A Kingdom Disciple is, quite simply, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. The phrase, Kingdom Discipleship, is my shorthand way of communicating what it means to live faithfully as his follower, under his Lordship, and in his Kingdom. This distinctive is not really mine. It’s neither innovative nor original. However, my goal in emphasizing Kingdom Discipleship is to help Christians understand more fully what God has revealed in and through his Word. It is also my desire to stand squarely in the tradition of our Christian heritage, most especially my own particular lineage of John Wesley.
Jesus Christ is Lord
By using the phrase, Kingdom Discipleship, I wish to remind disciples of Jesus Christ that our call is to faithfully and obediently follow Christ in every sphere of life. I believe this is imperative because Jesus Christ is Lord over every sphere of life. It was God who granted Jesus authority over all heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18) and gave him the name above every name (Phil. 2:9). It would, therefore, run counter to the biblical witness regarding our Lord’s authority, for his followers to live compartmentalized lives. God doesn’t want us to submit to Christ for just 70 or even 95 percent of our lives. He wants all of us. To paraphrase Abraham Kuyper, there is not a square inch in all the universe Christ has not claimed for himself.
Therefore, our call as his followers is to intentionally, faithfully, obediently, and joyfully extend his Kingdom – his rule, reign, will, and influence – into every sphere of our lives (in every area of responsibility, interest, relationship, and authority). Everything, what some might call the common and the uncommon, the sacred and the secular, is to be lived for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31) and according to his will.
God’s Kingly Influence
The influence of the Kingdom of God and of his Christ must come through gracious, loving, and truthful persuasion, modeling, and witness, never through coercion or manipulation. The kind of transformed individual, family, church, state, society, and world God desires will not, indeed, must not come through violent political revolution or rebellion but by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and the subsequent “salt and light influence” of God’s people.
The Local Church
The primary means, humanly speaking, by which God’s Kingdom is extended in this way is through local assemblies of God’s people. It is in and through the local church that the life-giving, mind-renewing, and life-transforming Gospel of the Kingdom is proclaimed, taught, and lived out. It is only as men, women, boys, and girls are reborn by the Spirit of God that they are able to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-8). Then, as they continue to grow in their faith, having their minds renewed and lives transformed, they become better educated, equipped, and encouraged to take this good news of the Kingdom into every sphere of their lives. And just as the woman in Jesus’ parable mixes her yeast into the dough and works it until it permeates all of it (Luke 13:20-21), so too is the Kingdom of God extended into every sphere of life by his disciples.