Ethics of the Kingdom – Lesson Sixteen

Ethics of the Kingdom


The aim of this book is to encourage each member of the church to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.  The English word “disciple” has been translated from the Greek word mathetes, a learner.  Math, the root, indicates “thought accompanied by endeavor.”  Basically it means “one who follows one’s teacher,” according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words.  Christians not only learn from Jesus, we follow Him.  See Luke 9:57-62.   We join His mission “to seek and save what was lost” by preaching the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43; 19:10).

The kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ and the church Jesus is building for God are perfectly unified in purpose.  God’s purpose in creation is to have all “living beings” as His children (Col. 4:11; I Thess. 2:10-14; II Thess. 1:5; Rev. 12:10).  Millions of religious people who identify themselves as Christians have never heard the gospel of the kingdom.  Some do know the words “kingdom of God.”  Few identify with the kingdom life.  Christians who are struggling to maintain their faith in God’s purpose for their lives need to “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.”  The spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ and God can only be seen by faith – faith that comes by a Christian’s personal study of the word of God.  Christians are dedicated Bible students.  We do not allow others to study for us.

Sequential topics have been suggested in this series of lessons for a Christian’s personal study.  Unless our faith is developed in a sequential manner, we may not be able to understand some topics further down the line in our sequential thought process.  “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is from faith to faith.” Rom. 1:17.  For instance, after we understand why God created us we want to know how He created us.  Then we asked, “What went wrong?”  Why do we need grace?  We learn the answers from God, not man.  We decide to believe God’s answers.  We trust His answers.  His answers become our faith one at a time.  This is an example of the sequential strategy in this book.  The result will be Christians’ spiritual growth.  Spiritual growth follows the same sequential pattern of our faith building study.  Christians grow from “glory to glory.”  II Cor. 3:18.

The only gospel the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles preached was the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14, 15; Acts 1:3; 28:23, 31).  Faith in what we have studied raises the level of our present study.  On the other hand, a lack of faith in some topics may hinder our understanding of other topics.  For instance, we may not understand and place our faith in the Holy Spirit’s work in our sanctification unless we have faith in why God created us (Luke 6:35, 36; II Thess. 2:13).   The work of the Holy Spirit appears to be avoided by many religious teachers because they have refused to accept sonship with God as His predestined purpose for their having been created (II Cor. 6:17, 18).

Ethics is about dealing with what is good and evil in relationships.  It is a subject mankind would not be concerned with if Adam and Eve had not broken God’s covenant.  Little children are not concerned with this topic but they will be.  Christians strive to maintain ethical behavior because it is compatible with the way God created us.  Since all people came from Adam, ethical behavior is good for our relationship with other living beings.  According to Webster’s Dictionary, ethics is a set of moral principles or values.  This definition would translate into the laws of life for Christians.  God designed living beings to be ethical.  “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”  I Pet. 1:15.  Our spirits came from God and are in His likeness.  The quality of our ethics is revealed in our behavior.  Christians strive to develop holy ethics so our behavior will be righteous.  Rom. 6:19-23.

A list of topics was added at the end of Lesson Fourteen as kingdom of God topics taught by Jesus in the Gospels.  In this lesson a connection will be made with these topics to the context of Jesus’ original audience and then to Jesus’ reign as king and priest for Christians.  Christians’ Bible study gives us an understanding of theology about the kingdom of God and God’s grace.  We also learn about the holy ethical life principles in the kingdom of Jesus Christ and God (Eph. 5:5).  For the most part, the topics in this lesson belong in the category of kingdom ethics for Christians.


I.  Unity:  “That all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.  May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that you have sent Me. ”  John 17:21.

Christians identify with the “churches of Christ” who saluted the saints in Rome (Rom. 16:16).  We also identify as members of the “church of God” Jesus is building for His Father (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16; I Cor. 1:2; 10:32; 11:16; 15:9; II Cor. 1:1).  When Jesus said “I will build My church,” like everything else He did, He is building it for His Father.  Jesus is using those of us who have been “called out” of Satan’s kingdom to build a temple for His Father.  It is being built in our hearts and minds and revealed in Christians’ righteous behavior (I Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:19-22).  Jesus is developing an eternal family for His Father (Heb. 2:10-15; I Pet. 1:22-25).

Lesson Fifteen is about the relationship of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ and the church Jesus is building for God.  It has been summarized in the foregoing “Introduction” to help Christians grasp God’s unifying program of sonship in all three entities.  Unless a group of people, a church, has a unified view of God’s purpose in creation, there will be no unity of fellowship “fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:50.  The relationship between the Apostle Paul and the church at Philippi is a classical example of primary relationships of the earth- bound citizens of the Lord’s kingdom, the church.   The church at Philippi, as a unit, was in partnership with Paul for the purpose of preaching the gospel.  Their affection was revealed by what they did to serve one another.  They had rejoiced together and they had struggled together.  Their communication, one with the other, also included God, their Father.  Phil. 1:3-8, 27-30; 2:25-30; 4:4-7, 10, 14.

Christians who have not clarified themselves about how a church is held together by what each member supplies will have trouble with the subject of unity in the church.  See Eph. 4:14-16.  They also must have a clear concept of the relationship between the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ and the church Jesus is building for God; otherwise, their Bible study consists of unrelated topics.  Everything is related in the Bible because it is God’s story about why He created mankind.  Bible study of unrelated topics fuels disunity and agnosticism.  Disunity is the results of unethical behavior.

Non-committal Christians may be borderline agnostics.  This leads to the spiritual sickness of being lukewarm.  Jesus warned, “So because you are lukewarm – neither cold nor hot – I am about to spit you out of My mouth.”  Rev. 3:16.  Since the church that is being built by the wisdom of God functions as the body of Christ, a non-committal member is a deterrent to unity (I Cor. 12:12-27).  People visit their medical doctor when a member of our physical body becomes non-committal.  Unfortunately, the Laodicea case is acceptable ethics in too many quote “Christian churches.”  These are the church members Jesus classified as number three soil (Matt.13:7, 22).  A brief study of Revelation, Chapter Two and Three will reveal how Jesus Christ decides if a church is acceptable to be in God’s presence.  In Revelation 1:20, Jesus said the seven lampstands represented the seven churches.  He told the church at Ephesus, “if you don’t repent I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”  Rev. 2:5.  The church in Ephesus had forsaken their first love.  We need to hear this warning as we examine our own faith (II Cor. 13:5).  It is unethical not to love God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and mankind.

