If Jesus was Lord of my city

I am currently reading Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,” by Frank Viola. At the end of each section of the book he gives a few action steps that one can take in order to engage with what has been shared. At the end of part three he gives the following action step:

If Jesus was the actual, literal, and practical Lord of your city—meaning, He was running the show and calling the shots—how would your city be different than it is today? Be as detailed as you can.

Here is my answer to that question. I live in Cape Town, South Africa:

If Jesus was the literal Lord of my city it would probably be a more developed version of His earthly ministry. He and his governing team (kingdom disciples) would administer the constitution of His Kingdom to all the regions of my city. And all the inhabitants would benefit.

I imagine that his governance would infiltrate every aspect of life. Education, Work, Healthcare, Entertainment, Politics, the Environment, and so forth. The goal would be that His kingdom would be established and that all it’s citizen’s would participate and enjoy life together.

Politics

He would be king, so there would be no democratic approach to laws and governance. He would make the rules and His disciples would facilitate them in every corner of the city. Those who are interested in being part of His kingdom administration would be able to join a local chapter to participate in local governance (i.e. the ekklesia). In fact, I imagine that He would encourage everybody to be part of governance in their area in some way….

Legal

Because people have a free will there will always be transgressions. So there would need to be a system to deal with them. I imagine that there would be consequences for all transgressions (accept traffic fines… ), but that they would be restorative rather than punitive. The system would be designed in such a way that people can learn from their mistakes and grow. And I know the Lord would facilitate this in a way that is loving and just. In this way “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes…” because all would receive justice. (Rev 21:4)

Healthcare

Jesus spent a lot of time during his earthly ministry engaged in healthcare. He was always healing the sick and setting people free from demonic oppression. He also loved on and ministered to those who had experienced psychological trauma (the woman at the well). I imagine that a city run by Jesus would be very much engaged with healthcare. All his disciples would be trained to facilitate basic healthcare, but there would be some (like Peter) who would be specifically trained and gifted to function in this way. In this way “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore…” (Rev 21:4), because all that is needed to care for the health of citizens will be available.

Finance

I imagine that the financial system would be similar to what God instituted for Israel. There would be “taxes,” but these taxes would be used wisely and there would be 100% accountability and transparency. I doubt we would see them in the same way we consider “taxes” today because people would give them gladly. People would be encouraged not to horde their money and resources, but make it available for the building of the Kingdom. In this way, our homes and possessions would not be our own, but only ours to steward for the sake of the Kingdom. If we stewarded them well, the King would give us more to steward. There would also be no needy people in my city (Acts 4:34) because all resources would be redistributed in such a way that everybody could be sustained.

Education

I work in education so this would be close to my heart. I would like to see an education system that is centered on developing every single person’s unique potential. Considering that God makes each person, the Lord Jesus would be able to help us know what that potential is. We would then have different streams and variations of teaching and learning that can be engaged with in an organic way based on people’s progress and development.

Entertainment

If you look at the scriptures carefully you will notice that Jesus cracked a lot of jokes. I imagine that he liked to have fun, especially considering that he enjoyed spending time with children. I imagine that this would be expressed in his kingdom. There would be places, spaces, and times where people can be entertained, but in ways that are wholesome and clean.

The Environment

I imagine that when the Lord begins to govern, the environment will finally be honoured and cared for in the way that it deserves. Pollution, climate change, and a host of other damaging environmental elements will be dealt with. Systems will be put in place to rehabilitate the environment and ensure it grows and flourishes. Practices will be put in place to ensure sustainable living.

Work 

Work is a very important aspect of God’s kingdom. Even from the beginning He gave Adam work to do. I imagine that in a city run by the Lord, everyone would contribute to the building up and managing of the kingdom and all it’s spheres. There would be no such thing as unemployment, because everybody would have a unique job to do. One given to them by the Lord Himself.

Business

When I think about business I think not about administration (which is what government organisations are designed to do), but I think about innovation, development, and growth. I think about new innovative approaches to solving problems in ways that are accessible to the average person. I imagine that in a city run by the Lord there would be much opportunity for entrepreneurship and business development to facilitate new innovative ways of doing things and solutions that serve the needs of all households.

Worship

From the beginning of his earthly ministry Jesus showed people what it meant to truly worship God. It was not about religion (a dead system with holy times and holy places – John 4:21-24), but about lives lived in spirit and in truth. He did not come to establish a religion, but a kingdom. So in my city I imagine that Jesus would do away with ALL religion (including the one that starts with a C), and he would teach people what it really means to worship God and live in His Kingdom.

