THE KINGDOM OF GOD…
Christianity has lost the West. The West is in a state of moral decline and spiritual exhaustion. This
decline began with the abandonment of a biblical worldview, and has continued with the barbarian
influence of secularism coming into western society. The rise of post-modern (neo-animistic) culture has
dominated the last decade of the 20th century.

Too often the Church in our generation has abandoned culture. She is waiting for heaven, and has
forgotten her mission. Why? What has happened? We’ve forgotten the Kingdom of God, and that our
task is to disciple nations.

E. Stanley Jones, the missionary statesman to India said this: “The Kingdom is God's total answer to
man's total needs.” Very interesting. Galatians 3:8 says that the scriptures foresaw that God would justify
the Gentiles by faith and announced the Gospel in advance to Abraham. What was the Gospel that He
announced in advance to Abraham? All nations will be blessed through you. That is the good news. The
good news is of the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught and preached the good news of the Kingdom of God
and modeled the Kingdom of God with His life.

Before we look at some of the critical elements of the Kingdom, let's define the Kingdom of God. The
simplest definition is: The Kingdom of God is any realm where Christ the King rules. So the Kingdom of
God is wherever Christ is ruling. Is Christ ruling in your life? Then the Kingdom is there. Is Christ ruling
in your church? Then the Kingdom is there. The Kingdom of God can be in a local church or in a
community or a nation, wherever the King is ruling. Another way of saying it is that the Kingdom of God
is the place where the will of God is done. In the Lord’s Prayer what do we pray? “Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” First we are praying for Christ to come back with His
Kingdom. Then we are praying for ourselves, that the Kingdom would be manifest today in our lives.

When you are planting a church, what kind of church are you going to plant? Matthew 25:31-46
describes Christ’s return as King. When He returns, He will separate the sheep from the goats. The
distinguishing factor between the two is ministry of compassion. The sheep manifested compassion; the
goats did not. We need to build Kingdom churches that are salt and light in their communities, willing to
critique their culture and stand for justice and truth in the midst of corruption. We need to create
churches that understand they’re to sanctify every area of life. We need to build churches which
understand that God’s character is compassion, and that He wants to manifest His compassion through
the Church. We need to disciple Kingdom Christians and build Kingdom churches  if we want the
Kingdom to come.

Now let's look at seven elements which describe the nature of the Kingdom of God. First, the Kingdom is
revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, the King. Colossians 1:19 says that all the fullness of God dwelt in
Jesus Christ. What did Jesus reveal in the flesh? He revealed what God is like. He could say, “If you've
seen Me, you've seen the Father.” But He also has revealed in the flesh what man is to be like. He has
revealed what it means to be fully human. He has also revealed in the flesh what the Kingdom of God is
like. Someone has said that we build nations like the god that we worship. We build institutions based on
the god that we worship. What kind of god do we worship? If you look at an institution or you examine a

 For the best educational materials for building Kingdom churches, contact HARVEST: P.O. Box 15577,
Scottsdale, AZ 85267. Phone: (480) 968-2600 Fax: (480) 894-6599 E-mail:

nation, that will give you some idea. We’re not merely to live a Christian life within the context of our
culture; we’re to live before the face of God in ways that help redeem our culture and build our nation.
The Kingdom is revealed in the person of Christ.

Second, the Kingdom is comprehensive. It's all encompassing. What does Colossians 1:20, “… and
through him to reconcile all things to himself…,” say Christ came to redeem? All things. Why did Christ
die on the cross? To save souls? Yes. But is that all? No! Why did Christ die on the cross? To save man.
Yes. But is that all? No. Why did He die on the cross? What does the word of God say? To reconcile all
things to Himself, not just the soul of man, not just man. He wants to reconcile all things to Himself.
Maybe we still don't believe it, so Paul writes, “…things in heaven and on earth.” Why did Christ die? To
restore some things? A few things? No, to restore all things to Himself.

Now let’s examine Romans 8:18-23. As you read the passage, look for what Paul says is awaiting

    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be
    revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For
    the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who
    subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and
    brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has
    been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we
    ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our
    adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Creation has been subject to the fall. What is Paul saying is waiting for redemption? All creation! Four
times Paul says that all creation is waiting for redemption. Then Paul refers to the sons of God and the
children of God. Who are the sons of God and the children of God? I am. If you are a Christian, you are.
What does Paul say creation is waiting for? He says that creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons
of God. What does this mean? We have been declared holy and just; now we are to live holy and just
lives towards our fellow man and towards creation. Through justification we have been declared to be
children of God. When we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were adopted into the family of
God. As we grow in Christ, we become more and more like our Father, revealing our being the sons and
daughters of God. We express more of His nature. We express more of what it means to be fully human.
We express more of what God made us to be.

