Kingdom DNA

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

Monastery, church buildings, train leaders

Train a sales force, marketing, publishing company

Franchise the system – MacChurch

All of these have been tried and failed

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

The Kingdom:

Not one leader impressing a crowd – That is man’s church

A movement where every believer imprints others, one person at a time

Jesus to the twelve / us to those we win and disciple

Not training them TO DO

But, helping them TO BECOME who they are – Kingdom people

Healthy, focused, counterculture Kingdom priests

With a Kingdom DNA and focus

Spiritually healthy – focused on Jesus and God’s will for you

Ready for every and all challenges and opportunities

Able to figure out the changing strategic stuff that needs doing

Thriving in changing times, various cultures, and at all times

“Kingdom” so it works anywhere and everywhere

Example: Acts, Chapter 15

Complex issue

Gentiles wanted to be followed of Jesus

Big challenge

From the gentile perspective – the movement was primarily Jewish

Should gentiles then be first circumcised – become Jews?

Should the women learn to run a kosher kitchen?

Not at all as this is just programmatic stuff

This is simply style and not substance – Kingdom substance

They could change style when needed and still preserve substance

Major on the majors and don’t sweat the small stuff

Cultural differences and changes are not a threat to the Kingdom

The Kingdom is flexible in style to embrace any and every culture

The Kingdom substance is the basic Kingdom DNA and is not a variable but works everywhere

We are salt and we are light… / / Leaven in the loaf

The early disciples understood the Kingdom DNA and so kept the movement going forward and did not stumble over cultural differences because they understood the Kingdom DNA

Differences in life-style (marriage), dress code, sexual preference, drinking, smoking…

Let me say that another way:

The Kingdom mission was not a program

The DNA was not following a set format or pattern or method

It was who they were – Kingdom people

It was what they were becoming – mature Kingdom people

And, without a Kingdom DNA and understanding the Kingdom culture it is easy to confuse the packaging with the content

The method with the message

Church missionaries confused the packaging with the content

Took their cultural baggage with them

Dress code, language, approach, cultural issues – hoops to jump through

The content got lost in working to enforce the lifestyle and “Christian culture”

And, you listened to me say that and because of your traditional vantage point and religious upbringing accepted what I said

Missionaries – no such thing in the Bible

If you name the missionaries – Paul, for example, they are apostles and not missionaries

Not mission trips but apostolic ministry trips

So, the early Church 

Realized Jesus builds His Church

Realized that Jesus was King of the Kingdom

Thus they skillfully designed AN ENVIRONMENT where Kingdom thrived and life-change and transformation could happen on a regular basis

Regardless of the location or the culture

So today we are faced with two opposing options:

1> A Movement – where we see and experience life and spiritual health within every culture; a counter-culture becoming leaven in the loaf changing the culture from the inside out

2> An organization or institution with programs – a sub-culture with no power to influence and impact the overriding culture

We are citizens of another Kingdom – another culture

John 18:36 “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

It is really not about what you do … visit, feed, clothe, share, witness

What you do changes with each situation, location, culture

It is all about who you are and who you become – Kingdom-minded

Then you are ready to face whatever a rapidly changing culture (or a country) can and will throw at you

You fit into the culture as leaven in the loaf / quiet, personal, slow, deep

The disciples became Kingdom people and spread the movement / the Kingdom to every corner of their world

This is what Jesus did

He chose 12 men with whom He build a solid relationship

He helped them, in 3 years, to know who they were and seeded what was needed to bring about who they became

He instilled a Kingdom DNA and a movement mentality

Today: Jesus still wants people who will leave methods and meetings as well as programs and catch “movement”

People who will recapture authentic Kingdom culture

Kingdom culture: Disciples who make disciples

Church today:

When you are part of a sinking ship, you focus on the ‘life preservers’ – survival

That is what the church is doing – ‘maintenance ministry’ and not Kingdom movement

The measure of “Kingdom Movement” is the number of new disciples being  raised up

Jesus began a movement with 12 normal, uneducated men who were in normal worldly activities

Each was invited: “Come, follow Me.”