Religious people have debated the issue of “choice of churches” built by the “wisdom of men” for ages.  This is a mute subject for Christians who have been transferred to Jesus’ kingdom.  Surely, only atheists would argue membership in Satan’s kingdom is preferred to Christ’s kingdom.  Mankind has only these two choices of kingdoms in which to claim his or her citizenship.  However, the separation of citizens of the kingdom of Jesus Christ around certain strong teachers became an issue in the churches in Achaia.  Please see my book entitled, “The Letters to the Corinthians,” Part III.  Paul’s appeal to the members of the church of God in Corinth for unity was based on individual Bible study.

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.  I Cor. 1:10

For the membership of a church to “be perfectly united in mind and thought” they would need to hear the words given by the Holy Spirit.  Christians are benefited by the hypotheses of Christians who diligently study to prepare lessons for the church; however, another person’s beliefs about the meaning of scripture must be validated by truth.  Truth is a precious item about good and evil; life and death; God and Satan – what is ethical and unethical.  Consequently, each Christian has the responsibility for determining the validity of what they hear from preachers and teachers in the church.  We can qualify for this task only if we are disciples of Christ.  Gospel teachers or preachers do not seek to make disciples for themselves (I Cor. 3:5).  This was the issue the Apostle Paul was dealing with in the first four chapters of the Corinthian letter.  After Paul left Corinth to preach the kingdom of God in Ephesus, the members of the Corinthian church began to divide.  Some were giving more importance to the wisdom of highly acclaimed persons, such as Paul, than they were to the word of God (I Cor. 1:12; 3:1-4).  Paul preached the kingdom of God, the Way, the word of God to the people in Ephesus (Acts 19:8-10).  The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and the Spirit also cooperated with Jesus Christ to instruct the apostles (John 16:13-15).  Jesus understood and taught His Father’s will; therefore, Paul credited his competence to the Holy Spirit for his being qualified to serve Jesus as an apostle for the Gentiles (I Cor. 2:10-13; II Cor. 3:5).

Can we not see the cause of the division problem in what is called “Christianity” today?  Intelligent people are looking to “mere men” to know the meaning of what comes from the mind of God.  This is the dominate practice fueling division in quote, the world wide “Christian church.”  The Apostle Paul expected the members of the churches to read and understand the meaning of his letters.  His letters could be understood by church members who were not “wise by human standards.”  I Cor. 1:26.  Jesus expects Christians to do as the young Thessalonian church:

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.  And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.  The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia – your faith in God has become known everywhere.  I Thess. 1:6-8

II.  Revelation:  “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”  Matt. 11:25.

Our concern: “Why don’t the wise and learned follow Jesus?”  “What did Jesus mean by the Greek word nepios, translated “babes” in the KJV and “little children” in the NIV?  Nepios literally means a new born baby; however,it was used to actually denote little children in Matt. 21:16.  Jesus may have been speaking metaphorically; that is, He was contrasting the “wise and learned” according to the “wisdom of men” versus the unsophisticated, but wise people, who humbled themselves to listen to God (Jas. 1:5; 4:6).  Jesus literally spoke of children when He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16, 17.  Perhaps it will help us to consider Jesus’ mission statement to His hometown people in the local synagogue before He began preaching the kingdom of God.

The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor.  He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:18, 19

Matthew recorded Jesus’ “praise statement” to God following His discourse about people failing to accept His teachings.  Some said John, the Baptist, had a demon; others charged Jesus with gluttony (Matt. 11:18; Luke 7:33, 34).   Even though, Jesus had performed miracles and preached in several cities in Galilee, they had not repented (Matt. 11:20-24).  Jesus was, and is today, upset when people reject His teachings.  At the same time He became very excited when He found faith, especially in a Gentile (Luke 7:9).  Jesus and the heavenly host still rejoice when people hear God’s new covenant, accept it in repentance and are baptized for the remission of their past sins (Luke 15:7, 10, 31, 32).  Although Jesus wanted all people to hear His teaching, He knew the “wise and learned,” according to the “wisdom of men,” would not become His disciples (I Cor. 1:20-25; I Tim. 2:4).  It is unethical to accept the wisdom of man about spiritual entities.  It is ethical to accept the wisdom of God about life in the kingdom of God.

There is a wisdom of God that can be applied to an individual’s life and the life of a church (I Cor. 1:30; 2:6-10).   Christians can have spiritual wisdom after we learn spiritual truth.  It is only after we have spiritual truth, we can ask God for His wisdom to deal with physical issues we encounter (Jas. 1:5-7).  We pray to God to help us apply truth to life’s experiences.  We can also ask God for His wisdom as we seek satisfaction for the inherent needs He created in each of us.

Jesus closed His analysis of “the people of this generation” with: “But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”  Luke 7:31, 35.  The, quote “Christian world,” needs to “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Their children are the present generation of people who identify as Christians.  They have not conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.  This is revealed by their behavior.  It is unethical to be sexually immoral, greedy and idolaters (I Cor. 5:9; 6:9-11).   Churches often function as social clubs with a coating of religious slogans.  They collect funds in the name of the Lord and spend the funds on themselves.  A church can be as selfish as the individual members.

