Table of Contents
Although the topic on God’s Kingdom remained the core of Christ’s message, it still remains a major theme being preached from the pulpit in the contemporary world. There is enough evidence that many people lack complete understanding of the Kingdom of God and hence the church has been in the frontline to direct and teach Christians the real meaning of the Kingdom of God and how it should be inherited. Jesus started his ministry by urging believers to repent their sins “for God’s Kingdom is near” and this is clarified in the Gospel books including Matthew, Luke and Mark. The life and death of Jesus Christ, sending of the Holy Spirit as a helper, his ascension and his return are significant features that lead to the establishment and consummation of the Kingdom of God. This essay will focus on explaining the role played by the church in God’s Kingdom, the ministries of the church that contribute to the Kingdom of God, the importance of reflecting on theology when working with church traditions and doctrines, theological characteristic of the church as well as the difference between Christian traditions and the impact of tradition on interpreting different doctrine and also demonstration of how understanding Jesus’ work is essential in the establishment and consummation of God’s Kingdom.
Role of the Church in God’s Kingdom
The Church plays a key role in the establishment and the consummation of God’s Kingdom. Therefore, there is a close relationship between God’s Kingdom and the Church as it represents the community in the kingdom. In this case, the kingdom refers to the rule of God and the church represents the society of men. The kingdom basically creates the church and according to Matthew 24:14, the church is supposed to witness the kingdom. During the life of Jesus on earth, he spent most his time talking about God’s Kingdom and what one should do in order to inherit it. Similarly, the church plays a key role in teaching the Christians how the kingdom can be inherited as it is said to be the instrument of the kingdom in Luke 10:17 and Matt 10:8. Therefore, the Bible strictly maintains that the preaching in relation to God’s Kingdom is a characteristic of Christianity Biblically. As a result, the Gospels place the Kingdom as the central theme which should grow as a result of the existence of the church.
In John 3:5, “Unless a man is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter God’s Kingdom”. In this case, the Church plays the role of baptizing people and teaching on the importance of being born again. During the life of Christ on earth, he chased away people who were conducting business in the church and asserted that the church should remain as a holy place whose main purpose is expanding Christianity to build the kingdom. Christians in the church are required to apply the different principles of God’s word particularly in the areas of life that they have authority. The revelation on the role of the church was made in Matt. 16:18 which states that “I will build my Church”. Although the nature and the function of the church are not expounded in this book, the book of Acts reveals the historical development and role of the Church. The birth of Christ is compared to the establishment of the church which is required to give direction to those who believe in the word of God. Therefore, the church plays a major in the establishment and the consummation of God’s Kingdom.
Church Ministries that Contribute to God’s Kingdom
In the church, there are numerous ministries undertaken by the believers that contribute to God’s Kingdom. The church is regarded as the body of Christ and hence all the ministries undertaken in the church are meant to exalt God. Jesus Christ told his followers to go round the world and make disciples of all the nations and teach them about God’s Kingdom and way of life. This mission requires organization and cooperation just like the church is required to maintain unity while ministering to the believers. In reference to 1 Corinthians 12:27-28, God has appointed apostles, prophets, workers of miracles and those with gifts of administration so as to minister to people about God’s Kingdom in the church. By doing God’s work, one is ministering the word of God and ultimately elevating the kingdom. Jesus Christ directs the work of the church as its living head and hence God emphasizes on the importance of the various ministries undertaken in church as a way of connecting with Him.
The presence of God was evident in the miracles conducted by Jesus during His tenure on earth. Similarly, the miracles performed in the church through various ministries such as evangelism, worship and fellowship depicts how God’s Kingdom can be established. In Luke 4:18, Jesus began his public ministry with the aim of reconciling God and His people. Therefore, the different ministries undertaken in the church today focus on educating believers about God’s Kingdom for them to retain their faith until the second coming of Christ. Another important ministry undertaken by the church as a way of contributing towards God’s Kingdom is giving. For example, in the Gospel of Matthew 6:19-21 indicates that Jesus encouraged the believers to give so as to “lay up a treasure in heaven” this is consistent with the role of the ministry of the church where investing earthly wealth in God’s Kingdom can help in establishing and consummating it as outlined in Luke 16:1-13.
Importance of Reflecting on Theology
When working with church traditions and doctrines, it is essential to reflect on theology because this directly contributes to the establishment of God’s Kingdom. Through the death and ascension of Jesus Christ, Christians learn that God’s Kingdom exists and that it is true. Therefore, ethical refection on role of the early church based on its traditions and doctrines clarifies the meaning of God’s Kingdom. The experiences of life in the church through the established traditions and doctrines such as the celebration of the Pentecost help Christians to discern God’s Kingdom. For instance, reflecting on the traditional view of faith either personally or as a community contribute to spirituality. This reflection is essential because it helps the reflector to challenge to a response of conversion of the mind, heart and actions undertaken. The critical reflections and mutually challenging insights help Christians to consummate their notions about God’s Kingdom.
