With a biblical understanding of ‘church’ (which we have explained numerous times in these blogs), we also grasp the relevance of ‘God’s kingdom,’ i.e. His rule in the world through His Son. Here are just three little cameos of how it happens ‘on the ground’…
My wife is a clinic sister working in a large company in South Africa. Because we see church and mission as essentially a biblical lifestyle lived out in the market-place, she endeavours to ‘shine for Jesus’ in all she is and does (Mt. 5:14-16). The staff (including believers, nominal Christians, Muslims, etc) agreed to start every morning with prayer, committing the day’s work to God. They hold hands, with my wife and another committed believer doing the praying. Imagine my wife’s surprise a few weeks ago when the manager of the floor-staff, a committed Muslim, said to her (one hectic morning), ‘Hey, Melanie, we haven’t prayed yet!’ This when Melanie has made it abundantly clear that she will always pray to ‘the God of the Bible’ and ‘in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ!’ This is God’s kingdom coming on earth, as it is in heaven (Mt. 6:9-10).
I counselled a young mother some years ago, while still part of the denominational church setting. Her childhood had been horrendous, with multiple sexual abuse by a family member and many other childhood horrors. Soon afterwards she had to work through a painful divorce. Unbeknowns to her, God had been at work in her life amid all this pain. Over a period of time she came into emotional healing and freedom from oppressing powers. She began to grow from spiritual infancy into spiritual adulthood (Heb. 5:11ff). Over the years we have met up with her on sporadic occasions. On Sunday morning past she came to share with our House Church some poetry she has since written, reflecting the healing she has received over the years. Some of her work is being put into print as we write, under the name DJPEARL. Our reaction on Sunday morning was, D, only God could have inspired what you have written! It is beautiful and refreshing poetry, easy to relate to, especially by others who have been hurt in the rough and tumble of life. God’s kingdom is coming on earth!
At a recent inter-church Missions Conference in our city, some of our leaders met with a missionary from a Middle Eastern nation who regularly visits the ‘church’ in one of the most oppressive Muslim countries in the world. God’s people there meet largely in ‘underground’ house churches. News over the past year or two is that an estimated one million people have come to follow Jesus and live according to the Bible and meeting in house groups, most of them being young people seeking for purpose in life! God’s kingdom is coming on earth.
[By the way, the May-June 2011 edition of Mission Frontiers, put out by the reputable U.S. Centre for World Mission, focuses on ‘Jesus Movements: Discovering Biblical Faith in the Most Unexpected Places.’ Such movements are ‘spontaneously’ appearing across the globe in Judaism, Islamic nations, Hindu nations, etc. The results are astonishing, to say the least. Pray for these movements to expand, as they seek to steer safely between syncretism on the one hand and the ‘control’ of Western christendom (and culture) on the other hand]