Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Truth about Life, Liberty, purpose, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Life, Liberty, purpose, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

“From one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27NIV)

Truth about Life

What is life all about? What are our deepest quest, values and beliefs? With all the conflict, pain and trouble in the world, some people think life is not worth living. For some of us, just getting out of bed in the morning is a major struggle. But, it doesn't have to be this way. Life can be very worthwhile. Many people live their lives without ever reflecting on life itself or its meaning for them. Their lives may be full of activities. They may marry, have children, run a business, or become scientists or musicians, without ever obtaining any degree of understanding of why they do these things. Their lives have no purpose, destiny and have no clear idea of their own nature or identity, of who they really are. It is only in relation to the Creator, and the purpose which that Creator has fixed for His creatures, that human existence has any meaning. So discovering our life purpose will help us to move with greater focus and clarity every day of our life. That is, if we use our life for what it was originally designed and that is what this sermon is all about. Discover and accept ever deeper divine truths. Learn to love God more deeply and unconditionally. Develop and express your originality.

Our text describes that all the families of mankind are descended from one origin or stock. However different their complexion, features, or language, yet they are derived from a common parent. God in his wisdom produced the whole human race from one man; and, having in his providence scattered them over the face of the earth, by showing them that they sprang from one common source, The word blood is often used to denote "race, stock, kindred." This passage affirms that all the human family are descended from the same ancestor. However they may differ in complexion, customs, and laws, are to be regarded and treated as brethren. It follows, also, that no one part of the race has a right to enslave or oppress any other part, on account of difference of complexion. God is wonderful in all his works, but especially in the work of man: not that we should stand amazed at his works, but that we should lift our eyes to the workman.

God, who is infinitely great and self-sufficient, has manifested himself as the maker of the world, the creator, preserver, and governor of men. He has assigned them their portion, and dispensed to them their habitations, and the various blessings of his providence, to the end that they should seek him in all his works. They should seek the Lord-That is the high end of all these arrangements of Divine Power, Wisdom, and Love. The purpose of God in creating man has been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain His Presence.

Truth about Pursuit

The modern principles of free society aimed to enshrines three basic rights: the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The right to life is the only fundamental right, from which all other rights are derived. The right to life protects the individual’s ability to take all those actions necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of his life. It is based on the idea that life is the standard of moral value. The right to liberty protects the individual’s ability to think and to act on his own judgment. It is based on the idea that rationality is man’s highest moral virtue. The right to pursue happiness protects the individual’s ability to live for his own sake, rather than for the sake of society. It is based on the idea that the pursuit of one’s self-interest is one’s highest moral purpose.

All of our universities, cyber-space technology, fiscal policies, medical advancements, social experiments, religious conferences, and peace marches all seem to collapse at the mercy of our own self-imposed destructive character and corrupted ideology. We build buildings and then bomb them; we make weapons and then use them on ourselves; we invent medicines that heal and then withhold them from the sick; we improve the World Wide Web to enhance communication and then use it to destroy the moral fiber of our children. We are our own greatest enemy.

Man was alienated from God. He had no love for Him. He disliked His government and laws. He was unwilling to be restrained. He sought his own pleasure. He was proud, vain, self-confident. He was not pleased with the character of God, or with his claims, or his plans. And in like manner, God was displeased with the pride, the sensuality, the rebellion, the haughtiness of man. He was displeased that His Law had been violated, and that man had cast off his government and dead in trespasses and sins;

So our culture is disintegrating all around us. People are living in despair. All we have to do is read a newspaper or listen to a news broadcast any day of the week to realize that daily life in the world we live in is full of uncertainty and instability. War, hunger, poverty, ignorance, ethnic cleansing, age-old hatreds and prejudices, suicide bombings, terrorism, AIDS and other afflictions, economic instability with wide fluctuations in the stock market – all of these show clearly that our world is a frightening and unreliable place. Because the kingdom of this world is temporary and will one day pass away, it has nothing of enduring quality in which we can trust with any confidence.

Ideology is defined as the adherence to a set of beliefs that regulate the moral, social, and ritualistic behavior of the individual. This definition would include the so-called atheist, secularist, communist, socialist, humanist or agnostic, for they all adhere to a belief system of some kind, even if it is the belief that there is no providential component in creation or life as we know it. Yet virtually every major problem in history and in our contemporary world can be traced to some corrupted ideology. Even the religious fanaticism is a corrupted ideology, which motivated the massacre of millions over the years. Perhaps this is one reason so many millions have turned away from one ideology to another and some opted to embrace such philosophies as humanism, communism, and agnosticism.

