Sunday, February 8, 2015

Heaven On Earth

Today as I was praying for revival, I listened to the song Our Father by Bethel Worship.  It's taken from the Lord's Prayer and goes like this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name
Your kingdom come quickly
Your will be done the same
On earth as it is in Heaven
Let Heaven come to earth as it is in Heaven
Let Heaven come

For Yours is the kingdom
And Yours is the power
And Yours is the glory forever, amen.

Let Heaven come!

This song is a passionate heart-cry for God to invade our world with His kingdom, to make things on earth as they are in Heaven.  As I was worshipping and talking to Jesus about His kingdom, I sought to understand what it means for His kingdom to be reality on earth.

Now I know there is a movement among some in the church today that basically says God's intent is to bring Heaven to earth.  In Heaven there is no sickness or injury or pain.  So they say that God's kingdom on earth means people will be healed of all manner of physical ailments.  They pray and believe for these miracles.  In Heaven, no one is poor or marginalized or victimized.  So it follows that if we solve world hunger, bring about material equality, and put an end to all the injustice, we will have God's kingdom on earth.  Right?  Okay, let me just say I'm no expert on this movement....I haven't studied into it and I'm not trying to make a blanket statement about any certain group of people and their beliefs.  But this is the line of thinking that some are following, and you have probably heard of it as well.

My point is that when Jesus told us to pray, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven," we could take it to mean that He wants to fix everything that is broken here....Heaven on earth.  But looking at Scripture, I don't think that's what He meant.

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world."  John 18:36

Romans 14:17 says that "the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking buy of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

And in 1 Corinthians 15:50 we're told, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."  It goes on to reveal the mystery that when Jesus returns for His church, the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable, and those who are still alive will be changed.  The perishable will put on the imperishable, and the mortal will put on immortality.

The Bible clearly tells us that these earthly bodies will die.  Obviously Jesus didn't mean that His kingdom would bring us freedom from all sickness and trouble and death on earth....immortality. While we live on this earth in these bodies of flesh, we are still subject to the brokenness that sin has brought upon the world.  Jesus didn't heal every sick and crippled person.  He didn't come to make everything right on this earth.  He said, " I came into the world to bear witness to the truth."  John 18:37

Jesus came to show us a new realm, a kingdom not of flesh and blood but of spirit.  And He came to be the Way for us to enter that kingdom.  One day He will make a new earth and everything on it will be right.  All the sad things will be made untrue, all the broken things made whole.  Those who belong to Him will be changed to immortality and we will reign with Him in His kingdom forever! The book of Revelation proclaims, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!' Revelation 11:17

When people asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, He said this, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is! or There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."  Luke 17:20-21

So what does His kingdom on earth look like?  What does it look like for us to live in His kingdom while we are still in these bodies of flesh?

Jesus' realm is a love that cannot be stopped by any hatred or overcome by any fear.  A love that loves the unlovely.  Perfect love that casts out fear, because those who know and believe the love of Jesus know that nothing can truly hurt them.

It is forgiveness that knows no offense, because we are held and accepted and kept safe in Perfect Love, and nothing in this world of flesh and blood can threaten our place with Him or the everlasting life He has given.

It is peace that abides through the darkest storms of life as well as the myriad turbulence along the way.  Knowing that in Jesus, everything really is going to be alright.

It is joy that cannot be crushed by any suffering or sorrow, knowing that all our afflictions will be like nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits us.

It is light that gives wisdom and understanding to the soul, that lets us see beyond the dream of this world into the reality of God's eternal nature and incorruptible realm.

His kingdom is a power that transforms not the physical realm, but the spiritual, giving life to our real selves.  Transforming minds and thoughts with the truth.  Releasing souls to freedom from fear, bitterness, rage, anxiety, and a host of other demons.  It is a realm of exchange.  Jesus takes our sin-twisted lives and gives us His own righteous life.  He gives us His kingdom of love and light in exchange for our own kingdoms of God-less pride and self-destruction.  He gives us the power to live go beyond what is possible for human nature.

This is the kingdom to which we belong....those who are bought by the blood of Jesus and made new in His life!  This is the kingdom we carry within us to everyone we encounter on earth.  And this is the kingdom for which we must pray.  It is already here, among us.  But I don't think many sons of the kingdom are living like sons.  I don't think we know the reality of this kingdom in which we live. So for this I pray.

Let heaven come.