Derek continues to look at the coming of the kingdom of God at a time when the world is being shaken. We have a choice to make: to love God or love the world and its lusts. We can’t have both. God’s priority is to have a people who are purified just as Jesus is pure.
See, God’s purpose in permitting a worldwide shaking of everything is to demonstrate the things that cannot be shaken. And then the writer goes on:
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
There’s only one kingdom that cannot be shaken. It’s not the kingdom of Great Britain or Northern Ireland. It is no earthly kingdom, it’s the kingdom of God, it’s the kingdom that’s founded on Jesus Christ. And Jesus said, “If you build on this foundation, no storm will overthrow what you build.”
But, everything else that can be shaken will be shaken—and most of it is being shaken. Ask yourself what are some of the things that can be shaken? Well, first of all, governments. There’s scarcely a government on earth that isn’t being shaken or hasn’t been shaken at the moment. Can families be shaken? They can and they are being shaken. And the only families that will survive are those that are built on the Rock, Jesus Christ. God is sorting out everything into one or other of two categories: those things that can be shaken and those things that cannot be shaken. You and I need to know where we are. Are we truly in the kingdom that cannot be shaken? If not, we are going to suffer. There will be a shaking of everything but the kingdom of God will pass through the shaking unmoved.
Believe me, we will not be exempt from the shaking but the result will be different in our lives. We shall stand when everything else collapses all around us.
In Haggai chapter 2:7, which is quoted in Hebrews 12, the Lord says one thing which isn’t actually quoted in Hebrews. He says:
“I will shake all nations.”
Let me say that again.
“I will shake all nations.”
Does that include Britain? Does that include the United States? Does that include the nations of Europe? It certainly does. God is going to shake all nations. You better be prepared.
There’s one kind of person who cannot be shaken and you find him described in 1 John chapter 2. 1 John chapter 2, and we’ll begin at verse 15:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world...”
Now the word “the world” here in the Greek New Testament means a social system. The present world system is the world. John says don’t love it. Young people especially, don’t love the world. And then he goes on with a very serious statement:
“If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
In other words, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot love the world and love God. You remember I preached earlier this week about God’s love is a jealous love. He will not share your loyalty with the world. You have to make your mind up.
“For all that is in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away...”
Bear that in mind, it’s on its way out.
“...and the lust of it.”
“But he who does the will of God abides forever.”
Who is the only unshakable person on earth today? The one who is totally committed to the will of God. And if you want to have a successful future in today’s world, my counsel to you is from this night forward, if you’ve never done it before, commit yourself without reservation to the will of God in your life. You will abide, you will be unshakable. You will be unshakable as the will of God itself because you’ll be identified with God’s will.
Then in this connection let me recommend which is just part of the same truth, that you maintain right priorities. Because, your priorities decide your life. The things that have top priority in your life are the things you find time for. Some people say, “I can’t find any time for the Bible.” But, they find time to eat. Whatever you give your time to indicates your priorities. I’m not saying it’s wrong to eat but I am saying actually the Bible is more important than food. So, here’s God’s counsel on priorities, it’s from the same 6th chapter of Matthew, verse 33, it’s familiar to many of you.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
All these things are all the things you need for daily life: food, clothing, housing, transportation, whatever it may be. God says if you’ll seek my kingdom first, I’ll take care of every other need in your life.
Now, I’ve been a Christian 52 years and basically although I’ve had my moments of weakness and my temptations, I’ve lived according to that principle. I want to declare to all of you tonight God has been faithful. He has provided everything I need. My dear brothers and sisters, this is not a theory that I’m propounding, it’s a reality based on Scripture and substantiated by experience. I’m looking at others here who could say the same. All right, so that’s my first counsel. Get your priorities right, get lined up with the will of God from tonight forward. If you’ve never been confronted with this issue, you’re confronted with it tonight as clearly as I can confront you. If I could say it any more clearly I would.
Now, God’s second priority is directly related to the first. God is going to establish a kingdom on earth but He’s looking for a people who will share His kingdom. So, God’s second priority is a people for the kingdom of God. Ruth and I quoted that beautiful Scripture. I think you better come up and say it again. This says it more clearly than I could ever try to say it.
“The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed, and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
That’s God’s second priority, His own special people. And it says in that passage that Jesus will purify His people. But there’s another side to that, you turn to 1 John chapter 3:1–3. This is another passage that we recite:
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and we are. Therefore, the world does not know us because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, even just as He is pure.”
Did you hear those words? “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” So you can say as much as you like about your waiting for the coming of the Lord but if you are not purifying yourself you’re deceiving yourself. The mark of all who are truly waiting for the coming of the Lord is that they are purifying themselves just as He is pure. God has only one standard of purity and it’s Jesus.
I want to say tonight especially to you young people, especially to younger women, it’s very natural to want to look pretty and to have a pleasing appearance. That’s nothing wrong, it’s not sinful; it’s natural. But that’s external. I want to tell you there’s a different kind of prettiness which is internal and it is purity. When your external prettiness begins to fade there’s something in you that will never fade, the purity and holiness of God. The holiness of God is true spiritual beauty. So do all you can to be pretty but bear in mind the real prettiness is that which is within.