January 10, 2019

Not of this World

By: Larry Shaffer

Ryker wanted an accordion for Christmas from a street vendor in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Not of this World 

John 18 

Therefore, Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’… Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.’ 

Therefore, Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this reason, I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘what is truth?’ John 18:33-38 

(please be sure to read the verses above before you read my post below). 

My Life in this world 

I like my life. Primarily, I have the peace of knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior. The general purpose of my life and my eternal destiny are set. By faith, I know that to be true. I do experience trials and difficulties, some of them have been fairly intense. But the Marco-view of my life is secure and rests in the grace and Sovereignty of God.

From an earthly perspective, I like my life as well. I have achieved many of my life goals, including the love of my family and a good income working in a job I love, for a company I admire. The descriptive phrase I grew up with as a baby boomer was the attainment of the “American dream.” I’ve done it. I am able to pursue activities with family and friends. I’m able to enjoy fine dining and good wine with my bride as well as many friends. We have a beautiful home where we live and enjoy wonderful comforts. We also love to bless and entertain guests and deepen relationships. We love to give financially to our church, gospel ministries, helping orphans and widows as well as give to others in need (as we become aware). Having the means to give brings us much joy. 

That being said, I have stated the purpose of my blog and expositional teaching and devotional ministry as serving regular people, (such as myself). Most likely, regular people like you. That means living the Christian life in America, dealing with the typical issues of our carnal society while being mindful of our faith in Christ. Is that enough? I don’t typically pound you every day with a call to radical discipleship, abandonment of sin and forsaking selfish pursuits. Unless, the particular text we are studying specifically calls for it. This text calls for it today. I am pursuing Christ in my life but bottom-line, I’m too worldly and most likely, you’re too worldly as well. 

Today we come to Jesus’ words about His Kingdom. Like many of you, I live the Christian life within the context of a typical American urban/suburban lifestyle. (That’s an important statement. Please read it again). On the other hand, we are studying the life of Jesus in the book of John. He didn’t serve God in the context of a typical and normal Jewish lifestyle. His life on earth was by no means his own. I bring this to your attention because the mission of Jesus given to Him by the Father and consequently, the calling of His disciples, is at a level beyond the Christian life that most of us live. 

So what? After all, He’s Jesus and we are not. We are regular Christian people, right? True, but I think we can agree, we all need to be more like Jesus. Let’s more fully realize that our lives are not of this world. We were sent into this world, just like Jesus, for a purpose ordained by God. Within the context of living in this world, are you fully living out God’s calling to you as His servant? 

What do I do to serve God? Primarily, my ministry consists of three main areas: ministry of Bible teaching and devotional encouragement through my writing; giving financially; and daily watching for opportunities to serve others with encouragement, prayers and words of guidance. My life probably isn’t too dissimilar than yours. Maybe you don’t write a daily devotional blog but the other areas are similar, I’m sure. You have some level of ministry, you give what you can and you try to bless people daily. That’s probably what you do or aspire to do. That’s a normal Christian life within the context of a typical American urban/suburban lifestyle. 

I turn 60 next month which to me, is old.  I’ve been a Christian most of my life. But, in many ways, I feel like a young Christian who still has such a long way to go to live my life for Jesus at the level I should. 

That’s a heavy statement, maybe even a little overwhelming for some. But for today, let’s do just two things in response to our scripture: 

  • Raise your consciousness of the fact that our real life is not of this world. Let’s be more aware of this profound fact. Think about it today. Just start by being more aware. Look around at your life and your circumstances, smile and say to yourself, ‘heaven is my home.’ Today is simply part of the journey to heaven. This is not my home.  
  • Since heaven is our home, let’s live more heavenly. Let’s not seek and pursue things, money and personal advantage over others. Let’s allow the peace of God to rule our hearts, knowing our destination is heaven; focus on worshiping God, giving, sharing the gospel truth, and being gracious and kind. C.S. Lewis said, ‘We are not long here. This is not our home.’

Jesus said in our text today, For this reason I have been born, and for this I have come into the world. For today, pursue the reason you were born and why you are on this earth. Amen!