Equality in the Kingdom #1 Entrance

 


Equality in the Kingdom #1 Entrance

 Equality and equity; we will be hearing a lot about equality and equity.  You will be hearing a lot about equity disguised as equality in the coming months.  Equality is providing the same level of opportunity to every Citizen in these United States.  Equity is providing various levels of social and economic assistance depending on specific needs. 

 Equality means that there is no discrimination based on race, religion, language, gender identification.  Where equality flourishes there is no bigotry, no segregation, no special rights and privileges given to one group, a group like US Senators and Representatives, special rights and privileges that are not open to the general public.  Equality is part of the dream of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  Equality in these United States remains an elusive dream and has taken giant steps backward in recent months as society keeps on slipping into a future that is out of sync with God.  We have much work to do to bring equality to the nation.

 Equity means that everything is fair and just.  Equity is the buzz in the Belt-Way these days.  Equity is about outcomes.  In theory, equity is when all things are fair and impartial, everyone receives the same outcome.  We’ve seen this attempt to bring equity to society in Communist Russia.  Every outcome, social, economic, is adjusted to make citizens equal.  No matter if you work hard or hardly at all, the outcome is equal.

 Equity is not the way of the Kingdom of God, equality is.

 Jesus told His disciples a story.  The meaning of this story is Christians are to use what God has given us to bring Him glory and honor.  The New International Translation of the Bible reads:  “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away”

(Luke 19:26 (NIV).  The Message paraphrase of the translation puts it: “Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag” (Luke 19:26 (MSG).  Here’s the story

 Luke 19:12-13 (MSG)

"There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. But first, he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, 'Operate with this until I return.'

In the Boswith Paraphrased Version of the scripture, the sum of money is 1 Million.   Each servant received $1,000,000 to manage for the boss.

 Luke 19:15-21 (MSG)

"When he came back bringing the authorization of his rule, he called those ten servants to whom he had given the money to find out how they had done.

 "The first said, 'Master, I doubled your money.'

 "The second said, 'Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.'

 "The next servant said, 'Master, here's your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don't suffer fools gladly.'

 If there was equity in the Kingdom then each manager should receive the same outcome.  That’s not what happens though. 

 Luke 19:16-19 (MSG)

The first said, 'Master, I doubled your money.'

"He said, 'Good servant! Great work! Because you've been trustworthy in this small job, I'm making you governor of ten towns.'

 "The second said, 'Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.'

"He said, 'I'm putting you in charge of five towns.'

 The last money manager doesn’t get to govern any towns he or she gets reprimanded. 

 If there was equity each manager would have been put in charge of 5 towns. 

 Equity is not the way of the Kingdom of God.  The more out of sync we become with God’s way, the more our streets will be filled with people demanding equity.  The system of capitalism isn’t equitable.  Capitalism is based on merit.  If Capitalism was equitable, then everyone would receive the same outcome.  The Protesters and the rioters will demand that the system of capitalism be abolished and a system that is equitable be put in its place.

 Equity is not the way of the Kingdom of God.  The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome wrote something rather harsh:  “Make no mistake: In the end, you get what's coming to you” (Romans 2:6 (MSG).  The Apostle writes to the believers in Corinth:  “…each will be rewarded according to his own labor” (1 Corinthians 3:8 (NIV).  The Apostle John wrote:  “Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully”  (2 John 1:8 (NIV).  What you do matters.

 Growing up in the ’60s my mom worked hard, but she struggled financially, 2 kids, $2 bucks an hour.  Adjusted into 2021 dollars that’s $12.29 an hour.  Imagine trying to live on $490 bucks a week in Orange County raising two kids.  I know what it means not to have what others have.  A guaranteed income would have been a huge help.  Economists calculate that a living wage for 1 adult and two children in the OC is $55.85 an hour [  Living Wage Calculator - Living Wage Calculation for Orange County, California (mit.edu) ].  If a living wage income was guaranteed to my mom, the government would be sending a weekly check for $1,742.40, which’s a little more than $7500 a month.  If that was the case finances wouldn’t have been a strain on the budget to buy a new pair of jeans at the start of the school year, or get my glasses fixed when they broke, or the car repaired.  I’m all for helping people out.  But where does this $7500 come from? 