He asked them, invited them, to sacrifice what they were (fishermen, tax collector, farmer) for what / who they could become

He did not explain what they were suppose to do

He nurtured them to become citizens of the Kingdom and deposited the Kingdom DNA into them

It was a process of ‘invitation’ and then ‘challenge’

Invitation: “Come hang out with Me and catch the Kingdom culture”

Challenge: “Go, multiply yourself, just as I imprinted you, imprint others”

This is a “go slow – Go deep” method…

The Kingdom approach is so different than the Church mentality

Church mentality – gather a crowd and grow a church  / getting the leader known

You don’t work to understand it – you receive it as you come to really know the real Jesus

It is transformational

It is radically different than the way we function as ‘church’

It takes courage to embrace – not the absence of fear but the absence of self

It is about being a servant

“Take up your cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24)

It is vastly different than the way the world operates

The Kingdom culture is so different than the world’s culture

It is other-worldly

That is what makes it so attractive, intriguing, refreshing – Young people

THE KINGDOM CULTURE:

This Kingdom culture drives your behaviour and shapes your life and lifestyle

When the Kingdom was first established the Christian faith was called “The Way”

The way Jesus lived as opposed to the world’s way

This Kingdom culture spread like a holy infection…

1> VALUES … What you consider most important or value the most

Matthew 6:38 “Seek first the Kingdom of God…”

This must be first – of prime value – in the Kingdom culture

To walk in “Kingdom first” requires a large leap of faith

“Make sure what you are living for is worth dying for”

Question: “What are you willing to die for?”

2> BELIEFS … Determine how you live your life

“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32)

You only believe what you live

Your life demonstrates to others what your true beliefs are

The things you say you believe should be evident in your daily life

Free to …

Be God’s person

An Ambassador of the Kingdom

Grow spiritually

Remove the clutter in your life

Live according to God’s plan and purpose for your life

This means what we believe must directly impact our life – conviction level believing

Question: “What do you really believe?” // “Does it show?”

3> ATTITUDE … This is your posture before God

“Have the same attitude as Jesus had…” (Philippians 2:5)

This is, of course, seen by all who know you

Question: “Do you live a humble and submitted life that arises out of your relationship with      Jesus?”

“What is your basic approach to life?” (Me first?)

Pastor T.L. Harlow

“When I first started out, I wish I knew how little God really needs me. So, the sooner you get over yourself, the sooner God can use you. He can either beat the pride out of you, like He did me, or you can just humble yourself right away and see what God can do.”

4> PRIORITIES… What you will always do first

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “Of first importance…”

Jesus speaks of “the greatest commandment…”

You make hundreds of decisions daily

Priorities are signposts of importance to help you to decide what you will do what you won’t do – when you will say ‘no’ or need to say ‘yes’

5> WORLDVIEW … How you see and understand the world

How you view the world, the church, and the Kingdom

How you expect things to work…

In your life

In the church

In the world

In the Kingdom

These five elements of Kingdom culture are what Jesus would call the spiritual Kingdom DNA

They are complex, intertwined, over-lapping and are foundational to being a Kingdom person

On this platform – of the five elements of the Kingdom – Jesus will build His Church

The believers will be winning the lost and making disciples

The Church will be planting new expressions of itself everywhere

The Movement will continue to grow and expand

The Kingdom will take more and more territory

And, the Kingdom culture and what we really believe drives our daily behaviour

Not a kingdom of this world

But, it is a Kingdom for this world

Ezra Taft Benson said:

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behaviour, but Christ can change human behaviour.”

As we correct our behaviour and life style to fit Kingdom culture God will use us more and more to make disciples as we influence and impact our culture and neighbours

“You don’t claim Christianity is true because it works. Christianity works because it is true.”

And, as we change and take on kingdom DNA

The church will change

Our effectiveness will grow – making disciples

The Kingdom will respond

Movement will happen

VIDEO: Dan Mohler and Todd White