Thursday, April 25, 2013



After being taught and teaching otherwise, I've come to the conclusion that God never intends to take those who respond to him out of here. Even with Jesus' teachings about his return and the end of the world, he has not given us a way to get out of here. That's not the direction! God is doing all he can to get down here-to dwell among us. So this is what God has been up to ever since the human race lost the Kingdom, the personal relationship, and the abiding presence of God. Through the priests, the judges, the kings, and the prophets, God wanted to dwell among those who would trust him, and those people would be a blessing to all the nations of the world.
After the prophets, there was a period of four hundred silent years. It was at this point that Jesus was sent to earth. His mission was to reveal the good news of the Kingdom and, by doing this, to restore what humankind had lost. Jesus repeatedly announced the Kingdom, he established the possibility of personal relationship with God, and he introduced the abiding presence of God for all to experience. He did all this down here-on earth.

Jesus brought the Kingdom of God to earth, because he is the King. Wherever the King is, there is the Kingdom. He was the dwelling place of God on earth, fully indwelt with the Spirit of God. God had finally come down here to dwell among those who would trust him.

Now with this in mind, that God is all about dwelling among His people on earth, listen to what Jesus shared with his disciples, just prior to ascending into the heavens. "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

The primary activity Jesus wants his followers to focus on is to make disciples of all the nations-to invite, enroll, and encourage people from all of the nations to be followers of Jesus. Note what Jesus does not say here. He does not say to convert people from around the world to Christianity. He does not say to save the people of the world from hell and damnation. He does not say to offer the people of the world a ticket to get out of here with a ticket to heaven.

It is clear that Jesus is commanding his disciples to disciple the nations of the world-to make followers of Jesus around the world. Note that this is to be done right here, right now, on earth. To give his disciples the authority and power to do such a thing, Jesus says, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." Jesus claims that he has complete authority over heaven and earth. How much? Jesus says, "All!" Now, since Jesus has all authority and we are followers of Jesus, we are able to operate within his authority. You see, Jesus is the King of the Kingdom we are seeking.

Jesus goes a little further to encourage us as followers. He says, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." So, while we, as his followers, are inviting others to become followers of Jesus, he, the one with all authority and power will be right here with us! He's not saying that he, from his heavenly position, will pray for us to do well. He is promising to be with us as we make disciples (followers) right here on earth. Note that Jesus is also not urging his followers to be looking and praying for his return in order to get bailed out of this earthly mess. On the contrary, he is urging his followers to be about the activity of introducing and inviting people everywhere into a relationship with Jesus, so they can be followers of Jesus, too. Where? Right here on earth!

Now, if Jesus is all about the making of disciples down here on earth, then in what context might we find the people we are to disciple? Do we have to become professional clergy to reach the non-religious? Do we have to become missionaries to go to foreign lands? If the making of disciples (followers) of Jesus were limited to the professionals, then not many disciples will be made.

In the mind and teaching of Jesus there are no professional clergy versus the laity in the Kingdom of God. All are equally responsible to walk with Jesus, to walk with other followers of Jesus, and to wait on Jesus to lead out. There is no professional disciple-maker. All of Jesus' followers are to make disciples of all the nations.

At times, Paul was a good example of this kind of thinking. Paul had a job that paid the bills. He was a tent-maker. He worked this job in order to be free to make disciples of all nations. Paul met a couple of other people in his profession. Check it out: After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Now, most of you have jobs or a profession-a way to make enough money to pay the bills. No matter what job you perform, that is considered a tent-maker job in the Kingdom of God. Some business or someone is paying you to do a certain job for them. In the Kingdom state of mind, you are to do this work as best you can. This job allows you to connect with others (colleagues, managers, and customers) and provides a platform for you to make disciples (followers) of Jesus. It allows you the opportunity to be Jesus in the marketplace. This is the context of the world, within which Jesus has placed you to be his presence-to be salt and light.

When a follower of Jesus gets this concept, he or she becomes a Kingdom man or a Kingdom woman-one who is living with a higher calling than just performing a job. The Kingdom man/woman is not at this position to preach or to demonstrate for Jesus, but to be a demonstration of the love and life of Jesus in touching others in the marketplace. This is truly the Kingdom state of mind at its best! This is the best position to be held on planet earth!

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