Read verse 21 again. What is all of creation waiting for? “The creation itself will be liberated from its
bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” What is creation going
to be redeemed from? Bondage to decay. What will it be redeemed into? The glorious liberty of the
children of God. Creation is eagerly waiting for us to mature in Christ so we’ll be stewards of what God
has made. As we mature as Christians, we come to see the need to stand against the natural evil in the
world, to fight against hunger and poverty, to be stewards of nature. Christians should be leading, not
following, the movement for ecology. Why should we be leading that movement? Because we’re God’s
children, and God is redeeming all things to Himself. God is at work liberating all of creation.

The scope of His work is all of humankind and all of our relationships. It’s not just to liberate souls for
heaven. That’s what pietism says: “We just need to save souls for heaven.” Liberalism says we don’t
need to concern ourselves with the soul; we just need to worry about the body. What does God’s
Kingdom say? That everything is to be redeemed. The whole is to be redeemed.

A worldview is a total way of seeing, and the Kingdom is a total way of living. If large areas of our lives
are “uncircumcised,” then large areas of our culture will be unredeemed. We will redeem culture only to
the level that our own lives are circumcised. If it’s only our hearts that are circumcised, if it’s only the
spiritual part of us that is circumcised, we will never redeem our cultures.

Third, the Kingdom of God sanctifies the common. This means the Kingdom of God gives dignity to
things that the world says are menial. According to I Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink, or
whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” what is it that we are to sanctify? Our eating and our
drinking. The common things. Zechariah 14:20-21 illustrates this point as well.

    On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking
    pots in the LORD's house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in
    Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take
    some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the
    house of the LORD Almighty.

Did you see what it says? The cooking pot it to be inscribed HOLY TO THE LORD. The bells on the
horses are to be inscribed HOLY TO THE LORD. As the Kingdom of God comes to a house, the things
that are small and insignificant become holy. When we treat small things well, we’re stamping on
them, “This is holy to the Lord.”

Another way of saying it is that we’re to live each area of our lives before the face of God. The
Reformers used the Latin phrase coram Deo. They would greet one another, “Live coram Deo
today”—live before the face of God today. We’re not just to live before the face of God when we’re
in a church building. When and where are we to live before the face of God? In every moment and
every place.

In a previous generation when people understood this concept, a woman had a plaque made for her
kitchen. It read: Worship services held here three times a day. What did this woman understand?
She was living before the face of God. She wasn’t a Christian only when she was in church. She
wasn’t a Christian just when she was having her devotions or when she was in a Bible study. When
was she a Christian? Every moment of her life. So when she prepared a meal for her family and the
guests in her home, she understood this as an act of worship of the living God.

Let me give another illustration. I was worshiping in a very poor church that Food for the Hungry
helped start in Huarina, Bolivia. Most of the members of this church were impoverished farmers.
What is the status of farmers in most societies? Very low. They are looked down upon. The cultural
stories in most countries say if you are working with the soil, you are nothing. The church leaders
asked if I would be willing to bring a greeting to the people in the church. So I stood up and I opened
the scriptures and I read Genesis 2:8. “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in
Eden…” What? The Lord God had planted a garden. God is a gardener. He planted a garden. I could
see the countenance of these farmers being lifted. They were farmers. But who else was a farmer?
God. Dignity can be restored. You're in agriculture. The God of the universe is a gardener! Have you
ever thought about that before? He wants us to bring every thought captive to Christ.

We don’t think this way anymore. We think that God is only the God of the spiritual. But He is God
of all, or He is not God at all. He is the God of all of life. Do you live before the face of God in
every area of your life? Are you a Christian just when you are in church? What about at work?
Have you ever thought about what it means to be a Christian who is an engineer? What does it mean

to be a Christian who is an educator, a doctor, a businessman or a homemaker? If we think like
Greeks, we are only concerned about being Christians in the spiritual realm.

