Kingdoms Collide Word on the Week 11th November 2023.
The 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1919 the first armistice day was held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Optimistically, it was to commemorate the war to ‘end all wars’! It is now known as Remembrance Day in the UK and is held annually at the Cenotaph in London.
This visual reminder of the horrors of war has not stopped the warring human tribes from their propensity to slaughter each other! Armament factories are never out of business! Politicians, asleep at the wheel, fail to spot the Putin’s of this world until it is too late.
It is easy to see the faults in others but this blog is concerned with another Kingdom, a heavenly one. It is identified on earth by its founder saying “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (St Matthew 16 verse 18). The gates of the city being the strongest part of its fortification but they are not strong enough to keep hell from being taken!
We pray, Thy Kingdom come. So how is the kingdom to come? Who is in the draft? God has called all his children to participate in the work of the kingdom. Everyone who has been brought into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ has been drafted into the ministry of church-building (2 Peter 2 verses 3 to 9).
The Lord has given us the leaders we require to carry out these works of service. They build up the people of God until they become mature in the faith not tossed about by every wind of teaching. Now expressing the truth of redemption in Christ out of love we build up the whole body as each part does its work (Ephesians 4 verses 11 to 16).
What are some of the hindrances to the Biblical vision of church? For some it has become the spiritual version of going to a concert. They get a high. They experience ministry professionals at work but have little commitment to the health of the church or to its work in the world. Their relationship to the church is self-focussed i.e. what can I get out of it!
There is also that incongruous worshipper, the ‘sermon sampler’. I would fall into this category thanks to the immobility of old age and the convenience of Zoom!
Rightly executed the sermon takes the Bible portion and nourishes the hearers. This enables the Kingdom of God to advance as repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus is proclaimed in all nations by church-goers who testify to its reality in their lives (St Luke 24 verses 45 to 48).