The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed; it starts off small, but grows gradually into a mighty tree (Mark 4:30-32). Establishing the Kingdom is a many faceted task.
Spiritual warfare comes first. We must win the battle in the "heavenlies" first. Victory in the spiritual world must be established before we can obtain victory in the physical world. After victory in the spiritual world, we can go on to achieve victory at the physical level. (Behind each yellow arrow is a spiritual victory.) Nothing can be done without spiritual warfare.
Expanding the Kingdom requires evangelism, evangelism and more evangelism. God will not force people to obey him. People will only choose to obey him, if they have a changed heart. The only way to get a new heart is to be born again in response to the gospel. Therefore, evangelism is critical and essential.
As part of evangelism, we must establish victory in the area where the spiritual dimension intrudes into the physical: sickness and the demonic. This is why healing and deliverance are a manifestation of the Kingdom of God (Matt 10:7,8). Demons are Satan's best method of control. Sickness is his second best method of controlling individuals. The battle between sickness and health is about authority/control. When a person is healed, a part of their body that has been under the power of the devil is set free. Healing is part of coming into the kingdom of God
As it comes into their hands, Christians should take up authority and exercise it. When there are just a few Christians in society, the Government of God will be limited to individuals and a few families (there are very few yellow arrows).
The yellow arrow represents authority authority submitted to God. The blue arrows represent authority exercised in opposition to God. Sometimes the authority (arrow) is mixed.
As more people become Christians, more authority will come into obedience to Jesus.
Business is a good place to exercise authority. Even in a hostile culture, the owners of an effective business will have significant authority. After learning to exercise authority in the church and the family, Christians should go on to exercise authority in the business world. Business is a good place to learn about authority and how to exercise it.
Christians should also target the culture and the institutions that shape it. Because we live in a society that sees the "State as Saviour", many think we should target the government first. This is wrong.
The civil government will come into the kingdom of God last. However, we should be getting prepared for the time when the governments of men collapse.
We must be careful not to become obsessed with the spiritual dimension. Spiritual warfare on its own achieves nothing. We must also go on to the following steps.
We must work from the bottom to the top. In reality, television, film, music, radio journalism and schools are more important than politics, in the battle for the hearts and minds of the people. The battle for the culture has to be won before the battle for politics can begin. If we don't win the battle for the culture, we will lose. If we lose the cultural battle, even spiritual warfare will not be effective. We cannot change the law without changing the culture first; it will just be ignored.
>>> culture >>> morality >>> law
Culture is a reflection of our worldview. Our worldview is taken in with our mother's milk. How do you shape a worldview? You can't do "world view" classes at age 6. You cannot take a pill. It is not a natural process. Our worldview is shaped by our culture. In seeking places of authority and areas of influence we should look to those that shape the culture. They determine the prevailing worldview.
During the 1950's and 1960's in New Zealand, Billy Graham had successful campaigns and the churches were growing. The Prime minister carried a copy of the Ten Commandments in his satchel. However, the culture (music, movies, television) was going the other way, so Christians lost the battle even though it appeared as if they were winning. They were winning in the less important battlegrounds, but they gave up authority in the most influential places.
The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds
God does not physically separate out Christian institutions from non-Christian ones. Most institutions carry on with the same role. The only difference is in the way that authority is exercised within them. This is the meaning of the parable of the wheat and tares (Mark 13:24-43).
We cannot see the Kingdom of God, because there is not a set of non-Christian institutions and a separate set of Christian ones. For example, here is often no visible difference between a Christian business and a non-Christian one. They have the same equipment and often do the same task. They employ the people with the same skills. The difference is in the way they use authority and who they are submitted to. The only real difference is in their hearts and their attitude to God. We would have to see into their hearts to know if they are part of the Kingdom of God. We cannot tell by the name of their business. We can usually tell by their fruit. This is why Jesus said that we cannot see the Kingdom of God (Luke 17:20,21). The only real difference is in the hearts of the people and the way that they exercise authority.
For example, a Christian joinery workshop will look exactly the same as a non-Christian one. The equipment will be the same. The products will often look the same. The difference will be in the hearts of the owners and those in authority. However, on the surface there will not be much difference. Consider two radio stations, eg Radio Rhema and Channel Z? They look the same. They both broadcast radio programs. They both use the same equipment. The stations will appear the same, except for the posters on the wall. However, the messages broadcast may show where their allegiance lies.
