Following Jesus always results in doing the good works that He modeled as an example for our life-style. Following Jesus constantly leads us in answering this question: "What does the love of Christ within me compel me to do in this real life situation?" God is the one who brings these situations to us to act upon, but we gotta to have His eyes to see them and not walk away! This is kingdom servanthood.
Community: a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society 〈a community of retired persons> Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003). A group of people with a common characteristic within a larger society sounds like Acts 4:44. Other words besides community fit our discussion, like, congregation, church, etc. We are talking about the role of the church in the Kingdom’s mission.
This is important. Two fellows talking to one another ask each other this question: Which kingdom do you attend? Is there more than one, does the kingdom citizen get to choose the kingdom that best fits their desires for a kingdom? Absolutely not! Fact: Jesus Christ is King of only one Kingdom – His! But our culture is perfectly comfortable if the question were: Which denomination do you attend? The truth is there are so many to choose from, isn’t there? Here are more facts: The church biblically is the body of Christ, there is only one body of Christ, Jesus Christ is the head of His body. (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4) Does the kingdom citizen get to choose the church that best fits their desires for a church? Absolutely not and still be a member of the Body of Christ!
We must do a little framework discussion at this point. In understanding the biblical text certain principles are true. 1. The text of scripture is a communication between an author and the recipients of the text. 2. That communication has but one meaning. Scripture can never mean what it never meant. 3. The context of the communication determines the meaning of the text. The context includes at least the following: the occasion for the writing, the situation the author and the recipients are experiencing, the culture effecting the readers, the purpose the writing was written, etc. 4. The meaning of the communication can be understood today.
Two fellows in Jerusalem in 35 A.D. would never have asked the question: Which denomination do you attend? Why? Because there were no denominations in existence in 35 A.D. And every writer of the New Testament condemned schisms, factions, divisions and the like. Division destroys, and denominationalism promotes it. Since this was true in the 1st century, it is true in the 21st century. For the local church/community of Christ to accomplish its vital role in the Kingdom blessing nations and families, it must be clear about its purpose and unified in its function.
The Kingdom is above thus heavenly, the Church is below thus earthly. They are distinct from each other but vitally connected. This connection is seen in the statement of Jesus, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19, ESV) In verse 18, Jesus promised to build His church and the apostles were vital leaders in it. They become the church on earth utilizing the keys to the Kingdom. The kingdom is never more visible on earth than when the will of God is done on earth as it is in heaven, thus the loosing and binding in the apostles’ teaching.
Hopefully we can understand the kingdom/church connection. The members of a local church, hearing the apostles’ teaching and seeing their manner of life, think within their minds and meditate upon it. The Heavenly King transform their hearts through their faith and their faithful obedience. Thus the will of God done on earth as the King reigns over the hearts of His citizens.
More next time about the citizen’s function on earth to manifest the kingdom’s impact upon it.