Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Gospel of the kingdom 8: Thy Kingdom Come

While there is no doubt that the gospel brings eternal salvation and escape from death and hell, it is more than that…much more. The gospel of God’s kingdom will consume an entire life. There is nothing that is kept from falling in submission to the King. To withhold something from the rule of the King is foolish when one comes to understand who Christ is.

When is the last time you heard someone announce that the kingdom of God is here? I must ask, in all our gospel preaching, “Why haven’t we heard this?” Jesus instructs us to announce this, whether or not people are willing to accept it (Luke 10:9-11). In my experience the last couple of years of ushering in the Kingdom of heaven into dark corners of the world, I have found Jesus’ instructions shockingly relevant.

I truly believe that one of the ways the enemy has kept the kingdom of God from ruling in this world is to convince us Christians to be timid and easily embarrassed. Often times, under the guise of spiritual outreach, we convince ourselves that we need to be quiet and respectable people that do not stir things up with people. The reality is that we don’t really believe in the good news the way we say that we do. What other option can it be? If we truly believed in the good news for what it really is, we would not be ashamed to tell others about it. In fact, one can surmise that, if in our hearts the good news were true, we would all be sharing it boldly. If you found a cure for cancer, you would not be shy about letting people know.

This is where the path of disciple making begins—with a changed life. If your own life isn’t transformed by the power of Christ’s reign, you have no business trying to make other disciples. Once a life is changed by the presence of Christ reigning over His kingdom subjects, each becomes a change agent.

There is no system, program, or tool that man can fashion that will have the power to change a life. Only the gospel has that power. Only the presence of Christ and all His authority can set captives free and overturn injustice and evil. Now that sounds like good news to me. As we talk about making and multiplying disciples, it all starts with a heart set free from the shackles of evil bondage to sin. Nothing else can change a life. From that point on, a disciple is to freely give the same good news he received.

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