How Do You Prepare God’s People For Works of Service? Part I
My wife is an eternal romantic; “Camelot” is her favorite movie. There is something about a good looking King Arthur, a Lady Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot. “Camelot” was to be a place of peace, tranquility, and equality as the knights sat around a Round Table to share power. Everything appeared perfect, but a love triangle brings down the kingdom.
Americans know very little about kings and kingdoms. The American Revolution was all about breaking from those traditions, the tyranny of a king and rule by the people, yet today American seems not to have faith in its governing system. The President’s most popular day is his Inauguration Day, his first day in office. After that his popularity drops. Currently only 18% of Americans feel Congress, the rule of the people, is doing its job, yet they fail to “vote the bums out” because they selfishly work to get building projects, roads, government grants, and jobs into their districts, so their constituents keep them in office. Americans do not know what “submission” as a “subject” to the king really means.
First, you must realize that in a kingdom, everything revolves around the King, the people are only his subjects. The king has all authority, rules, reigns, governs, and judges. As long as you are in the kind’s favor, you are safe, so loyalty to the king is of utmost importance to maintain your life and lifestyle. Bottom line: Everything is done for the good of the kingdom through serving the king.
The king gives his nobles “territories” to govern for the price of loyalty, requiring them to come to the King’s aide in season of battles. The King’s subjects are servants, the doers that keep the kingdom running: the blacksmith, the carpenter, the chambermaids, the knights, the farmers, the weavers, etc. They do their occupations to support the kingdom.
Although King Arthur’s Camelot is but myth, the kingdom of God is reality. John the Baptist, the forerunner, came to announce the coming kingdom by proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Jesus, the King of this kingdom, while on earth, exerted his energies in teaching kingdom of God principles.
Christians need to understand that there is an actual kingdom of God lead by King Jesus. He gives territories, in the New Testament they are called cities, to his Church to rule and reign, but expects them to unit around himself during spiritual battle. His subjects, his believers, are to do their common occupations to support the kingdom while developing community.
Jesus, our King, is also our High Priest and our sacrificial lamb. At the Cross he established his kingdom, vertically (Eph. 4:8-10, John 3:16) and is now seated on his Throne ruling and reigning. At the Cross he established his kingdom horizontally (IJohn 3:16) on the principle of laying down your life for your brethren. I contend you can not learn or know how to lay down your life for your brethren until you have learned to lay down your life for your king. “To obey is better than sacrifice,” Jesus said, and obedience is the requirement of every subject in Jesus’ kingdom. In America, we have the mindset that we would rather be “free” than “obedient”, so it is hard for American Christians to sometime understand the full impact of kingdom theology.
If we, believers in Jesus Christ, Christians, the Church, wish to rule and reign with Christ, we need to learn how to serve our King, Jesus, first and foremost before we can ever learn how to serve our Brethren. If we are willing to be obedient to the King, Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, he will instruct his subjects, believers in Jesus, on “how to” live out kingdom principles, to actually walk them out, not just learn about them. He has prepared the way (through John the Baptist); he has built the road (Is. 57); and he teaches while walking on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24).
The first step in knowing how to “prepare the saints to serve” is to first teach them how to be in loyal submission to their king, Jesus, who will do the instructing through His Holy Spirit from there.