UPSIDE DOWN KINGDOM: Pledge of the Kingdom

I. Live Fully 

The glory of God is man fully alive.
— St. Irenaeus
  • Let me ask a question: With no explanation of what he meant, do you feel fully alive?
Hope unbidden arose at the thought that God’s intentions towards me might be better than I’d thought. His happiness and my happiness are tied together? My coming fully alive is what He’s committed to? That’s the offer of Christianity? Wow! I mean, it would make no small difference if we knew–and I mean really knew–that down-deep-in-your-toes kind of knowing that no one and nothing can talk you out of–if we knew that our lives and God’s glory were bound together. Things would start looking up. It would feel promising…the offer is life. Make no mistake about that. So then…where is that life? Why is it so rare?
— John Eldridge
  • It is rare because we have believed a lie. That full life is about unrestrained immorality. A full life is experiencing every explicit sinful, dark pleasure that this world has to offer. We call it a decadent life. But this leads to death.
Romans 8:5-6 - Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

 Becoming Fully Alive Involves 3 Things

1. To Live Fully is to Know the King

Hosea 6:6 - I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.
  • Our main pursuit in life is to know Christ our King. The only way to learn to live fully alive is pursuing Christ.
  • We get to know Him through His Word and through the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 3:8 - Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.

2. To live fully is to live righteously

1 Peter 2:24 - He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
  • What Christians fail to understand about righteous living is it opens the door to God's blessing.
Proverbs 21:21 - Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.
  • To live fully, to get all you can out of life, is to live rightly.
Matthew 5:6 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • Jesus said if you want to be filled, hunger for righteousness. 

3. To live fully is to be and ambassador for Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:20 - So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!"
  • To live fully is to live with joy, and there is joy in sharing your faith.
  • When we realize that we are fully alive, we must recognize that many are not. Having hope does not fix our world, just us. 
  • The “elect” were chosen by God to be a blessing and a “kingdom of priests” to every nation on earth– to bind up the broken-hearted and release the captives to be “fully alive” in Christ. This is the glory of God! You and I are a part of it. We need to engage in it.
Luke 12:12 - for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

To live fully is to know Jesus as well as a forgiven sinner can know him. To live righteously because when we do it opens the true blessings of heaven. And finally to live fully is to live as a true ambassador of Christ. 

Romans 1:16 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

The second thing we pledge as some who is in a the kingdom that leads with mercy, enriches its people, and make us family is to….

II. Love Generously

To love generously is caring about someone without limitations:

  • Loving without conditions and doing something to make someone happy without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. 
  • Unconditional love requires we love God first. Only He can provide the strength and ability to give this same love to another person.
1 John 4:19 - We love each other because he loved us first.

Three Ways to Love Generously

1. Forgive: 

  • Forgiveness is a choice and not a feeling, which takes time and prayer. 
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)

 2. Sacrifice:

  • Putting our own needs, desires and wants aside to focus on other people's needs and wants. 
  • This can be as simple as allowing someone to go ahead of us in line, choosing not to argue with someone's opinion or spending time helping someone in need. 
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship."(Romans 12:1)

3. Pray: 

  • If you want to prove your love to your family pray for them. It is an act of love.
  • Praying for people is an act of unconditional love. Especially when we pray for our enemies.
"But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike." (Matthew 5:44-45)

He makes us family--act like it.

Summary:

Our pledge to God’s kingdom is simple: Live fully and love generously. To live fully is to know Jesus, live righteous, and to be his ambassador among your everyday people. To love generously is to forgive, sacrifice for and pray for others.