The Kingdom of God within Reach: the Church

  • The Kingdom of God within Reach: the Church

At the heart of Jesus is the Kingdom of God

From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus of Nazareth preached a consistent message:  “Repent!  For the Kingdom of God is at hand!”  Jesus is calling on us to turn away from all attempts to fix ourselves and the world, and to realize that God’s resources, God’s very life, is now within our reach.  How can this be?  God’s Kingdom has been made accessible through the person of Jesus Christ.  At the heart of Jesus is the Kingdom, and in His birth God’s Kingdom has invaded the kingdom of darkness which ruled over our world.

Think about Jesus’ miracles.  Many think they are proofs that He is God’s Son.  This seems unlikely as the Father and the Son have nothing to prove.  The miracles of Jesus are evidence that a new reality is breaking in upon us.  The deaf hear, the blind see, the lame walk, the demon possessed are set free, sins are forgiven, the dead return to life, the hungry are fed.  They go on and on.  The old order of things, the ways of our broken world, no longer hold complete sway.  A new way of life is emerging.  Actually, the oldest and most ancient way of life is re-asserting itself.

Too often we preach Jesus as little more than a means of getting our sins forgiven and escaping Hell.  We may also add that having Jesus means possessing greater peace and deeper meaning in our lives.  Let me be clear:  Jesus does bring all of that—forgiveness, peace and meaning, but that is NOT the sum total of the Kingdom that Jesus brought to the world through his life, passion, death, resurrection and ascension!  Not by far. To be honest it frustrates me that so many have reduced evangelism to the forgiveness of sins while having little understanding of the true nature of the Kingdom of God.  It is central to the life and teaching of Jesus, and yet so few of His followers can say much about it.

The Kingdom of God is where life,

the way it was meant to be,

is being restored.

Did Jesus intend His followers to continue living in brokenness, bitterness, fear, anger, hatred, shallowness and selfishness?  Did He expect miracles would cease?  Did He aim for His followers to simply tolerate each other or did He desire for them to truly love one another?  Did He intend His followers to live listless, powerless, self-consumed lives that look little different from the world?

We expect too little from our Christian life because we do not adequately understand or believe in God’s Kingdom.  It is here now, right at our finger tips!

At the heart of the Church is Jesus & the Kingdom

The church is meant to be the continuing power and presence of Jesus in the world.  In Evangelical circles the mission of the church is too often reduced to preaching, behavior management and acts of service.  Churches have their many programs and too often focus on a change in outward behavior rather than in the transformation of the heart.  Putting on inspiring worship experiences and offering meaningful programs, as good as these may be, is not the same as being the church—being Jesus to each other and the world.

Through Jesus, God’ Kingdom has broken in.  At His ascension Jesus commissioned the continuation of the spread of the Kingdom to His apprentices.  The church is a community of Jesus’ apprentices who have been given the authority and the power (the Holy Spirit) to continue doing the same things He did and more (John 14:12).

Does your church look like the Kingdom has broken loose all over the place?  When the Kingdom does break loose, it is rarely clean and neat, but in its wake the lives of believers and non-believers are transformed.  Even entire communities are changed.  They begin to look something like a place where the God of the Bible reigns—where life is becoming the way it was meant to be at the beginning.

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One response

21 09 2010
Jason

good post on the Kingdom and the Church. Some days I’m happy that the Kigndom might shine like a little flashlight in my life. Not sure what life would look like if the Kingdom broke loose. Would be a joyous ride to be sure.

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