“The connection between the kingdom, peace and joy”

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 57

What is the connection between the kingdom of the heavens, peace and joy?

I’m teaching a three-part series on the kingdom for the Thames Valley churches of Christ.  There’s no way I will do it justice, but I do hope to make it more relevant to myself and the congregation.  One of the kingdom verses which has given me the most pause to think and pray is Romans 14:17-18.

Here is Tom Wright’s translation:

“God’s kingdom, you see, isn’t about food and drink, but about justice, peace, and joy in the holy spirit. Anyone who serves the Messiah like this pleases God and deserves respect from other people.” (Romans 14:17–18)

Compare that translation with the NIV:

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.” (Romans 14:17–18 NIV11)

Finally, take a look at this translation by Dallas Willard:

“The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking [whether you do it in one way or in another] but is inner rightness and peace and joy sustained by the Holy Spirit. For those serving Christ in this way are well-pleasing to God and approved by men.”

The key phrase here for me, is “inner rightness”.  Far be it from me to criticise the NIV or Tom Wright, and I’m sure the translations are correct, but the Willard version emphasises the personal connection with Jesus. It is this personal connection which ensures our ability to experience the peace and joy of the Messiah.  It is he who gives us peace (John 14:27) and joy (John 15:11).  Why are we confident of this personal connection? Because Jesus promised, “I will be with you” Matthew 28:20.  Since we have the spirit of Christ, we can enjoy the fruits of that spirit (Rom 8.9; Gal 5.22).

As Willard says, “..the kingdom of the heavens, from the practical point of view in which we all must live, is simply our experience of Jesus’s continual interaction with us in history and throughout the days, hours, and moments of our earthly existence.” (The Divine Conspiracy)

Would you like more joy and peace?  Practice becoming more aware of the presence of Jesus. That is why we pray, and engage with spiritual disciplines. Not to make us “better”, but to make us more aware and thus more connected with the source of peace and joy. And the benefit? Why do we need to question the benefits of more peace and joy! But, we should also be aware that the fuller our experience of the peace and joy of the spirit, the more it will set us apart in this world as people who have something others need. Those with spiritual hunger will sit up and take notice.

The kingdom has many facets. But perhaps, practically, the most fundamental is the opportunity to avail ourselves of a supernatural peace and joy for which we were always designed.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool“, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“How to feel fully alive”, Acts 16.13-15

Our Watford outdoor service, sports and picnic day was held together with the North West London church. I spoke from Acts 16.13-15 on how to feel fully alive.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send us your questions or suggestions.

Thanks again for watching. Have a super day.

God bless,

Malcolm

“Jealous or Curious” – Acts 5, Sermon, 17th June 2018

Are you jealous or curious? Guilty or curious? Is anything stopping you from living life with curiosity? What gets in the way of being curious about spiritual matters? We explore this topic with the help of an incident recorded in Acts chapter 5.

You can find more videos on my YouTube channel.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions.

Thanks again for watching. Have a super day.

God bless,

Malcolm

“How to be safe”, Psalm 100

"..we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”

How can we be safe? What is true safety? And what does Jesus provide that no other person can?

“Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalms 100:3 NIV11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send us your questions or suggestions.

Thanks again for watching. Have a super day.

God bless,

Malcolm

“How God Transforms Lives”, Acts 3

Not one, but two versions of the same sermon surveying the first part of Acts 3 looking at the Spirit’s work in bringing grace-poor and grace-rich people together. We learn lessons about noticing people and expecting the unexpected.

The first is the discussion-style version with the Watford church of Christ, and the second is the interactive version with the Thames Valley churches of Christ.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send us your questions or suggestions.

Thanks again for watching. Have a super day.

God bless,

Malcolm

“How the Spirit Prepared the Church to Act”, Acts 1

The Spirit prepared the church for the actions he had in mind. How did he do this? We look at Acts chapter 1 and discover insights about needs, power and decision-making.

Please leave a comment or question below. We learn best when we learn in community.

God bless, Malcolm

“How to reap your reward”: Hebrews 12, Acts 8

What it takes to inherit spiritual rewards, and how to live consistent with our faith in those rewards

It is easy to grow weary and lose heart in the Christian race.  Hebrews chapter 12 provides us with the inspiration of Jesus, and Acts chapter 8 provides us with the inspiration of the early Christians. In this lesson, I examine how their examples help us to not give in to the temptation to become weary and lose heart.

Thank you for watching and listening to this recording. Please leave a comment on anything you saw or heard.  We learn best when we learn in community.

Please pass the link to this recording on to one other person.

God bless, Malcolm

“How to Deal with Drifting”, Hebrews Chapter 2

Hebrews series 2018, class 3

What’s the big deal with drifting? The writer to the Hebrews offers a stern warning about its dangers in chapter 2 of the Epistle.

Please leave a comment with your own thoughts, or post a question. “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Heb 13.20-21