Ethos: Kingdom

TRCC Ethos

I said last week that folks come here and they either love it or they don’t last long due to the culture of the kingdom that just roots out some things. People who leave our church due to moving or career or vocational calling usually have trouble replacing the ethos and function of TRCC. We’ve ruined them for the ordinary.

What is it that causes people to fall in love with TRCC?

Is it the slick dressed pastors with the health and prosperity sermons? No.

Is it the slick building with “can’t miss” amenities?

Is it the deft “everything to all people” band?

Is it the lights and fog machine?

Is it our “rocking global problem awareness campaigns” we drive in social media on a yearly basis?

Is it the kicking “come and get more information and hear your favorite Christian celebrity and get them to sign your bible” conference we host every year?

The answer to all these questions is, No.

What is it? It’s our DNA.

We talk about these things in our membership class but we want to revisit them often in order to keep who we are in front of us and not leave our identity for things that are sell-out.

We said back in January that 2015 is the year of articulating and seeking to drive deeper the spiritual DNA we were planted with. It’s the year of seeking to refine our practice of that DNA and focus harder than ever on multiplying that DNA and passing on that DNA to as many as we can.

We’ve broken down the components of our mission, “For the glory of God we will build the church, both local and global, by being and producing radical followers of Jesus Christ” (Glory, Church, Glocal, Radical).

We want to remind you of the components of the DNA that produces that mission, and these components produce our ethos, (Kingdom, Disciple, Society, Church).

These are components we’ll instill in TRCC church planters. These are the values we want to instill in you that will cause you to act the way you do. These are values that drive TRCC to be that place that ruins people for the ordinary.

The sequence of this DNA is as vital as the individual parts. You’ll see this as we go along.

Kingdom

“The kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty and freedom.” – Tim Keller

God’s kingdom is his universal rule, his sovereignty over all the earth…The kingdom is his reign more than his realm. – George Eldon Ladd

“The kingdom of God is the reign of God. It is Jesus’ Christ, the Lord over all things in action. Wherever the will of God is being done, that’s where the kingdom is being manifested. In a very real sense Jesus is the kingdom in person.” – Bob Roberts

“Kingdom” shows up 160 times in 151 verses in the New Testament. The “kingdom” in the New Testament is distinct from the kingdom in the Old Testament. In the NT the kingdom is more than Israel, and the king is not a man. In the NT the kingdom is the people of God from all nations and the king is Jesus.

Everything in the OT is preparing us for the reality of the Kingdom of God that would be inaugurated at Jesus’ first coming, advanced by the church as the people of God and fully consummated at the restoration of all things when Jesus returns.

Let’s review some passages about the kingdom and then make some application.

Matthew 6:33

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (food, drink, clothing, necessities and some amenities {all good and perfect gifts come down from the Father of lights with whom there is not shadow due to change})

If we want to see the supernatural works we read about in the bible and we hear about in the east we can’t live by the values of the fallen world system that is opposed to the kingdom of God.

Matthew 6:10

“…Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Jesus taught us pray for the coming of the kingdom before we prayed for our supply. Why? Because only in our supply of necessities can we do the Father’s will and thus bring his kingdom and thus hallow his name.

Matthew 24:14

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

What is the scope of the kingdom’s proclamation? All nations.

If every church picked one people where the good news has not been proclaimed and went then we’d be far closer to the return of the King.

Mark 1:14-15

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.”

The equating of the gospel and the kingdom in this passage is huge because it rounds out the gospel message to is fullness in that the gospel is not merely about saving people from the wrath of God but it is about all things being brought back into the rule and headship of Jesus Christ, including men and women and children.

So, when we tell the good news we need to make sure we don’t make it merely about that person’s salvation. We need to set their salvation in the glorious framework of all of Father’s restorative work.

Matthew 13:47-50

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The kingdom will catch up all kinds into it’s net and there will be some bad fish in the nets, but Jesus will sort them out at the restoration of all things.

There are weeds among the wheat. We can’t make the weeds go away, but Jesus will. So we seek to be patient and obedient and careful with the harvest so we don’t root up good wheat with weeds.

Weeds don’t necessarily cause problems. Weeds are not wolves. Weeds look good on the outside but are fruitless and choke out the fruit of others.

In the kingdom, we will have weeds. Jesus will sort them out.

Matthew 13:31-32

“He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

The kingdom is unassuming and full of power. It’s meek.

The kingdom is fruitful. The kingdom maximizes potential. The kingdom takes it’s two talents and multiplies them to four.

Matthew 13:33

“He told them another parable. ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.’”

The kingdom is supernatural. The kingdom is kind of magical (please don’t judge me for saying that).

The kingdom works when we are not aware that the kingdom is working. The rule of the kingdom is like the gradual dawning of spring after 100 years of winter in Narnia. It’s steady and thorough.

So, we persevere and wait patiently.

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

“He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn….Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

The kingdom rule of Jesus will have fakers all over the place and those fakers may not be overt, but they are like those who cast out demons in Jesus name and don’t know Jesus. They work for Jesus but in order to earn his favor not because they’ve received a new heart of flesh in regeneration.

Jesus will gather those fakers and deal with them.

What troubles me about this passage is that fakers are not troublemakers overtly. Paul calls those cats, wolves (See what I did there with animals? Cats are evil, therefore, wolves…).

Jesus says that the weeds are the sons of the evil one and cause sin and law breaking.

I think Satan is much more shrewd than putting clear disturbances in the church. Those are just jerks who can’t figure out how to get along and follow instructions. Those distractions are probably actually saved and living in the flesh.

Satan would be more covert than to put his agents in and have them stick out like sore thumbs. Satan would be shrewd enough to insert smooth talkers who are socially solid and socially attractive and just a hair off in their misapplication of Scripture, Jesus like Satan’s temptation of Jesus.

