From 20 – 23 December 2018 we held a time of prayer and fasting in Bloemfontein. During the second session of prayer we felt to seek the Lord regarding the Gospel of the Kingdom. Because there are a number of different understandings of the Gospel of the Kingdom we first spent some time clearly defining what we mean when we refer to this gospel.
So, before sharing what the Lord revealed to us in this regard we will first define the Gospel of the Kingdom as we have come to understand it from the scriptures.
Understanding the Gospel of the Kingdom
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17
The good news about Jesus is generally referred to as “The Gospel.” Today, this message is shared in many different forms. Some refer to it as the Gospel of Salvation, others the Gospel of Grace, and still others, the Gospel of God. No matter which name it is called, the New Testament has only one Gospel, and that is The Gospel of the Kingdom.
The true Gospel message is one of total and utter abandonment unto God. It represents completely renouncing sin and the world system, in order to live a life of righteousness as a priest in the Kingdom God.
It is a very costly message. It requires you to put your entire life on the altar as a sacrifice to God. It means giving up everything, including your sin, your good works, your good ideas, your talents, your ambitions, your possessions, your relationships, your ideas about yourself, your pain, your past, your future, your rights, your freedom, your everything. You relinquish everything that you are, have, and hope to be, unto God as a living sacrifice.
As you do this God begins to work in you in such a way that makes you able to function as a citizen in His Kingdom in order to participate in accomplishing His vision in the earth today. This vision is simply to establish Kingdom outposts (groups of people utterly devoted to Him) that will help extend His Kingdom rule, and ultimately fill the Earth with His glory.
The way that this happens is not through intentionally infiltrating the seven spheres of society (Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business), as some have asserted. But actually through being a people that have disentangled themselves from the world system (and all its spheres) in order to function as a new kingdom society. One that reveals to this world what it looks like when Jesus is actually the reigning King.
Sadly today the Gospel of God has been watered down to a point of having no power and little impact. It has been diminished to something that serves the needs of man rather than God. As such, most of the difficult and challenging aspects of the message have been removed, and only the aspects that are most beneficial to our human comforts and desires remain.
Most often, this message is referred to as the Gospel of Grace or the Gospel of Salvation because it stresses the fact that in Christ, God is no longer counting our sins against us. It proclaims that if we believe in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we will be washed of our sin and can have a relationship with God that will benefit our lives, and ultimately result in us living with Him eternally. Of course this message is not incorrect, but it is incomplete and it has an incorrect focus.
It is true that Jesus died on the cross to wash away our sin, and that if we believe by faith we can receive God’s forgiveness and walk with Him in loving relationship. But the purpose of this wonderful grace is not so that we can live nice and comfortable lives with material riches and success that ultimately end in us living in eternal bliss in heaven. The purpose of God’s grace towards us in Christ is so that we can be transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness into His Kingdom of Light in order to become a holy priesthood that will offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God and establish His Kingdom rule on this Earth.
In fact, becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom is often everything but comfortable and nice. It often involves suffering, pain, difficulty, challenges, trials, loss, and persecution. All of which are designed to shape and mold us to be more mature and effective Kingdom citizens.
The true Gospel of the Kingdom stresses the absolute Lordship of Jesus over our lives. The contemporary watered down Gospel of today says that Jesus will be your savior because God loves you, but you can continue being lord over your own life. This is not only a gross misrepresentation of the Gospel, it is also an evil deception in the church today. In fact, the New Testament warns us about this time and time again, saying that if we continue being lord of our own lives and pursuing our worldly idols, we will simply not inherit the Kingdom of God (See 2 Tim 3:1-9; 4:3; 1 Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5; Heb 12:14; Rev 22:15).
The Gospel of the Kingdom calls us to surrender our lives completely to Jesus as both Saviour and Lord, so that on the one hand, he can save us, cleanse us, wash us, and fill us as our Saviour, and on the other hand, lead us, instruct us, command us, and reign over us as our Lord. He is a loving and powerful King that wants our complete allegiance and devotion. And He deserves it because He is the only one that is worthy (See Rev 5).
