One of the themes that we have been exploring these past few weeks is the Kingdom of God. And I hope that it has been clear in our presentation that when we say Kingdom of God, or even the Kingdom of Heaven, that we are not speaking of an other-worldly place we go to when we die. Kingdom of God is now and it is here. Jesus’ message is one of a new kingdom over and above all other kingdoms. It is meant to be a kingdom of intimacy where the Spirit of the Living God now lives within us, and it is meant to be a kingdom of power and authority where the “normal” domains of our life fall under His rule.
If we comprehend that Jesus came to inaugurate His kingdom on earth now, then we become a “now” people of God. Our hope in Christ is not just to patch up small scratches, comfort us when we’re lonely or sad, and offer a better resting place that many of us wish to escape to. Our hope in Christ is that His rule, His wisdom, His power and His presence transform our world, that His kingdom would come to us here and now. Many Christians have an attitude that heaven is an escape, whereas we read in the Gospels and the Epistles that Heaven is invading so that there may be a new heaven and a new earth.
This Kingdom is advanced by our witness, by our prayers, by allowing Christ to be incarnate in us. We build His kingdom through our intercessory prayers, through our fastings, through our extending His truth and His rule into the lives of those around us. We build His kingdom by coming together as a family under one Father, and demonstrating our love for one another when our flesh may prefer being separate. We build this Kingdom through unity in the faith despite the slight differences between us, allowing for the core values that unite us to be of greater significance than the few beliefs, practices or traditions that separate us. Without this unity we grow cold, like an ember removed from the fire, cold in our grateful love and passion for Christ and cold in our love for the family of God.
Probably one of the greatest enemies of the Kingdom of God is apathy. Apathy is defined as a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states “in all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state,” also known as entropy. As a believer we must consistently add new energy into the system through our times with God and with God in others; one of the reasons that worship of the family of God is such an awesome opportunity for us to give to and receive from God.
Another of the greatest enemies of the Kingdom of God is distraction where our affections, passions and energies are dissipated away from being truly effective. What’s the old adage, “Good is the enemy of the best.” There are many good things out there, but apart from God and His Kingdom they are nothing more than a distraction or a dissipation of energy. Thankfully, God can use our interests for His Kingdom, but we are commanded to “seek first the Kingdom of God” in all we do. Do you love basketball for instance? Then play basketball with a Kingdom of God emphasis and see how God can use you on your team, with your coach, and with your opponents – we must actively look for occasions to advance His Kingdom.
Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God has come, and it has! Pray therefore, that the Kingdom of God would come in all of its fulness in us and our community. Do not grow weary in doing good (Gal. 6:9, 2 Thess. 3:13), do not draw away from the Body of Christ (Heb. 10:25), and remember…
Jesus sits upon the throne in the presence of the Father, interceding on our behalf. Take strength in the fact that the victory has been won, the price has been paid, the enemy has been defeated. It remains for us to announce the good news to the captives and to liberate those who have been blinded and are in bondage, but we are not alone… we have Him and each other.
I am very pleased with what God has done in and through us this past year and I am excited to see what new adventures we will have as a community this next year. I am also very grateful for every one of you that God has placed in our lives to walk alongside, thank you.