ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: KINGDOM ECONOMICS XII
WHAAATT a GOOOOOOODDDD week!
Uhhhh, Huhhh! Della and I decided that we needed to just get away for awhile this week and be alone with the Lord. You know how it is sometimes. Your schedule becomes so busy that you lose your priorities -- and in my case, I just wasn't getting my "alone time" with the Lord. It's these times when it is just you and the Lord -- no interruptions allowed. Della, too.
In the past, we've generally done our "alone time" individually, but this time we decided to do it together. We've had some situations that needed a resolution and a specific answer from the Lord, and just wanted to be able to agree together concerning them.
There's another really good reason for these getaways with the Lord -- and this is something I've learned and experienced every single time I've done this during the past 40-odd years: the Lord pours out revelation from His Word in a phenomenal way!
I was just thinking about some of the revelations the Lord has given me during these periods. The revelation of David's Tabernacle -- for instance -- and the impact that 24-hour praise and worship has upon the life of that nation and people who institute it. That's just one of the revelations. Another one was the picture of the three families of fear that Satan uses to torment people; the specific ways and tactics in which these fears are used to tear down people and destroy them, and the deliverance that Jesus Christ has provided for His people from all fear.
Then there was the revelation of the correlation between the seven nations that Israel was commanded to drive out of Canaan and demolish, and the seven letters to the seven Ekklesias (churches) in Revelation 2 & 3: how Israel attempted to conquer the seven nations and failed because of compromise and intermingling of religions whose gods (demons, really) stood in opposition to God Almighty; and how we as believers in Christ have been empowered through and by the Holy Spirit to conquer those same master spirits that ruled each of the seven nations. Those seven master spirits are revealed in the seven letters.
On and on it goes. Every major revelation the Lord has given me has come during one of these periods when I've left everything and gotten away to be with the Lord.
This week has been no exception. While I wasn't particularly asking the Lord for more revelation concerning Kingdom Economics, he sure unloaded it on me during the past few days. I'm not sure how much of it I will share in this series because some of it is still jelling in my spirit, but I'll take you on as much of a continuing journey as the Holy Spirit indicates.
I ended our last Coffee Break with the statement that we are called to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are a people designed and destined to show the world God's authority, His power, His grace, His love, His might -- His very onoma !
We are designed and destined to be Jesus' counterpart, His other self: a people whose life and lifestyle show something to the world that causes people to want what we have, want to be who we are and desire the love and grace we manifest.
That takes me to Romans 13. I'd like to unfold for you an amplified text of this chapter as I have translated it from the original Greek text.
All nations and kingdoms have laws, constitutions of one sort or another, and designated authorities to whom the people answer and respond in order to live in a peaceful and orderly manner with one another. The Kingdom of God is no different. The economy of God's Kingdom -- as already noted -- works only by love; and that love is the very antithesis of what the world at large sees and calls "love."
Let's have a look, then, at how Christians are instructed to operate as aliens or foreigners -- agents and representatives of God's Kingdom -- in the nations and kingdoms of this world.
Verse 1: "Let every soul submit and stand under (and be arranged under in orderly fashion) superior authorities. For there is no authority that exists except of God: all authorities that be are arranged and set in their places by God."
The first phrase of this verse uses an interesting military term in the Greek text: hupotasso. Literally translated, this word means: to stand under; but in a practical sense is used to depict the arrangement of soldiers according to company, rank, purpose and designation. The arrangement is that of soldiers who are at attention, awaiting the commands of their superior officers.
Thus the Word of the Lord is for us to be subject to, submitted to, and responsive to every authority -- whether local, state (province or borough), regional, or national. He goes on to say that every authority that exists (God doesn't distinguish between spiritual and secular leaders: He has ordained and set in order the means by which these leaders are appointed or put in office or their place of authority) is there by His operation and choosing.
That means even those leaders we may consider to be "bad" or "corrupt" are still there by his command. Consider Isaiah's prophecy concerning Jesus:
Isaiah 9:6-7: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
The Hebrew word translated here "government" is
ממשלה-- misrah: which means empire(s),
dominion(s). Isaiah thus makes clear that
Verse 2 of Romans 13, therefore, follows logically: "Wherefore, and as a direct consequence thereof, whoever contends with and stands against that authority, contends with and stands against God: and they who contend with and stand in opposition to God shall take and bring upon themselves His decree of judgment and sentence." (And we could add [for treason]
(And we could add [for treason].)
Unrighteous and ignorant people (many of whom are professing Christians) in today's societies seem to think nothing of lambasting, accusing, standing against and speaking evil of "authorities" including Presidents, Prime Ministers, Governors, officers of the Law, etc., etc., etc. They justify themselves because the "President (or Prime Minister, or whoever) is acting criminally" according to their judgment. They don't seem to recognize that their judgment doesn't count for squat where God is concerned.
