The Church Points the World to the Kingdom

Tony Evans
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The church is the nursery of the kingdom, housing its values and exposing them to the broader society. The biblical purpose of the church, then, in light of the nature of the kingdom, is to reflect the spiritual, sociopolitical, and socio-ethical aspects of the kingdom. It is to be a model for the world operating in the world while providing an alternative to the world. When the church functions as a kingdom community—not as a reaction to the world’s ungodly system, but rather as a divine structure operating in a liberating manner according to the way God has ordained it to be—the church sets itself apart as a haven, much like an embassy. This then shows those who are in the kingdom of darkness a preview of what the kingdom of God is all about.

A Big Show Is Coming

In the movies, previews advertise coming attractions. Designed to entice, the preview focuses on the hot clips of the movie such as the chase scenes, love scenes, and fight scenes. The point of the preview is to whet our appetites for the upcoming attraction.

“The church is the nursery of the kingdom, housing its values and exposing them to the broader society.”

Someday a big show is coming to town, and it’s called the kingdom of God. God the Father is the Producer. The Holy Spirit is the Director. Jesus is the Super Star, and it will be a worldwide production. But until then, God has left previews of coming attractions in the world. We are His hot clips. God has left His church here to provide clips of the major production that is to come. Thus, the church does not merely exist for the church but for God’s bigger goal which is the expansion of His kingdom.

Unfortunately, most of our clips have been so weak in demonstrating the power and wonder of the feature film that few people show interest in picking up a free ticket. Instead of previewing an epic, we often merely reflect the sitcoms and soap operas around us. Until we, as God’s people, intentionally embrace, apply, and reflect the kingdom, the church has little to offer the world.

Peace in the Church

While there is war in the world, there ought to be the existence of peace in the church (Eph. 4:3; Col. 3:14–15), and prayer for peace by the church (1 Tim. 2:1–2). While there is oppression in society, there ought to be liberation and justice in the church (James 2:1–9). While there is poverty in the world, there ought to be voluntary sharing with the goal of meeting existing needs in the church (Acts 2:44–45; 2 Cor. 12:12–21). While there is racism, classism, and sexism in the world, there ought to be authentic oneness in the church (Col. 3:10–11). Thus, the world is presented with the option of Christ by being what the church is supposed to be in the world: an alternative model for the world—a community functioning under the rule of God in His mediatory kingdom rule on earth.

Members of the biblical church model this alternative on the basis that we are citizens of the kingdom (Col. 1:13), having been designated as workers for the kingdom (Col. 4:11), promised victory because of the unshakeable nature of the kingdom (Heb. 12:28), as well as heirs of the kingdom (James 2:5). Further, the fruit of the church reveals itself to others as the “good seed” sown during the period of the mysteries of the kingdom (Matt. 13:38). The church is therefore uniquely positioned and authorized to carry out the mandates of the kingdom under the authority of Christ (Eph. 1:22–23) when we seek the kingdom above all else (Matt. 6:33), empowered by the spiritual priorities of the kingdom (Rom. 14:17).

For Further Reading:

The Centrality of the Church

by Tony Evans

Concise Wisdom from a Pastoral Veteran The Kingdom Pastor’s Library is a new series that brings you a succinct, complete pastoral...

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