Christ the Example [Introduction to the Cross and the Kingdom]

Christ the Example
[Introduction to the Cross and the Kingdom]
By Frank J. Manasseri

JESUS the CHRIST came into the world to bring men to the true knowledge of God; for “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) He came to reveal to men the Kingdom of God, and to enunciate its principles, and manifest its spirit and to reveal its character. Of it He said: “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36) “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) His apostles declared, “The kingdom of God is . . . righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.”(Romans 14:17)

“My kingdom is not of this world.”

Every kingdom, every state, every government of men, is altogether of this world and of this world alone. How then can anybody be of any earthly kingdom or state and of the kingdom of God at the same time? Those who are genuinely born again are now citizens of the Kingdom of God which is composed of those who are “chosen out of the world.” Those who are of the state are of this world, because the state is altogether and only of this world.

And, indeed, were not “all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them” offered to Jesus for His very own while He was being tempted in the wilderness? Why then did He not take them and rule over them and convert them and thus save them?

He could not, because to have taken them would have been to recognize “the god of this world,” by whom they were offered. (Luke 4:5-8) And as always, the kingdom of this world is offered only by Satan; and all who are Christ’s will refuse it, as did our Example, and as did Moses, a chosen forerunner and Old Testament type of Christ.

Christ was and is the embodiment of all true Christianity. Therefore, in the Word of Christ, in the very principles of the cause of Christ, there is taught the separation of Truth and state as complete and as wide as is the separation between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world. And this is as complete and as wide as is the separation between God’s ways and the world’s way of living.

Accordingly, Christ says in another place, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21). Caesar was the head of the Roman Empire, the personification of the world’s power and in that Roman world-system it was claimed that whatsoever was Caesar’s, was God’s; because to all the people of that world system Caesar was God. He was set before the people as God; the people were required to worship him as God; incense was offered to his image as to God. In that system the state was divine, and Caesar was the state. Therefore that system was essentially a union of religion and the state.

In view of this, when Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s,” He denied to Caesar, and so to the state, every attribute, or claim of divinity. He showed that another than Caesar is truly God. Thus He entirely separated Caesar and God! He entirely separated between the things which are due to Caesar and those which are due to God. The things that are due to Caesar are not to be rendered to God. The things due to God are not to be rendered to Caesar. These are two distinct realms, two distinct personages, and two distinct fields of duty.

Therefore, in these words Jesus taught as plainly as it is possible to do, the complete separation of Truth and the state. No state can ever rightly require anything that is due to God; and when it is required by the state, it is not to be rendered.

Again: Jesus is the Example whom God has set to be the guide to every person in this world. Jesus of Nazareth is to be followed in every step that can be taken in the right way. Any step taken by anybody in a way in which the Lord Jesus did not go is taken in the wrong way. He hath left us “an example, that ye should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21). Whosoever saith that he “abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” (1 John 2:6) Jesus never, in any manner or to any degree, took any part in political functions or in any affairs of the state. Jesus was then, and is forever, the embodiment of Truth. Therefore, in His whole life’s conduct of absolute separation from everything political, from all affairs of the state, there is taught to all the world, and especially to all believers in Him, the complete separation of the Truth of Christ, and of all who hold it, from everything political and from all affairs of the state.

So faithfully did He hold to that principle that when a man asked Him only, “Speak to my brother, that he divides the inheritance with me,” He refused, with the words, “Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?” Then He said to them all, “Take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:13-15) If only all who have professed to be His followers had held distant from all affairs of politics and state, how vastly different would have been the history of the Christian era! What a blessing it would have been to the world and one can now only guess what floods of misery and woe mankind would have been spared!

