Gary Carpenter Ministries
One of the most often quoted scriptures I heard growing up in church as a youth emphasized the importance of placing a high priority on seeking first the kingdom of God in our daily lives.
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Usually the sermon would then focus on such things as the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we want others to do to us, loving our neighbors, living a holy life, and so forth. Of course all of those things are important for Christians who love God and want to live our lives pleasing to Him. But in truth, is that what Jesus meant when He said to "seek first the kingdom of God?" What does He mean by that phrase? A good place to investigate would be when He sent out the disciples to minister to the people.
Mat 10:7-8 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
If I will be honest, not one time in all of those Sunday school classes I attended as a youth was I ever instructed to demonstrate the kingdom of heaven by "healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, or by casting out devils." Not once! Loving people and living the Golden Rule are important, but there is much more than that included in Jesus' message concerning the "kingdom of heaven is at hand." Let me give a second witness from scripture that illustrates when Jesus would teach and preach concerning the kingdom of God, it was followed by the supernatural power of God to heal and set people free from affliction:
Mat 4:23-24 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
What was Jesus teaching and preaching? "The gospel of the kingdom." What was the result? Faith to believe came into the hearts of the people and they were healed of diseases, torments, demonic possession, mental illness, and palsy. Why do we not see those same results today? Because the modern church does not preach the same "gospel of the kingdom" that Jesus and the disciples preached. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. But if we are teaching a different "word of God" than the one Jesus preached, then the people do not have the same faith to receive as they did in His day.
God does not change. God's Word does not change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The true gospel of the kingdom has not changed. But modern day preachers have changed it. Through the fear of man and the desire to be liked and approved by all people, the preaching in our churches today has become so watered down it scarcely resembles the message that Jesus preached to the world. "Political correctness" has become the mainstay and in this century the battle lines are being drawn ever more clearly between the intellectual gospel of the elite in political power versus the true gospel of the kingdom that Jesus told us to declare.
Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Jesus is the only "Visitor" who has come from heaven to earth. He made that clear when He said to Nicodemus,
John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Only Christ "came down from heaven." He alone has lived in both worlds … in heaven and on earth. He knows what it is to live in the "kingdom of heaven" where God's will is always manifested compared to living in this fallen world full of sin, sickness, and oppression. His message was, "God has made the power of His kingdom in heaven available to man on earth. The kingdom of heaven is at hand." When something is "at hand" that means it is "within my grasp." It means I can have it now. This is the message of the gospel of the kingdom. This is the message that Christ entrusted to those He called to preach. We are not to change it, water it down, or ignore it just to avoid controversy and criticism. How will people have faith to believe unless the preachers are faithful to preach the whole counsel of God?
Rom 10:14-17 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
How shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach, except they be sent? By every means available to us we are doing our best to preach the truth of God's Word all over the world. I recently received an email from a man in Papua, New Guinea who was so grateful for the teachings he has been hearing at the website. He told how they have changed his life, and the life of his family and friends. We have never been to New Guinea in person, but by means of the MEDIA available to us and your faithful prayers and financial support, we are able to teach and preach "this gospel of the kingdom" in every nation.
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,