The following is my notes from Vance Pitman’s talk at the Send North America Conference on July 31, 2012.
I want to talk to you today about the Kingdom of God. Here is a brief definition of the kingdom of God:
God’s sovereign activity in the world resulting in people being in right relationship with himself.
God is alive and in at work all over the world. Have you forgotten that Christianity is going somewhere. This thing called Christianity is moving to a grand climax. The Lord will descend from heaven with a shout and we will always be with the Lord with people from every tribe, tongue and language. The bible says he made these people to be a kingdom of God.
The book of Acts opens (Acts 1:3) with Jesus talking about the kingdom of God and closes (Acts 28:30) with Paul talking about the kingdom of God. In the middle of all that talk there is the birth of the church.
The church is the gathering place and a temporary tool for the expansion of the kingdom of God. We have taken our eyes off of the kingdom of God that we have lost sight of the big picture and why the church was born in the first place.
How is the church connected with the kingdom of God?
Turn to Philippians chapter 4:
And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:15-20 ESV)
1. When God Births A Church It Is Always About Something Bigger
Paul travelled to Philippi. We can read about it in Acts 16 and he engaged the city. First there was Lydia, then a demon possessed man, and then a jailor. Sounds like a great core group, huh?
Paul says in Philippians 4 Paul mentions the “beginning of the gospel.” That is because when you birth a church it is only the beginning. When God births our church he has the nations on his heart.
There are more people coming to faith in Jesus every day today then there has been in human history. Every church is connected to something bigger. Every church is a big deal. In China 40,000 people are coming Christ every day. In Iran there have been more people come to Christ in the last 30 years then there has been in the past 1,000 years combined.
A Muslim on Algezere television the said, “In Africa every day 16,000 muslims convert to Christianity and every year 16 million muslims convert to Christianity.”
When God births a church it is always bigger than just that church. You may have a small core group somewhere but you are apart of something big. A kingdom!
2. When God Births A Church He Invites Us To Join In His Kingdom Activity
The world share in our passage is an interesting. It is koinonia. It means the sharing and investing in each others lives. When Paul planted this church it was an invitation for those people to join in something bigger than them.
How do we do that? There are many ways we can do that but here a couple suggestions:
1. We should be praying for the kingdom as a church.
The Philippian church was a praying church as you read this letter. You better believe praying makes a difference. We have a sovereign God who is in control and at the same time he works through the prayers of his people.
When I was in Las Vegas I got a phone call and this lady from the Philippines called and told me her story. She said she moved to Atlanta and attended First Baptist Church of Woodstock Georgia and was moved out to Las Vegas and she prayed for a year and half that God would plant a church in Las Vegas from the First Baptist Church in Woodstock. So she asked me, “Sir, what church are you being sent from?”
With my jaw wide open I said, “First Baptist Church of Woodstock.”
Don’t you see that we have not done anything. All the good things that have happened in our church has been riding the waves of the prayers of his people.
2. Every church should prioritize the kingdom by sending.
Rick Warren is the one who said our success should not be measured by our seating capacity but our sending capacity.
3. Every church should prioritize the kingdom by giving
3. When God Births A Church It Is For His Glory.
When I study the life of Christ I am convinced that the defining attribute of his life was humility.
We need a revival of humility!
A good friend of mine who planted a church in Las Vegas said that church planters are like teenagers. They want your money and they want your acceptance and that is all they want.
It is not about us. It is not about growing our churches. It is about expanding his kingdom. It is time to get our programs right and submit ourselves to him because he does not need us. It is for his glory.
God blesses us so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.