Summary: God allows evil to grow side by side with good in order to give every person the opportunity to receive him and be a part of his kingdom, but the time for judgement and separation will be coming when the King returns.
For those of you who weren’t here last week you missed a great presentation from our missionaries Randy and Patti Cunningham on their work down in Haiti and the Caribbean. If you weren’t here I highly encourage you to get a tape of last weeks service and listen to it. God has done amazing things through their ministry. I don’t know if you happened to catch the new name of their ministry – Kingdom Builders International. They view their mission work as building the kingdom of God in Haiti and the Caribbean. They are building God’s kingdom as they help the sick to get well through prayer and distributing basic medication, as they feed the hungry, and most importantly as they share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the people there.
Their work fits right in to what we have been focusing on over the last few weeks with Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven. God’s kingdom, his realm, his perfect world began with Jesus. Jesus came first proclaiming the Good News of God’s kingdom, that it was near, it was present in Jesus. Then he demonstrated the good news as he reclaimed people from evil, through healing, casting out demons, and representing God here on earth. And then Jesus became the Good News when he died on a cross and rose from the dead so that our sins can be forgiven and we can live in a right relationship with God in his kingdom. Through Jesus, God is in the process of reclaiming those who were lost, restoring lives that are broken, and making people whole. Even though we cannot always see it, God is even now transforming the world, making it into his perfect kingdom, by changing people, one at a time.
But it doesn’t end there, God then works through us, as we serve him, to build his kingdom on earth. I realize we are not accustomed to living in a kingdom, it can be a stumbling block for us living in a democracy such as we are here in the U.S. In a democracy, who is supposedly in charge? The people, us. We vote, we decide who are representatives are, and they (hopefully) represent us in our government. In a kingdom, who is in charge? The king. The king makes the rules, he decides what is best for his people. The people have very little say in a kingdom. God is King, he is in charge, not us. Contrary to popular American belief, we are not the king or queen over our own life. We are servants to the King (capital K). If we are a part of God’s kingdom we are expected to follow the King’s commands, it is how we demonstrate our love and devotion to the King. Jesus said, “if you love me obey my commandments.” Jesus summarized all commandments as, “love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus’ final command though was to expand His kingdom, “go and make disciples of all nations.” This isn’t just a calling for missionaries in other countries but also for us right here. Fortunately, we are not alone in this endeavor of Kingdom work. God is with us and works through us to accomplish his kingdom work. Two weeks ago I said the way we discern where we are to used by God in building his kingdom is by paying attention to the burden God has laid on our hearts. What in our community does not reflect heaven, what bothers us, what breaks our heart? Whether it is disease, hunger or poverty, injustice, juvenile delinquency, or lack of education. That is God’s invitation for us to join him in his kingdom work. Don’t keep putting it off waiting for some big sign in the sky. Whatever the burden is, our job is to share the Good News about Jesus with others, so they too can be a part of God’s kingdom and God can transform their lives. As the name of Randy and Patti’s ministry reminds us we are all called to be Kingdom Builders. Turn to your neighbor and say, “I am a Kingdom builder.”
While God’ kingdom is growing here on earth, as people are set free from bondage to sin and evil and lives are transformed, Jesus reminds us in today’s parable of the wheat and tares that there is still something we need to be aware of. We must know that for this period in time, as God builds his kingdom, there will be opposition from the enemy. God, the farmer, is sowing his kingdom but there is another, an enemy, sowing weeds among God’s work. The enemies work will be allowed to continue until Christ the King returns to judge sin and remove all evil, and establish his kingdom forever.