Kingdom-mindedness

The New Testament uses the word “kingdom” 154 times, uses the word “church” 79 times and uses the word “gospel” 99 times. But only 4 times in the Bible (that I have found) is the word “gospel” qualified, in 3 ways: The purpose, the Person (the King of the dominion) and the point.

  1. Mt 4:23  And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom… Mt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Purpose)
  2. Mr 1:1  The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; (Person)
  3. Ac 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Point) 

I submit to all churches in America that more than 90% of them don’t really understand these basic principles of the Bible. Nor do they follow the King’s example in its entirety: Mt 9:35  And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching (making disciples) in their synagogues, and preaching (proclaiming) the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.Nor do they fulfill His primary command:

Mt 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

They show up for worship at a building once a week and they don’t even focus on the Kingdom, they focus on some music and a “sermon” , a word which cannot even be found a single time in the Bible. Let’s take a look at the main verse used to show that we are supposed to go to church every Sunday (the first day of the week, not the Sabbath).

Ac 20:7  And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread (have communion), Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. 

The word for “preached” is “dialegomai”, (where we get “dialogue”) meaning to say thoroughly, i.e. discuss (in argument or exhortation):–dispute, preach (unto), reason (with), speak. The word is more often translated as disputing or reasoning. What was he doing with his long ‘speech’? Exactly what in these versus we are commanded to do: teach, more correctly translated to make disciples. You cannot do that effectively in a “church” setting, which is why Jesus gave us the example of what church is supposed to look like, and in fact DID look like for hundreds of years during and after the Apostles’ lifetimes. They were Kingdom-minded, not church-minded. Church-mindedness is what I refer to mean, people who see the church as the Kingdom instead of seeing it as a tool FOR the Kingdom. They are all wrapped up in a church service as the reason for their existence. Many of them define themselves by what they do at church on Sundays, and in fact use it for self-worth or self-gain.

That is the true meaning of the commandment not to use the Lord’s name in vain. Most people incorrectly believe that the commandment (Ex 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.) means not to say cuss words with God’s name in it. They are missing an important truth; if you have a ministry, serve in a church in any capacity or do good works for your own desires, you are doing exactly what this commandment is referring to. And that is even worse than being church-minded. It is EXACTLY what the scribes and Pharisees were guilty of.

Kingdom-minded:   Kingdom: basileia, properly, royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively):–kingdom, + reign.     What and where is this Kingdom that is to be our main focus and how do we become part of it? Well, let’s ask the King:

  1. How?
    1. Mt 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    2. Mt 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    3. Mt 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
    4. Mt 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    5. Mt 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Where?
    1. Mt 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (it is partly on earth and partly in heaven)
    2. Mt 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
  3. What?
    1. Mt 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
    2. Mt 13:24  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
    3. Mt 13:44  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
    4. Mt 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
    5. Mt 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
    6. Mt 13:52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
    7. Mt 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

What exactly is the “church”? Mt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. {Peter: this name signifies a rock, Notice who is building the church- Jesus Himself! } the word is ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah). It means a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both):–assembly, church.

Ac 2:44-47 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

The church is everyone that is saved. Mt 16:18 tells us clearly that Jesus is building His church as an army against the “gates of hell”.

Ac 2:34-35 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

Every time the word church is in the Bible it is referring to all believers on Earth and in Heaven with one exception: when the Spirit is referring only to members of the universal Body of Christ on Earth in a specific region ie. the church at Rome, Ephesus, Babylon, Philippi, Laodicea etc. (2Th 1:1  Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:)

Did these churches in different regions have a 501c(3)? No, of course not. Did they have buildings specifically for “church”? no. Does that mean we shouldn’t have buildings? Of course not- Buildings are amazing tools for the Church (that means people because it has a capital “C”) to use for ministry, unfortunately most “churches” don’t use their buildings for ministry, they use it for the church body (themselves). That is another way of being church-minded rather than Kingdom-minded; are we using our 501c(3) non-profit buildings for the growing of the Kingdom as Jesus commanded (Mt 9:35  And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching (making disciples) in their synagogues, and preaching (proclaiming) the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.) or are we using them to hang out with each other?

Again I submit to every ‘church’ in America that the place to hang out is in each other’s homes, the place for discipleship is in each other’s homes, the place for learning the Bible is in each other’s homes, the place to share our sins and hold each other accountable is in each other’s homes, the place for Spiritual growth is in each other’s homes, the place for worship and prayer and praise is in each other’s homes, the place to break bread (have communion) is in each other’s homes but the place that we “go out from into all the cities and villages” is our community centers, the 501c(3) run facility that gives us the ability to hold a lot of saved people (the true church, the Kingdom Army) who want to work in the Kingdom, and forge battle against the gates of hell. But instead, we use them so that everyone can show up and sit down for an hour. And worse, we spend all of our time and effort (as leaders or servants) on that one hour of “church service”.

Church:   “ekklesia”, from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both):–assembly, church.

We are called out, not called in. What a difference a preposition can make. I heard a preacher saying on the radio yesterday that “the only place for you to serve the Lord is in a local church. If you are not a member of a local church you can’t do any work for God. God created local churches and it is the ONLY place He created for His work”. I entertained his thought and his message, hoping that he would help my understanding of the place and role of church buildings, which most people call the “local church”. He did, but not in the way he intended or I expected.   Armies need Generals, Lieutenants et. al; leaders that have a vision. A leader’s number one priority is to protect that Vision (because it is God’s Vision) and disseminate that vision to his troops. Luckily, we know exactly what those leaders are supposed to look like:

1Ti 3:1+ This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)  Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.  Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;  Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.  And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

It is my personal opinion, and this is something I plan to dig deeper into at some point, that all of these names are somewhat interchangeable and were never intended to define what the organizational structure within what Americans call “church” is supposed to look like. Office of bishop, deacon are less titles than descriptors: Bishop, “episkopos” means literally to oversee. The root word meaning also verb; to dig(into God’s word?). The word deacon means to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon (menially or as a host, friend, or (figuratively) teacher); technically, to act as a Christian deacon:–(ad-)minister (unto), serve, use the office of a deacon.

