Advancing the kingdom on our knees
2 Timothy 2:2 “ what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
So today I’m here to talk to us about a message that we have been entrusted with as a leadership team at the RB Leadership conference so that we all can walk it out together.
Last Sunday, Navaz shared with us about the Kingdom of God and how kingdom advance cannot happen with just one of two playing their roles. We need the whole body activated and engaged.
Consider the times we are in. We are in a new era. That means new doors opening, new wine, new cloth, and there is a drastic shift in the spiritual atmosphere. We have also experienced a new level of hostility against Christians. We can’t have a peacetime mentality.
2 Timothy 2:3-4 “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”
During the pandemic, we thought we were living in peacetime. Each one of you is a chosen soldier dropped behind enemy lines, placed in this evil world to shine the light of Jesus. Jesus expects his church to be at war.
Matt 16: 18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Yes, Jesus will build his church but the context of that statement is war. There is a battle going on.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
So we know we are in a war but we need to learn and be trained in the weapons of our warfare so we don’t injure the wrong persons.
Mike spoke about 3 things that are essential as we engage in this battle and that is humility, authority and power. It’s the work of Jesus Christ in us, over us and through us. And since the kingdom of God is so upside down, I entitled this message, advancing the kingdom on our knees.
The most powerful leaders are the humblest leaders like Jesus.
Eph 4: 1 “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you’ve received. Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Every time the Bible urges us to follow the example of Christ, it is in the context of humility.
John 13: 14-15 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
1 Peter 2:19-21 “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”
Philippians 2:3-5 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,”
Character always trumps gifting. God wants us to be more like Jesus. Saul was physically and spiritually gifted. When Samuel confronted him, instead of being concerned with what God thinks, he was concerned with what people think. Then God tells Samuel, that people look at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. David was also naturally gifted and supernaturally gifted. But he also had character flaws. When he was confronted by Nathan, his reaction was so different from Saul’s reaction. He fasts and mourns for his sin. He repented before God. It’s not a problem that we mess up and make mistakes because we will. But how do we respond to God after we make a mistake? Do we submit to God, do we come before him and let him teach us? How can we grow in humility?
- Be clear about our identity in Christ. We have to be secure about who we are. We are chosen sons and daughters of God. When our security is in people we will live in pride.
- Humility doesn’t mean we don’t lead. Not stepping into what God has given you can be pride. Stepping out in faith is humility. We have to be careful that we don’t fall into false humility.
- Use difficulty- our pride often comes up when we are in difficult situations. When things are hard, we find our pride can easily rise to the surface. We need to use difficulty to grow. Instead of saying get me out of here, ask what are you teaching me in this situation?
- Develop an attitude of thankfulness. When we are thankful our pride is reduced. We need to express our thankfulness to God and to one another.
- Function in the gifting you have regardless of the role you’re in. You can lead all the time in every situation. That will help us to not rely on a position. So we will not be puffed up when you do get a position.
- Accept praise graciously and authentically.
- Stay open and transparent with God. Ask him to search our hearts. If we stay in intimacy with God, we will remain humble. Let intimacy be the measure of your success.
- Pray and ask for the fruit of the spirit. All the fruit has to do with our character. We can ask God to give us that fruit.
There is an important part of stepping out in God's power and that is to understand authority. Firstly, Jesus has authority. Matthew 7:28- 29 “ And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.”
Matthew 8: 8-10 “But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marvelled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.”
If our lives are truly submitted to god, then our lives should only make sense because of God. Our lives must be fully submitted to God. Then we are submitted to those around us. There is a right submission to each other that is not controlling or manipulating but released. We’re accountable to one another.
Craig Groeschel “The greatest leaders don’t delegate tasks but they delegate authority.”
Matthew 10:1 “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.”
How do we respond to authority?
- We submit
James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Ephesians 5: 21 “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
- We use the authority:
Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
The church is called to be a people of power. John Wimber’s experience of the church. We don’t just want to talk about the things of God, we need to walk in step with the spirit. We can still have plans but the plans also must be in step with the spirit.
Jesus’ entire ministry was about declaring the kingdom has come. He preached it and he demonstrated it. Today we need to do this by the holy spirit's power.
Luke 24:49 “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Some of these battles can be subtle and undercover. But more and more we need to see the demonstration of God's power. We need a visible and practical demonstration that Jesus is more powerful than the idols that are worshipped.
The power we have as Christ’s church:
- Power to love. The love of God brings breakthroughs.
- The power to hope: Romans 15:30 - may the God of hope fill you with all joy … church should be overflowing with hope and joy because of the Holy Spirit. It is supernatural and attractive.
- The power to sacrifice: Paul tells us that God's power is made perfect in weakness. The holy spirit takes that and turns it into an incredible strength. When we are weak then we are strong.
- The power to endure
- The power to perform miracles, signs and wonders.
- The power to grow in spiritual gifts.
- The power to make known God's manifold wisdom
- The power for unity. The Holy Spirit binds us together.
- The power and authority to preach the gospel. Matthew 28:18-20. 1 Thessalonians - gospel coming not just with words but with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.
- The power and authority to dispel the demonic. The demonic is no match for God's power.
- Power in prayer to change situations: as we pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, things change.
Yes, we are in a war but Jesus is the prince of peace.