In my last post I stated that in this one I would delve into how the kingdom of God functions and our role in it. The first thing to note is that the kingdom functions based on authority. That may seem too obvious but it is an important reality. Jesus operated under the Father’s authority in His earthly ministry. His submission in His humanity is what enabled Him to function. The key passage in scripture that relates to our role in the advancement of the kingdom is what we refer to as The Great Commission.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18–20 (NKJV)
Here we see that all authority has been given to Jesus due to His sacrificial submission to the Father’s purpose in redemption. Next, we see that He has delegated to us the responsibility to extend His kingdom on the earth through two things. 1 – Evangelism, 2- Discipleship. Every time someone is newly born again the kingdom is extended or expanded in the earth. Every time someone grows in their faith and the application of it, the kingdom grows deeper in the earth.
Practically we need to walk in submission, come under His authority, to operate in the authority He has delegated to us. We see this with Jesus when He submitted to baptism by John the Baptist and when He shared how He ministered in response to what the Father was showing Him.
14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. Matthew 3:14–15 (NKJV)
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. John 5:19 (NKJV)
The practical implication of these verses is that for us to walk in authority and live out The Great Commission we need to embrace submission to the Father’s heart and move as He directs us. When He prompts us to speak up, we need to speak up. When He prompts us to remain silent, we need to remain silent. When He nudges us to give a prophetic word to someone, we need to give the word.
In my own experience I have ministered to a lot of people over the years through both teaching and prayer ministry. I have sought to be sensitive to His voice in the process. At times I have had words from the Lord for someone that I had to wait to share. At other times I have given words from the Lord when it was clear He had opened a door, a kairos moment. I have had things to share with individuals or groups that I knew needed to be bathed in intercession prior to being shared. Each of these moments were the extending of His kingdom and exercising His authority through submission to His word and presence.
The above illustrates some ways that He has called us to embrace His kingdom. They may be different for each of us. Some are called to focus on evangelism, some to focus on intercession, others on discipling others. I know in my own life my primary calling is to build His body through teaching and intercession.
A key factor I referenced last week was the distinction between seeing and entering the kingdom as Jesus presented it to Nicodemus.
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3-5 (NKJV)
When we were born again, we perceived and became aware of the kingdom of God. Our next choice was whether we entered into it and became actively involved, whether we embraced the kingdom. I encourage you, ask Him how He wants you to be involved then walk in submission to Him exercising the authority He has given you to extend His kingdom.