There is -- or at least has been -- a dearth of understanding in the body of Christ at large concerning the responsibility to pray for "all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and honesty." (See I Timothy 2:2) For some reason it has become OK to speak evil of those in authority, and if one instructs the accuser or slanderer to pray for his or her leaders, well......you just don't know how evil they really are! -- as if that statement somehow supersedes and invalidates God's command to pray for them.
in the past few years, there has been a remarkable and divinely-inspired
movement world-wide to pray for leaders of governments of every nation. Della and I are looking forward to participating first-hand
in the national day of prayer for
Verse 3 of Romans 13 continues with Paul's instruction by the Holy Spirit: "For rulers, magistrates, governors, presidents and princes are not the source of fright and terror to good and beneficial works and endeavors, but to those that are worthless, depraved and injurious. Do you therefore desire to be free from the terror and fear of authority? Do that which is beneficial, good, excelling in any respect and distinguished, and you will have praise and recognition for it."
Pretty self-explanatory, wouldn't you say? The reason why so many folks get upset with leaders is that their own lifestyle is at odds with the standards set by constitutional law or mandate, and they want to live in a way that may be -- in some respects -- worthless, depraved, or injurious to others or to society at large. That's not always true in every case, of course, but most opposition to leadership comes from those who think they know how things ought to be run -- never mind what God has to say about it!
Verse 4: "Authority, therefore, is the servant of God to you for good. But, if you do that which is noisome, wicked, depraved, injurious and intrinsically worthless, be afraid and live in terror, for [Gods] authority does not wear a sword or carry a weapon idly and without reason: for that authority is the servant of God, a punisher and revenger who executes Gods abhorrence and violent passion upon they who repeatedly and habitually commit wickedness, depravity and injurious acts."
The instruction that follows in verse 5 clarifies where God is taking this.
Verse 5: "As a consequence thereof, you must “ of necessity “ subordinate and arrange yourself in proper order, in submission, not merely because of the threat of Gods abhorrence and executed judgment but specifically for the sake of moral consciousness, conscience, [and spiritual perception]."
Get the picture? Our submission and subjection to authorities here on earth is not because we think they're doing such a great job as leaders but rather because we are doing so out of spiritual perception, revelation and an understanding that God's purposes are being worked in the earth for a goal and objective that may not be readily obvious to many.
Paul also makes clear in Verse 4 that God isn't somehow waiting for folks to screw things up so he can come down on them like "ugly on an ape." Instead, those who execute God's judgment do so upon those who repeatedly and habitually -- without conscience -- "commit wickedness, depravity and injurious acts."
Now he really gets specific in his detailing of "those in authority."
Verse 6: "For this very reason execute and discharge your tax responsibility also: for they [those who collect taxes and public fees and charges] are likewise Gods servants, earnestly persevering and being constantly diligent in their assigned service."
Hey, I didn't make this up! This is God's Word!
Discharging our responsibility to pay taxes here on earth is nothing more than empowering the blessing of the Lord in our lives to make provision for this added burden upon our income. Let's look at one more verse in this chapter, and then I'll show you a principle of Kingdom Economics.
Verse 7: "Give back and render therefore to every one [of Gods authorities] that which is due them: taxes and tolls to those to whom it is due; levies and legal limits to the representatives of the government and its laws; respect and reverence [to those to whose position so requires]; esteem and honor to all in authority."
Remember when Peter talked to Jesus about paying taxes? Take a look at Matthew 17:24-27 (KJV).
when they were come to
principle that Jesus is dealing with. As citizens of the
Jesus, however, couldn't care less about the rights or authority of governments to collect taxes from us. It didn't matter! The tax money the government collects from us has no bearing on our bank account, our liquid resources on hand (cash, etc.), or our ability to continue in our assignment(s) from Him without being shortchanged.
To prove it, he instructed Peter to go and do what he normally did: fish! Supernatural -- ummmm, make that "supernaturally natural" -- provision to pay the tax obligation came forth immediately. The very first fish that was caught had enough money (value-wise) in his mouth to pay both Peter's and Jesus' tax bills. Peter didn't have to sweat it! He didn't even have to wait for the tax-collector to come around.
Jesus made such provision that Peter was able to go and pay their taxes even before they were told what the tax bill would be.
That, my friends, is a principle of Kingdom Economics.
As heirs of God's Kingdom and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, we are entitled to operate freely within and free from the economies of this world. THAT is a fundamental right and privilege accorded to EVERY believer.
The catch, if we can call it that, is that we have to utterly believe in and trust God's Word. It's even more than trusting God's Word: it amounts to trusting HIM, loving HIM, knowing that He as our Father wants and desires to do extravagantly for us to demonstrate to all a life and lifestyle available in Him that knows no bounds.
The right and privilege to have our needs met goes well beyond the simple paying of earthly taxes, however. Remember the principle outlined in Matthew 6:30-33?
"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
This is His covenant with us! He absolutely promises to meet every single need - no matter what that need may be -- so long as we put Him and His priorities for our life ahead of our concerns for living in this world. His provision for us -- though it may come in the currency of this world so that we can spend it to meet the needs in this world -- comes from the treasuries in Heaven.
This is precisely why Jesus had just said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew -21 KJV)
By putting Jesus first in every aspect of our lives, He becomes the focus, the priority, the objective and purpose of our desire. Our desire becomes His desire. When that becomes the case, our entire daily life becomes a function of laying up treasure in Heaven's treasuries -- and that treasure has an exchange value in earth's currencies far beyond any exchange rate you can imagine.
We'll continue this next week.
The Blessing of the Lord be upon you.
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