The term “kingdom building” is a very popular and widely used term among believers. However, the term is not necessarily based upon the work of the church as prescribed in the New Testament. Instead, it has been used to described a plethora of religious, and even secular, works performed by believers, under the belief that the works, whatever they may be, are, in fact, works which build up the kingdom of God. The purpose of this article is to highlight the works, prescribed in the New Testament, as building the kingdom of God.
In order to identify the works of “kingdom building” the location of the kingdom of God must be identified. In other words, “Where is the kingdom”? Below, Jesus plainly identifies the “where” of the kingdom of God.
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”Luke 17:20-21
Jesus also explains this idea further when speaking about the coming of the Holy Spirit:
I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.John 14:17-17
Paul also speaks on the same topic in regards to believers’ access to God, the Father, through the Holy Spirit:
…through Him [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.Ephesians 2:18
Paul further describes the fellowship of believers as “the household of God”, “a holy Temple in the Lord”, and “a dwelling place of God through the Spirit”, – built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets’ teachings, with the Lord Jesus as the chief cornerstone.
…you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.Ephesians 2:19-22
Therefore, the building of the Kingdom of God is the building up of believers into maturity, and unity, of the faith and equipping them for ministry work, as Paul also wrote:
And He [Christ] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.Ephesians 4:11-16
Therefore, kingdom building should never be applied, as something that is outside of the body of believers. Instead, kingdom building is the building up of believers. The term should not be used to describe works done outside of the church, such as feeding the poor of this world, or mentoring the world’s non-believing children, apart from evangelism. Although, Paul was requested, by the Apostles in Jerusalem, to remember the poor as he proclaimed the gospel to the gentiles (Galatians 2:9-10), notice that the request was fulfilled among believers, and not poor people in general:
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.1 Corinthians 8:1-4
For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God2 Corinthians 9:12
But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.Romans 15:25-27
Also, when Jesus told the parable of the Lord judging between sheep and goats, he judged them based on there treatment of his brethren – fellow believers:
And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”Matthew 25:40
Therefore, the storing up of treasures in Heaven, has to do with one’s care for fellow believers, instead of caring for the people of the world, who are still dead in there sins; who are primarily in need of the gospel message. Peter, who was asked three times, by Jesus, if he loved him, was then commanded, by the Lord, to feed Christ’s sheep – the very thing that would result in Peter’s arrest and martyrdom.
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me (John 12:23-26 & 1 John 3:16).”John 21:15-19
Another example of kingdom building would be when Paul described building on the foundation of Christ, wherein he called believers, both Christ’s field and his building, wherein, and upon whom, he, and Apollos, both plants and builds.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ…Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
Therefore, the building of Christ’s kingdom is the building up of Christ’s church, into maturity, and to equip believers for ministry work. Kingdom building is church focused – not world focused. The work of God in the world is adding followers to the church through evangelism, and conforming them into Christ character.
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”John 6:28-29
Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.Colossians 1:28-29
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.Ephesians 5:1-10
So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.Acts 20:32
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.1 Peter 2:1-5