In this long study we have established that the kingdom and the church are one and the same (see Mt. 16.18; Mk. 9.1; Lk. 7.27; Lk. 24.49; Acts 2.1-4; 14-36; Ps. 132.11, 12; Jn. 1.3-5; Col. 1.13; Heb. 12.28; Rev. 1.9; 1 Thess. 2.12; 2 Thess. 2.14; 1 Cor. 15.24-26), and noted that in order to have a relationship with the kingdom one needs to be added to the church/kingdom through baptism (Acts 2.38). We have discovered the earthly blessings that can only be found inside of having a relationship with the heavenly kingdom: God’s forgiveness (see Col. 1.13, 14; Rm. 6.23; 1 Tim. 1.8-9), God’s care (see Mt. 6.25-34), and God’s family (see Lk. 18.29-30).
We saw some of the future blessings God’s kingdom provides: God’s eternal kingdom (heaven) (2 Pt.1.8-11; Heb. 11.13-16; Rev. 21.1-3, 9.21), God’s eternal presence (Rev. 21.22-23; 22.3-5), and God’s eternal care (Rev. 21.4; 22.1-2). This week we are going to answer the question: What are our responsibilities once we are in the kingdom? In other words, after seeing all that God has given His kingdom, what does He expect in return?
The first thing that God expects is for us to support the kingdom. The Bible compares the church/kingdom to a house (1 Pt. 2.5). In the first century (and earlier), many buildings were made of only stones that were intricately cut and designed to support one another to make the structure strong. One amazing example of this was the Roman Aqueduct built over 300 years before Christ was born. It still stands, and in a few places it still works. What makes this structure more amazing is that, save for the basins at the top of the aqueducts, little to no mortar was used. It is strong because each piece supports one another. What would happen if enough pieces were weak? It would crumble and fall down, and be worthless. The same is true for the church; we are a heavenly structure. We are the house of God. We must all do our part, using our talents to support one another and the kingdom as a whole.
Often times, members of the kingdom refuse to work, thinking that someone else will pick up their slack. They become a weak stone in the house of God, and if enough of us stop working (running away from God’s expectations of us), then the congregation will fail and the whole kingdom of the Lord get’s a little weaker. We all have to do our part if we want our congregation, our piece of the kingdom, to be strong.
Secondly, God expects us to work together. Another object the church is compared to is the human body (1 Cor. 12.12-13). Paul states that the body cannot function correctly if its parts don’t accept their roles and work together. For example, we would have a hard time walking if our toes decided that they wanted to act like knees! We need to realize that every member of the kingdom is not able to do everything, but everyone can do something. We must find out what that something is and do it with our utmost ability. The truth is not everyone can lead singing, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach. Maybe you are afraid of public speaking; well then maybe your calling is visitation. Maybe you aren’t a “people person,” but you are a trained electrician; there is always work to be done around the building. Women cannot preach or be leaders in the congregation (1 Tim. 2.12), but they can can teach the children, cook for the sick, and evangelize to the community. The point is, everyone has a role they can fill in the kingdom of God in order to make it stronger. Just because the role that you are best suited for may not be the most glamorous or sought after doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful or important. Sometimes we must swallow our pride and do what is best for the kingdom (Prob. 16.18).
Pride is one of the main pitfalls in the church (some don’t get to do what they want so they aren’t going to do anything), but this spiritual truth overcomes pride: Because we are the body of Christ, His kingdom, it is not about serving ourselves but serving the Lord. Just as my fingers do not serve themselves, but serve me, my brain, my being; the individuals of the church should not seek to serve themselves, but to serve the head of the body, Jesus Christ.
Come and join a congregation of Christ’s kingdom as we worship and study the Holy Word of God. Canal church of Christ meets at 122 E. North St. Waverly, every Sunday (Bible Study at 10 a.m.; worship at 11 a.m. & 6 p.m.) and Wednesday (6:30 p.m.). We welcome all visitors and any and all questions you may have. We hope to see you soon.