Blog In Audio:
As leaders we are called to equip the church for works of ministry. Are those works limited to what we call the church, or are those ministries our means of bringing life to our places of influence in this world? We are not to be of this world, but we are to be in this world. We are called to disciple nations by being the life of Christ in our divinely appointed boundaries of influence. As leaders we must know our God appointed boundaries of influence in this world, and we must lead others to do the same. It is in the appointed boundaries of our influence that we manifest as the church, the growing place of God’s influence in this world.
Isaiah 2:3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
The church is the influencing force of God’s life in the earth. It is the mountain of God filling the mountains of the world. It is in this mountain that we are transformed in our beliefs to become blessings to our world. It is there that we become empowered to walk in the paths of God and our actions bring life to our world. It is in this mountain of life that the love God is birthed in our hearts, and it becomes the Law of Zion. What was formerly a stronghold of destruction and bondage is now becoming a place where love can imagine in creative ways to give life to our world. It is in this growing mountain of Christ that the true expression of God’s community can be found as a force of life to our world. I believe that this mountain should be the mountain that is in every mountain of influence in our world. It is the human stature that manifests beliefs, actions, imaginations, and influence that brings the life of God’s kingdom to the kingdoms of our world.
Many have had a revelation of the mountains of influence in the world in the past years. I too agree with the mountains of influence and our need to be an influence in those mountains. I, however, believe that the church is in all the mountains and that the mountain that is often called the mountain of the church is really a mountain of religion. There is nothing wrong with religion, but religion is not the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God can however influence the mountain of religion. The apostle James wrote that pure religion is to care for widows, orphans and not to act like those in the world.
James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
James was addressing a category of life, not a legalism of what life is limited to. Good religion is to be a giver of life to those who need life and not to be a taker like those who walk according to the ways of the world. We often take the letter of Scripture and make a legalistic boundary and we miss the concept that the Scripture is presenting.
Perhaps pure religion is the fruit of true life-giving community. Maybe one of the mountains of the world is a mountain of community. It is a place of sociocultural beliefs, actions, and influences that can be described by its expression of religion or society. The church is supposed to be light and salt in our world. It is an organism and not an organization. When Paul said we do certain things in the church, there was no building called the church. The Greek word for “in” can also mean “toward”. Paul was not addressing a physical location as much as a direction of relationship. In other words, we do some things towards God, but we are also aware of the need to be life towards one another.
Often what we call the organization of the church is really an organized expression of our religious community. It expresses our sociocultural beliefs in actions that influence our world in a particular way. I don’t think this is bad, unless we make the kingdom of God subject to our religion and refuse to allow the kingdom of God to shape our expressions of religion in new and creative ways. The point of pure religion is to express who we are as a community of God in life-giving ways to one another and to the world around us. I believe that is valuable, but the church is more than this.
Matthew 16:15 He (Jesus) said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Like Peter, in Christ we are given the keys of the kingdom to be the church, the mountain that fills and transforms the mountains of the earth. The church is a many membered body of Christ that exercises the life-giving authority of God to our world. It is the role of being the helpmate of Jesus as His life-giving womb in the nations and generations of humankind. The separation of church and state is not meant to be a separation of God’s influence upon the world, but only a separation of the worlds influence upon the church. In this, we must also know that the kingdom of God is an internal kingdom and not an external one. It is the internal kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit that empowers our kingdoms to become kingdoms that express the values and life of the kingdom of God. We must seek to manifest God’s ways, walk in His paths, live with His love inspiring our hearts to create a world of life, and we must influence our world as a true expression of God’s community of peace. That peace is the fruit of knowing no separation between God and us in all things. This should be seen in the mountains of humanity. Some examples of those mountains can be the mountains of:
- Community – sociocultural beliefs, actions, and influences (religion or society),
- Media–arts and entertainment,
- Health–science and discovery,
- Governments or Administrations of the world
When the kingdom of God influences our hearts and minds from within, we can influence the mountains of the world with the beliefs, actions, imaginations, and influence of the kingdom of God as the church of Christ in all things. What influences our hearts? Is it the external kingdoms of the world or the internal kingdom of God? When the kingdom of God influences our hearts, we can become an influence of the mountain of Christ in the mountains of the world.
Food For Thought, Ted J. Hanson
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