NEW TESTAMENT EVANGELISM IS FOR THE PLANTING OF KINGDOM COMMUNINITIES:
My basic premise here is to state that as I have studied evangelism in the New Testament, the very idea and subsequent result was the individual proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom, with the signs and wonders following, in order to not only reveal the Kingdom which was the mandate of Jesus in the Gospels, but to walk out the mandate of the church which is the same mandate as Adam, Kindom Rule, to “subdue and rule the earth”, in effect take dominion over the earth (“Let Your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven…”, and new believers who ‘immediately’ are restored in relationship to God through evangelism, they receive their citizenship of the Kingdom of Heaven, and become part of the new ‘church plant’ or Kingdom Community, in a city or region. The entire purpose of the “great commission” was to take the news of the arrival of the Kingdom of God to the Jews first, and then the Gentiles.
I know it sounds heavy, but it is not heavy at all. What I am getting at is that in the ‘West’ we view salvation, and faith, not from a community mindset but the mindset of Western ‘rugged individualism’ because we are always making ‘personal choices’. Have we ever truly looked at the text of the NT and seen that this individualism is not proclaimed as such nor are we called to do it. This does not mean we do not bear witness individually, because we do. The Greek root to ‘bear witness’ is a word we don’t hear much about in the West. It is ‘martyr’, and the ultimate bearing witness is to die for the cause of Christ. Do you notice the silence… even in your own spirit, when you hear that word? It causes me to weigh heavily what it means to belong to Christ and His Kingdom community.
If we develope a wholistic approach and understand that evangelism is not just our personal means of witnessing and seeing people come to Christ, but the means to establish the Kingdom and rule the Kingdom mandate in the nations. The primary reason for evangelism is to restore the citizenship of Heaven to those who were stripped of it by the fall of Adam. It is in actuality the means of re-entering the Kingdom of God. It is in effect, restoring citizenship to the Kingdom of God for those who take the offer of the King who died on a cross, to make the way clear for reconciliation and the restoration of citizenship to the Kingdom of God.
In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul states:
A New Life
15 He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.
16 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. 17 Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! 18 All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. 19 God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. 20 We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
21 How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.
Here we have it, we are Christ’s representatives, the word used in the Greek is “ambassadors” which means we represent the Kingdom of God, we are in this world, but belong to another. We are called to go out and be agents of grace in releasing the Kingdom in the lives of people, by having their citizenship restored (salvation), and that means being restored to the King,and as His subjects, moving forth with the Kingdom mandate.
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN RELIGION
Jesus, the “King of Kings” came to earth to bring forth the Kingdom of God. The means of restoring people to the Kingdom of God was that the King Himself had to make the way clear for people to enter the Kingdom, and that was by the payment of His sacrifice on the cross. This is the entry point into the Kingdom, through the cross and through the resurrection which sealed our salvation and reign with Christ.
Jesus did not come to earth to establish a new religion or faith. Worship and faith have to do with our “relationship” with God. It is our relating that is demonstrated in our lives of worship and intimacy and life in the Son, but the reason Jesus came was to establish the mandate of the Kingdom. We have been bought with a ransom, the King Himself was the ransom paid out, and by doing so, and being resurrected, Jesus proved to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and revealed the power and stature of His Kingdom. When we embrace salvation, we are embracing citizenship in the Kingdom of God.
BEING PART OF GOD’S KINGDOM HAS BEEN PURCHASED BY JESUS
Paul continues in 2 Corinthians 6:
Staying at Our Post
1 Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. 2 God reminds us,
I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. 3 Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. 4 Our work as God’s servants gets validated–or not–in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; 5 when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; 6 with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; 7 when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; 8 when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; 9 ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; 10 immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.
11 Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. 12 We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. 13 I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! 14 Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? 15 Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? 16 Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way:
“I’ll live in them, move into them;
I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people.
17 So leave the corruption and compromise;
leave it fo
r good,” says God.
“Don’t link up with those who will pollute you.
I want you all for myself.
18 I’ll be a Father to you;
you’ll be sons and daughters to me.”
The Word of the Master, God.
Paul reveals here TWO important things:
1. We are in relationship as ambassadors of God, we function as Kingdom agents of grace, seeking to see the whole earth, every facet of life, community, commerce, society, culture, even politics, transformed by the power of the Kingdom of God. It is about the Kingdom of God manifesting in every facet the kingdoms of this earth. God has chosen us (salvation), and empowered us (indwelling Spirit) as his “Kingdom Government” agents in this earth. We represent the interests of Heaven on earth. We are citizens of a “foreign country” seeking to have the Kingdom government of God established on the earth. We cannot take this lightly. It is our mandate as followers of Christ.
