THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Your Kingdom Come. Your will be done. Matthew 6:10
Movement Birmingham exists to establish the Kingdom of God in our city.
It is the responsibility of every Christ follower to seek the Kingdom of God as our highest priority.Jesus instructed us to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness …” Matt. 6:33. The Kingdom of God is within each believer, being manifest by our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God does not come with observation … The Kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21.
The Kingdom of God must originate in the heart of every true disciple. Yet, a kingdom does not consist of a single citizen. The Kingdom of God calls all disciples to join together in community. Citizens of the Kingdom surrender their will, as Jesus did. The Holy Spirit then leads each disciple to serve the Kingdom and provides the gifts necessary to fulfill that calling.
In its most understandable form, the Kingdom of God is everyplace where God’s reign and rule are supreme. All citizens of the Kingdom voluntarily submit to the authority of God and follow His leadership.
Scripture establishes three institutions that must function in concert to see the Kingdom of God flourish as God intended: 1)the government; 2) the Church; and 3) the family. Ideally, each of these institutions should work in unity and cooperation. Unity is necessary to accomplish God’s purposes. Rarely does this unity occur. However, the challenges associated with unity does not relieve the responsibility of a believer in seeking the Kingdom of God. Our priority remains unchanged. The difficulty of the task does not alter the mission. We are to seek first the Kingdom of God.
In addition to the three Biblical institutions, there are two constructs of culture that must also be considered in advancing the Kingdom of God: 1) Non-profit ministries; and 2) Secular businesses. Both of these societal entities play a significant role in the health, safety and security of every citizen. Most of our livelihoods are dependent upon strong businesses. Most vital services are delivered by non-profit ministries. Thus, non-profit ministries and businesses are vital to advancing the Kingdom of God. Many of the Biblical responsibilities of the Church are fulfilled by non-profit ministries and, in some cases, Christian businesses. Scripture makes it clear that the Church has responsibility for meeting the needs of the poor, oppressed, and marginalized. Scripture declares it to be unjust, and outside the will of God to ignore the cries of those in need.
Every local congregation has massive responsibilities regarding the poor and outcasts of society. However, few are able to make a significant impact on fulfillment of Biblically mandated responsibilities. The problems of the culture are so large that most churches seek to care for their own members and direct little attention and resources to the care of those outside their membership. Therefore, many of the Biblical responsibilities are defaulted to ministries, businesses or the government. Many are excluded from the Kingdom of God through the disobedience, inefficacy or indifference of the Church. It is hard to imagine a more chaotic circumstance. Biblical institutions and social constructs intended to create unity and safety for proclamation of the Gospel exhibit minimal understanding, cooperation and unity in accomplishing our Biblical mandate.
The Kingdom of God is advanced by the disciplined action of believers working in unity. Satan works in deceit and disunity. Imagine 500 churches and 250 ministries each with their own laudable agenda., each experiences some level of success. We have a City with much good being accomplished but we have 750 individual kingdoms.
Now, imagine 750 churches and ministries committed to working together seamlessly communicating with each other about areas of spiritual and physical need, additional opportunities for service and sharing resources to relieve suffering while weaving a beautiful tapestry of evangelism. Impossible? Humanly speaking, “Yes.” Yet, this is the image of the Kingdom of God. So the question is: Can we be satisfied with less that the Kingdom of God?” Personal and corporate agendas must give way to the Biblical first priority – seeking the Kingdom of God.
If the Kingdom of God is going to be ushered into our City, chaos and confusion with cooperation and collaboration among all who take seriously the mandate to establish the Kingdom of God. Past practices and limited vision must give way to Jesus’ invitation to “all who are thirsty.” Our vision, our personal agenda, and our tiny kingdoms have created countless silos which destroy the unity necessary for advancing the Kingdom of God. These tiny kingdoms must be de-constructed and replaced with unity of purpose. As the first century church grew, Luke records, “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common …” Acts 2:44.
Doing God’s work through these small silos gives us a very limited view of human and financial resources. The reality is that God has an unlimited reservoir of human and financial resources. The reservoir is deep enough to solve every social and spiritual ill. God has no limitation. He has provided the capacity for meeting the needs of the City both spiritually and physically. We must understand His plan. He chooses to act through the commitment and unity of His people. Our first priority must be complete cooperation to build His Kingdom.
In God’s Kingdom, every local church will desire to see every lost soul brought into the Kingdom and every believer discipled. Every non-profit will have the resources to accomplish their mission. Every home will be a place to evangelize, nurture and disciple family members and friends. Christ honoring businesses will be focused more on spiritual currency than financial gain. Every believer will pray for, give honor to and positively influence our governmental authorities.
His Kingdom come. His Will be done.