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-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Rodney Hogue <rodhogue@aol.com> http://www.icgrace.org
Editors: Teresa Seputis, Earlene Bown
Transcribers: Sharon Farris, Rita Joyce, Erma Kummerer, Fred Pekkonen

Prayer-School Course #32

Grace and Christian Values

By Rodney Hogue

Lesson 9
Advancing The Kingdom Of God

I am using the word "grace" as an acronym in this teaching to identify five important values for the church. The "G" stands for "God's Presence" and our pursuit of Him. We talked about that in lessons 1 to 4. The "R" stands for "Restoration of Souls," and we talked about that in lessons 5 to 8. Now we are on to the "A." And that stands for "Advancing God's Kingdom."

God is in the business of bringing His kingdom on earth. We know this because in the Lord's Prayer that He gave to His disciples He basically said this, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

We do not have to debate whether we should be calling on God to advance His kingdom on earth. That is not a matter of debate. That is a sure thing. It is right there in the Word. He asks us to pray this because we are supposed to be participating in His kingdom here on this earth.

Oftentimes, people think the main objective is simply to see how big they can build their church. If you hang out with pastors at all, that is all they think about. They think that if a lot of people come on Sunday mornings, the offerings are up, and programs are expanding, they think their church is a success. The community can be going to hell, righteousness not pervading the land. But if everyone is going good in the house, they feel like they are a success. But that is not how God defines "success." Success is not in building the local house, but in building the kingdom of God.

On a practical side, we really do need to build the house a bit in order to equip the people to penetrate the systems of this world. But the reason we give any attention to building the house should be simply to help facilitate the equipping of people so we can penetrate these kingdoms and these systems in the world. That is the church's job and that is why we should focus upon that.

It is not that I am against church growth. That is okay and I am all for that. However, it has to be in relationship to advancing His kingdom. Church growth that comes solely from attracting those who already Christians and who already worship somewhere else to come worship and tithe at your church is not a good thing. That is not advancing God's kingdom at all; it is merely relocating existing resources. But church growth that comes from making new converts is an excellent thing. In other words, are the fruits of the kingdom penetrating the kingdom and our culture around us? That is the question. The reason the Church is here is to change our culture to better line up with the Kingdom of God. We are not here to just sit around and wait for the rapture. Many times, that is what the church thinks. They think "I'm just going to bide my time. I am going to crawl into my hole and say, 'Lord, protect and keep me safe until You come.'" But we need to be actively expanding God's kingdom.

Rev. 11:15 says, "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'"

That passage shows us what God is really doing on planet earth; He is bringing all the kingdoms of God underneath the feet of Jesus. Ultimately, when Jesus comes again everything will be brought underneath His feet. Therefore, the kingdom is about the reign of God, the rule of God. It is talking about the sphere in which God rules. It is really talking about the place of jurisdiction.

Our world is made up of all kinds of different kingdoms. We can call these systems, or kingdoms. They are places where we as a church are called to penetrate. We need to have a WD-40 anointing. You know, WD-40 is that which penetrates. It lubricates. It breaks loose what which has been frozen. God has called His church to walk in a WD-40 anointing to penetrate the systems of this world and to bring righteousness into these systems. God has called us to change the culture, to bring everything into cooperation with the Lord Jesus, to bring everything under the feet of Jesus.

Let me give you some illustrations of this. John Calvin was one of the reformers, part of the reformation with Martin Luther. He did something very unique in Geneva, Switzerland. He took the principles he learned from Luther from the reformation and applied these into the financial industry, into the baking industry in Switzerland. He began to regulate interest rates, allowing for people who could not normally afford to be able to start businesses or build a house. In other words, our modern financial banking system has its roots in the reformation. How we do business financially, has its roots with God. That's where it kind of started.

Educational systems In the USA? Where did they begin? It began with the church. Why did it begin? Because the church wanted people to be able to read the Bible. You see, there was no emphasis; nations were not having schools to equip everyone to read; only the few got to read. All of a sudden, the church realized that everybody needed to read the Bible. They wanted people literate so that people could read the Bible. Consequently, they started kindergartens and grade-schools. They began these schools in order to educate people so that they could read the Word of God. Ministers started the major universities in the United States, in the very beginning, almost all of these. Some of the most prestigious universities in the United States were started by ministers, and they were started for the purpose of training ministers. The first president of Princeton was Jonathan Edwards, who was a revivalist. These universities began in order to equip and to train ministers to propagate the good news of Jesus Christ.