Truth about Liberty

Mankind is engaged in an eternal quest for that “rights to life, liberty, he hopes something else will bring him happiness, complete and unending. Some people may doubt that finding God is the purpose of life; but everyone can accept the idea that the purpose of life is to find ultimate truth, meaning, relevance, purpose, immortality, love and happiness. Bible says that God is God of Purpose. God is Love, Jesus said I’m the way, the truth and the life, and Paul said, Christ is our peace that will never change. So why shouldn’t you try to acquire that Happiness? No one else can give it to you Except the Lord Jesus. He is the source of all Good things.

We live also in a society fascinated to self-love and to each one doing his own thing, pursuing his own happiness, comfort, and peace. This passion to selfishness, of course, is destructive to society, to the family, and any human relationship. Such a course is the product of Satan’s influence and delusions and is directly opposed to the direction and order of Scripture. Even if life gave you at one time everything you wanted such as wealth, power, and friends — after a while you would again become dissatisfied and search for something else. But there is one thing that can never become stale to you —that is God and His Kingdom. Whatever is permanent and delightful is only in the kingdom of God. For those who live and walk with God, every day can be a good day, regardless of circumstances in the world. No matter how much unrest and turmoil swirls around us in the physical world, God’s kingdom is stable. It cannot be moved. Unlike the kingdom of this world, Kingdom of God is founded on eternal principles that will never fade or pass away.

 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17) If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Because, crucified with Christ, buried into his death, we have died with Christ, and risen to walk in a new life (Ro 6:6, 4, 14). Old things are passed away. The old life ended when we died and were buried. The renewed man acts upon new principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in new company. The believer is created anew; his heart is not merely set right, but a new heart is given him. He is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Though the same as a man, he is changed in his character and conduct. So Paul says “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18) 

The work of reconciliation, or making atonement for sin, is ascribed to the Father; not that he is the author of it, for it is properly Christ's work; but because he took the first step towards it: he formed the scheme of it; he set forth his Son in his purposes and decrees to be the propitiary sacrifice; he assigned him this work in council and covenant, in promise and in prophecy, and sent him to effect it; therefore he is said to do it "by" him; that is, by his blood and sacrifice, by his sufferings and death, to which, the Scriptures ascribe our peace and reconciliation and given to us the ministry of reconciliation; which is the Gospel of peace. Therefore the mandate of Christ is love for God and love for one’s neighbor, the pursuit and promotion of the kingdom of God, doing not our own thing, but denial of the self-life that we might be free to live for God and others. So, according to Jesus, the highest good is God and the highest good that we can grasp is to become a citizen and participate in the kingdom of God.

Jesus said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”Thus, we find in the New Testament what we can call the doctrine of One Another. Over and over again in the New Testament we find statements concerning our responsibilities to one another. The point being, God has called us to be a ministering people following the example of our Lord who came not to be ministered to, but to minister and give Himself a ransom for many.

Truth about purpose and Happiness

Without question every person ultimately searching for a new ideal world with freedom, happiness, power, truth, light, glory, purpose and meaning in life. All of us look for meaning for our existence and the purpose and power to control our lives and our circumstances; power to determine the future and predict the unknown; power over death and life. We seek this purpose and power in many ways: religion, politics, money, and fame etc. Our pursuit of purpose and power is the primary source and motivation for the development of various ideologies.

Mankind has tried in so many ways to relieve the fear, pain, and suffering that characterize so much of human life on earth. One way is through various philosophies and religious rituals, which has not been any more successful than anything else because it too is a product of human invention and design. Religion is man’s attempt to discover God and find the solution to his own problem. This is why Jesus did not come to establish a religion. Instead, He came with the spiritual Kingdom, eternal and unshakable. God’s Kingdom came to earth through the person of His Son Jesus Christ, who was its herald as well as its gateway. Christ did not come to Earth to start a religious organization. John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus. He stepped onto the stage of history to serve as forerunner for the Jesus Christ. John’s message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” The King would soon appear, but He could not and would not reign over people who clung to their sins. They must change directions, must confess and forsake their sins. God was calling them from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.

 So, what is of primary importance?  Now, here’s guidance for our lives. Jesus provided some of his most powerful teachings during this one event, often called "the Sermon on the Mount"; it is recorded primarily in Matthew, chapters 5-7.In this sermon we want to focus specifically on his statement in Matthew 6:33 Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Jesus intends His followers to seek His Kingdom and to pray for its coming as our first priority in life and you will be on your way to inheriting the eternal life in all its’ fullness, glory and splendor. In the New Testament, the English word "kingdom" is mentioned approximately 149 times in the NKJV. The central message of Jesus Christ was the message of "the Kingdom of God" This message, when understood, is the most relevant message for the needs of humanity. It is a highly attractive message, and will produce the greatest results of any message one could give. This message must once again become the central theme of preachers and teachers in these last days. Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 4:20 "for the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power"

John the Baptist Preached the Message of the Kingdom."In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:1,2). Jesus Preached the Message of the Kingdom “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17). Paul preached the Kingdom."And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more." (Acts 20:25). Jesus called Men to preach the kingdom "Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 9:60) Jesus Predicted the Continued Preaching of 'This Gospel of the Kingdom' until His Second Coming "And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14).

