Depending on your “End Time” philosophy, you could believe that the world is set to be taken over by the Antichrist. He has been waiting for thousands of years for his plans to come to pass and now it looks like they are ready to take over the world. Well, I am here to change your perspective on the mindset of doom and gloom. I have great news for you; the Church is positioned to bring the biggest message; the gospel of the Kingdom of God. For the last 200 years, the message has been "believe in Jesus and go to heaven." This message has brought people into the Church, caused them to disengage society, and wait for the return of Jesus to take us home and leave the chaos to the unbelievers. It is no wonder the world is in the mess it is in.
When the salt removes itself from the salad, the salad tastes awful. When the Church removes itself from society, there is nothing left to preserve it from the rotten decay of sin. Satan does not have the wisdom to construct the world in an orderly manner. He must borrow the things of God to have any sense of order. If things were left to Satan, there would be death all around. Remember, the their comes with three objectives in mind.
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.
Throughout the past 200 years of Church history, we have had some remarkable moves of God, and two known awakenings. Some will even say three or four. However, what we have not had is the mindset to sustain what we have received and carry the baton to the next generation. The main reason for this has been the thought that every move of God is a sign of the Lord’s return. This causes a man to make an evangelistic plea without a thought for the longevity of the Kingdom.
Words of the Lord’s return and the prophecy teachers declaring that every news event is a sign of his return takes the focus off of stewarding. Every move brings about the anticipation of the Lord's return and the homecoming of the ages for the Body, which remains.
Around 1996, the Lord began to reveal to me the Gospel of the Kingdom. A message I did not hear at my home church nor anywhere else. It would be three years before I would find that I was not alone. Have you ever had one of those moments when you thought the Spirit had given you a revelation that no one else has, to only find out that is not the case? It doesn’t minimize the disclosure. I was in a place where they were preaching that when Jesus comes back, he will then bring his kingdom. Until then, we are waiting for his return and then the world will go through seven years of judgment and tribulation. I heard this and heard this and did my best to study it out. Only to come to a few conclusions that could not be answered by the "Someday by and by" crowd.
Now, I am not going to engage in a Satan Vs. Jesus discussion. I will lay out some thoughts for anyone to think about and then make your conclusion. Let us remember this; it does not matter what side of the “End Time” argument you are on. I want to talk about the Kingdom of God, but I need to break down some barriers first.
When Jesus came, he preached the a message. His message was consistent, and since he was only speaking the message his father gave him, we can be sure that it is the accurate message. So here are a few scriptures I had trouble with when trying to fit them into doom and gloom mindsets.
Matt. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matt. 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
Matt. 9:35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Each of the Gospels makes the point of telling us that Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. So we need to understand what the message contained. Was it just speech or was it more. Jesus’ message was power. It wasn't hoping for some time in the future; it was deliverance for the here and now. It was a message that brought about freedom. Paul refers to this in the first book of Corinthians.
1 Cor. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.
The message of the Kingdom of God is more than just words; it is the power of God unto salvation.
Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Now before we make Salvation mean heaven, it does not. Salvation is the word soteria in Greek. It means to rescue or safety (physically or morally). It comes from the word which means deliverer. This word comes from the word Sozo in the Greek. It means to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively). Heaven is a significant part of the New Covenant message because it denotes eternal life and us being with Christ. Let us not to minimize this at all. I too am looking forward to that day. That is not the message Jesus preached. He came preaching the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Was this the same message he sent his disciples to deliver? That is something that we need to determine. Taking a look at this will be substantial. Did they go out and preach, believe in Jesus and go to heaven? Again, the Lord instructions to them were clear and written for our learning.
Matt. 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.
Matt. 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matt. 10:7 And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Matt. 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
Again we see the pattern of Jesus; preaching with power. The Kingdom of heaven is at hand. How do we know he was telling the truth? They healed the sick. They ministered not in word only, but with power. The gospel is the power of God unto deliverance, wholeness and wellness.
Now, why do I believe the stages set? It is simple, the message of the Kingdom is becoming the message of this generation. The message of heaven is upgraded with the message of heaven on earth. For many years, God’s people have labored under the mindset that the devil was going to take over everything, and we would escape in a nick of time. Now they hear a new, more complete message of the Kingdom. They are learning that we inherit the earth. Now we are learning that the blood of Jesus has transformed us and totally restored us. For this reason, the message has changed from, “Come and hide out,” to “Let’s get out there and change the world.” Something that was drastically missing over the past 100 years.
So the stage has been set. We are positioned to be the people of influence and change. We are position by the Spirit of God for what should be the greatest hour of the Church since the 1st and 16th centuries. Now the question to ask yourself is will you be a part of it? I know this for a fact, the Lord has called all members of his Body to be the instruments of change and restoration. So go ahead. Think big, achieve greatness and change the course of history.
Senior Leader/Torch Bearers Church