25 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF OUR INHERITANCE

25 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF OUR INHERITANCE

As God’s Son, Jesus is the heir to the Father’s entire estate, the universe and everything in it.

“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.” Hebrews 1:2 NLT

JESUS IS GOD’S SON

“For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. ” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” Hebrews 1:5 NLT

  1. Made like us

“Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17 NLT

“So, now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:11 NLT

  1. Confirmed to be God’s Son by His resurrection

“The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:3-4 NLT

  1. Heir of the Father

“In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:2 NIV

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THIS INHERITANCE?

There are three privileges that children in a family enjoy that orphans, slaves and servants do not experience.

  1. Children have a name.

A child born into a family takes the father’s name which gives him/her an identity and access to all the benefits of that family. Since we are “in Christ”, we have access to everything that Jesus owns “in His name”.

“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.  Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!…” John 14:13-14 NLT

“Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Romans 8:32 NLT

  1. Children have a home

As part of the family, every child has a right to live in the father’s home.

“There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:2-3 NLT

  1. Children have an inheritance

In Hebrew culture, children were heirs of their father’s estate. Jesus told a story about two sons, the younger of whom demanded his inheritance before his father’s death.

“The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.” Luke 15:12 NLT

HOW DO WE QUALIFY FOR AN INHERITANCE WITH JESUS?

We are God’s children…

  1. By faith in Jesus

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” John 1:12-13 NLT

  1. Called brothers and sisters

After the resurrection, Jesus called His disciples  “brothers”.

“The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” Matthew 28:8-10 NLT

“So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:11 NLT

  1. We have the witness of the Spirit

“So, you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:15-16 NLT

  1. The discipline of the Father

“As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.” Hebrews 12:7-8 NLT

  1. The new nature in us

“Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous…. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.” 1 John 3:7, 9 NLT

“And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

  1. The promise of an inheritance

“And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:17 NLT

WHAT IS OUR INHERITANCE?

We are co-heirs with Jesus of an inheritance that is both for the present and the future.

THE PRESENT

The “present” part of  inheritance is the “divine nature” with which Adam was created, but was marred at the Fall. As we have learned over many weeks, God has provided the means and the power, in the New Covenant, to restore His nature in us as His children to prepare us for our eternal life with Him in His family.

God uses different means to work in us, to train us to overcome the old nature by nurturing our new nature. He uses the disciplines of hardship and suffering, as we have already studied, to put to death, through the Spirit, our sinful flesh and to strengthen our confidence in His love.

In the context of our inheritance, He has given us powerful tools in His Word to enable us to “grow in grace”.

“And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

By engaging this “power” of the kingdom, we embrace every promise God has given us, endorsed by Jesus, by a hearty “Amen!” We  speak our “Yes” to the words that empower us through the Spirit to think and act like God and not like the world.

“For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No”… and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”2 Corinthians 1:19-20 NLT

THE FUTURE

God is preparing us for our future inheritance by restoring His nature in us in this life, in the midst of the darkness and sin all around us. We need this worldly environment with its hardship and suffering to build character, to strengthen our faith, and to teach us patience, perseverance and endurance because only those who endure to the end will be saved.

All of our life experiences are moving us towards our future inheritance.

  1. Salvation

“Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.” Hebrews 1:14 NLT

What does “salvation” imply?

We tend to focus on one aspect when we speak of salvation. To us, it means having our sins forgiven so that we can go to heaven when we die. This is only a minute part of the rich meaning of salvation.

“Salvation” in its fullest meaning, implies “wholeness” – the completeness that Adam was created to be, before he sinned.

“So, God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.” Genesis 1:27, 31 NLT

“VERY GOOD” was God’s verdict on all creation including the first two human beings… “perfect and fully functional”, everything meshed together in perfect harmony.

future inheritance, then, implies restoration to the completeness and full functionality that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the beginning.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”… I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light…. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there…. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Revelation 21:4, 22-23, 25, 27 NLT

  1. Eternal Life

“One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 10:25 NLT

What is eternal life?

Jesus gave a simple yet profound definition of eternal life…

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3 NIV

There is only one verse in Scripture that gives insight into what it means to “know” God.

“But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 22:15-16 NLT

Knowing God is more than casual acquaintance. Many people glibly say, “I believe in God.” but it means no more than saying,  “I believe in the sun.” To believe in God and to know God implies knowing in the most intimate sense of the word.

If eternal life is to “know God”, it involves a knowing that deeply affects the whole of one’s life.

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” 1 John 5:11-12 NLT

Therefore, for us to have this gift, this inheritance of eternal life, not only a life that never ends but also a life that continually grows in personal and intimate knowledge of Jesus, we make it our aim to know Him now.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”2 Peter 3:18 NIV

 John gives us a simple way to know God… we must love one another.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 NIV

HOW DO WE ACCESS OUR INHERITANCE?

  1. Put off and put on…

“Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Colossians 3:9-10 NLT

We have been given unconditional access to all of God’s promises in the New Covenant which enable us to put on (activate) our new nature which God has given to us through our faith in Jesus.

“And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

  1. Say “yes” to every promise that meets our need

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT

  1. Learn faith and endurance by loving others…

“Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.” Hebrews 6:11-12 NLT

  1. Through sharing Jesus’ suffering

“And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:17 NLT

I don’t think Paul meant that we must suffer for Jesus in order to share in His inheritance. I think he meant, not THAT we suffer but HOW we suffer. Everyone suffers in one way or another but our attitude to suffering makes all the difference.

Jesus suffered with humility and obedience.

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges ; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 NLT

Jesus suffered with submission and faith in the Father.

“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”1 Peter 2:21-23 NLT

Jesus suffered with a purpose

“God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.” Hebrews 2:10 NLT

God’s purpose for our suffering is to be “participants in the divine nature”.

“And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord ’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” Hebrews 12:5-6 NLT

“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.” Hebrews 12:10 NLT

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:28-29 NLT

Getting to know Jesus, then, includes having the same attitude as He had to His suffering, humbly submitting to the Father’s will, trusting in Him to work for our good, knowing that He is conforming us to the image of His Son.

WHAT ARE THE POWERS OF OUR INHERITANCE?

  1. A powerful motivation to live holy lives

“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 NLT

  1. A joyful anticipation of future glory

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:3-7 NLT

  1. A great salvation we must not neglect

“So, we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it….  What makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” Hebrews 2:1, 3 NLT

CONCLUSION

We have an important part to play if we are to share in this glorious inheritance with Jesus.

Salvation, the sum total of our inheritance, is not only a done deal but also a day-by-day participation with the Holy Spirit in becoming who we are… sons and daughters of God.

“Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:12-13 NLT

“As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvellous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.”  2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NLT

Salvation is guaranteed to those who endure to the end. Those who turn back show that they were never a part of us anyway.

“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” 1 John 2:19 NIV

We learn to overcome the world and to live as God’s sons and daughters as we fully embrace our inheritance both for now through His promises and for eternity through His gift of Jesus who is both salvation and eternal life to us.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

Luella Campbell


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