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Not Far from the Kingdom of God

March 9, 2007

Matthew 22:36-37  “Then one of them which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

I was thinking that if I had been around when Jesus walked the earth in a body of flesh and I came into contact with him, this would have been the perfect question?  It was a time where tradition was upheld in the same light as scripture, the saducees were constantly at odds with the pharisees, the scribes were full of themselves and the makers of garment borders were working overtime to keep up with the demands of their customers.  (Bigger, better, brighter)  Confusion was run amock and so when a person came face to face with God manifest in the flesh, this was the ideal question?   

Matthew 22:37-38  “Jesus answered and said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with al thy mind.”

That seems both simple and obvious when phrased is such fashion.  To simply love the Lord so much that we’ll be willing to do anything to please him.  That he would be the meditation on our heart when the world around us is calling out “Hey, the party’s over here!”  When the things of this life continue to lose their appeal as the word of God becomes ever more hidden in our heart.  When we find ourselves seeking out places of solitude in order to spend some “quality time” with the Lord who has become our salvation.  When we find sweet fellowship with those who likewise look for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  When our foremost desire is that our neighbors, family, and other acquaintances would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

As a peson comes ever closer to Jesus, these will be some of the manifestations of one who truly loves the Lord.  The fruit of the Spirit will become increasingly evident in their life and the light will become uncontainable.  We will seek daily to be more like Jesus and less like the person that we used to be.  Ever desiring for a greater manifestation of his presence in our life.  To not be content with ariving at a particular plateau and sitting, but moving onward day by day.

I remember the telling of a dream a couple of years back.  I cant remember exactly who or where, other than it was on a website.  While one certainly cannot believe everything read on the web, this dream had a critical principal of truth in it.  (If anyone knows who told it or where it can be found, I would like to know.  I keep thinking it might have been Michael Bouldea)  The person who had the dream told of following this angel up into a mountain.  (This is a vague description as it was a while back.  I remember the conclusion of the matter) 

They came to a large pool of water where many folks were gatherered drinking.  The angel asked the guy to go taste of this water.  He pushed his way in through the crowd and finally got up to the front to take a drink.  The water was “good but earthy.”  Like having an iron problem in your water.  (Like we do and as a result have to keep an iron pre-filter in the line which my wife reminded me needs changing) 

The angel then told the man to follow him farther up the mountain.  It became steeper and more treacherous, but he followed the angel until they reached a smaller pond; this time with some folks around it, but not the large crowd as was at the first pond.  The angel told him to once again, taste.  He did and the water was coniderably better than before but it still had an “earthy taste” to it.  The angel once again told him to follow along as they proceeded up the mountain.

The climb was treacherous and I remember in the telling of this dream that the guy had all that he could do to keep the angel in sight.  Finally, they reached a very high place where there were three or four folk gathered .  Here, the water was gushing right out of the rock and the angel once again bid him to taste.  He said that here, the water was the purest, most delicious water that he had ever tasted.  The angel expounded to him that such is it with the word of God.  Many will settle for the earthy water thats been through the theological mill and been deciphered by usual cast of decipherers.  The second level were those that sought the Lord wholeheartedly but held to teachings or traditions or other devices that kept them sitting on the plateau.  Very few reach the level where the water is streaming from the rock. 

I remember reading this after work in the middle of the night and it has never left my conscience.  It’s become a standing prayer; to get to where the water is coming out of the rock.  Of course this means that many christians will think that somethings amiss.  We tend to be creatures of habit and followers of a crowd.  We need to follow Christ wholeheartedly.  When our love for him is at such a level, we’ll desire to go where he says to go and be where he wants us to be.  The earthly cares will will take a back seat to his perfect will. 

Well to try and get back on track.

Matthew 22:38-40  “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

To love our  neighbor as ourselves.  It’s easy to love one who loves us back or is like-minded in some particular area.  It takes on a different challenge when the neighbor is a lewd fellow of a baser sort.  To truly love a person with the love of Christ regardless of the attributes of that person.  This takes growing in Christ but it is an absolute must.  We simply cannot have a lack of love for those around us and love God at the same time when God so loved the world that he gave his own begotten Son to save those who were without hope. 

With over six billion people on the planet, its without a doubt that we’ll run into folks who will “irritate” us to one degree or another.  They’ll do things that make themselves hard to love or they may simply have an untoward complex about them.  I have found that the best thing to do is to keep them in prayer.  There are people at work who would “rub me he wrong way” which creates an ungodly attitude if it’s not taken care of.  But when I begin to pray tor the individual, the spiritual struggle comes to light, the facade is brushed aside and the soul in need of a Savior becomes the focus.  The person, crated in the image of God whose sins were paid for at Calvary.  Whatever it was about the person that bothered me becomes a non-factor.  (because it is a non-factor)

To love our neighbor as ourselves.  It doesn’t mean that we agree with what they say or do; it simply means that we love them as an eternal being made in the image of God and we are concerned for their soul.  Also to be forgiving as our own forgiveness is in tandem with our forgiveness of others.  It falls under the same roof of loving your neighbor as yourself. 

I need to end this for now.  The two great commandments are so pivotal in that they will detrmine all that we say and do.  We cant have one without the other.  We cannot proclaim to love God and not love our neighbor.  Likewise, we really cannot love our neighbor as we should if we don’t have a love for God.  I should expound on this but it almost requires a post in and of itself.  So I’ll close out with a notable scritpure passage.

Mark 12:32-34  “And the scribe said unto him, Well Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:  And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.  And when Jesus saw that he answered him discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.  And no man after durst ask him any question.”

Romans 13:10  “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

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10 comments

  1. “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God”

    I would love to hear Christ say that to me.


  2. Hmmm! You’ve given me a lot to think about.


  3. Greetings totaltransformation. Me too.


  4. Greetings beverly. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll have to make a visit to your site. It’s always a blessing to come across saints for the first time. If this isn’t the first time please forgive me; my memory gets crazy on me at times.


  5. Greetings from an Atheist 🙂


  6. Wonderful post timbob. I love your heart for Jesus and the kingdom as one who understands the things of this world are fleeting and empty.
    May the Lord help us all to truly love the Lord with ALL of our heart, mind, soul, spirit and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves. On this hangs all the law and the prophets…
    The dream reminds me of one a I had a few years back, to swim in and drink of the pure crystal water that flows from the Rock Christ Jesus…
    such joy, such peace, such Life!

    Blessings to you,

    Susan


  7. That dream was so cool. Praise Jesus, He IS our living water of life!

    1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.


  8. Thanks for sharing the dream timbob. I’ve never heard that before.

    I don’t know the difference between being saved and being in the kingdom of God. Always thought it was the same. If the kingdom of God is where He rules and reigns in a person’s heart by His Spirit, then it seems one and the same to me. Is there a different explanation?


  9. Greetings Cumby. I think that the moment in which Jesus said these words, the guy was “pondering” what he had just heard. It’s like Jesus told him the two great commandments and he went “hmm” like he was in the process of grasping it. Like the answer was indeed profound and not what he was expecting. I’ve always taken great comfort in this passage. Indeed when a person is born again, they’re in the kingdom of God and old things are passed away. Thanks for making me think on a foggy saturday morning.


  10. I enjoyed reading this post Timbob..and the dream was wondeful..



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