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DEVELOPING A KINGDOM MINDSET

 

Everywhere in interdenominational settings, people are talking about the Kingdom and how the church needs to develop and move in a “Kingdom Mindset.” This lesson will explore what that means.

DEFINITION/MEANING

First of all, we need to determine what the Kingdom of God is. The denomination I grew up in defined the Kingdom as the church. They taught that the Kingdom – a.k.a the church – was birthed on the day of Pentecost. Therefore the Kingdom of God has already come and we cannot, should not pray the section of the Lord’s prayer that says, “Thy Kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:10, Luke 17:20-21)  But is this accurate? What is the Kingdom of God?

The Kingdom of God is a foundational concept of Christianity because it is the central theme of Jesus’ message in the synoptic Gospels. That’s because, in the Lord’s Prayer, He said that the Kingdom belongs to God. (Matthew 6:13) The phrase occurs almost 150 times in the New Testament. A large part of it is defined by parable – some of which are controversial in interpretation. Even after His resurrection, He continued speaking to the disciples about “the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)

Mark and Luke use a Greek term that is usually translated as “Kingdom of God,” while Matthew used the Greek term that is translated “Kingdom of Heaven.” Scholars speculate that Matthew did this because he was writing to Jews and the custom of Jews even today is to avoid using God’s name. We get letters from our Jewish friends and they spell God, G-D.

The word “kingdom” is a translation of a Greek word (basileia) which is a translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic words, “malkuth and malkutha. These Hebrew and Aramaic words do not define kingdom by territory but by dominion. And, in fact, Jesus did say that we could not say, “Look here it is!” or “There it is!” because the Kingdom of God is within us. (Luke 17:20-21) But others believe that the Kingdom of God has yet to come and that it refers to the millennial reign of Christ here on earth with Jerusalem as its headquarters.

So what is the Kingdom of God? From a purely etymological viewpoint, the word “basileia” is believed to have derived from the Greek word for base or foundation. Can we then, substitute either one of these words and say, the Foundation of God or the Foundation of Heaven? Well, that would preach but would it be the full truth?

 No matter what your belief is concerning modern-day Israel and Jews in general, everyone has to admit that Christianity has its roots in the Hebrew people and the Hebrew Scriptures. Since Jesus came to the Jews and was Himself a Jew, we need to acknowledge that He assumed that his audience understood the Kingdom as defined in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament. When He spoke of the Kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven) He spoke of the time of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants. This will be a time of a restored earth where the faithful will worship and serve God under the ruler- ship of a righteous leader of the Davidic line. After all, Kingdom implies that there is

  1. A King
  2. A domain (territory)
  3. A people (subjects to the King)

This was the Messianic hope of the Old Testament prophets and it was echoed by John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, Paul and the other disciples. It’s why the disciples asked Him questions like, “Is it now that you’re going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)  

At the same time, Romans 14:17 tells us that, “the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” In fact, the scepter of God’s Kingdom is the scepter of righteousness. (Hebrews 1:9 quoting Psalm 45:6)

1 Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.”

So what is the Kingdom of God? Whatever it is, we’re told that it can’t be shaken. (Hebrews 12:28) But is it simply an attitude or a belief system held by people? Or is it more than that? And if it’s more than that, where is it?

Old Testament Jews were very literal in their interpretation of Scripture. As the New Testament Church has evolved, we tend to spiritualize much or everything, especially those parts of the Bible that we either don’t like or don’t understand.

I believe that it is not an either/or concept but a both/and entity. The more I study Scripture, the more literal, and therefore applicable, it is to my daily life. At the same time, I have a tremendous appreciation for the ethereal, philosophical aspect of scripture. I find it very interesting that when the disciples asked Him when He was going to restore the Kingdom, He didn’t deny that their belief in a literal Israeli kingdom would be formed at His bidding. Instead, He said, “It’s not your business to know when.” (Acts 1:7)

Nevertheless, I believe firmly that when it comes to any point of doctrine, if it isn’t true in every time and in every place and culture on the earth, then it’s cultural and not the solid Truth. So, let’s look at specific scriptures of what Jesus said the Kingdom of God is and what it entails.

