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Lowell Brueckner

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Seeking the King of the Kingdom, chapter one




The chapter is taken from this book
Of all the attributes that deal with God and the gospel, which is the most difficult for us to face? It seems to me that there can be no doubt that truth is the most troublesome for us. Taking into account all that the good news has to offer, we find much that is highly attractive and desirable. For that reason, the crowds always wanted to get close to Jesus and His apostles. There are multitudes today, who want to be counted among Christians, if they find it convenient; at least they want to bear the name Christian. It is a rare person who does not want to love and be loved. Who would not choose peace, instead of fear, and joy over sadness? People seek faith in place of distrustfulness and hope to avoid depression. Generally, they will support justice and even demand it - but truth is an element that bothers us and makes us feel uncomfortable. However, without the girdle of truth as the central piece of the whole Christian armor, it all comes untied and falls to the ground. Over the centuries, the defenders of truth have battled against a deceived majority. The reformers preferred to accept death, rather than to renounce or recant the truth that had been revealed to them. For them, it was of incomparable and incalculable value.

The ministry of Jesus was a battle in defense of the truth. To Pilate’s question, “Are you a king?” (Jn. 18:37), Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.” How can we interpret this statement, without concluding that He proclaimed himself King of Truth? It would seem that a true king is one who is concerned that his people know, accept and walk in an atmosphere of truth.

Jesus added, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” The one, who values and practices the attribute of truth, is the same one who comes to the Person, who is truth. At times, I have heard the opposite. Some would dare to say that, although they are quite ignorant of the eternal truth revealed in Scripture, they are in the One, who said, “I am the truth”, and so they affirm, “The truth is a person and not a doctrine. If we are in Jesus, then it is not important if we are ignorant of biblical teaching”. This statement, even though it has a misinformed logic, contradicts the statement that Jesus made to Pilate. Be sure of this: If we reject truth, then we reject Jesus. In John 3:21, He said, “He who practices the truth comes to the Light…”

The Word of God is the truth and there is no lie in it. Jesus is tied essentially to His word, united to the word to the degree that it is impossible to separate Him from it. To search the word without turning to Jesus, is like someone, needing an operation, but believes that it is enough to read a book about surgery, without turning to a surgeon. On the other hand, to intend to come to Jesus, without being led by His word, is like trying to arrive at an unknown destination without a map or a compass. His entire personality is behind what He declares and when He pronounces a word, it is no longer only letters and syllables, but is full of life and eternal value. “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (Jn. 6:63).

Paul causes us to understand in 1 Corinthians 3:11 that Jesus is the only foundation, upon which the church (and each member in it) can be built. However Jesus, in Matthew 7:24, teaches us to build upon His word. He maintains that whoever does so, can be assured that his house, meaning his life, cannot fall or be destroyed. Therefore, we see the oneness of the word and the Person. We can conclude that it is impossible to ignore the word and at the same time know Jesus, or to build upon His word without the person of Jesus working in us. He and His word are inseparable.

Principally, the work of the one who ministers divine, heavenly things cannot be to encourage or to move emotions in his listeners, but he must instruct them in the truth of the word of Jesus. The reason is that only the reception of truth, not encouragement or sentiment, can liberate a wicked, deceived heart: “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:32). A true minister must carry the Bible in his hand or in his memory, but more importantly in his heart. It also is necessary that he have the unction of the Holy Spirit, in order to be able to impart that which is spiritual and supernatural to hearts. The Spirit is the Author, who originally inspired the writers of Scripture and only He can inspire the one, who speaks it, and the one, who hears it.


Throughout the four Gospels, we see that the writers presented Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Christ of the Old Testament. Time after time, when they quoted Him or reported an account of a deed, they said something similar to, “so that it was fulfilled what was written…” To give some examples, we only need look to the Gospel of John, chapter 19, where it narrates the crucifixion: “They said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be’; this was to fulfill the Scripture: They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots” (vs.24). “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, ‘I am thirsty’” (vs.28). “For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, Not a bone of Him shall be broken” (vs.36). The evangelists wanted to be sure that the reader would believe in the true Christ, who had been prophesied beforehand, by means of the living, supernatural inspiration of the Spirit.

Jesus, speaking of Himself, did the same. After the resurrection, we read in Luke 24:25-27 that He was in the company of two men on the road to Emmaus, who could not recognize Him. Then Jesus began to talk about Himself, making reference to the five books of Moses,  
beginning with Genesis. One by one, He cited the prophets and what they had written about Him. Jesus wanted these men to know and recognize Him, according to the Scriptures.

Paul wrote to the Galatians, who were at the point of abandoning the gospel in order to receive a legalistic doctrine with its origin in Jerusalem: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). He acknowledged the possibility of entering himself a second time into Galatia to proclaim another gospel. What would be the difference and how could Paul be so sure that he had announced the true gospel the first time? The basis of his confidence was not in himself, but in the word of God that he had so carefully presented. To confirm this, we will go to the book of Acts to see the pains Paul took to center his message in the Scripture, which in his day, was nothing more than the Old Testament.