The word office is not even there, “office of a deacon” is just the word “diakoneo”. “office of a bishop” is the same way, just the word episkopos. Similarly, one word- hierateia is used for “office of the priest”. So the word “office” is simply translated into the Bible in these places by inference, by the choice of the translators.   Furthermore, in the following verse, the word translated “office” is the word diakoneo- “deacon”, (Ro 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office) but the following verse uses the word “praxis” which means “practice” (Ro 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office).   So Biblically, I see zero reason to suppose/ assume that either of these are “church positions”, they are just practices of leadership. Let us look at “elder” in the New Testament. There are only 9 verses that mention the word and I will underline the ones that even remotely seem to refer to an “office” of elder:

  1. Lu 15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.
  2. Ro 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. {elder: or, greater} {younger: or, lesser}
  3. 1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
  4. 1Ti 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
  5. 1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
  6. 1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
  7. 1Pe 5:5 ¶ Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
  8. 2Jo 1:1  The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
  9. 3Jo 1:1  The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.So we are left with 4 scriptures that we can even use to discern the role or office of an “elder”. In the last 2, John was SPECIFICALLY referring to himself as the writer of the letter, not an “office” so we can exclude those which leaves us with 2 scriptures:1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:What are the possible definitions of “an elder”? What is the etymology and English definitions?

Adjective: (of one or more out of a group of related or otherwise associated people) of a greater age. “my elder daughter”, Noun: a person of greater age than someone specified.

Etymology: “senior citizen,” c.1200, from Old English eldra “older person, parent” (used in biblical translation for Greek presbyter); see elder (adj.). The Old English for “grandfather” was ealdfæder.

Wikipedia: An elder in Christianity is a person valued for his wisdom who accordingly holds a particular position of responsibility in a Christian group. In some Christian traditions (e.g., Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Methodism) an elder is a clergy person who usually serves a local church or churches and who has been ordained to a ministry of Word, Sacrament and Order, filling the preaching and pastoral offices. In other Christian traditions (e.g., Presbyterianism, Baptists), an elder may be a lay person charged with serving as an administrator in a local church, or be ordained to such an office, also serving in the preaching (in this case referring to teaching done during church gatherings) and/or pastoral roles. Though there is technically a distinction between the idea of clergy elders and lay elders, often the two concepts are conflated in everyday conversation (for example, a lay-elder in the Baptist tradition may still be referred to as “clergy,” especially in America).

 

So, in English there is no record before 1200 a.d. to give us insight (The KJV was written in 1611). In terms of English there is no definition that involves anything but age-related explanations (supported by the Bible, 1Ti 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.) So to answer the question whether the 2 remaining scriptures were referring to age or office I ask, “how old was Peter when he wrote 1 Peter”?

1 Peter was most likely written during the reign of Domitian in AD 81 which means Peter was 80 years old when he wrote it. Do you think that lends credence to his statement “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder,” meaning that he was in a position of authority or that he had a “church position”, or does it simply mean he was a senior citizen, an older gentleman? If we say it is more plausible he was putting himself in an age bracket that leaves only one single scripture in the entire Bible to justify the idea that our churches should have elders, 1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

When I was about 17 I wrote a brief “thesis” that I called, “the theory of unjustified necessity” where I noted an observation; namely that everything I saw that really had no purpose in the world seemed to focus all its energy, time and money on creating a need for its existence. The easiest-to-understand example I can think of to explain it is computer antivirus companies creating viruses. Or Homeland Security creating terrorists.Could Satan himself have infiltrated the churches in the world and especially in America through seminaries? It makes much more sense that he would do that than to think that he is personally involving himself in each and every one of our lives- he is not omnipresent like God is-

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

The Bible is not all-inclusive in how to be a great leader. It gives some great instruction and examples of leaders but there is plenty of leadership material that I read to supplement my leadership regiment (like the book I am reading now). Also, maybe it makes sense to specify the leadership capabilities; Since I am the global Director of Information and Communication Technology, no one comes to me and asks how well their guitar sanding is.  “Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” “Eph 4:11 kai autoV edwken touV men apostolouV touV de projhtaV touV de euaggelistaV touV de poimenaV kai didaskalouV”

It is my personal opinion, that this is the one place in scripture where the actual “offices” are named one verse, rather than using descriptors. Certainly you can find other places where these are mentioned, but not all together. And if you will notice the word “some” is used prefacing the “office“ in every instance. In the last instance, you will notice something rather strange in the Koine- poimenaV kai didaskalouV- this is very difficult to translate to English and you almost always see it not translated at all or translated as a dash or hyphen; Pastor-teachers (shepherding disciplers).   For many years that is what I have specifically, personally called my “office” other than “minister”, but minister is the same as the others in my opinion; a descriptor. I don’t see mine tied to only one church- and personally I don’t agree that it should be for others either, for any of us. Feeling called to a church to serve locally and not simultaneously looking at the Kingdom globally as a whole is in my opinion,  church minded.   It is also my opinion (I could be wrong, I haven’t study it much in years) that each of these offices are related to Era’s in God’s timeline. While prophecy is certainly a gift, there are no more prophets. There are no more Apostles because you have to see Yeshua to be an Apostle. Pastor-teachers are the leadership office in the church age, and one day there will be 144 thousand Evangelists. Like prophecy, there is still a gift of evangelism, but not an office.

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