Sunday, January 20, 2008

Article - The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. –Romans 14:17

Many people have intermingled serving God with the things of the world. One of the most popular teachings amongst religious circles today is the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. This is the idea that God wants us to enjoy perfect health, amass great wealth and enjoy material prosperity. According to proponents of this theology, these rewards can be reaped when Christians faithfully obey and serve the Lord.

In the above verse, Paul draws a contrast between the things of the world and the service of God. There were those in the church at Rome that were disputing days of the week and whether or not it was acceptable to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Some thought that it was inappropriate to worship God on any other day besides the Sabbath. Others thought that they could worship God any time. There was one group that thought it okay to eat meat sacrificed to idols while another group thought it sinful to eat this meat. Paul writes that these arguments are fruitless. He teaches that these worldly things do not make up God’s kingdom, but righteousness, peace and joy are the results. This principle rings true today.

We cannot equate financial gain, material wealth and a life free from sickness with the kingdom of God. The fact of the matter is that our Christian walk is fraught with tribulations. In John 16:33 Jesus says that, “In this world ye shall have tribulation.” Just a brief examination of the life of Christ supports this fact of life. Jesus was born in the poorest of conditions. He had nowhere to lay his head. During his public ministry he was constantly troubled by the religious elite of his day. Then, he was crucified for the sins of his people. His life was full of turmoil. While we will never be called upon to suffer as our Savior, we should expect tribulation in our lives. Jesus also said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you (John 15:18).” Our days upon this earth will be troublesome.

It is a blessing to know that Jesus also taught that he has overcome the world (John 16:33b). Enduring pleasure will never come from the things of this world. Meat and drink only brings a temporary fulfillment. Sustained righteousness, peace and joy come from the Holy Ghost! This is true in our families. Some think that the key to a happy home is a lot of money in the bank, a luxury car and a grand residence. There are numerous broken marriages and families that disprove this theory. One cannot turn on the television without hearing of another occurrence of family and personal problems amongst the rich and famous of America. The old adage that money cannot buy happiness rings true.

The Bible also teaches that the church is not identified by worldliness but by an adherence to the things of God. In an effort to fill the pews, many religious institutions have adopted worldly practices. Scriptural worship has been adjusted to reflect the changing culture. The doctrinal truth of the Bible has been scuttled for the flesh pleasing ‘meat’ and ‘drink’ of the world. The problem with this is that God is not glorified in this action. He is unchangeable. When a church starts down the path of imitating the world, it must constantly reinvent itself to remain attractive to the ever-changing culture. If this continues a church will fail to have any identity with the things of God. If we are going to truly enjoy the blessings of the Spirit of God, then we must seek first the kingdom of God.

Michael Green, Jr. is pastor of Palm Chapel Primitive Baptist Church ( in Crestview, FL. Palm Chapel meets every Sunday at 10:30am and Wednesday at 6:00pm. Pastor Green can be contacted at (850) 689-3383 or by email at Pastor Green warmly invites you to come and worship at Palm Chapel Primitive Baptist Church.

Article - Letting Go

Letting Go

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 3:13-14

As I was driving through Crestview the other day I could not help but notice about ten houses that are continuing to display their Christmas lights. Not only were they still hanging, they were lit! I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. I guess that some people just don’t want to let go of Christmas. The end of January is rapidly upon us. It is time to move on and look toward future things.

It is our nature to hold on to the things when we should be letting go. Sometimes these things might be pleasant memories while others could be traumatic experiences. Whatever the case, the Bible teaches us that we are to be moving forward as Christians. The Apostle Paul emphasized this lesson to the Philippian church. One of the themes of Philippians is rejoicing in the Lord. Paul teaches us that if we are to bask in the joy of the Lord, then we must forget the things that are behind us and press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He enjoyed the highest of highs in his Christian service but also experienced the lowest of lows in his life. Regardless of the experience, Paul understood the need to go forward. The old adage that a rolling stone gathers no moss definitely applies to our service in the Lord. This is true in our work life, family life and definitely in our religious life. We need to constantly be moving in God’s service.

Sometimes we dwell on past glories. We all have been associated with those who are living in the past. Maybe it is the high school football star that insists on wearing the letterman jacket years later and constantly relish in the accomplishments of bygone days. Those that constantly dwell in the past are usually not very productive in future endeavors. This is true with people and with churches. This principle is echoed in Proverbs 29:18 where Solomon writes, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I have known groups of people that are trying to maintain churches by reminiscing about the past blessings of God. They constantly recall the good old days or refer to pastors/members who are long gone. They display no vision for today, much less the future. This is a church that is not pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God. Let us beware of falling into the trap of living off yesterday’s blessings. While memories can be precious, we need to focus on today and the future. Paul reminds the Corinthian church that today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:9). We need to serve him in the ‘here and now.’

We also have the propensity to ruminate on negative things that happen in our lives. I have noticed working in the education field that you remember the ‘bad’ students more than the well-behaved ones. This is also true in our marriages. If a husband/wife makes a mistake the spouse will often bring up gaffes that occurred years ago. Some will allow a negative experience in life define who they are. This ought not be the case! Today is a great day to let go of the experiences that have negatively impacted your life. If one has wronged you, follow the example of scripture. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).” If we fail to let go of past grief, we are at risk to be destroyed by it. Many of us have been deeply hurt by others. Things have been done to us that we don’t deserve. But in the light of what Jesus Christ did for his people on the cross, we can forgive those that have done us wrong. In Hebrews 12:14-15 Paul writes, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” If we are to have joy in the Lord, then we must let go of the past.

All of our pasts are checkered with triumphs and tragedy. Wherever you find yourself in life, remember that today is a new day. It is not too late to commit or recommit yourself to the service of God. It is time to take down the Christmas lights and live for the Lord today. Let us press forward in our Christian service. Our service to God is like a race. We know how it ends, so let us let go of the past and move forward.

Michael Green, Jr. is pastor of Palm Chapel Primitive Baptist Church ( in Crestview, FL. Palm Chapel meets every Sunday at 10:30am and Wednesday at 6:00pm. Pastor Green can be contacted at (850) 689-3383 or by email at Pastor Green warmly invites you to come and worship at Palm Chapel Primitive Baptist Church.