Family

God’s kingdom has always placed a large emphasis on the family. Next to individuals that love and honour him, the family has always been the basic unit of the Kingdom, even from the beginning (Adam and Eve, Noah’s family, Abraham’s family, etc.). It is in that place where all the basic elements of the kingdom are fleshed out. Politics, finance, legal, healthcare, education…. all these elements are part of the family unit. The family is like a microcosm of the kingdom. If Jesus is not the living Lord of a family, and the family is not actively engaging with His Kingdom constitution, then that family will not be able to effectively participate in the local chapter of His governance (ekklesia), nor in the city-wide administration (New Jerusalem).

Therefore I imagine that Jesus will be intimately involved with families. He will teach husbands how to love their wives (Eph 5:25). He will teach wives to honour their husbands and submit to them (Eph 5:22). He will teach children how to obey their parents and honour them in everything (Eph 6:1). He will teach mothers how to effectively nurture their children, and teach father’s how to train their children (rather than neglect or frustrate them by placing expectations on them) (Eph 6:4). He will teach the family as a whole how to love him together and how to listen to him and obey him. How to be filled with him, grow in him, walk in him, and enjoy all that he is. He will teach families how to have true fellowship with one another, and what it means to truly love each other. He will establish his kingdom in each family in my city.

In Spirit

Finally, I imagine that although the Lord will have all authority and power and will wield these wisely and justly, He will ultimately accomplish his will by and through his loving passionate presence. He will not do it by his might, nor his power, but by his Spirit (Zech 4:6). And in this way “every eye will see him” for who he truly is (Rev 1:7), and of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. In my city he will establish and uphold his kingdom with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.

What would your answer to Frank’s question be?

PS: Can you guess why I chose the image for this blog post?

The Forgotten Tree

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***

Please do yourself a favour and download this pdf: http://www.thejesusmanifesto.com/JesusManifestoCh8.pdf

It is a free chapter from the book, Jesus Manifesto, written by Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet. It reveals Christ in a very unique way and is directly related to what we have been discussing on this blog the last while.

Here is the description of the book from the website for a bit of context:

Christians have made the gospel about so many things—things other than Christ. Religious concepts, ideas, doctrines, strategies, methods, techniques, programs, and formulas have all eclipsed the beauty, the glory, and the reality of the Lord Jesus Himself. On the whole, the Christian family today is starved for a real experience of the living Christ. We know a lot about our Lord, but we don’t know Him very well. We know a lot about trying to be like Jesus, but very little about living by His indwelling life. “Jesus Manifesto” presents a fresh unveiling of Jesus as not only Savior and Lord, but as so much more. It is a prophetic call to restore the supremacy and sovereignty of Christ in a world—and a church—that has lost sight of Him. Read this book and see your Lord like you’ve never seen Him before.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book. It reveals Christ on every page and really brings one back to the cornerstone of Christianity again. If you like this free chapter, you will LOVE the book. So give it a read and let the Lord speak to your heart. And if you like it enough and would like to get your hands on the book, let me know and I will point you in the right direction.

I’m still very much enjoying the fellowship on this blog. Thanks for all the comments and collaborations. You all make this blog what it is! Enjoy going deeper into the revelation of Christ as your source of life.

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You have just finished reading an article entitled The Forgotten Tree If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!

In the beginning… (part 3): Taking Dominion, or Not…

#2.3 of Living with Christ as our Source

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series by clicking here. ***

Over the last two weeks we have looked briefly at the events leading up to humanity choosing to live from a source other than God. We saw that in the beginning man did not know the difference between right and wrong, only the difference between what God had “said” and “not said.” It was a simple childlike lifestyle that flowed directly from God Himself. We also saw that man has been built not as a self-sustaining being, but rather as a “conduit”, built to live (not independently) but in dependence on an external source. Effectively, Man was designed to live by God’s divine life and so express His nature and character (bear His Image), while at the same time, represent His authority and rule (take dominion).

Now, to understand the significance of this, there is some additional information needed that is not completely plain in the Genesis text. And it has to do with Man’s purpose as expressed in Genesis 1. I will borrow the explanation of this from Milt Rodriguez, an extra-local worker (church planter) that I respect very much. He wrote a blog post called Some thoughts on the Purpose, in which he clearly emphasises a very important part of man’s purpose on the earth.

Dominion

The second part of the Purpose was for man to have dominion over the earth.  This has to do with God’s enemy, satan.  The reason we know this is that the scripture specifically mentions “the creeping things” at the end of verse 26.  And we see in chapter 3 that the enemy comes to Eve as a serpent.  So, man is to have authority (dominion) over all the earth and especially the creeping things.

