INCREASING KINGDOM AWARENESS: OUR UPWARD CALL

by Matt King

 

Isaiah 9:7 “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Lord of hosts will perform this.”

Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

 

As we draw nearer to the end of this age we can expect an increase of awareness of His Kingdom. For over 2,000 years the Kingdom has been at hand. It is not that His Kingdom is increasing, but that our awareness of His Kingdom is increasing. He is causing the increase because He is a God of increase. As sons and daughters of the Kingdom, our continual call is upward. The directive “come up here” in Revelation 4 was not just a command to our dear brother John, but seems to be the recurrent appeal of heaven for all the saints of God. The direction of Gods intent for our lives is always above what we have known, experienced, and gone before. Yet the upward call, that is, a Kingdom awareness or perspective, may not be “up” in any physical sense. Up in the realm of the Spirit implies an awareness or discernment of something unseen yet authentic; something in heaven not yet manifested in the earth.

A dictionary description of the word “up” yields in part, with greater intensity, in or into a better or more advanced state; into evidence, prominence, or prevalence, and into operation or practical form; into possession or custody.
 

Could it be that a current generation of disciples of Christ are experiencing a revealing from heaven of something coming into evidence, prominence or prevalence? Something, which is coming into operation in a practical form? Something the Scriptures describe as the Kingdom of God?

Generations of believers have been taught the doctrines, the practices, the purpose of the church while the message and concepts of the Kingdom of God have largely been ignored or misunderstood. In fact, most Bible colleges and seminaries train their students in the Christian faith without ever taking a course in Kingdom studies. As a result, I believe a major reason why the Church today is living under the curse of immaturity is because we have many so-called disciples of Jesus propagating the Christian religion rather than the message and concepts of the Kingdom of God. The word “Kingdom” has been both misunderstood and misapplied. It is often relegated to a future millennium or to heaven. However, the claim of the Kingdom that Jesus is presenting is meant to be attainable, tangible, and to work in the immediate circumstances of all who respond to it and appropriate it. The Church cannot appropriate what it postpones as a future hope!

 

For the most part, there is no prevailing apostolic vision for the Church today due to the mischief of eschatology. The focus of many Christians, along with their sense of destiny, has been greatly diverted by eschatology toward events in the future. Because of this many have missed and are yet missing the full potential of God’s provision for them today.  As believers, most of us at one time or another have been taught one or more of the many views of eschatology and a worldview other than the Kingdom of God. The antichrist spirit working through religion has veiled an authentic awareness of the Kingdom with its implications from the Church too long.  However, the light of the gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached is once again shining through. Those who have pure hearts are being given ears to hear and eyes to see the Father’s agenda for His people and the world. God’s Kingdom ways will be revealed only to the purified bride. The kingdom of God begins with the purification of the motives of our heart. Only a pure heart can hear the secrets of God’s kingdom. This means a heart free from all other allegiances, a heart healed from all of the enemy’s wounds—a heart that not only intends to serve God but also has the freedom to actually do it. It is a heart that has no needs or desires apart from God. That’s why Jesus saves the lost, heals the brokenhearted, and proclaims liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. God will give us ears to hear His kingdom truth to the level that we are purified.

There is no more for Jesus to do apart from fully abiding in and working through His sons and daughters to establish His Kingdom over the kingdoms of this world. He does NOT need to return bodily to defeat the enemy and to liberate His people nor the kingdoms of this world from the bondage of the enemy. According to the Scriptures this is the assignment of the sons of God and the function of salt and light—we are that salt and light.

For centuries, Christianity has received a heavy dose of the gospel of salvation or rebirth through our Savior, but Father is making it clear that He desires far more than eternal destiny in some distant future. Many are stuck in the idea of waiting on Jesus and Heaven, while Jesus and Heaven are waiting on us. It’s the gospel of the Kingdom not salvation that makes the Devil nervous, because its no longer about what’s going to happen when Jesus returns, rather it’s “Jesus, by His Spirit, came at Pentecost and I’m manifesting!” Too many Christians are more occupied with the return of Jesus than they are with occupying until He comes. The truth of the matter is, Heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool. Jesus was told that He must sit at the right hand of the Father until His enemies were made a footstool, which means Jesus cannot return until He accomplishes the dominion of nations.

Remember, Heaven was never the goal of the Father! In Genesis chapter 2 when the Father put man in the Garden and commissioned him to have dominion over the earth and subdue it, at what point in time was the Father planning on taking man to heaven? Never! Man was to live heaven on the earth! The Father’s plan through creation and the new birth in Christ has always been to know Him intimately as Father, while being His light and love to the world!

As we continue our upward call to increase in Kingdom awareness, we will access a new place of authority with Lord and start cooperating with His Kingdom agenda.  The grace to see the Kingdom, and enter the Kingdom, will soon become a grace to establish the Kingdom!

Developing a Kingdom-view / Part 2

What is a Biblical Worldview?

While there are somewhat differing thoughts as to the tenants of a biblical worldview, there is also a great deal of unity among Evangelical Christians. The Barna Group is the leading conservative Protestant marketing research group providing information about the state of religion in the U.S. -- and in particular the status of Christianity and of its churches and denominations. They defined a "biblical worldview" as being based upon a foundation of eight beliefs, that:

 

1. Absolute moral truths exist . .

2. The Bible defines these absolute moral truths.

3. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life during his ministry on earth.