And why was it that Jesus thus persistently kept detached from all affairs of politics and the state? Was it because all things political, judicial, and governmental were conducted with such perfect propriety, and with such evident justice, that there was no place for anything better, no room for improvement such as even He might suggest? Not by any means. Never was there more political corruption, greater perversion of justice, and essential all-pervasive evil of administration, than at the time of the Roman Empire. Why, then, did not Jesus call for “Municipal Reform?” Why did He not organize a “Law and Order League”? Why did He not disguise Himself and make tours of the dives and the gambling-dens, and entrap victims into violations of the law? And why did He not employ other spies to do the same, in order to get against the representatives of the law evidence of maladministration by which to arraign them and to compel them to enforce the law? Thus, He could reform the city, regenerate society, and save the state, and so establish the Kingdom of God? Why? The people were ready to do anything of that kind that might be suggested. The Zealots of the period were ready to cooperate with Him in any such work of “reform.” The people were so forward and so earnest that they would have actually taken Him by force and made Him King, which they endeavored to do had He not withdrawn Himself from them. (John 6:15) Why then did He refuse?

The answer to all this is, because He was Christ (The Messiah), the Savior of the world. He had come to help men, not to oppress them; had come to save men, not to destroy them.

“The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses,–extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Savior attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart. Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12, 13. Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the word of God.”
“Desire of Ages”, Ellen G. White chap. 55, par. 12, page 510,511.

Now Christ is the true example set by God for every soul in this world to follow. The conduct of Christ is True Christianity and conforming to that example is the conduct each individual believer should emulate. This alone is Christianity in the world. The conduct of Christ, the example, was totally separate in all things from politics and the affairs of the state. Christianity, therefore, is the total separation of the believer in Christ from politics and all the affairs of the state, the total separation of Truth and the state in the individual believer.

Accordingly, Jesus said to His disciples forever, “Ye are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world.” (John 15:19) And to His Father He said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16). The ideal is that every Christian in this world must be in the world as Christ was in the world. “As He is, so are we in the world.” (1 John 4:17) “It is enough for the disciple that he is as his Master.” (Matthew 10:25) The Master was always, and in all things, and by fixed design, completely separated from all affairs of politics and the state. And it is forever enough “that the disciple be as his Master.”

The following passage is taken from a sermon by the late Thomas Hewlings Stockton (Chaplain for US Congress 1833) presents infinity of truth, and is worthy to stand forever in letters ablaze with eternal glory:

“There was one sacrifice too great for Christ to make. He was willing to leave the throne of the universe for the manger of Bethlehem; willing to grow up as the son of a poor carpenter; willing to be called the friend of publicans and sinners; willing to be watched with jealous eyes, and slandered by lying tongues, and hated by murderous hearts, and betrayed by friendly hands, and denied by pledged lips, and rejected by apostate priests and a deluded populace and cowardly princes; willing to be sentenced to the cross, and to carry the cross, and be nailed to the cross, and bleed and groan and thirst and die on the cross. But He was not willing to wear an earthly crown or robe, or wield an earthly scepter, or exercise earthly rule. That would have been too great a sacrifice. He did, indeed, endure the crown of thorns and the cast-off purple and the reed, and the cry, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ But this was merely because He preferred the mockery to the reality; so pouring infinite contempt on the one, not only by rejecting it in the beginning of His ministry, but also by accepting the other at its close.”

This is the Christianity of Jesus Christ, as respects the great question of TRUTH and the state. As in all instruction from God from the beginning of creation down, it calls always for the complete separation of Truth and state in all things and in all people, in order that the Christian may enjoy infinitely higher things that were ordained by God for them to live in.
There is a Kingdom of God ethic which Jesus of Nazareth taught and modeled during His earthly ministry to His followers. Jesus was showing and teaching His disciples the “How” of living this Kingdom of God. Thus Jesus the Messiah was our living example of how a man should live in God’s Kingdom. In what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer Christ taught His disciples how to pray in the Kingdom of God.

Then during the forty days after His resurrection from the dead He taught His disciples the things concerning the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). Therefore He not only modeled this Kingdom life before their very eyes, He also taught them about the things of the Kingdom of God.

