We Are Not Asked to Build the Kingdom of God

Nowhere in the New Testament are we told to "build the Kingdom of God" or to "expand it". Such talk is a failure to understand what the Kingdom is. And such a misunderstanding is likely what leads us to build empires in the name of God. From the examples of the first disciples, we are to:

– announce the Kingdom's arrival in Jesus (Acts 1, 8, 19, 20, 28)
– help people receive it, i.e. enter it (1 Cor. 6, Gal. 5, Heb 12, James 2)
– teach people to live in it (Matt. 5-7, Eph. 2, Col. 1)
– call them participate in God's rule by making their places of domain reflect God's dominion– by loving and serving instead of dominating, by acting to end injustice, etc (1 Thess. 2, Rev. 5)
– look for the culmination of the Kingdom when Christ returns. (1 Cor. 15)

Until we understand it, all that we do "for the Kingdom" will degenerate into human Babel-building towers.

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7 thoughts on “We Are Not Asked to Build the Kingdom of God

  1. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. Empire’s were indeed built in the name of God, but it would be interesting to see how much of that phenomenon was based on a misinformed reading Scripture. I’d wager it wasn’t from a reading of Scripture at all, misinformed or otherwise, but rather man doing what man does best – taking advantage of money making and power taking opportunities. At least that was the case of Middle Ages Europe till the WWII era.

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  3. Further thoughts:
    The “kingdom” is larger than the church…The Kingdom is God’s rule. When the Psalmist says “The Lord reigns!” they are saying that God is Creator and King. But they know that though God is King by right (de jure), His Kingship is not fully expressed in reality (de facto). But Jesus’ arrival signaled the arrival of God’s Kingdom in reality..His rule is beginning to express itself in our world, righting all that is wrong. When Christ returns, the Kingdom culminates and He will reign until all other dominion is under His feet (1 Cor. 15).
    For Ruth and Eric, “winning others to Christ” is a by product of announcing His Kingdom– which is what the early apostles did: simply announce that Christ is the real King of the nations and the Savior of Creation. Those who believe on Him are saved. When others enter the Kingdom by believing on Christ, they are also part of the Church– the new people of God–so, in a new God’s rule has been “expanded” by His rule now extending to their hearts. But God’s rule is God’s rule. We don’t bring it.
    So, isn’t this semantics? In some cases, yes. There are some, like Annette indicated, that really aren’t trying to build God’s Kingdom; it’s just the phrase they use. But language can get us in trouble after awhile. Because much that many Christian leaders think of as “building the Kingdom” is really Christian entrepreneurship. Plus, that approach to “Kingdom” seems to be thinking of kingdom like the United Kingdom, an empire that needs expanding. When you think of Kingdom as “God’s rule”– not first a place or the people over whom He rules, but simply His authority– you can see how it doesn’t make sense to talk of expanding it: we can only announce it and learn to live in it. God– Creator-Yahweh– reigns.

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  4. The Kingdom is not only “God’s rule” but it is God’s rule in and through covenant relationship. God was in covenant at creation and there was a kingdom under Adam. God is covenant relationship with the Son (Last Adam). It’s a intratrinitarian covenant. The Church will always seek to “establish more of the kingdom”, “advance the kingdom”, “build the kingdom” etc. when the fundamental definition of what the kingdom IS is changed from what it always has been from the beginning.
    Ladd thinks that Jesus changed the definition of what the kingdom IS… to “realm” “sphere” etc. Because he adopted the “now and not yet” scheme. But the “now and not yet” didn’t start in the New Testament. It’s been a reality since the beginning as well. Anywhere and everywhere there is covenant relationship with the King there is a presence of the kingdom. Israel: “…a kingdom of priest, a holy nation…”
    Jesus establishes the kingdom upon His return, when he sits on the throne of David and rules over the nations of the earth. He does what Adam was supposed to do (Gen 1 mandate). Humanity has lived in the “now and not yet” tension since the beginning. You’ll know the Kingdom has arrived when you are in a resurrected body, on a planet that is being renewed by the King, until He delivers the Kingdom up to the Father. Until then the role of the church is to proclaim the same message “the kingdom of God is at hand”.

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  5. sometimes (if not, MANY times) we humans think things only on “human” levels, which is, only things that r feastable or visible to our human eyes.

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