Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Eternity: Slow Train Comin’ -- Day 4

A few days ago I commented about how the evangelical church is once again beginning to understand its place within the broader Church, within the much larger family of God, and within the much, much larger kingdom of God.

God’s kingdom. God’s family. God’s Church.

They’re not the same, but how are they different?

Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. In addition, all of God’s people are part of His forever family. Beyond that, however, Jesus Christ is the rightful, exalted King of God’s kingdom.

God’s kingdom is the context through which He is advancing His purposes through humanity here on earth.

That context includes God’s work around the world and down of all ages through emperors, kings, prime ministers, presidents, governors, mayors, and other government officials, whether or not they believe in God yet.

You see, God can use anyone to advance His purposes here on earth. If God could use ancient Pharaohs, and kings Xerxes, Cyrus, and Nebuchadnezzar, and ancient Caesars from Julius to Augustus to Nero, God can use anyone.

We see this in Revelation 21:24, where the apostle John records that fact that “The nations will walk by [God’s] light, and the kings of earth will bring their splendor into it.” Then look down two verses to Revelation 21:26, where we read: “The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into” the eternal city of God. Then look down three more verses to Revelation 22, verses 2-3: “On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations.”

So, in these last two chapters of the Bible, we see God’s Church, God’s Family, and God’s Kingdom clearly in focus.

So what’s the take-away value of looking at God’s Kingdom in light of eternity?

It puts a whole new perspective on everything in this life — as we look back through history, as we look at the first few years of the 21st century, and as we look ahead to what may be coming.

It doesn’t matter what happens in Russia, the Middle East, and America. It doesn’t matter how bad things get on Wall Street. It doesn’t matter who’s preparing to take over the White House. No matter what, God’s kingdom is advancing His purposes through humanity here on earth.

It grieves me when we look at someone who is different from us, who may be politically different than us, and assume that God can’t use that individual to advance His purposes on earth.

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