â€œRepent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.â€
Now in the last episode, we were looking at the message of John the Baptist in Luke 3, which is also recorded in the synoptic gospels of Mark 1 and Matthew 3.
Matthew’s version has a few extra details which are worth discussing, most notably this phrase â€œthe Kingdom of heavenâ€
So, what is the kingdom of heaven?
According to my NIV commentary. â€œThis particular phrase is only found in Matthew where it occurs 33 times. The kingdom of heaven is the rule of God and is both a present reality and a future hope. The idea of God’s kingdom is central to Jesus teaching and is mentioned 50 times in Matthew alone.â€
Well as J Vernon Gee would say, â€œthe kingdom of heaven is the rule of heaven over the earth, and you canâ€™t have a kingdom without a King. And The kingdom of heaven is at hand in the person of the King.â€
John the Baptist was declaring that the kingdom of heaven is near because Jesus the Messiah was right there in the flesh.
Now if you belong to Jesus you are a part of His kingdom, you are part of the bride of Christ, and you have an intimate relationship with Him. And anything we do for the Kingdom, we do not because we are subjects or workers for the king. Itâ€™s not because Jesus is the boss of me.
No we do it for the love of Jesus, we love Him because he first loved us. Heaven rules over the earth through people like you and me – those who love him and let Him rule their hearts and be used by the master as the hands and feet of Jesus.
We are his ambassadors, the representatives of Jesus in the natural realm.Â But one day King Jesus will himself rule and reign over the earth when he returns, and He is preparing the bride of Christ and the earth for the return of the bridegroom. And that day could be anytime, so our mission is to prepare.
So let me just cut to the chase here and talk about the implications of embracing a â€œkingdom worldviewâ€ in our worship mentality, our ministry philosophy and the way we do the things we do.
So much of our emphasis in worship ministry can be kind of myopic and we’re focused on our little world – and most, if not all, of our energy and resources are about our church services, and our church worship team, and weâ€™re not putting much effort into being connected relationally or working cooperatively – sometimes even with other ministries in our church, much less with other parts of the kingdom. with other churches and other outside ministries.
I mean, have you ever tried to get churches to work cooperatively together on some sort of project? I have many times and it’s a lot harder than you might think.
This is understandable if somewhat lamentable. Comes with the territory, especially due to the intense type of the work that music ministry can be.
So – We have to be intentional to actually do things that are kingdom minded. This requires a mindset of embracing others not like us and being open-minded, open-hearted and have some margin of availability to serve bigger kingdom purposes. At least some point in time.
Some simple ways Iâ€™ve seen this work. Do a night of worship with different churches in your city. Or doing an outreach project with your choir or praise team leading worship at the homeless mission or singing in the nursing home –Â that kind of thing.
Anyway, the kingdom of heaven as a worldview has massive implications and forces us to see beyond just the four walls of the church.
The kingdom of heaven advances when Godâ€™s people advance.
Lord God in heaven, Holy is Your name. May your kingdom come, and your will be done – here on earth as it is in heaven. May we willing to serve not just your church, but your kingdom. For Jesus sake. In the name of F, S HS
Daily Worship DevotionalsÂ is a 5-minute podcast dedicated to studying the Word of God and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. Currently, we are following the Christian year calendar as our framework. Weâ€™re in the season of Epiphany â€“ theÂ Season of LightÂ and exploring the early life of Christ.