Have you noticed and given any thought to what is missing in the ministry and message of Jesus? When He was born as a man and spent thirty-three years among us; three of those years were very public and witnessed by multitudes as well as by His twelve apostles. Men who were hand-picked and chosen to be leaders in this new movement and eventually the Church He would build.
Jesus did not speak about current affairs. The Roman occupation. Rampant homosexuality. Slavery. Woman’s rights. Abortion. And a number of mandated requirements forced upon them by the government – like carrying the soldier’s bags for a mile when asked and paying high taxes to Caesar.
Nope! He simply spoke about the Kingdom that He brought to earth with His birth and revealed in His ministry. The Kingdom that was to grow and develop as it increased in size and influence until the whole world was changed and came into line with God’s plan (Isaiah 9:7).
His first public message was “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” ((Matthew 4:17). To repent meant to turn from the way they were living and what they were believing and turn back to God and His Word, His truth. It was a call to reject their current lifestyle and to live one based on the teachings of Scripture and the principles of the Kingdom.
And, only when we repent and turn to God can we see and then enter the Kingdom.
John 3:3-7 NET “Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his motherʼs womb and be born a second time, can he?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ʻYou must all be born from above (born again).ʼ”
The Kingdom was His message. Repentance was the initial call to enable people to have hearts ready to receive and enter the Kingdom. And then through conviction, repentance and godly sorrow, a person repents, asks for and receives forgiveness, and is born again.
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 “For even if I made you sad by my letter, I do not regret having written it (even though I did regret it, for I see that my letter made you sad, though only for a short time). Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death.”
And the lifestyle of those in the Kingdom was again to be positive. Read the Beatitudes and the initial teachings of Jesus and see what the Kingdom mandate really was and is (Matthew 5:1-7:27). This was the call upon born again believers – to be salt and light. To be positive influences upon the culture and society of the day.
Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavour, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honour to your Father in heaven.”
Those ‘good deeds’ again are positive and powerful as Jesus told us that we would do what He did … and I remind you that He did not preach against any of the current social issues of His day.
John 14:12 “ I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father.”
It was in this way that the world would realize that the Kingdom of God had arrived and entered into the world with its transforming influence and impact. The Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:23; Matthew 24:14) was a positive message backed by miracles, signs, and wonders; the sick were healed and the dead were raised; demons were cast out and a new way of living – Kingdom living – was introduced. All very positive. All very powerful.
It is sad that today the Church is known more for what it is against than what it stands for and believes. It is sad that often we spend so much time and effort opposing things and little mention of Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom is heard. Our hope is in Him and He needs, once again, to be the center of our focus. Only as the Kingdom and the King continue to influence the hearts of people through true believers will the things people now speak, write, and march against in the culture and society in general will eventually come to an end.
Remember the words of Jesus: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
Let’s adjust our focus accordingly and truly be the salt and light that Jesus told us we should be.