Tele-Seminar – Beverly Lewis and I discussed Kingdom impacts in an interview, “Have fun, make money and love people.” Listen to the recorded version here. Ray Edwards and I did a second interview that is just as good. Both are about an hour and give a great summary of marketplace ministry.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. NIV Matt 25:1-13
Kingdom now or later? – – Most of Christianity is like the 5 unprepared virgins from Mt 25, because they are “waiting” for the rapture. The reality is that entrepreneurs who create wealth and convert money into ministry are not waiting! The are waiting for the Lord also, BUT, while they are waiting they are like the 5 wise virgins, they are taking action to have everything in place and they are “about their Father’s business.” I want to suggest that this parable is about the Kingdom on earth right now (Mt 25:1). It’s not about the rapture and it’s not about a millennial Kingdom after the rapture. All three parables in Mt 25 (the 10 virgins, the talents, and the sheep and goats) are about a Kingdom that is available right now!
But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. Luke 11:20 NIV
“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. Luke 16:16 NIV
The Gospel of the Kingdom – The genius of marketplace ministry is that it is the Gospel of the Kingdom and it works. God is assembling an army of believers who are willing to pursue their spiritual and natural inheritance right now (Mt 25:34). This army is not waiting to make a quick escape to Heaven; they are changing cities and nations now. They even believe they are commissioned to “disciple nations” and that it is possible to change this world instead of abandoning it. Amazing!
They are not being defeated by secular institutions – they are the leaven, infiltrating those same institutions and changing them so they bless the nations… “Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” They are not afraid of wealth, power and influence. Those are simply the necessary ingredients to bless nations… names have to be made great (Rom 12:2-3)! Any volunteers? Traditionally, believers have worn a cloak of false humility that precludes them from responding to this altar call.
It starts with me – How do we change cities and nations? Well, the natural place to start is by changing myself. We are discovering the Kingdom of God is within us. What does that look like?
- I’m free to be myself – created in God’s image.
- I’ve made a connection with my heart and I’ve given myself permission to pursue the desires God wrote on my heart. It’s fun!
- I’ve added one more spiritual discipline: the ability to create wealth. I don’t apologize for it because money is the engine behind every ministry.
- I track my finances with cash flow and monitor the progress on my business plan and life goals.
- Instead of supporting other ministries, I’ve finally realized that I am a ministry, and I’m converting some of my money into the ministry God has called me to fulfill. I’m free of passing the offering plate and I’m no longer trying to leverage other people’s money.
- I’m a player in God’s strategy to build the Kingdom and fill the earth with His glory. I’m networking with like-minded people in business and ministry. I’m losing the distinction between business and ministry, education and ministry, politics and ministry, art and ministry, media and ministry. I can see God working in all seven mountains.
- Because I’m enjoying being myself, I’m actually content to help others become themselves. It changes my style of leadership to something that works and improves my ability to love people.
- I’m leveraging other people to action based on the desires of their own hearts. Godly mentors don’t focus on accountability; they focus on making you a success and letting you hold yourself accountable to something that works.
- For the first time, fruit is growing on its own. I’m not straining… just doing what I enjoy – having fun, making money, loving people and going to Poland.
- You can do it too. This coaching module will help you.
The secret is not a secret – Are you like the 5 virgins running out of oil? Well, if we’ve been waiting 2000 years for Jesus to come back, most of us should be running out. Here’s the secret: the Kingdom is already here. Jesus is ministering among us via the Holy Spirit. Yes, He’s physically coming back in all his glory and splendor, but it might be another 2000 years. No one knows. What we do know is that we have a job to do until he comes. Why not release Kings and join the party now? We can build the Kingdom now. That’s what the Father is doing.
The party started 2000 years ago. The music is playing and some people are so excited that they are forcing their way into it. You’re invited. It’s not too late.
The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. Luke 16:16 NASU
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Now) Matt 6:33 NIV
The Kingdom is already here; It started small and has been steadily growing for 2000 years. The seed grows quietly (Mark 4:26-29); the kingdom starts as small as a mustard seed (verses 30-32) and is hidden like yeast (Matthew 13:33). These parables suggest that the kingdom is a reality now before it comes in a powerful and dramatic way. In addition to being a future reality, it has reality right now.
PS: Mt 24 and 25 are part of the same discourse by Jesus. Nearly all of Matthew 24 has already been fulfilled and the same is true of Matthew 25. When we push it all into the future, we also push our inheritance into the future – please don’t do that! Harold Eberle has written a great book on the Olivet discourses in Victorious Eschatology. I recommend it.