The Always Advancing Kingdom
© 2021 Philip M Spence
The following is an excerpt from the book The Always Advancing Kingdom. To download your copy, go to Amazon.com or click the button below:
Not every believer is called or graced to be an Apostle (Romans 1:5). Neither is every believer called or graced to be a Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist or Pastor. In the same way, not everyone is called to hospitality, mercy ministry, or to be a leader, or administrator. But, all believers can and should become apostolic people (1 Corinthians 12:29-30).
Jesus sent His second group of seventy disciples out to towns and villages where He was planning to go. They were to do something akin to what John the Baptist did; they were to prepare the way for Jesus to travel through these regions to announce and advance His Kingdom. They were sent in pairs as ambassadors of King Jesus, heralding the coming of the King to the people of these towns (Luke 10:1-11).
Interestingly, Jesus didn’t specifically give them the same power and authority as He gave the twelve Apostles. However, He did command them to heal the sick, but their primary role was to announce Jesus who would come after them (Luke 10:1).
He Appointed Them to Fulfil a Task
Jesus chose and appointed this team of seventy people out of the crowds that followed Him. The number seventy is an important number in the word of God and in Jewish culture. It signifies foundational things including the multiplication of God’s purposes.
When Israel was traveling from Egypt to Canaan, they were led by Moses who was commissioned by the Lord. Around him were a group of people such as Aaron, Hur, Miriam, Joshua, Nadab and Abihu. This group seems like a similar team to Jesus' twelve disciples.
Moses’ father in law assisted him with national structure and systems by helping him to delegate and appoint people at all levels of their society to administrate and take the load off Moses. Most churches, businesses and other organisations are structured in similar fashion.
God spoke to Moses, telling him to select seventy elders who he knew and who were respected by the people. These seventy people were not just second tier leadership; God dispersed the same spirit or grace that was on Moses to these people, and through them to the whole congregation of God’s people. These appointments ensured that the DNA was multiplied, the values were instilled, and the focus could not be pulled away to things other than God’s purposes (Numbers 11:16-25).
Jesus made a strategic statement by sending out the seventy disciples. He was signalling that the foundation of His Kingdom was not just laid by His preaching and teaching. It also was not only founded in the twelve men now known as Apostles. And, it consisted of more than powerful preaching, gracious teaching and miracles.
Jesus was indicating that His Kingdom was increasing and advancing, and that apostolic people would continue to multiply. They would maintain His DNA, carry and promote the values of His Kingdom, and remained focussed on fulfilling His will. These appointments were the key to further advancement of the Kingdom.
He Sent Them Ahead of Him
Jesus sent the seventy to towns that He was planning to visit. They were to promote His coming after them and to give the people a taste of what would happen when Jesus Himself came to town, by healing the sick. The miraculous expressions of the power of God not only confirm the Gospel of the Kingdom but also heralded the King (Luke 10:1).
This principle of those who go before to pave the way for others who will come later reoccurs in the Book of Acts. We see this with Philip the Evangelist being sent from Jerusalem to the cities of Samaria. He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, people were delivered and healed, many came into the Kingdom, and there was great joy in the city.
Philip was followed by the Apostles Peter and John who prayed for all the believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. Their apostolic grace exposed Simon the Sorcerer, breaking the strongholds in his life, and also breaking his stronghold over the cities (Acts 8:4-25).
True, mature Apostles make a way for apostolic people, but apostolic people also go before Apostles. They then come alongside apostolic people to do more than they have done because of the authority and grace Apostles carry. This doesn’t make Apostles better than apostolic people; it simply means everyone has a part to play, and we are accountable for the authority and grace God bestows upon us.
He Told Them the Realities of Their Commission
The commission of apostolic people, and indeed every believer, is to be always purpose driven. Our focus and commitment must be to fulfil the mandate of the King no matter the obstacles, opposition, or discomfort. The purpose of the Kingdom is the one and only purpose we all have. As apostolic people we are to find our place within the King’s all-encompassing purpose for His Kingdom on Planet Earth.
