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Summary: The universe has physical laws. Are there spiritual laws? If so, what are they?

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Following Jesus, part 3

The Care and Feeding of the Human Spirit

Wildwind Community Church

David Flowers

1 Tim. 4:7-10 (The Message)

Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! [8] Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. [9] You can count on this. Take it to heart. [10] This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.

I have told you a few times in the past two-three weeks that our goal in this current series is simple: to focus on how it is that we learn to live the way Jesus lived.

There is a problem for both believers and non-believers, and that is difficulty in understanding what Christian spirituality actually is. The problem is the same, but shows itself in different ways in believers and non-believers. We might expect non-believers not to understand Christian spirituality. But the fact is that most believers don’t understand it either. The purpose of today’s message is to help believers and non-believers look more carefully at our beliefs about what it means to live the Christian life.

We start with a lofty and strange sounding concept called spiritual reality. When I talk about spiritual reality, I’m referring to the fact that just as there is a physical realm to our existence, made up of things we can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell, so also there is a spiritual realm to our existence. Both realities have properties and laws and rules and relationships between cause and effect. In the physical realm, if you drop something it will fall to the ground – that’s a physical law. In the spiritual realm, if you return hatred with love, something inside of you grows larger. That’s a spiritual law. In the physical realm, if you heat water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it will boil. That’s a physical law. In the spiritual realm, if you pursue every whim and desire, something inside you grows smaller. That’s a spiritual law. And so on, and so on. You’re pretty familiar already with physical reality – it’s the world around you. It’s what you live in every day of your life. So in the next few moments, I want to introduce you to spiritual reality. I want to tell you what it is, where it is, and how it interacts with the physical reality we live in, because if we can’t somehow live in the spiritual realm at the same time that we’re living in the physical realm, there’s no point in any of us being here today.

Jesus came to earth to tell us about the world he came from. Jesus came to tell us that the world we see around us isn’t the only one. In fact, Jesus believed deeply that the world around us isn’t even close to the most important one. Jesus spoke often of another reality called The Kingdom of God, or The Kingdom of Heaven. The four gospels contain 65 references to the Kingdom of God, and 31 references to the Kingdom of Heaven! They are interchangeable terms – both terms for the reality Jesus came to introduce to us. Jesus was constantly saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like this…” or “The Kingdom of Heaven is like that…” He used parables and stories and metaphors and examples to explain this Kingdom – this very different reality with different principles and rules and ways of operating.

As we talk about spiritual reality and the Kingdom of Heaven, there are two things it’s important to understand. The first is what exactly the Kingdom of God (the Kingdom of Heaven) actually is. When Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed,” we usually immediately think, “How is the Kingdom of Heaven like a mustard seed – how could it be?” What we ought to think instead is, “When Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven,” what was he even talking about?

This actually is very simple to understand. Let’s say that Elise is the Queen of the Kingdom of Grand Blanc. Grand Blanc is the Kingdom of Elise. What would that mean if that were true? It would mean that Grand Blanc would be the range of Elise’s effective will. In other words, Grand Blanc would be the place that whatever Elise says is exactly what happens. It would be the place where her commands are followed, her wishes obeyed, her will accomplished. It would be the place in which her say would be final and her authority unquestionable. That is a kingdom, by definition. Realizing this, it’s easy to understand that the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven, is simply the range of God’s effective will. In other words, the Kingdom of Heaven is the place that whatever God says is exactly what happens. It is the place where God’s commands are followed, His wishes obeyed, His will accomplished. It is the place in which God’s say is final and His authority unquestionable. Pretty simple, isn’t it? In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus prayed, “Thy Kingdom come…” what? “Thy will be done…” how? “On earth as it is in heaven.” What is the Kingdom of God? It is the range of God’s effective will, the place where God’s will is done, where what God says, goes.

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