For a more thorough explanation of the Gospel of the Kingdom see the book Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, by Frank Viola.
Seeking the Lord regarding His Gospel
There were a number of key things that we sought the Lord about in terms of the Gospel of the Kingdom:
- Kingdom Workers
- Kingdom People
- Kingdom Seed
- Exalting the King of Glory
- Kingdom Community
- Practical Kingdom Fellowship
We have noticed that South Africa is filled with shallow workers that are drawing people to themselves rather than to Jesus Christ. We asked the Lord to raise up true workers that have consecrated their whole lives to the King and His Kingdom. True workers that understand the cross, suffering, Christ as their life, the costliness of the true gospel, and what it means to be poor in spirit. Workers that gain nothing earthly from the work and who are willing to lay their lives down for the Lord and His people.
We specifically asked the Lord to raise up an indigenous work in South Africa. For too long we have imported workers from other countries or longed for others to come and do the work in South Africa. We felt to ask the Lord to raise up workers that are native to South Africa, who know the cultures and love the people here.
In addition, we asked the Lord to raise us up for His work. To train us for His work. To raise us up to share this gospel with our colleagues, with our family, with our neighbors, and beyond.
We want to be a kingdom people that can all live out and share this reality of the Kingdom.
We consecrated ourselves to the Lord and asked Him to deal with all our idols, and make us only and completely satisfied by Him alone. We asked Him to release the reality of the King and His Kingdom among us. To strip all else away and come and reign in our hearts.
We asked the Lord to have mercy on us, as His people, and as a community. To have mercy on us so that we can be faithful to the full counsel of God. Not just the parts that make us feel good, but everything.
We proclaimed the Kingship of Jesus. That He would have His people His way.
A major question we asked ourselves was, “Is He WORTH it?”
We acknowledged that we really need the Lord to live in His kingdom and live out this gospel. We cannot do it on our own or in our own strength. We need the Lord to will and work in us.
We asked God to cast down every high place in our lives and in the church. So that He will be our only high place. Our only place of worship. We declared that we want to abandon worshiping idols and abandon ourselves to worshiping God alone.
We told the Lord that we love Him and we asked Him to work in us the work that only He can do. To purify our hearts and give us His love for one another. We proclaimed that He is the Lord of Lords and that He is beautiful, our one desire.
We believe that the Lord has planted the seed of the kingdom in every true believer’s heart. But we felt that the Lord say that the seeds need to be watered, so that they can germinate and burst forth. We got the sense that this process of watering the kingdom seed is going to be a key part of the work in South Africa. So that, like a mustard seed, the kingdom seeds can begin to grow and burst forth and take over in the hearts of God’s people.
“Lord, may this tiny seed, which is the seed of your kingdom, begin to grow in your believers, and just fill up our entire being, to be the biggest thing in our lives Lord. We pray that it will crowd out any other shrub or weed in our lives Lord, that it will just grow to a point that nothing else can grow in our hearts. We pray that this seed grows in every believer in South Africa. That your kingdom will grow and manifest everywhere in South Africa.”
Exalting the King of Glory
We spent a lot of time exalting Jesus as the King of Glory. Praising Him, loving Him, worshiping Him, and acknowledging Him as King and Lord.
Together we pray-read Psalm 24.
We acknowledged that the whole earth is the Lord’s and everyone in it, and that it is because of Jesus Christ that we can enter God’s Holy place and receive righteousness and salvation from God.
We told God that we want His blessing in our generation. That we need His blessing in our generation. That we can’t do without it. We acknowledged that there is so much evil and brokenness in our land. And that we need freedom and healing in our country. That we need God’s power to flow out upon us.
We asked God to make us a people that seek His face. That bring ourselves to Him to be cleansed, to be dealt with, and to be given oil, so that we can be a people that call froth the blessings of God. We asked God to make us a Jacob generation that will not let Him go until He blesses us. We asked Him to transform us as we seek His face and behold His beauty.
We spent a lot of time speaking to all the “gates” and “ancient doors” to be lifted up so that the King of Glory may come in. We understood these to be all the hearts, minds and wills of people, the strongholds within relationships and families, as well as spiritual principalities and strongholds over groups and regions. We declared that Jesus is worthy and that it is time for Him to come in and rule and reign over all.
