Gospel of the Kingdom and The Christian Witness (in progress)

Gospel of the Kingdom and the Christian Witness
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Jesus Christ, both God and man, coming to earth, stepping into our lives, loving people as no person had ever done before, loving us enough to die for us, and to live in us: this is the ‘Greatest Story Ever Told.’ Only it isn’t a story. Christians believe that this story is true, and stake their eternal lives on it. This is what releases them from the fear of what comes after life. This is what helps them live as citizens of this sometimes painful human experience. {{thisn aoisnerlak noie }} None of this would be possible with out Jesus Christ, the Paschal lamb becoming the sacrifice for our sins on the cross.

However, we believe that the Gospel message is larger than Jesus dying on the cross. We believe that His whole life is the gospel message; both His life while on earth, and even now as He lives risen from the dead, seated at the right hand of God. We believe that the whole kingdom message which Christ brought to earth and taught on earth, including both his death and resurrection, is the gospel that Christians have the great responsibility and opportunity to share with non-believers. Like Christ, we should be sharing this gospel not simply by talking about it, but also by living within the structure of the new kingdom. In other words, we are called not only to tell people the Jesus died for them, but learn to love them enough to be willing to die for them ourselves. We are called not only to tell people that they are forgiven, but to share the unconditional forgiveness that has been poured out on us. Christians cannot expect to suceed at this task, because we are still broken people in need of God’s spirit working within us, but because of that spirit we are expected to live in God’s kingdom, and strive to align our own kingdoms, or realms of influence, with God’s kingdom.

Even though our own Kingdoms will never be fully in line with the Lords, it is important to strive and in all things pray that we are bringing ourselves to where Gods will is, not trying to make Gods will fit into what we are doing. This is something that needs to be done on a global level in striving for peace between nations, ending senseless violence, and working towards a world for our Lord as well at the level of the individual doing witnessing to our neighbors, resolving issues within a family, and in solving internal conflict. It is by his Grace that we can accomplish this, and only by his Grace. We cannot successfully add to God’s plan of salvation because he has already fulfilled it. We cannot say that “We are seeking our salvation”, only “We have salvation and now we seek to understand what to do with it.”

Above all, Christ’s death and resurrection were required for our relationship with God to be restored; without his action, God’s spirit could not dwel within us. But we believe, just like Jesus said many times, that the Kingdom is Here/Near/at Hand/in our midst. We are most fearful of the statement that has been heard from many people who claim to be Christians, “I know that when I die, I will go to heaven.” They believe that that is the good news. We believe that the gospel is much better news than that. We believe that living in God’s kingdom is something that begins while we are still here on earth. As we live among our families, as we go to school and our workplaces, as we walk down the street, and as we grieve at funerals. The gospel is that our eternal life with Christ begins now, and we are called to a full life in Christ, and a life that shines the love of Christ into the lives of others.

  • Intro
  • The development of Kingdom theology between 400BC and 1AD. In this we hope to obtain a better understanding of the rise of Jewish thought of the Kingdom of God and their expectation of a Messiah.
  • Exploration of the word Kingdom, as used by Jesus Christ. With an understanding of how Christ was speaking about the Kingdom to the people around him we can get a better grasp of how to explain this Kingdom to the people around us that we are going to witness to.
  • Exploration of the word kingdom, as used by the early Christians. A firm foothold here will yeild the ability of the Christian to understand how the church in it’s foundings used the framework of the Kingdom to bring people to God. This is especially important because they were going into a mission field that did not understand them or had any reason to want to understand them.
  • Defining the Gospel Message, as it specifically deals with the Kingdom. When we know what the Kingdom is, we can finally understnad the Gospel message in it as God working to save his people. With this we can witness to people as a people living under and with God in a world that is his.
  • Defining the Christian witness according to the Gospel of the Kingdom.
  • Summary

A work in progress.
platform: writeboard.com.
authors: Jon Bohlinger and Thomas Knoll