Kingdom Purpose

God’s purpose for our lives goes beyond belief in Jesus for salvation. He has a Kingdom and a plan for our lives. The early Church could not fulfill the Great Commission until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. And neither can we.

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So many fellow believers live a life robbed of purpose because they fail to understand the plan of God for them. Somebody—a minister, a friend, or a family member—witnessed to them, and they were convicted of sin and accepted Jesus. They went to the cross for forgiveness and passed by the empty tomb as they began trusting in Jesus for their future resurrection.

And then they just stop in their pursuit of God. They become believers, and either through fear or ignorance, the evangelist does not lead them to the critical step of receiving the Holy Spirit. Most Christians live a life with only a vague knowledge of the third member of the Trinity, not knowing His role in their lives.

Jesus, our Lord and the Son of God, came to the earth with a unique mission: to sacrifice Himself for the sins of every person and break the power of the grave. Jesus accomplished His glorious task at Calvary and at the Resurrection for all time, so He has a different purpose for us—we are the next phase of Heaven’s grand plan. As Jesus recruited and trained the His disciples and other early followers, He lived a life of ministry, teaching, and miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit as a model for what His people should become. Many of you reading this will have been believers in Jesus for a long time with a passive knowledge of the existence of the Holy Spirit, but that is not the will of God for your life. Jesus was clear that His disciples be baptized in the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of God living inside of them, guiding them, and empowering them.

Well-meaning ‘church people’ often step in with programs and trainings meant to help the young Christian grow. They try to usurp the role of the Holy Spirit with a workbook and a set of DVDs. Christianity and belief in Jesus become a religious duty or ‘something they should do,’ little better than a set of dos and don’ts. The converts are quickly taught their purpose is to sit in one to three services a week, sing a couple of songs, give when the offering passes, listen to special music from a soloist, and concentrate during the preacher’s sermon. They leave the weekly services and strive to live by a Christian code.

They don’t realize Jesus did not come to found a religion; He came to bring His kingdom to the earth. I’m certainly not advocating abandoning the assembly or church services. But Jesus did not come to earth as a man to die and be resurrected to found a movement made up of weekly meetings that can be defined by a church bulletin. The Kingdom was what Jesus preached about; it was His passion and goal for His followers. This is an invasion from Heaven to take back the earth. The church services are for authentic worship and mutual encouragement. They are not the totality and purpose of Christianity.

Even the disciples needed a push to follow Jesus’s command. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, God immediately sent angels at that moment to remind them to move along to where Jesus told them. Even for the men who had the most direct training from our Lord, the temptation to stand around waiting for Him was real. “And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven'” (Acts 1:10-11 ESV).

What were they meant to move toward? The angels said Jesus was coming back, so what did they need to do in the meantime?  Jesus actually gave commands directly related to purpose and the Holy Spirit. Everyone knows the famous verses on the mission of the Church: The Great Commission, “‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age'” (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV). Simply put, ‘go make more of yourselves, expand the Kingdom, and teach them everything I have taught you.’

The commission is famous because it is the purpose and summation of the Christian’s mission on Earth. It is the collective job of what all believers are supposed to do with their lives. But do you realize that the Great Commission was not the next step for the fledgling church after seeing Jesus ascend? The imperative question of ‘what should a Christian do?’ still needed an answer to ‘how are they to do it?’

Our Lord had answered this question in His training of the disciples as He modeled Kingdom living for them. Our Lord’s sermons, interactions, and miracles taught the disciples more than philosophy or good behavior. He showed them how to live as the “firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29 ESV) in the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove in Matthew 3 (also Luke 3 & John 1) at His water baptism? Did you notice that the miracles started for Jesus after the Spirit descended on Him, not before? I know some of you may doubt that comment, but please look it up. Jesus’s first recorded miracle is turning the water to wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee in John, chapter 2 after the Spirit descended on Him like a dove.

