Tag Archives: Kingdom of God

This Is Not What A Christian Is

The Roger Williams Inn at Green Lake Conference Center

The Roger Williams Inn at Green Lake Conference Center

The Edgewood staff just returned this afternoon from the fall district conference of our denomination, and as usual, it was held at the beautiful Green Lake Conference Center. It’s a fine place to spend a day or two, and we all had a great time, finishing up with lunch at nearby Christianos, meaning some of the best pizza in Wisconsin.

Now, anyone who has ever been to Green Lake or the aforementioned conference center knows about a historic building on the grounds known as the Roger Williams Inn. Originally named the Lawsonia Country Club Hotel, the Inn was constructed by the H.O. Stone Development Company of Chicago in 1930. Situated right on the water, almost all of its 81 guest rooms have a view of lovely Green Lake. And you may not know that today, a major project is going on to restore the exterior and renovate the interior of this historic building. It should be wonderful to behold when the project is finished.

I’m bringing up the Roger Williams Inn renovation project because a lot of people think it is a fine example of what Christianity is – a renovation project. But actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Quite the opposite, Jesus said, Instead…”You must be born again.” John 3:7 (ESV)

Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones explains what this means in a chapter entitled “Born Again” from his book, The Kingdom of God. Some excerpts:

“We have a curious notion that to be a Christian is to just be a little bit better than we are now. We think that if we stop doing one or two things, and take up two or three others, then we are Christians. Is not that it? Knock off one bit, add on another! Put on a new suit, Brighten up a bit, clean yourself a little bit…, And then you are all right. But that is not Christianity; that is morality if you like; ethical behavior or philosophy. It is all right, but it is not Christianity. It is as far removed from it as it can possibly be.”

“Christianity is not just an addition to something you have already got…when people become Christians, it is not a little bit of improvement on what they were before.

“Before we can become Christians, we need an entirely new start.”

“This is the New Testament teaching; sometimes it is called “a new creation”, “regeneration” – you are generated anew and afresh. And, of course, by that He means that what you are by nature is useless and hopeless, that you need to be a “new man”. So you need life, a new nature. God does not renovate us; he does not improve us or make us a little bit better. No, he puts new life into us. He works an operation on the soul and He infuses a principle of life, a new disposition – we are made “partakers of the divine nature.”

Glory to God, this is the new birth – and according to Jesus, it is the only way to see the Kingdom of God.

For tomorrow, Thursday, October 8th: John 4

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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in born again, Uncategorized


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A Declaration of Dependence

Jesus not only loves the little children, He also demands that all of His followers be just like them…

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. Mark 10:13 – 16 (ESV)

So if we must become like little children to enter the Kingdom, what does it mean to become like a little child?

Of course, little children will generally believe whatever you tell them, so many people think that to become like a little child is to simply trust. And I’m sure there is an element of that in Jesus’s word. After all, trusting is key to eternal life. But I think there is another trait of children which is even more in view.

It is the trait of dependence. Little children are nothing if not dependent.


They need someone to feed them, and they need someone to clothe them. Someone else provides their shelter. They speak because someone teaches them to speak. They need someone to teach them right from wrong. They are desperately, totally, needy.

And so are we. We are all needy, but only some of us recognize it. And that’s what Jesus is looking for – followers who recognize their dependence on Him. In fact, I think we can say that recognizing our dependence is the great trait of godliness. Consider that dependence is not only the way to become a Christian, but also the way to live the Christian life.

You become a Christian by renouncing independence, that is, renouncing dependence on your own works, and declaring that you need Jesus’s works. And you continue in the Christian life by daily declaring in prayer that you need Him. In fact, prayer is the great act of dependence.  Therefore, the Christian who spends very little time in prayer is not being child-like.  And the Christian who spends much time in prayer is honoring God who loves to be depended on.

The facts are this – we are all like little children, that is dependent. But some people act like they’re all grown up. This is a foolish plan. So today…if you are under the impression that you are “good enough” to one day be granted access into heaven, recognize that your righteous deeds are like a filthy garment (Isaiah 64:6), and act like a little child by declaring your dependence on Christ’s work at the cross for your salvation. And if you have become a Christian, then today…and all days…crawl up on your Heavenly Daddy’s lap and show Him that you need Him…by setting aside time to seek Him in prayer.


Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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What Christianity is Really All About

Have you ever run into a Christian who is all about what you can or can’t do? The Christian life, in their humble opinion, is all about rules, where you can go, what you can eat or drink, what you should or shouldn’t say. Being around such people is tiring…and guilt-inducing.

Romans chapter 14 is about these kinds of folks, and it culminates in a wonderful word in verse 17…

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (ESV)

So the true Christian life in the Kingdom of God is not about rules of eating and drinking and therefore passing judgment on one another; instead it is really about three things:

1. Righteousness. Clearly Paul’s meaning here is the righteousness of Another, imputed to me, for this has been the topic of his letter so far…

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. Romans 3:21, 22 (ESV)

This is what, first and foremost, the Kingdom of God is about: God has loved us so much not only to forgive our sins, but also to give us Christ’s righteousness.

It’s like the story of the man who was deep in debt to a local bank, on the verge of bankruptcy, so he went to the institution in question to see if there was anything they could do to help him.  And as he sat down with the bank manager, she told him that she had the most incredible news for him – the bank was going to totally forgive all his debts. The man was now totally debt free.  And yet, if you consider it, his condition was in some ways no different than when he had walked in.  He was still flat broke.  But then she said something even more amazing – the bank was going to put his name on its account books as a holder of all the bank’s assets.  Everything the bank now held was his also. He was now wealthy beyond his wildest dreams.

Such is what has happened to us as well. God has not only forgiven us our sins, but He has granted us Christ’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). We the ungodly are now gloriously rich in righteousness.

2. Peace. People who are about eating and drinking and rules never quite find peace.  But righteousness from God leads to this glorious state.  Since we are completely righteous in God’s eyes, we need never again fear that God will reject us.  Having been justified (declared righteous) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). My son wrote about this quite wonderfully here.

3. Joy. I hope you’re not surprised to find this one on the list. We shouldn’t be, for these three incredible gifts from God all flow together.  If I have peace with God, then all is right with the world – and I am therefore full of joy which leads to all sorts of other wonderful outcomes, like strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and hope.

And Paul has a concluding exhortation: So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. (Romans 14:19) While we want to help one another pursue holiness, and we are called to turn one another from the error of our ways (James 5:20), the best way to do this is not to point the finger and list the rules.  To be sure, sometimes we do need to distinquish clear biblical right and wrong for our brothers and sisters, but beyond that we point to the cross and list our hope in Christ.  And the end result is righteousness, peace…and joy.


Tomorrow, Thursday, April 9th: Romans 15


Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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