God wants us to be Christians in every area of our lives. If this is a new thought for you, I would
encourage you to begin to think of developing a biblical theology for your vocational calling. Begin
to read the Bible to see what it has to say about your vocation. Do you realize that the Bible has
more to say about economics and business than it does about salvation of the soul? It does. But we
never read with eyes to see that. Often, a Christian business person is a Christian in church and a
business person in business. Maybe it is time to begin to develop a biblical set of glasses for your
vocational calling.

Fourth, the Kingdom is open to all. John 3:16 is the famous invitation into the Kingdom. God extends
His offer of the Kingdom not just to the Jews, but to the Gentiles as well. It is for slave and free, for men
and women. Galatians 3:28 reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for
you are all one in Christ Jesus.” You don't have to be a particular race or from a particular ethnic
background or a certain sex to be offered the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom transcends culture. God
extends His Kingdom offer to all people: “Come and submit to the King and enter His Kingdom.”

Fifth, the Kingdom is “now and not yet.” The prayer in Matthew 6:10 reads, “Your Kingdom come…”
What are we asking for when we pray this? “Jesus, come with Your Kingdom. It’s not here yet; please
bring it, Lord.” This is the future; the Kingdom is to come. And then what does it say? “Your will be
done…” When? Now. This is the present aspect of the Kingdom. We’re to be establishing the King’s
rule in our lives, in our communities and nations today. It’s a mysterious mix of being here now, and yet
still to come. The Kingdom of God is within you. The Kingdom of God is outside the universe, but it's
inside of me. It's now and it's still coming.

Sixth, the Kingdom of God is unshakable. Let's look at Hebrews 11:10. “For he [Abraham] was looking
forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Abraham was looking for
something. God said, “Abraham, leave your nation, leave your people, and go out into the desert.” What
was Abraham looking for when he was in the desert? A city. What city? The City of God. Please note
these words: “the city with foundations whose architect and builder is God.” (This is a “bonus thought.”)
God is an architect? What does it say? He's an architect. What else does it say? He's a builder. The God
of the universe is a builder and an architect. Those of you who are engineers don't want to leave
engineering. Your God is an engineer. What does it mean to be a Christian who is an architect? God is an
architect. He wants to speak into every area.

Another point about the unshakable Kingdom is found in Hebrews 11:13-16.

    All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things
    promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they
    were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a
    country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had
    opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.
    Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

 We are the “microwave generation” of the Church—we want everything instantly. God doesn't deal in
microwaves, but in macrowaves. God deals in history, in multi-generations. The people referred to in
Hebrews 11 were still living by faith when they died! If God makes a promise and we don't get it
instantly, what do we think? Either something is wrong with us or something's wrong with God. But
Hebrews 11 portrays people who saw the City of God before them, pursued it, and died without receiving

the promise. They were steadfast and unshakable. Are you willing to live your life this way? This is the
walk of faith. Then it says in verse 16, “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Would
you like to have that as your epitaph? Wouldn't it be wonderful to know that He wasn't ashamed of us?
How do we get that? By keeping the promise in front of us, being unshakable, trusting Him even in death.

Hebrews 12:28-29 states, “Therefore, since we’re receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be
thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
Notice the phrase I’ve emphasized, and try to imagine this. The Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom
of Light are being built side by side. God is building His Kingdom all over the world today. At the same
time, Satan is working frantically to build a counterfeit kingdom. Looking at the world, we see all kinds
of activity going on. A lot of what Satan is building looks impressive. It’s very attractive; it glitters. It
calls me.

A lot of what God is building, people don’t look at. It’s little people acting in quiet, unpretentious ways.
It’s people who visit prisoners, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, open their homes to strangers, care for
widows, and look after orphans with AIDS. That’s the Kingdom of God, and you may not notice it. But
one day, there’s going to be a shaking. The whole world is going to quake. And what’s going to collapse?
All that Satan has built. What will be left standing? The unshakable Kingdom. We’ll look and be amazed
that God has been building His Kingdom in our midst. The shakable kingdom will be a pile of rubble.
The unshakable Kingdom will be revealed in all its glory.

I was in Bello Horizonte, Brazil, in the spring of 1997, and I visited a YWAM base. There a group of 15
YWAMers is caring for about two dozen babies who are HIV infected. The world doesn't even know the
base is there. The children are “throw away” children. But the Kingdom of God is at that base. Several
agencies are working in China with orphans. “Throw away” kids. No names, no history, no recorded
birth date. When the orphanage gets too full, some of the children are put in “dying rooms” where they
are left to starve to death. There's a Food for the Hungry team working there. The world doesn't even
know these things are happening. God is building His Kingdom and Satan is building his kingdom.

