Eyes to See Where The Kingdom Isn’t
Every disciple needs to be equipped to see where the Kingdom isn’t.
There are places all around us where God’s will is not being done on earth as it is in heaven. There are giant gaps where brokenness, pain, persecution, suffering and even death are a part of normal, everyday life. Those gaps are what we are to work on closing in our labors for the Kingdom while we are on this earth.
Opening our eyes to see where the Kingdom isn’t and reaching out through people we know and people we don’t know, yet, is how disciples multiply and God’s Kingdom grows far and fast.
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We need to see the gaps between God’s will being done perfectly on earth and the situation that currently exists. This needs to occur in two spheres:
The first sphere is our ongoing relationships. This consists of our friends, family, coworkers, classmates, and possibly neighbors.
This is how the gospel travels the fastest.
Concern for these people is natural. In Luke 16:19-31 we see how even the rich man burning in hell had this sort of love and concern for his family. These people are placed in our lives by God, and we need to steward those relationships well with love and patience and persistence.
You can sensitize followers of Christ to this group of people by having them try to list 100 people they know. Encourage them to categorize them into three groups: those who follow Christ, those who do not follow Christ, and those whose spiritual status is unknown.
They can then seek to equip and encourage those who follow Christ to be more fruitful and faithful. They can begin to seek out ways to “disciple” those who do not yet follow Christ into the Kingdom.
Contacts and Relationships Outside Ongoing Relationships
The second sphere of seeing where the Kingdom isn’t regards those outside our ongoing relationships or contacts.
Jesus directed His disciples to make disciples of every people group on earth. He directed them to make disciples where they were currently located as well as nearby areas, and among people who were different from themselves, and even to the “ends of the earth.”
This is how the gospel travels farthest.
This is not natural. This is supernatural. This is evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God has favorites. His favorites are the least, the last, and the lost. Therefore we should invest our lives in serving not only those close to us, but also in serving those who are in the spiritually darkest corners of the world. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. We should serve those who are desperate. The desperate tend to be the most humble.
With such people, we need to particularly seek out and invest in those who are faithful. Remember that faithfulness is demonstrated by obedience to what God reveals and by sharing it with others. These people are like the good soil in Jesus’ parable. They are those who produce 30, 60, or 100-fold. They are not those with hard hearts who reject the message. They are not those who fall away when persecution arises. They are not those who are distracted by cares of the world or riches. They are like the Gerasene demoniac who responded to Jesus’ ministry by obeying Him and sharing with others what God had done for him. As a result, when Jesus returned to that region later, multitudes were seeking Him.
- Who are you more comfortable sharing with -- people you already know or people you haven't met, yet?
- Why do you think that is?
- How could you get better at sharing with people you're less comfortable with?