It has been nearly two thousand years since Jesus returned to heaven and the religious political view is “God is happy with all religions.”  The ethics Jesus taught is being labeled as “narrow mindedness.”  What is being called “Christian ethics” has plunged below the pagan world standard.  Organized groups have embraced the culture of Sodom and Gomorrah who label themselves as churches (Gen. 19:1-5; Rom. 1:24-28).  In too many cases believers have been “called out,” but it has happened in reverse order.  They are now being called out of light and into darkness – out of the kingdom of Christ and back into the kingdom of Satan.  One problem is evident: The kingdom of God and God’s purpose in creation has not been taught to the people who still reside in Satan’s kingdom.  Please consider again the commission Jesus gave the Apostle Paul in Acts 26:16-18.

Wisdom is the discipline of applying truth to life’s experiences.  The revelation the “wise and learned” have not accepted is that Jesus revealed the truth about life.  The world calls death, life (John 5:24; Eph. 2:1-3; I John 2:15-17).  Jesus taught and revealed the truth about what “wise and learned” people are seeking by their own wisdom.  Jesus revealed the truth about the life of all living beings by revealing the “exact representation” of God’s being (John 1:3-5, 12, 13; Heb. 1:1-3).  “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”  I Cor. 1:21.  “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”  I Cor. 1:24.

What do most people think when we hear the words “good news?”  Of course, the cross: Is it not what Paul emphasized? “For what I received I passed onto to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”  I Cor. 15:3, 4.  Is there more good news?  Is Jesus’ sacrifice on a cross all He revealed in His three-plus years of preaching?  Is the cross all Peter, Paul, Philip and others Spirit guided men preached?  Did Jesus go about preaching the cross or the kingdom of God?  Jesus preached the kingdom of God for over three years and for forty more days after God raised Him back to physical life.  He did die on the cross for the sins of the world who accept the “form of teaching” recorded in the New Testament (Rom. 6:17).  This was not God’s purpose in creation; however, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross provided God’s grace needed to fulfill His purpose to have children in His eternal kingdom.

The truth revealed is the law of life in the new covenant (Heb. 8:10-12).  For the most part, the only portion of the new covenant being publicly preached is; “I will remember yours sins no more.”  Half truths are lies.  It is unethical to lie.  The quote, “Christian community” does not know God’s new covenant and they do not understand how Jesus is our “law of life.”  They do know about Jesus on the cross.   However, Jesus is also King and Priest; Prince and Savior, we need to proclaim both roles (Acts 2:32-35; 5:31; Heb. 4:14-16).  The grace for Christians is the “in Christ” realm.  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, … .” Romans 8:1.   This is Jesus’ priesthood working for Christians.  “Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:2.  This is the result of Jesus functioning as king with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit.  The plot in the battle Jesus is leading against Satan’s world forces is to save the spirits of mankind from “sin and death.”  Mature peoples’ part in this battle is to accept the new covenant in their repentance before they are baptized for the remission of their past sins.  Christians’ part is to continuously live according to God’s new covenant.  Those who open our hearts and minds to let Christ form in us will, simultaneously, conform in character and personality to the image of Jesus. This will happen because His life is the light of our lives (Rom. 8:29; Gal. 4:19).  The foregoing involves much more than participating in Sunday worship, listening to a “pulpit preacher” and asking God to forgive us of all our sins.  It is unethical for a teacher of the Bible to withhold revelation they understand in order to maintain their position (II Tim. 4:1-5).

What has been said in this book, and with emphasis, is that the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ and the church Jesus is building for God has not been revealed in a manner people can understand.  The words have been said, but the message of the kingdom has not been presented as it was revealed by Jesus Christ.  The kingdom has not been revealed to sinners with a clear invitation to be children of God in Jesus’ kingdom now; therefore, the kingdom has not become a power within believers. Those “little children,” of whom Jesus spoke, got the revelation: Thus mature people who “change and become like little children” receive the revelation concerning the kingdom of God.  See Matt. 18:3.  They understood they had been created to be citizens in Christ’s kingdom and inherit God’s kingdom because they became His children now in time.  Enough has been said about the revelation of the kingdom of God in the previous studies.  There is a revelation about the innate needs God created in us that has been kept secret in most religious circles including the most devout.

III.  Innate Needs:  “So do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all of these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”  Matt. 6:31, 32.

Although, the topic of innate needs is well understood by sociologists, mothers of small children and Jesus Christ, religious leaders have muted the topic.  They sometimes have a tendency to cover things with a cloak of mystery; especially, the obvious facts relating to the way God created us.  The innate needs of children can be understood by simple observation; even if parents and friends sometimes try not to observe their various efforts to achieve a worthwhile task.  We can observe how they expect to receive glory from their “near and dear” for their achievement.  A young child’s choice of an achievement project can be a source of irritation for a busy mother.  Children all over the world strive to be achievers: This is why honorable achievement is classified as an innate need.  It is obvious; children love the recognition of others when they achieve a task.  This gives them glory; consequently, glory also is an innate need – a God-given need.  These are the higher needs of the “inner-man.”  “Is not life more important than food?” Matt. 6:25.  Mankind cannot be fully satisfied “in Adam” because we attained the endowment of “knowing good and evil.”  Christians have hope of full satisfaction for “praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed.  I Pet. 1:7.  Hope is the elixir of life (Rom. 8:22-25).

People who do not acknowledge the inherent needs God created in all living beings cannot fully understand many of Jesus’ teachings.  Several scriptures are indeed a mystery for them.  Please review Lesson Two of this book.  God’s story in the Old Testament is clearly about His covenants that provided for the needs He created in mankind.  Just as it is today, God provides for the basic needs of all people, even those who deny His existence (Acts 14:14-17).

The following is an excerpt from Part I, Lesson One, of my book entitled, “Sermon on the Mount.”


Added to the spirit and the body are inherent features, such as capabilities and needs.  All of these affect the development of various personality and character traits in people.  The following comes with the newborn baby:

1.     Varying amounts of intelligence.  We may or may not all be created equal in every aspect.  We understand people do have varying degrees of intelligence.

2.     The physical attributes are basically inherited: color, form, hair texture, and etc.

3.     Our needs, or urges, for food, security, sex, sociability, achievement and glory are all “built in.”  We do not need to learn or adopt these urges.