In the book of Acts as Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, His disciples asked Him if He was going to restore the Kingdom back to Israel. This seemed to be a logic question for them to ask as He had just completed a forty day exposition of the things concerning the Kingdom of God to them.

The Lord’s answer was for them to go to Jerusalem and wait for this promise of the Father which would empower by with the outpouring of Holy Spirit.

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Speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God

Speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God

Acts 1:1-4 (KJV)
1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

The phrase, “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” is the basis for the entire Ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah (Christ). This same phrase communicated the intention for which the Father sent the Son of the Living God to be born of a woman and to “make known” and reveal the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. I have realized this was the only thing on the mind of Jesus throughout His earthly ministry. The Kingdom of God is the central theme throughout all the books of the Bible!
Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem, raised in Egypt and Nazareth, and then ministered in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee in the Middle East. He preached the Gospel (Good News) that the Kingdom of God is at hand to the House of Israel.

During the final weeks of His life, He ministered in Jerusalem and was totally rejected by the Religious Leaders and Ruling Elders of Israel. These religious leaders finally had Christ put Him to death by crucifixion. Three days later, He rose from the dead and continued in His resurrected body for forty days to teach His disciples the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God (Acts 1;1-3).
Looking ahead to the last verses of the book of Acts (28:31) we discover Paul also was faithful and preached the Kingdom of God and teaching those things concerning Jesus Christ. This phrase “The Kingdom of God” is used at various times throughout the book of Acts and in the Church Epistles, indicating the importance placed upon preaching the knowledge of the Kingdom of God as a present day reality to all those who love the Father and follow The Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
In the beginning of the Lord Jesus’ ministry, we read in the Sermon on the Mount, that He speaking as King taught His disciples the Beatitudes the proper attitude we must have in order to live in the Kingdom of God.

Notice these are BE ATTITUDES and not DO ATTITUDES, The difference being, these were not Laws or rules to be kept in order to become a Kingdom Citizens, but the Attitudes a disciple needed in order to live as a citizen in the Kingdom of God while living in the world today.
Without getting into all of the eight beatitudes a quick glance at the first one is necessary to understand what is meant by the BE ATTITUDES:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of God” (Matt 5:3). This “poor in spirit” is the attitude of a true follower of Jesus of Nazareth. This is the opposite of arrogance or a haughty attitude. True humility and not arrogance is the manner in which Jesus lived and served those around Him during the days of His flesh. This is the first requirement of the Kingdom of God, or this is the attitude one must have in order to begin to live as a vital citizen in the Kingdom of God.
Today this Kingdom of God is not yet manifest in the material or physical realm because it is a spiritual Kingdom replete with Kingdom Blessings and Rewards for those who will learn “how” to live as a Kingdom citizen thereby bringing glory to the heavenly Father alone.

This helps to define the quest we at http://www.kingdomlink.wordpress.com are on. This quest is to investigate the scriptures in order to accurately discover what Jesus of Nazareth taught about the things concerning the Kingdom of God.

In discovering this basis of True Christianity we may begin to learn and live in simple obedience to His instructions, giving Glory to the Father and resulting in receiving the blessings of God’s Kingdom today. By True Christians living this lifestyle they will also receive Kingdom rewards in the coming age when God’s Kingdom will be established upon the earth.

Matthew 6:1-8 (KJV)
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

http://www.kingdomlink.wordpress.com

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We need to learn how to see life through the eyes of God because only He sees from everlasting to everlasting!

The eyes of God see impossibilities as possibilities because God is not limited by time or space.

Our natural eyes are limited in that they see as we live each day. However seeing through the eyes of faith enables us to see see what God is able to accomplish on our behalf.

Our natural eyes are limited in that they may not see clearly what will be tomorrow, or in the future, but God sees all things past, present and future.

