Elstree and Borehamwood to become a Christian Community
There are over 180 earthly kingdoms to which a person may claim to belong too.
There are only two spiritual kingdoms to which all people actually belong.
They are sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness.
A child may not know which earthly kingdom he belongs to, but tragically many adults do not know which spiritual kingdom they belong to either.
We should not be to surprised at this. In the nineteenth century millions of people belonged to the British Empire but had no clue that they did.
Nevertheless their ignorance did not prevent the rules of the Empire applying to them.
In a similar manner, you may be ignorant as to which Spiritual Empire you are a member of, but its rules still apply to you.
Rabbi Saul, who is better known as the Apostle Paul, when he encountered the risen Jesus, was commissioned, in the words of Acts 26:18, “To open the eyes of the Gentiles and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by by faith in Jesus.”
There’s a lot to unpack in this commission given to Paul by Jesus.
Note: the Kingdom of Darkness, is ruled by none other than Satan himself.
We learnt in an earlier episode that Satan is an angel created by God, who had rebelled against God, considering himself at least equal to God and perhaps even superior to God.
Due to man’s rebellion against God, which we learnt about in Genesis 3, mankind are all born into this Kingdom of Darkness.
Because of ignorance, or wilful refusal to accept God as creator, they die in this Kingdom and remain in darkness for eternity.
However this verse shows that we don’t have to remain in Darkness - we can come into the Light.
To explain how, I need to explain that ‘sin’ essentially is man insisting he does things his way and not the way his creator God has ordained.
To put it another way, it is rebellion against God and His authority to create the rules by which we should live.
Therefore, if we want to move out of Satan’s Kingdom into God’s Kingdom, often referred to as the Kingdom of Heaven, we need to surrender to God's authority and experience His forgiveness.
God’s justice requires sin to be punished. There maybe many kinds of punishment, but they all include separation from a Holy God.
What are the benefits of moving from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light?
Far to many to include in this short talk. But they can perhaps be summed up in ‘receiving an inheritance’ among those who are ‘sanctified’ by faith in Jesus.
So we may now ask, “What inheritance” and what does “sanctified” mean.
If you read the ‘Gospels’ you will see that Jesus brought health, peace, joy, love and much more wherever He went.
This quality of abundant Life is not just for this present age but something to be experience throughout eternity in even greater measure.
The question is, “How does one enter into this abundant Life?”
And the answer is by being ‘sanctified’.
It begins by acknowledging we can’t save, or transfer, ourselves from Satan’s kingdom. Only God has the power to transfer us.
It requires us to humble ourselves and call on Him to save us. A bit like a drowning man needs a ‘lifeguard’ to save him, and we need God.
If we humble ourselves before God, we will acknowledge that though once we may have thought ourselves as a ‘good’ person, we now confess that we are a sinner deserving to be punished.
Here comes the stumbling block for many. We have to accept that a perfect, and innocent, Jesus bore the penalty for us when He died on a cross.
Jesus became our ‘substitute’ in suffering and dying in our place.
Roman’s 10 verses 9 and 10 sum up what we have to do. It says: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Note: it requires us to confess Jesus is Lord with our mouths.
This means that our outward actions are a continued confession that we have surrendered control of our lives to Jesus’ control.
Secondly, it is not only an outward confession but one taking place in your heart - something that only you and God can know.
If you ask God to ‘save’ you, you will have a witness in your own spirit that something has happened.
John’s Gospel, chapter three, calls it being ‘born again’.
You will want to meet with other believers and you will want to read God’s word, the Bible.
As you read you will want to be immersed in water as an outward sign that you want to die to self and live for Jesus who has recued you from Satan.
John the Immerser (baptiser) came to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry.
In John 1:29, when John saw Jesus he declared, “behold, the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”
In verse 33 he goes on to say (about Jesus), “this is he who immerses (baptises) with the Holy Spirit.”
Both Old and New Testament men of God acknowledged that having the anointing of the Holy Spirit on their lives makes a big difference.
What action will you take?
What will you do now?