Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
As Jesus moved into his famous teaching method of parables or story telling, he refers to the knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven. Those who are hungry for this knowledge will, as the disciples did, seek it out. The others, who don’t have a particular spiritual hunger, will not. Jesus sightings track along the same lines. If you are looking for Jesus working among people, seek him out in the Kingdom, not in the religious institutions. Out of 37 miracles, Jesus only performed 3 inside a synagogue.
Let’s listen in on what Jesus said about secrets:”The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” This is why he spoke to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”
The essence of the secrets of the Kingdom is to be found in those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. At the end of Matthew 7 Jesus says this well in illustrating those who are doing the will of the Father, when he teaches about two foundations. “Those who hear my words and practice them” build on a rock foundation and “those who hear my words and don’t practice them” build on a sand foundation. NOTE Jesus isn’t speaking of the secrets of the Church, but the secrets of the Kingdom.
The differences between the Church and the Kingdom are many! You enter the Church by attendance and membership classes. You enter the Kingdom by following Jesus. The Church is limited in its local scope and reach; the Kingdom is unlimited and universal. The Church is visible; the Kingdom is invisible. You go to Church; the Kingdom goes wherever you go. The Church tends be an organization; the Kingdom tends to be a movement.
The Church is earthly; the Kingdom is more of a heaven-to-earth connection. Jesus never proclaimed the Church; Jesus continually proclaimed the Kingdom. He even called the Kingdom “the gospel of the Kingdom”, but never referred to the Church in this way.
The Church gathers and scatters; the Kingdom is always present with you. The Church may or may not grow, however the Kingdom is continually growing. Churches may shut down; the Kingdom cannot be shut down. The Church may or may not have God present; the Kingdom is God’s presence in us.
If you want to know the secrets of the Church, ask a Church growth expert or Church planter. If you want to know the secrets of the Kingdom where Jesus is at work, ask Jesus. He’ll say: Seek first the Kingdom of God with all your heart! If you’re not primarily seeking the Kingdom of God, you’ll most likely not see Jesus at work. Get out of your religious box; he’s out there!