Therefore desire to learn to see life through the eyes of God, for this is where your treasure truly is and where His Kingdom Life awaits those who see through God’s eyes, and walk in love toward their fellow man.

Always remember with God all things are possible.

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A personal relationship with Christ far surpasses even the knowledge of the scriptures.

Christ said:

“John 5:39
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

Eternal Life is in the living Truth (Christ) and is not contained in the knowledge of the scriptures.

The scriptures are like a lamp unto our feet or like a map that will lead us into a personal relationship with Christ. This relationship allows us to enter into His rest where the fruit He produces in us begin to change us into His image as we simply abide in Him.

Matthew 11:28
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Again it is the Living Christ we must come to in order to find true rest for our soul.

John 5:40 (KJV)

40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

The legalistic Pharisees and Sadducees refused to acknowledge Christ as the true Messiah.

John 5:40 (Phillips)

By myself I can do nothing.

As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is true because I do not live to please myself but to do the will of the Father who sent me.

You may say that I am bearing witness about myself, that therefore what I say about myself has no value, but I would remind you that there is one who witnesses about me and I know that his witness about me is absolutely true.

You sent to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that it is man’s testimony that I accept—I only tell you this to help you to be saved. John certainly was a lamp that burned and shone, and for a time you were willing to enjoy the light that he gave. But I have a higher testimony than John’s. The work that the Father gave me to complete, yes, these very actions which I do are my witness that the Father has sent me. This is how the Father who has sent me has given his own personal testimony to me.

“Now you have never at any time heard what he says or seen what he is like. Nor do you really believe his word in your hearts, for you refuse to believe the man who he has sent. You pore over the scriptures for you imagine that you will find eternal life in them. And all the time they give their testimony to me! But you are not willing to come to me to have real life!

Men’s approval or disapproval means nothing to me, but I can tell that you have none of the love of God in your hearts. I have come in the name of my Father and you will not accept me. Yet if another man comes simply in his own name, you will accept him. How on earth can you believe while you are forever looking for each other’s approval and not for the glory that comes from the one God?

There is no need for you to think that I have come to accuse you before the Father. You already have an accuser—Moses, in whom you put all your confidence! For if you really believed Moses, you would be bound to believe me; for it was about me that he wrote.

But if you do not believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say”?

The scriptures plainly teach that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

The Word of God states that Christ is the Messiah and the one whom God was well pleased.

The scriptures states that God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above ever other name in heaven, the earth, and under the earth.

If these things be true then why would one not seek after a personal relationship with the divine Son of God?

“All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

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Some random thoughts:

The person who realizes they know little finds this is the beginning of humility.

To be humble before Christ is to realize you have no spiritual currency to spend except for that which the Lord supplies.

The humble sit quietly before the Father and have nothing to say to Him but Abba.

The humble sit in silence waiting for the Master to come with gifts of knowledge and understanding.

When a person truly seeks to know Christ they have nothing left to defend and so allow Him to tear down their strongholds by revealing true spiritual enlightenment.

The intellectual gain of bible knowledge becomes folly to those who sit at the feet of the Living Truth.When we simply come to Jesus in total trust He tears up our personal theology, crushes our strongholds, and begins to replace it with His Living Truth.

Jesus of Nazareth said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me.”

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We Are Blessed!

“God is not trapped inside of a box of church rules and regulations and neither are we.

We have liberty in Christ!

We are Kingdom Citizens.

We know the Truth and He is alive and well within us.

Let us continue to exalt Jesus Christ for all that He has done, is doing, and will continue to do through our simple faith and cooperation with Him.

We are blessed to abound for His sake or if we suffer we are blessed to suffer for His sake!”

FJM

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Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ is the express image of the One True God.
Jesus Christ is the total effulgence of the Father God to mankind.

Hebrews 1:3(KJV)

Jesus is God’s imprint in the natural five senses world.
Without Jesus Christ coming in the flesh no man could know God.

All throughout the Old Testament, mankind could see and acknowledge God’s awesome creation, but they could not know God in a personal way.