4.     A baby is born with certain capacities.  They have the capacity and freedom to choose, to imagine and the will to act.  As they mature there is evidence of the function of their conscience.  They have the God-given capacity to examine themselves.  Since all people in all places and at all times have these characteristics, we can say they are inherent – they are God installed by the act of His design of mankind.  End of Excerpt.

Jesus let His original audience, the Jews, know there is a program within the kingdom of God to satisfy the way they had been created (Matt. 6:25-34).  Matthew packaged Jesus’ sermon, possibly sermons, together for the churches in chapters 5-7 in His Gospel.  Every human being needs this revelation because all have been seeking satisfaction for our inherent needs since we were physically born – perhaps even while in the last weeks in the womb.  “The wise and learned,” according to the “wisdom of the world,” are successful in securing satisfaction for their mundane needs.  Still they worry about maintaining satisfaction in the future.  In fact, some suffer both physical and mental health because of anxiety attacks over what they cannot control.  Jesus questioned His audience, “Is not life more important than food.”  Matt. 6:25.  Food is important for the security of a living soul on earth.  Jesus knew this, but he also knew mental security for our spirits meant we need to be seeking to attain our potential of developing as sons of God.  Christians need to be laying up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19, 20).  See the chart in my book, “Sermon on the Mount,” Part III, Lesson Five, entitled, “Growing from Anger to Love.”

Jesus’ kingdom message about God’s program to satisfy our God-given needs has not been preached publicly as a law of life.  Based on His mission statement, Jesus did not expect the “wise and learned” to be interested in God’s program to satisfy their inherit needs.  They may feel self sufficient about finding a suitable program to satisfy their needs.  Jesus wants the Gospel preached to those who will listen (Luke 9:5).  He knew people who are struggling daily to attain satisfaction for their mundane needs might be willing to listen.  The law of life is about how to have hope for the satisfaction of our higher needs of honor, glory and peace.  The law of life is also about satisfaction for our “in Adam” needs of food, clothing, shelter; plus sexual needs after our bodies mature.  All people seek for satisfaction of their needs; therefore, Jesus taught satisfaction would come to us if we “seek first His kingdom and His righteous.”  Matt. 6:33.  When Jesus returns He will fulfill our eternal hope for “glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good.”  Rom. 2:10.  Our higher needs are being sought by our inner man (Eph. 4:22-24).  It is not ethical to seek satisfaction outside the law of life in the kingdom of God?  The devil offers many programs; however, the result will be lust, not satisfaction.

Jesus often used the plight of the “rich and famous” to teach the quality of life in the kingdom of God.  For instance, in Luke 14:7-11, Jesus instructed those who were grabbing the seat of honor at a meeting of the Pharisees to attain the glory attached to the seat.  Please note, Jesus did not condemn them for seeking the seat because he knew they had a God-given need to achieve honor, plus the glory of being accepted by others in their achievement.

In another case, Jesus was confronted by a young man who had learned how to find satisfaction for his inherent need for his physical security but he was still worried.  “Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’”  Matt. 19:16.  Evidently, this person had satisfaction for his basic needs and perhaps, on some level, his higher needs of honor and glory.  However, he asked Jesus about a program for his innate security need after death.  Unfortunately, he did not want to give up his present plan for security, glory and honor to have eternal security, glory and honor.  He could not perceive of himself being a two-part living being (II Cor. 4:16-18).  He could not visualize himself separate from his body.  Christians must have a clear spiritual view of our “selves” immediately after exiting our bodies.  This is our spirit returning to God.  Our spirits, having become our “selves” have innate needs.  Jesus will give full satisfaction to “he who overcomes” Satan’s programs to satisfy our innate needs (I John 2:15-17).  “The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the world astray.  He was hurled down to earth and his angels with him.”  Rev. 12:9.  Satan is the “father of lies.” John 8:44.  Even by the world standards, lying is unethical.

They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  Rev. 12:11

There was another rich fellow who thought he could find satisfaction for all his inherent needs here on earth (Luke 12:16-21).  According to his “world view” his plan had gone well for the satisfaction of his physical needs.  Still he was concerned about a continuous plan accompanied by happier times.  He thought happiness was a result of attaining satisfaction for his needs so he built bigger barns to store more substance.  Where then did his program fail?  He did not appear to realize our higher needs belong to our spirits.  Like many people, he had no plan for the satisfaction of the needs of his spirit after he left his body.  He had identified with his barns, but he could not take them with him (I Tim. 6:6-10).  What would be his identity without his barns, his physical identity and his zip code?  In fact, after his death he had no way to identify himself.  “This is how it is with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”  Luke 12:21.  Christians’ identification as “sons of God,” while “in Adam – in Christ,” must be a dominant point of our faith in our pursuit of satisfaction for “praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed.”  I Pet. 1:7.   One’s identification is a dominant entity in our life in our community just as it is for a Christian while trying to overcome Satan.  Identity will still be vital for our resurrected “selves.”

IV.  Greed:  “Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed, a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Luke 12:15.

This topic relates closely to Satan’s program to disrupt God’s program to satisfy our needs.  The Greek word translated “greed” in the NIV and “covetousness” in the KJV, is pleonexia.  It contains two words; 1, pleon, more; 2, echo, to have.  It is always used in a bad sense because it belongs in the category of “lusts of the flesh.”  Even though Christians have been made alive in Christ, we need to be aware of “our tendency to lust” because we are “in Adam.”  See Rom. 13:14; Gal. 5:16, 17; Col. 2:23.  One element of spiritual growth, or sanctification of Christians, is the crucifying of our sinful nature (Gal. 5:24).  This means to bind it up; render it powerless.  All teachings about life other than the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ and God “lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”  Col. 2:23.

A Christian’s sanctification progress can be interrupted when “by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”  Jas. 1:14.  He or she is the one who makes provisions for their own evil desires.  If we let our evil desire “become one” with the provision we have made, “it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.”  Jas. 1:15.  James was writing to Christians; consequently, “once in grace always in grace” is the devil’s doctrine taught by “his servants” to take captive God’s children.  II Cor. 11:15.

