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The Kingdom of God (Romans 14:17), Part 1 of 5 / D: Transformation into joy
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   Romans 14.17 (1 of 5) - final.docx (152.5K) [0] DATE : 2012-09-10 04:26:36
THE KINGDOM OF GOD (Romans 14:17), Part 1 of 5

Subpart D: Transformation into joy

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Romans 14:17
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Luke 18:19
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good except God alone.”
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Only His life is good.  Even if I do good actions, I am still evil.  I’ve kept discovering this as I do ministry.  I did good things: I’ve made personal sacrifices, donated to charity, but when I look again I am still evil.  People always have a shadow in their intentions: a selfish ambition to be seen as a good person; at the very least, to be seen as I am.  Why does that matter?  Let’s say I am good; even if someone calls me evil, that’s okay.  I can transcend that, be a free person.  A free person has no suffering.  Suffering is something that is created by me: my selfish ambition to be seen a certain way is what causes me suffering.

“for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans” 14:17

When we say at church you can do this, you can’t do this, these words are merely like mottos; the most we can say is that these are our aims.  It’s not about saying those who believe in God you can or can’t do this.

When we say that believing in God is about doing this or refraining from that or that church is about preaching the gospel – that is true, but, and I say this cautiously, is it truly a mission the church has to actively undertake?  When it comes to evangelism and missionary work, if you have subjects who have been saved gathering together, if Christ lives in me, it is given than the fruit of missions work will come forth.  Missions are not our duty, but rather a promise that these things will come true.  In the place you are, it is given that the work of giving life will come to pass.  Missions are about going along as a witness.  A witness is not someone who does but rather someone who watches what God does.  Missions are not actually about going somewhere on a mission; they’re about witnessing what He does all the way to the ends of the earth.  We’re all tied down by thinking of Christianity as a duty.  The gospel takes our work out of the obligations of duty and brings it from a place of joy instead.  Stronger than the person who does something because of duty is the person who does something because he likes to.  You can’t stop someone who does something because they like to.  Take Kobe Bryant of the Lakers.  It’s summer break now, and while others are hanging out in Hollywood and doing TV shows, he, who regardless is already paid millions of dollars for his work just during the regular season, during his vacation practices two thousand jump shots every day on the basketball court at his home.  That is the gospel.  He does it because he likes it.  You can’t stop that.  Someone else might have ambitions and try to copy that for a while, but they won’t be able to do it every day just out of ambition.  What is the aim of Christianity?  It’s that we now do out of joy things we couldn’t even imitate before.  Things where we lose out.  Going to the grocery store and picking out rotten fruit.  When someone offers to sell you something at thirteen dollars, but you tell the person they can’t make a living off of that and offer them fifteen instead.  Actions that I couldn’t even imitate before now happen naturally; they are joyful to me.  Being happy at having bought something at a high price and thinking, how happy must that person who sold to me must be.  The joy of losing a hundred dollar bill on the street somewhere.  I think the happiness of the person who finds that must be ten times greater than the sadness of losing it.  Suddenly these actions that I could not imitate by my own will become joyful to me.

(The full transcript of Part 1 of 5 is also attached here as a Word document.)