The other day we looked at a few verses that should have left you asking the question why does the church not look anything like the gospels? We read about the power to heal and cast out demons while proclaiming the gospel. The answer to this question is that the church does look nothing like the gospels therefore the kingdom and the available power is not coming near. Yes, I realize most people who call themselves Christians do not want to admit they have been deceived. Most people are quite happy with the church they go to and if not, they go somewhere else but for the most part people are not going to church expecting it to look like the church Jesus started. That’s a problem because if you are not looking, have no idea you should be looking, or refuse to look, you are not going to repent and the kingdom will not come near. Most have been led to believe that church is something you go to and then repeat. When there is talk of healing and demons (if even acknowledged), that would be charismatic even though for the most part most of what you see in charismatic circles is not the gospel but the deception Jesus warned us about.
When you look at church, you do not see a powerful kingdom as described in the bible. Yes, you will see powerful manmade organizations that run just like any other business does. Some are really good at what they do and yes it looks like God is blessing them. Then the struggling churches try to copy what these churches did to make themselves also successful. But, these churches look nothing like the gospels therefore God is not blessing them and the last thing you want to do is to copy them. The reason they look nothing like the gospels is the true kingdom is not proclaimed, there is no healing nor are demons cast out. What you do have is a group of people gathering to hear what their itching ears want to hear and if they don’t hear it, they will find somewhere that tells them what they want to hear. Most want to be entertained with something that makes their ears tingle. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” These teachers are everywhere but this is not the kingdom we should be looking for.
The kingdom we should be looking for is powerful enough to defeat satan. The most powerful church organizations have no chance of defeating satan. In fact, satan is there running the show. Sadly, people who get involved have been led astray and are worse off. 2 Peter 2:20 “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” The devastating part of this is they think they have fulfilled the criteria for eternal life but will only hear depart from me I don’t know you after it is too late. This is the deception Jesus warned us about. This is what Daniel prophesied about. The abomination that causes desolation is upon is and the church has been taken captive, not because satan is more powerful but because the church has rebelled by not adhering to the word of God.
This is not the end thankfully because God gave His word to David that there would always be a remnant. The kingdom of God coming near is still a possibility. The church will once again be the church that we were supposed to be empowered to be. When you read those verses from the other day, you saw a powerful kingdom come near. We talked a lot about this power during Lent this year. When Jesus talked about the kingdom, people were healed and those with evil spirits were cured. Luke 7:21 “At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.” This is when John’s disciples asked Jesus if He was the Messiah. Jesus simply answered “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” So, when you ask is the church the church of the Messiah, the answer today is we gather, we worship, we listen to someone speak and go home. If it was well done God was present, if not try harder next time. Church is simply a performance. The one who does it best draws the most people.
You cannot look at a church’s building or programs, skill of the worship team or the eloquence of the speaker and assume God is present. In most cases He is not. Prayers are not answered, people are not healed and demons are not cast out. People are still the same except they go to church. There is much deception and delusion in the church today as truth has been thrown down, just as we were warned. This is not the church that was supposed to carry on in the power and authority of Jesus name. This is very easy to see. All you have to do is read the Gospels and Acts and then look at the church. Most people do not want to look because they refuse to repent. By the way ignorance does not get you off the hook.
This brings us to the end of the Lord’s prayer. Matthew 6:13 “for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” I use the NIV and this is left out but found at the bottom of the page. It is like Mark 16 where some bibles say “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20” but the verses are there. Because of this inscription most people have ignored these verses and only read Matthew 28:19-20 because it sounds less charismatic but they are saying the exact same thing. Cross that inscription out and add yours is the kingdom to Matthew 6. It should be included as the power of this kingdom is described in other passages which we will see in a moment. A few other translations like the KJV and NKJV have it included. The Lord’s prayer is powerful when you understand the powerful kingdom that is available to the church. This is the same kingdom that David was promised. Jeremiah 33:14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. 15 “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’ 17 For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, 18 nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’” 19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’” Day and night are still at their appointed times, so we have hope that once again this Kingdom will come near.
We see a similar verse to Matthew 6:13 when David said 1 Chronicles 29:10 “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” It is imperative that we come to this same understanding about God that David had. When you understand God this way, you pray differently and expect exponentially. Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Psalm 20:6 “Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Ezekiel said about this kingdom Ezekiel 37:24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’” But as we know Jesus is the King of kings. Peter said Acts 2:29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” By rejecting the Messiah, the Jews rejected the Kingdom of God just as they had always done. Now the church continues in that rejection, crucifying and trampling just like the Jews.
