S34P4 – The kingdom of heaven: powerful

1 Cor. 4:18-20

Now some of you have become arrogant and pretentious, as though I were not coming to see you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I will find out not just the talk of these arrogant people, but their power. For the kingdom of God is not based on talk but on power.

Have you ever met someone whose words completely defy their actions? I have known a brother who believed that he was a kind and considerate person. However, when interacting with him I often felt the sharpness of his tongue. It was not that he was ignorant to the manner in which Christians are to treat each other. In fact, he would be the first to correct me if I were anything but courteous to him or anyone else. If I asked him how I should behave as a follower of Jesus Christ, he would be able to tell me what scripture says. But being able to recite a set of rules does not mean much if those rules are not followed. There must be agreement between the words that we speak and the way that we live. The kingdom of God is more than just talk; the kingdom of God is powerful action.

I can teach someone else everything I know about the love of Jesus Christ. I can tell them about the story of salvation, the good news of Jesus and what that means for a fallen people. I can share with them scripture that tells us why we need Jesus and what we can expect out of the Christian life on this Earth and on the new Earth to come. I can speak to them of my own love for God and my desire to follow and obey him. All of this is great, but it remains meaningless for me if I do not actually follow that which I am teaching. The kingdom of God that resides within me should produce action as evidence that I am one of its citizens. It is not merely something we talk about, but it is something we do. Living under God’s kingdom means that we operate as Jesus Christ operated. This is our evidence that we have the kingdom of heaven and are a part of it.

God’s kingdom illustrates love not by words but by action. This is the same way that the kingdom illustrates power. We can tell people about God and his kingdom all day every day, but at some point someone will ask to see it.  They will want to be shown this great thing of which we speak. When the kingdom of heaven operates according to that which scripture teaches us, then it has power. We only need ask ourselves whether it is more powerful to speak of God’s gift of healing or to see it operate. I think we all would agree that watching the physical restoration of someone who is ill makes real our faith that God can heal. The question is whether we are walking and operating in the power which we know resides in God’s heavenly kingdom. Father, remind us of what it means to walk in your power, and give us the desire to seek that daily.