This morning I shared at a church in Kiev. It was sobering to pray before the service with Ukrainians that are passionate to see God move in this tense situation. I shared on the Kingdom of God, the nature of freedom in Christ and our need to stay focused on our dependence in Him for all things.
With the overwhelming amount of rapid news alerts and mediums available, we need to stay focused on the big picture – beyond that of nationalism and maintaining a Kingdom centered worldview. This is not to promote passivity, but to keep grounded in eternal truth and preserved from temporal fear.
The scripture verses used:
John 18:36 – Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.
Eph 1:21 – which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Heb 12:28 – Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
2 Peter 3:7 – But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Rom 5:1 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Jesus has a Kingdom, though not of this world. It is unshakable, eternal, and He has been seated high above all powers, rules in this age and the next. As believers, we are not independent but slaves/servants of the King. We must ensure our citizenship, and our documents are in order. We enter this Kingdom not by force, or by any human effort – but through faith in Christ’s work – by His grace only.
As we surrender our lives to His reign and rule, we willingly subject ourselves to His ways. This faith produces peace with the King, freedom from sin, and true liberty. Dependence on Christ = true freedom.
“How do we enter the Kingdom?” – like the rich young ruler, we find only through faith which consummates in the surrender of all other idols. We can’t serve two masters. In the words of Bob Dylan, ‘Everybody Serves Someone.” We don’t have much to offer, but what we do have, He wants. It’s our choice, He doesn’t force – His Kingdom is entered not through coercion.
As citizens in good standing, we now look to promote and advance God’s Kingdom. We look for opportunities to share the simple, pure gospel. We employ God’s spiritual means of victory – prayer.
This kind of prayer is not passive, or apathetic. It’s not a ‘whatever happens is God’s will anyway’ fatalism. It’s intense, aggressive in effect, the invisible changing the visible. This is what our Savior taught.
We shine and broadcast to our neighbors, our co-workers, and family outside of the Kingdom that God is love, is passionate to reconcile them into His Kingdom if would only surrender, laying down their weapons of rebellion. We confirm this message through acts of love, caring and serving – because that is what Christ communicated as the nature of God while on earth.
God doesn’t force. He doesn’t show off His power (like the Russians and Americans do with military might). He demonstrates His character on the Cross, sacrifice. Power through humility- constrained power is ultimate power. He rose from the dead to declare His victory, and we now enter into the Kingdom through that very blood. We receive now, in part, what is promised in the end of all things.
It’s with this perspective, with a Kingdom worldview, that we view the tense political and potentially dangerous situation in Ukraine. As it unfolds in the days ahead, the church is awakening to the spiritual realities. It’s dusting off the spiritual weapons of war – and I believe seeing the opportunity to advance God’s Kingdom in the turmoil of human animosity. God is waiting patiently for more to surrender before it’s too late – but a day is reserved when all things will be brought to light, and made right.
Pray with us. Pray for the Kingdom of God in this part of the world. May the church rise up in prayer, and seize this time in faith. Let God’s people not walk in paralyzed fear, but a faith that mobilizes.
Bruce & Deb