At one place in the Bible, God allows us to see the finish line. In Revelation 5:9 it says, “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation’” (ESV).
You’ve probably heard that verse before describing the redemption mission of God. But the problem with verse 9 is that we never read verse 10: “and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Do you see the finish line? Eternity is the reign of King Jesus with His kingdom, that from Genesis to Revelation, God’s eternal redemptive mission is redeeming a kingdom to Himself from every tribe, language, people, and tongue. Church planting is not the goal. The kingdom of God being expanded in cities and nations all over the world – that is the ultimate finish line. That is why the church exists.
A Word of Discouragement
The church that you are planting right now, the church that you are praying about planting, the church that you are dreaming about, the church that is costing you sleep – one day that church is going to die.
How do I know that? Because all churches die. Consider the churches Paul planted in the New Testament. Every one is dead and gone. But the kingdom of God is alive and well. God births the local church to join in the expansion of His kingdom.
A Tool for Expansion
The book of Acts opens with Jesus talking about the kingdom of God for 40 days. The book of Acts closes with Paul talking about the kingdom of God. In the middle, the local New Testament church is born in Jerusalem, and it grows and multiplies. The local church exists to introduce people to King Jesus, disciple them in kingdom living and then send them out for the expansion of the kingdom to the ends of the earth. The local church is not the goal; the kingdom of God is the goal. The local church is the temporary tool established by Jesus for the expansion of His kingdom.
The church is the only tool established by Jesus for the expansion of the kingdom. The kingdom of God is His sovereign activity in the world resulting in people being in right relationship with Him. The kingdom of God is the big picture of what God is doing globally.
We are living in the greatest days in history to be alive. The church you are planting, God is birthing your church for such a time as this. Not simply so you can have great worship services and dynamic student ministries, God has birthed your church because He has a heart for the kingdom of God to be expanded all over the world.
Adapted from “Expanding the Kingdom,” a part of the Church Planting Masterclass. Sign up for this free course now!
Published November 14, 2022