FOR THE KINGDOM Part 4: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God

Sometimes, when we look at the injustice in the world, we can be tempted to complain. “If only we had better leaders, less corrupt politicians, a stronger government, or better policies”.  We can even complain to God, ‘Why do you allow this to happen, can’t you do something?’  The Christian political activist, Jim Wallis, calls that way of dealing with global and social issues “the politics of complaint.” [i] Complaining about the state of the world is a temptation for all of us.  We often want someone else to solve the issues that bug us without any active involvement ourselves.

I wonder if this was another trap the disciples fell into when they asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would be restored.  As we observed last week, all of Israel was looking for a deliverer.  They were living in troubled times in a troubled nation.  So the disciples wanted to know when Jesus would powerfully and miraculously intervene in their political affairs.  Imagine their consternation when Jesus refused to answer the question and instead told them he was going to empower them to be his witnesses.   He redirected their focus towards the authority there is in God and the power they could have in him.

So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Act 1:6-8)

Kingdom of GodRather than providing immediate political deliverance, Jesus instead invited the disciples to participate in bringing God’s reign of justice and deliverance to the world.  He pointed them to the unshakeable character and the unstoppable force of God’s kingdom working in God’s people the church.  Rather than set out a kingdom restoration timetable and pander to their political aspirations, Jesus commissioned his disciples to be the evidence and the witnesses of his power and authority to the ends of the earth.

We are the evidence of God’s unshakeable Kingdom. The church has been sent into the world to be the witness of and to God’s unstoppable power. The word witness means both one who gives evidence and one who is the evidence. We need to do God’s mission with the awareness that we are the sign of Gods Kingdom on Earth. We demonstrate God’s character of love. We represent the ultimate authority of the universe. We are backed by the power of the King.  We carry the presence of God himself.  We are effectively ambassadors of God’s kingdom.  And our authority does not come from our position, our wealth, our fame or our education; it comes from the intrinsic authority we have as followers of Jesus Christ.

With the knowledge that what we do is for an unshakeable kingdom that has unstoppable force, we can be confident that the smallest step we take to extend God’s kingdom on earth has intrinsic power to change lives. We can be confident, that as we proclaim and demonstrate the character, the power and the presence of God’s Kingdom in a world of poverty, injustice, and unbelief, lives will be changed, communities will be transformed and nations will be impacted. God does not need warplanes, tanks, nuclear weapons. taxation, monetary policy or political power to demonstrate the power and presence of his Kingdom.  All he needs is communities of people who are willing to be the representatives of his kingdom on earth. He needs a people who, rather than complaining about global issues, instead start participating in God’s kingdom work.

If you would like to hear more about this week’s blog post you can listen to the  message “Complaining or Participating”  which our World Impact team shared at CityLife Church in April 2012 (http://www.citylifechurch.com/audiomessages/).  There is also a small group study guide to accompany this message at Complaining and Participating.

– Andrew

[i]      Jim Wallis God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2005), 26.