One day there is going to be a shaking, and when the shaking occurs, the Kingdom of Darkness is going
to collapse in a pile of rubble. But the unshakable Kingdom will remain and the glory of God will be
revealed. Gary Stephens told me the other day that as YWAM began their work in Hong Kong years ago,
they did the work that nobody else wanted to do, and there was no money to pay for it. This work did not
grab the world’s attention. So if you are working in a quiet place, and you are seeing Satan's kingdom
going up around you, don't be discouraged, because when the shaking comes, the work of God’s
Kingdom will be revealed.

Seventh, the Kingdom of God is offensive. Read Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and
on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Satan's kingdom will
not win against the Church. Until about six months ago I thought the Church's stance was defensive, the
Church was on the defensive. Who was on the offense? Satan. But what does the Bible say? “I will build
my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” What are gates for on a city? To keep out the
attacking army. Gates are defensive. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against the onslaught of
the Kingdom of God. Who is on the defensive? Satan is. Who is on the offense? Christians are to be on
the offense. The Church is not just to be reacting to Satan’s attacks. We’re to be on the offensive,
challenging his kingdom. The gates of hell will not stand against the attacks of the King! Jesus defeated
Satan at the cross! Christ’s death was an offensive act against Satan. Colossians 1:15 says Christ
triumphed over the principalities and powers at the cross. He was the victorious conqueror there. The
gates of hell will not prevail against the advancing of the Kingdom of God! We’re to be on the offensive.

Jesus Christ has defeated Satan! In the decisive battle of the war, the spiritual warfare of the heavenlies,
Jesus has won. Jesus is the victor! And He was not just victorious at the resurrection. He was victorious
at the cross! The cross was Christ's victory over Satan. Satan's greatest weapon against us was the fear of
death. Jesus met death head on. He looked Satan in the face at the cross and did not blink. It was a
struggle. He wept tears. He cried out to the Father. But He was sovereign over the cross, He chose the
cross, and His victory came at the cross.

The Kingdom of God is on the offensive. Do we have a defensive mentality? “Oh, we can't disciple
nations, it's impossible.” No, it's not only possible, it will happen (if not on our watch, then with a future
generation of Christians), because it is God's purpose in history that the glory of the nations will be
revealed when Jesus Christ returns with the Kingdom. He stood in the face of death so that you and I no
longer need to fear death. He died not to free us from suffering, but He died to free us for suffering.
There is a battle going on, and we are the King's army. Blood will be spilled, but the gates of hell will
not prevail. Let's celebrate the victory that is ours!

What does it mean to disciple nations? Before we answer that question, I would like to begin by looking
at examples where the Church or her missionary representatives may have evangelized individuals, but
failed in discipling nations.

I’d like to start by giving a few snapshots from my own country, the United States. A few years ago a
researcher set out to learn about the religious mentality of people in the United States. In his survey he
wanted to find out how many people believed that there was absolute truth. The survey showed that at the
dawn of the 21st century, sixteen percent of Americans believe in absolute truth. That is a shocking
statistic. But there is something even more shocking. When evangelical Christians were asked the same
question, only 25% percent said they believe that absolute truth exists. In contrast, in the late 1800s, most
Americans, even non-Christians, would have believed in absolute truth. While evangelical Christianity is
growing around the world, at the same time there is, to use David Wells’ words, “no place for truth”
within growing segments of the Church. The reason only 16% of modern Americans believe in absolute
truth is that the majority of the Church does not believe in absolute truth. Secularism has not only taken
over American society, it has taken over the Church. When the Church fails to disciple the nation, the
nation will disciple the Church. As a practical illustration, thirty percent of the women in the United
States who have abortions are evangelical Christians. There is no place for truth in America because
there is no place for truth in the Church.

I was in Brazil during the spring of 1997 teaching the Worldview and Development Workshop, of which
this message is a part. A young Brazilian couple who had spent the last ten years working in the Amazon
with YWAM was attending. When I was sharing some of these ideas, the man said, “I have an illustration
for you, Darrow. I’ve been going up into the tributaries of the Amazon for years and there are churches
all over there now.” (He wasn't saying that he had planted them, but he was saying that there were
churches there.) He said a sadness exists there. He said the patterns of the culture were still very strong in
the Church. In that culture, when young girls turn 10, their fathers sell them and their services for money.
He told me that this goes on in the Church as well.

