The Two Kingdom Series – Pt 2…Authority and Truth
We all need to be on the same page and that begins with a solid foundation. That foundation must reflect the authority on which we base our decisions, and build our lives and relationships. In other words the foundation, good or bad, is rooted in lordship and discipleship. Who is your Lord/lord (Christ as Lord or the enemy as lord)? Who are you a disciple of?
In order to establish our lives on the right foundation, we must also understand that the most important word in any language is Truth, God’s “capital T” Truth! Stated another way, Lordship and discipleship reveal everything about your life and what you believe. Regardless of what you state to your spouse, when you sit in church, at the office, or anywhere else, your daily life choices reveal that you have a lord and you are someone’s disciple. Do you know who that is?
Let me share with you how we help people begin to understand this universal principle and, even more importantly, to recognize how it is playing out in their lives, relationships, and world. Remember, from our previous post, that absolute Truth is the most important word in any language. If we don’t have an absolute foundation of Truth then words and their application can mean what anyone and everyone wants them to mean. What happens when the inevitable conflict occurs in disagreement? Everything else crumbles if we don’t have Truth. The following five words and contrasting definitions are not all-inclusive, but they are integral and help us cover a lot of ground in getting people to see where they truly live out their lives.
With this chart we can begin to ask questions, discuss how their decisions are made, and ask them to share what their answers reflect as far as the “truth” they are revealing.
No one argues or questions the worldly definitions; we’ve all lived them. Remember, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23. This is the root of the deception and sin.
As we apply Scripture defining each “TRUTH” along with the contrasting worldly concepts, we lay the foundation that helps us determine who is truly our lord/Lord and the impact that has on our lives. Following is the Scriptures and brief explanation that, again, helps us grasp His Truth and whether or not we are walking with Him as Lord on this foundation.
1) Love as Commitment – The Truth lies in Christ and The Cross as the greatest example of Love ever given. In Matthew 26:53, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” With this statement, Jesus tells us He had a choice in the matter and none of it felt good.
Think about how Jesus felt relationally as His best friends all abandoned Him? Matthew 26:56
How do you think He felt socially with the crowds crying, “Crucify Him!”? Matthew 27:22-23
What about mentally and emotionally as He was in so much anguish in the garden that He sweat drops of blood? Luke 22:44
Obviously He did not feel good physically as He was mocked, spit on, flogged, beaten, and crucified. Matthew 26:67-68; 27; 26-31; Luke 23:33-34; John 19:1-17
One final thought on love and feelings: How do you think He felt spiritually as He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34
Think about it, if love were a feeling, as our culture predominantly defines and lives it today in nearly every situation, then what would Jesus have done? He would have looked to His Father and said, “Nope, this feels awful and if ‘love’ is a feeling, this must not be love at all. I’m outta here!”
Instead because God in Christ is the Author and Authority, the Truth is that love is a commitment. He loved His Father and us, so He remained committed and obedient (in love) to His Father and for us to show us what love truly is. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
By the way, we must understand that Jesus here is modeling the greatest commands for us. In Luke 22:42, we see Him petitioning the Father and fulfilling the greatest command by submitting to His Authority (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29), asking if He could be spared from the cup of suffering and sacrifice if there was any other way. Obviously, the answer was no (a great lesson for all of us in that God always answers our prayers but not always as we think best) as Jesus then continued to submit to and fulfill The Father’s plan. In following through to the Cross—He is obedient; showing His first and highest love was to His Father (Mark 12:30). As He then completes God’s plan in dying on the Cross, He is giving His life in an ultimate act of love (John 15:13) for all who would believe on Him—you and me—loving others as He loved Himself (Mark 12:31).
Love is a choice, a commitment, an act of the will for the sake of others, according to The Author’s words and example.
2) Humility as True Confidence and Contentment – I once read a Tweet from a prominent author and pastor that said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s not thinking of yourself at all,” echoing a very common quote and misconception about humility. It sounds really good according to the world and how we can attempt to get people to place others above self.
Matthew 22:39 states, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Romans 12:3 says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you should but think of yourself with sober judgment according to the measure of faith God has given you.” And finally, Jesus Himself modeled this kind of humility and love in John 13:1-5 (emphasis on v. 3) where it reads, “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.”
According to God’s Word and Christ’s example, humility is knowing who you are in Christ so you can choose to place others above yourself. God must have known that unless we are confident and content in who we are, any consistent attempts to put others above self would end in “false humility” or pride.
3) Authority was explained in previous posts with the clear contrast of the disciples and the world desiring to control or “lord over” others in Christ’s Kingdom (Matthew 20:20-24) and Christ teaching authority as serving others (vv. 25-28).
4) Integrity is another very interesting term that has been watered down in our culture by placing success and reputation above character. Hall of Fame Coach John Wooden said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” There are numerous examples in our culture where people propped themselves up with success and an outward reputation claiming integrity only to see it crumble revealing the very lack of it. Think Enron, Firestone, and Worldcom in the early 2000s just to name a few.
Integrity according to God’s word is very closely related to the Greek word for integer or akéraios, which means whole, integral or undivided. If you remember your second grade math lessons, you’ll know that an integer is a “whole number.” Integrity is also found in the Hebrew word, “Shalom” which is most often interpreted as “peace.” So what do whole numbers have to do with peace and integrity? I’m glad you asked.
Shalom, in Hebrew, actually has at least 27 related meanings, as we understand it in English. The closest English word to capturing the full meaning of Shalom is “completeness” or “wholeness.” Integrity or akeraiótita, from the same root word as integer or whole number, means much more than just making everything look good. It literally means uprightness and is found in wholeness. We find Shalom or peace when we apply the whole of God’s Truth to every part of our lives. This is the character of integrity, not the world’s compromise of reputation sufficing for character.
I hope this brief explanation of terms has helped you. Even more so, it would serve you well to remember them in light of God’s Truth as we dive deeper and apply them to every aspect of our lives and discipleship walk and relationships, especially in marriage, family, and His Church.
5) Finally, we come to discipleship. This is crucial in understanding Lordship as it defines our response to whoever is Lord/lord in our life. Just as profound, if not more so, is our understanding of the enemy’s use of this in our lives. We will build on discipleship in future posts.
We’ll wrap up this series next in next week’s post, Lord willing. Share your comments and let us know what you’re thinking and how we can help.
Check out @Loveandlordship for Love and Lordship LIVE every Thursday at 4pm on our Facebook page for more. Also you can find videos and podcasts at www.loveandlorship.com. Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Understanding the absolute nature of God’s Truth in His Word and in Christ is essential for us to come against the relativism (truth as relative) and the deception that always accompanies it.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – During your devotional and quiet time take a look at each of the 5 words in the chart above and determine how you’ve been living your life…according to the world’s definitions or in line with God’s Word? Determine what steps you need to take each day to assure that you’re living in line with His Truth.