“Greed is idolatry.”  Col. 3:5.  This is Jesus point about money in Matthew 6:24.  Please note verse 25 where Jesus introduced the topic of the innate needs God created in us.  In the final analysis people trust God or material things to satisfy our needs.  People worry about not having enough money to provide for our physical security.  Jesus said Christians should not worry as long as we “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” Jesus used the Greek word merimnao in Matthew 6:25, 27, 28, 31, 34.  It has been translated “worry” in the NIV, “take no thought” in KJV and “to be anxious” in the RV.  The Revised Version may better describe a condition that nags at all of us.  Jesus did not say we should not be concerned; our anxieties were Jesus’ concern.  Christians trust Jesus; rather than being overwhelmed by anxiety attacks (I Thess. 4:11, 12).

Anxious people may choose a wrong program in hopes of satisfying an innate need.  Their choice may satisfy one need but thwart another.  Life in the kingdom of Christ and God will maintain hope for all the needs God created in us.  The hope of satisfaction in God’s programs taught by Jesus is an inducement of God’s power in Christians’ lives now in time.  People need power to live each day without worrying about what we cannot change.  Greedy people worry about everything; however, their deeper problem is greed.  Greed is idolatry (Col. 3:5).  Greed is also considered unethical by world standards; however, idolatry is the culture of some nations.  The people look to idols that represent gods who have programs for their needs.

But how can money become an idol?  We can understand how greed for money could become an idol, but how could individuals love money, itself.  Jesus used the word mammon, translated “Money” in the NIV.  Peoples’ love of money is synonymous with “treasures on earth.”  Love of God relates to “treasures in heaven.”  See Matt. 6:19-24.  In either case, it is a condition of the heart of a living being.  People do love money, but why?  Consider this axiom:  “People love what or whom we think will, in some way, contribute to the satisfaction of our innate needs.”  For instance, why do we love our parents?  At one point in our lives we depended on them to satisfy the needs we inherited.  It was probably our mothers who worked day and night to satisfy the security needs of our bodies and minds.  She cooperated with our choice of exercises to achieve and heartily applauded us, even when we fell short of our goals.  Who does not love their mother?  Perhaps these thoughts were in Jesus’ mind when He gave us two choices for the satisfaction of the needs He created in us; God or Mammon.

We can understand how “love of money” may have become a part of our value system.  In our childhood we, by our very nature, went about seeking satisfaction for our needs.  When we failed to be satisfied, as in the case of food, we were unhappy.  As we grew older and became more aware of the financial condition of our family, we could have attached food to finances.  In family discussions, the subject of money and “needs” often become interwoven topics.  Consequently, when family needs were threatened, or perceived to be, the children understood money, or the lack of it, would dominate the discussion.  A person who has been reared in this “box of life” could easily put money before God.  It is not difficult to see how God is replaced with money as the object of world peoples’ devotion.  Their value system is unethical.  Christians can work on our problems by deeper Bible study; this produces a broader and deeper faith.   Faith strengthens our love for God.

Christian parents can work on this kind of problem by their faith in Matthew 6:25-34.  People who do not trust the teachings of Jesus try to build “bigger barns.”  Jesus was talking about peoples’ greed for material things because they think it will make them happy.  Lust cannot be satisfied.  Happiness is the result of having satisfaction for our innate needs.  We do not seek happiness, it ensues satisfaction.  When a Christian is in a state of unhappiness, we need to identify the innate need, or needs, for which we have no hope of satisfying.  In most people, anxiety is the result of having no hope for the satisfaction of an innate need.

V.  Love:   “If any one loves Me, he will obey My teaching.  My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”  John 14:23.  See I John 4:13-21.

People love people who have strong ethics.  Jesus taught and lived ethical principles.  He is the light of life.  “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”  John 3:21.   God is love.  Since we cannot separate God from His kingdom, we cannot separate love from the law of life in His kingdom.  The law of life, like the law of nature, describes the phenomenon of growth.  The law of life describes how our spirits were designed by God.  We have been designed to love.  Hating is not compatible with the way our “selves” have been created.  Hate is unethical.  If the kingdom must be in God’s people then love, of the quality John wrote about, must be in us on some level.  Christians’ highest goal is to learn to love our enemies.  It is not an optional goal.  The path to learning love is to practice love (Matt. 5:44-48; 7:24; I John 2:3-6).  The practice of love is ethical living with others.  Asking God to forgive us for not loving will not develop His level of love in us (II Pet. 1:7).  Love, like faith, must be revealed in our behavior.

We love our parents because we trust them to help us find satisfaction for most of our innate needs.  We love our spouses because they give us a level of satisfaction for honor, glory, social security plus our sexual needs.  People will love God when we believe and trust His provisions for the satisfaction of all our innate needs.  He has provided natural laws for our “in Adam” needs and spiritual laws for the innate needs of our inner-man.  Saying we love God without trusting God about why and how he created us will be a lie.   A Christian who says he or she loves their brothers and sisters in God’s family but does not socialize with them in an ethical manner is a liar.  See I John 4:19-21; Rev. 21:8.  See my book, “The Letters to the Corinthians,” Part IV, Lesson Eight; entitled, “The Most Excellent Way.”  Also, see my book, “The Epistles written by James Peter John,” Part III, Lesson Four, “Love Made Complete.”  All of these books are posted on my website in English and Telugu.

VI.  Evangelism:  We show we love Jesus Christ, our Prince and Savior by obeying His commands to join His mission to seek and save the lost.  The spirits of people who are lost came from the same God as Christians’ spirits.  Their spirits have been “made in God’s likeness.”  Jas. 3:9.  However, their spirits have been impressed upon by the culture in which they have developed their present “selves.”  Most people in the world are good people.  Good people are beneficial to those who are beneficial to them.  Christians go one step further; we are righteous, or just, in our dealings with all people.  World people, like Christians, have the capacity of “knowing good and evil.”  Their conscience convicts them when they do not do what they believe is good.  Guilt has become a degrading obstacle for their quest of attaining satisfaction for their innate need for honor and glory for their inner-man. A large number of the world population have “seared their consciences” in order to avoid guilt attacks in relation to their behavior (I Tim. 4:2).  “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”  Eph. 4:18.

