Going about our Father’s business
Our Advent reflections and Christmas traditions celebrating Immanuel’s birth prepare our hearts and minds to focus on the Kingdom of God in the year ahead.
For the household of faith, our sure foundation is the lovingkindness of God – demonstrated in God coming as a vulnerable baby to a family of limited means.
Jesus announced His ministry by quoting Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind; to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:18–19).
Jesus’ first message: "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15, also Matthew 4:17).
This news, this evangel, is profoundly good – forgiveness is offered and can be received, and we have new freedom to live in the light of Kingdom practices, anticipating the full presence of God’s Kingdom when justice and righteousness embrace (Psalm 85:10).
Our adoption into God’s family through redemption is about coming home to God’s original plan in the creation of humanity.
However, this Kingdom is not easily comprehendible. Pilate’s quandary shows typical confusion. Was Jesus a political threat to Rome or to religious authorities? Why is He being abandoned by this diverse crowd? (John 18:28–40). What is His Kingdom?
When truth rules, peace is known and justice prevails, we glimpse the coming Kingdom.
In Luke 10 we read that when there is healing the Kingdom has come near. When wounds are bound and healing experienced, we get a glimpse of a time without pain or suffering. Likewise when justice is practised, we more readily anticipate God’s Kingdom. When truth rules, peace is known and justice prevails, we glimpse the coming Kingdom.
Caring for the sick, welcoming refugees, defending widows and tending to the fatherless, restoring the brokenhearted – in so doing we affirm all of us are made in God’s image, and we model the compassion and love of our adoptive Father.
Unceasing in prayer we follow our adoptive King. We are Kingdom brothers and sisters, regardless of biological ties (Matthew 12:48).
When people of great or small means turn toward establishing centres of recovery for victims of assault and trauma, redirecting vulnerable people from unhealthy paths, restoring outcasts such as those with addictions, those who give are released from indifference – and those who receive experience freedom from that which binds. When lies, deceits and strongholds are breeched, the oppressed and prisoners go free. When the light of truth shines through, the blind are able to see.
The wisdom of Kingdom life rejects pride, jealousy, greed and envy, which are the marks of the counterfeit father of lies (Proverbs 6:16–18). Rather, we practise love as self-control (1 Corinthians 10:13) and our lives are about blessing and empowering others, speaking truth to the powers, giving an account for the hope within us.
Pressing governments and courts for justice, we witness to the truths of the Kingdom. In advocating for vulnerable neighbours, we point to the Kingdom which has justice and righteousness as its foundation (Psalm 89:14). We leave a legacy of witness and advocacy for Kingdom principles on the public record. Our work is never wasted (Ecclesiastes 11:6).
Living in anticipation of the Kingdom – experiencing mercy, grace and compassion – reminds us our shared adoption into the family and Kingdom of God is central, not peripheral.
We cry out "Abba, Father" when experiencing deep rejection and pain (Mark 14:36). We face earthly powers confidently (Romans 8:15). No longer slaves to sin or the schemes of others, our future is grounded in our Heavenly Father’s business (Galatians 4:1–7).
Thinking about the Kingdom keeps us hopeful and on task.
Not left as orphans without hope to face our challenges, but fully surrendered to our risen King we declare His glory (Psalm 96; Matthew 28:6).
Thinking about the Kingdom keeps us hopeful and on task. Our primary citizenship resides elsewhere and we live as its ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20, James 3:17–18). We sing the song of the Lord in a foreign land (Psalm 137:4).
May this be our everlasting service anticipating the fullness of the Kingdom. Like Christ we can face these uncertain times because we know who we are and to whom we belong.
Bruce J. Clemenger is President of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Please pray for our work and support us at www.TheEFC.ca/Donate or toll-free 1-866-302-3362.
Author: Bruce J. Clemenger