ANY INHERITANCE IN THE KINGDOM?

God’s kingdom is often discussed in the New Testament without the mention of the word “Kingdom” at all.  One of the greatest discussions of Jesus’ coronation as King over His kingdom is found in Ephesians 1:19-23.  The discussion here started with Paul praying for the Christians in Ephesus that they would be strengthened in power, enlightenment and hope. In making the plea for them to have greater power in Christ, Paul launched into the discussion of the mighty power of God demonstrated in Jesus.  “And his incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, for above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

Notice in being made head of his church he was crowned as king to have all power, dominion and authority.  Just as Peter in Acts 2 described how Christ was raised from the dead and sat down at the right hand of God on David’s throne, Paul here gives a different description of the same event.  Peter tied this taking of the throne as resulting in the sending of the Holy Spirit both to overwhelm the apostles to empower them for their mission in carrying out the great commission and in coming to dwell inside every person who through faith accepted the message of God and turned from sin to God in repentance and were baptized in the name of Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:36-38).  Paul in looking at the same event notes that when God placed all things under his feet, he appointed him to be head over everything for the church, his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

As Paul continued this discussion in Ephesians chapter two he noted that no matter how far one was away from God, morality and character God’s amazing grace was able to save your soul  and give you new life in him.  Notice his description of what happens when one turns from the old life to new life in him.  “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”  Not only is Jesus raised to reign, he notes that when we are raised up from our sinful life to new life in him we too begin to reign with him.  We don’t have the same kind of power and authority he does, but we are sharing with him the kingdom.  He goes on in the second half of this chapter to point out it doesn’t matter what race, color or background we may have since Jesus broke down the middle wall between people so he could make in himself one new man and we could become part of one body in him.

In chapter four of Ephesians he pleaded for unity in the body, the church so that the body could grow and be what God wanted it to be.  He laid down seven foundation stones on which to build that unity he pleaded for them to have.  “There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, one God and Father of all who is above all, through all and in you all.”  He notes that real unity demands that each member of the body be built up and grow as they speak the truth in love so they can grow up into him who is head even Christ.  Each Christian is to do their part for the building of the body.

In chapter five he finally gets around to mentioning the word “Kingdom” in putting the whole thing together.  Focus with me on verses 3-7.  “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.  For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a person is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

If you have been alive and attuned to any form of media during the last few weeks especially you couldn’t have missed all the discussions about one form of immoral behavior and that is homosexual behavior.  There is no question the Bible (Even the New Testament) condemns homosexual behavior.  What does puzzle me is that it seems we always want to pull one thing out of the mix of things God condemns and make that the topic of the day.  With Paul’s writings, that was never done. As the Holy Spirit led him, when he talked about immoral behavior it didn’t focus on one form of immorality as though that were the only one that was really bad.  Look at the company the immoral behavior (which includes any kind of sexual activity outside the marriage relationship), keeps in this passage.  It is in company with all kinds of impurity, greed, and filthy speech. He clearly declared that one who was immoral, impure or greedy couldn’t have an inheritance in God’s kingdom.  He specifically pointed to greed and called it a form of idolatry.  Isn’t that amazing that he would, in making his list of things which keep you from having an inheritance in the kingdom, point to greed as the one that was really idolatry.

Homosexual behavior is wrong!  It will keep one from an inheritance in God’s kingdom.  In reality any form of immoral behavior will have the same effect.  You are just as immoral when you are involved in a sexual relationship with someone from the opposite sex as you are with someone of the same sex if that person isn’t your husband or wife.  But notice at the same time that filthy speech will also keep you from the kingdom.  A greedy person standing to condemn homosexual behavior is a case of two people standing in a sewer and one of them pointing to the other to tell them how dirty they are.  It is always wise to clean up ourselves before we starting pointing fingers at others to show their filth.

Christ reigns as king.  If he reigns as king in you it will mean that your life now is changed and you have an amazing inheritance waiting.  Don’t miss it!

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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