Series: Towards The Kingdom Culture; Reconciliation
Sun am 3rd March 2013 – Kobus Swart
(Ps. 127:1a); (Matt. 16:18b); Luke 4:28-30; John 8:58; John 10:37-39; John 17:15; (Eph. 3:10);
Matt. 6:25-33; 1 John 2:12-14; John 6:25-33; Phil. 2:5-8 (Message Bible); 2 Cor. 5:17-21;
Rom. 5:17-18; Phil. 2:12-13; Rom. 5:10, 18; Jude 5
Your embassy will protect you if times of trouble arise when you are in a foreign nation. They represent your nation in a foreign country. Jesus was sent from the Father to this earth with a tremendous mission and mandate upon Him. It was to represent the Father, the government that sent Him and to reflect and glorify the Father. Though He had the privilege to call on legions of angels anytime; to call for supernatural invasions, He chose not to. We as believers are called to represent Jesus on this earth, the Firstborn, the pattern Son. We are given a mandate to be His ambassadors. Whenever a church loses that vision, it goes into all sorts of other activities, programs and loses its real focus.
Kingdom vision surpasses by far the normal modern church vision. Soon things will change in this household because we have been called to be a kingdom church. Nowhere in the Scripture did Jesus say we should build churches. The mandate was to proclaim the kingdom of God. The kingdom church has a strong mandate to be the leavening influence of the kingdom into the community. See yourselves as candidates to be involved in the kingdom leavening activity, and not just those who come to a Sunday morning service.
We are called to be citizens and ambassadors of the kingdom. A citizen has certain rights. Look at the pattern Son’s life. Jesus was protected by the government which sent Him, in a strange, mystical way at times. He was immune to trouble. And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way (Luke 4:28-30). The Bible does not elaborate how He did this. Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple (John 8:58-59). Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp (John 10:39). We can enjoy this kind of immunity. Citizens of the kingdom have certain privileges. Jesus enjoyed complete immunity and protection until His mission was complete, then they took Him to the cross. He could have eluded that but He knew that the time had come. The prayer that Jesus prays for us is, I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one (John 17:15).
We are citizens with a mission; our governmental headquarters is heaven. There is a thrust to become more kingdom-minded then church minded. We do believe in the church because it is through the church that God will demonstrate His manifold wisdom to principalities and powers in heavenly places (Eph. 3:10).
I am painting a picture of our privileges as sons of the kingdom. Sonship simply talks about maturity. There are three levels of spiritual growth; children, young men or sons, and fathers (1 John 2:12-14). We cannot forever remain children and forever want milk. Babies love milk; young men can begin to eat bread and steak, and they have overcome the evil one. That is the qualification for sonship. Sonship is not a title, nor a privileged status. You have to grow to get there; you have to eat the right food so you can overcome the evil one. Then there are those who are growing in the role and grace of a spiritual father.
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matt. 6:25). The one who is an ambassador for a nation never has to worry about these things. The government that sent them pays the bill. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matt. 6:33). We must know who you are, know the high calling in Christ which awaits all of us. You are son of the kingdom with all the privileges that comes with it. We have overlooked our privileged status as citizens.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion (Phil. 2:5-8). He did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped. We must distance ourselves for the mindset of anxiety in the systems of this world because you and I represent the government of God.
We are also called to be ambassadors. An ambassador usually refers to a mature person; referring again to sonship. An ambassador never reflects his own personal views, but the views of the nation that sent him. He and his family’s needs are taken care of by the government that sent him. Persecution is not excluded. Paul was an ambassador even while in chains in prison.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:17-21). God, through the death of Christ reconciled the whole world to Himself. It can never be reversed. The world has not done anything to deserve it. Through the death of one man, righteousness was made available to all (Rom. 5:17-18). That does not mean everybody is automatically saved. You must understand reconciliation through the finished works of Christ, and you must understand salvation through the life of Christ. Therefore reconciliation and salvation are not the same process. There is an overlap of the two, but God requires participation from us in both reconciliation and salvation. We must become active in the living out of the life of Christ to benefit from what has been made available to us. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Rom. 5:10). We are reconciled by His death but we are saved by His life. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men (1 Cor. 5:18). What is needed is an encounter of agreement. We are talking about being salt and light in the world, and we are also ambassadors who have been given the word of reconciliation. The church has mostly had the ministry of condemnation up to now. Both Jesus and John the Baptist in their opening announcements did not say, “Repent of your sins”. The first words were, “Repent for the kingdom of God has come” (Matt. 3:2 and Matt. 4:17). When you repent for the kingdom of God has come near, your life will align to kingdom living.
Salvation requires learning how to apply Christ’s life. Work out your salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12-13). It spells out participation; walk this thing out with God. When you are born again your spirit man is activated; then your soul is getting saved – it is a process to have the mind renewed. Ultimately salvation means the redemption of the physical body. If we do not work out our salvation with fear and trembling we will never reach sonship with all its privileges in the kingdom. We will remain babes. No government will send a young boy to be an ambassador to another nation. It has nothing to with age, but it has to do with experience and maturity. It is God who is at work in you to will and to do His good pleasure, but there has to be a response and encounter of agreement.
Humanity has been reconciled but you can lose the privileges due to unbelief. Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe (Jude 5). Rest assured in the knowledge that you have been reconciled to God; there is no more gulf between you and God. Now we participate in His life as people saved and being saved to the uttermost. Do not ever lose your faith and doubt your status as a citizen of the kingdom. We carry a divine passport. We do not boast cheaply of who we are. We are like the pattern Son who did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.