Follow the Leader

God’s plan from the beginning of creation was to entrust responsibility to His people so that they might fill the whole earth with glory-reflecting image bearers who strive to make the whole earth a glory-yielding garden for the glory of His Name.

“Let us make man in Our image…” This is the imago Dei (image of God.) What does the Bible mean that we were created in the image of God? Think about it? Does it mean that we were made in the image of God? 

To be created in the image of God means that we have been designated to be his representatives and agents in the world, with the authority to share in God’s rule of the earth.We are to reflect His image. We are to spread His glory.

There is a sense in which we have dignity because we are created in the image of God. That is why we refer to the “sanctity of life.” We have value because we were created in the image of God. But more than just dignity, we have a duty because we were created in the image of God. Listen, Jesus Christ came for more than just your personal salvation. He came to reclaim and restore the image of God. God’s mission is to expand God’s glory. Man was created to be an agent of spreading that glory. And from the very beginning, God has set in motion a plan to spread His glory. Here are the commands of God…

“Be fruitful and multiply…”

“Fill the earth…”

“Subdue it…”

“Rule over it…”

God, the Creator, enlisted mankind as image-bearers that would partner with God in extending His rule and His reign over the entire earth. Our initial commission, prior to the Fall of Man, was to serve as kingdom builders working for the King of Kings. Multiplying. Filling. Subduing. Ruling. Prior to the Fall, God have humanity a commission which reveals his purpose for mankind. Create life with image bearers. Cultivate the earth so that more image bearers can grow. Subdue the earth. Rule over it.

This decree is absolutely mind-boggling! The matchless unfathomable God of the universe chose to reveal His glory to the world. And, if this was not enough, He determined to reveal Himself primarily in and through humans. In an unimaginable expression of grace, God has made it so created man can experience firsthand the majesty and glory of the Uncreated One and spread that glory through all of Creation. God not only created us to bring Him glory and to behold His glory, but He made us to find our fullest joy in sharing His glory. He commissioned us not only to be Kingdom dwellers, but also Kingdom builders.

So, God’s first precious words to His image bearers were given to set in motion this fantastic commission: to lead creation in honoring God and to fill it with more image bearers who would reflect God’s rightful rulership over all the earth. We were designed to cultivate, care for, and to lead creation and creature alike to flourish according to God’s design and to spread God’s glory.

This leads us to the call of God: The primary purpose for our existence is to make known the glory of God by leading others to flourish in God’s design. The goal of all creatures, all gifts, and all people is to magnify the matchless glory of God throughout the universe. Paul says it like this, in Romans 11:36, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Everything we do, every moment we experience, every resource at our disposal is a tool to show the cosmos the greatness of the God who reigns above. In exactly that way, God has given the gift of Kingdom building to Adam. To you. To the Church. God’s purpose in Creation was to commission humanity to manifest God’s glory by exercising dominion and extending his rulership through fruitful cultivation and multiplication.

The Fall of Man forever changed the world. In an incredible act of treason, the First Man and Woman elevated themselves beyond Kingdom builders to a place of King by asserting their will over the will of God. The commission was broken, and a curse was given. Mankind was driven out of the garden into a cruel, broken world. The commission was broken on the part of man, but the mission of God did not cease!

The Garden of Eden was then evacuated, perfection was marred, Creation was corrupted. Man was expelled from the Garden, but the commission of God remained. Be fruitful. Multiply. Fill the earth. Take dominion. Rule. The Kingdom no longer existed in perfection as it did in the Garden, but man continued to be the image bearers of God. Man still had a part to play in extending God’s righteous rule over the earth.

  • After the Flood, God said to Noah, “be fruitful and multiply. Teem upon the earth.”
  • To Abram, God said, “your descendants will be more numerous than the stars in the heavens.
  • To Moses, God said, ““If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenants, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
  • To David, God said, ““Your throne shall be established forever.”

But like Adam, Noah failed, Abram failed, Moses failed, and David failed. And in the most shocking decision in all of human history, God renewed His creative work by sending His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be the God-Man. The Scripture calls Jesus the “Second Adam.” Jesus Christ was not an image bearer of God; He was the exact image of God. Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…” Not an image bearer…the icon, the exact image, God Himself into the womb of a woman!