Let me warn you that as we look at these passages, you may end up with more questions than answers. I encourage you to write them down and study them out for yourself. And if you’re wise, you will be willing to look at all sides rather than just accept whatever you’ve been taught by the denomination you grew up in or have become a part of.

 

SCRIPTURE 

WHEN

Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached that since the Kingdom of God was at hand, people needed to repent. (Matthew 3:2, Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15)

When the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub, He started talking to them about the Kingdom, that if it were divided it would not stand ((Matthew 12:25, Mark 3:22-29, Luke 11:17-19) and that if He “cast out demons by the Spirit of God” (which of course, He did), then “the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28, Luke 11:20) That’s past tense.

He told the Old Testament Scholar who asked about the first commandment and answered Jesus wisely that he was not far from the Kingdom. (Mark 12:34)

When He sent the 70 out to preach He told them to say, “The Kingdom of God has come near to you. (Luke 10:9-12)  

He told some of His followers that they would literally see Him coming in His Kingdom (Matthew 16:28) – which seems to imply that it came before the day of Pentecost, and that some would see the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:27) and that some would see the Kingdom of God come (or present) with power. (Mark 9:1), which gives the impression that the Kingdom is something physical.  

He also said that He’d not celebrate the Passover or drink the “fruit of the vine” until the Kingdom of God comes. (Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25, Luke 22:16-18) That’s something He hasn’t done yet.

When the thief on the cross asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom, Jesus promised him that he’d be with Him in Paradise that day. (Luke 23:42-43) Is Paradise the same thing as the Kingdom of God?

It was because Joseph of Arimathea was waiting for the Kingdom of God that he was able to take courage and ask Pilate for the body of Jesus. (Mark 15:43, Luke 23:51)

Paul told the Colossians that Jesus has – past tense – “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Colossians 1:13)

Yet, in John’s revelation of heaven, he heard a loud voice saying that when the accuser of our brethren who accused us before God day and night, has been cast down, then salvation, strength and the Kingdom of God and the power of His Christ will have come. (Revelation 12:10) Some would argue that this already happened when Jesus rose from the dead. But are we not still being accused by Satan? Someone else would say that the operative words here are “who accused them before our God day and night.” That until the resurrection, Satan was able to enter the courtroom of heaven at will and bring accusation against us as we see he did in the book of Job. But when Jesus descended into hell and ascended into heaven, He threw Satan out of the courtroom and he no longer has free access there.

 

WHERE 

Gabriel told Mary that God would give her baby the throne of His father David and that He would reign over the house of Jacob forever. (Luke 1:32-33) That was a literal throne over a specific people and territory.

Yet Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world. . . (John 18:36)

 

WHO WILL RECEIVE THE KINGDOM

Jesus said that the poor, the poor in spirit and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake would receive the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:3, 10, Luke 6:20; James 2:5)  

He also said that you had to be born again of water and the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5) Since this is so, what does it mean? Denominations differ on the interpretation of this passage. Some teach that being born of water and Spirit refers to physical birth (water) and spiritual birth (Spirit). Others teach that it refers to water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Which is correct?

Jesus told Peter he would give him the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. With these keys he could bind and loose according to what is bound and loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

He said that children made up the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:14) and that whoever does receive the Kingdom of God must be like a little child. (Mark 10:13-16, Luke 18:15-17)

The only way rich people are able to enter the Kingdom of God is because with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:23-26)

He said that some would make themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake. (Matthew 19:12)

The Kingdom of God will be given to the nation that bears the fruits of it. (Matthew 21:43, 44) Notice here that He’s talking about nations, not individuals. In fact, a little later on when He talked about coming in His glory with all the holy angels with Him and sitting on the throne of His glory, there would be whole nations that would inherit the Kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world because of how they as a nation, had dealt with the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, the stranger and the prisoner. (Matthew 25:31-46)

In his vision of heaven, the apostle John saw angels and heard loud voices saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15) This seems to indicate that the Lord’s Kingdom is tangible in such a way that earthly kingdoms can join His.