 It comes from taxing people who make more money than $55.85 an hour.  Let’s say you make $99.41 an hour, that’s about $205,000 a year.  To make things equitable the government taxes your income $43.56 an hour, effectively lowering your income to $55.85 an hour and raising my mom’s income to $55.85 an hour.  That’s fair.  Well, unless you’re the one who merits $99.41 an hour.  We do need an economic safety net, but equity is just playing Robinhood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  When the rich have no more you end up with an economic situation like we see today in Venezuela.  This is an oversimplification, it's just to get you to see the idea behind equity.

 Equity is not the way of the Kingdom of God.  John, in his vision, hears Jesus say:

Revelation 22:12 (MSG)

"Yes, I'm on my way! I'll be there soon! I'm bringing my payroll with me. I'll pay all people in full for their life's work.  

 What you do is important.  Not everyone gets a trophy.  If the Kingdom was equitable everyone would receive the same reward. Equity is not the way of the Kingdom of God.  Equality is. 

 For all you sharp students of the bible, you may recall another parable of Jesus in which an employer hires people at different times of the day and the end of the day pays everyone the same.  But this is not an equity story, it’s a story about generosity.  The generosity of the Kingdom. 

 The equality of the Kingdom is that every human being is presented with an opportunity to know God.  The Gospel is an invitation to everyone. The Gospel does not recognize skin color.  The Gospel doesn’t even recognize merit.  Capitalism doesn’t work in the Kingdom of God.  Generosity is the economic system of the Kingdom.  The Gospel is an open invitation to all.  We read in John’s Revelation of Jesus:

 Revelation 22:17 (MSG)

"Come!" say the Spirit and the Bride. Whoever hears, echo, "Come!"  Is anyone thirsty? Come!  All who will, come and drink, Drink freely of the Water of Life!

 “All who will,” or as the old King James translation reads “whosoever will.”  Whosoever doesn’t matter who your parents are, where you come from, how much money you have, or how much good you do, nope, the Gospel is an equal opportunity proposition.

 If you don’t know, the Gospel is the good news, that you can have a right relationship with God, that you can get in sync with God (John 3:16-18).  Being in sync with God you are empowered to live your life to the full and have the hope of life eternal (John 10:10 & John 11: 25-26).  Jesus has removed every obstacle between you and God, namely sin (Hebrews 2:17).  Sin separates, Jesus atonement reconciles relationships (Romans 5:11). To accept the Gospel invitation, believe that Jesus has done all that is necessary for you to get in sync with God. 

 John 6:40 (MSG)

This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life.

 Believe and then align yourself with doing life the way Jesus demonstrated.  Commit yourself to learn how.  And simply ask God to allow you to enter the Kingdom. 

 John 1:12 (MSG)

“…whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.”

 Is whoever, you ever? Doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you have done.  Equality is the way of the Kingdom of God, the door is open to you if you want to enter in if you want your life transformed into your true self if you want to become the person God created you to be.  If you make that decision, please let me know, I want to welcome you as the newest citizen in the Kingdom.

 Equality is about equal access.  Once you are in the Kingdom a great equalization occurs.  You have a new identity.

 Galatians 3:28 (MSG)

In Christ's family, there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us, you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.

Your new identity is a member of Christ’s family, you are now God’s child (1 John 3:1).  A child of God is who you see regardless of diverse ethnicity, nationality, language, or one’s wealth, or poverty.  God has made us equals, brothers and sisters in Christ, a peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9) belonging to Him.  In the Kingdom, the only law is to love God and love others.  In the Kingdom there is no hate, no “us verse them,” no segregation, no discrimination.  In the Kingdom, there is no oppression, brutality, injustice.  When those who are Christ-followers pray "'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come…” (Luke 11:2 (NIV).  God empowers us to bring it, to bring the Kingdom.   First, we enter the Kingdom, then the Kingdom enters us, changing us from the inside out.  As those inward changes take place our behavior changes.  We begin to embody the equality of the Kingdom.  We become God’s ambassadors inviting all, any, and every person into God’s transformational Kingdom, and then one soul at a time we bring Heaven to Earth.   Choose to live in the Kingdom, choose to bring the Kingdom.  See people as souls, go share the good news with them as you live the good news.

 Living as Kingdom people, we bring the kingdom to others.  The Kingdom is a matter of the heart.  Let equality be in your heart and let equality flow out to others.  If you sense any bigotry, or prejudice, or segregation in your heart confess it, get rid of it.  For we are all equal at the foot of the cross.


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