ dearly and our unbelieving neighbours just as dearly.

Last week’s bombshell release of the Gospel of Judas by the National Geographic Society had many Christians wondering whether our familiar story of Good Friday needed updating. My answer is absolutely not!

The answer to the question raised every Good Friday remain the same. Why did Judas do it? Because Judas, although physically close to Jesus, but like many men still living in darkness, wanted to make God in his own image, rather than the other way around.

Let us be reminded once again that faith in Christ is life affirming, it is creation enjoying. Christ is not opposed to life but to the Fall. Let us reaffirm that God has given us the whole creation to enjoy. We are called to exercise dominion over the whole Earth as image bearers of God. To do this we must put our God-given creativity to productive endeavour.

May Our Lord Jesus Christ in His infinite mercy and grace once again arm us with His wisdom and in likeness to His image, help us to preach the gospel of The Kingdom of God, to all the ends of the world and make disciples of all nations, as we await His second return.

Amen

Thank you very much.

 


Francis Yeoh on tonight’s message, “Our Lord Jesus is the author and finisher of my faith. He writes the script and I was just a little willing pencil”.

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