In Mark 9:47 Jesus indicated that only those who deal with sin that comes in through their eye-gate will enter the Kingdom of God.

He warned us that we must “strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many. . . will seek to enter and will not be able.” In fact, people will say, “Wait a minute, You were in our midst and we were with You.” But God will answer, “I don’t know you, or don’t know where you are from for you are workers of iniquity. (Luke 13:24-30)

Peter encouraged us to be very diligent to make our call and election sure so that we would

  1. Never stumble
  2. Have an entrance supplied to us abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior. (2 Peter 1:10-11)

Paul wrote that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Then in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 he gave a long list of who he considered to be unrighteous; They are. .

  • Fornicators
  • Idolaters
  • Adulterers
  • Homosexuals
  • Sodomites
  • Thieves
  • Covetous
  • Drunkards
  • Revilers
  • Extortioners

Paul added to this a list of sins that would keep a person out of the Kingdom in Galatians 5:19-21, calling them “the works of the flesh.”

  • Uncleanness
  • Lewdness
  • Sorcery
  • Outbursts of wrath
  • Selfish ambitions
  • Dissensions
  • Heresies
  • Envy
  • Murders
  • Revelries

Notice the word “inherit” in both these passages. He used it again in Ephesians 5:5 in a short list of those who have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God. After he wrote what he did to the Corinthians, he went on to say that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, then went on to talk about how we’ll all be changed in a moment , in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. (1 Corinthians 15:50) If there is a significance to the use of the word “inherit” in these two passages, is he saying that people who practice the 10 things he listed cannot possibly be a child of God, one who has been adopted into God’s family, thereby becoming a heir of eternal salvation?

When Philip preached the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized in Samaria. (Acts 8:12) Notice that it doesn’t say that Philip preached a message of salvation. What’s the difference? Salvation is simply the entrance into the Kingdom. But as we shall see, the Gospel of the Kingdom is much more than salvation for eternity.

 

THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM 

When Matthew talked about Jesus preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, he would add, AND healing sickness and disease. (Matthew4:23, Matthew 9:35) When He sent the disciples out to preach the Kingdom message, they were also to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons. (Matthew 10:7, 8, Luke 9:2) When the disciples returned, He spoke to them more about the Kingdom of God AND healed the sick as He did so. (Luke 9:11) This gives the indication that where the Gospel is preached, healings will occur also, but since the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing are listed separately, there seems to be a difference. Could this be because the Kingdom of God will continue beyond this age? And that healing, deliverance, etc. are only needed now?

All my life, I’ve heard about the Gospel of Salvation. Yet in doing a word study on that phrase, I find that in only one place is a similar term used. In Ephesians 1:13 Paul used the phrase “the gospel of your salvation.” Everywhere else the term is the. . .

  • Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:23, 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:14)
  • Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:8)
  • Gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24)
  • Gospel of God (Romans 1:1; 15:16; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:2,8,9; 1 Peter 4:17)
  • Gospel of His Son (Romans 1:9; 1 Timothy 1:11)
  • Gospel of peace (Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15)
  • Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16; 15:19, 29; 1 Corinthians 9:12, 18; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 4:4; 9:13; 10:14; Galatians 1:7; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:2)
  • Gospel of the uncircumcision (Galatians 2:7)

I believe we miss the point when we talk about the gospel of salvation because salvation is only the first step, the entry point into the full gospel that Jesus preached. When we center our attention only on salvation, we get a lot of babies birthed – which is excellent – but then we leave them that way. We don’t grow them up. I believe that centering on salvation so that people don’t go to hell is why the American church has fallen down when it comes to making disciples and we have trouble finding qualified people to lead small groups or any other type of ministry.

