When Jesus says, “My Kingdom is not of this world,” He is saying, “My Kingdom is not like this world.” Jesus is saying that we, as Christ followers, are different. We are supposed to be different. Our churches are not to be operated like this world. “Church” is an operational organism that is not supposed to look, feel, act, and operate like the world around it. In a good sense, the church is supposed to be a little weird.
When Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, He used words now known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Whether He intended the prayer to become a rote format for centuries is debatable. His primary purpose was most likely to demonstrate how to pray, rather than what to pray. Regardless, the prayer includes great biblical teaching about the Kingdom of God.
In the Lord’s Prayer, the phrase, “Your Kingdom come” likely has several levels of meaning: (1) we are praying that God’s Kingdom come to everyone, in our city, our nation, and the world. (2) We are praying for Jesus to return at the end of time. We are not asking Him to return—He already said He would, and we believe it. We are confessing we believe it, and acknowledging that we anticipate the fulfillment of His promise. However, there is more: remember when the disciples asked Jesus when the end would come (Matthew 24:3)? Jesus responded that there would be wars, earthquakes, etc, but that is not the end. He then gave them a lens through which God sees all history: “when this good news—the gospel of Jesus Christ—is given to every group of people on earth (everyone has a chance to believe in Jesus), the end will come (Matthew 24:14). The hinge of the door of history is the mission of the church, to reach others for Jesus Christ—the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). (3) We are praying that His Kingdom grow in us, personally. That means we are asking God to increase in us, in our churches, the Kingdom culture that is not like this world. We are praying that you and I, and our churches, become Kingdom weird.
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This is excerpted from Are You Weird? Jesus’ Counterintuitive Kingdom — July/August 2015 Church Doctor Report.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.