The Gospel of the Kingdom (part 7) – the way of the heart.

Why did God design the present kingdom in the form described in scripture (see previous post, February 21, 2022)? How would you answer this question? I woke up one morning and these questions came to mind immediately. I have been in the prayer room this week wrestling with these questions and asking God to send His Spirit to give me wisdom and revelation. Can I share what God is teaching me? Given the Gospel of the Kingdom structure we have suggested (Gospel of the Kingdom part 6) this post would fall under the Realm; the territory or domain the kingdom occupies in the Present Kingdom

Initial thoughts:

I started by thinking about God’s greater purposes. Salvation of both Jew and Gentile; God has dealt with sin, Satan and death, God will establish a righteous kingdom on earth, a new earth and bring heaven and earth together so He can dwell with His people. How is this connected to the Present Kingdom? These things express the deep desire of God’s heart to dwell with us in a perfect creation. I believe it is the purpose of God that these future realities create hope, and spiritual strength to engage in the present Kingdom.

Additionally, I considered:

  • That the Present Kingdom is more than learning about the Kingdom.
  • It is also about how to operate/live in the Kingdom (I believe Paul’s letters say a lot about this topic).
  • The Present Kingdom is the Way of preparing our hearts (the realm) for the love of God, the glory of God that will come into our lives and trials to come. Another way of expressing what I’m trying to say is God is preparing our hearts for future entry into the Millennial and Eternal Kingdoms.

I sat with these thoughts praying for revelation because I was stuck. I did not know where to go next. Then this thought appeared in my mind:

The Present Kingdom: the way of the heart

I used the structure of the kingdom I had been taught to try to unpack the focus on the heart in the Present Kingdom (see post Gospel of the Kingdom part 6). I believe somehow the Present Kingdom connects God’s heart to our heart, and this is the centre of God’s design for the Present Kingdom. Therefore, we should attempt to examine how God captivates our heart in the Present Kingdom i.e., the way of the heart:

The King

  • The King as Bridegroom offers an invitation to become a voluntary lover (to prepare our hearts for a wedding feast that is to come; Matthew 22:2-4; Revelation 19:6-9). 
  • The Soverign King wants us to know the character, nature, plans and actions of the King (An invitation that draws our heart into Eternal Life; John 17:3).
  • The Present Kingdom invites us to examine the endless expressions of His heart in this journey into intimacy (to examine His heart of burning love; Matthew 6:19-21).
  • The King as Judge provides redemptive judgment to those He loves – to reveal more of our hearts to us. God does not need to know what is in our hearts. He already knows. God tests those He loves so that we can see what is in our hearts and call out to God to transform these problematic issues that are exposed (Hebrews 12:6; Hebrews 4:12).
  • The King as the Son of Man through His death and resurrection takes us out of the dominion of Satan (a heart that rescues us out of a dire and hopeless situation) to show His burning heart of love to us.

Therefore, the endless expressions of God’s heart invite us to become partakers of His heart. The Present Kingdom connects our heart to God’s heart. These important years on earth are only part of a much larger event that stretches well beyond death. I see this Present Kingdom as a mission of the heart; we are His beloved and He desires voluntary lovers; He offers us endless encounters in this life to say “yes’ and each time we say ‘yes’ He engraves His love on our hearts (Luke 6:37-38).

The Realm

  • We are to learn the realm of the heart (Matthew 6:21; Proverbs 4:23; Romans 12:2) this will reveal God’s heart.
  • We can discover how a relationship with God works by engaging in the Present Kingdom (Spirit to flesh – the role of the heart in a journey of growing intimacy to listen and hear God speak to us; Romans 8:16; John 10:4; John 10:27; post August 23, 2020).
  • Engaging in the Present Kingdom makes our heart ready for the glory to come (a journey into complete salvation – body, soul and spirit glorified – God is preparing our heart in the Present Kingdom for the glory to come when we receive complete salvation; post March 6, 2022). 
  • As we journey through the Present Kingdom our heart develops trust in God (faith – a heart grounded in trust as we journey into intimacy; Proverbs 3:5; 4:23; 23:26).

