Jesus talks a lot about the kingdom. He announced the kingdom in his first public words. The first prayer request that He taught His disciples was, “Thy kingdom come”. The top priority of the believer is to seek “first the kingdom of God.” The word “kingdom” is mentioned 152 times in the New Testament, 116 of those times in the Gospels.
So what is God’s kingdom? A kingdom is where the king reigns. With that in mind, the kingdom of God is any place over which God has operative dominion. If Jesus is reigning in your life, then as Jesus reminds us in Luke 17:21, “the kingdom of God is within you.” God’s kingdom is also “present and not yet,” meaning that the reign of God is currently active but will one day culminate in His “reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
Too often, we have replaced the “kingdom” with the “church.” What is the difference? Let me allow the words of Howard Snyder to explain: “Kingdom people seek first the Kingdom of God and its justice; church people often put church work above concerns of justice, mercy and truth. Church people think about how to get people to church; Kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world. Church people worry that the world might change the church; Kingdom people work to see the church change the world.”
At First Free, we are Kingdom ambassadors. We have a Kingdom perspective. Our mission statement is “to help individuals become Christ-centered and Christ-sent together”. We want to represent the kingdom of God – everyday, wherever we are. We want to be involved in making South Minneapolis more reflective of God’s coming kingdom.
What would it look like to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on my block – or in my school, or at my office – as it is in heaven”?
This year we are inviting everyone in our church body to take a risk. Step out of your comfort zone. Pray over your neighborhood, or over your school or over your workplace. Ask God to open a door for you to share your story of what Christ has done in your life with someone who is far from God. Testify to God’s grace and love. Be Kingdom ambassadors.