As Believers we are just visiting this World. Our final destination is in Heaven. This earth is only the airport.
While we wait we live under Christ’s Lordship (His reign). We are part of His Kingdom now and long for being under His Ruling forever.
Today I want to share some food for thought from the devotional Beyond Saving Souls (link at bottom)
In our churches today, we talk a lot about saving souls, and very little about what Jesus called “the Kingdom of God.”
This is startling because it is the exact opposite of what we see Jesus emphasizing in the New Testament.
According to the concordance in my Bible, Jesus used the word “save” or “saved” less than 10 times. By contrast, he referred to his coming “Kingdom” more than 150 times.
In Matthew 24:14, Jesus said that it is the “gospel of the Kingdom” that “will be preached in the whole world,” not the gospel of individual salvation (with an emphasis. on mine).
The gospel is not just good news for our souls, it is good news for the world.
In the words of Tim Keller,
“The ultimate purpose of Jesus is not only individual salvation and pardon for sins but also the renewal of this world, the end of disease, poverty, injustice, violence, suffering, and death.”
So, how did we get to the point in which our emphasis on saving souls is so out of whack with Jesus’s? I’d argue that there are two answers to that question, one theological and the other cultural.
First, the theological. Many in the western Church have an incomplete view of what the Bible says about heaven. Many Christians functionally (if not intellectually) believe that heaven starts and ends with the present heaven (where souls currently dwell with Christ until his return), ignoring the biblical promise made clear in today’s passage from Revelation that one day, Jesus’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in the present heaven (see also Matthew 6:10).
That’s the brief theological answer to why our emphasis on saving souls is so opposite Jesus’s.
Here’s the cultural answer: We are living in the most individualistic culture of all time, where the story of life is the story of my life. We see this everywhere, from entertainment, to technology, to how we think about our careers.
All of this adds up to an overemphasis on individuals “going to heaven when we die,” (as important as that is!) at the sacrifice of gaining a more complete picture of God’s plans to redeem the entire world.
Why does this matter for our work? An underemphasis of God’s coming Kingdom can lead us to believe that our work is significant only if we share the gospel with co-workers or donate money to missionaries who do that work “full-time.”
As good as those things are, this is a terribly incomplete list of ways in which our work extends the rule of King Jesus in the world.
That much fuller list is covered in day 2 of the @YouVersion plan ‘Beyond Saving Souls’. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/5LH
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had gone away. The sea also was not there any more. 2 I saw God’s own special city. It was coming down out of heaven from God. That is the new city which is called Jerusalem. It was very beautiful, like a woman who is wearing beautiful clothes for her marriage. She is ready to meet the man that she is going to marry. 3 Then I heard a voice that spoke loudly from the throne. It said, ‘God’s home is now among people! God will live together with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and he will be their God. 4 God will take away all the tears from their eyes. Nobody will ever die again. Nobody will be sad again. Nobody will ever cry. Nobody will have pain again. Everything that made people sad has now gone. That old world has completely gone away.’
Revelation 21:1-4 EASY
14 People will tell the good news about God’s kingdom to people all over the world. People in every country will hear the true message from God. Then God will cause the world to come to an end.
Matthew 24:14 EASY
10 We want the day when you rule everyone to come soon. We want everyone to obey you on earth, like everyone in heaven obeys you.
Matthew 6:10 EASY
You too have just finished day 1 of the @YouVersion plan ‘Beyond Saving Souls’. Check out the next 4 days here: http://bible.com/r/5LH