OK, I intended to continue this little series last week, but got distracted. Here again, are my working definitions for the church and the kingdom.
The Church: a people on a common mission to love and serve one another and a broken world in Jesus’ name and for God’s glory.
The Kingdom: God’s hopes and dreams for His creation. Jesus declared its presence (which we pray for and work to expose) and He also described a future consummation of the kingdom (where everything God wants done is done) that will come at His return.
And here's today's thought: The church is not the kingdom.
"The Kingdom of God is the conception placed above that of the church; the church is not the Kingdom of God, but the church owes her existence to the Kingdom of God. She exists for the sake of the Kingdom; she represents the Kingdom of God on earth in the present age till through the coming of Christ in power God will grant full and final victory. In the Kingdom of God the church has her ultimate frontiers; from the Kingdom she receives all her substance, her power and hope." (Skydsgaard, Kristen E. "Kingdom of God and Church." Scottish Journal of Theology 4, no.4, 1951: 383-97.)
So, we must be careful that the church doesn’t become the focal point. Our weekend services, our internal programs and bible studies, our small groups, our choir rehearsals, our buildings, and our staffs must not become the focal point. Jesus sent His church into the world to represent the Kingdom. The Kingdom is to be our focal point.
More on this tomorrow...I promise!