Evangelism is simply the tool to see new citizens of the Kingdom come into their destiny in God.
2. We cannot compromise with the devil and his agents, as they are of another kingdom. He is being pushed back on a constant basis by the Kingdom of God. We cannot allow him to have influence in our lives or decisions that we make or how we live our lives. We are at war with him.
Jesus has purchased our citizenship, and expects loyalty the same fashion any king demands loyalty. He has paid for our citizenship with His own blood.
PROPHETIC EVANGELISM: THE EXPRESSION OF THE HEART OF GOD THAT IS USED TO EXPAND THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON THE EARTH
There are two things we need to apprehend I believe about prophetic evangelism.
1. Prophetic Evangelism combines two elements of our life in Christ.
We are prophetic in our supernatural nature, in that God continually speaks to us through dreams, visions, pictures, words, and encounters with Him, angels, and other people. If we are aware that we are in constant communication with the Lord, God will speak, and we will hear with our hearts, our spirit, what He is saying.
Someone like me sometimes has to learn the hard way, and like the Israelites, I sometimes have to take a circular trip around a particular mountain in my life, until I yield to the Lord and my spirit, “gets it”! God loves to communicate with us, and the more intimate our life in Him, and the more open we are to Him, the more He will prophetically manifest in our lives. This I believe is the way we are intended to function, as intimate prophetic people, constantly in communication with the Lord. It is similar to people who are working and on the go, they always have their Blackberry on, and in this way they stay on top of the important communication in their lives. God has His own Blackberry as do we, it is the witnes of His Spirit in our hearts. When the Spirit “vibrates” within us, we should be able to distinguish that “heavenly ring tone”! God is constantly communicating, but are we listening?!
2. Prophetic Evangelism is a lifestyle. Our lifestyle is a reflection of what we believe and value. God values relationship, which is why King Jesus, came to redeem us back into His Kingdom.
As a prophetic lifestyle, we move about the earth and in our communities constantly in communication with the Lord and look to see with our hearts, the outbreak of the Kingdom in our midst, and then seek to come alongside and work with the Spirit to see the Kingdom expand and multiply. The works of the Kingdom are in direct proportion the influence of the prophetic evangelism in our lifestyle.
We ooze the Spirit of the Lord no matter where we go. God is preparing people everywhere for His Spirit and His Kingdom. Look at and read the book of Acts. You will see there is no place of religion, even dare I say, “Christian religion” within it. It is about the Kingdom being expanded, and about Christians ruling and administering the Kingdom of God on the earth. It is filled with divine appointments and it is filled with people in constant communion with God who expressed prophetically what the Lord was showing them to be and do in the midst of where they were called. In Acts from the first chapter to the end, you have the Early Church embracing the Lord of the Kingdom, and pushing and advancing that Kingdom and its rule throughout the Roman Empire, and it was done prophetically, with the voice of the Lord speaking to them all the way.
Prophetic evangelism was the means of seeing those without Kingdom citizenship come into the Kingdom. If it worked for the Early Church, would it not work for us now?
In the last six months we have seen two people come into the Kingdom is such a powerful and prophetic way, that it not only validates this, but compels us to embrace this lifestyle of prophetic evangelism, to see the Kingom expand, because, God is on the move and I want to keep in step with the Spirit!
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The above blog post was written at a time when I was eclectic in my theological & biblical views and understanding. As of 5 February 2017 I am a functional cessasionist, that is, I believe the spiritual gifts, in particular gift like the vocative, prophetic gifts as well as healing & miracles have ceased. This means that my understanding is that at the end of the apostolic era, when the last apostle died (that would be John who was at Patmos & Ephesus, the author of the Gospel of John, Epistles of John & the Revelation of Jesus Christ, with his passing, the need for these particular gifts, the oracles of God given to men through the Holy Spirit, were no longer required. With the forming of the Canon of Scripture, there came to be no need for revelatory gifts. In fact in Revelation, John himself records the words of Jesus, “18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book.” [Revelation 22, CSB]
God is sovereign, still heals, still manifests in the miraculous, but not at the whim or the discretion of men. We pray and ask the Lord, and then we yield and surrender to His will, echoing the words and the spirit of Christ, “Not my will but your will be done.” [Luke 22:42].
I embrace and hold to a Reformed understanding of theology & Christian living in the world. I have abandoned my other views entirely. I would be more akin to a Reformed Baptist (1689 Confession) type of Reformed theology. I used to be a continuationist (akin to John Piper) but no longer.
God bless you as you seek to know Christ and the power of His resurrection [Philippians 3:10 CSB].
In the eternal grip of Jesus,
Samuel M. Buick
29 January 2018
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