Five main institutions involving authority are important for the Kingdom of God. We know about the church. Christians should also be involved in several other areas of authority.

1. Families

God explicitly established three human institutions that will exercise authority on the earth. The family, the church and the law. The family was created first and is the central institution in God's plan.

Families have an important role in exercising authority. When a man marries a wife and their children accept their authority, then the whole family becomes part of the Kingdom of God (1 Cor 7:14).

The yellow arrow represents Authority to God. The blue arrow represents authority exercised in opposition to God. Sometimes the authority (arrow) is mixed.

If one of the children controls the family, as sometimes happens, then the family is outside the Kingdom; even if the father is a Christian.

The family is an important training ground for exercising authority. In fact, if a person cannot exercise authority in their family, then they should not be appointed to a position of authority in any other institution (1 Tim 3:5).

Children learn about authority in their family (Prov 13:24). Parents teach about authority by:

A new Christian learns about authority by exercising it in their family (1 Tim 3:4). Once they have learned about it in their family, they are ready to be given authority in other institutions.

The family is just one area of authority that is important for the Government of God.

2. Business

A business begins when some people with skills and spare assets gives authority over them to a business organisation. Pooling assets increases their effectiveness. Often a group of people who belong to the same Kingdom Community will pool their resources and combine their skills to establish a business.

Businesses have limited and temporary authority. Owners can sell their shares in the business at any time. A business cannot force people to buy the goods and services it has produced. It cannot force people to work for it. Employees submit to the authority of the business, but they can resign from their employment when they choose. If a business is wound up, the authority it exercised disappears.

Businesses operate under Free Authority, which is the best type of authority. They cannot force people to do things against their will. Only governments have that power. A business can only exercise Imposed Authority if it is empowered by a government.

Business is a powerful tool for achieving results. Even if Adam and Eve had not sinned, business activity would have been needed, as it is the best way to manage the people and resources needed to care for the earth. A large part of the work of caring for the world that God has given to his people will have to be done by businesses. Followers of Jesus who want to help restore the world should look for opportunities to get involved in business activities.

Business is a good model for organising groups of people to work together on a common task, so exercising authority in business is essential for bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. Business is a good place to expand the authority of the Kingdom.

Business is an effective tool for organising people and using productive assets to advance the Kingdom of God. Even in a hostile culture, followers of Jesus will usually be free to operate businesses that produce things that people need.

The business world is a key area of authority that has been neglected by Christians.

Christians spend about a third of their lives at work. Usually, this will be in a business of some kind. They need to understand how this relates to the Government of God.

Even the lowliest person in a business organisation has some authority. They have authority over the way that they do their work and over there own actions (for example, when dealing with customers). If they obey Jesus as they exercise their authority, that part of the business becomes part of the Kingdom of God (even if all the rest of the staff are not Christians).

Principles for obeying Jesus in the work-day world.

  1. We should obey those who are in authority over us with sincerity and respect (Eph 6:5-7).

  2. We should serve wholeheartedly as if we were serving the Lord (Eph 6:7,8; John 13:1-7; Mark 10:42-45).

  3. We should submit to authority above us. Too many Christians snipe at those above them and undermine their authority.

In New Zealand, it is unlikely that our employers will ask us to disobey God in our work. In other parts of the world, people may be asked to steal from others. If the conflict between obeying our employer and obeying Jesus becomes too great, a Christian may need to resign and find other work (Acts 5:29).

Managers

If a Christian is promoted to a position of greater authority, this expands the Government of God in that business. All the people over whom they have authority become part of the Kingdom of God while they are submitted to the Christian manger. (The yellow area has expanded. The arrows are a mixed colour because some of the staff who are not Christians will not always do what the Christian manager asks.)

Principles for Managers

  1. Being a manager is very hard. The church should be studying and preparing teaching for Christians who are appointed to management or supervisory positions in business. Too often it is assumed that a Christian will know what to do in a new position.

