Are You On Board?

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We have pulled up our anchors and set sail in our Ship of the Kingdom, as we travel inexorably  to our destination of seeing the Lord’s Prayer answered—“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on the earth as it is in Heaven.”

Last week, we looked at two biblical prophecies 300 years apart—one by David and one by Danel—both of which prophesied the very same momentous event! That event (pictured in the Ship of the Kingdom diagram below) was God the Father giving His Kingdom to Jesus, His Son, after His Ascension to Heaven. Jesus then delegated the Kingdom of God to us, those for whom He had just died!

However, that delegation, which happens to us naturally, spontaneously and unconsciously (NSU), is not theoretical, nebulous or imaginary. The Kingdom comes through three, hands-on, physical, institutional, very real structures—the family, the church, and the civil government—along with other non-institutional relationships as well, i.e., the marketplace, the arts, athletics, science, etc

As we immerse ourselves in the details of this spiritual truth, which I believe is the LAW OF GOD in the Bible, we must always remember and constantly apply John 1:17: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Thus, the law of God was given to Moses to show us our sin and “kill us,” but that same law of God, APPLIED BY GRACE in Jesus Christ is the TRUTH OF GOD, that gives life and brings in the Kingdom!

Here is the picture that makes The Truth understandable, consumable, and allows us to determine if we, indeed, are living in it::

God ordained the first institution, the family, at creation (Genesis 2:24), then the civil government immediately after the Flood (Genesis 9:5, 6), and finally the church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:).

Notice running along the lines signifying Jesus’ delegation of His Kingdom to these institutions, are three words—authority, responsibility and accountability. They each are a characteristic that identifies the Kingdom, and each institution has all three characteristics. If an institution lacks any of them, it is not yet a Kingdom institution.

It is very important to note that each of the three institutions are equally independent from the others in regards to these defining characteristics. None has any authority, responsibility or accountability in its relation to the others, and each receives directly from, and answers directly to, Jesus Christ This is “sphere sovereignty!”

Let’s look at each institution in terms of these three kingdom characteristics.

The Family.

1. Authority. This means, “Who is in charge?”, i.e., the leader, the one who makes final decisions. “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). This verse completes the “Family” branch of our Ship of the Kingdom diagram’s authority structure. 

Christ, seated on His throne is the head of every man, and the man is, in turn, the head of the woman, i.e., his wife (who is submitted to him “as unto the Lord” Himself – Ephesians 5:22-24). Since children are enjoined to “obey their parents in all things” (Colossians 3:20), this means that a man has complete authority in his family, delegated to him by Jesus Christ, to lead them in the Kingdom of God, Family members yield to that authority, as long as it does not contradict biblical teaching.

2. Responsibility. However, along with that 100% authority comes 100% responsibility. This means that if there are problems in family life, they, unfailingly, lie at the father’s feet. They are “his fault.” He is 100% responsible. 

This does not mean that his wife and children have not sinned or are not personally responsible to God for their own sins, but the well-being of the family unit is totally on the husband’s broad shoulders! Men, if your wife is recalcitrant, resistant or rebellious, it is because you have not loved her with agape love, led her with strong, decisive, decision making, and given your life for her (Ephesians 5:25)! 

When we men face this uncomfortable fact, the solution is not to quietly try harder to do better, but to openly own that sin and transparently repent to those we have sinned against.

3. Accountability. It follows naturally that we men are then accountable to Jesus only. Jesus is not the “head of my family.” I am. He is my Head! I am accountable to Him alone for how I have ruled there.

The Church 

1. Authority. Unlike the family, no single individual is in authority in the biblical church. Rule in the church is given to a corporate body of elders, chosen by the congregation because of their qualifications, to be final decision makers. No, it is not the “lead pastor,” the “first among equals,” or in any way an individual. Jesus is the only Head of His Church. ”Remember THOSE who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct “ (Hebrews 13:7).

2. Responsibility. If authority in the biblical church is corporate, (ultimately the entire church), responsibility for its actions must be corporate as well, (ultimately the entire church). We get the leadership we have chosen! We have no one to blame but ourselves.

3. Accountability. If the church is responsible to Jesus alone through its corporate leadership, it stands to reason that it is accountable to Jesus alone as well. The state has no say whatsoever to the church—what it teaches, where and when it meets, or if it meets at all. The state’s only relationship with the church biblically is to protect it and punish those who attempt to negatively affect it in any way.

The Civil Government 

1. Authority. God gives the civil government the authority to exercise in two, and only two, very important areas of responsibility: 1.) Protecting the law-abider (1 Timothy 2:1-3), and 2.)  Punishing the law-breaker (1 Peter 2:13, 14), both according to the CIVIL CRIMES enumerated for us in the Bible. This does not include sin—sins that are not crimes, such as “hate,” do not lie within civil government’s authority

2. Responsibility. In performing these two tasks of protecting and punishing that God has given the civil government to perform, God has given His law to do so. Primarily, it is used by the government as a fence to hold us in check and keep us from destroying ourselves. This is called the external use of the law  (Galatians 3:23). 

3. Accountability. The civil government is accountable to Jesus and must never succumb to the temptation all civil governments face. That is to use its power to expand its activities far beyond its prescribed assignment to protect law keepers and punish lawbreakers. This tendency by the civil government, left unchecked, is invariably the ultimate death knell of a constitutional republic.

Next week we will examine the horizontal lines in the diagram, the relationships between the institutions..

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