Not too long ago, I spent some time sharing why I believe the kingdom of God and the church are not synonymous (part 1, part 2). It is the kingdom which takes priority over the church, for it is the church that submits to Christ and His kingdom.
Yet, at the same time, it is definitely true that the church is the greatest tool for the advance of God’s kingdom rule. The reason being is that the church, the ekklesia of Christ, consists of those who are submitted to the rule of the King.
There are three ways in which the church is used in advancing the kingdom of God:
- Proclaiming the kingdom
- Prayer for the kingdom to come
- Walking in the authority of the kingdom
I will look at the first two in this post and the final one in the following article.
Proclaimers of the Kingdom
Not only have we entered the kingdom (John 3:3, 5; Colossians 1:13), but, just as Christ did, we have the opportunity of declaring that God’s kingdom rule has broken into human history.
But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12)
And he [Paul] entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. (Acts 19:8)
30 He [Paul] lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28:30-31)
Also, it will do us well to remember that the gospel is the power of God, thus we proclaim a powerful message:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
And, it is the Great Commission that maybe sums it all up:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Jesus had just taught the disciples that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him. He was king and He was in charge. Therefore, they could go about the nations, calling people into discipleship relationship with the King. And, even more, the King would be with them until the end of the age.
This is our mission and this is our privilege!
Prayer for the Kingdom
As I pointed out in a previous article, we are not called to pray for the church to come on earth as it is in heaven, but we are called to pray for the kingdom rule of God to come on earth just as it is in heaven.
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
In heaven, the will of God is at its perfection. As we pray for His kingdom to invade earth, we can be assured that His purposes will be accomplished. And, as His will is accomplished, we know His rule will be made manifest.
Thus, let the church never cease to pray that His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
These two – proclaiming and praying for the kingdom to come – are the great privileges of the church. There is no other people on the earth that have the opportunity to take part in such. As subjects of the King, let us be encouraged to continue in these two activities.
Click here to read the final article on the church as the greatest tool of the kingdom.