Clearly, we live in dangerous times. The present-day conditions in the United States are in many ways similar to those found in the Roman Empire before its fall. Spectacle and sexuality dominate our society’s entertainment industry. Talk shows specialize in the bizarre and obscene; the movie industry inserts gratuitous and blatant sexual scenes on a whim; and prime-time television mocks morality and insults the intelligent.
The sexual free-for-all and a celebration of violence through amusement — or, in some cases, reality — are not only mind- and compassion-numbing, but also murderous to one’s spirit.
What is feeding the violence and amusements of our society? If we were to be honest with ourselves, we would discover that we are inextricably a part of the problem. Entertainment and consumerism have ensnared us, revealing our depravity more than ever before. We have given into our culture’s craving for fleeting happiness and have missed the true joy of genuine faithfulness — to each other, to our families and to the Lord.
Recently, I have been pondering anew the teachings of Jesus. Was his instruction primarily about God’s love or about God’s rule? After careful review, I have seen that most of his teaching and many of his parables focus on the meaning of the kingdom of God and his rule.
In God’s kingdom, we who are believers are subjects under his lordship. He has given specific orders and expectations for life’s daily walk. “We are (to be) a priestly kingdom and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).
Those who beleive are to cherish the kingdom of God above all else and are to know our place as citizens within God’s kingdom, killing both false pride and false humility. We are to be mindful that the only way to enter the kingdom is as a little child, to live a life of new beginnings with a new repentance, responsiveness and openness to God.
When a repentant heart senses the pull of Christ’s call, a person is set free to enjoy and take pleasure in a new way of life. God’s kingdom of grace is rested in and by his grace — the attitudes, actions and attachments that are of this world cease. The feasting and delighting in God’s presence is not to be experienced just on Sundays, but rather throughout every day. Certainly, a life that has been reclaimed by God is empowered by his spirit and accompanied by deep, abiding confidence, gratitude and trust in his sovereign reign.
Do you hunger and thirst for a new life? Are you ready to be transformed in an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ? Come into God’s kingdom by believing in his son. Join into his loving presence and experience the freedom and peace found in his rule today.
The Rev. Glen Morden is minister of Patterson Covenant Church. Sermon Notes is a column by ministers of the Patterson Ministerial Association. Any religious leader who would like to write for the column may contact the Patterson Irrigator.