I led our small group through a discussion on the kingdom of God this week.
We touched on odd passages referring to the kingdom being near, being in you, being on earth, being in process, even ‘forcefully advancing’…
We spent part of the evening going through a creative exercise on what a kingdom, any kingdom, would look like.
One comment that came out, amongst many others, was that a kingdom’s got to have some high security (ie. impenetrable pearly gates)
It’s interesting what a defensive posture we take sometimes.
Could this explain the state of the church as it is today? Could it be that the ‘kingdom’ would look dramatically different if the church spent less time defending itself, and more time expressing the goodness of God?
When Jesus said that he would build his church and that the gates of hell would not prevail (Matthew 16), the word ‘gates’ always threw me off. Why the gates, and why not the demons or the forces of hell?
And then it hit me.
It’s hell that’s on the defense. Jesus sets up his church right along the borders of the kingdom of hell and presses against it. His ‘kingdom forcefully advances’ and His church prevails over the gates. He sends His warriors into the kingdom of darkness to bring all of those he loves into His kingdom of light.
The kingdoms we often build are nothing like the kingdom of God.
Our kingdoms revolve around self-preservation.
His kingdom goes where no one dares.
Our kingdoms are fortresses from the world.
His kingdom longs that we be a force in the world.
Goes on forever.