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The Cross and the Kingdom (4 of 7)

Mike Connell

Page 2 of 10
Now within the will of God, God gives us great freedom to take initiative, and right through the Bible initiative was always encouraged. I want to go and talk about what I'd call a key issue. I have read lots of motivational material, and I found it's all very good, very positive, but there's one thing runs right through it, and that is it's all about me, and it's about me getting ahead. There's no place for Christ and his kingdom, or the cross at all, so today what I want to do is, just as we're looking at the area of desires, dreams and destinies, I want to just highlight for you the place the cross has in all of this, otherwise you'll get very disappointed, because you won't understand why God isn't doing what you expect or - and He seems to be frustrating you, or you're waiting around and nothing much is happening, or you get out there, and you find after you've done all these things, that your life is quite messy, and you've got no idea why.

So I want you to have a look with me in Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verse 2. I want to just talk a little bit about the kingdom of self, the kingdom of self. We're all part of that kingdom of self, we've all got a part of us that likes to be a bit selfish - I want the biggest bit. That looks good, I'll have a second one. We've all got that part that likes to be a bit selfish haven't we, and - tell the person next to you, it's you he's talking about. I'm just not like that. I'm so sweet and loving, I would never be like that. Reality is [laughs] I grieve over how selfish I am at times.

Okay then, notice this. It says - Verse 1, now He's talking about how we've been changed by coming into relationship with Christ. Now you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins - so we once were cut off from God. Because of sin, and because of errors, and doing our own thing, we cut off from God completely. Now I want you notice the lifestyle of a person cut off from God. There are many verses on it, I'll just use this one. It says, in which we once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, that spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, whom we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling desires of the flesh and mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

So what He's essentially saying is that the world is governed by a certain principle that operates. Notice He said, the course of the world, that's the world, the age of this world, the order of this world, and it operates a certain way. It's quite interesting to notice this. He points it out very clearly - the world operates a certain way, and it's governed by the principle of self-interest. What's in this for me? What do I get out of this? So you find if you look behind a lot of the political dealings with nations, where a generosity often has an agenda behind it, and it's all about advancing me. So you find often help and aid that's given into nations looks like it's very kind, but behind it actually there are strings attached, and the true agenda is it's being used to get some nation ahead or to gain influence, so the principle of the world - it doesn't take you much to figure this one out. Children are pretty selfish as they grow up. It's all about me. They learn that when they're one and two, and it's hard to get it out of them, the rest of their life [laughs] isn't it aye? Me! No! I do it! So you find there's this whole thing as children grow, it's all about me and my world, and somehow in your life you need to learn it's not all about you.

Much of the modern child training, centres the whole child training around the child, and it's needs. What folly is that? That's the course of the world, it's not the course of God. It's not the course of the kingdom, and it produces a terrible fruit in people's lives. So you notice it says - I want you to see two things here, that the world is governed or runs on a principle of self-interest, what's in this for me, what do I get out of it. That's how it thinks, and most decisions are made around how can I advance myself? What can I get? How can I get ahead? How can I advance myself? That's not entirely all wrong, however it says that there's a spirit that is at work in that thinking, so self-centred thinking is governed by a spiritual power, and when you look at people and how they run their lives, you see most of them are pretty self-centred and self-directed and basically they run their life around the principle of what's in this for me. If there's nothing in it for me, then I'm not going to do it, so there is a spirit behind that. That's called the course of this world, and there's a spiritual power, and there's a reason that spiritual power is there.