Matthew 6:10 “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Kingdom thinking will tend to exorcize the demonic out of social systems that are operating in one’s society and culture. Not only do we want to deal with individual sin, but also the power structure that is behind it. We see that Jesus came to redeem.
Colossians 1:20 “….and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
When we read Isaiah 61:1-4 and then the New Testament counterpart in Luke 4:18 where Jesus declared that this is why He came, we begin to understand something of what our task is in the Great Commission. We see the model that was set down in the early church as an example to follow.
First, we see in the early church whenever there was an emergency how Christians began to respond in the form of gifts, money, clothing, etc. to help those in need.
Secondly, micro-enterprise development was started where people could be taught how to ‘fish’ (to gain a living without handouts) instead of giving a ‘fish’ (a handout).
Thirdly, social justice was taught to where those who had could help those who did not have and more of equality came in not by political force (government), but through voluntary efforts.
Fourthly, structures of sin were identified: child prostitution, poppy growing (like they have in Afghanistan today), child labor, abortion clinics, etc.
Fifthly, pressure was built on government as well as by worldwide organizations to challenge the so-called power elites that maintain these ‘structures of sin.’
Kingdom thinking recognizes the fallenness of all human institutions and seeks renewal through value change. Value change begins with the church. It is now clear that church planting is an essential part of the transformation.
We also need to recognize that within the church there must be order. So we see from all of this that in the church body there are some who are called to provide oversight, rule, discipline, teaching and care. John Stott wrote: “All God’s people are priests, all are ministers or servants; but He gave some apostles, prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.”
To me a very important principle in all of this is what I call ‘releasing the ministry.’ Once we have trained a person we then hand the ministry over to them. We see this with Jesus. He called twelve men “designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” Mark 3:14
He discipled, trained and gave them the ministry. He relinquished to these twelve Galileans, unlearned men the task of world evangelism. What a risk! One turned out to be a traitor, and the others, at a time of great trial for the Lord, forsook Him. There will be a risk also with relinquishing a ministry. Mistakes will be made; failures will come. This is often one of the reasons why in many cases we do not turn the ministry over. If those who are paid do all of the ministry because the are good at it, it will intimidate others into thinking that they cannot do it. And so they remain quiet in the pews and the church continues to become more irrelevant to them.
So often we have kept the ministry in the hands of the ‘professionals.’ This is what we pay them for anyway, isn’t it? Kingdom thinking will lead to a relinquishing ministry. We will find that in this relinquishing ministry those who have been discipled and mentored will move into places where ‘structures of sin’ are located to deal with those sinful structures.
An example of this is William Carey – missionary to India – who saw what was then practiced and called “sati,” become illegal. Sati is where the widow whose husband had just died would be thrown alive onto the fire consuming her dead husband ‘so that she could join him.’ God used William Carey to see this practice banned throughout India. (Although in some cases this practice is still going on, but sati is against the law.)