Some are gifted with the ability to introduce people to the Lord. Others are great at taking new babies and growing them up. What we have lacked have been individuals and churches that will take the adult believers, those who have a foundation in the Word of God, and equip them to be sent out into their ministries. I see that happening more and more but it’s primarily only in the interdenominational and non-denominational circles. Here in America, if you take a look at denominational church growth, the majority of the growth doesn’t come from new believers but from believers moving around and changing churches. The apostle Paul taught “the things of the Kingdom of God and look at the results. (Acts 19:8 Acts 20:25; Acts 28:23, 30-31)

 

HOW TO ENTER 

We’ve already covered the scripture about Jesus telling Nicodemus that he must be born again, by water and the Spirit to enter the Kingdom. Is there anything else we must do to enter in?

In Luke 12:32, Jesus said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” And He even tells us that if we seek the Kingdom of God as well as God’s righteousness first before we seek other things, we’ll be assured food, clothing and shelter. (Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:31)

But He added that we must do the will of His Father to enter. In fact, there would be those who call Him Lord who won’t enter. (Matthew 7:21, Matthew 8:11, 12)

He further said that not only does the Kingdom of Heaven suffer violence but that the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:11-12) What does that mean? Well, we know that we’re not to take up the sword and force people to convert as Islam teaches. In the past, teachers have, for the most part, ignored this passage. I have always interpreted this to mean that we must do violence to all the negative INSIDE OURSELVES. There is a growing consensus in the Body of Christ that this also means we’re to praise and worship violently. In other words, when we’re in some spiritual warfare, we’re to praise following one of the Hebrew words for praise which is Hallel, meaning exuberant praise. Getting your body involved.

Paul and Barnabas exhorted the disciples in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch saying, ”We must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:21-22)

When John was on the island of Patmos, he identified himself as a brother and companion in the tribulation, Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:9)

 

THE LAW OF MOSES & THE KINGDOM

Many Christians hold the belief that at the Cross; the Law of Moses was done away with. But that’s not what Scripture says. Jesus said He came to fulfill it, not wipe it out. The Law of Moses is full of principles that God wants us to live by. No, we no longer need to offer blood sacrifices; Jesus took care of that. But He said Himself that whoever breaks even the least of the Mosaic commandments and teaches others to do so also would be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven but that whoever obeys the commands and teaches others to do so also would be called great. He further said that to teach obedience to the law but to not follow it is the type of righteousness that was practiced by the scribes and Pharisees and you would NOT enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!!! (Matthew 5:19-29)

In fact, the principles laid down in the Law of Moses are so permanent – as well as beneficial – that Jesus said it would be easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. (Luke 16:16-17) He further said that scholars of the Old Testament (the scribes) who taught concerning the Kingdom would be able to bring out new and old “treasures” of understanding. (Matthew 13:51-52)

 

LEVELS 

Apparently, there are levels within the Kingdom. The Matthew 5 scripture I just referred to tells us that some would be “least” and others “great.” In another place, Jesus said the least in the Kingdom would be greater than John the Baptist. (Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28) When the disciples asked Him who was the greatest in the Kingdom, He told them essentially not to worry about the hierarchy because if they weren’t converted they wouldn’t even enter! But if they truly wanted to be great, they’d have to humble themselves as a little child to be the greatest. (Matthew 18:1-4, Mark 10:13-16, Luke 18:15-17)

Referring to the Kingdom of God, Jesus said that there would be those who are “last who will be first and there are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:30)

 

RESULTS 

Both the living and the dead will be judged at the appearing of Jesus and His Kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:1

The Lord will deliver us from every evil work and will present us for His heavenly Kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:18)

Those who leave all for the sake of the Kingdom of God will “receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:28-30)

He told the 12 that each of them would receive a kingdom and sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel and would eat and drink at His table in His Kingdom. (Luke 22:29-30) This sounds like physical kingdoms.

At the end, Jesus will deliver the Kingdom to God and put an end to all rule and all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24) This statement lets us know that the Kingdom is an entity, something tangible that can be handed over. Is it a world with nations under His dominion or simply a collection of individuals? Surely it’s not an organization!!!