So we can say that God created man for two reasons; to express and represent.  The image speaks of His expression.  The dominion speaks of His representation.  God wanted man to express His nature and character.  And He also wanted man to represent His authority on the earth, especially over the creeping things (God’s enemy).

In the light of this, can you see the significance of the Woman’s actions? At a time when she is supposed to be “taking authority” over the serpent (a creeping thing), she is having a conversation with it. And not just a conversation, but actually asking it questions and considering what it has to say. That does not seem like “taking Dominion” to me. [We see Jesus treating demons (creeping things) a lot differently. In fact, he never even gave them a chance to speak…(Luke 4:35)]

In this we come to a paradox. Why did the Woman act so unwisely and immaturely in a moment when she should have taken authority? Why did she not take dominion over the creeping thing, God’s enemy, the very thing she had been made to do?

Well, over the last while I have been doing some research on this topic. And I have found some awesome material explaining the whole situation.

  1. The one, is a spoken message by Frank Viola, an extra-local worker (church planter) I have come to love and respect very much over the last year (also a co-worker of Milt Rodriquez).  I will be making it available for download soon…
  2. And the other is a book called The Tree of Life, which is a collection of spoken messages given by a man called Witness Lee (a co-worker of Watchmen Nee). I will be doing an in-depth review on this book in the near future. So be sure to keep an eye out for it.

Taking dominion is something that God designed man to do. But not with his own human authority, but with God’s divine authority. To rule with God’s power over all the creatures of the earth and so represent God as Ruler, King, and Sovereign over everything.

We see this with ambassadors. A South African ambassador living in America carries with him the authority of the South African government and constitution. He has the authority to sign on South Africa’s behalf in all matters of state relating to her. He himself does not have that authority, but he has been chosen as a “vessel” to carry that authority. The authority itself resides in South Africa in the constitutional court and government office, not with him. He is just a “conduit” of that authority in another land.

And it is the same with divine authority, as can be seen in Genesis. Man has no natural authority of his own, hence the ease with which the serpent tricked the Woman. Man must get his “power” and “authority” from somewhere other than himself. And there are only two sources. God, expressed as the Tree of Life, and satan, expressed as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

From the one comes divine authority that empowers man to take dominion and be an ambassador for God. From the other comes satanic authority that empowers man to “do his own thing” (sin), and be an ambassador for satan (doing ones own thing and yielding to ones own will – the very thing satan was the first to do).

It would be good for us to consider from where we source our authority to think, act, and live every day. Because that will ultimately determine whom we are being an ambassador for and if we are taking dominion, or not…

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You have just finished reading article number 2.3 Living with Christ as our SOURCEIn the beginning… (part 3): Taking Dominion, or Not…  If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box below to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!

#10 – The Genesis of Life [Rev19:1-10]: The Bride – a mystery revealed

“Let us rejoice and exult and give glory, for the marriage supper of the Lamb has come, and the Bride has made herself ready;” Rev 19:7 ESV

So who is this girl? This mystery of the ages. God’s Pearl of Great Price…

Well, today I will allow another man, far more eloquent than I, to reveal her to you. For just like she is God’s greatest desire and passion, so also has she become his, and is quickly becoming mine. Frank Viola has spent most of his life in the pursuit of revealing the Bride of Christ to the church at large. It has been his passion to give her center stage, and make her known to the world.

And so, if all I have done is prepare you to receive his message, then I have succeeded. For if you truly desire to know God, this message will blow your mind and change your life forever. Just as it has mine, and many others who have heard it.

Please click on the following link to download it, (then click on Download and then Download anyway):

Who is this Woman? Gods Ultimate Passion

Please take some time to listen to it and allow the Lord to speak to you about His beautiful bride. Allow your heart to be gripped and your mind to be transformed by the eternal desire of your Lord. Allow your eyes to see her for who she is, and to realise her importance to Him.

Just so you know, this message is a “summary” you could say of what Frank describes in detail in his book, “From Eternity to Here” available to all South African’s at take2.co.za. You can purchase it here for an extremely reasonable price. –  I HIGHLY recommend it. Lets just say, (and I don’t say this lightly), that after reading this book I finally now understand the point of all of life and mankind, my reason for living, the fundamental message of the Bible, and God’s ultimate and eternal desire. This message has truly set me free… I trust it will do the same for you.

Lord, I pray for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ to be upon every person as they listen to this message. May the eyes of their hearts be enlightened, that they may know the truth, and that the truth will set them free. May they be filled with the knowledge of your heart and will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that they may think, walk, and desire in a manner that is worthy of you Lord Jesus Christ. In a manner that sees and loves your heart, and submits openly and willingly to your desires. In a manner that truly makes them your Friend. Amen.

PS: Blog comments on this message are welcome 🙂