One of the popular kingdom teachings of this day is that we advance the kingdom of Jesus by doing external things. We take territory in order to stake our Christian flag in the ground. We build mini empires in order for Jesus to influence. There may be some truth to this, and I don’t have an issue with there being a this and a that; however, I would at least like to offer a different idea.
I will only use one scripture among many that explain this idea.
Luke 17:20-21. It’s a popular scripture. Here’s the NKJV:
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (my emphasis added)
Now we have to look at a couple things. 1) Jesus is talking to pharisees, and we can safely say the kingdom was not in them. 2) we are dealing with the greek word “entos” in a plural conjunction which gets translated to among, or in your midst.
Here it is in the NASB (the NIV, ESV, NLT, and many others translate it in the same way with slightly different wording):
20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (my emphasis added)
The main reason I am pointing this out is to highlight king Jesus. The kingdom was standing right in front of them. The scripture itself points out that it isn’t about what is seen, or what is external. He was telling the pharisees what the kingdom was, or better yet WHO.
There is no doubt that we are to go and preach the kingdom. We know that the increase of His kingdom, and peace will not end. So then how do we advance the kingdom?
We present the king. We recall what happened to us internally when we found Him. We recall the peace we found when we found Him. We take that and we present Jesus to other people, or even just a person. That person to another person. That person to another person, and so on. Through this His kingdom is always advancing. Through this His peace is always advancing.
It’s never about what you can build on this earth that time will destroy. It is about what you can get inside of someone that is eternal. It is always about Jesus.
You can build whatever you want, and stake a christian flag in it; however, until the people are reflecting the king, until the people are reflecting Jesus and his social norms, it is not His kingdom.
The kingdom can be advanced the next time you are at Walmart. The kingdom can be advanced whether you have a lot, or a little. The kingdom can be advanced whether you are rich or poor.
The kingdom is in Jesus. The kingdom is advanced by presenting Jesus. That’s all you have to do, He will do the rest.
Even one of my taglines for this site, live your life kingdom first, is saying live your life putting Jesus first.
God is for you, and I am for you!