There are five main institutions involving authority that are important for the Kingdom of God. We know about the church. Christians should also be involved in several other areas of authority.

1. The Family

God explicitly established three human institutions that will exercise dominion on the earth. The family is central and vital. The church and the state are necessary because of sin; they are redemptive institutions. The family is a pre-redemptive institution. Had sin never entered, there would still have been families, but no church or state. The family is the central institution in God's plan.

The family has an important role in exercising authority. When a man becomes a Christian, if his wife and children accept his authority, then his whole family becomes part of the Kingdom of God (1 Cor 7:14).

The yellow arrow represents Authority to God. The blue arrow represents authority exercised in opposition to God. Sometimes the authority (arrow) is mixed.

If the children control the family, as sometimes happens, then the family is outside the Kingdom; even if the father is a Christian.

The family is an important training ground for exercising authority. In fact, if a man cannot exercise authority in his family, then he should not be appointed to a position of authority in any other institution (1 Tim 3:5).

Children learn about authority in the family (Prov 13:24). Parents teach about authority by:

A new Christian, learns about authority by exercising it in his family (1 Tim 3:4). Once he has learned about it in the family, he is ready to be given authority in other institutions.

The family is just one area of authority that is important for the Government of God.

2. Business

The business world is a key area of authority that has been neglected by Christians.

Christians spends about a third of their lives at work. Usually this will be in a business of some kind. They need to understand how this relates to the Government of God.

Even the lowliest person in a business organisation has some authority. They have authority over the way that they do their work and over there own actions (for example, when dealing with customers). If they obey Jesus as they exercise their authority, that part of the business becomes part of the Kingdom of God (even if all the rest of the staff are not Christians).

Principles for obeying Jesus in the workday world.

  1. We should obey those who are in authority over us with sincerity and respect (Eph 6:5-7).

  2. We should serve wholeheartedly as if we were serving the Lord (Eph 6:7,8; John 13:1-7; Mark 10:42-45).

  3. We should submit to authority above us. Too many Christians snipe at those above them and undermine their authority.

In New Zealand it is unlikely that our employers will ask us to disobey God in our work. In other parts of the world, people may be asked to steal from others. If the conflict between obeying our employer and obeying Jesus becomes too great, a Christian may need to resign and find other work (Acts 5:29).

Managers

If a Christian is promoted to a position of greater authority, this expands the Government of God in that business. All the people over whom they have authority become part of the Kingdom of God while they are submitted to the Christian manger. (The yellow area has expanded. The arrows are a mixed colour because some of the staff who are not Christians will not always do what the Christian manger asks.)

Principles for Managers

  1. Being a manager is very hard. There is very little Christian teaching on this role. The church should be studying and preparing teaching for Christians who are appointed to management or supervisory positions in business. Too often it is assumed that a Christian will know what to do in a new position.

  2. The spiritual power behind the position must be dealt with. Spirits attach to positions of authority more of than to a geographic place. (We tend to pray for houses, but the spirits are more connected with ownership and control of the house). Unless the previous manager was a Christian walking in righteousness, he will have released evil spirits onto the position. In any area where the he had submitted to evil, matching spirits will have established themselves in the position. They will have to be forced out. If these spirits are not dealt with, the new manager will find it very hard, unless he is not vulnerable to the same sin. (This is why the Kings of Israel continued in the sins of their fathers (1 Kings 15:34)).

  3. The church should pray for Christian managers in the business world. They are often under more intense spiritual pressure than Christians in full-time ministry in the church.

  4. Christians in high positions often give up on Christianity, because they are unable to reconcile their business life and their Christian life. They are often criticised for spending all their time in the world. They need understanding of how their work relates to the government of God and the authority of Jesus.

  5. Christians involved in the world of business should beware of the "deceitfulness of riches" (Mark 4:19). They can easily be distracted from serving Christ and end up serving money.

  6. Management at any level of business is one of the most important ministries. In the modern world, business is the place where most authority resides. There is probably authority in the business world than there is in the church. Exercising this authority for Jesus is an important ministry.

  7. Christians should be seeking positions of authority, if they are called by God. Business is an honourable calling.

  8. All human authority is limited and subject to boundaries. Even the CEO of a business has limits on their authority. The board of directors, bankers, shareholders, and the law limit what they can do.

