The Church as the embodiment of the Kingdom of God
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God's promised future kingdom is something we wait for and work for. It is a dream we hope for and live for - right now.
Anchored in the kingdom Jesus inaugurated and demonstrated throughout his public ministry, death and resurrection, we’re called to embody the future and full realties of God's promised ‘kingdom come’ in the ‘kingdom now.’ In essence, we are called to live God's future in the present.The Church should embody the realties of God's promised ‘kingdom come’ in the ‘kingdom now.’ Click To Tweet
Escapist mindsets that create ideas which center on hiding away from the world as we wait for the day to be removed from it do an injustice to the work of Jesus and the kingdom he inaugurated, as well as to God’s promise of cosmic restoration and the renewal of all things.
The world is not as it should be and we should never fully embrace the world as it is presently arranged. However, we need to live within it, as we work towards making it into the kind of world that reflects God’s best intentions, that point people towards the completed project - a world full of love, justice, peace and hope.
These qualities should become living realities in the Church local and universal. And, by living out these future realities now, we work towards showcasing to the world that is, the world that is to come; a world that God will one day bring to its intended goal.
The role of ambassadors
As ambassadors who reside in a foreign land, we are commissioned to live as people who belong to God's promised land by mimicking the language, qualities, and ethos of the world to come in the world that is.
We don’t seek to escape the world that is, as though we wait for God to show up and take us out of it. Instead, we move into the world, into the darkest of places, and bring with us the hope, peace, and love of the world we long and look for. In this way, we work while we wait.The Church is called to foreshadow the world to come within the world that is. Click To Tweet
We position ourselves as ambassadors, not in isolated homes that are virtually inaccessible to those on the outside, but in homes and communities with open doors and open arms. We foreshadow the world that is to come within the world that is. In all we do and say, we intentionally live like people of the future, as we are deeply embedded in the world that is.
We don’t walk away from the darkness, but into it. Not with arrogance and condemnation towards its current inhabitants - displaying the characteristics of the world that is - but with love, joy, justice, and peace - qualities of God’s promised, future world.
We are ambassadors. We live in the world - within the structures and cultures of the world. We do not remove ourselves from it and hide away in our church buildings, awaiting a rapture to take us all away, like some sort of divine alien abduction. This idea is so incredibly foreign to the New Testament witness and God’s kingdom dream. A dream the Church is called to echo here and now.
We pull the future into the present. We draw upon the resources of the world to come and showcase its beauty to the world that is. This, friends, is our calling and commission. This, friends, is God’s kingdom dream - for the Church to be the pre-show for the main event - God’s cosmic restoration project.God’s kingdom dream is for the Church to be the pre-show for His cosmic restoration project. Click To Tweet
A dream inaugurated by Jesus. A dream planted in today, its roots running deep into the soil of the present, growing into the tree of life, feeding the world.
We are kingdom ambassadors. People who pull the future world into the present world. Not escapists, but residents who are called to live out the realities of the world to come within the world that is.
As kingdom ambassadors, we work while we wait. And, we pray. Pray that the fullness of the kingdom will find expression in and through the Church.
Pray - “Your kingdom come. Your will be done - on earth, as it is in heaven."
This article was first published July 23, 2017
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