Ever have the Lord change the course of your life? For most of us, it doesn’t come that often-but when it does, the out come is simply amazing. When I finished Bible College, I was busy, always trying to increase my ministry-or ‘The Lords’ ministry. Recruiting, promoting, whatever it took to have enough people and support to become a ‘real preacher!’ My heart was not in the wrong place, but it did have a wrong direction. The Lord was merciful, under this self centered thinking He did not allow me to ‘raise up’ and take a hard fall.
One day while setting up at the mission, He spoke to me and asked what I was doing (He makes me smile every time He ask me a question, I want to say-Lord you know better than me what I’m doing, because most of the time I’m clueless…Lord you know that). Seriously though, I told Him I’m setting up and trying to increase the ministry that I believe He called me to do. He quietly said, “I never mentioned in My Word you should pursue building a ministry. Your heart should totally be devoted to building the Kingdom of God.”
Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
This simple truth started me on a pursuit that changed every aspect of my Christian life. How I serve the Lord, the attitude in which I serve the Lord, my view of the organized church, the role of the church in the end times, my concept of discipleship, and how I reach out to Him to receive and return His love- everything changed because of this whisper of truth spoken by Him.
After receiving a nudge that night to study the Kingdom of God, I discovered hundreds of scriptures pertaining to this truth. All my Christian life however I never heard one complete sermon on the Kingdom of God. Although John the Baptist, Paul, Jesus and all His disciples made this teaching the core of the gospel (see first 4 articles on Kingdom of God ) the church rarely preached on it. There was ‘talk’ about the Kingdom of God, but we never really pursued Gods kingdom as found in the Word. After receiving that nudge and reviewing scripture most of the night, I went to church the next morning. The pastor went straight to the pulpit, and for the first time in my life I heard a preacher say ‘Today, I am going to preach solely on The Kingdom Of God. My mouth dropped, what a confirmation.
In the coming articles we will see why this truth is so foundational. Jesus states all other teachings are supported by this truth. This includes the salvation message, discipleship, the church within our cities and nations. Every teaching is supported by the Kingdom of God message. Don’t believe me, that’s okay. We must believe Jesus however.
Matt. 13:45-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Mark 4:30-32 And he said, Where unto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
We shall discover from the scriptures in this series that the church will be ‘awaken’ in the end times (Matt. 25:6-7) and this truth will go from a mustard seed to a great tree for all Biblical teachings. Like John the Baptist however, we need to be preparing the way and start bringing the Lords Kingdom to the church and to the world.
We have a major problem however. Satan knows when the gospel of the Kingdom is preached ‘as a witness’ or by Christians who love the Lord with all their heart (willing to die for the Lord) his end will come.
Matt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Rev. 12:7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon 12:8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
REV 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God…. REV 12:11 They overcame himby the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Note: Matt. 24:14 ‘the gospel of the Kingdom is preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and the end will come’. In other words, the end will come when the church preaches the kingdom message to all nations as a testimony-or giving their lives for this truth will be their testimony. In Revelation 12 we see Satan is cast down (3.5 years into the end time events) because Michael and the holy angels have responded to the saints giving their lives for preaching and advancing the Kingdom of God (Rev. 12:11, Matt. 24:14). When Satan is cast down to earth, the church finally receives power of the Kingdom that was intended for her after Satan was defeated at the cross.
Col. 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Ever wonder what these verses meant.
HEB 10:12 But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
HEB 10:13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.
Most of my Christian life, I thought Satan was made a footstool at the resurrection, but the Word teaches differently. Jesus is waiting-for what? For the church to do it’s part as the body of Christ…
Mat. 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and the violent people take are attacking it.
The great commission is not just preaching the gospel of salvation. It is preaching the kingdom of God and taking back what Satan has illegitimately stole when he deceived Adam and Eve.
We as a church will unite and use the Lords weapons to literally finish the task Jesus stared when He passed His power and blessing to us.
Matt 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The church today is ‘building’ their ministry. I like the term my wife mentioned better, they are building their empire. You cannot put your heart on building your ministry, denomination, works of service and have a heart for the kingdom of God. The former in not in the Word, that latter is
Matt. 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.
Denominations and building personal ministries are not evil, but having them replace the purpose of the Kingdom of God is. Satan knows this, he knows when the church receives the reality of this truth, his end in nigh.
One preacher put it this way, what are we supposed to be doing?…seeking first the Kingdom of God. Asked again, what are we supposed to be doing?…seeking first the Kingdom of God. Again and again he repeated this truth until it sunk in, seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness period. Incorporated in this pursuit are all the virtues found in His Word.