  9. Customers also have authority. They place limits on what business can do.

  10. Those at the lower levels in the business have less authority and less freedom. Those at higher levels have more freedom and more authority. (The yellow has spread to all areas of the business. If the chief executive officer is a Christian and his authority is accepted the entire business becomes part of the kingdom.)

  11. Christian managers will exercise authority in a different way from most managers in the world. They will not try to dominate or control. They will not be obsessed with image or status. They will not use people to advance their own careers. Instead they will try to develop the full potential of their staff. They will give them freedom and responsibility to make decisions, within the broad, standards, goals and values of the business. Decisions will be pushed as far down in the hierarchy as possible. People will be treated with dignity and decency. The church should be developing and mentoring Christian models of leadership and management.

  12. Christian managers will attempt to replicate their ministries. They will train up the managers under them, so that they can be sent out to exercise authority and leadership in other businesses. A Christian business should develop a reputation as a good place from which to recruit mangers. An apostolic approach to management will also help expand the Government of God.

The Church and Business

  1. The modern church tends to have a truncated, church-centred vision. The focus is on revival, which is church centred. If the focus were more on the Government of God, the importance of business would be better understood.

  2. Pastors often see business and work as an enemy that is stopping Christians from doing church work.

  3. Most churches see business as a source of money for the church and a place for evangelism. Christians in business will be a good source of both giving and evangelism. If that is all that happens, business is just serving the church. The church should be looking for ways to serve those who are serving God in the business world.

  4. Christians often see business as part of the world. Business is seen as the centre of the world system. In the western world, this is true. Consumerism has been led by business. The reason that business has become so worldly is that Christians have stayed out of business. However, if we desert an area of life, we can expect that it will not become evil. It does not have to be that way. Business is a powerful vehicle for achieving results. It can be used just as effectively for achieving good goals. For example, most of the technological advances in the modern world have been developed by businesses. Whether the impact of business is good or evil depends on the values and goals of the people who own and manage the business.

  5. The church needs to recover a kingdom vision. The great commission was just a re-statement of the original (cultural) mandate given to Adam and Eve (Gen 1:27,28). God didn't need to say, "all authority on heaven and earth has been given to me". This was clear from Gen 1:1-25. His authority came from the fact that he was the creator. God gave mankind two tasks.

      • Multiply and fill the earth.
      • Subdue and rule the earth.

    The first task can be done by families; with help from the church, where they need converting. However families, government and the church can't complete the task of subduing the earth on their own. A large part of this task will be done by businesses

  6. Business provides an opportunity to for Christians to exercise authority. Often they will not be able to get positions of authority in the government, but any Christian with a good idea for something that people want, can be successful in business.

  7. The modern church tends to be imperialistic. Everything has to flow into it, or it is not interested. The church tends to want the best people. When a person becomes a Christian, the pastor immediately tries to find a place to use him in the church. Instead the church should have an apostolic vision. It should train people up (many useful skills can be learnt in the church), and send them out to work in the business world. For example, the church has some really good musicians. It should be sending the best of these out to work in the secular music industry. The direction of the flow should be reversed, so that the church is sending good people out to the business world.

  8. I believe that some men, who are currently working as pastors, could have an even greater impact in the business world. A pastor, who has a vision to have a very large organisation, may have skills that God could use better in the world of business.

  9. Many men find church boring. The reason is that the church is focussed on people and relationships. Only a small proportion of men are called to pastoral work. Most men need the excitement and challenge of achieving a demanding goal. Many will only find their fulfilment in the business world.

Small Business

A business does not become Christian by giving it a Christian name. A business becomes Christian, when the person in authority obeys God.

The owner of a small business has considerable authority over this staff. Even if they are not Christians, they have to do things his way. While they obey him and accept his standards, they are part of the Government of God.

Media

The music, movie and media industries are very important business activities. Christians have tended to retreat from these activities because they are considered to be evil. As a result they have become evil. This is a mistake because these activities have authority over the minds of future generations. We ignore them at our peril. For the Kingdom of God to be established, Christians will have to get back into these activities.