Jesus was/is God in human flesh, but the Holy Spirit provided the power for ministry, gifts, and miracles. When Jesus left the earth, He promised the disciples another comforter; the Holy Spirit was coming back to live inside of them as the Spirit had lived in our Lord. Instead of Jesus directing them physically, face-to-face as one man leading twelve in a local area, the Holy Spirit was coming with intimate plans for each one, gifts, power, and worldwide scope to build the Kingdom of God.

Jesus instructed the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise. Jesus told them what to expect when the Holy Spirit came. “‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth'” (Acts 1:8 ESV). Jesus told them that receiving the power of the Holy Spirit must come before they could be His witnesses. They were commanded to not depart from Jerusalem till they had received the promised Holy Spirit! Jerusalem was the city where Jesus was crucified, resurrected, and ascended corresponding to forgiveness, belief, and Lordship for the new Christian. But to be complete ‘in Christ,’ one more critical event was still to happen in Jerusalem before the disciples could begin with their purpose: the coming of the Holy Spirit. From the time of Passover to Pentecost, Jerusalem represented the salvation experience for the disciples, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit was part of that.

While the disciples were waiting in Jerusalem, the Jewish celebration of Pentecost occurred, meaning the city was packed with people. The Holy Spirit descended on the believers that day and gave them the power to speak many languages to the diverse crowd in a miraculous sign of the power of God. The Church was empowered by God to fulfill His commission instantly. In fact, on the first day they received the Holy Spirit, the Church of 120 quickly expanded as 3,000 souls were saved (Acts 2)! The Kingdom that Jesus famously told Pilate in John 18 was not from this world had infiltrated the earth and established a headquarters.

The Holy Spirit baptism changed everything for the Church as mere men became anointed by the power of God. Peter, a man who weeks before could not even tell a slave girl he was a follower of Jesus, spoke boldly to the crowd of thousands on behalf of his Lord. The disciples who had fled the garden in fear for their lives would face years of councils, trials, imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom all for the message of their Lord. What changed about them? The baptism of the Holy Spirit allowed God’s Spirit to dwell inside of them in power. Instead of the Kingdom of God residing solely in the man Jesus, the Holy Spirit was now dwelling inside of everyone who received the baptism.

The coming of the Holy Spirit is often called by different names, and I do not want terminology to confuse you, the reader. ‘Baptism’ is an interesting word in that it means total immersion in liquid. ‘Anointing’ is the idea of pouring a liquid (usually oil) over someone’s head till it runs down to the bottom of their clothing. The New Testament uses the phrase ‘in Christ’ many times, and the idea of ‘putting on Christ’ is the same as a garment that covers the entire body. Are you beginning to see the imagery? The coming of the Holy Spirit, whether called the baptism, the anointing, being in Christ, or the Kingdom, is the idea of the person of God covering (or being all over) an individual completely.

The early Church could not fulfill the Great Commission until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. And neither can we. Too many believers are staring into Heaven waiting for the Lord’s return, not knowing what to do. Others try to skip Pentecost in a powerless attempt to fulfill the Great Commission by good works, activities, and programs; they become believers but want nothing to do with the Kingdom. In fact, some churches have become dedicated to making powerless believers who live out lives in frustrated attempts to follow a religious code. Jesus didn’t give a set of rules or dry expectations. He offered His Spirit to animate, embolden, and guide His Church. Many Christians live a life of failure and frustration because they refuse to receive the Holy Spirit.

Reader, you trusted Jesus to forgive your sins, resurrect you from physical death, and many consequential matters of life, but will you receive all that our Lord has for you? The baptism of the Holy Spirit is God’s will for your life; it is the anointing that brings power to accomplish the purpose God has for you.

 

 

Featured Image by Jc Laurio

The views and opinions expressed by Kingdom Winds Collective Members, authors, and contributors are their own and do not represent the views of Kingdom Winds LLC.

About the Author

Shannon Gibson was an average believer in Jesus living an average life . . . until he received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Since then, nothing has been the same.