David himself longed for a real personal relationship with God.

Psalm 27:4 (KJV)
God is spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth!

John 4:24(KJV)
Jesus came into the world to make known the Father.

John 1:18(KJV)
The Lord Jesus so declared God to men that when Philip asked, “show us the Father” Jesus said “have I been so long with you and you say.”Show us the Father”?

John 14:8+9(KJV)

What was Christ telling Philip?

I am not the Father but I am amazed that after I have spent so much time with you demonstrating what the Father would do in every situation you ask me to show you the father?

There is a truth we sometimes miss concerning Jesus Christ as it pertains to the Father.Christ was not the Father but the Divine Son of God. And as the Son of God He was the exact imprint or stamp of God, He always acted on God’s behalf. The miracles, the healing, the casting out of devils all were the works of God.

Put another way, if The Father could have been a man He would have been Jesus Christ.

Jesus of Nazareth always did the Father’s will. Thus by doing the Fathers Will the Kingdom of God and its power was being manifested.

Therefore if we ever desire to know if something is of God or of His Kingdom, we need only to check the actions or words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels.

Simultaneously Jesus Christ is our example of what our relationship should be towards the Father.

Jesus declared God as the Father to all those around Him.
Jesus showed us THE CREATOR as the FATHER and not some impersonal abstract God-being that has no compassion or love.

Christ taught us how to pray when He prayed “Our Father Who art in heaven.”

1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

The Pharisee’s claimed they knew God but rejected the Messiah. These religious leaders hated Jesus when He would teach people about the love, mercy, and forgiveness of God.

Imagine what was going through their self righteous minds when Jesus told them the Parable of the Prodigal Son? Those Pharisees were repulsed by pigs.

Luke 15:10-32(KJV)

In this manner He showed those super religious people that God would actually run with open arms toward even the vilest person with love and compassion, when that person was ready to repent and come back home.

Man’s deepest expression of love towards God is to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:24(KJV)

3 John 1:14(KJV)

All else is inadequate and false
.
One may sing praise songs, shout hallelujah’s, run the church pews, but without worshiping in spirit and in truth it is all folly to God. God is not interested in man made worship or in long prayers or in deep fasting and denial of the flesh.

Isaiah 58:1-14(KJV)

He is interested in what we do horizontally in
how we treat one another.

His attention is riveted on those who show others love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.

The True God is not aligned with the hardhearted Pharisee’s who look good and act spiritual in the presence of other people.

The True God is not impressed by law keepers or by those who make their alms giving and fasting known to the public. His eyes are not on those who take delight in approaching Him.

God is not impressed by those who hide themselves from their own flesh. He is not happy with those who exact all their works and fast to make themselves’ known before men.

God is impressed by the SINNER who comes with humility to Him in public or in private with repentance.

His delight is in those who are willing to clothe the naked, feed the poor, and visit the sick.

His eye is on them who visit those who are imprisoned and care for the widows and the fatherless.

God is not impressed by our stature and reputation among men but by our capacity and willingness to serve others, even our enemies.
The greatest expression of service is that God so loved the world that He sent (the perfect expression of Himself) His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life!
Jesus came into the world to show us (declare) the Father and to show the religious leaders how off base they were in worshiping God in ways that were not pleasing to Him.

The Pharisee’s and Sadducee’s knew the Law more than they knew the true God.

The religious are focused on the measurable things of this world rather than on the invisible and eternal things of God.
Each time God sent Prophet to correct them, that Prophet was killed.
It is the same today! All those who know and love the truth will be hated, belittled, marginalized, mocked, ignored, and in some cases even killed.

Praise be to God and His Son Jesus Christ who was willing to become a servant in order to be pleasing and obedient to His Father.

May God grant us the Grace, Mercy, and Power to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus of Nazareth as true servants worshiping the Father in spirit and in truth?

Selah

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