Whose Kingdom are you building?

August 13, 2016

I frequently get phone calls from people inquiring about our church and its mission. Redemption Fellowship Church unabashedly affirms that Jesus is the only Savior of the world, that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone and that every person must declare Jesus as Lord if they want to be considered part of Gods eternal family
Our mission is to inform every person that we come in contact with that Jesus is Lord of the universe. Our hearts desire is that through each person we meet and every event we do in and out of the church, to proclaim that God reigns while living like missionaries here and around Fall River for the glory of God.
I’ve been teaching through the book of Acts for the past 3 months. Without the book of Acts the church would not know how the disciples grew the church from a small band of people into a worldwide movement of God. Over and over as I go through this book, I see two things happening.
First the church is expanding, as the gospel is shared. That means that we are called to live out our faith and share it with those in our circles of influence. Second the saints are tested and tried as they go out with this message. Persecution is inevitable. Church life is messy. Is your church a messy place that sinners are welcomed into?
In the interim there is a plea that comes from Peter and John after they are released from jail “Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29).
The apostles didn’t ask to release them from their responsibility, or to take away their attacks BUT to grant them courage/boldness to continue the mission. Peter and John were not educated men (Acts 4:13), but they had spent three years with Jesus in training to transform the world.
Spending time with Jesus prepared them to face a world that was antagonistic to the gospel message. That ought to remind everyone of us that God is not interested in educated people but humble servants who rely upon him.
I say this because the church to many people today is a hotel. To others it is an option while to many it’s no longer a consideration. To be part of Jesus family means you would desire to follow him wherever you go. It’s not optional. His disciples except for Judas, who proved he was not one of them, were willing to follow him to their death.
In Acts chapter 5 Ananias and Sapphira two early converts are killed by the Holy Spirit for lying about their giving. God is concerned with integrity. God is concerned with how we live as his followers. He’s concerned with how you spend your weekdays and weekends. Worshipping, encouraging, serving, and caring for others are part of the package of being a “follower” of Jesus.
Finally in chapter 6, a man by the name of Stephen comes on the scene. He is living an exemplary life. He is chosen to serve and help others. Our society has taught us to get rather than give. True joy comes not in getting but in giving of your whole being to the things of God. Stephen was doing “great wonders and signs among the people. (Act s 6:8).
Stephen had counted the cost to follow Jesus. He prepared and then he participated with the disciples sharing his faith while being challenged and maligned by the religious people who hated Jesus. They disputed with Stephen concerning his message yet the bible tells us that they could NOT “withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking” (Acts 6:10).
This life of standing for Jesus is not one for Sunday Christians. Sunday Christians come to church, hear a message, sit with their friends, go out for lunch and go about living their lives. Maybe they will come back to church during the week and hear another message BUT investing in others and growing God’s kingdom is the last thing they want to do.
They read right over Luke 9 — “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26).
Jesus said life is NOT about you but about building my kingdom through the local church.
Unfortunately many Pastors are content with you putting your money in the offering plate and coming back next week. Maybe take a Sunday school class to swell their head. Or raise some money for a need in the church.
The reality is that the Pastor just wants to live comfortably and get others to do what he is unwilling to do himself. That’s what modern day church is about. But it was not what the early church was about. Every Apostle not only was willing to die but did die for their testimony that Jesus rose from the grave. With the exception of John who was sent to the island of Patmos, everyone gave their lives for Jesus.
I challenged my people last Sunday after finishing Acts chapter 6 to take ONE step toward kingdom life. Every one of us should be taking steps of faith toward Jesus and away from selfish living.
If you call me in the future I’ll ask you how you are laying your life down for Jesus. Whose Kingdom are you building? Your own or the Kingdom of God? It will be what you are judged for as a professing believer.