When Jesus announces in Mark 1:14 that “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” The Holy Spirit gives hearing and response to Jesus’ announcement and the church is birthed. It’s Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom that draws our community forward toward the day when God’s reign will be fully established on earth again and calls us to enter into the kingdom now as God’s kingdom people. In this way, the church is a both a preview of what is to come and an agent of renewal as the eternal kingdom of God is established among us. The prayer of Habakkuk captures our heart’s desire as we anticipate the fulfillment of God’s kingdom.
“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” – Habakkuk 3:2
Who we seek to be and all we desire to do is in response to Jesus’ announcement that the kingdom is at hand and the declaration that our Creator God is making all things new. As the Holy Spirit gives hearing and response at Jesus’ announcement we are ourselves enter the process of being made new. Discipleship is the word we use for this process of renewal and formation. And discipleship is the primary way Jesus has invited us to participate in the kingdom.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
Our primary mission as a church is to make disciples of Jesus in order that more and more people may receive and enter into the kingdom of God announced by Jesus.