The Core of Kingdom Life
Kingdom Living #4
Discipleship, truth, heart, Christ abiding within; these are elements of living in the kingdom of God. The reign of Christ over citizens of the kingdom occurs within them. The paradigms of the heart are transformed by truth. His mores and ethics become theirs; His way becomes their way.
Jesus Christ is the core of the kingdom; everything centers on Him. Paul stated, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” (Colossians 3:2-5) When one internalizes this statement of Paul, the mind has a different focus and the body maintains a different lifestyle. Jesus Christ is the life of the citizens of His kingdom.
Paul in this text was disciplining the disciples of Jesus in Colossae. He was training them with the written word. Jesus Himself said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) A disciple of Jesus becomes like Jesus. Then Jesus stated in this same context, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) How did the good treasure of the heart get there? Think about that for a good long while. Here is the powerful truth; training focused on the heart of the person to develop the mind and heart of Christ within it produces lasting good, i.e., a good treasure producing good works from a transformed heart.
As Jesus is the core of the kingdom, the core of kingdom life is the heart of the disciple. The revelation of God through the Old Testament prophets predicted the coming King and His Kingdom. New Testament revelation clearly portrays the King and His Kingdom has come. The Good News is that the resurrected King established His Kingdom predicated upon His predetermined death by the eternal purpose of God. The cross manifests every divine attribute of Christ; it reveals His mind and heart. The cross sets the standard for the hearts of His disciples.
As David, under the Old Covenant, was a man after God’s own heart under law; the disciple of Christ is a person pursuing the heart of Christ under the cross. This pursuit requires a new life (a complete world view shift) under the rule of the Only Sovereign, i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ.
Living in the kingdom includes both a conformed behavior (external realm) and a transformed heart (internal realm). The Apostles Peter and Paul both speak of conformed behavior resulting in godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 6:3; 1 Peter 1:14). Paul speaks of transformation by the renewing of the mind and spirit (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23). These realms reach their divinely destined goal by disciplined training and the experience of obedience, i.e. discipleship. So, how did the infant church disciple each other? More next time…