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Jul
16

The Present Kingdom of God, Part 3

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Because the present Kingdom is a redemptive order, it logically follows that the present kingdom is a missional order. The Kingdom is concerned with God’s pursuit of his redemptive purposes in Christ. It is God’s primary mission and concern in the world today. As Jesus was sent into the world to accomplish the Father’s redemptive purposes, we in turn have been sent into the world to further his redemptive work (John 20:21).

As missional Christians in the present Kingdom, we present the whole gospel, which includes the message of the gospel and social action which meets the human need of those who are neglected and marginalized. On the far right of the religious landscape we find fundamentalists who are deeply committed to sharing the message of the gospel to the neglect of meeting human need. On the far left of the spectrum there are those who are deeply committed to meeting human need to the neglect of sharing the gospel message. As evangelicals we follow the balanced pattern of Jesus presented in the Gospels: sharing the message of the gospel and meeting human needs. Sharing the gospel and meeting human need are distinct functions of missional Christians that work hand in hand.

Missional Christians in the Kingdom also stand against evil and injustice. In Matthew 11:12, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.” Jesus exorcism of demons was a demonstration of the present Kingdom’s opposition to evil in the world. Through those exorcisms, Jesus showed us that the evil that will be utterly conquered in the future Kingdom is being put down in the present.

Finally, the present Kingdom calls for our radical obedience. Jesus said things like…
“Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)
“Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:22)
“No one who puts their hand to the plow is worthy of my Kingdom.” (Luke 9:62)
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law. Your enemies will be right in your own household. If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if your give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matthew 10:24-29)
We cannot domesticate these challenges. The present Kingdom calls for our priority allegiance and devotion.

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