The Kingdom versus the world
The Kingdom versus the world is a radical difference. Jesus is Lord of the Kingdom. Scripture is clear that Satan rules the kosmos, the world system.
Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out [John 12:30]
…you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience… [Ephesians 2:2]
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. [ 1 John 5:19]
Kosmos is the Greek word used for the world controlled by the evil one. It is the system of things: economic, entertainment, government, politics, diplomacy, military, social, and so on put together by the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy God’s people. If you ever wondered why you were so upset by all these things, now you know. The Creep planned it that way.
We have been moved from the world to the Kingdom of God
This is the Good News, the gospel. The Kingdom is a very different place. I wanted to simply list the radical differences to remind us of how and why our life is so different.
The Kingdom is not a democracy
We do not elect our leadership, God gives it to us. Democratic choices only work within the context of sincere prayer of the type called for by Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1–4. Most churches do not take this call to prayer seriously.
The Kingdom is not a human institution
This is the Body of Christ, headed by Jesus. We are part of a spiritual being—all tied directly to our Messiah.
The Kingdom is not an organization
The Body is an organism, growing as a whole. Ministries are organs in that body. Huge growths gathered around a human being commonly look more like tumors than vital organs of the body.
Religion versus relationship
Religions are human organizations. Religion is defined as a group of people “adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices”. In a very real way, God abandoned religion at the cross in favor of relationship. The Lord deals only with personal one-on-one relationships. Jesus could not have made that more clear than in John 17:3 where He said that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus whom He has sent. A religion does not give us that intimate knowing life—a relationship does.
Religions have no way to interact as an organism where the controlling head of the organism has direct, deeply personal, minute-by-minute interaction with every member of the organism. The head of a religion is seemingly a human. But in reality, a religion is a set of doctrines and policy statements implemented and governed by groups, committees, and so on. How many times have you heard that the United States is led by the Constitution? Episcopalians have the 39 Articles. The Lutheran Confessions are all in the Book of Concord. There are churches that have elevated the Word to this level of primacy—some going so far as to specify the King James Version as the only holder of the truth.
The only hope for an organization is found in its leader. The only hope for a religion is a leader who is truly called by God for the position he or she is filling. Only then can the leader guide us into a relationship with the creator of the universe. The only leader anointed and appointed by God is Jesus of Nazareth. It all goes back to Him.
The Kingdom is not a hierarchy
All pieces of the organism are tied directly to the head, Jesus. We all have our place within the organism; and we put ourselves in proper relationship to those the Lord gives to lead us. But we all get our orders from the head via the Holy Spirit.
The kosmos is a hierarchy
Satan is a rigid legalist. His world system (kosmos) is strictly set up with chains of command and master/servant relationships. There is no direct contact to the head by ordinary members in this system of things. In fact, it is almost impossible to get any direct contact with the upper levels of the hierarchy. You must follow the chain of command.
As usual,the Kingdom of God is in direct opposition to the kosmos. God does things very differently. Here we all have direct and constant interaction with the head of the organism. We get our orders from Him directly. It is true that He often (even normally) tells us to submit to a human leader. It is true that we are expected to honor and support the human leaders that He gives to each of us. But the orders to submit and serve all come directly from the head of the organism: Jesus our Messiah who speaks to us individually through His Holy Spirit.
The Kingdom is a theocracy
All leadership and all members of the Kingdom are tied directly to the Lord. He is the source of authority. He raises up all leadership.
We are an organism governed by God. We are not an organization who accepts God as the creator of the Universe.
There is a huge difference. The Kingdom of God does not acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. Jesus actually is the Lord & Master of the Kingdom running it as surely as the mind runs the flesh.