In our continuing study of who we are in Christ, one thing that tends to receive a lot of push-back from the traditionalists in the world today, is the truth that in Christ Jesus today, we are the manifestation of Him on the earth. We are the manifestation of Jesus to all of the people of the world today. This idea irritates those who believe that it is insolence to in any way liken ourselves to Jesus. They believe that because He is so much greater than us, that it is an insult to even make any kind of comparison which connects Him with us. It may seem right to our human thinking, however, God Himself has a different idea than this traditionalist view.
That’s why as we study today, we are going to be taking a look at precisely what Jesus has to say about Himself and us, and what our relationship to Him actually is. And by seeing this truth, we will no longer have this perceived distance between us and God any longer. We will be able to embrace our true nature in Him; and live in the truth that He wants us to live in.
As we begin our study today, let us begin in the best possible manner, by taking a look at Jesus. Matthew 12:25-28:
“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come to you.”
This text tells us something very vital, and very amazing and pretty exciting as well. Jesus had just cast out a demon from a possessed man, which was called a “healing” in verse 22. And instead of rejoicing over the miracle and praising God, the Pharisees began to accuse Jesus of casting out demons using the power of the devil. Then we pick up where verse 25 begins with something awesome: And Jesus knew their thoughts. He perceived what they were thinking. This is not something Satan can do, only God. Satan can sometimes guess what your thinking, and he can know what you’re thinking if you vocalize it out loud; but Jesus did not do that here… it states clearly that He perceived, He knew what they were thinking. This is not the only record of Jesus knowing the thoughts of men either – in Luke 5:22, Matthew 9:4 and Mark 2:8, we see other records of Jesus knowing the thoughts of people.
And knowing their thoughts, Jesus begins to speak about kingdoms, He said that every kingdom divided against itself will be brought to destruction; no city or house divided against itself can stand.
Jesus then proceeds to make a logical argument based on this truth. If Satan casts himself out, then he would be divided against himself and his kingdom would not stand. He then goes on to say that if He is casting out demons by the power of the devil, then who do your children cast them out by. These children mentioned here are the disciples of the Pharisees, which were actually rooted in mysticism… these were the “physicians” of the day, some of whom we find in other places in scripture (Acts 19:14) and even recorded by Josephus in Antiquities (ch 8). Jesus was not by any means condoning these spiritualists, He was making a point to the Pharisees, that if they were going to accuse Him of casting out demons by the power of the devil, they would need to make the same accusation of their own; whom they accepted as the work of God.
Then, after making that statement and silencing His critics the Pharisees, Jesus then makes the statement found in verse 28: But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come to you.
This is a huge statement, with wide and far reaching implications. The Kingdom of Heaven is. Is what, exactly? The Kingdom of God is come to you!
Now we should know that the Greek word for “kingdom” used here and other places where the Kingdom of God is mentioned, is not exactly what we might first think of when we hear the word kingdom used today. It is βασιλεία , which is more precisely translated as “authority” or “ruling power”.
Jesus is saying, If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the authority of God has come to you. Clear. Plain and simple.
This authority of God is by the Spirit, and manifested through Jesus Christ… I don’t think that can be any more clear. Now put it together with what Christ has accomplished through His sacrifice. Mankind was once perfect, God formed man from the dust, and breathed into man His own life. He basically put a body on His own Breath of Life. After the fall they suffered “double-death”… in Genesis 2:16-17, we read these words:
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.”
The last part of verse 17, reads in Hebrew as מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת׃, meaning to die dying. It is a double death. By eating the forbidden tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they will die spiritually, which will also facilitate their dying physically as well. The body cannot live-on with a dead spirit.
Now all who are born are born first into the line of Adam, born into sin. Always remember that your sinful actions are not what made you a sinner. You committed sinful actions because you were a sinner to begin with. I used to think this was unfair because I felt like I was being judged a sinner without even being given a chance, and if you feel that way right now, that’s okay; because this truth gives rise to something wonderful next. You see, the story does not end here with the fall of Adam and the inherited sin of the entire human race and the cursing of creation. Take a look at Romans 5:12-17:
“Why, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for that all have sinned:
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded to many.