When we suffer with patience and faith in the midst of persecutions and tribulations we are counted worthy of the Kingdom of God. (2 Thessalonians 1:5)

 

PARABLES

Jesus told parables so that only His disciples would understand the MYSTERIES of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11, Luke 8:10) Much of what He had to say about the Kingdom of God was with parables and some of them are still mysteries in that people are divided as to what they mean. Nevertheless, I’ll briefly tackle them now, giving the primary characteristics of the Kingdom of God.

  • If we don’t understand the Kingdom, the enemy is able to snatch it away from us. (Matthew 13:19; Mark 4:14-21)
  • Until the harvest, the sons of the Kingdom must grow along with the sons of the wicked one. (Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43)
  • The heavenly dragnet gathers all it can but in the end the wicked will be separated from the just. (Matthew 13:47-50)
  • Even though the Kingdom begins as tiny as a mustard seed, when it grows in our hearts it will provide shelter for others. (Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:31-32; Luke 13:19)
  • The Kingdom of God grows expansively. (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21) Exactly how it grows is unknown to we who sow the seed of the Word of God (Mark 4:26-30)
  • It’s worth selling all for. (Matthew 13:44-46)
  • It’s characterized by extreme forgiveness of un-payable debt (Matthew 18:23-35) and generosity. (Matthew 20:1-16)
  • The Kingdom of God is full of obedient sons in deed not in word. (Matthew 21:31)
  • Many are called into the Kingdom but few are chosen and while the Kingdom is full of both good and bad people who accept the generous invitation (Matthew 22:2-14; Luke 14:15-24), they must watch with oil in their lamps (Matthew 25:1-13), and be faithful stewards of all that the Lord gives them responsibility with. (Matthew 15:14-30; Luke 19:11-27)
  • The ultimate alternative to the Kingdom of God is burning (Matthew 13:30), the furnace of fire (Matthew 13:42, 50), wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:42; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30), and torture for those who do not forgive (Matthew 18:35)
  • Those who opt for the alternative are those who. . .
    • Don‘t forgive. (Matthew 18:32-35)
    • Don’t believe and obey. (Matthew 21:31-32)
    • Aren’t covered with the proper garment. (Matthew 22:11-13)
    • Don’t watch with enough oil in their lamps. (Matthew 25:1-13)
    • Don’t properly steward what God has given them. (Matthew 15:14-30; Luke 19:11-27)
    • Hate God and refuse His reign over them. (Luke 19:11-27)

CONCLUSION

After praying a lot about this, God gave me a vision of the globe of the world. Surrounding it and over it in the heavenly-realm was the spiritual Kingdom of God. Coming down from this heavenly city/realm were shafts of light that pierced the earth-realm and I came to realize that the heavenly Kingdom literally invades the earth in reality wherever a believer or group of believers take dominion, thus bringing the Kingdom of God into physical reality. God’s desire is for the Kingdom of God to be in operation here on earth in dominion, in physical reality as much as in the spirit-realm.

 

A KINGDOM MINDSET

OK, so now, with this understanding that the Kingdom of God is both earthly/physical and spiritual/heavenly and that it is also both now and in the future, what do we need to understand, change or alter to have a Kingdom Mindset?

The first thing we need to deal with is Matthew 6:33 – Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. With that always in mind, we need to recognize our particular place in history and where we’ve been. There’s been a shifting and a shaking going on in the Body of Christ for some time now and there have been various moves of God.

Since the Dark Ages we’ve been in restoration and revelation. Each new season of the church, God has highlighted a truth of Scripture that we’ve overlooked in the past. The first thing He did was to use Martin Luther to give attention to salvation by faith alone 490 years ago. This was not a new doctrine but it was new to the church at that time and it started the Protestant Reformation. There was the Presbyterian Movement that changed the structure of the church. In the early 1900s there was the Holiness Movement that gave birth to the Pentecostal Movement. In the late ‘40s and early ‘50s was the Healing Movement. Then we had the Charismatic Movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s. At the end of that the Prayer Movement began, followed by the Prophetic, then the Apostolic Movement that we’ve been in for the past 10 years.

