The Gate to the Kingdom
There is only one way to get into God's kingdom and that is to be born into it. All of us were born into the wrong kingdom, being born spiritually disconnected from God. In a fascinating, God-planned process, the Holy Spirit empowers a person's encounters with the truth of Jesus Christ, changing a rebel into a family member. The Holy Spirit changes a dead heart into a faith-filled, fruit-producing heart. Being born into the kingdom of God changes everything, including one's culture, ethics, desires and life-direction.
Jesus Was Kingdom Focused
"Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few."
Jesus looked at the huge number of people living outside of the kingdom of God and He felt sorry for them. They needed a Shepherd. They needed Him. Listen to Jesus' response to this problem: "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."
Our Work in the Kingdom
People tell me that they don't feel called to be missionaries. And, that is probably true for many people... as far as living out the gospel within another culture. I'd like to mention two points that I think will resonate with you. First, all who are in the kingdom of Christ are on mission. We just harvest in different fields. Some harvest in the valleys and some in the hills. Some on their home turf and some in other countries. But, all citizens of the kingdom of God are to be engaged in harvesting.
Last, notice the sequence in Jesus' command to his disciples. First, pray. Then, God sends. Daily, let's pray to be sent out into the fields. Long-term, let's pray about the locations where God wants to send us.
It's Easy to Forget
Last Saturday evening, I took my family out to pizza. As we sat on the patio, we could a variety of people having a good time on the beach. I took a little time to read the Bible to my wife and kids there at the table. The world seemed very normal. Kids playing in the surf, people taking selfies on the beach, and families eating pizza. At times like these, it is easy to forget that there are two kingdoms. It is easy to forget the urgency for evangelism and discipleship. A few moments later, an elderly German man swam up to the beach with a prostitute. They made their way across the beach and sat down at the table next to us. Suddenly, the reality of how sad and confused the world is without Jesus as their shepherd came vividly into focus.
I'm a missionary at a school about ten minutes from this pizza place. There, we are depending on the Holy Spirit to empower the truth that is being taught. Truth that can set a generation free from the kingdom of the weary and scattered. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the good shepherd. Come to me all who are weary and carrying burdens, and I will give you rest."
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.