The Advancing Kingdom - Part 2
According to Matthew 11:12 the kingdom of God is an advancing kingdom. It is not a retreating kingdom or a disappearing kingdom or even a here-then-gone-then-back-again kingdom. Prophetically it is a kingdom that knows no end.
Jesus described it to be like a mustard seed, starting small and then growing. Both John and Jesus preached repentance for the same reason. Why repent? Repent for the kingdom of God is as close as your hand. In order to experience it, everything else must go. The call was to turn from every other priority and receive the urgent call of the now and forever present kingdom.
This would take great faith on their part. They presumed that the kingdom of God would come all at once and were not ready for a kingdom that would come in stages over many years.
It did come, but the power and authority that would end the world as we know it was far off in the future. Jesus said it was here, but it was not fully manifested yet. It came, it is advancing. One day it will appear and change the world as we know it. When the kingdom appears completely it will be for one purpose, to rule the new world.
When the kingdom appears completely it will be for one purpose, to rule the new world.
Starting small didn’t seem to bother Jesus. He started with 12 and in the last hours of his life ended with none. Alone he successfully broke the dominating powers of darkness giving us the liberty to be led from the kingdom that causes death into the kingdom that brings life.
Today the kingdom is still advancing. That’s easy for us to forget when evil and chaos are also trying to advance. Though defeated and the days of Satan’s power are numbered, that doesn’t stop him from attempting to cause as much trouble, persecution and tribulation as possible.
I think we humans have a much easier time believing in the power of evil than believing in the power of good. Ask the average person if they think the world is getting better or worse. Worse is always the answer I get.
Most of us are a lot more familiar with the power of darkness than with the power of God.
Most of us are a lot more familiar with the power of darkness than with the power of God. We have become so comfortable seeing images of abuse, murder and injustice. How easily we forget that the kingdom is still advancing.
Dwell on darkness long enough and you become easy prey to some crank teaching that soon Satan is going to take over the world. We begin to overlook evil and excuse it because we believe evil is supposed to be progressing.
Our faith and comfort with evil allows us to deny the ever advancing kingdom of God. We expect God's kingdom to retreat and then allow the devil to take over God’s creation.
I am not sure that we Christians are really even prepared for God’s happy ending.
I am not sure that we Christians are really even prepared for God’s happy ending. I think we are more suited for a blood and guts ending. We much prefer another story, one that first century Jews never believed and never knew.
The story we like has the good ones taken away, the bad ones left behind ruled by Satan and the Jews getting what they deserve for killing Jesus. Please realize that is not the story I believe, but it is the most popular theory of today.
Why is that story so easy for so many to accept and believe? I think it is because we sit in churches next to people who really have no interest in serving God. They live in a self-serving world.
In a self-serving world, the present kingdom becomes harder and harder to realize. God withdraws from our self-serving ways and becomes hard to find. We begin to just go through the motions of religion.
All of us like to see stadiums full of people singing hymns to Jesus. We like to hear of the massive crowds this evangelist or that evangelist draws to a giant crusade. Big crowds and big churches give us confidence that God is still hopefully up to something.
I like big too, but the reality is that the truly faithful, the whole hearted, are like a remnant.
I like big too, but the reality is that the truly faithful, the whole hearted, are like a remnant, a small piece of torn away cloth within this huge religion called Christianity. Those who serve unswervingly, are never distracted, are never moved by the latest fad or culture wave, who attempt to put the kingdom of God first are rare.
I need to also accept and believe that no matter how Jewish people appear today towards God and his kingdom, there is a remnant out there somewhere being prepared to advance. There may be no hard evidence of their existence right now, but I believe it’s because they haven’t heard the good news.
What they have heard has been horrible news of blood, guts, destruction and a great tribulation waiting for them. They need to hear the same message that their ancestors heard and believed. Jesus announced the kingdoms arrival. The kingdom of God has always meant restoration, not destruction.
I am believing for a time of great advancement for the kingdom of God.
I am believing for a time of great advancement for the kingdom of God. I am looking for a day when the remnant of Gentile Christians, those without compromise, those willing to give up everything to obtain the great treasure of experiencing the power of the kingdom will come together with the Jewish remnant in a great explosion of the presence of God.
What could there possibly be left after that? Paul said if there rejection meant salvation for the gentiles, their acceptance must mean nothing less than the resurrection from the dead.