Summary: The most efficient form of government is a benevolent dictatorship. It’s totally efficicent, totally logical, and totally without human error. But Jesus didn’t set up His kingdom that way. Why not?
OPEN: In the 1970’s Andrew Richardson, a Liverpool postal worker, declared his semi-detached flat to be the independent nation of Granbia. After a while, however, Richardson lost interest, and the apartment reverted to England by default.
In 1964, Leicester Hemingway, the little brother of author Ernest Hemingway built an 8 by 30 foot floating bamboo platform 7 miles off the coast of Jamaica, anchoring it to the ocean floor with a Ford engine block. "I can stand on the platform, walk around on it, and salute the flag, all of which I do periodically," Hemingway bragged to reporters. "There are no taxes here, because taxes are for people not smart enough to start their own countries." In time, part of his country was destroyed by fishermen in search of scrap wood; the rest sank in a storm.
In 1969, when the Western Australia Wheat Quota board limited the amount of wheat he could grow Leonard George Casely took his 18,500 acre farm and seceded from Australia to form his own country. He designed his own national flag and motto, printed his own money, and set up his own parliament.
Australia refused to recognize his sovereignty, so in 1977 he declared war. Nothing came of it - he backed down two days later and re-established diplomatic relations. Casely claims he pays no Australian taxes, but he admits he makes payments to the Australian government as an "international courtesy."
APPLY: Kingdoms come and kingdoms go. Even the most mighty of nations don’t last forever. As powerful as the United States of America is, one day, it too will pass away.
But (pause) when the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary he said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:30-33)
Approximately 600 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Daniel interpreted a vision that troubled King Nebuchadnezzar. The vision was of a great statue, which (represented the nations of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and finally Rome). And then he said: "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” Daniel 2:44
Colossians tells us that when we became Christians, God “rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…” Colossians 1:13
I. What kind of Kingdom is this? What kingdom would last forever…?
That Kingdom is the church. That’s what Jesus came to die for, and what He rose from the dead to create. A Kingdom unlike anything that the world had ever seen before or since. And that’s not the only thing that’s different about this Kingdom we belong to… it’s run different
ILLUS: My dad used to say the most efficient form of government was a benevolent dictatorship… and Dad said he was willing to volunteer for the job!
Consider: How much more efficient could it be, than for Jesus run everything in the Church from "up there." Really. If there was a decision to be made in church, you wouldn’t have to bother to ask, you wouldn’t have to bother to pray… you don’t have to bother period. He’d take care of it.
Every decision that would be made, every sermon that would be preached. Every class that would be taught - He’d take care of it. He could do that you know – He’s God after all!
It would be a truly “benevolent dictatorship”
1. Totally efficient
2. Totally logical
3. Totally without any room for mistakes or human error
AND… almost totally the opposite of what Jesus actually did.
II. I think that’s part of the reason Ephesians tells us Jesus gave “gifts” to the church: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, and Pastors & Teachers
We’re not sure, but we think Paul was writing about what we call:
* Missionaries (Apostles means: “those who are sent” and occasionally, church sent missionaries were called "Apostles")
* Preachers (Prophets & Evangelists are used in other parts of Scripture to describe what we might call Ministers or preachers)
* Elders (I Peter 5, Pastors was used to describe Elders, note preachers)
* And, of course, Teachers - which is more less self explanatory.
But, who those terms referred to is not as important as the fact that Jesus turned responsibility for the church over to… mortals. Human beings. Individuals in whose hands ALMOST NOTHING ends up being totally efficient, logical or without error. Why would He do that?