Triumph in Christ – Advancing God’s Kingdom - Friday, March 1st

Triumph in Christ – Advancing God’s Kingdom - Friday, March 1st

Therefore, I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6

But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’” Luke 14:16-24

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

The Lord’s prayer begins with these words: “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s is on a mission to reclaim the world for himself through the ongoing process of spreading his kingdom and will throughout the earth. God accomplishes his mission by reclaiming for himself, one person at a time. Those who have been reclaimed are those who can truly call him Father and truly worship his name. These are the ones who pray for his kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth. God’s strategy for advancing the kingdom involves having those who pray in this way become a part of the answer to the very prayer they pray.

These understandings from the Lord’s prayer help us understand the word “calling” in today’s Ephesian passage above. It is by means of the redemptive provision of God through his Son, Jesus Christ, that he reclaims people for himself. People who are reclaimed by God through redemption in Christ are called disciples and their primary calling in life is participating in the advancement of his kingdom and will here on earth. The Apostle Paul says, “I …. implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”

We fulfill our part of the ministry of reaching the world with the Good News of redemption through Jesus Christ that God has called us to, as we go about our daily lives letting the light of Christ shine through us into the relationships we have with those who need Christ. As we genuinely care for and love people, they will see Christ shining through us and opportunities will come to talk about our faith and the difference Christ makes in our life. This is what it means to be servants of the new covenant like we talked about at the beginning of the week. We have explored this week how to be the best servants of the new covenant that we can possibly be. Jesus triumphed over sin and death on the cross. It is through his triumph that we have been redeemed from the consequences of sin and death. Remember the Lord “always leads us in triumph in Christ.” We will be triumphant as servants of the new covenant.

We have also explored this week an emphasis on “banquets” from the Gospel of Luke in chapters 13 and 14. Today we wrap up our week with the highlighted portion of the “banquet” story above. Like the master in the story, God wants his house to be filled with dinner guests. As we saw in the beginning of the week a final banquet is coming where the redeemed will gather at a banqueting table for a culminating celebration of the triumph of Christ. We will celebrate Christ’s triumph on the cross where redemption was accomplished. We will celebrate our own redemption. We will celebrate the redemption of others gathered at the table because God led us in triumph in Christ as servants of the new covenant. And then we celebrate the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan that produced the kingdom of the redeemed who will know and enjoy his presence forever. But for now and until then, there is work to be done and like the slave in the story, we must go and compel others to come in response to God’s invitation to them to be a part of his kingdom.

Unfortunately, there are “those men” who the master in our story says will not “taste of my dinner.” “Those men” refers to all those who had made excuses and declined their invitations. Remember we equate those who “make excuses” with the Pharisees and all those who were clinging to the religious system of the day. As we seek to help advance God’s kingdom today by living out and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, there sadly will be those who make excuses and decline their invitations. But even so, we will be led in triumph in Christ and we will fulfill our “calling” to help advance God’s kingdom. The day will come when God’s house will be full and all the redeemed will sit at his banqueting table and partake fully (not just taste) of the most glorious celebration dinner ever.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

We have concluded another week and this would be a fitting day to put together your own prayer response. God Bless! Ken Hart

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