The “world realm” people may depend on the achievements of their bodies; that is, their brains and bodies, to satisfy their need for honor and glory.  This may serve for a limited period; however, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers in the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.  And this was the word that was preached to you.”  I Pet. 1:24, 25.  The Lord is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  II Pet. 3:9.  God “wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  I Tim. 2:4.  By world standards, it is not ethical to stand by and see someone perish in a fire, if we can save them.  Christians understand mature people in the world will be cast in hell if they are not saved by the gospel.  Is it not unethical to fail to share our hope?  Cooperating with Jesus “to seek and save the lost” is a way for Christians to practice the discipline of love and become love.  After we become love we will share our hope.  See my book entitled, “God’s Evangelism by Jesus Christ.”  Also my book entitled “The Kingdom of God,” Part V, Lesson Fourteen, “Evangelism.”

The following is an outline of God’s present mission “to seek and save the lost.”  Luke 19:10

Mission                                                                                                                         Scriptures

God’s mission through Jesus Christ:                                                                        John 6:37-40

Jesus’ mission statement:                                                                                          Luke 4:18, 19

“To preach good news to the poor.”

The good news Jesus preached was the kingdom of God.                                     Luke 4:43

Our Lord taught the apostles and others the kingdom of God.                              Acts 8:12; 20:25

Jesus’ mission statement He gave to the apostles:                                                Acts 1:6-8

“You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem … and to the ends of the earth.”

The commission Jesus gave to the Apostle Paul to go to the Gentiles.               Acts 26:16-18

The commission Jesus gave to the apostles to give to the church.                      Matt. 28:18-20

An individual member’s commission;

“Give the reason for the hope you have.”                                                               I Pet. 3:13-16

Invite the less privileged:

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.  Luke 14:13, 14.

Some people may want to question the wisdom of Jesus about the ethics of His challenge.  The assignment may be on a higher level of spiritual growth than some of us have accepted.  We might say it is too tough; too out of step with world culture: It will be if we have classified ourselves with the “wise and learned.”   It will be “if you (Christians) accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God.”  John 5:44.  It will be if we have not decided to practice the quality of love Jesus taught, lived and died (I John 3:16).  It is an impossible command for people who practice covetousness – those who are greedy.  Christians need to understand this is not just an exhortation; such as we may hear from the “pulpit preacher” on Sunday morning.  Jesus included all of these ethical topics in His preaching of the kingdom of God.

Note the context of Jesus’ command to invite the poor to Christians’ banquets.   Please read Luke 14:7-11.  Jesus had invited Himself to the feast of a prominent Pharisee.  “When He noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, He told them this parable.”  Please see my book entitled, “Parables of Jesus,” Part III, Lesson Four, “Attaining glory.”  Jesus did not scold these people for desiring the place of honor.  He knew God had created a need for honor and glory into their very nature.  He taught them how to be invited by others to take the seat they had chosen, if indeed, they deserved to be honored by their peers.

Jesus carried His principle of life one step higher in Luke 14:12-14.  Christians submit to the principles of Jesus’ mission statement; we serve people who cannot return our favors.  The prominent Pharisee had invited his colleagues.  Christians have been given an exercise to perform; for which the people under the Levitical Priesthood were not ready.  Jesus told Christians through Matthew’s Gospel; “Unless your righteousness surpass that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matt. 5:20.  Jesus commands Christians to “submit ourselves” as He did:  “But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.  To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.”  I Pet. 2:20, 21.  Submitting is ethical behavior.  Being unwilling to submit is unethical; however, the world people may not agree.

The key point in this topic is about accepting all people “as people whose spirits came from God.” It is about submitting our “selves.”  Thus showing favoritism is unethical behavior.  Submitting ourselves to challenges in everyday life will generalize into a value system filled with good ethics.  “Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Jas. 4:6.  It is about how we fit into God’s kingdom at this point in time.  We are sinners’ saved by grace to do good works.  Please read all three verses in Ephesus 2:8-10.  Some people tend to leave off verse ten – “created in Jesus to do good works.”  We are disciples of Jesus.  We don’t know the way of life without His guidance.  By grace we are sons of God; so we must grow up into our adoption we received by grace (I Pet. 2:2).

Jesus’ commands are not like the Law of Moses’ commands.   They are “laws of life” commands.  We accept them as we do laws of nature – it is the way God made things.  We are the way God made us.  We cannot love our enemy by a direct command from ourselves, Jesus or God.  Jesus’ commands involving our spiritual growth are first of all, exercises.  When we accept His command to love the lost, and do it by preaching the kingdom of God, we will develop the emotional attitude of loving the lost.  We follow the example of Paul who said, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible.” I Cor. 9:19.

Inviting the “less fortunate” to our next banquet is an exercise about becoming “a slave to everyone.”  This is ethical behavior.  It requires the quality of love that has been translated from the Greek word agape (Rom. 5:6-8).  This quality of love does not require an external response to elicit its concentration and application.  Jesus died for His mother, His disciples and the people who persuaded the Romans to crucify Him.  Love does not show favoritism (Jas. 2:1-5).  “Inviting the less privileged” into our fellowship circle is an exercise of our love.  To practice ethical kingdom behavior requires Christians to accept Jesus’ challenging exercises in order for us to have love in us.

Love will also generalize into our value system, our life; we will not exclude our enemies.  It is the highest goal of sons of God (Matt. 5:43-48).  Christians, who have more of God’s blessings than others, have a “stewardship” responsibility.  This is the next topic on our list, and for the most part, we have already had our study of Christian stewardship.  Who will we, who are in a position to have a banquet, invite as guests?  If our effort should be a waste of time and energy for the benefit of others, please note, Jesus promised we “will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  Luke 14:14.  His promise introduces the topic of “Biblical Eschatology.”