Each of these movements “introduced” to modern-day believers an emphasis on what appeared to be a “new” doctrine. They were not new to God or to the Bible, just new to each generation. In time, each of the doctrines “introduced” at those particular times in history are still valid but we could also call them “old wineskins.” Haven’t you noticed that many of the churches and denominations that were so on fire and used by God in the various movements that took place in the 20th century have lost their fire? That can happen. We can loose our fire if we simply camp on truths that still apply but without moving on to the hidden treasures in Scripture that God is bringing to our attention now.

That’s why it’s important to get informed and find out what God is doing in the world today within the larger body of Christ, not just our favorite denomination or tradition. We need to find out what God is doing NOW so we can join Him. When we find out what He’s doing, what truths He’s showing us that have been in the Word all long, we’ll find ourselves meeting that “new” truth every time we turn around because God, as a good parent, repeats Himself. We’ll also find ourselves talking about it over and over and over until those we’re responsible for “get it.” And when we and they finally get it, we can move on to the next truth. We can camp anywhere along the way but if we do, we’ll become an old wineskin. With or without us, the fire and cloud of God’s covering protection and guidance moves on.

Oh Lord, may I never be an old wineskin!!!! Keep me teachable. Not vulnerable to deceit, but teachable and receptive as a new wineskin for the new wine You are even now pouring out!!!

Dr. Chuck Pierce wrote in a newsletter on August 28, 2007, “The Kingdom cannot be controlled by civil government. Through the ages, civil government has made the attempt to govern and rule God’s government in the earth. However, the Kingdom is not based on worldly patterns. Another important fact that we must all recognize is that we cannot comprehend the Kingdom by our natural mind. The mind is at enmity with God and longs to be conformed to the world around it. However, as we renew our minds, we break out of worldly conformity and move into seeing Kingdom life in the midst of the societal structures that are molding us.”

So where are we? The last three Movements I mentioned were the apostolic, prophetic and prayer movements. Actually, they are three parts of a whole. The Prayer Movement expanded so explosively that back in the ‘90s Dr. C. Peter Wagner announced that it was totally out of control. As the Prayer Movement grew and people moved from prayer into intercession, they quickly became prophetic intercessors and we had to study the gift and office of prophet. Thus the Prophetic Movement came into being as the church across the nation and around the world was able to recognize those whom God had placed in the Body as Prophets. Out of that came the understanding and recognition of Apostles and the apostolic. Now, in 2008, we’re ready to meld these three Movements into one and move ahead. . As Chuck also wrote, “The exciting thing about the Kingdom is that it cannot be POSTPONED! The Kingdom is filled with power. Over these last two decades, we have seen Kingdom government for the next season of God in the earth realm. God has appointed Kingdom administrators for every age. We find those gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11-14.” They are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, for. . .

  • the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,
  • for the edifying of the body of Christ till
  • we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
  • to a perfect man,
  • to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
  • that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”

As this is happening we’re hearing more and more about The Kingdom and “having a Kingdom Mentality. We’re realizing that when Jesus announced the church in Matthew 16:17 when He talked to Peter about the Keys of the Kingdom, He did it in the context of the Kingdom. Jesus told Peter that he received the revelation of who He was from the Father. In the same way, the Father has to reveal the Kingdom to us – by revelation. As Chuck Pierce wrote in August 28, 2007, “He is bringing us into a place of dominion, occupation and ruling with Him in the spheres and places He has assigned us. . . The Kingdom is NOT based on needs, since “the poor will always be with us.” Jesus gave us a responsibility to work with the poor, orphans, and widows, but on the other hand, He also showed us the necessity to lavishly worship Him as Mary did in John 10.”

We’re going to have to shift from our current church and local church mentality to a Kingdom mentality that includes the church but is not just the church. Remember, a kingdom is a domain – the domain, the rule and the sphere of a king. Our King rules over all. This includes the church but also business, education, government, family, the arts.