As he began his missionary work, we find Paul and Barnabas in Pisidia, giving a history lesson, filled with passages quoted from the Bible. Therefore “nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord” (Acts 13:44). Already many of the listeners were Gentiles, “and the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region” (vs.49). In Philippi, God moved in a jailer: “They spoke the word of the Lord to him together with his whole household” (16:32). In Thessalonica, Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ” (17:3).

Paul’s approach was no different in Berea and he first spoke in the synagogue. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds” (17:11-13). Let’s pay special attention to the Bereans. Since they did not want to establish a basis on the word of a man only, they verified everything that Paul said by the Scriptures. The fact that they would not confide in the person of Paul did not offend him. That truly was his goal. He wanted to present the word in such a way that the people could put their confidence in it. In that way, Paul could be sure that the doctrines that he presented were not personal ideologies, but the will and promises predetermined by God. Should he return anyplace without this caution, proclaiming another revelation not founded in the Scripture, he would bring a curse upon himself.

Suppose that Paul would go back to Galatia with an arrogant self-confidence, thinking that it was no longer necessary to be careful to back his teachings with Scripture. Suppose, after much success and experience, he would begin to announce that God could speak directly through his mouth. Exactly that has happened with many false teachers that have arisen since, who have proclaimed themselves to be the mouthpiece of God. Paul already has warned the Galatians that, if this should happen to him, they ought to look at him as someone under the curse of God. Then, they should not pay attention to him, if he so came to visit and teach them.

Likewise, it is necessary that we be sure that we are presenting Jesus in a biblical fashion, especially in the day, in which we live. When His disciples came to Him and He began to prophecy of the end of the age, Jesus first and principally spoke of an extraordinary deception. “See to it that no one misleads you. For many (not few) will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many (not few)… Many (not few) false prophets will arise and will mislead many (not few)… For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance” (Mt. 24:4-5, 11, 24-25).

The apostle John warns us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 Jn. 4:1). He helps us understand that behind false prophets there are evil spirits and, as the false prophets, any individual can begin to be misled, believing these spirits. They may deceive by dreams, visions, personal revelation, and careless and false interpretations of the Scripture.

Paul recognized the possibility of preaching about Jesus, using His name, and at the same time, talking about another person altogether than the Jesus of the Bible: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached (one not consistent with the Scriptures), or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully” (2 Cor. 11:3-4).

Paul also prophesied to Timothy concerning the last days as dangerous times, in which people, who pretend to be Christians, would be “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Tim. 3:5). The true gospel, in whatever time period and in whatever place it is proclaimed, continues to be “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). In any place and time, in which the true gospel is presented, the people who receive it will be transformed and kept by the power of the same gospel. “If anyone (whoever, wherever, and whenever) is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17).

The Psalmist wrote these words, spoken by God: “These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you (about these things) and state the case in order before your eyes” (Ps. 50:21). It is not difficult to fabricate a god that is just like we are, who sees and understands things, as we do, and still does not reprove or rebuke us. Therefore, we can justify ourselves and, at the same time, satisfy our own lusts and desires. However, in the next verse of this Psalm, God warns that there will be no one who can deliver, when He tears in pieces. Paul made it clear, “Is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be!” (Gal. 2:17).

It was said of the great Scotsman and missionary to Israel, Robert Murray McCheyne, who died at 30 years of age, that “his profound knowledge of the human heart with its passions, made him concentrate deeply and largely on the topics that would help the sinner to discover his guilt, and also on the signs that demonstrate evidences of a transformation, more than on ‘the good news’”. Without exception, one reads that this was the practice of the most effective and important evangelists in history. They first dealt with the deception of sin, before presenting the gospel. What arrogance makes us think that we know better today than they did?

Once someone told me, “When I received Christ, I rejoiced in being forgiven, but I had no concept of Him as my King”. With these words, he demonstrated an inaccurate reception of the gospel that, in time, destroyed him. I suspect that some, although they can sing with their eyes tightly shut and an angelic face, who speak of loving Christ with the whole heart, are proclaiming another Jesus, invented on the basis of a mixture of some Scripture, personal “revelation”, and much human imagination. Many years ago, I heard a young believer speak arrogantly to veterans in the faith that he did not have much time to study the Bible, because he was “so busy in the work of God”. That same person ended his life, defeated and ruined.

In some cases, one has to wait years to see the disastrous results of a falsely applied faith. However, be assured, in time it will be discovered that such a person, quite possibly, was never regenerated nor brought up by the Christ of the Bible, but by a fabrication, produced in a heart “more deceitful than all else and.. desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). The danger exists for a poor sinner, looking for relief, to fall into the deception of unclean spirits, who cater to his unregenerate heart, so that “the last state of that man becomes worse than the first” (Mt. 12:45). In modern times, commonly a Christ is presented who sways with the trends of the day, but this is not the Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.


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