And what did Jesus come to do? He came to finish the work that Adam, Noah, Moses, and David could not do: to establish the Kingdom of God on earth so that all the earth could see the glory of God! Jesus came to build a Kingdom.

His very first sermon was simply this, Matthew 4:17 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” So simple, and yet so profound. You see, despite what you might think, God’s purpose in sending Jesus Christ was not simply about your salvation; it was about the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Your salvation is a by-product of the never-ending mission of God to bring glory to His name.

Notice how Jesus’ message is a continuation of the message John the Baptist preached. Matthew 3:1 says, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…”

Then Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Two men. One message.

What does repentance mean? It means to turn away from something and turn to something. Listen, turn from something and turn to something. Jesus tells you what you are to turn towards. (The Kingdom of heaven, which more than a place is a person, for where the King is, there the Kingdom is). We are to turn toward the King and the Kingdom. But what are we to turn away from? We are to turn away from being our own King building our own kingdom.

We all have the urge to call our own shots. We all have the desire to determine for ourselves what is meaningful or worthwhile. We have this desire to be in charge of our own lives. It all goes back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Even wanted to be King and Queen of their own kingdom, rather that submitting to the rightful rule and reign of God. That’s our tendency. That is the inertia that pulls us.

So Jesus begins His ministry by saying, “Repent.” Turn away from building your own Kingdom and come join mine! Jesus calls us to repent from building our own kingdom. We are called to realign our life with His. Instead of living to pursue your own pleasure, or attain your own glory, we get to be swept up in the greatest story that has ever been told, serving the greatest King that has ever lived, while building the greatest Kingdom the world will ever know.

The Kingdom of God is a real Kingdom. It’s not a castle made out of sand. It’s not a throne made out of wood. It’s not a crown that will tarnish and rust. It is about a King who lived, and died, and rose again and now will rule over all the earth!

So repentance is leaving behind our own kingdom and living in His. The chief end of your salvation is not your rescue from hell, but your restoration as an image bearer of God to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue the earth, and rule over the earth as an ambassador of the King of Kings telling the whole world the Good News of the Kingdom.

Your salvation puts you in the construction business. Your calling is to be a Kingdom Builder so that the glory of God will extend to the ends of the earth.

We are not here to pass a test, pass the time, pass the plate, until we pass away!We are builders, building for a King! How is the Kingdom built? Exactly the way that Jesus built it. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It is calling people, through vocal and visible witness, to stop building their own sinful kingdom and to join the Kingdom of God.

It’s about telling them that Jesus is a different kind of King who took on the very plight of His subjects to provide a way out of the mess they had made for themselves. It’s telling them that your King took off His royal robes, and took on human flesh. He stepped down from heaven, in the womb of a woman. He cares for them, is accessible to them, loves them.

It’s about telling them that Jesus is a King who got down into the mess of humanity who went to the ultimate lengths to seek and save the lost, and to restore people back to His Kingdom. Jesus is the best king imaginable. He is perfectly wise, and perfectly God, and is always working everything for the best of those who follow Him.

Jesus is the one through whom God has spoken to all humanity.

Jesus is the exact expression of the nature of God.

Jesus is the one who made the worlds.

Jesus is the one who is making everything right.

Jesus is the one who saves.

Jesus is the one who lives.

Jesus is the one who washes away our sins.

Jesus is the one who conquered sin, death, and the grave.

There is no other king like Him. This is our message! Turn your back on your own kingdom. Repent. Turn towards the Kingdom of Heaven by bowing your knee to King Jesus!

Are you part of the Kingdom of God? Are you proclaiming the Kingdom of God?

Are you in the business of kingdom consumption? Or are you in the business of kingdom construction?

2019 can be, will be, must be the year that EBC engages in building the Kingdom of God for His glory’s sake. There can be no greater calling. There must be no greater commitment. This must be the year that you transition from simply coming to church, to constructing a Kingdom. It must be the year that you move from consumption to construction. It must be the year that you move from visiting a church to volunteering in Kingdom expansion. It must be the year you move from sitting to serving.

We want to move sitters to servants. Servants to disciples. Disciples to developers.  

Friends. Hear my heart. We are not just called to believe in a King. We are called to build a Kingdom.


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