When Jesus walked the earth, He showed us what the Kingdom looked like when His kingdom came near. Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:“He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” This is what happened when the kingdom came near. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” Mark 1:22 “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.” Church today looks nothing like this, even in charismatic circles. By the way be very careful in charismatic circles. 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
Today’s church is being destroyed because of a lack of knowledge as most people who call themselves Christians don’t actually know what the bible really says. They only know what their church says the bible says. Depending what church you belong to, depends on what interpretation you adhere to. By the way that is wrong. It is so easy to hear someone speak or teach, especially if they are eloquent and just assume they are speaking the word of the Lord, so most do not check. But we are told, 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” This tells us there are many spirits and false prophets to be wary of. A huge number in the church have bought into the deception that all the power ceased after the Apostle Paul. The others who do not acknowledge cessationism, actually don’t believe there is power available as they don’t seek it. If they did believe there was power, they would be seeking and waiting for it. They would be repenting and submitting believing what they read in the gospels is for today. Many have been told God doesn’t do that anymore but that is not what scripture states but what man makes up so they can keep their empty ways intact. Others are told this is God’s power such as words of knowledge, falling on their back, laughing uncontrollably and other nonsense which looks nothing like the power that flowed from Jesus nor are they His words but distorted versions of them. Millions have been led astray by these false prophets and teachers. Once they have bought into what is being sold, they then refuse to turn from their wicked ways because they don’t think their ways are wicked. For example, most hard-core Catholics, Pentecostals or Baptists will not turn away because this is what they have committed to. They just have not committed to what the bible actually says. If you do turn away make sure you don’t turn to another organization doing the same thing. Return to God’s word.
There is an amazing example describing this powerful kingdom and you would think we would see it in Israel, but this example comes from Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that terrified him. He starts off his letter to the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth: by saying Daniel 4:2 “It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. 3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” He then describes the dream of which no one could interpret except Daniel. Daniel then gave this interpretation. Daniel 4:24 “This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: 25 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. 26 The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”
The wise thing to do would have been to repent but time went by; twelve months. As soon as he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. 33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.” Before I go on do you really acknowledge the sovereignty of God or is the bible just a story for you.” Do you honestly fear God?
Then King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God. Once again we see Matthew 6:13. Daniel 4:34 “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” Then “36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”
How long will it take for you to admit God is sovereign and come back to your senses? How long will it take you to be desperate for this powerful kingdom to come near? We are told 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Look at what God did for the king of Babylon, but we can also learn from what happened to his son. I am sure you have used or heard of the saying the writing is on the wall. In this case the finger of God actually wrote on the wall. Once again Daniel was brought in to interpret. He said Daniel 5:18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes. 22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.” 25 “This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin 26 “Here is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. 27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. 28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom. 30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.”
Belshazzar knew all this about his father but did not humble himself before God. He did not honor God and now his days were numbered and his reign brought to an end and then he was killed. This could just be an interesting story or it could foreshadow your own life. Do you acknowledge God as sovereign? Have you humbled yourself before the God who controls everything including your very life? Will you be found wanting? Many will only hear depart from me I don’t know you. Ezekiel 24:14 “‘I the Lord have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” It is easier for most not to think about God and the power of His kingdom but if the church came to their senses, the kingdom would come near once again. Daniel had a vision and said this. Daniel 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” That is the power of the kingdom of God Jesus said would come near if we repented. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
The finger that wrote those words on the wall, also defeats satan. Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” So we know that the kingdom was already here because Jesus drove out demons. 1 John 3:8 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Jesus is alive, therefore the kingdom can still come near. When the kingdom comes near people are healed and demons cast out. Please don’t use your Benny Hinns as an example of this. He is a false prophet as are those like him. You look to the gospels to see what the kingdom looks like. The true gospel must be preached for true healing to take place. Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
When you pray the Lord’s prayer, you acknowledge that God is sovereign and all powerful who controls everything. You also believe that when you pray, God has the power to do amazing things. You also understand that presently due to our rebellion and arrogance, that power has not been available but like King Nebuchadnezzar, our sanity will be restored when we acknowledge God Most High is sovereign over all the kingdoms of the earth. You also will understand as Daniel did when he Daniel 2:20 “praised the God of heaven 20 and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” This is not just a prayer you recite and are done, this a prayer that is your foundation of belief in a sovereign God. “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
When this powerful kingdom comes near, everything will change. The kingdom will be proclaimed, people will be healed and demons cast out. Exodus 34:10 “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.” This kingdom was already available. We are not waiting for Jesus to come back and establish His kingdom on earth as so many falsely teach. Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far 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. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The church has rejected this power and have arrogantly established their own pathetic and powerless kingdoms.
God will return to us if we return to Him and then His kingdom will come near once again. Daniel told us this time of desolation would come to an end. Daniel 7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. So we repent and wait for God to turn His face to shine upon us. Ezekiel 39:23 “And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.” Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.” Ezekiel 39:29 “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Acts 1:4 “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Matthew 24:12 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”