Kingdom thoughts part 4

There are many thoughts and opinions on the kingdom of God, and most of the time those thoughts and opinions are correct in some way, but sometimes they are unbalanced. I think every concept on the kingdom can be driven into a ditch. I feel confident in that statement because I have done it, I have even done it on this blog. I have taken a thought or kingdom concept that is correct, and surrounded it with supporting information without also including the scriptures that bring balance to the thought. So I thought I might write about some opposing concepts, and some of the ditches that each can fall into.

There are some people who become hyper focused on building, obtaining, and conquering for the kingdom, but they forget that there is a social part of the gospel message, and there really is injustice in the world. On the opposite extreme you have people that say there is no point in building anything, and that the only thing that matters is getting people saved to leave this world because it is already too far gone (I have written more specifically about this in other parts of this series). One side wants to ignore the inconvenient truth of injustice and build, while the other side wants to ignore building and escape the world.

Building without balance can lead to disaster. If you were to do a little research on homelessness on the west coast of America right now you would find that it is growing into a very serious problem. Through the explosion of tech. companies (mostly) the west coast is building itself into having a serious problem on its hands. There are people with good jobs that are homeless because the growth has forced them out of the market. Building without balance can also lead the heart astray. There is a reality that giving handouts can cripple a people group; however, there is also the reality that first world countries sometimes build at the expense of third world countries. When a first world country extracts $20 for every $2 (made up numbers) they give to a third world country the heart has been led astray. In some cases it’s not handouts that are crippling people, it is injustice. Sometimes it’s not the handouts(just to state it plainly for balance, sometimes it is the handouts), it is the theft. Unbalanced capitalism can lead to injustice. When socialism takes from those that do, and gives it to those that don’t, that is injustice. When communism takes everything from the people, and the government decides what you get regardless of your work, that is injustice. The point is that everything has a ditch that we can fall into.

I have written more on the building side this time because as I said before, I have written about the other extreme more previously. On one side we have to look out for ditches like nationalism, triumphalism, and so on. On the other side we have to look out for ditches like defeatism, escapism, and so on.

So there is building, and there is also bringing justice where there is injustice. There is the preaching of the salvation message, and there is the preaching of the kingdom message. Although I would really just say there is preaching the gospel of Jesus as it contains both of those and more.

Both extremes can be said to contain truth, but left unbalanced I think they can both become wrong. When the extremes are put together it brings balance, and I think that balance gets us to a closer truth of kingdom expression.

As I’ve said before, I don’t know if I’m right, But hopefully I have got you thinking, and eager to dig into the word of God for yourself.

God is for you, and I am for you!

Kingdom thoughts part 3

The kingdom of God is at hand and present in the world, that is according to Jesus anyway. Some would argue the point, but I side with Jesus. Clearly it is not present in its final form, but it is present. The New testament tells the story of the kingdom becoming present, how it moves, and that it will someday come in its full expression. It seems that the bible isn’t telling us a story where the creator God wants to rescue His created people from His created world. It seems more like it is a story of God rescuing and redeeming us to rule with Him over His rescued and redeemed world. Taking spirits with souls out of this world to a place out in space somewhere called heaven doesn’t seem to be a theme in the bible. (of course I am not implying that there is no heaven, I am just saying that God is bringing heaven here) It is more like we will be resurrected just like Jesus to function on a recreated world. Christianity is not just about getting saved so we can escape earth and go to heaven; however, it’s not hard to see why this concept is popular with the evil that is in the world, and if I’m just getting saved to go to heaven it eliminates my need to be responsible to this world. We talk about gifts, callings, and purpose on this world for a reason. We do have things to do, and Apostle Paul insists that what we do for the kingdom is not in vain.

There are many that believe this to be true; however, there are also many ideas about what it looks like. There are ideas of exhortation and self-help motivation, morality, social agendas and so on. None of those things are wrong, the body has many parts; however, we can get so stuck on our way and expression that we say the others are wrong. The kingdom is not singularly any of those things, nor is it simply the sum of those things. It is not just natural expressions such as feeding the hungry, it is also super natural expressions such as miracles; however, it is also much more than those things even. Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the kingdom will someday come in its full expression and the world will be free of evil, sin, and death. This is something that even in our best work we can not do. When we look at Jesus we look at the kingdom, it entered the world when He entered the world. When we look at Jesus we see the natural expression when He feeds the 5,000. We see the supernatural in the healings, and resurrection of the dead. We also see the deciding blow to evil, sin, and death at the cross, and in God’s time we will walk on a world that is fully free of it. The kingdom is not just advancing social and political reform, etc, and it certainly isn’t about escaping the world, it’s about the rescue and redemption of God’s creation, and His glory. There are some things that literally only God can do, but there are certainly things that He does do through us. Even at the very foundation we are created in His image, meaning in the very least we are to reflect Him in the world. There are countless scriptures, and parables that speak of our responsibility as stewards. There are certain things that we cannot do such as what is mentioned above, and it is the height of human arrogance and pride to think that we can bring together the summation of all things; however, there are things that we are meant to do for the kingdom.

I know God has set you apart, and equipped you to do the things He has called you to do.

God is for you , and I am for you!