Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Authority (5) - Kingdom of God

Imposed Authority has no place in the Kingdom of God. God is totally committed to Voluntary Authority, so he will not use his power to force people to obey his will. Coercion and control have no place in his Kingdom. Jesus condemned rulers who impose authority from above. They “lord it over” their people and use force to get their will done.

The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them (Matt 20:25).
They maintain their position using domination and coercion. Their kingdoms are based on Imposed Authority.
The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors (Luke 22:25).
They call themselves benefactors, but they control their kingdoms by force.

The Kingdom of God is different from any other kingdom. It grows as people freely submit to those that love and serve them.
But you are not to be like that Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves (Luke 22:26).
People gain authority in the Kingdom of God by serving those they lead.
Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant (Matt 20:26).
A servant cannot force the person they are serving to do things they do not want to do. A servant cannot control the one they are serving. A servant cannot use force or coercion to get their will done.

The Kingdom of God is based on Voluntary Authority. God wants people to obey him, because they love him. He will not force people to do his will. Using Imposed Authority to advance the Kingdom of God undermines it. The Kingdom comes when people freely submit to God. Authority in the kingdom of God comes through service.

The Church failed to understand the gospel and has yielded time and again to the temptation of Imposed Authority. When the church forms an alliance with political rulers to advance the kingdom, it always fails, because servant love and political power do not mix. A kingdom of love is not established by Imposed Authority.

The Kingdom of God advances as the gospel is proclaimed in the power of the Spirit. When people accept the gospel and surrender to Jesus, they give him authority over their lives. The Kingdom is built on a foundation of Voluntary Authority.

Christians must never use political coercion to do God’s will. Jesus does not want his people "lording it over" the rest of society. Those who use coercion to advance the kingdom are actually serving the devil, the master of Imposed Authority.

The devil uses Imposed Authority. The world uses Imposed Authority. God totally committed to Voluntary Authority. Imposed Authority has no place in the Kingdom of God.

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