As the church is waking up and realizing this, acquiring a Kingdom Mentality, we’re seeing dramatic shifts in how “church” is done. Prayer has been moving out of the church, into the streets and through the halls – literally of business, government and educational facilities. We’ve coined new terms to accommodate this move. Terms like prayerwalking and prayer journeys.

People in business are realizing that it was God Who called them into business and that they are doing more than working to earn money for the church; they are the church and they’re to fulfill their call to minister as priests on the job. Consequently, business people have begun to “do the work of the ministry” instead of seeing a need, then calling the Pastor to come talk to so and so.  In the process, they’re learning how to minister to people just like them. As you know, the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship was/is a tremendous vehicle for bringing businessmen to the Lord. However, a friend recently told me that in the city where he was living at the time, the church didn’t know what to do with all those Type A personalities so it made it very hard for many of the newly-converted business people to fit into the typical church setting. Now, in the last 10 years, people are having “church” on the job, in the office chapel. A good friend of mine started having “church” on her lunch hour with other women outside the office building. Eventually, they were given a room inside. The Holy Spirit began to invade the operation of the business and the attitude of the people. As time went on, she was asked to help start the same type of church (nicely called a Bible Study) for another business in her city. Businesses are also, literally, hiring people to intercede for their companies and minister to their employees. One of the pastors who used to be an accountability partner with Vawtermark Ministries is now working for a corporation in this kind of a job. I have another friend who has been hired to literally go to work and pray for the company, its business deals and all the employees. Is this scriptural? Of course! That’s what Anna did in the Temple and how she was supported. (Luke 2:36-38) That tradition is what Paul was referring to when he told Timothy to not put a woman on the payroll unless she was over 60 years old and met other conditions. (1 Timothy 5:9-16)

This is what a Kingdom mentality is all about – the dominion of God – everywhere! A local church mentality is all about us because we’re the church. If we focus first on the church we have to focus on ourselves because we’re the church! The church is dear to the Lord so it’s OK to teach, preach and instruct in and through the church, but if you focus on the church, you’ll focus on self. You can’t focus on kingdom and focus on self because the Kingdom is bigger than the church and it’s about the King.

We’re going to have to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom not just salvation. We’re not told to preach the gospel of the cross. We’re told to preach the Gospel (good news) of the Kingdom of God. The Gospel of the cross is salvation, the entry into the Kingdom. The Good News goes beyond the cross. When we preach and teach the Kingdom, we get into the restoration of the dominion that we lost in Genesis. You see how much bigger Kingdom is? It’s God’s Kingdom functioning now on earth in a people – you and me!

When we think Kingdom rather than church, we go to another level of authority. As Dutch Sheets emphasized in a talk he gave in Denton January 2008, a local church-first emphasis can be selfish. It can be mine. I can build walls. I can emphasize what is best and what will benefit me at the expense of others. But we can’t build walls around the Kingdom; it’s too big. And we can’t obtain the kingdom by ambition.

The cross is the entrance.                    The Kingdom is the realm.

The cross gives us life.                       The Kingdom gives us something to live for.

The cross is about redemption.           The Kingdom is about restoration.

 

We move from saving souls and growing churches to producing disciples of the Kingdom.

 

DUTCH SHEETS

January 3, 2008

 

Kingdom disciples have eternity in their hearts and weapons in their hands.

They are kingdom thinkers, difference makers and culture shapers.

 

Things that describe Kingdom people.

 

