Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where’s the Triumphant Kingdom? (Esch 208)

The problem for us today is that we do not see the triumphant kingdom. We do not see the stone becoming a mountain, or the mustard seed growing into a tree, or the yeast leavening the loaf.

We do not see the church conquering all the kingdoms of the world. We do not see the enemies of the church being crushed and turned into chaff.

We look at the world and wonder how we should interpret God’s promises. However, this is not how God’s people should think. This is how pagans think.

We need to look at God’s promises and wonder how we should interpret the world.

Many Christians have this exactly backwards. They look at the triumphant promises of God, then look at the decline of our society, and conclude that the triumphant promises must be for another age (Premillennialism) or another realm (Amillennialism).

We need to interpret history through the Bible, not the Bible through history. We need to trust that God got it right. We need the eyes of faith.

The decline of Western civilization is what it is. We have abandoned God, and now, we are paying the price. However, the church is flourishing in other parts of the world.

For example, in China, there are more Christians than there are people in the United States. More are converting each week than there are members in many of our evangelical denominations. Meanwhile, conservative Episcopalians in America are seeking help from the Anglican church in Africa. We are witnessing a shift in the global center of the church.

However, we must not mistake America for the church. God has blessed America like no other nation, but as we speed towards apostasy, we will likely be cursed like no other nation.

Things are getting worse in America and in the west, but things are not getting worse for the church. From the perspective of two millennia of history, we can see the triumph of the church. The church is now alive and well on every continent and in every country. There are relatively few people groups that have never heard the gospel. And, the best is yet to come.

We can be pessimistic about Europe, pessimistic about America, and pessimistic about Western culture. But, we cannot be pessimistic about the church. We are to be unapologetically optimistic about the future of the church.

Jesus Christ is building his church, and nothing will prevail against it. We expect the triumph of the Kingdom of God. This is the message of Daniel, the message of the Psalms, the message of Jesus and the Apostles. This is the message of the Scriptures.

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