In every recognized country in the world, there is an American embassy. An embassy is fundamentally a little bit of America a long way from home. Embassies are sovereign territories, meaning they do not belong to the countries in which they are located. They belong to the countries they represent.

If you get into trouble in a foreign land, make your way to the American Embassy, because once you cross the gate and enter the realm of its dominion, you are in America again. You are where American law is the rule.

Likewise, the church is supposed to be a little bit of heaven a long way from home. It is to be that place where the values of eternity operate in time. The church is a place where weary people can go to find truth, acceptance, equality, freedom, safety, joy, justice and hope.

Yet how is it possible for the number of churches in our nation to be ever-increasing while the impact of the church is waning? How can we have so much preaching, praising and programs, yet so little demonstrated power? Why does the church merely react to society’s agenda rather than offering a kingdom agenda for society to embrace?

The answers to these questions lie in the reality that the church today bears little resemblance to the kingdom from which we came. This is because we have failed to function from a kingdom perspective. The church has stopped being the biblical church that it was designed to be; as a result, we have limited our impact on contemporary society inside our walls and in the surrounding community. The problem we face in the church today is that we have misunderstood the kingdom, thereby marginalizing its authority and influence not only in our lives but also in our land.

Many in the church have so spiritualized the kingdom that its socio-political rules have become little more than an ethereal ideology to be displayed at a later date. This has led to a reduction of the vast socio-ethical implications in the church, creating an organism the function of which offers little power toward the transformation of society. However, the socio-political nature of the kingdom of God is very real, biblically substantiated and relevant to all of life’s issues.
The contemporary purpose of the church is to be a model for the world operating in the world while providing an alternative to the world. When the church functions as a divine structure operating in a liberating manner according to the way God has ordained it to be, the church sets itself apart as a haven, similar to the embassy.

While there is war in the world, there ought to be peace in the church (Eph. 4:3; Col. 3:14-15), and prayer for peace by the church (1 Tim. 2:1-2). While there is oppression in society, there ought to be liberation and justice in the church (James 2:1-9). While there is poverty in the world, there ought to be voluntary sharing with the goal of meeting existing needs in the church (Acts 2:44-45; 2 Cor. 12:12-24). While there is racism, classism and sexism in the world, there ought to be authentic oneness in the church (Col. 3:11). Thus the world is presented with the option of Christ by being what the church is supposed to be in the world—an alternative model for the world—a community functioning under the rule of God in the mediatory kingdom on earth.

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