A crisis occurred in Rwanda a few years ago. A plane was shot out of the sky and the presidents of
Burundi and Rwanda were killed. Immediately a civil war broke out. Rwanda was a nation of seven
million people. At the end of three months one million were dead and two million were refugees outside
of the country. One million out of seven million killed in three months. How can we begin to get a grasp
of the horror? Food For the Hungry was involved in ministering to the people who were left. One of our
leaders from Japan International Food for the Hungry described the scene as he saw it. He was one of our
first people into Rwanda. He said he would walk down the street and there would be a body without a
head. He would go a little bit farther and then he’d find the head; then he’d go a little bit farther and find
a clump of hair. Brutal, brutal genocide. One million people dead; a seventh of the population. For
months I asked people who worked there, “Tell me what happened,” but there were no good answers.
What was even more difficult to deal with as a Christian, was that Rwanda had been evangelized. Eighty
percent of the population of Rwanda were professed Christians. How do we understand genocide in a
country that had been thoroughly evangelized? It's not easy.

I think in all three of these illustrations there is a common theme. Christianity is a veneer over something
else. On the surface you see Christianity, but underneath, you see an animistic or secular “mental-
infrastructure.” I think the Gospel did go to Rwanda. Rwanda was the site of the East African revival in
the 1930’s. But the nation of Rwanda was not discipled. Christianity may have been a veneer over an

animistic mind. We have failed in America to disciple a generation of Americans. America is a very
religious country. There are churches everywhere. Evangelical churches are filled on Sunday morning.
We have evangelized, but we have failed to disciple on the level of culture. The Church has been
discipled by the world. There is an evangelical exterior over a secular mind. Likewise, in the village on
the Amazon, a Christian facade covered an animistic core.

My good friend Vishal Mangalwadi from India points out that there has been a model for missions in this
century. It has been shaped, he says, by the individualism of America. The model of missions has also
been shaped by a gnostic worldview. What is important is the spiritual. So if you ask Christians, “What is
the Great Commission?” they answer that question from a gnostic perspective: “We want to evangelize,
plant churches, and save souls for heaven.” And if we have evangelized and planted a church, the job is
done. A lot of Christians hold another viewpoint. They say, “No, it's not enough to evangelize. We must
disciple.” But because they are thinking from a gnostic paradigm, when they think of discipling, they
think of discipling individuals to be spiritual. We want to teach people to worship, read the Bible, and to
pray; then our job is done. Neither of those models is completing the discipling of a nation. People
holding these outlooks will have a very difficult time thinking and strategizing in terms of discipling a
nation because they're rooted in a gnostic and not a biblical worldview.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. It's against the principalities and powers in heavenly places
(Eph. 5:12). We are told in John 8:44 that Satan is the father of lies. When he lies, he is doing what
comes naturally to him. Please turn to Revelation 20:3. We normally think of this passage in terms of end
times discussions. “He threw him [Satan] into the Abyss and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him
from deceiving the nations…” Why was Satan locked up? To keep him from lying and deceiving the
nations. According to Revelation 20:7, “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from
his prison” and will go out to deceive the nations. Satan is the father of lies, and he lies to nations. It is
his lies, when believed, that imprison nations. Or to use Vishal's words, the lies are what bring the
sickness to society.

Turn to Colossians 2:8. This passage has a parallel in Galatians. Paul is writing to the churches of
Colossae and Galatia because he is concerned for them. Remember that his audience is Christians. Paul is
concerned about something. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive
philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on
Christ.” In Galatians he makes the same basic point. Why, when you have been set free by Christ, would
you return to the basic principles of the world? We don't have time to go into detail about what he means
by “hollow and deceptive philosophies,” but they are humanistic philosophies.

I want to focus, for a moment, on the phrase “the basic principles of the world.” Satan's strategy for
impoverishing nations is to entrap nations with lies. This phrase, “the basic principles of the world” in
Greek is stoicheion. It means “the fundamental building blocks” or “the elementary principles.” In every
area of life there are fundamental building blocks.

