(This guest post was written by Kyle Barton from life and building, the first in a three-part series of his we’ll be releasing on EachOneHas.)
The kingdom of God was the central message in Jesus’ earthly ministry. The gospel of Matthew particularly highlights this aspect of the Lord’s teaching, mentioning the kingdom 55 times. Luke follows closely behind at 44 times. God’s move is to bring His kingdom to the earth. The book of Acts, a book on God’s move, begins and ends with the kingdom (1:3, 28:31).
So how does that actually happen? How does the kingdom of God come?
If we want to be involved in God’s move today then we should identify the factors of His move. What causes God to move? Do we influence when and how He moves?
All Christians agree that the book of Acts is a record of God’s move, but I wonder what they would say the channel of His move is. There’s probably no general consensus.
I recently read through Acts again and noticed some recurring key words. Witness and speaking are all over the place!
God’s move in Acts is through man’s speaking. Yes there are the miracles. Yes there are healings. But our natural preoccupation or curiosity in these outward things may blind us or leave us unimpressed with something as basic as the speaking of the apostles and all the believers. Normal believers in normal situations with their mouths open bring in God’s kingdom.
The kingdom of God does not come with observation. That’s Luke 17:20 and it means that building houses for impoverished people, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless are not the coming of the kingdom or at least the main thrust of it. They are all observable and outward acts. God’s kingdom is spiritual not material and it comes in man’s heart.
God’s kingdom comes through man’s proclamation. The last verse in Acts makes this point so clear.
Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, unhindered.
Luke 8:4-18 shows that our speaking the word brings the kingdom into peoples’ hearts.
If man doesn’t speak then God doesn’t move. That’s an easy sentence to read but I think the implications need time to sink in. If you want God to move in your job, university, or family then someone needs to speak! Of course prayer and the Spirit are big components too but the bottom line is speaking. Paul was appointed a minister and a witness, both of which involve speaking.
The problem is, most Christians probably couldn’t speak more than a simple word on God’s love. Part of the Lord’s charge in the great commission is “teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you (Matthew 28:20).” If we want to play a part in this commission then obviously we need to be able to say more than “God loves you.” Paul assured the believers in Ephesus that he “declared to them all the counsel of God (Acts 20:27).”
If the truth stops with us, the Lord’s move stops with us. For example, it doesn’t matter how much you enjoy experiencing physics– throwing a football (trajectory), working out (force), coasting downhill on a bike (momentum)– if the study of physics stops, then the field of physics stops. You may enjoy the experiences of physics all your life but you have done NOTHING to advance the field of physics.
Knowing this is one thing, practicing to speak is another. Don’t wait until you know the whole counsel of God to start speaking though. Otherwise you may be waiting a long time.
What are some things that prevent you from speaking Christ to those around you?