Saturday, September 28, 2019

The More Than Conquerors of a Conquering Kingdom

The last few days I have been considering how forceful people take the kingdom by force.[1] Everything has settled into these three things:

First, that the kingdom was expanding forcefully because, everywhere Jesus went, the kingdom of heaven was at hand for people to enter, and no one could stop this.[2] The religious elite certainly tried, all the way to crucifying Jesus, but that only brought the power of the kingdom to the world more than ever.

Second, as people experienced the kingdom coming to them through the presence of Jesus in their town or community in some way, some of them responded with a forcefulness to have the power of the kingdom change their lives. They knew it was offered to them, and they wouldn’t let Jesus leave their area without them experiencing what he promised.

Whether it was:

  • a woman with bleeding ignoring the laws of uncleanness in order to touch Jesus garment and get the kingdom-power for her healing[3]
  • or a Canaanite woman ignoring that she was a Gentile and Jesus was a Jew and forcing him to deal with her demonized daughter even when the disciples tried to send her away (here’s someone who was not going to miss out on Jesus just because of the way church-folk treated her)[4]
  • or a Roman Centurion who understood authority so well that he didn’t even need Jesus to come to his house to heal his servant, but confidently asked Jesus to just say the word[5]
  • or two blind men hearing that Jesus was going by and wouldn’t stop calling out for him to help them even when the good religious disciples told them to be quiet (again)[6]
  • or Zacchaeus who was not going to let his height-restriction keep him from seeing this Jesus of Nazareth who was passing through his community[7]
  • or four friends who were not going to let a crowded house keep them from bringing their paralyzed buddy to Jesus when a bit of effort to dig through the roof would give them the kingdom-encounter they knew they needed[8]
  • or the early church responding to persecution by praying for greater boldness to proclaim the very gospel that was getting them in trouble[9]
  • or Paul asking the churches to unite with him in praying that he would continue to have boldness in proclaiming the gospel even though he kept ending up in prison for doing so,[10]

in all these cases, everyone who forced their way into kingdom realities got the realities that were offered to all.

The people who were helped were not the ones with lesser needs or greater character. They were the poor in spirit who did not want to stay as they were when the kingdom was so close that they could have it for themselves. They knew they could never do for themselves what they heard and saw Jesus doing for people all around them, and so they hungered and thirsted for the power of the kingdom to touch them, and they would do whatever it took to have what Jesus offered.[11]
The application is obvious. Just think about how this could change our churches!

Third, these forceful people (aka desperate) then became part of the kingdom continuing to forcefully expand. Each of their experiences were written in the breathed-out-by-God Scriptures in order that their testimony of experiencing the forceful expansion of the kingdom would help the kingdom forcefully expand to others who would read these accounts and find the same faith and longing rising up in their hearts.

Just think of the millions of people who have read the Scriptures and found that one or another of these testimonies awakened their own hearts to take hold of kingdom promises for themselves. As these people then shared their own testimonies of how their encounter with the powerful gospel of grace through faith transformed them, sometimes in similar experiences of attention as those recorded in the gospels, the kingdom of God spread even more.

We can be part of this. Even if no one ever writes our testimonies and publishes them for a wider audience to hear about, the kingdom of God has come. It is nearby. It is inviting us.

Looking at how much our church has been invited into the realities of the kingdom reminded me of men our Father has sent to proclaim the power of the kingdom to us:

  • Henry Blackaby to lead us to Experience God in a real and personal way
  • Neil Anderson to teach us Freedom in Christ
  • Jim Cymbala to teach us the power of a praying church
  • John Piper to lead us in the wonders of Desiring God
  • Jim Wilder to show us the Life Model that helps us live out of the new hearts Jesus has given us
  • Marcus Warner to guide us into freedom from WoLVeS, freedom to walk in the Spirit, and freedom to minister freedom to others[12]
  • All the men who have blessed us through their Youtube video sermons[13]

There is no doubt the kingdom-life is at hand. God is urging us to take hold of it forcefully by faith and tell him we want it all for our churches (even if we need to plead for the experience of wanting this!).

I believe that, between whatever any of us disciples of Jesus have been receiving from God by other means, along with what I just shared in this Pondering, each reader can know what the Spirit is putting his finger on for you to do to receive the kingdom-power for yourself.

A woman knew to touch Jesus’ garment, a short man knew to climb a tree, two blind men knew to call out right then and there because Jesus was passing by, the church knew to call out to God together in prayer. There is something that each of us know we can do to take hold of God’s kingdom invitations for ourselves right now, today. It really is up to us whether we put our faith in God to do what he says, or to keep our faith in our sarks (flesh) to fail us once again.

For me, my focus is primarily on declaring my faith and longing for this in prayer, and offering myself as a living sacrifice in the hope that Jesus could use me in a kingdom kind of way. At the very least, I know I will grow in the kingdom realities promised to all who receive them by faith.

After all, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us”,[14] so we shouldn’t settle for anything less.

© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] That is the essence of what Jesus expressed in Matthew 11:12 and Luke 16:16. “Violent” and “violence” are unfortunate translations since the word means “forceful”.
[2] Both John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed the same invitation (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:14-15).
[3] Mark 5:24-34
[4] Matthew 15:21-28
[5] Matthew 8:5-13
[6] Matthew 9:27-31; 20:29-33
[7] Luke 19:1-10
[8] Luke 5:17-26
[9] Acts 4:29-31
[10] Acts 6:18-20
[11] The Beatitudes of Matthew 5:1-12 show this transforming work of God very clearly.
[12] WoLVeS is our home church anacronym for the Wounds, Lies, Vows and Strongholds we are learning about through the ministry of Dr Marcus Warner of Deeper Walk International.
[13] I do not share these names as though I endorse everything about them. I have simply received what God was giving us through them, just like some people receive so much blessing from John MacArthur’s ministry in spite of his false teachings about life in the Spirit and the return of Christ. I am not aware that these mentors have false teaching in their ministries, and have been shocked at the dishonesty of the discernment snipers who say things about them that just ain’t so. It is sad to see how much divisiveness is sown based on falsehood, lies, and slander.
[14] Romans 8:37

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