A Christian in position of authority in a media organisation expands the influence of the Government of God. If the staff, who are not Christians, accept the authority of the Christian manager or owner, they are also accepting the authority of God, sometimes without knowing.

We should be careful about establishing "Christian" media, or a "Christian" music industry or "Christian" movies. The danger is that these become ghettoes, which combine high moral standards with low technical quality and have no impact on the world. A better approach is to see the "Christian" equivalent as a training ground, from which, Christians can be sent out to have an impact in the (currently) secular music, film and media industries. For example, a Christian Radio Station with an apostolic vision would send out its best people to work in other non-Christian radio stations.

Fuzzy Edges

The boundary of the Kingdom can be fuzzy. Non-christians workers who submit to the authority of a supervisor, who is a Christian, are part of the Government of God while they are at work. If they disobey his authority, they step out of the Kingdom. When they go home, or to the pub at lunch time, they are outside the Kingdom. They move in and out of the Kingdom of God.

Business Goals

As businesses come into the Government of God, their goals will change dramatically. The modern business often seeks to manipulate demand for its products by seductive advertising. They often seek to make a profit at all costs. A business that is part of the Kingdom of God will:

  1. concentrate on meeting the real needs of consumers

  2. treat employees well

  3. use its resources efficiently

  4. care for God's creation

  5. Return a profit

  6. make the world a better place.

3. The Civil Government

The civil government is a key area of authority, but is another area that the church has retreated from. As a result many, once Christian, countries are now governed by anti-Christian governments.

Christians should be involved in politics. We may not be able to get much authority, immediately. However, we need to get involved now and learn, so we will be ready when the opportunity comes. Those who serve now, will become leaders later. Both Joseph and Daniel served for a long time before they became political leaders.

We should study the Scriptures and develop a Christian position on every political issue. We may need to learn off non-Christians. The church is a long way behind in developing responses to political and economic issues. We should not be triumphialist, saying, "Listen to us, we have all the answers." We should get stuck in and serve long term, doing the hard yards and earning respect.

Christians who get invovled in politics should never forget that politics is generally the cause of the problem. Politics is rarely the solution

Christians may need to use democracy to bring in the Kingdom, but once the kingdom of God, democracy should disappear.

Authority should always be moved down as much as possible and distributed as widely as posible. Decentralisation of government authority will be important in a Christian society. Good judges applying God's law will be the main form of government.

A policeman in Vietnam, confiscating a Bible from a Christian, said; You can't keep that, Bibles are propaganda against the Government. Christians in the West do not understand this truth.

The Legal System

The legal system is an important area of authority. Judges hold very significant authority, but like all authority, it is limited. Judges must implement the laws of the nation.They can interpret the law in a Christian way, but some of laws will be contrary to the Word of God.

The Christian influence in the judicial system can be expanded by Christians developing careers in the law so there are more Christian judges

A combination biblical law and godly judges will place the legal system entirely under the authority of God.

Authority from below

Authority in the Kingdom of God always come from below. This is the Christian way. Jesus could have called a legion of angels to enforce his rulership, but chose not to (Matthew 26:53). He wanted voluntary obedience. He did not want coerced obedience.

In the Government of God there is no coercion. It is based on voluntary submission to authority. There are only three places where coercion is allowed.

    1. Parents have authority to coerce children. This is necessary for their protection, but this should not be a control thing. As children mature and are able to manage there own lives coercion will become less necessary and freedom increased.

    2. Judges have power to punish criminals.

    3. Military leaders can repel invading armies.

In each of these two situations coercion is allowed, but only in very limited circumstances. All other authority should come from below.

The role of civil government should be limited to defence and punishment of crime. It will not promise to solve all the problems of the nation, so it will not need the enormous powers that modern governments have accumulated. Authority will always be as decentralised as possible. People will be given as much freedom as possible, subject only to the limits of biblical law.

As the influence of Christianity increases the role of the civil government will shrink. Murder and theft will decline, so the need for the sword will diminish. Defence may still be important.

Christians can only exercise authority in the civil government if they have the support of most citizens. God will never force people to obey him. Evangelism must come first. Only when evangelism has been successful and hearts are loyal to God can the civil government be brought into the Government of God.

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