You see, what happened is that we began to give up the territory that we had gained. Somewhere in the 1930's, there was a repulsion with all the liberalism that was taking place in the university system. Rather than going in there and restoring things back where they should be, we simply just withdrew. The fruit of the kingdom of God in Romans 14:17 says, "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Whenever we are doing our job of invading the systems of the world with the kingdom of God, we are bringing righteous, peace and joy to these systems. That is the fruit. That is the evidence. What the church did, rather than taking the schools back, was to say, "Let's retreat. We are going to start our own."

Many schools, bible schools and bible colleges began around the 1930's and 1940's. The reason for this is that they were just reacting to the world. They did not take and seize those things and bring them back into order under the kingdom of God and His rule and reign. Instead, they just said, "We are just going to let that go and do our own thing."

Yet, God has called us to be salt and light to the earth. He said, "You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world." He did not say, "You are something like salt. You have the appearance of light." You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. You are salt and you are light. You are supposed to be these things. Therefore, God has called us to penetrate the systems of this world. There is the government system, there is the educational system, there is the medical system, there is the entertainment system, there is the sport's system, and there is the religious system. God has called the church to be very active in penetrating these systems. What we have done is simply relegated them to other people. We have pulled back, done our own thing. Because of that, where there has been a void, the enemy has taken hold and taken control.

A lot of the time, the church originally held these systems, but they lost interest in them over time, gave up on them and abandoned them. Then the devil moved in and took them over for his own dark purposes. The church should not have given them up in the first place, but we did. So now it is time to move in and take them back for the kingdom of God.

Believers should be affecting their government for God's kingdom. This is true for all believers in all nations. But since I am from the United States, I am going to use some examples from my own nation for this teaching.

If you go to Washington, DC, my nations's capital, you will see God everywhere! When you walk onto the rotunda you'll see all these pictures of preachers, bibles, crosses, people praying… right there on the rotunda! The rotunda used to be a church up until the late 1800's. They held church every Sunday there. The military band was the worship team. You go into the rotunda of the nation's capital and see the statues. One is a statue of one of our Presidents in the 1800's. Before he was a President, he was an evangelist. You go through and take a right and you go in to see a man who was a pastor. He helped formulate the Bill of Rights. His brother was a pastor too and served in the army in the revolutionary war gallantly. Their father was the chaplain to George Washington. You see God everywhere in there, He is all through there!

When you go into the Supreme Court Building, you see Roman numerals one to ten. Those numbers represent the Ten Commandments. God is all through this place! I was a history major in college and a lot of that stuff never made it into my history books.

"Oh no," they said, "there's got to be the separation of church and state." Do you know where that comes from, where that began? It began with Thomas Jefferson, one of the early Presidents of our country. What happened was that a group wrote to him (I believe it was a Baptist group). They were afraid. They did not want this government to have a state religion like the Church of England, one that was a state-sponsored, state-paid religion. In England, everybody belonged to the Church of England. Not anything else was acceptable. They did not want the United States to do the same thing. Therefore, he wrote this statement. It was just a statement he wrote in a letter, that is all it was! He wrote about the separation of church and state so that the state could not impose religion in a state-sponsored way. He never said in there that religion could not affect government, because they all did! It was the way it was. It was, like normal, that we had preachers and ministers.

Look into the history of the Supreme Court. They would meet, and after they would meet, if they were convicting somebody to death for something, they would have a gospel presentation and lead that person to Jesus before they went out and hung him. It is in the records. It is in the history books. You have to read the journals. They did that! You can see that permeated our country and was all throughout our country. Moreover, that is the way the church was. The church penetrated the government. It penetrated every avenue of society. It penetrated the educational system. The church operated that way. Somewhere along the lines, we pulled back and said "No, we don't want to be involved in there anymore!" And we turned everything to the government. Any time there is a void, the enemy comes in and fills it. We're not about doing the Father's business.

Now it is time to change all of that.

-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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