The Kingdom of God
When Jesus Christ came to earth he announced the good news (Gospel) of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23). He came as the King of kings and the Ruler of the Universe to save a people for himself, through his own sacrifice, and restore us under his loving rule and reign as a people who would live lives defined by godly justice, mercy and humility (Micah 6:8). The focus of Christ’s ministry in this world is described in Isaiah 42:1-4“Here is my Servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out , or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.”
As his people, we are freed from a lifestyle of self-focused sin and freed to “seek first his kingdom” (Matthew 6:33). Like Jesus, we are anointed by the Spirit (Matthew 3:11), gifted to make his love known (Ephesians 4:7-13), and will be led by the Spirit to sovereignly appointed opportunities for good works (Eph 2:10).
God’s kingdom priorities are not hidden to us, nor are they ours to define. God has spoken in his Word and declared to us what he wants our service to look like: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? The your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” Isaiah 58:6-9
Seeking first the kingdom means these types of ministries will mark us as the church. We will care for the widow, the orphan and the immigrant in our midst. It also means we will seek justice in marriage relationships, parenting responsibilities and work issues. God is concerned that his justice fill the earth, and that means justice both personally and socially. In his love and graciousness, these ministries are not the “calling” of a special few of God’s people, but it is the privilege of all God’s people to live such lives of service.
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