Jesus said that there were some who cast out demons in his name but did not know him. I suspect Satan’s weeds would have powerful external ministry that actually did good to people but in their work kept the focus off of Jesus and put it on themselves and thus got people into a dark and devilish heresy while thinking they were in the light.

The kingdom produces fruit that centers on Jesus.

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self- control, and self- control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-11

Ephesians 1:7-10

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”

The gospel is the good news of Jesus’ kingdom come and the breaking of the curse of the fall and overthrow of Satan’s little and temporary kingdom to be finally overthrown when Jesus returns.

The good news of the kingdom is more than salvation from sin. It is that, but salvation from sin is just the entry into the larger work of the kingdom!

The culture of rescue from hell as the goal of the gospel has not only short-sighted the work of the church, but it has pillaged discipleship for the church.

If the gospel is just a rescue from hell, then once I’m rescued from hell there is not much to do other than help get others rescued from hell, huddle up and wait for rescue. The point of Jesus saving you is his praise in rescuing sinners and then his glory is his people filling the earth, proclaiming the good news and healing the domains of society as salt and light.

Salvation is not just salvation to heaven. Salvation is being made alive to see and know the king and his kingdom but then to participate in bringing the king’s rule to application in your home, your church and your domain of society on a global scale.

The good news of the kingdom makes salvation possible for all who will believe and gives those who believe a mission to subvert the work of Satan through making disciples and engaging the domains of society in all nations and establishing the church as the outpost[1] and community of the kingdom by the Spirit’s power as we wait for Jesus to return, complete the kingdom’s establishment and completely bring Satan’s work to an end.

Quick Summary: Jesus’ First Coming broke Satan’s Power (Broke the curse). In-Between Jesus’ first and second coming we are undoing Satan’s work in the curse by the power of the Spirit at work in the powerful kingdom (Church’s Mission – glory; church; glocal; radical). Jesus second coming will completely destroy Satan’s petty rebellious kingdom forever.

Implications of the kingdom:

If the kingdom of Jesus Christ has come, and if we are wheat and sheep not weeds and goats, and if we have all wisdom and insight to know the plan of God to unite all things in Christ then there are some implications for us as the community of the kingdom.

  1. We must be Missional – We have to be about Jesus’ mission not our mission. Everything we do must have the mission in mind. We must be about correcting the fall and bringing all things back under the rule of Jesus Christ.

We must be about taking the rule of Christ out and seeking to establish the rule of Christ in every way possible.

Strategically speaking, missional living is about going and establishing not holding events and asking people to come and see.

 

I want to issue us a challenge to be goers and “establishers” not event holders.

There is nothing wrong with inviting people to come and see. In order to invite them to come and see, we have to go and establish something. Going and establishing is how we get past passive involvement and into active engagement!

  1. We must be incarnational – Jesus came and healed. We must be agents who go and heal. We must fill our domains of society and bring them back under the rule of Jesus Christ.

This is personal and corporate. You have a domain you operate it. Every single person in the church can’t establish a line item in the budget for their personal ministry and get everyone involved in it. Some issues can be dealt with that way. Most of them cannot.

Much of the church’s work is you and I engaging our domain with the support of our RL group behind us in prayer and personal upholding.

This is a life-long mission. This is not something you may ever see the end of. You may die trying to see the kingdom come in your domain. You may see the kingdom already in your domain. You may need to maintain and hold on in faithful maintenance. Either way, your mission is life-long.

  1. We must be Organic – The kingdom does not advance by man’s schemes. The kingdom happens as a supernatural move of the Spirit. The job of the church is not to manufacture movements but to join them.

We have to have eyes that see and ears that hear and be ready to obey.

  1. We must be Contextual – The kingdom always invades a context and brings it under the rule of Christ and takes the Constitution of the Kingdom, the bible, and makes it the rule of that context in redeeming it for Christ.

This is why the bible never prescribes a model. This is why a church should never prescribe a model. The community of the kingdom fits in and transforms from the inside out.

We must make sure we don’t fall into the trap of thinking our preference is THE model. The model is the kingdom. We must strive to outdo one another in showing honor, allow for conscience, and let the Spirit dictate the hows.

This requires experimentation, failure, trial and error. According to Alan Hirsh 65%-75% of American culture is completely un-engaged and in need of the church morphing into their context. Do we have that in us?

So much of what we do was formed by the historical establishment of Christendom after the legalization of Christianity in 313 AD, and much of that spelled the demise of the church and we are still reaping the death off of that one. I’ll give you some examples in a couple of weeks.

  1. We must be Glocal – The kingdom is not isolated to the local church. The local church is a manifestation of the kingdom and the kingdom is global. The kingdom mobilizes the local and takes it global to expand the kingdom.
  1. We must be Evolving – The kingdom is always growing and taking in more formerly held enemy territory. The community of the kingdom must be flexible enough to incorporate that kind of growth.

Example: What is it going to look like when the church is truly reaching the unreached? What is the church going to look like when it’s incorporating those who cross-cultural in our own town?

Post-modernity is segmented by sub-cultures not a culture as a whole. Therefore, the church has to reach those subcultures somehow. They are separated from the life of God. How are we going to do that? Will attraction models work? Will we need to think about cell church or house church?

We are alive in one of the most exciting times of church history. How are we going to live out the advance of the gospel of the kingdom?

Are you a kingdom person? Do you love the king and his rule?

One thing all kingdom people do is worship.

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

[1] The implications of the church being an outpost are huge. It means that the church is launching missions to those not in the purpose of the outpost. The purpose of the outpost is to establish the rule of Jesus. This affects not only our message but our strategy. The outpost must take the form of what it is trying to reach into or risk become irrelevant to it’s target.

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