The doctrines of incarnation and atonement have vital philosophical implications in the lives of Christians and the role of the church today. While incarnation refers to the continual of an individual’s belief in that redemption came through the death of Christ, atonement represents the assertive theory that explains people’s reunion with God and His Kingdom. Atonement is a doctrine that pardons Christians’ sins through the death and resurrection of Christ as indicated in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world that He gave His only son.” In the same way that God’s will was discharged through the obedience of Jesus Christ by being crucified and dying on the cross, seeing God’s Kingdom requires Christians and all believers to exercise obedience, sacrifice and reconciliation. Thus, it is essential to reflect on the traditions and doctrines of the early church in order to establish and consummate God’s Kingdom.
Theological Characteristic of the Church
The theological characteristic of the church is to direct Christians towards God’s Kingdom through its ministry of evangelism, worship and fellowship. The difference between Christian traditions and the influence of belief on the clarification of the various doctrines helps Christians to understand God’s Kingdom. For instance, the Pauline ministry explain about the transcendent nature of God’s Kingdom and the realm beyond Christ’s death. According to Paul, being a Christian means living life under God’s sovereignty as emphasized by the doctrine of incarnation. God has authority to call one from darkness to His Kingdom although this is possible when one adheres to the traditions of the church. The death of Christ, sending of the Holy Spirit and the promise for the second coming are basic traditions of the church of God. In addition, the eschatological character of the Kingdom requires the church to fulfil its role of directing believers towards righteousness as it can be inherited by the sinless. However, it is not the responsibility of the church to save the world. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, it is evident that God’s ultimate purpose is to reconcile mankind and himself and thus the traditions of the church play a vital role in reinstating the effort. Therefore, the claim that the church is supposed to save the world is only a misperception of the theological characteristic of the church.
The Work of Christ’s in the Establishment and Consummation of God’s Kingdom
Jesus has played a key part in instituting and consummating God’s Kingdom. Through his life, death, ascension and resurrection, it is evident that Christ had a major role to play in linking God and humankind. Jesus’ main theme in His teachings and preaching was about God’s Kingdom. In Mark 1:15, Mark asserts that God’s Kingdom is content of the Gospel which means that Christ did not only claim it but also manifested and embodied it in a unique way. In addition, Paul in Romans chapter one describes Jesus as the content of the Gospel. Therefore, there is a logical point in linking Jesus Christ with God’s Kingdom on behalf of God’s people. This means that the kingdom can only be consummated through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The parable of forgiveness as narrated by Jesus in Matt 18:23-35 indicates what is required for one to inherit God’s Kingdom. The exorcism and healing ministry of Christ manifests the presence of God’s Kingdom and this teachings believers to strengthen their faith in God. Jesus cultivated the kingdom values by exercising them in his ministry. The sending of the Holy Spirit is a clear indication that Jesus did not want believers to lose in inheriting the kingdom.
Differences in Traditions and the Influence of Interpretation of the Doctrines
The interpretation of the various Christian doctrines embedded in the church lead to establishing and consummating of God’s Kingdom. The different traditions practiced by the modern church have a similar theme in extending the Kingdom of God. Thus, the various denominations adhere to the traditional doctrines as practiced by the early church in Corinth and Rome. The previous forms of theocratic administration reveals that God’s kingdom has a centralized authority represented by Jesus Christ. Therefore, the traditions of the church should be based on the teachings of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Jesus’ death and resurrection help in explaining the doctrine of atonement to believers. Similarly, the belief in incarnation proves to Christians that God’s Kingdom is real and hence they should work hard to inherit it.
In conclusion, there is a close connection between the church and God’s Kingdom. However, it should be noted that the church does not exist to save the world but to act as a guide for the believers to reach God’s Kingdom. There are essentials in Christ’s work that lead to establishment and consummation of God’s Kingdom. In this case, the life, death and ascension, Holy Spirit and the second return of Christ all contribute towards the understanding of how God’s kingdom works. In addition, the church plays a key role in consummating the kingdom and hence believers are urged to adhere to the teachings and preaching delivered in church. The various ministries undertaken by the church such as evangelism and fellowship contribute to the growth of the kingdom. Christians are urged to reflect on the theological characteristic of the church in order to understand the requirement for inheriting God’s kingdom. The interpretation of the traditions of the church as well as the various doctrines undertaken impact believers’ lives differently although they are aimed at creating unity in the quest of inheriting the kingdom.
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