Where is the Kingdom?

Preface

Speaking of the time of great tribulation, Jesus says:  

For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.  And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.  And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:  For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.     

–Mark 13:19-23       

Some things seem clear:      

  • These are the last days–and a time of trouble is coming worse than anything ever before witnessed in this world–or that will ever be (Matthew 24:21).  
  • We are warned that men will testify of and direct us toward false Christ’s, prophets, and signs and wonders, while claiming to point us toward Christ:  our command is to not believe them.   

  • This spirit of deception is even now in this world.  Its temptations are so enticing, beguiling, and captivating that not only is the world entranced by its allures, the faithful themselves would be subject to its deceptions, except for the Holy Spirit’s intercession.  False prophets transform themselves into apostles of Christ and ministers of righteousness, even as Satan transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).  

  • We must walk with God to become knowledgeable concerning the manner of Satan’s deceptions and the means by which they are remedied:  “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves,” (Matthew 10:16).  

  • Therefore, by revelation we are forewarned, but by patient continuance in well doing we are forearmed, filled with the knowledge of good works and the wisdom to avoid future snares (Romans 2:7):  Christ’s counsel in this time is in your patience possess ye your souls (Luke 21:19).                  

A Question Arises

“How does the Holy Spirit prepare us for the great tribulation that is certain to come?”

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

–Luke 17:20-21

Those who are being prepared to withstand temptation are increasingly dependent upon the work of the Holy Spirit in their walk and fellowships, which is primarily a two-fold focus upon the following:  

  • What the Lord is teaching us individually.

  • What the Lord is teaching us corporately.  

Therefore, as members of one body, it is important for us to share with one another concerning what the Lord is speaking to and teaching us, for this allows the life in the members to complement and strengthen the whole body:

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

–Ephesians 4:16

If God wants to speak to us through another, doesn’t it make sense that He will most often choose to do so through someone we are already in fellowship with–whose character is well-known to us over time–and who has demonstrated a great care for us, as evidenced by their continual love?  

There is no need to constantly be seeking revelation from online sources and people we do not know, as God has placed us in fellowship with other believers because He desires to reveal Himself to us through the counsel of the saints, working through His local ekklesias to teach, reprove, strengthen, comfort, and encourage. 

Of course, most of what we learn about God should come directly from God:

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

–1 John 2:27

Continually seeking edification outside of the Holy Spirit’s direct mentoring [through our personal and corporate prayer life and scriptural meditations] is evidence that we are neglecting the ministering work of the Holy Spirit and seeking after signs [outward confirmations] more than Christ.  

Notice, it is this constant seeking after and believing other witnesses that leads to grave error during the time of great tribulation:  

Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.                     

–Matthew 24:26-27

Notice, it is not possible for the elect to be deceived, as they have been granted the witness of the Holy Spirit.  However, also notice, the temptations during this time will be so great that it is almost possible. 

Therefore, we are to content ourselves with what we have already received:

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?                     

–Hebrews 2:1-4

This testifies to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, bearing witness of Christ through the words penned by the prophets and apostles and the gifts distributed throughout His body of believers: moreover, it is a warning in this vein, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).  

Notice, this warning is for all–for we are not greater than the 12 disciples–and Christ said to them, “Take heed lest any man deceive you:  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many,” (Mark 13:5-6).  

Whom are you most connected to in your life?

Should it not be Christ, first?

Should it not also be those whom He has placed you among in a local ekklesia:  for are His fellowships not composed of a multitude of counselors, hand-picked by God to serve your spiritual needs?     

Just as the 12 disciples spent their time with Christ and one another, giving their attention to the fellowships and service that they were called to by God, we must not neglect the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our own lives and assemblies.  

This is where His kingdom lies. 

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