  2. The spiritual power behind the position must be dealt with. Spirits attach to positions of authority more of than to a geographic place. Unless the previous manager was a Christian walking in righteousness, he will have released evil spirits onto the role. In any area where he had submitted to evil, matching spirits will have established themselves in the position. They will have to be forced out. If these spirits are not dealt with, the new manager will find it very hard, unless he is not vulnerable to the same sin. (This is why the Kings of Israel continued in the sins of their fathers (1 Kings 15:34)).

  3. The church should pray for Christian managers in the business world. They are often under more intense spiritual pressure than Christians in full-time ministry in the church.

  4. Christians in high positions often give up on Christianity, because they are unable to reconcile their business life and their Christian life. They are often criticised for spending all their time in the world. They need understanding of how their work relates to the government of God and the authority of Jesus.

  5. Christians involved in the world of business should beware of the "deceitfulness of riches" (Mark 4:19). They can easily be distracted from serving Christ and end up serving money.

  6. Management at any level of business is one of the most important ministries. In the modern world, business is the place where most authority resides. There is probably authority in the business world than there is in the church. Exercising this authority for Jesus is an important ministry.

  7. Christians should be seeking positions of authority, if they are called by God. Business is an honourable calling.

  8. All human authority is limited and subject to boundaries. Even the CEO of a business has limits on their authority. The board of directors, bankers, shareholders, and the law limit what they can do.

  9. Customers also have authority. They place limits on what business can do.

  10. Those at the lower levels in the business have less authority and less freedom. Those at higher levels have more freedom and more authority. (The yellow has spread to all areas of the business. If the chief executive officer is a Christian and his authority is accepted the entire business becomes part of the kingdom.)

  11. Christian managers will exercise authority in a different way from most managers in the world. They will not try to dominate or control. They will not be obsessed with image or status. They will not use people to advance their own careers. Instead, they will try to develop the full potential of their staff. They will give them freedom and responsibility to make decisions, within the broad, standards, goals and values of the business. Decisions will be pushed as far down in the hierarchy as possible. People will be treated with dignity and decency. The church should be developing and mentoring Christian models of leadership and management.

  12. Christian managers will attempt to replicate their ministries. They will train up the managers under them, so that they can be sent out to exercise authority and leadership in other businesses. A Christian business should develop a reputation as a good place from which to recruit managers. An apostolic approach to management will also help expand the Government of God.

The Church and Business

  1. The modern church tends to have a truncated, church-centred vision. The focus is on revival, which is church centred. If the focus were more on the Government of God, the importance of business would be better understood.

  2. Pastors often see business and work as an enemy that is stopping Christians from doing church work.

  3. Most churches see business as a source of money for the church and a place for evangelism. Christians in business will be a good source of both giving and evangelism. If that is all that happens, business is just serving the church. The church should be looking for ways to serve those who are serving God in the business world.

  4. Christians often see business as part of the world. Business is seen as the centre of the world system. In the western world, this is true. Consumerism has been led by business. The reason that business has become so worldly is that Christians have stayed out of business. However, if we desert an area of life, we can expect that it will not become evil. It does not have to be that way.

  5. Business is a powerful vehicle for achieving results. It can be used just as effectively for achieving good goals. For example, most of the technological advances in the modern world have been developed by businesses. Whether the impact of business is good or evil depends on the values and goals of the people who own and manage the business.

  6. The church needs to recover a kingdom vision. The great commission was just a re-statement of the original (cultural) mandate given to Adam and Eve (Gen 1:27,28). God didn't need to say, "all authority on heaven and earth has been given to me". This was clear from Gen 1:1-25. His authority came from the fact that he was the creator. God gave mankind two tasks.

    • Multiply and fill the earth.
    • Subdue and rule the earth.

    The first task can be done by families; with help from the church, where they need converting. However, families, government and the church can't complete the task of subduing the earth on their own. A large part of this task will be done by businesses.

  7. Business provides an opportunity to for Christians to exercise authority. Often they will not be able to get positions of authority in the government, but any Christian with a good idea for something that people want can be successful in business.