If you want to learn to read and write, what must you learn first? What are the fundamental building
blocks of language? The alphabet. You have to learn the ABCs if you want to learn to read and write. If
you want to learn to play music, you have to learn the fundamental principles of music. What are the
fundamental principles of music? “Do, re, mi…” Notes! If you don't learn the notes, you're not going to
be a very good musician. What are the fundamental building blocks of math? Numbers. Every area of life
has fundamental building blocks. In Colossians and Galatians, Paul describes the fundamental building
blocks of culture. This can be illustrated with children’s building blocks which represent Kingdom
culture. What does Satan do? He lies. He replaces Kingdom building blocks with counterfeit building
blocks. In every culture in the world there are some Kingdom building blocks, and some counterfeit

building blocks. Some cultures have more counterfeit building blocks than others. There will not be a
culture that has all Kingdom building blocks until Christ returns.

                                                      Satan imprisons culture with lies! Let me give you
                                                      some examples. The first example is, “Men are
                                                      better than women.” That is a lie. As I look around
                                                      the world, I notice probably no greater cause of
                                                      poverty than that lie. To disciple a nation means we
                                                      need to know the truth from a lie. To be able to
                                                      disciple a nation, to use Vishal's term, we need to
                                                      know the “mega-story.” What does the Bible say?
                                                      There is a God and He has made both men and
                                                      women in His image. They have equal worth and
                                                      dignity before God. A culture that is based on that
                                                      idea will be very different than a culture that is
                                                      based on the lie. But because we think like
                                                      gnostics, we don't think these things are important.
                                                      However, ideas have consequences.

An example of a second lie comes from Hinduism.
The lie is that ignorance is a virtue. What if you
were part of a culture where ignorance is a virtue?
Perhaps you are a missionary who wants to work in
India. You want to work among the poor in India.
Maybe you have studied how to set up a literacy
program. That's wonderful. Maybe you have the
ability to teach literacy technically as good as
anybody in the world. Great. But what are you
going to be asking people to do in your literacy
program? If ignorance is a virtue, and you want to
teach them to read and write, what are you going to
ask them to do? Sin! You’re asking them to sin
because ignorance is a virtue. What is the
fundamental principle of the Kingdom? Knowledge of God! Truth is a virtue. In a secular society it's not.
In the West even the Church has been secularized, so the truth isn't important even in the Church. For
more insight on this subject, read David Wells’ book No Place for Truth. Truth is a virtue.

Fatalism is another lie. It says, “There's nothing I can do. There is nothing I can do about my situation.
My situation is determined by the fates. My poverty has been caused by colonialism, and there is nothing
I can do about it.” (I’m not saying that colonialism didn't do things that might have contributed to
poverty; that's not the issue right now. That's another discussion.) Fatalism says, “Nothing is going to
happen. I'm always going to be poor.” What is the Kingdom principle? I'm made in the image of God. I
can create history. I can make decisions that will change the course of my life and my family's life and
my community's life. History is not something that happens to me; it’s something created by my

Gailyn Van Rheenen who was a missionary to east Africa for years wrote a very powerful statement. He
was talking about spiritual warfare. In Communicating Christ in Animistic Contexts, he wrote, “…the
systemic view [of spiritual warfare] sees the powers as personal spiritual beings who are actively
impacting the socioeconomic and political structures of societies. These powers have established their

own rules and regulations that pull cultures away from God.” (p. 101) The spiritual manifests itself in the
physical through the cultural. Satan manipulates nations through his lies on the level of culture. There
are things in every culture which are true. These are the Kingdom building blocks that you find in a
culture. There are things in the culture that are natural. There are also things in every culture which are
lies. And as Gailyn has described so well, we are to affirm and shine a light on the things that are true.
We are to celebrate the beauty and wonder of the natural. But we are to oppose the lies.

Now let us look at the word “culture.” What is culture? Literally it's the training and development and
refinement of the mind. It's the training of the mind! Culture is the working out of a people's worldview.
Culture is the manifesting of the god that a people worship. Notice the relationship between culture and
cult. Culture is derived from the word cult—to worship a deity. We build societies and institutions based
on the god that we worship. Let me say that again. We build societies and institutions based on the god
that we worship. The word culture is related to the word cultivate. Culture is the end of the process of the
cultivation of the soul/mind. We cultivate the soil for planting and cultivate the mind so that nations can
be discipled. God speaks and creates the universe. Man speaks and creates culture. It's the culture that
then shapes what God has made, for good or ill, for life or for death.

