December 13, 2008

Why Bring the Kingdom?

The Book of Acts exists for one reason: the Kingdom of God. Jesus spent countless hours and took all sorts of opportunities to explain to those following Him that He had come to bring a "new" kingdom - a kingdom like none the world had ever seen. He said weird things like, "The Kingdom of God is like...a farmer who planted good seed...a treasure a man discovered hidden in a field..." and so on. Jesus sent out 72 other disciples and told them, "Whether people accept your message or tell you to get lost, make sure and announce to them that the Kingdom of God is near!" Evidently, this Kingdom is important.

I brought up the Book of Acts because of how it begins. Luke explains that after Jesus rose from the grave He met with them several times and "talked to them about the Kingdom of God." Interesting.

So Jesus spent 3 years with these men and others close to them, He fulfilled all prophecy spoken about Himself, He died on the cross, rose from the grave, conquered sin & death, has now appeared to His disciples several times, and as He does His favorite topic of conversation - the thing He sees as most valuable to repeatedly bring to their attention - is the Kingdom of God. Upon arrival Jesus brought this new Kingdom with Him. Now He is telling His followers that their main responsibility is to be bringing this Kingdom here, through the way they live, the things they say, and through their love for one another. Wherever you go...bring the Kingdom!

No sooner had Jesus gotten this out of His mouth and the disciples chime in and question, "Lord, are you now going to...restore our Kingdom?" Lord, we know that you've taught us, you've lived sacrificially among us, you were beaten and bruised and crushed and killed for us, and you've explained in detail that our lives are now about YOUR Kingdom...but just one question...when are you going to restore OUR Kingdom? Lord, we're totally great with your agenda, but is there any way You might give some attention to ours? 

[This would normally be the appropriate place to ridicule the disciples, making an example out of them. The problem with that is, WE are still asking this question today. What about OUR Kingdom?]

It is NOW time for the people of God to make the decision - which Kingdom are we living for? We cannot keep one foot - one hand or half our heart - in this kingdom and think we're going to effectively and wholeheartedly bring the new Kingdom with us. Jesus said a few things about this. (Matthew 24, Luke 14)

Are we bringing the Kingdom? This is the question for every "follower" of Christ to answer. Don't know how to know, how to tell, how to determine whether or not you're life is bringing about the Kingdom of God? Look around you. Look at those close to you. Look under your own roof. And answer this simple question: Are you making disciples? Are you showing anyone - even just ONE - what it looks like to follow Christ? Are you teaching, leading, influencing anyone - even just ONE - to make the decision to "seek first the Kingdom of God"?

So whoever you are, whatever you're doing, wherever you go, with whatever means necessary through love and mercy...bring the Kingdom! And whoever crosses your path...make sure and announce to them that "the Kingdom of God is near you now". 

Bring the Kingdom.

Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20
Luke 10

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