What are we building? That's the question every church planter and pastor has to ask if we want to be a part of the universal and eternal empire of Jesus instead of crafting monuments to our own abilities that are destined for nothing but dust and ashes.
But if we want to follow Jesus in simple, mountain-moving faith...if we want to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ with the gold and silver of the gospel instead of the wood and straw of our best ideas (1 Corinthians 3:10-13)...then we have to offer God's people exactly what Jesus did: Culture & Movement.
What did Jesus invite people to? Healing? Miracles? Hope? Forgiveness? Acceptance? Joy? Authority? Each one of these was part of it, but none of them captures the essence. When you look deeper, what you begin to realize is that each of these is serving a greater purpose: the kingdom of God. Over 100 times in the gospels, Jesus returns to this central idea because it's the reason He came! As He said in Luke 4:43, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God...for I was sent for this purpose."
So what was the culture of the kingdom that Jesus came to build? What exactly was He inviting people into? Even a brief overview of the gospel of Matthew yields rich results. Jesus invited people into:
When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, He was preaching as the Reigning King telling us how to live faithfully as His subjects. When Jesus called all who were weak and tired to come to Him for rest (Matthew 11:28), He was inviting us as a Gracious King to the joy that can only come from full surrender to Him. And when Jesus went to the cross, He died as a Sacrificing King, laying down His life to set His people free. This is the culture of the kingdom of Jesus, and this is what He invites all people into.
But why? Maybe it shouldn't surprise us that the answer, again, is the kingdom of God. As Matthew concludes his gospel, it becomes clear that Jesus didn't just want to invite His disciples into His kingdom...He wanted to inspire them to go and be a part of building it with Him! This is why He said in Matthew 28:18 that "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." This clear, powerful claim to divine Kingship was both:
But if the kingdom of Christ has in any way become second to your own kingdom, plans, and dreams, then may you follow our King in repentance and faith, trusting His grace for forgiveness and vision as you ask:
At our church...