Christianity is not a movement. A movement is an effort by a group of people to cause change in the world that is only measured as a success or a fail in this world. The reason why Christianity is not a movement is because we are about a reality that will not be fulfilled in this world, nor can it be.
We never really own any real estate in this world, nor do we ever have any power in this world as a movement. Our success is not measured by eradicating poverty, rather, in being those who are poor in spirit. Our success is not measured by establishing laws passed by our governments, rather, in being those who have God’s Law written upon our hearts. Our vindication will be at the judgment day. As those who present before God an honest and good heart, by faith and repentance through our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is popular today to think of Christianity as a movement because there are some similarities to the purpose of the church. We are a people, the people of God, who are of one mind, seeking to see something realized. We want people to be saved and to make disciples. Yet, our success is not measured in this life, but the next.
Unfortunately, for the evangelical church, there are many teaching that Christianity is a movement, no different than other movements. They want to be relevant in the eyes of the world and they think that there is really something more than just seeing people saved. It has become popular to teach that the purpose of Christianity is to dominate the world with or without personal conversions. So called Christians are caught up in a movement to place Christians in high places of government and business, as though this made a difference in our fallen world.
The problem with this view is that it corrupts or makes carnal the kingdom of God. If we seek and do “succeed” in obtaining the power of a movement in this world we necessarily separate ourselves from the true kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
Jesus was being examined by Pilate and He spoke these words in His defense of being a king. A type of king that Pilate could not understand because Pilate was a man of this world. If there was ever a time in which we as the people of God should have taken up arms to defend Christ or advance a kingdom of God on earth, it was at this time. Jesus clearly says that His kingdom is not of this world.
That means that Jesus’ kingdom is not measured by this world and that His kingdom is and is coming. It is a present reality only in a spiritual form and it will be full reality in glory.
Hear what our Lord Jesus teaches in the parables about the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
Jesus says that this world will necessarily be a time in which the people of God will have to endure the presence of an enemy. This world is full of darkness and it will be so until ‘the harvest.’ We must not revert to some sort of movement that is about dominating over the enemy. Jesus says, “Allow both to grow together until the harvest….” If we make it our purpose to end poverty, to stop the practice of sin, or any other social work, we will be putting ourselves in opposition to our Lord’s decree.
Notice what Jesus says when He explains this parable.
Matthew 13:36-43 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
The perfecting of the kingdom of God will come when our Lord returns, after the great judgment.
Others will object, saying that the parable between these two texts implies that God’s kingdom will have dominance upon this earth.
Matthew 13:31,32 He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.”
Again, remember, that Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world. That it is not measured by how much real estate we own or by how many political leaders we have in our cause. This parable is about how the kingdom of heaven dominates a single person, not that that person, here likened to a tree, makes the other plants to be right before God. Though our beginning is likened to the smallest of seeds, our blessing and growth will be clearly observed by all in the garden.
So also, in the following parable observe this truth.
Matthew 13:33 He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”
The leavening is not the kingdom of heaven removing all traces of the enemy upon this world, but that the one who has the leaven of the kingdom of heaven within them will become completely blessed of God.
Again, in the following passage, our Lord Jesus Christ acknowledges that this world will always have poverty, but the one thing that we must have above all else is Him. Even our Lord Himself places Himself over any earthly movement.
Mark 14:7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.
February 14, 2021 – Psalm 86