Part of what we are celebrating here every week is God’s way of building His Kingdom in this world. And God’s way is through the Cross. God’s primary way of building His Kingdom is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. God is building His Kingdom through the announcement of that historic event. God turns lives into living pictures of that reality through that authoritative announcement. Through that gospel message, men, women, and children take up their own crosses, confess sin, forgive sin, love generously, give sacrificially, and live holy, obedient lives.
It’s hard for people to hold these two things together: sacrifice and progress, suffering and building, but what we are talking about is death and resurrection. This is God’s way, and we see it throughout Scripture. But perhaps one of the greatest examples is the book of Acts: beginning with Pentecost all the way to the end of the book with Paul under house arrest in Rome, God drives the Kingdom forward through controversy, slander, misunderstanding, riots, beatings, executions, imprisonments, and shipwrecks. Chapter after chapter, you and I are tempted to think that the latest collision is bad for the gospel, but time after time, Luke says: and many were added to their number, and the brothers were greatly encouraged, many leading women of the city believed, and so on.
This is God’s way. God allows controversies, confusion, slanders to His people so that people will accuse them, so that they can answer the questions, confusions, and accusations with truth and grace again. Why? So that the gospel will go forth, so that more people will hear. The apostles were made public spectacles, so that when they spoke, everyone would listen. Not every one of us is called to a public role in this, but every one of us must understand that this is the plan. And that’s what this bread and wine mean. Jesus is building His Kingdom through the Cross, through death and resurrection. So when the next controversy arises, the next slander appears in the paper, the next hit piece comes across your social media feed, do not think “Oh No.” Think, “OK, Lord, here we go.” This is the plan.
So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.
Photo by Scandinavian Backlash on Unsplash
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