This is a recap of the third lesson from Perspectives. This lecture was much more academic, on a seminary level, so I took the basic concepts and tried to make a more practical, applicable lesson for Compass and my readers.
A couple weeks ago I introduced the statement of God’s mission in the world today:
For His glory in global worship, God purposes to overcome evil by redeeming a people who will love and obey Him within every people.
And really what today’s topic is about is believing that God will overcome evil. This is something we must believe if we are to set foot into the mission field. Why? Because we will be on the front lines of spiritual warfare. There’s a reason a passage is included in the Bible about donning spiritual armor. We’re going into battle! We have said “yes” to committing our very lives to the proclamation of the Gospel. How do we know we have a fight and suffering to look forward to? Look no further than the extreme cost of the cross. We cannot expect Christ to undergo His extreme suffering and we as His followers not to. The Bible is very clear that in order to be glorified with Christ, we must suffer with Christ. Well why in the world would we want to push head-on into such conditions? Because our victory is assured!
Christ’s focus in His ministry was on the kingdom of God. So we need to know what this kingdom is! Our initial thought of what “kingdom” means would probably include some defined territory under the authority of a ruler. In the context of the kingdom Jesus preached, kingdom simply means the rule or reign of God. This is more than ruling over a realm, it is Christ’s rule over all creation and creatures. It is the exercise of God’s kingship, His authority, and His right to rule based on His might, power, and glory.
For us, living in the kingdom of God means we are anchored in God’s Word, we’re engaged in spiritual disciplines, and we’re dependent on God in every aspect of our lives. (Each of these could easily fill a blog post, but for the sake of staying on topic, we’ll move on.)
Jesus often described the mystery of the kingdom. What did he mean by this? It has to do with the timing of the arrival of the kingdom. Jesus talked about how the kingdom was here, but he also talked about the kingdom yet to come. And that’s the answer that defines the mystery: the expected Messiah would come twice! From an OT perspective, they saw a single apocalyptic event in which Messiah would come to rule. From a NT perspective, the kingdom has come in the person of Christ the King, recognized only by those devoted to Him. The kingdom will come again openly visible to all when Christ returns.
This “mystery” brings about a progressive victory. When Christ died on the cross and defeated sin’s power by rising from the grave, He also defeated Satan’s power. Sin, death, Satan…all defeated. Yet these things still have some power remaining on earth, creating a time of conflict in which we now exist. As an analogy, think about the story of Lord of the Rings. In the First Age, Sauron was defeated but his evil still existed in Middle Earth, until it was finally destroyed. When Christ comes again, sin, death, and Satan will be utterly destroyed.
So the message we proclaim about this gospel of the kingdom is one of joyous victory and blessing! It is a promise of what God will do to reconcile all things under the headship of Christ! We proclaim the victory of Christ! This truth gives us, the church, our purpose for existing. Our motivation is the final victory. Do you see now why we have to push into the battle? That final victory is awaiting our completion of the task! (Matthew 24:14)
So what is our role in the spread of God’s kingdom today? Well, we’ve first got to know our God. We can’t tell others what we do not know. We’ve got to know our story. This is how people are going to relate to us; they can’t argue a personal experience! We need to use our God-given resource and not keep them for ourselves. Our time, our talents, our treasures; we’ve said it before that we must be conduits of God’s blessings. We need to be focused and intentional on God’s glory. No other reason can motivate us to go. And we need to proceed with a God-dominated imagination for completing the task.
Remember God’s purpose statement? God is going to overcome evil because His kingdom advances His assault against the Satanic counterfeit kingdoms in the world. His kingdom’s victory opens the way for God to redeem all people to Him, so that all nations will know and glorify God as King. We’ve got to surrender our lives, defy rival kingdoms, and give control to the true King. It’s all got to start with you and me. Lord, may Your kingdom come and Your will be done here on earth as it is perfectly done in heaven.