Posted by: phillipmway | July 24, 2010

Mindful of the Things of God

What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?

Imagine the impact on the world we would see if the leaders of the greatest nations in the world gave a public testimony declaring the greatness of the God of the Bible. If a press conference was called and all forms of media from cable television to newspapers to the internet carried the news as these powerful men proclaimed that the greatest kingdom on earth was actually the Kingdom of Heaven and that the greatest King ever to reign was the Most High God.

That is exactly what King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and King Darius of the Medes and Persians did in the Book of Daniel. Both of these rulers wrote letters to be broadcast to throughout their kingdoms and throughout the whole known world declaring the greatness of God.

In Daniel 4:1-2, 34-35 Nebuchadnezzar wrote:

Nebuchadnezzar the king,

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

Peace be multiplied to you.

I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me.
How great are His signs,
And how mighty His wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And His dominion is from generation to generation.
I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

And in Daniel 6:25-27 King Darius declared:

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

Peace be multiplied to you.

I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.

For He is the living God,
And steadfast forever;
His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,
And His dominion shall endure to the end.
He delivers and rescues,
And He works signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

Here we see that the men who led the most powerful nations on earth at the time worshipped God and declared His greatness and the truth that His Kingdom alone is forever and will never be destroyed.

Remember that throughout the Book of Daniel we have seen the battle raging in the physical and spiritual realms between the kingdoms of men and the Kingdom of God. It is a battle that will rage until the end of time when Christ finally conquers every foe.

God’s dominion extends over all of creation. Every creature is subject to His rule and His will. There is no escaping this truth.

In the New Testament we find a similar declaration from Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. He summarizes the truths we have learned from our study in Daniel when he is asked by Christ, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter’s answer of course is, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

It is the truth contained in this confession that Jesus tells us is the foundation of His Church. The basis of His Kingdom, the necessary element of seeing that what Nebuchadnezzar and what Darius proclaimed is true, is that the Kingdom of God is built upon Who Jesus is. The Kingdom of God is forever and will never be dominated by the world because it is founded upon Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

What Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, and Daniel have been telling us is that the Kingdom of God is what it is because of Jesus Christ.

This week we will conclude our series “Living for God in Ungodly Times” by working our way through Matthew 16:13-26 as we examine the exchange between Jesus and Peter. In it Peter makes this greatest of all confessions about the Person of Christ, but in the next paragraph he is being rebuked as Jesus has to say to him, “Get behind me, Satan!”

What was the problem? As is so often the case with us, Jesus tells Peter, “You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Peter’s foundation, his confession was correct – but in practice he was living as if he was part of the kingdoms of men and not a disciple in the Kingdom of God.

Concluding in verses 24-26 we see then that Jesus tells us the secret to a disciple’s success. It is a universal principle of discipleship that runs throughout all of Scripture. Following Christ, worshipping God, believing the gospel, living for God in ungodly times can only be accomplished when we deny ourselves. Daniel knew this and lived this truth.

The beginning of the gospel message is found in a command that identifies our need to deny self. It is “Repent!” And as we repent and believe we see that the whole of the Christian life is a life of repentance and faith. Colossians 2:6 tells us, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” Even the last words of Christ given to His Church in Revelation involves this command to repent.

The Kingdom of God is forever, it will never be destroyed, and His dominion is everlasting because of Who Jesus is. And His gospel requires of us the denial of self so that we might by faith follow after Jesus all the days of this life and the life to come.

Are you a Disciple of Jesus Christ? Are you a member of His Kingdom? Have you denied yourself? Are you following Him?

To learn more, join us this Sunday at 10:30 as we conclude our series through Daniel with this message titled, “A Disciple’s Declaration.” We hope to see you there.


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