True love can only be completed with a purpose. I believe the evangelical church knows the Lord, many teachings in the Word, but they do not know their purpose- to pursue and complete its task for Gods kingdom. Love is completed when we sacrifice our lives for His truth. 2 Cor. 10:4 and 2 Cor. 4:4 teach us that the world is in a spiritual warfare from powers of darkness. We have to fight darkness (Satan) with Gods’ authority with the kingdom message to overcome the devil. Simply put, we will have to ‘leave behind’ our ministry, personal pursuits and goals to fight Satan. When we attack his threshold, his fury will be great (Rev. 12). Our love will be made complete when the purpose of defeating Satan by pursuing His kingdom may cost us our lives. To have the darkness removed from our loved ones, we have to be willing to sacrifice everything. The pursuit of the Kingdom of God puts love into action and is made complete (Rev. 12:11)
After the Lord gives glory to His father, what are the next words He teaches
Matt 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: ” `Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Matt. 6:10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Again, He is waiting for the church to pursue, preach, teach and accomplish his purpose for the kingdom of God.
You are beginning to see how this truth will almost completely change your view of the organized church. In my opinion, churches that are not willing to surrender their ministry or denomination for the pursuit of defeating Satan, city by city or nation by nation (Matt. 24:14) are missing out on the glory and purpose of God. It should be noted we understand it takes an organization and funds to operate in any way. The issue is our purpose. Are we set out to build ‘our ministry-empire’, or are we going to humble ourselves and reach out to the community to fight a real spiritual battle. To claim back-city by city, nation by nation-what Jesus gave us when He conquered Satan (2 Cor. 10:4-5, Matt.24:14, Matt.16:18-19). Sadly, the task that is laid before us-(getting the churches to wake up to this truth) is monumental. We are asking leadership to totally surrender their ministry, social life, income, heritage, legacy-everything for this truth. God may want them to continue with the same organization they are currently in, but there is no way for them to know unless they truly leave all at the Lords feet. In Matt. 25:1-13, God is going to send a cry (shaking) to all the sleeping church (virgins). Those teachers whom I respect on end times prophecy believe this shaking could likely be a catastrophic seal (ie. second seal) or World War III, with nations being judged for her sins. The Lord promises however, if we ‘seek first’ His heavenly Kingdom-if we sincerely pursue His Kingdom on earth a make this our priority, we can experience Gods Kingdom power and presence in our lifetime!
What can we do now?
Receiving this truth does not come in a moment or month, it is on going.
Matt 13:11 He (Jesus) replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you (believers), but not to them.
Lets use WWII as an example. America knew there was an evil Leader increasing his terror in Europe.
1) The first step is realizing this truth, or the Biblical importance of the Kingdom of God.
Having this knowledge by reading the newspapers never defeated Hitler. We have to take a small step and enlist to fight him.
2) Start by studying and praying that the Kingdom of God message becomes strong in your heart.
Boot camp is rough, not that dangerous, but it is real training to defeat and evil empire.
3) Since the Kingdom of God message supports all other teachings, there will be a passion in your heart for this truth.
Mark 4:32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
It will start to cost you though and it can be tough. Your peers in your church will probably not understand your desire to gather other churches in the community to battle Satan. Your view for the purpose of the church will be different than almost all current pastors. Discipleship will be anyone in any area willing to become a soldier for the Lord. In short, your view to pursue God will be different than anyone without the Kingdom of God message in their heart.
After boot camp, we may face the beaches of Normandy.
4) There may be a time where Rev. 12:11, Matt. 24:14 actually become a reality to us. The Lord has continually showed me my weakness, not my strengths-to have me abide in Him. We may have to offer a ‘living sacrifice’ for His truth.
While we should never be confident in our own strength, we can however be praying to be ready by abiding in Him 2 Cor. 12:9, Jn. 15:7. We must not be found without our lamps filled with the Holy Spirit. After we understand the importance of the Kingdom message, remember the process. enlist, get trained and be ready to fight.
Up coming articles will include more about the Kingdom of God and a scripture index with hundreds of scriptures teaching us about this truth. If you are willing to surrender what you have to pursue this, I truly respect and admire you. More importantly, I believe the Lord will bond us together in His glorious love for eternity…
Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
God bless you for pursuing this truth. Please see the 2nd Kingdom Article 2 ‘Turning the Light of His Spirit on, pursuing the Kingdom of God.’