Kingdom or Church? (Ephesians 1:18-23)

How come the epistles talk more about church than kingdom?

Kingdom was Jesus’ priority, the restoration of God’s reign. But when we turn to the epistles, there’s more about church than kingdom. Why?

The church doesn’t seem to measure up to Jesus’ kingdom ideal. It’s almost like, “Jesus preached the kingdom, but what we got was the church” (Alfred Loisy, l’Evangile et l’Eglise, 1902, 111).

We need to re-establish the connection between church and kingdom. The connection is Jesus. The head of the church is the king of the kingdom.

Because Jesus is king, the church’s mission is his kingdom mission:

  • The church is the community that models life under Jesus’ kingship, so the rest of the world sees their king.
  • The church is the corporate presence (body) of the prince anointed by God to reign over the earth (head).
  • The church is the cultural alternative to power-crushed fractured humanity. It’s the new humanity being raised up in the resurrected king.
  • The church is his queen, the bride invited into the life and reign of the king.

You see something less than this when you look at the church? Then please join me in this prayer to rediscover our calling as the people embodying the culture and resurrection life of the king:

18 May the eyes of our communal heart be enlightened to perceive the hope infused in us by God’s call, to realize the richness of God’s glorious character imaged in his holy people as the inheritance he always intended for humanity, 19 to see the surpassing greatness of his power in the community that gives allegiance to the outworking of his mighty reign.

20 We saw the outworking of his sovereign power in his Anointed: raising him out of death, enthroning him beside himself in his heavenly realm. 21 God set his Anointed far above every hierarchy, authority, power, and rulership — far above every name people call on, not only in the present, but in the era he is bringing into existence.

22 God placed everything under the feet of his Anointed, giving him headship over the whole assembly [church], 23 the community that is his corporate presence [body], where he is fully present and becoming everything to everyone.
based on Ephesians 1:18-23)

Let’s keep praying this until we see the church as the community where the king is present, the embodied presence of the resurrected king in the world entrusted to his care.

The church has a kingdom calling because the king’s resurrected life is our life.


[previous: How should we do church?]

Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Riverview Church, Perth, Western Australia

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