Eschatology is a study of what will happen after Jesus returns; the destruction of the world; Judgment of all people; heaven and hell.  This topic is not on our ethic’s list because a study of the “last days” belongs in the category of theology.  However, our faith, or our lack of faith, in Biblical Eschatology is a vital part of a person’s “world view.”  See my book entitled, “Kingdom of God,” Part VI, Lessons One through Eight.  As we have understood, Jesus’ command for us to serve “the less fortunate people than ourselves” requires us to have already included in our “selves” the other “Ethics of the Kingdom” listed as topics in this lesson.  We will obey Jesus if we love Him, but at the same time, our obedience is a way of loving ourselves.  Since Jesus enlightens Christians about how we can develop our minds and hearts to be happy; loving Jesus is synonymous with loving ourselves, God and other living beings.

VII.  Stewardship:  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”  Luke 16:10-12.

As we have understood, a Christian’s stewardship means much more than how we use our material substances.  The suggestion that all people have not been born equal introduces; yes, even demands, Christians’ responsibility for being good steward.  Stewards are people who have been made overseers of what belongs to another party.  The position of a steward among “world realm people” requires a high standard of ethics.  In the kingdom of God we think in terms of good servants and evil servants.  Jesus gave two parables to describe people who have “more and less responsibility” to produce gain for God’s kingdom.  Please read Matt. 25:14-30 and Luke 19:11-27.  These parables depict the present life of Christians.  All Christians have abilities we will want to share.  Sharing is ethical behavior.  Our Lord and Father will give us things and opportunities (talents and mina), according to our own abilities.  Both parables include the return of our king, Jesus Christ and Judgment Day.  The subject on that Day will be “deeds and gain.”  See my book, “Parables of Jesus,” Part IV, Lesson Two, “Variables in a Christian’s Judgment.”  We have seen how Christians share “who we are” with people who are not “where we are” socially, mentally and spiritually.  Now let us consider financial status in relation to our stewardship: “Those who have and those who do not have what they need.”  Paul told Timothy to:

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  I Tim. 6:17-19

This scripture brings together several of the topics that have been discussed in this lesson.  A rich person who uses his or her riches to do good, maintains a high standard of ethics.  Ethics has been used in this lesson because people in all walks of life understand the meaning.  The Bible language is good and evil; therefore, a rich person who does not share his or her riches is evil.  Note, “rich” is a relative term.  The poorest of people in one situation may be rich in relation to people in another place.  Please read Jesus’ parable in Luke 16:1-13:  Jesus’ conclusion is that all the material things to which we have a legal title belong to God.  He created them and He has made them available for our needs and stewardship.  We do have something to which we have a right by the grace of God. See Luke 16:16.  It is a place in God’s heart.  Jesus went away to build a room for God’s children in our Father’s house (John 14:1-4).  Abraham “was looking forward to the city with foundation, whose architect and builder is God.”  Heb. 11:10.  Each human being’s spirit came from God.  A faithful Christian’s self is going home to our Father’s house (Heb. 3:6).   Jesus gives us commands to exercise our stewardship by helping people who cannot or will not pay us back – a practice of love (agape).  Will this “work” give us a right to be in heaven?  Of course not; however, it “will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.”

This is the same foundation Jesus spoke of at the end of His sermon on the mount.  After teaching many principles of “life that is truly life” He said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who build his house on a rock.”  Matt. 7:24.  The “self,” we are now, will be the same self on Judgment Day.  A “self” with a firm foundation will be able to stand against Satan and he or she will be “repaid in the resurrection.”  We have not listed all the topics Jesus taught in the four Gospels, but the ethics we have considered are powers empowering Christians to be “salt and light” for other people.

VIII.  Blasphemy:  “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”  Matt. 12:31.

Scholars, by world standards, have written volumes about this scripture; however, we may not be able to understand what Jesus had in mind unless we first understand the role of the Holy Spirit.  A good place to start this study is in Romans Chapter Eight.  We do not have space in this lesson to do justice to the role of the Holy Spirit in God’s program to have Jesus bring home His children.  After our own personal understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role in our sanctification we will have a better understanding of what Jesus said about those “who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.”  Please see my book, “Kingdom of God,” Part V, Lesson Seven.

Mature people in the “world realm” cannot be a part of God’s eternal kingdom unless they are born again (John 3:3-8).  Since these people cannot perceive of spiritual things, or do not care about what they cannot see, they will not have a relationship with the Holy Spirit.  It is not these people who would be candidates for blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  Spiritual entities can only be perceived by faith and faith comes from a study of God’s word.  Some members of the Corinthian church lost their contact with spiritual life in the kingdom of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  See I Cor. 3:1-4; 4:18-20.

Jesus’ original audiences were Jews (Matt. 12:22, 23; Mark 3:20-30; Luke 12:1-10).  They had never enjoyed a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.  John, the Baptist, announced the presence of the Holy Spirit to the Jews (Matt. 3:11).  Jesus Christ explained the role of the Holy Spirit in the new birth processes:  “The Spirit gives birth to spirit.”  John 3:5-8.  Christians are alive to God because of our fellowship with the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:11; II Cor. 13:14; I John 3:24).  Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council, had no previous understanding of people being born again (John 3:1-4).  The Pharisees, to whom Jesus was addressing, had not accepted John’s baptism nor Jesus of Nazareth’s claim of being the Christ, the Son of God (Luke 20:1-7).  Although the Pharisees did not have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, Jesus told them He drove “out demons by the Spirit of God.”  Matt. 12:28.  It was possible for the Jews to blaspheme the Holy Spirit; however, perhaps not in a personal manner.  If Jesus was speaking of blaspheming the Holy Spirit on a “one on one” basis, He also had Christians in mind.