Let me give you a couple of examples. What does a woman call that which she carries in her womb when
she is pregnant? Fetus. Baby. Life. If it's a baby, if it's life, what verbs does she use to relate to it?
Nurturing. Caring. What if it's a fetus? What if it's a product of conception? What if it's tissue? Then one
can rip it up in little pieces and suck it out of the mother's body. The culture of death is alive and well in
the United States because the majority of the people in our culture do not make a distinction between
these words. We kill one and a half million babies in America every year before they are born. In
America today, young women are beginning to throw their newborns into the trash can—because of the
cultural story. Ideas have consequences. The Church has lost America because we have been content to
evangelize and save souls for heaven, and have failed at the Great Commission, to disciple nations.

Who is Christ? He's the King—the enthroned King who conquered death! Do you realize what those
words mean? Jesus conquered death! In the eternal struggle between good and evil, life and death, life
won! The universe is different now. The climactic battle of the whole spiritual war has been won by
Christ. He calls His disciples together, and He is going to give them a mandate for the Kingdom. Let's
turn to Matt. 28:19, 20. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and
make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” These are not just religious
words—not just spiritual words. Verse 18 says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in
heaven and earth has been given to me.’” The word authority means “the freedom to serve.” All authority
has been given to Him in heaven and earth, therefore, go. By the way, the word “go” is not the command
in this sentence. Literally it means “as you're going.” The assumption is that if you are worshiping the
King, you are an ambassador of the King.

What are we to do as we go? Make disciples. The command is to make disciples. Notice what it says
next. Of individuals. No! What does it say? Of all nations! The Greek word in that verse is ethnos. It's
translated, “people group” or “nation.” But what’s so interesting here is that it is part of a family of
words: ethnikos, meaning foreigner. Ethnos refers to the moral nature of something. Ethic refers to the
governing principle, the fundamental principle. This word ethnos is related to what is in the mind.

Jesus has other sheep besides the Jews, and He wants
His disciples to go to the other sheep. There is one
King—Jesus. And there is one Kingdom—the Kingdom
of God, but there are many ethnos. And Jesus wants His
disciples to go and bring the many ethnos to be part of
the Kingdom. Then it says, “…baptizing them in the
name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” We
are to induct them into the Church. We are to induct
them into the family of God.

Then what's the next word? Teaching! Teach them. To
what? Obey. Teach them to obey. This is a great word. It
means to keep track of something that is precious.
Obey—keep track of the thing that is precious. What is it
that is precious? What is it that we are to teach them to
obey? “All that I have commanded.”

                                                     If we want to disciple nations we’d better know
                                                     what it means. This word for “all I have
                                                     commanded” is a fascinating word—entelomai. It
                                                     also comes from a family of words. The root word
                                                     telo means “to set out for a point or a goal.” There
                                                     is a picture here. The Commander is giving orders
                                                     to His army. Telo is the goal. There are two other
                                                     words that are related in this family. Telos means
                                                     “the end.” This is the biblical answer to the
                                                     question, “Where is history going?” The purpose of
                                                     history is the telos of history. God is working out
                                                     His purpose in history. When the “meta-story”, to
                                                     use Vishal's term, is finished and the telos is
                                                     reached, Christ will return. This word is also
                                                     related to telios. This is an anthropological term
                                                     meaning “complete.” God wants to make you and
                                                     me perfect and complete. This word for “all I have
                                                     commanded” is related to God's ultimate purpose
for all of creation and for my life. What does this mean? Societies are defined by the god that they
worship. The spiritual invades the physical through the cultural. Culture is the glue that holds a society

 God has built three major orders into
the universe. All that He has
commanded is related to what He has
built into the universe. There is a
natural order, a moral order, and a
social order. God has made the
universe to function a certain way, and
if people do not know God's order, or
they know it and they violate it, things
    In Greek, ethnos changes to ethne in the plural, but for the sake of simplicity, we have kept the singular form.


Part of the natural order is the law of gravity. It's universal and works for everybody, everywhere. You
can say I don't believe in the law of gravity. O.K. Go up to the top of a building. What happens if you try
to demonstrate your belief? The order takes over. You step off the building, and you fall to your death.

There's a moral order. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Can you break that? Sure. Are there
consequences? Yes. Horrible consequences. One of the parts of the social order is that all men are
created equal. What if you say some group of people is less than human? We did that in the United
States. Our forefathers said blacks are not human; they are sub-human. And what happened? We believed
a lie and built an institution called slavery based on that lie. Ideas have consequences. We are doing the
same today. We have defined pre-born babies as less than human and thus have the right to kill 1.5
million of them each year.

