In the gospel of Matthew the word ‘kingdom’ is mentioned 52x. The word ‘church’ is mentioned 2x. At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17). Later on Jesus told his followers that they should “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33).
Maybe it’s just me, but this makes me wonder why we are so foggy on what the kingdom of God is all about. Is it a distrust of authority? Could it be that we are accustomed to living under a democracy not a monarchy? Whatever the reasons might be I’m thinking that our failure to understand the kingdom of God has seriously limited our understanding of the church and her redemptive purpose in this world.
We need a concise, biblical definition of the kingdom of God; “The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation.” -The Gospel Coalition
Here are a three ways I believe a robust understanding of the kingdom of God would impact the church:
- Churches would grieve over the fact that God’s people skip from one church to another because they know that while a church grows this way the kingdom of God does not. Less competition and more cooperation among churches.
- Churches would work harder at equipping their people to live out their faith in the context of everyday life. Jesus is Lord over area of life and therefore all of life is an opportunity for ministry just waiting to happen. We would celebrate those who serve God in the workplace. Just as we pray for Sunday School teachers and Small Group leaders we would pray for those who are faithfully living as ambassadors for king Jesus Monday to Friday in the corporate world.
- Churches would measure their effectiveness, in part, by signs of the kingdom of God flourishing in their city or suburbs.
What are some of the ways you can think of that a proper view of the kingdom of God impacts the way we view the church?