4. God created the universe and continues to rule it today. He is omnipotent and omniscient.

5. Salvation is a gift from God. It cannot be earned through good works or behavior.

6. Satan is real living entity.

7. Christians have an obligation to share the Gospel with the unsaved.

8. The Bible is accurate in all of its teachings

 

Another definition of a biblical worldview contains the following tenants: (1)We believe that God exists (Heb. 11:6) and that He is the standard by which we measure everything else. (2)God created everything that exists (Gen.1:1) and everything is held together by Him (Col. 1:17). (3)We believe the Bible is God's divinely inspired Word, revealed to mankind (2 Tim. 3:16). (4)We believe that the fullness of God came to earth and lived in the human body of Jesus Christ of Nazareth 2,000 years ago (Col. 1:19). (5)We believe that mankind chose to rebel against God in the Garden of Eden and because of that act of rebellion, sin and death entered the world (Rom. 5:12-14). (6)We believe that believing in (John 3:15-19, 5:24), and obeying (Luke 8:21, John 3:20, John 14:21, 23-24), Jesus Christ is the only way to have eternal life or to be reunited with God (Acts 4:10-12).

 

While we do not disagree with the above truths, we do believe they stop short of a kingdom-view as stated earlier.

 

What is a Kingdom-View?

Several years ago the Lord spoke to me and told me to read the first two chapters of the Bible (Genesis 1-2) and the last to chapters of the Bible (Revelation 21-22) seven times for seven days. What an eye opening revelation that was. Much of Christianity teaches us that the central theme of the Bible is the redemption of mankind. When you think about it, that places us as the central theme of the Bible. How self-centered can we be? After obeying the Lord and reading the first two and last two chapters of the Bible my eyes were clearly opened to see that the central theme of the Bible is God’s kingdom. It is His eternal purpose. All the chapters in between are somewhat parenthetical. The redemption of mankind is extremely important. God’s original design could not be fulfilled without it. But, His kingdom is clearly the central focus.

What do the first two chapters and the last two chapters of the Bible have in common? While there are many things we could elaborate on, suffice it for now to say, His Kingdom on a sinless earth. After the fall (actually even before the fall) of mankind, God set a plan in motion to see His original intent fulfilled. The kingdom would be restored through Jesus Christ and this would necessitate the redemption mankind.

 

The kingdom-view re-establishes the Father’s original purpose to have a visible kingdom on earth that would be ruled by those created in His image.

 

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Gen 1:26-28 NIV

 

The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man. Ps 115:16 NIV

 

A kingdom-view restores the vision, mission, and priority for redeemed mankind to fulfill their destiny. This is the “sentness” of the saints. This is the reason for our being equipped for the work of the ministry. This is our ministry. This is the revelation that must be restored to the saints. It is this revelation that has the power to shape overcomers. This revelation restores the King to His rightful place and the redeemed to their kingly priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. This is the heart and goal of the apostolic ministry and calling, presenting every man perfect (fully mature and grown) in Christ Jesus our King (Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 4:11-13; Colossians 1:28).

 

The vision (what we see) is the kingdom of God. The mission (what we are to do) is bring it “on earth as it is in heaven.” The priority (what is number one) is to “seek first the kingdom and his righteousness.”

 

The kingdom-view lifts up the King in all the earth. His glory is seen in us as we are being transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

I began by asking why God’s kingdom is not the number one priority of most Christians. Even those who have embraced a biblical worldview are not putting the kingdom first. Most don’t even understand the kingdom concept. They do not have a kingdom-view. Our personal thoughts, behaviors and actions are shaped by our view. What set of lenses are we looking through. My son and another young man told me that they see every verse in the Bible different since they have embraced a kingdom-view. It is this view alone that has the power to move the saints from religion to kingdom reality. What is your view?

Developing a Kingdom-View Part 1

by Ron King

 

But seek first the kingdom of God...” Matthew 6:33 NKV

 

Jesus clearly established the kingdom of God as the believer’s first priority and pursuit. However, as we look at the life of most Christians today we would have to admit that this is not their first pursuit. Why is this? What is it that affects our thinking and actions? It is our view on life. Everyone has a view on life whether we realize it or not, we all have certain presuppositions and biases that affect the way we view all of life and reality. This is what we call a worldview. A worldview is like a set of lenses which color our vision or alter the way we perceive the world around us. Our worldview is formed by our education, our upbringing, the culture we live in, the books we read, the media and movies we absorb, etc. For many people their worldview is simply something they have absorbed by osmosis from their surrounding cultural influences. They have never gone through a thought process about what they believe and wouldn't be able to give a rational defense of their beliefs to others. It’s just there.

 

As Christians, we are taught to have a “biblical worldview.” There is a strong emphasis on building a biblical worldview in the saints. While a biblical worldview may be good it is not enough. It does not take the Christian back to God’s original design for mankind. It will help establish some biblical values but not the fullness of kingdom. I believe there is a more excellent way and a necessary way if we are going to see the fruition of the prayer Jesus told us to pray.

 

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matt 6:10 NIV

 

I believe that as Christians we must have a “kingdom-view.” Many apologists, theologians, and Christians would say that a biblical worldview and a kingdom-view are one and the same but I would disagree. I would agree that the tenants of a biblical worldview are found within a kingdom-view, but a kingdom-view will produce kingdom results. It demands allegiance to the King. It carries a dominion mandate to establish His kingdom on earth. It fully restores the Genesis 1:26-28 destiny of Father’s children. It restores the sanctified entrepreneuring and sanctified genius of His creation which is the result of His Spirit working in and through us. It brings His image back to life in us. It calls us to be creators (small ‘c’) in the image of our Creator. It rewires His house with greater power. We replace the 110 voltage with 220 volts (i.e. Galatians 2:20).

 

I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Gal 2:20 AMP

 

We cannot boast for we know it is Christ in us the hope of glory.1 Our boasting is only in the cross of Christ.2 It is this kingdom-view that will produce an overcoming cadre of saints who are willing to blaze a trail for others to follow. These are those who have matured in hearing the Master’s voice. These kingdom saints model their Master and do

 

1 Colossians 1:27

2 Galatians 6:14  

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