For the last four weeks we’ve been discussing reading the Bible as story. 70% of the Bible’s text is narrative (story) and the other 30% is communication between the characters in that story. We looked at Scot McKnight’s description of Scripture where he suggests that there are three “chapters,” or clearly defined sections to the Bible’s overarching story. Week have explored theocracy, which is found from Genesis 1 through 1 Samuel 8, and last week we looked at the monarchy, Israel’s rule by earthly kings. This section begins in 1 Samuel 8 and continues through the end of the Old Testament. Simply put, rejecting God never turns out well.
We ended with the question: How have I rejected God as my King, and how has it affected my life? Keep that question in mind as we discuss the final of McKnight’s “chapters”, Christocracy. If you try to look that word up in a standard dictionary you probably won’t have much luck. By Christocracy we mean a body of believers governed directly by the living, resurrected Jesus, the Christ! In the New Testament Jesus said, “…I will build my church…” (Mt. 16:18). The word we have translated as “church” in your Bible is the Greek word ekklesia, and it has absolutely nothing to do with a building. The word simply means assembly, or gathering. What Jesus intends to do is gather and create a people group who are called out of the world’s systems and governments to follow and obey a new King above all, the risen Jesus.
Following King Jesus is a difficult task that must be considered carefully. Consider the following:
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.Luke 14:25-33 NIV (emphasis added)
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
Following King Jesus as part of his ekklesia means allegiance to him above all else. This isn’t a half hearted, fill the pew an hour a week type of relationship! Nothing else in this life matters apart from following his will. He is our King, and we die to ourselves, our desires, our choices when we decide to follow him. It’s a radical kingdom!
We see from theocracy that the people rejected God as their king. We see from monarchy that the people rejected God even with an earthly king. And sadly in our Christocracy that we call the church, many will still reject Christ as their king. But Christocracy is designed to return us to a Theocracy once again at the end of time (read Revelation 21 & 22 for what this looks like).
But now back to our original question: How have I rejected God as my King, and how has it affected my life? If Jesus isn’t Lord of your life you are rejecting him. You are rejecting God’s will on your life. And the scary thing is he will let you do this. But as Scripture makes clear, no good comes from rejecting King Jesus!
5 thoughts on “You’re Probably Reading the Bible the Wrong Way (Part 5)”
Good thoughts, Matt!
Out of curiosity what would you classify our relationship with God as pre-Theocracy? I think with Adam and Eve you could say “Father and Creator” but I don’t know if the “Father” part applies after Adam and Eve’s rebellion. Perhaps it does. There are varying periods of intimacy between the Lord and his people that culminates in the most intimate relationship in and through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit indwelling us. This is what God knew would happen all along but perhaps we had to try all the other stuff first so we could be convinced that nothing else works and stop being self-reliant.
Good thoughts! I would say that even in the garden McKnight’s definition of Theocracy would be appropriate. Adam and Eve had no other authority than God. Even after sin was present God was still their only authority. There are some times in Genesis when you can find God’s people living in a land like Egypt where they are subject to an earthly king, but God was their king. Once we reach 1 Samuel 8, we see the people of God wanting to be like everyone else and requesting a Monarchy because, as God states it, “…they have rejected me as their king.” – 1 Sam. 8:7 NIV
You are right that one of the most intimate relationships we can have is God himself dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit, but I’m looking forward to that moment when we “…will see his face, and his name will be on [our] foreheads. There will be no more night. [We] will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give [us] light. And [we] will reign for ever and ever.” – Rev. 22:4-5, inflection added.
Thanks for the comments!