  1. Rather than making God what they want Him to be they ask God what He wants them to be.
  2. They live for eternal purposes not temporal.
  3. They know their gifts are from Him and for Kingdom purposes first, not for themselves.
  4. They know that their destiny is what He planned for them not what they want.
  5. Kingdom people do not exist to make money; they exist to extend God’s kingdom into their world. Money is to them a tool not a goal. They are not just millionaires; they are millionaire makers and millionaire dollar givers.
  6. They live like stewards not owners.
  7. Kingdom people are not just healed people; they are healers.
  8. They are not just saved people; they are people who save.
  9. They are creator’s not just consumers.
  10. They are part of the solution. They’d rather work than whine. They know it’s not about them so they don’t complain, they just do it.
  11. They’re committed to a cause. They’re not just wandering sheep looking for greener pastures.
  12. They feed; they don’t just eat.
  13. They become God’s answer not His project, His method not just His goal or purpose. Some people think they are God’s purpose and He exists for them. Kingdom people know they are part of the solution. They are His partner not a hireling.
  14. They are heavenly minded not earthly.
  15. They don’t judge by the carnal mindsets of the world when it comes to greatness, success or morality.
  16. They understand the realm of the Spirit.
  17. Kingdom people live by God’s Word, not what they think or feel or are taught by contradicting forces.
  18. Kingdom people pray.
  19. They believe in the supernatural.
  20. Kingdom people fast. They sacrifice. They are living dead men and women. They don’t fear death; they love not their lives to the death. They’ve sold everything for the pearl of great price.
  21. They are prophetic. They believe in things they can’t see and see a future that doesn’t exist. They see, then they create it.
  22. They believe in miracles. The supernatural is not a stretch for them. They are supernatural themselves. They are citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
  23. They believe their God owns everything and can do everything. Because of this they are dangerous. They are boat-rockers. They turn their world right side up.
  24. They know God. They have seen Him, therefore they hate mediocre, average, run-of-the-mill, compromise, lethargy and status quo. That’s why they hate religiosity that standardizes mediocrity.
  25. They love to worship; not just sing.
  26. They know they can connect with God; therefore religious routine is boring and senseless to them. They insist in knowing and relating to God, not to a system or a tradition or a personality.
  27. Kingdom people don’t go to church; they are the church.

 

I would add one more mark of Kingdom people and that would be that Kingdom people work on reconciliation of the races and between genders. There are many divisions and ugly, separatist, prejudicial attitudes between people: There’s prejudice between

    • white and black
    • Japanese and Korean
    • Jews and Arabs
    • Mexicans and Hispanics
    • Men and women
    • Old and young

I don’t believe that all these divisions will be reconciled before the return of Jesus, but in the house of the Lord, they will be. After all, Revelation 7:9 says that the “Great Multitude” in heaven will be made up of ALL nations, tribes, peoples and tongues. People with a Kingdom mentality will work with all and be open to all kinds of people. The Kingdom is not segregated with rampant racism. When we become Kingdom minded and Kingdom centered, we will be that “one new man of Ephesians 2:15. We’ll be one people, one body; one flock with one Shepherd Who unites us all in one flow of His forgiving, overcoming love. The local Kingdom-minded church will become a colony of heaven and a picture of God’s eternal life on earth. “A Kingdom people understand Kingdom grace. The Kingdom is ruled by grace and love – not by rules, regulations and laws.” (Chuck Pierce, August 28, 1007)

When we expand our thinking to a Kingdom world view, a Kingdom mentality, everything changes because we realize that we’re here to extend the dominion of God in this place. It’s a new twist to the 1970 expression, “Bloom where you’re planted.”

It’s as Apostle Jim Hodges taught in Denton at the first of 2008, “A kingdomized church will open gates.” He went on to explain that Joseph’s pillow became a pillar when he had his dream about his future. And it changed his identity.  That’s because the gate of heaven is not in heaven. The access to the gate of heaven is on the earth. So God’s called us to re-harmonize heaven and earth and in a very real sense, to cooperate with God so that His Kingdom in heaven will come on earth and we live, move and breathe the Lord’s prayer: Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

With a Kingdom mindset, we move into an understanding of the realm of the Spirit in a completely higher realm than we did before. After all, we’re part of a Kingdom that is not earth-bound so we’ve got to stop thinking that way. Kingdom disciples have eternity in their hearts so we’ve got to move into a realm of revelation that moves us far above anything we’ve known before. Kingdom people are supposed to be dangerous everywhere we go – so dangerous that we exemplify the enigma of the Kingdom of God being inside us, coming, having come, yet to come, and near to anyone around us. We become a participator in the shaking that God is doing on the earth. And from deep within we find ourselves crying Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

 

 

 

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