The kingdom is not created out of nothing. Kingdom (authority) already exists everywhere. It is just not "of God". Authority in existing institutions must be transferred Back to God.
The wheat and the weeds both grow up together. However the wheat gradually grows taller. This means that the authority to which institutions submit gradually change. Over time, more and more will submit to God.
Some Christians interpret this parable to mean that the Kingdom is never victorious. They don't understand how crops grow. If the weeds grow as well as the wheat and choke it, the crop would not be worth harvesting. This can happen and many farmers have had to plough their "choked out" crops back into the ground. A good crop of wheat will grow faster than the weeds, so they are choked out. The fact that there is a good harvest means that the wheat has outgrown the weeds.
If good increases, evil must decrease. In the parable of the mustard seed, the birds come and shelter in the branches. This is because the mustard tree becomes so strong and brings peace, that even those who oppose it (the birds) see its benefits and try to get some of them. The Government of God brings such blessing that even those who hate God enjoy its benefits, even while they still hate its King.
The Role of the Church
The role of the church is to recruit people and train them for the Kingdom. This role has been neglected. Pastors have focussed on growth of the church. When they have new converts, they try to find them a role in the church. They should be helping them find their calling. Most Christians will exercise their calling outside the church.
The Church should train Christians in the work of the Kingdom.
The church should pray for people in positions of authority in the Kingdom.
A successful church is one whose members are building the Government of God.
The Kingdom of God provides the vision cause, challenge and plan which the world is looking for.
theme is developed further in the new book from Kingwatch
The Bible is clear about the result of the battle.
Why are we still acting if he has won?Jesus won.
The Great Brain Robbery
Very few Christians believe that the church will establish the Kingdom of God in this age. They believe that the gospel will be successful at times and that some churches will grow very large. However, the possibility that the Kingdom of God will be established does not occur to them. This idea doesn't even figure in their dreams.
They do not expect the kingdom to be established now. In fact, if things on earth get worse, it is a sign that the Coming of Jesus is getting closer. Therefore we often don't really want to see the Kingdom being established.
This doctrine that Jesus will Return to establish the Kingdom, is Satan's greatest lie. He has used this lie to successfully cripple the church.
The teaching that Jesus will personally come back and establish the Kingdom of God is not true. The Bible teaches that Jesus will Return to receive the kingdom from the church, so that he can hand it Back to the Father (1 Cor 15:24,25).
Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God incessantly. His gospel was a gospel of the kingdom. It was not a gospel of Kingdom at the end of age. It was a gospel of the Kingdom of God at hand, now. He commissioned the church to establish the kingdom, now.
This seems strange to us. Jesus' view of the Kingdom is different from the view of most Christians. The reason is that many Christians have unwittingly accepted a lie from Satan. He has fooled us into believing that Jesus will establish the Kingdom when he returns. He has fooled us into believing that we don't have to do it, because Jesus will do it for us. The problem with this is that he has robbed us of our inheritance. The Kingdom of God is our inheritance.
When we read the Scriptures, we tend to shift the passages that promise victory to after the Second Coming. The Scriptures that promise hard times are assigned to the current age. This is part of the lie that Satan has sold us. The reality is that most of the passages about victory are meant for this age. We have been robbed of these promises of hope.
A corporate mental stronghold is a false idea that takes hold in a culture so that it is wisely accepted. The belief that Jesus will build the Kingdom of God when he returns is a corporate mental stronghold that has crippled the Church
Our Home is in Heaven?
Many Christians believe their true home is in heaven and they cannot wait to get there. However, this is not completely true. Our current home is on the earth. Paul had dual citizenship. He was a Jewish citizen and a Roman citizen. He had rights in both places. We are dual citizens as well. We are citizens of both earth and heaven, having rights in both places. We should not become so focussed on heaven that we forget our role on earth. Earth belongs to God. We are his stewards. He needs us to carry out this role.
The kingdom of man is currently building up to collapse. It has been building up its power to enormous heights, but has been unable to deliver what it has promised and is cracking at the seams. When it collapses there will be an enormous power vacuum. The group that is ready with an alternative vision will receive a great welcome. The Christian community should be getting ready for this challenge.
Return to the Kingdom of God.