Church Letter #61 6/30/11 Pastor Dan Gore:
THE 2 CRITICAL CHANGES JESUS BROUGHT FOR US
John 17:20 “The Kingdom of God comes not with observation…behold, the Kingdom…is within you.”
John may have been very discouraged when he sat in prison while his cousin Jesus seemed to go on not noticing. (Mat. 11:2) Perhaps it seemed to John that Jesus was not doing enough to acknowledge him and help him in prison. In verse 6 Jesus encourages John’s messengers not to be offended by Him. Jesus then goes on to praise the ministry of John in front of the crowds as John’s servants are walking away. Who else had Jesus ever praised so strongly as John in this passage?
I may be wrong, but I get the sense from this passage that things did not turn out exactly the way John had expected, and he felt let down by it all. Was there something in Jesus’ approach that actually offended John, sitting there in prison? Did John discern in the Spirit that he would be put to death before ever leaving prison? Was this the crescendo he would end his ministry on? But, in verse 11 Jesus goes on to say that there was never anyone born of a woman greater than John. Wow!!
Perhaps John was upset with the way Jesus was going about things -- that Jesus was not intending to become king this go around. Jesus must have perceived the frustration, because He then goes on to describe the amazing role John had in setting the stage for His own ministry on earth. Verse 13 then says that there were all these prophets in history, like John, under the Law system, who was struggling for a Kingdom they could not yet know or see except by faith. John then was the last of these. From now on, Jesus would say that the Kingdom has already begun and is in process. The Holy Spirit is available to all, not just a select few. The Kingdom would NOW begin growing like leaven in bread until it overtook the entire earth. There are two Mega changes in Jesus’ language and scripture that I see from this point onward in the Bible. Something very radical has changed that affects you and me today in 2011.
Note that Jesus says something incredibly stunning, after saying that no one could hold a candle to John’s life: “YET HE WHO IS LEAST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS GREATER THAN HE (JOHN).”
So, are we “in the Kingdom”, even though Jesus’ second coming has not concluded? If the Kingdom is within us, are we technically “in the Kingdom?” I believe yes. Not only that, but those who believe that only the pastor is qualified or that the true work of Christ does not begin until a later date, will miss the full life available through Christ. And many miss it even today. Their gospel message and salvation are basically powerless and dead, because of missing these two truths:
1. The emphasis of God’s Kingdom is no longer in the future but the present.
2. Every born-again believer is qualified, empowered and invited to do what Jesus did.
First: Jesus puts an end to the constant Futuristic way of speaking of the Kingdom. No longer does the future event of Christ’s return define our Christian journey -- that we are raised with Christ does. Ruling the earth and the coming Heavenly City is not our Goal, but our destiny. Our goal is to be conformed into His image – to be Him to others. The Kingdom is actually here NOW, in us, in the finished work of Jesus. He defeated all of darkness and is expecting us to finish what he started. (Mat 28:18-20) The Kingdom is for Now, before it can be for later. It has already begun in us, who are the saints. Jesus will return the second time, but not to do the majority of the work. God’s children are no longer just hoping to “make it to Heaven” – they are Heaven’s voice, will, heart and representation on earth. They are seeking everything that it means to live “in Christ.” Instead of separating from the world, they are invading the world’s systems and taking back what the Enemy has long enjoyed dominion in.
Which brings me to the second major change I see: He now proclaims that we are qualified by Faith to do what He did. In fact, Jesus left the scene in order that it would not get done unless we did it. Regardless of title, race, church position, educational/biblical background, those who function by faith in Jesus Christ have unlimited access to what Jesus paid for. Any person can do as much or little as their faith, experience and revelation permit. Jewish Christians and those under the Law paradigm had the hardest time in the early church making this transition, no matter how amazing it was. It is as if Jesus says to us: “You go do it. It’s up to you, my child – whosoever will live by faith.” (Mark 11:22-26) Though there are still important offices and administration, no longer is it just for the rare pastor, the evangelist, prophet or one gifted in miracles – but we are to become these ourselves by faith.
So this to me is why John, who was the greatest until Jesus, is like the least in the Kingdom. While our own personal efforts/sacrifice will likely never match John’s in this life-time, I think we have this huge advantage over John (and all the bible heroes of old) in that we get to walk in greater fullness of the Holy Spirit and what Jesus has accomplished. If these pressed on so hard based on so little revelation of a future Jesus, what is the limit of our calling who have tasted the Heavenly gifts? New realities and dimensions were suddenly made available in the ministry of Jesus that were never before available in the history of the bible – and oh are they doozies…huge game changers for those who have eyes to see. We praise you Lord!
John was the best and John was the last -- was faithful perfectly and wonderfully to what God called him to do. Even though he baptized Jesus -- he was the last of those great Old Testament messengers who lived entirely preparing for the future Kingdom and arrival of the Messiah. . We are not like John – who did not yet capture the fullness of Christ -- the unlimited intimacy of God through the fullness of the Holy Spirit. It is time we lived more fully in the reality of who we already are in Him. And for those still waiting for the second return of Christ to fix everything before going after it; for those who see themselves as yet not qualified and think it is for the pastor to do…you may want to read your bible a little more closely. Jesus changed things. These two changes will be experienced for years to come in USA and globally as their revelation becomes more real over time.
Help us Lord!! Go seize it! Go take the Kingdom. GO walk in the supernatural. Go do great exploits for Jesus. Ask Him to teach you to do the impossible through Him. You are perfectly qualified through Christ. He wants you to take and then use what He paid for. The same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead now lives in you. Go find out what that really means. The new opportunities are now almost infinite. We are not waiting on God so much as He is waiting on us to walk in these new realities/realms of faith.