Dec 19, 2023Liked by The Sacramental Charismatic

Yes, yes, yes. More of this! Let His kingdom come.

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Amen. May be so.

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While pastoring Vineyard churches (we planted two, one in Central and another in Southern California, 1983 and 1996) I experienced a cyclical waxing and waning of energy and focus to preach/teach on the Kingdom of God like you describe. I don't think it was for a lack of awareness of the awesomeness of God's authority and power or a disconnect between the reality of His kingdom and the implications this truth should have in our values, ethics, and behavior (those those are real issues, too). It had more to do with a disconnect between these biblical truths and experiences and the identity and everyday lives of the people in our congregations.

As I've been rethinking the issues of the gospel, the kingdom, the power of God and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, I'm coming to the conclusion that, at least in my former preaching and teaching role, I missed a fundamental element in the biblical data regarding God's kingdom. Seeing this element now makes it impossible for me now to not maintain a keen focus and interest in the kingdom of God. It answers the question “Why” is this relevant? Without a clear and compelling answer to this question, it is easy to loose interest no matter how our tradition or respect for John Wimber might pressure us to keep up the momentum.

I would suggest that a fuller (no pun intended) perspective on the kingdom is discipleship to Jesus. The Father, in the son and by the Holy Spirit has done everything necessary to restore us to our originally created relationship with himself and role in his creation. Across the whole story of the bible and all the data points about the king and his kingdom, the focus is ultimately on restoring humans to their relationship and role as those who are God's image, and who have responsibility to manage God’s purposes on earth as in heaven. The kingdom breaking into our present but it’s not aimless or arbitrary. The in-breakings of the kingdom in the bible are not just demonstrations of God's power to show who is the real boss. They are always directed at God’s plan to restore humanity to their intended role with him in the administration of his kingdom.

Consequently, the only time it is easy to keep focus on Kingdom teaching is when there is lots of power happening. If we are in the middle of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit it is easy to say, the kingdom of God is here, see what God is doing. We say, this is what the kingdom is all about; it is the in-breaking of the future rule of God with power into our present experience in this dark and dominated world.

But when you are back home in the mundane day to day of normal church life where the power may not be very present at all, it gets pretty old after a while to keep preaching about a kingdom that breaks in when it isn’t any more. However, when we see the kingdom message of the gospel as all that God has done in Jesus and is continuing to do through Jesus’ spirit, I find it compelling to keep preaching and teaching on the topic because Jesus’ disciples need to know who they are and what their role is in God’s kingdom purposes.

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Dec 20, 2023·edited Dec 20, 2023

It seems that most translations of Luke 4:43 say: 'I must proclaim the GOOD NEWS of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.' rather than, as you say, " Jesus told the crowds that the reason why he was sent was to proclaim... the kingdom of God. I think there is an important difference when the emphasis is on "the good news". Jesus also states in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost"... Isn't the "good news of the Kingdom" that He came to seek and save the lost? Yes, God is working in this fallen world, giving us glimpses of heaven and hope for things unseen, but creation...and we...are still in our fallen state. Our flesh will continue in this fallen state, to age and die just like everything else, until His return. Jesus said His Kingdom was "not of this world". The Kingdom of God won't be inherited until after the final judgement (Matt 25:34: Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.) The "now, not yet" idea is fine if its stays between the rails...but to morph the "now" into "We want the Kingdom NOW and we will have it", while seemingly forgetting about the "not yet" altogether... (Dominion Theology? NAR?) severely lacks humility before our Sovereign Almighty God. A common human problem, I've heard. (from V. Dare, formerly of South Metro Vineyard)

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