Firstly, this requires apostolic people to be fearless. Jesus told the seventy disciples He was sending out that they would be like lambs amongst wolves (Luke 10:3). Nothing has changed. In fact, Christians are still the most persecuted people on the planet, but where they are most persecuted is where they are the most fearless.
Secondly, apostolic people must always be faith-filled. Like the Apostles they were to not worry about supplies, food, money, or other essentials (Luke 10:4). They were to trust God for everything needed to fulfil Jesus’ commission. They were to depend on the Lord and not on their own planning, resources, or approach to travelling from town to town.
Thirdly, apostolic people must always remain focused. Jesus instructed the seventy disciples to not be distracted by anyone or anything as they travelled (Luke 10:4). They were not to approach this mission the Judaistic way. They were not to revert to their own devices, and they were not to be persuaded one way or another by people they encountered along the road.
He Instructed Them How to Conduct Themselves
Like the twelve Apostles, this group of seventy apostolic people being sent out in pairs were to accept the hospitality that was offered to them. They were to enter and stay in a house for as long as they remained in that location. They were to build relationships and spend enough time there that they would bring about a paradigm shift.
Apostolic people take the culture of the Kingdom wherever they go (Luke 10:5-9). Firstly, they bring peace into situations. Jesus taught that peacemakers are blessed people (Matthew 5:9). He said that He came to bring Heaven’s peace which is different from the world’s idea of peace (John 14:27).
The Prophet Isaiah foretold that Jesus’ reign would never stop increasing and that it would be characterised by peace (Isaiah 9:6-7). This peace guards our hearts, minds, and spirits and is a key indicator that the Kingdom of God is amongst His people (Philippians 4:6-9). If apostolic people carry this peace, they can impart it to others.
The culture of the Kingdom also includes trusting God for all our provision (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:24-33). Our trust in God for provision is based upon His enormous resources that are made available to us. We trust Him by pursuing Him, His Kingdom, and His order of things above all else. Apostolic people demonstrate confidence in God in all things.
Wherever they go, apostolic people also perform miracles (Mark 16:17-18). Because they trust God, their faith causes signs and wonders to occur wherever they are and whoever they may be with. When the supernatural power of God produces miracles, we have a key indicator that the Kingdom of God has come amongst people.
Finally, Jesus instructed the seventy to proclaim that the Kingdom had come to the people who had been hospitable to them. Because the Kingdom of God was within them, they were carriers of the Kingdom and it manifested through them while they were in each location (Luke 17:21). Apostolic people are mobile embassies of the Kingdom of Heaven on Planet Earth. They bring the culture, DNA, values, life and power of the Kingdom wherever they go.
He Instructed Them To Demonstrate the Power of God
The demonstration of God’s power is a natural activity of apostolic people. In conjunction with Apostles, they develop a lifestyle of performing miracles such as healing the sick (Luke 10:9). Miracles, signs and wonders are not the domain of a select few such as Evangelists and Apostles; everyone who believes should have a miraculous lifestyle and ministry (Mark 16:17-18).
It’s time to stop talking about miracles and create a lifestyle of performing miracles. It’s time to stop following people who do miracles and believe for miracles to follow our lives. It’s time to discard religion and embrace a supernatural way of life. Apostolic people are miracle workers whose lifestyle demonstrates the power of God!
He Told Them to Tell People That the Kingdom of God had Come Amongst Them
This was their proclamation: The Kingdom of God is within your grasp (Luke 10:9-11). When the seventy performed miracles, they were to announce that the Kingdom was in the grasp of those who had been healed. When they stayed with families and Kingdom culture permeated the extended family, the Kingdom had come within their grasp.
Whether the people received the message and the messengers, or rejected them, the Kingdom had still come to them and was within their grasp. The message has always been the same, and still is today: The Kingdom has come close to you and everything will now change. If you enter the Kingdom the change will be eternal, filled with God’s blessing, and it will propel you into fulfilling God’s Kingdom purposes in the here and now.