Disciple’s Guide to Building the Kingdom of God

Introduction.

Kingdom Come State Park is 1,283 acres of wilderness in Harlan County of eastern Kentucky. Overlooking stunning vistas of Black Mountain and the Cumberland Plateau at 2,700 feet, it offers visitors the opportunity of experiencing vast panoramas of forested, mountain beauty from its four mountain top overlooks. Named from a famous Civil War novel, “The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come,” by John Fox, Jr. about the area’s divided loyalties during America’s fratricide, it speaks of a past familiarity with the biblical expression, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 KJV). This Kingdom Come is owned by the Kentucky Department of Parks; however, the Kingdom of God belongs to God.

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Conscience: Miracle of the Moral Law

A crowning achievement of modern man’s cooperation was Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon on July 21, 1969. Months later, my high school literature class was assigned to read William Goulding’s fiction novel, “Lord of the Flies” (1954), a dismal tale of the failure of civilization over savagery. A group of preadolescent, British schoolboys were stranded on an island in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. Surviving a crash of their evacuation plane, against the backdrop of a world war, they agreed to have fun, survive, and constantly maintain a signal fire for their future rescue. Things fell apart shortly thereafter. End fighting resulted in the killing of three of their own before being rescued. Goulding’s depiction of the “darkness of the human heart” contrasts with a more recent (2020) article by Rutger Bregman appearing in theguardian.com — The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months. Like their movie counterparts, these six boys had left school (1965) and had become stranded on a remote Pacific island (‘Ata), but these were merely bored and plain misfortunate. Unlike the movie, these boys cooperated and physically thrived until their signal fire brought about their rescue. Two different scenarios depicted human conscience and moral law with different outcomes. But, “what does Scripture say” (Romans 4:3 NIV) about moral law and conscience?

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Christ Our Holiness: Set Apart to God

“You are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1Corinthians 1:30 NIV).

Our connection to holiness is not due to anything preexisting in us, but only because “in this world we are like Jesus” (1John 4:17 NIV). If Christ is holy, and we are in Christ, then we are holy. Still, we are reminded, “Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1Peter 1:15 NIV) and “live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear” (1:17 NIV). That “reverent fear” is not simply an acknowledgement that God is who He says He is, but our voluntary agreement and trust of Him. This balance between God and man, His power and our responsibility, His ability to preserve us and our necessity to walk holy, His assurance of sustaining us and our concern of offending Him, separates us from sin unto God. In this regard, you are to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” (Philippians 2:12 NIV), remembering that, “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose” (2:13 NIV). All of this comes down to trusting Christ to make and keep us holy. How difficult is that?

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Sufficiency of Christ: Able to Meet Every Necessity of Humanity

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV).

Christ is sufficient to meet every need of whoever will trust Him. It is a purposely broad statement because God is able to do exactly as He is represented by the Apostle Paul. Only faith will take those words to mean what they imply. Jesus is our supply for everything. God cannot be blamed for our unwillingness or inaptness to make as much of that statement as faith will allow. Those who do not believe, but want the benefits, will utter the name of Jesus like an incantation, hoping to get the results, but God cannot be fooled.

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Judgment: Miracle of the Flood

No doubt much of the public fascination over the possibility of an Extinction Level Event (ELE) has come from a Cold War consciousness of the risk of thermonuclear holocaust, as well as, the scar of a comet or asteroid strike off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula; but, all of that pales by comparison to the worldwide flood of epoch proportions described by Moses in Genesis. “God said to Noah, I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth” (Genesis 6:13 NIV).

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Masterpiece: Miracle of Creation

If creation is the act of producing or causing to exist, and a miracle is an effect or event considered as a work of God, then Creation is a miracle. Creation is the Masterpiece of God. When a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat (6:36), the audience responds with enthusiastic applause. But, when God creates the universe ex nihilo — out of nothing — the applause stops, and both scientist and theologian begin a forensic discussion of how God did not do it, how Genesis was never intended to be but a figurative story, or how God needed more time and process to accomplish such a feat.

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Why God Answers Prayer

Even the most humanistic, atheistic believe in prayer, at least in empowerment through appeal to the highest power to which they have any confidence — themselves. Probably just me, but in this 21st century, post-Christian America, I rarely hear the world around me curse in the name of God, like I used to hear. Jesus’ name, to them, is more an exclamation. More likely, the f-word escapes from the lips, when appeal is made to accomplish the innermost desires. But, prayer is essentially an appeal for something to be done by someone who is in a position to do something about it. Any wonder the professed godly don’t much pray? No confidence anything will happen. Make the prayer vague to ensure the lack of answer will not confound any profession of religion. Make the petition quick to affirm to others the duty to pray was performed. 

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Delight in Weaknesses

In December 1966, the NBC television series Star Trek had been on the air only three months. National ratings were low, and the sci-fi series had no national sponsors. But, RCA was NBC’s parent company, and RCA manufactured color television sets, which were becoming increasingly popular. A.C. Nielsen conducted a study of the popularity of color television series as opposed to other television series, and they reported to NBC that Star Trek was the highest rated color series on television. Star Trek sold color televisions, and that would not be forgotten by the executives, who would decide if Star Trek would continue to its second season.

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What is the Glory of God?

Both of the following stories illustrate the glory of God. A trucker was driving his commercial rig en route to Louisville, Kentucky in 1961. In the middle of the day, the clouds became dark, the rain heavy, the roads slick, and the wind blew hard, almost parallel to the ground. Truckers were turning on their headlights, and the apprehensive driver rolled down his window a little because his windshield was fogging up. Suddenly, a small sparrow flew through his open window! It landed on the steering wheel between his hands.

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