We asked for the Lord’s kingdom to come in a very serious way in the most basic level of the church – in marriages and families.
We have realised that there are many Christian marriages and families over which the Lord is not ruling and reigning as King. Men and women who are running their lives and homes according to their own understanding.
We have noticed that there are many brothers and sisters that love God, but the King is not ruling in their families and marriages, and as a result, there is no power and no fruit. They struggle with the same things year in and year out. This is an indication of a lack of the King of Glory coming in. We realised that there are heads of gates and ancient doors that need to be dealt with so that the King of Glory can come in.
We asked the Lord to start with us. To start with those that love Him, and desire true kingdom change, but who have not heard the message of the Kingdom. Those who have not had brothers and sisters come alongside them and disciple them in the ways of the Kingdom.
We asked the Lord to raise up a people who understand the Kingdom not simply on theological level, but on the most basic practical levels – within our families and homes. Men and women that will not be afraid to get involved in the difficult situations of life and marriage and family life. Those that love enough in order to die to themselves and the fact that it may be difficult or uncomfortable. Those who understand that this is where the Kingdom work really counts. Those who can minister it, disciple it, live it, and walk it out with brothers and sisters in the gutters of their lives.
We asked the Lord to give us discernment, wisdom, and God’s courage to be obedient regarding His Kingdom work. To give us practical wisdom regarding the things of the Kingdom. To disciple us in the practical aspects of the Kingdom. To enable us to be faithful with the little things – the relationships, the families, the marriages, and the home life.
Is Jesus truly ruling and reigning in our homes?
We asked that the message of the Kingdom will begin to go into the homes. Not just talked about in bible studies, preached from pulpits, and read about in books, but engaged with in very practical ways in everyday life.
We realised that we are the Lord’s body. And that we need to go to those places in people’s lives to reveal His life and love. To bring them before the Lord in consistent and fervent prayer, and be willing to go and help them see Jesus and deal with the strongholds and idols.
We asked the Lord to set us free from fear. The fear of man and the fear of uncomfortable situations. But instead to give us strength and courage to bring His love and truth to set people free.
We realised that just like with Israel, the Lord wants to give the promised land into our hands. The land of families, the land of children, and the land of marriages.
We also asked the Lord to do whatever it takes to teach people what it means for Him to rule and reign in their lives.
While we were praying a sister saw someone bring the keys so that we can loose and bind all the things we need to. We have been given the authority to bring the Kingdom.
Practical Kingdom Fellowship
After our time of prayer we felt to have some practical fellowship about the Kingdom. What does it mean to live it out practically in our lives? What does it mean to become ministers of the Kingdom in the lives of those around us? What does it mean to become a practical kingdom people?
We were able to record this practical fellowship. You can download it here.
In addition to this fellowship regarding practically living in and extending the Kingdom in daily life, some of us in Cape Town recently had some fellowship about how we can more effectively become a Kingdom people, and how we can do this together.
In a nutshell, we realised that in order to become such a people, we will need the Lord to wash us, feed us, enlighten us, and strengthen us. We came to the conclusion that we are unable to be a truly Kingdom people unless the Lord works in us. So, in order to give the Lord more space where He can do this in us, we have decided to create a space in our life together where we come together around the Word with hearts ready to be transformed by the Lord.
The format that we have decided to use is to come together, choose a portion to work through, break up into groups, and then dig into it together. Afterwards the groups will share what insights they gained from the passage with everyone. Considering that the Lord has made His home in the heart of each believer, our desire is that He would really reveal His word and His ways to us through every member.
We believe that if we are faithful to come together to the Lord in humility and faith, He will transform us into a true Kingdom people. Just like He did with His disciples as they walked with him and were taught by him.
In order to read more about the specifics the Lord spoke to us as well as download various recorded clips relating to the different sessions you can access each of the blog posts here:
- 2018 National Prayer
- Becoming a praying people
- South Africa
- The Local Church Life
- The Work in South Africa