  8. The modern church tends to be imperialistic. Everything has to flow into it, or it is not interested. The church tends to want the best people. When a person becomes a Christian, the pastor immediately tries to find a place to use him in the church. Instead, the church should have an apostolic vision. It should train people up (many useful skills can be learnt in the church), and send them out to work in the business world. For example, the church has some really good musicians. It should be sending the best of these out to work in the secular music industry. The direction of the flow should be reversed, so that the church is sending good people out to the business world.

  9. I believe that some men, who are currently working as pastors, could have an even greater impact in the business world. A pastor, who has a vision to have a very large organisation, may have skills that God could use better in the world of business.

  10. Many men find church boring. The reason is that the church is focussed on people and relationships. Only a small proportion of men are called to pastoral work. Most men need the excitement and challenge of achieving a demanding goal. Many will only find their fulfilment in the business world.

Small Business

A business does not become Christian by giving it a Christian name. A business becomes Christian when the person in authority obeys God.

The owner of a small business has considerable authority over their staff. Even if they are not Christians, they have to do things the owner's way. While they obey the owner and accept the owner's standards, they are part of the Government of God.

Media

The music, movie and media industries are very important business activities. Christians have tended to retreat from these activities because they are considered to be evil. As a result, they have become evil. This is a mistake because these activities have authority over the minds of future generations. We ignore them at our peril. For the Kingdom of God to be established, Christians will have to get back into these activities.

A Christian in a position of authority in a media organisation expands the influence of the Government of God. If the staff, who are not Christians, accept the authority of the Christian manager or owner, they are also accepting the authority of God, sometimes without knowing.

We should be careful about establishing "Christian" media, or a "Christian" music industry or "Christian" movies. The danger is that these become ghettoes, which combine high moral standards with low technical quality and have no impact on the world. A better approach is to see the "Christian" equivalent as a training ground, from which, Christians can be sent out to have an impact in the (currently) secular music, film and media industries. For example, a Christian Radio Station with an apostolic vision would send out its best people to work in other non-Christian radio stations.

Fuzzy Edges

The boundary of the Kingdom can be fuzzy. Non-Christian workers who submit to the authority of a supervisor, who is a Christian, are part of the Government of God while they are at work. If they disobey their supervisor's authority, they step out of the Kingdom. When they go home, or to the pub at lunchtime, they are outside the Kingdom. They move in and out of the Kingdom of God.

Business Goals

As businesses come into the Government of God, their goals will change dramatically. The modern business often seeks to manipulate demand for its products by seductive advertising. They often seek to make a profit at all costs. A business that is part of the Kingdom of God will:

3. Law and Protection

Law and Protection are an important area of authority that has been misunderstood by the church. Unfortunately, human government has become a serious obstacle to the emergence of the Kingdom of God, because the people on earth rely on political authorities for prosperity and security, rather than trusting in God. Unfortunately, this trust in human political authority allows the spiritual powers of evil to expand their authority.

When the people of a city or nation submit to their political leaders, they give them authority over their lives. If the powers of evil get to control the people at the top of the political hierarchy, they gain authority over all the people submitted to them. Concentration of political power leverages the authority of the powers of evil.

The spiritual powers that control political leaders are called "principalities and powers", or more correctly "government spirits" in the Bible. Some, like Prince of Persia, take the name of their nation (Dan 10:20). They have immense authority on earth, despite their defeat on the cross, because people submit to the leaders controlled by them. Political leaders have legal authority over their people, so attacking them gives the principalities and powers control over cities and nations.

Focusing on individual people is a very inefficient way for the powers of evil to use their shrinking power. If an evil spirit gains control over one person, it can make that person's life miserable, but that is all. By getting control over a political leader, the same spirit can make an entire nation miserable. The powers of evil amplify their power by attacking people with political authority.

The power of evil is mostly an illusion, but concentrating on a few powerful people has allowed the forces of evil to magnify their pathetic power. Controlling human political power has amplified their authority out of proportion to their strength.

In the modern world, political power has been centralised and consolidated as never before. The leader of a modern democratic nation has greater power and authority than an emperor in Old Testament times, because they can control every aspect of life in their city or nation.

