Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are we demanding the Lord prove Himself to us?

Jesus had been performing His ministry for about the three years….it would soon lead to the cross of our salvation.

From the first, His message was that the kingdom of God is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)

What does “at hand” mean? It means that it is close enough….that if you want it, you can reach out in faith and receive it.

Luke 17:20-21 “And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or Lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

They “demanded”…..a term that includes anger, pride, and imagined authority.

They demanded Him to speak….to say something to them, right then……about the kingdom of God, which He was calling men to.

It was not that they wanted this information to enlighten their hearts to believe….no….for their hearts were “far” from Him.

They demanded….

….because they wanted to “see” something from Him….and if He did not do as they wanted…..and show them….a time….or a place….or a action,….then they were right in rejecting Him.

Jesus Christ did, in fact, answer them….but not as they “demanded”, but as always….in truth.

“….He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation (or with outward show):

Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, Lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Notice the word, “said”.

They had demanded…..and “He answered them”….that would have been enough…

…but it was if the Holy Spirit wanted to emphasize the peace and calm that Jesus had in the face of His adversaries….”He answered them and said”.

Not shouted….not pointed out…not anything, but “said”.

“Take My Word, or leave it…..I am the Truth, and My Word is truth….

….My kingdom is not for pomp and show,…..but for righteousness, and peace and joy.

Right now, it is at hand….if you will “behold” it….

….right now, I, the king, am within your midst…

….and My kingdom is to be set up within you….

It is a kingdom which comes in power…..in your soul and life.”

God’s glory is not something that is “flash and bang”….but it is something that changes…lives, from the heart….outward.

But this they did not want….

…they could perform the outward commandment….to the letter….

…but refused the inward love and devotion to God.

Notice, also, He said….” For behold”.

This “behold” is in the imperative sense.

In order for them to “see” the kingdom….they would have to….absolutely, have to see….the King, Jesus Christ.

But instead of “beholding” Him, or understanding the kingdom of God….they demanded He prove Himself, and His Word.

Sad…..but how many of us do the same.

My question to all of us, Christians, is…..

Are we demanding an answer from the Lord about His call to His kingdom, for ourselves?

Are we saying: Prove that you will do this for me, if I give you my heart.

Have we gotten past the bargaining table (I’ll do this, if You do that, Lord)…..to just be devoted servants of the Lord Jesus Christ?

And this is of our hearts…..and in our hearts.

The kingdom of God is:

Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Righteousness is, of course, right standing with God, which comes from Christ’s righteousness…..so that we may come into His Presence.

But it is also right living….a change in our thoughts, attitudes, actions, and yes, words.

For as His righteousness is applied to us….it transforms our hearts in thanksgiving.

Peace….peace with God, yes….but also a peace with ourselves, and with others.

Though the Pharisees grieved Jesus, yet He kept speaking to them….informing them of the Way to life.

This is a peace which settles down into our whole being….a peace which walks in Christ’s steps….and leads others there, by the same example.

Joy….a truly choice and uplifting characteristic of Jesus. Joy is not in the circumstances….but in the Presence of God, in our life.

He is with us,…amazing, powerful, and encouraging….again, no matter the circumstances.

“….He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or Lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

This is still His message….will we receive His kingdom….within us?

And when we do…….we will have righteousness, peace, and joy.

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