The Kingdom of God is the place where Jesus is King. It is a spiritual, invisible kingdom which has made its presence felt to a degree in the affairs of this earth. It is not confined to a particular geographical location, nor to a particular religious organization. The Kingdom is truly present in a place to the extent that Christ is honored as Lord and his will done there.

What Does It Mean to Seek First the Kingdom? The precise sense of every word in this golden verse should be carefully weighed. The word first in our text comes from the Greek word proton which means "first in order or importance, first of all, holding the highest place in all our affections." The Lord is saying the first place in the priority of our affections must be the will of God. The word seeks means to "actively pursue" or "to go after." It's in the present tense. It means continuously. It says that our thoughts, our heart, our emotions, our affections should be set upon heavenly things, on the "things that are above," 

Every day of your life you ought to seek first the kingdom of God. The Greek word which was translated as kingdom in our text is basileia which means, "To rule--to reign, i.e., to walk under the rule or reign of a sovereign--a king."

So, what does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God? It means to walk under His reign, to come under the service of the Lord. Our text really says we are to seek the authority of His Word as our first priority and observe it at all costs. Our first and highest priority is to seek to come into the service of the King and walk under His sovereign reign. We should fill our thoughts with his desires.  We should focus on his character and use this as our guide for our way of living.  We should serve and obey him in everything.  Our walk of life will reveal whose kingdom we serve. 

. "The kingdom of God" is the primary subject of the Sermon on the Mount-that kingdom which the God of heaven is erecting in this fallen world, within which are all the spiritually recovered and inwardly subject portion of the family of Adam, under Messiah as its Divine Head and King. Seek first the kingdom means Putting God first in our life and conform our lives’ to His principles." The word righteousness as used in our text, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," comes from the Greek word dikaiosune, which means, "equity of character or act,” “Righteousness” means: To be in right-relationship with God. To be in right-relationship with God, one must strive to be obedient to God.

 In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught: "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Mt. 5:6). In that same chapter, Christ said to his disciples, "Except your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:20). The righteousness therefore that which relates to God's character. Seek ye first that which is like God - God-like. The whole Bible is taken up with this matter of righteousness and unrighteousness, and righteousness is what God is like, what belongs to God. "Righteousness and judgment are the foundation of his throne" (Ps. 97:2). Unrighteousness is that which is against God, against which prophet and seer pronounce God's displeasure and God's wrath. So when we are told that what we are to seek, as a first priority, is (1) His rightful place in our lives, and (2) that which is God-like, we are getting to the very heart of this law. It means that you and I are to seek in the first place and at all times to be Christ-like, God-like - which is only an extension of 'godly'; to bring the likeness, the nature and character of God. His righteousness, His character, His likeness, what He is in Himself: It is applied wisdom of God.

 The "seeking" of these is the making them the object of supreme choice and pursuit; and the seeking of them "first" is the seeking of them before and above all else and "the RIGHTEOUSNESS" of the kingdom-as the grand objects, The supreme pursuit of which all things needful for the present life will be added to us. The "kingdom of God" is usually God's active rule over his creation, especially in saving his people from their sins and the consequences of those sins. So when we seek the kingdom of God as the most valuable of possessions and the Father gives the kingdom to us (Matt 6:33; 13:44-46; Luke 12:31-32). Those who receive the kingdom in the present age will enter the kingdom in the age to come (Mark 10:15; Luke 18:16-17). Those who are poor in spirits, who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, have the kingdom (Matt 5:3, 10). When the Son of Man comes (Matt 25:31), the righteous will inherit the kingdom (v. 34); kingdom here is the same as eternal life (v. 46). Inheriting eternal life, inheriting the kingdom, and receiving eternal life are equivalent (Mark 10:17, 23-24, 30) and are associated with being saved (v. 26). This salvation involves saving one's true life, as opposed to saving one's life in this age (Matt 10:39; Mark 8:35; Luke 17:33), and culminates in bodily resurrection (Luke 20:34-36) and restored communion with God in the age to come (Matt 5:8; 25:21, 23; Mark 14:25; Luke 14:16-24)

Jesus’ overarching mission on earth was to reintroduce the Kingdom of God on Earth to mankind. When we say that Jesus came to reintroduce the Kingdom of God on Earth, this implies that at one time it was here before. Christ did not bring a new Kingdom to Earth, but an old, original Kingdom that had been lost. At one time, Adam and Eve were the Kingdom of God on Earth, ruling from the Garden of Eden. When they rebelled against God and fell into sin, the Kingdom departed. We see that in the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples; the Father’s and Jesus’ greatest desire was to see the kingdom of God established in the Earth and that the Earth might be transformed to the extent that it becomes a reflection of heaven.

Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. When Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, He healed all manner of disease among the people. He told the people to repent for the Kingdom of God was at hand. [Mt. 3:2, 4:17, 4:23]  Jesus' first sermon began like this: "The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel." Nearly all of Jesus' parables begin with "The kingdom of God is like...such and such...." " such as The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed...the kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in the field...the kingdom of God is like a pearl of great price...you are not far from the kingdom...the kingdom is within you...etc." The kingdom of God is not only a state of existence to come; it is also a state of mind, here and now. His message was one of transformation and hope. Repent. Change your ways. The kingdom of heaven is near.

Jesus stated that He must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, for He was sent by the Heavenly Father for this purpose. [Luke. 4:43] "Jesus, accompanied by the twelve disciples, went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness." [Mathew. 9:35; Luke. 8:1]

He also sent out His twelve disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal, giving them power and authority over all demons and to cure all diseases. [Luke. 9:1-2]

Wherever Jesus went, when the crowds found out about it, they followed Him, and He welcomed them. He spoke to them about the Kingdom of God, healing those who needed to be cured. [Luke. 9:11]
Jesus’ work of proclaiming the Kingdom of God did not end while He was on earth. After His suffering, death and Resurrection, He presented himself alive to His disciples by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the Kingdom of God. [Acts 1:3]

"While staying with His disciples, Jesus ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father." [Acts 1:4] The disciples were told to wait a few days to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

What was this Kingdom of God that Jesus was talking about? "The Kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." [Rom. 14:17] In summary, the kingdom of God is about the fruit of the Spirit. Bible says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:22-24.

So to seek first God’s kingdom means to make it a priority every day to have your inner man flowing with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The center of kingdom life is righteousness, peace, and joy. Righteousness is an expression of His holy character, and is described in His law. 

 God has a purpose and plan for your life. He has a work for you to do on earth and has prepared a wonderful home for you in heaven. You were born to fit into God's plan. You Were Born to Be God's Child and you were created for God's pleasure, to be His child, enjoy His love, and love Him in return. Whatever else you do, if you don't have this fellowship with God, you have missed the main purpose of life. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.(Psalm 16:11) God wants spiritual outgrowth, not religious nuts. "Faith in the living God and his Son Jesus Christ is always the result of the new birth, and can never exist except in the regenerate. Whoever has faith is a saved man."C.H. Spurgeon

 You Were Born to Grow in God's Likeness, a child of God; life on earth is like a school to prepare you for eternity. Your experiences are lessons to equip you for the part you will have in God's kingdom. The problems and other things you suffer now are to teach you patience, faith, and obedience. They are to help you mature spiritually so that you will be more like your Heavenly Father. Let God make you the dependable kind of person He can use both now and in the world to come.

 You Were Born to Work with God, You were born when you were, where you were, and who you were so that you could be a blessing to your family, your community, your country, and the world. God wants you to be His partner and work with Him . He will help you lead others to Jesus Christ and to a better life in Him.
Man has come on earth solely to fulfill the purpose of God; Divine passion of God is to execute His Will through man’s Will. So you and I are here for no other reason. This is the true message of the Lord. To all those who seek and love Him, He tells of that great Life where there is no pain, no old age, no war, no death — only eternal assurance. In that Life nothing is destroyed. There is only ineffable happiness that will never grow stale — a happiness always new. So that is why it is worthwhile to seek God. All those who sincerely seek Him will surely find Him. Those who want to love the Lord and yearn to enter His kingdom, and who sincerely wish in their hearts to know Him, will find Him. You must have an ever-increasing desire for Him, day and night. He will acknowledge your love by fulfilling His promise to you throughout eternity, and you shall know joy and happiness unending. All is light, all is joy, all is peace, all is love. He is all.
There is a beautiful hymn that captures the thought of God’s kingdom.
Praise the one who breaks the darkness with a liberating light.
Praise the one who frees the prisoners, turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the Gospel, healing every dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands with the very bread of peace.
Praise the one who blessed the children with a strong yet gentle word.
Praise the one who drove out demons with a piercing two-edged sword.
Praise the one who brings cool water to the desert’s burning sand.
From this well comes living water, quenching thirst in every land.
Praise the one true love incarnate: Christ who suffered in our place.
Jesus died and rose for many that we may know God by grace.
Let us sing for joy and gladness, seeing what our God has done.
Praise the one redeeming glory, praise the One who makes us one.
God Bless you

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