Blessings/Responsibilities

  • Blessing: God’s provision is in His promises (blessings; a heart learning to receive the promises of God stated in the New Testament; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
  • Responsibility: authority given to us and actions required of us; a heart willing to accept responsibility to serve God no matter how demanding. What are we prepared to give up to follow Him?
  • Blessing and Responsibility: a partnership in love (Luke 6:37-38; response motivated by a heart of love and not duty). Faith must be more than belief in God for even the demons believe (James 2:19); engaging in faith moves our hearts from belief to love (Matthew 25:1-11).

It occurred to me that Jesus spoke about the Gospel of the Kingdom to give us understanding while Paul in the Epistles (and other New Testament letters) spoke about how to live in the Present Kingdom. Some examples to consider (‘the way of the heart’) in the New Testament letters:

  • The righteous live by faith (previous post July 25, 2021 Parts 1-4; Romans 1:17).
  • We become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
  • Investing in His promises (2 Peter 1:4).
  • The joy of trial (James 1:2-6).
  • How our heart is transformed (Luke 6:37-38).

One final thought: while I was in the prayer room this thought came to me: The way into intimacy is intercessory obedience. I’m not 100% sure of what God is trying to tell me but my current understanding of this truth comes from our journey over the last eleven years to be intercessory missionaries. 

  • God has changed the expression of our Christianity. God has taught us many new elements of our faith (e.g., the importance of the Prophetic Word; the place of Israel in His heart; intercession as the way of engaging in the return of Christ etc. etc.).
  • God has taught us that intercession is centred around seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. God taught us to love the things Jesus loves and to pray those things back to Him and with Him. We had to give the things of God priority in our prayers.
  • God is teaching us how to pray the Bible. We are learning to craft the prayers of God’s heart from scripture and to pray them back to Him. Jesus describes this intercessory obedience as faith in use 18:1-8.

We understand that God chose us and called us into this ministry. He has had to teach us many things so we could become capable intercessors because without Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5). As we reflect on the last eleven years, we realise that we have fallen more in love with God through intercessory obedience (Luke 18:1-8; check the Greek word for ‘faith’ in verse 8).

As we engage in the Present Kingdom, our hearts become deeply connected to God’s heart and we become partakers of His divine nature. Our journey in the Present Kingdom leads to a transformed heart and the quality of our heart changes. Our heart has a new supernatural disposition that is no longer disturbed by the growing darkness around us. Furthermore, this new and growing heart prepares us for the glory of God to come. I believe this is the way of the heart in the Present Kingdom, to create a bride worthy of the Bridegroom and prepare us for the glory of the future kingdoms.

Scripture to start you on a study of the heart:

  • Proverbs 4:23; 27:19; 3:5-6
  • Jeremiah 17:9-10
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4
  • Psalm 51:10
  • 1 Samuel 16:7 etc. etc. etc.

Written by John and Shirley Ray, edited by Joel Ratcliffe.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

References:

  1. “The Fear of the Lord”                                                John Bevere
  2. “Hear God’s Voice”                                                     Derek Prince

3 thoughts on “The Gospel of the Kingdom (part 7) – the way of the heart.”

  1. Well – you have done a great job with a new idea – the way of the heart. Of course the way of the heart means nothing without obedience – Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments. So the way of the heart has to be the way of inward transformation by the work of the Holy Spirit. There are a few confusing bits and this is one where you write: “The King as the Son of Man through His death and resurrection takes us out of the dominion of Satan (a heart that rescues us out of a dire and hopeless situation) to show His burning heart of love to us.” I couldn’t understand this at all as it looks like Satan has a heart that rescues us – the way you have written it. It may be helpful to edit and express a different way. in any case – well done for just continuing on the journey.

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    1. @Reuben – In response to this: “Well – you have done a great job with a new idea – the way of the heart. Of course the way of the heart means nothing without obedience – Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments.” I totally agree, there is no love for God without a spirit of obedience! But I would also add, that Jesus’ first and great commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your HEART. Love for God involves something much deeper than emotionless duty in following commandments.

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