An Apostolic Understanding – Part Fifty-Three

Before we look at several other apostolic centers (Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome) let’s go back to a really foundational issue for the Church and it’s mission in the world. Let’s look at the Kingdom Jesus came to establish and the DNA of that Kingdom.

Jesus came to earth with two interrelated missions

1> Take the judgment and penalty for the sins of everyone as the perfect God/Man and Sacrificial Lamb

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

2> Set in motion a movement that nothing could or will stop

The most important, longest-lasting, greatest life-changing, movement in history

These two separate but related missions come together as ESTABLISH A KINGDOM

Other kingdoms would come and go … The Ottoman Empire, The Roman Empire, The Greek Empire – All gone

But the Kingdom of God is alive and growing – It has survived even thrives on persecution

Communist China
Buddhist Myanmar
Hindu and Muslim India
Secular United States and Canada

If you were chosen to engineer the greatest movement on the planet – what would you do? How would you start?

Raise the finances, build an organization, start a Bible College. Establish a monastery, purchase church buildings, train leaders, train a sales force, marketing, establish a publishing company
Franchise the system – MacChurch’s

All of these have been tried and failed and all are totally foreign to what Jesus did. He did not go big and did not move fast and was not flashy or looking for publicity

Take a small group of men – say 12 – and train them to do what you are doing

Ah! That is what we think He did because we have been taught that. That is what our religious glasses see. That’s what our tradition sees because that is what the church does

Jesus spent three years imparting a KINGDOM CULTURE into His twelve disciples so they would know who they were … much more important than how to do something

Yes, He sent them out, released them, to heal the sick and cast out demons – Trial runs to see what they understood

Yes, they were commissioned to testify to what they had seen and heard as Jesus ascended

Mark 16:15-18 “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

But, this was not His main method for establishing a movement. He spent three years with a small group of men building relationally and showing them how the Kingdom functioned – imparting a Kingdom DNA

His focus was: Not the church; Not the ministry; Not their gifts and callings

He lived “the Kingdom” and shared that Kingdom lifestyle with His twelve future leaders

He did not go big, fast, and public – He went slow, deep, and private

He imparted the DNA of Kingdom living into the lives of the early disciples

He showed them how to live as a counter-culture to the current culture

It is counter-intuitive to invest most of His time and effort with a handful of His disciples

It is not natural to go slow and deep; personal and private

But then He was planting a supernatural DNA into His followers by living the Kingdom culture while with them 24/7 for three years

With the few committed disciples He imparted / imprinted them with the Kingdom culture because He had come to establish a Kingdom

Matthew 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

He infused them with the divine Kingdom DNA and then gave them the power at Pentecost to live out that Kingdom culture and spread it to the end of the earth

Not a church culture; Not a church; Not an organization; Not a system; Not a program.

A Kingdom Culture and divine DNA…

He got “up close and personal”

He spent three years with twelve men and imparted the Kingdom culture and a Kingdom perspective to them because He had come to establish a Kingdom movement

“You can impress people from a distance but you can impact them only up close.” Howard Hendricks