The political systems of great nations are extremely dangerous, because one person has control over hundreds of millions of people. The devil can gain huge power on earth, by deploying a few strong spirits to get control of the president of China, Russia or the United States. By getting control of these leaders, the principalities and powers get authority over everyone submitted to them. Concentration of human political power gives vast power to the principalities and powers that control it.

The principalities and powers love to "steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10). We are seeing this now in many parts of the world. Wars and economic crashes are not God's judgements, but are a sign that evil powers have been given a free hand.

Political power is a huge obstacle to the Kingdom of God, because it is so vulnerable to evil. Political evil cannot be defeated with political power. Many Christians have unwittingly supported the enemy and held back the Kingdom by seeking political power. Instead, we must wait until God destroys human government by bringing judgment against it when the time is right.

Rejecting Political Power

The principalities and powers obtain authority on earth by colluding with human political powers. Christians should be wary of submitting to human political powers, because this puts them under the authority of the principalities and powers that control them. We may sometimes have to submit to political leaders voluntarily for the sake of peace, so we can get on with sharing the gospel, but we must never forget that they are usurpers of authority (1 Pet 2:13-15). If they prevent us from serving Jesus, we should withdraw our submission and accept the consequences, knowing that the worst they can do is take our lives.

Modern societies are dominated by their governments, so Christians have often been tempted to use the power of the state to force people to change their behaviour in line with God's will. These "moral laws" undermine his Kingdom, because they authenticate the Imposed Authority of the modern state.

Seeking political power is a wasted effort, because God does not want a Christian minority enforcing his will on an unwilling world. A kingdom of love cannot be established by Imposed Authority. We cannot use political power to defeat the principalities and powers.

Instead of fighting against human power, Christians should wait for God to deal with it. This can be painful, but we can only obtain victory in God's way.

Different Government

Jesus is a different king, so his kingdom has a radically different approach to authority.

Jesus is committed to love and freedom, so he will not use Imposed Authority to establish the Kingdom of God. Coercion corrupts authority. Force and control belong to the kingdoms of the world. Jesus' Kingdom is based on:

Jesus rejected Imposed Authority, because he knows that loyalty is won by love and lost by force. His Kingdom advances by suffering and service, not by military power and political coercion. Jesus does not want his people "lording it over" the rest of society, because he wants a voluntary kingdom. When Christians seize political power to advance the Kingdom, they are serving the other side. Jesus will not force people to obey him, because he wants them to be free. We must only use force and power against evil spirits.

Avoid Political Authority

Christians must not use political authority to establish the Kingdom of God. It cannot be imposed from the top, but grows organically from the bottom up.

Before getting involved in politics, we should remember that politics is usually the cause of the problem. Politics is rarely the solution. When the kingdom of God comes, democracy should disappear.

Law and Judges

Authority should always be pushed down as far as possible and distributed as widely as possible. Decentralisation of civic authority will be essential in the Kingdom of God. Local judges applying God's law will be the main form of government.

A combination of biblical law and godly judges will place the legal system entirely under the authority of God.

Free Authority

Authority in the Kingdom of God always comes from below. This is the Christian way. Jesus could have called a legion of angels to enforce his rulership, but chose not to (Matthew 26:53). He wanted voluntary obedience. He did not want coerced obedience.

As the influence of the gospel increases, human government will shrink and disappear. Murder and theft will decline, so the need for judges will diminish. If people are trusting God for their protection, defence may still be important.

In the Government of God, there must be no coercion. It is based on voluntary submission to authority. There are only to places where coercion is allowed.

  1. Parents have authority to coerce children. This is necessary for their protection, but this should not be a control thing. As children mature and are able to manage there own lives coercion will become less necessary and freedom increased.

  2. Military leaders can repel invading armies.

In each of these two situations, coercion is allowed, but only in very limited circumstances. All other authority should come from below. Authority will always be as decentralised as possible. People will be given as much freedom as possible, subject only to the restraint of God's law.

God will never force people to obey him. Evangelism must come first. Only when evangelism has been successful and hearts are loyal to God can the civil government be brought into the Government of God.

The role of government is described in the book called Government of God.

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