Mark Dommel's Blog

Insights on Christian Discipleship from Mark Dommel at RelayMinistries.org

Untagged  9 Jul 2011
Advancing God's Kingdom by MDommel

 Matthew 11:12
"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it" {NIV 1984}.

"And from the days of John the Baptist, until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the vilent take it by force" {NKJV}.

What does it means that "The Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing" and that "forceful men lay hold of it?"

First of all:  To use the words "forcefully" and "forceful" would indicate the intensity with which the effort to advance the Kingdom was undertaken, and is to be undertaken by His followers today, and the intensity of those involved. You will notice that I have also listed the verse, Matthew 11:12, as it is translated in the New King James Bible. In this translation, the words used to describe the advancing of the Kingdom are "violence" and "violent." God does want anyone who reads this verse to mistake the intensity of force it will take to advance His Kingdom here on earth.

Second:  The phrase, "the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence" {NKJV}, would indicate there has been, in in the past violence directed against the Kingdom of God in an effort to, at the least render it and its message ineffective, and at the worst to destroy it. This is evident by what we can see by way of the history of the persecution of Christians for their faith; beginning with the 1st Century Church. We see a pattern of violence against God's Kingdom -- beginning with Stephen, the first martyr {Acts 7:57-60}; with the persecution of the early Christians by Paul {Acts 8:1-3}; the violent deaths of 11 of the first 12 disciples {all, except John died violently for their faith 1}; and time after time through the centuries we see violent attempts by Satan to destroy Christianity by violent persecution of those who claim allegiance to the Kingdom of God {see Foxes Book of Martyrs}. And, Satan has not changed; today, he is still intent on rendering the message of the Kingdom of God ineffective or destroying the Kingdom all together. Therefore, our intensity in advancing God's Kingdom should be no less as intense as was that of the ealy believers.

Third:  We read in John 10, "The theif does not come except to steal and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly {NKJV}. In this verse we see two diametrically opposed intentions. Satan desires our destruction and Christ desires us to live life to the fullest, abundant in every way. This is the central theme of our spiritual warfare against Satan, and warfare is "forceful" and "violent" in its purpose and fulfillment, and can be carried out only by those who are willing to be "forceful" and "violent" in its pursuit. This central theme is the cause of what A. W. Tozer describes in his article, "Irreconcilable Hostility." Tozers says,

"In the early days, when Christianity exercised a dominant influence over
American thinking, men and women conceived the world to be a battleground.  Our fathers believed in sin and the devil and hell as constituting one force, and they believed in God and righteousness and heaven as the other. By their very nature, these force were opposed to each other in deep, grave, and irreconcilable hostility."

And, this "irreconcilable hostility" takes the form of "forceful" and "violent" spiritual warfare on both sides of the conflict.

Fourth:  If we are to advance God's Kingdom in the 21st Century, we must be reconciled to the fact that it will be a "forceful", violent, and spiritually bloody conflict. We will have to use all of the weaponry {2 Corinthian 10:3-6} and armor {Ephesians 6:10-18} with which we have been provided. Those of us who have been thoroughly equipped {2 Timothy 3:16-17} in the use of this weaponry and armor are responsible to do the same fo other followers of Christ.

Fifth: George Orwell is quoted a saying, "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."  This quote refers to battle on a worldy plane. But, the same can be said of spiritual warfare. Not every follower of Christ is assigned the task of or is capable of "forcefully" or "violently" advancing the Kingdom of God. There are those of us who have been gifted and thorougly trained and equipped in the art of spiritual warfare. We are the ones who must step up and engage Satan and his army in daily "forceful" and "violent" warfare. We are the ones, who in our quest to advance the Kingdom of God must stand ready day and night to "visit violence on those who would do us harm," so that others may be safe in their beds.

There can be no hesitation, and once we have begun, there can be no turning back {Luke 9 57-62}. We must "forcefully" and "violently" take the offensive; crashing the very gates of Hades {Matthew 16:18} in our mission to establish God's Kingdom in the hearts of the men, women, and children of this world

1. John was boiled alive in oil and emerged unhurt; after which he was sent
into exile on the Isle of Patmos.
The Prescription Against Heretics, Chapter 36; Tertullian     11:13:00 AM by mark Delete
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