The Holy Spirit did not fellowship mankind until after Christians had been born again (John 7:37-39).  We may conclude Jesus’ statement in Matt. 12:31; Mark 3:29 and Luke 12:10 was put in written form in the Gospels for Christians’ benefit.  If so, we ask, “How does someone blaspheme the Holy Spirit?”  We would all surely agree, it would be unethical to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.  In fact, it would an evil for which we could never have forgiveness in this world or in the world to come.  Blaspheme has been transliterated from the Greek word blasphemeo.  The meaning is to injure by evil speaking.   As we do with all scriptures, we consider the context.  Our exegetical work will generally mark off boundaries for our study of the meaning of the passage; however, Jesus’ statement about blaspheming the Holy Spirit may stand alone.  In other words, it is an imperative that does not require context.

Still it will be worth noting the context in Matthew 12:22-31.  Jesus healed a demon possessed blind and mute person.  The Pharisees said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow cast out demons.”  After turning their own statement against them in verses 25-29, Jesus declared, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come.” V. 32.  Christians should give strong consideration to the fact that Jesus had His declaration recorded in written form in the Gospels for us.  The correct hypotheses may be that Christians are in a position to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.  The scriptures we read were inspired by the Holy Spirit (II Tim. 3:16, 17).  After having our sins removed from the mind of God in the final stage of our new birth, we have been made alive to God because of our fellowship with the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:4).  The Holy Spirit leads us, hour by hour, in our sanctification to develop us as sons of God.  Read Romans 8:1-27.  Let us keep this thought in mind as we consider two more kingdom topics that require highly ethical behavior on the part of all parties involved.

IX.  Marriage:   “Therefore what God has joined together let not man separate.”  Matt. 19:6.

 Separation of what God has put together by the “wisdom of men” is unethical in the culture of the kingdom of Jesus Christ and God.  The foregoing scripture was given to Matthew by the Holy Spirit.  When people understand what Matthew wrote and then become involved in attempting to separate what God put together, they have blasphemed the words of the Holy Spirit.  Blaspheming the Holy Spirit’s words may not be what Jesus had in mind but when Christians fully understand an ethical principle and practice unethical principles they are in deep spiritual trouble (II Pet. 2:17-22).  The trouble is the hardness of our hearts.  A person who violates what they know is right, violates their conscience.  Their conscience will not accept their behavior; therefore, this person must repent or harden their heart.  A Christian who violates a kingdom life principle, one they fully understand, must harden their hearts against guilt or find a way to change the principle.  Those who choose to harden their hearts for a long period of time may not be able to repent.  Please read Hebrews 6:4-6; 12:14-17.

Those who seek to change what they believe to be true, but are not willing to repent, often turn to religious leaders who have decided the scriptures are out of date.  The fact is the scriptures are very plain about one woman and one man in marriage.  They were written for people to read in their daily studies of God’s words about our lives.  We don’t need a mediator to hear God speak to us.  Read Matt. 5:31; 32; 19:3-13; Rom. 7:1-3; I Cor. 7:1-17, 36-40.  Please see my books “Sermon on the Mount, Part III, Lesson Three, “Adultery and Divorce” and “The Letters to the Corinthians,” Part IV, Lesson One, “Sexual Passion of Humanity.”

X.  Gentiles:

For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory to Your people Israel.  Luke 2:31, 32.

Please review Lessons Six, “The Covenant of Promise.”  Since we have followed this story through this series of lessons, we need not say more than what the church in Jerusalem said after Peter explained his meeting with Cornelius’ household: “They had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’”  Acts 11:18.  Paul and Barnabas preached this message on their first missionary journey.  Returning to Antioch, “On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how He had opened a “door of faith” to the Gentiles.”  Acts 14:27.

Jesus sent the Apostle Paul as a light for the Gentiles.  Paul, by opening the door of faith for the Gentiles, hoped to “arouse my own people (the Jews) to envy and save some of them.”  Rom. 11:13, 14.  The irony is that Jesus sent a repentant devout Pharisaic Jew to evangelize the Gentiles, Saul, who became known as the Apostle Paul.  However, He sent Peter, who was a devout believer in the Law of Moses, as the first preacher to go to the Gentiles (Acts 10:39-44; Phil. 3:3-6).  Evidently, Jesus did not want to build a separate Jewish and Gentile church for His Father.  God separated Abraham’s seed through Jacob from the other nations In Genesis 12:1-3.  What God would do with the Gentiles had been a mystery until the Apostle Paul was given a revelation.  God is faithful to His own set of ethics (Rom. 3:1-8).  He does not show favoritism (Rom. 3:31-37).  The revelation:

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Jesus Christ.  Eph. 3:6

XI.  Leadership:

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around His waist.  John 13:3-5

The manner in which the “so called Christian world” has challenged the wisdom of God is by removing Jesus Christ’s plan to have elders in every church.  See Acts 14:23.  In this way, they changed the “towel and wash basin” mentality to the “chief seat” mentality.  Chief seat leadership is unethical; however, God uses this kind of leadership in the world realm for our good and “as an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”  Rom. 13:1-7.  The removal of “shepherd mentality” leadership by political minded religious leaders is an act of blasphemy against the words the Holy Spirit gave over and over to the New Testament writers.  It is blasphemy because religious leaders understand the Apostle Paul’s instructions to Titus and Timothy.  See I Tim. 3:1-8; Tit. 1:5-9.  Most members of religious groups controlled by false teachers know they have gone beyond “what is written” in regard to church government (I Cor. 4:6; II Pet. 2:1).  Therefore, the ethical issue is not about church government.  When people know, but refuse to do the will of God, they commit willful sin.  The issue is about unethical practice as the world views the situation.  The change of our king’s “towel and wash basin” mentality of leadership is willful sin according to the culture of the kingdom of Christ and God.  See my books, “God’s Evangelism by Jesus Christ,” Part I, Lesson One, pages 5, 6.  Also, “The Kingdom of God,” Part V, Lesson Thirteen, “Church Government.”

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  Heb. 10:26

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