Following Jesus 49

As we examine the Twelve Disciples of Jesus, we have been examining the third group of four. Following James the Less and Judas Labbaeus Thaddaeus, we continued with the disciple known as Simon the Zealot. In light of these three, how can believers identify with these first century followers of Jesus, especially regarding Jesus’ kingdom?  
To begin with, followers of Jesus are members of an eternal kingdom, not a temporary earthly kingdom (John 18:36; 2 Peter 1:11). 
“So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:33-36 ESV)
“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10-11 ESV).
Secondly, for followers of Jesus God not only rules upon His throne in heaven, but also upon the throne of believer’s hearts (1 Peter 3:15).
“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:13-15 ESV).
Thirdly, for followers of Jesus, the Kingdom of God belongs to the present and well as the future (Colossians 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:9-18). 
Colossians 1:13. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14 ESV).
“Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:9-18 ESV).
Being a patriot for one’s country can be an admirable trait. However, our passion for our country must never be greater than our passion for the Lord and the kingdom of God. 
It is amazing to think about all the diverse backgrounds we have as Christians. Think about every disciple we have studied one we have thus studied: from Peter to Simon the Zealot. How many Christians to you know that come from totally different backgrounds than your own? 
How many believers do you have trouble getting along with? Why do you have trouble? Ask God to reveal to you what things are in your heart causing you to have trouble with others in Christ. 

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