Deuteronomy 30:11-12 says, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or
beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven…’”
Verses 15 through 18 read,

    See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to
    love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and keep his commands, decrees, and laws; then you
    will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
    But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to
    other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed.
Ideas have consequences. We build our societies based on the gods that we worship.

Isaiah 24:5 says that “the earth is defiled by its people.” To disciple a nation means to bring order to the
souls of individuals so that you can bring order to the society. In other words, it’s bringing civilness to
society. To obey “all I have commanded” is to enter into reality the way God has made it. It's to
acknowledge and remain within the order, the way God has made things to be. The biblical story from
Genesis to Revelation is a story that transforms nations. It is the story that lays an adequate foundation
for nations to have their glory produced.

There are two minds of mission. There is the mind that has governed the 20th century, and then the mind
that has been part of our heritage—the mind of William Carey and William Wilberforce. As the Church
moves into the 21st century, what will be the mind of mission?

There are two different paradigms for mission. The 20th century paradigm is built on the assumption that
salvation is about justification and glorification. Our spiritual heritage stems from Carey and
Wilberforce’s assumption that salvation includes three elements: justification, sanctification, and
glorification. These two paradigms see the commission of the Church in different ways. Twentieth
century Christianity sees the commission as saving individual souls from every nation for heaven and
discipling people to be spiritual. Our heritage says God wants to redeem the entire person for time and
eternity. Discipleship begins with repentance from sin and turning to Christ for our justification. It
continues with bringing God's order to the soul. It deals with the full counsel of God, not just religious
and spiritual things. As God's order comes to the soul, then God's order begins to come to society.
Cultures are redeemed. Nations are built, and nations are prepared for the return of the King.

In evangelical gnosticism we say the ruler of this world is Satan. Biblical theism says, “No, this is my
Father's world.” God is sovereign. Satan is the defeated enemy. He is still around and he still makes
trouble, but he's the defeated enemy.

What is the Church's stance? Are we defensive? Are we reactive? Are we waiting for Christ's return? Or
do we realize that the gates of hell will not prevail against the onslaught of God's people? Are we
offensive and pro-active?
Christ is Lord of what? Spiritual things? Religious things? He's Lord of my heart? No. He's Lord of all or
He's not Lord at all!

What about the intellect? Just believe? Bypass the mind? Let the spirit speak directly to my heart? No!
Bring every thought captive to Christ. What is the Great Commandment? To love God with all your
heart, soul, mind, and strength. We as Christians have failed to do that in the 20 th century. Jesus did not
say, “I hope you will love me with all your mind.” It's a command. Churches and Christians in our
generation need to repent because we have failed to love God with all our minds.

Is true religion private and pietistic? No! It's public and incarnational.

The Gospel is not just to go around the world horizontally. The Gospel is to penetrate culture. Madonna
is discipling nations. Michael Jackson is discipling nations. Steven Spielberg is discipling nations. They
are changing the course of history. And they know it. Where's the Church? We should weep! We should
repent because we have believed a gnostic lie. We've been well-intentioned in the heart, but we have
believed a lie. And so we let Steven Spielberg and Madonna disciple nations, instead of completing the
task Christ assigned to us.

Ideas are transmitted to society through musicians and artists. If you want to know where a society is
going to be in the next generation, listen to the music in this generation. Christians need to be writing
music not just about Jesus, but about the whole order, the whole Transforming Story from Genesis to
Revelation. Christian musicians should be writing songs about the glory of what it means to be a woman.
Christian musicians should be writing
stories and songs about what it means
to pursue the truth. Artists convey the
stories of society. The professionals
are the ones who transform those
stories into institutions and laws. That
is why we need Christians who are not
just in the arts, but who are in the
sciences and who are in law and into
every other area of life. It's a lie to say
that only people doing spiritual things
are in full-time Christian service.

 There is a war going on between two
kingdoms—the Kingdom of Darkness
and the Kingdom of God. There are
people on both sides who are fighting
for the heart and soul of nations. Are
you ready to engage in the battle? Is it
possible to disciple nations? Not only
is it possible, it is inevitable. It will
happen. All the nations will be
blessed. Why? Because God has said
it! The question is, on whose watch?

                                                  March 1998
                              Darrow L. Miller, Food for the Hungry International
                                7729 E. Greenway Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260
                                                (602) 998-3100
                                        Worldwide Web:


To top