And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses to justification.
For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)”
These verses tell us that although sin was inherited through the line of Adam (even if we don’t commit the exact same sinful actions as him) and things seem pretty grim for us – Jesus Christ has come on the scene, and through His sacrifice we are made righteous with His righteousness. In short:
Just as how we all inherited sin and death through Adam, after receiving Jesus we are “born again” – born into a new spiritual family line, where now instead of sin and death, we inherit righteousness and life.
So this is what Jesus did for us. Now jump all the way to the beginning and recall what we first read about Jesus in this study today… that He is the manifestation of the kingdom (authority, power) of God by the Spirit. Just as before, you were not made a sinner because of any sinful actions you did; in Christ today likewise you are not righteous because of any righteous acts you have done.
Here are some examples of Jesus demonstrating His Kingdom:
– He went around teaching with authority (Matthew 7:29, Mark 1:22)
– He cast out demons and healed the sick with that authority (Matthew 8:17, Mark 1:34)
– He raised the dead with that authority (Luke 7:13-15, Matthew 9:25, John 11:43-44)
And did many other and all manner of miracles (John 20:30) all with this authority. It’s important that you see the fullness of Jesus here, because when you see Him, you are also seeing “the true you in Christ”. How can that possibly be? Turn to Ephesians 3:14-21:
“For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
To him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen”
In verse 14 we see that Paul gets on his knees and prays about this. It must be pretty important for Paul to make such a dramatic gesture. And in verses 16 through 19 we see exactly what he is praying for so very much.
– That The Father would grant us by His riches of glory to be strengthened by His Spirit in our spirit (inner man)
– That Christ would dwell in our hearts (mind, thoughts and emotions) by faith (divine information); and that being rooted and grounded in His love for us, would be able to comprehend that great vastness of Christ and to know His love for you and to be filled with all the fullness of God.
This is what Paul was praying for. So was this prayer in error? Do you think Paul was praying amiss? John 1:16, says that we have all received from the fullness of Christ and Grace upon Grace. Colossians 1:27 says that Christ in you is the hope (confident expectation) of glory. 1st John 4:4 He that is in you is greater than he who is in the world – just who exactly is it that is in you? The very Spirit of Christ Himself! (Romans 8:9-11 John 14:17)
Keep in mind that this is the same spirit which Jesus operated in as He walked on the earth. The same one by which He said He cast out demons in our first scripture today. You have this same Spirit residing in you. You have the kingdom, the authority of God within you.
Now do you understand why Jesus ties the kingdom together with His righteousness? Because they are one and the same. Christ is the kingdom. His Spirit, His righteousness, His holiness, His finished work. Now do you also understand why He says to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? He says when you seek His kingdom and righteousness first, everything else will be added to you. Then, He says in the very next verse of Luke 12:32, that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Which He absolutely did, in the offering of His Beloved Only-Begotten Son Jesus.
In Matthew 18:18 and 19, Jesus makes the statement that all authority is His, both in heaven and on the earth, and then He immediately follows that statement with, Go therefore, and teach all nations.
What did Jesus just do there? He just let you know, in no uncertain terms, that His authority is your authority now. He has just delegated it to you officially. He says, “Go therefore”. The reason you can go, is because of His authority. And what does this authority look like? John 14:12-14:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.
And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
Most people who profess to be believers, consider this statement to be crazy, untrue, or try to spiritualize it into something other than the plain words of Jesus. However I choose to take Him at His word. What About Mark 16:17-18:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
In both instances, notice that there is only one single prerequisite: Believe on Jesus. Believe what He has done for you. Believe what He has made you to be, and the position in Him that He has restored you to.
You have the kingdom, and you are called to proclaim the Good News and Manifest Christ Jesus to the world. This is not fantasy; this is your reality today in Jesus Christ.