Bible study reading
Please prayerfully read through the following portions of ministry related to this lesson.
Romans 14 is a chapter on the church life. It tells us how to maintain the fellowship with the saints to have the church life. Verse 17 says, “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” This verse strongly proves that the reality of the church life is the kingdom life. This realization requires you to go to Matthew 5 through 7. In those three chapters is the reality of the kingdom life. Romans 14:17 only gives us an extract of the reality of the kingdom life in three items: righteousness toward ourselves, peace toward others, and joy with God.
In Matthew 5 those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness are blessed (vv. 6, 10). Also, our righteousness should surpass that of the Pharisees. If we do not have such a surpassing righteousness, we cannot enter into the kingdom of the heavens (v. 20). Matthew 5 also tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (v. 9). Our Father is the God of peace (Rom. 15:33; 16:20), having a peaceful life with a peaceful nature. The sons of the kingdom are makers of peace. Matthew 5 also tells us that we are blessed when others reproach and persecute us and that when this happens, we are to rejoice and exult (vv. 11-12). Romans 14:17 says that this joy is in the Holy Spirit. This is the kingdom life, which is the reality of the church life. (Elders’ Training, Book 6: The Crucial Points of Truth in Paul’s Epistles, ch. 2, section 6)
According to the revelation in the New Testament, the proper church life is the kingdom life. If we live under the rule of the living God within us, that is, under the rule of the kingdom of the heavens, we shall have the kind of life recorded in chapters five, six, and seven of Matthew. We shall also have a life of the kingdom practiced in the church life. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, msg. 209, section 2)
When you are about to receive the saints, you must realize that the saints are not to be received according to your doctrinal concepts or religious practices regarding eating and drinking. The kingdom of God is neither eating nor drinking...Whether you eat turtle or cabbage means nothing. However, righteousness, peace, and joy mean a great deal, for these items are the expression of Christ. (Life-study of Romans, msg. 29, section 2)