The SOM Conference 2016’s “Experiencing the Power of God” conference by Pr Peter Tsukahira is a prophetic one. In the first two sessions, he taught about the power of thanksgiving and the power of the Gospel. A grateful heart in Christ shapes our attitude towards the Gospel and results in not only right beliefs but also right behaviour. The Kingdom of God comes when His followers are able to articulate the power of the Gospel through authentic Christian lives.
In Session 3, Pastor Tsukahira taught us on Power of the Kingdom by defining what the Kingdom of GOD is. We often understand the Kingdom of God as a future spiritual and governmental kingdom in which Christ would rule as king. The Kingdom of God is in fact wherever and whenever God rules as king. It is simply the area of His domain; where He rules.
‘If we make Jesus the king of our hearts and give Him the last word in our personal decisions, the Kingdom of God is within us. It is in our family, our businesses, and our churches. It is an interpersonal spiritual reality and is in the environment around us. So when we speak of the Kingdom of God, it is a future Kingdom where Christ is going to rule but it is also a spiritual expression of Christ’s domain in our lives as His followers.’
Pr Tsukahira shared that Christ has already taught us so much about the Kingdom; through the model of the Lord’s Prayer in the way we pray (“Thy Kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven”) and as an emphasis in the Sermon on the Mount (“Seek first the Kingdom and everything will be added unto you”).
The Kingdom of God is a practical reality, expressed when Christ’s disciples align themselves with Him in both right beliefs and right behaviour. Though not yet perfect, it is a shadow of things to come. That coming fullness of the Kingdom of God is something that all Christians look forward to. However, the Kingdom is also not going to come without disruption. It is going to come with violence.
We know this because we recognize the world we are living in as a broken one, full of pain, suffering, lawlessness, cultures that are distorted, and other things that are Antichrist in nature. Before the Kingdom comes, there is going to be a great upheaval and the way things are is going to change. Because of this, Christians today need to be prepared both physically and spiritually as a people of God.
One of the birth pang signs of the coming of the future Kingdom is in the rise of terrorism. Pr Tsukahira shared that the first reaction to such evil among people who are unprepared is often fear and self-protection. In the Middle East however such things has become a fabric of life, woven into the culture.
Upheavals are in fact part of life. Some clear examples are seen in the cultural and the business world, affecting our beliefs and the livelihood and survival of many companies. Post-modernism and other such modern-day philosophies as well as Uber, Amazon, and the Internet are all samples of this. The stock market volatility and political upheavals are other examples.
‘Disruptions are not a comfortable thing but for those who are prepared it is a time of tremendous growth. Christians need to prepare themselves for the days leading to the coming of the Kingdom. We need to pray; not only for courage and faith but also that God will give us practical plans, ideas, and strategies to deal with the disruptions when they come.
‘The people of God shouldn’t withdraw. They should be the ones who go out prepared to overcome the chaos; to get out and help and make a difference. Helping our neighbours; it doesn’t matter about race and religion. This is how the Kingdom of God comes. We may be small in percentage in our nation but we are visible at the forefront. It is how we stand with the nation that God has given us.’
When we pray Thy Kingdom Come, are we going to be prepared? How are churches prepared? Are we going to push the disruptions away and pretend that they are not going to happen or are we prepared to deal with what is coming? Lots of things will change. Even the way we do our church services might change. Are we ready for it if God wants us to change the way we have been doing things?
Pr Tsukahira imparted that the Church is not a building nor is it an organisation. It is the people that Christ has chosen. It is the Bride that will greet the returning Bridegroom; without spot or blemishes. Christ is going to be in charge and we must put ourselves in His hands and allow Him to mould the Church into whatever new form that is going to be able to meet the massive changes that are coming. When Christ wants us to do something it’s what we do. Every believer of Christ, from the old to the new believer must be prepared when He comes.
Sharing about what God is doing among the nations; Pr Tsukahira addressed the three areas of the Holy Land, the nations, and Christians. Specifically pertaining to the Holy Land, Pr Tsukahira sees a massive occurrence taking place that point to the near coming of the Lord.
In Genesis 17:7-8, God made an everlasting covenant unto Abraham that his seed will inherit the land. Today, we see a massive homecoming, though again clearly not without disruption. What was once a dead land is becoming alive; a spiritual restoration of the Gospel is taking place among His people. New generations are coming back to God; a fulfilment of prophecies found in Hosea, Ezekiel, and Isaiah among others.
Pr Tsukahira shared that Israel was chosen not because they were superior but for our sakes. It was a nation birthed and discipled by God Himself as an example to the other nations, and God dealt more severely with Israel for that purpose; an elder brother to us among the nations.
There is a miracle in parental love; despite the different makeup of children, good parents love them all equally. Like other elder brothers, God has many nations as His children and He loves them all equally. Still the fact remains that there is only one first-born. He alone created Israel and He alone discipled that nation.
When the nation of Israel was obedient, they became a shining light. When they became disobedient, they became an example of God’s chastisement but they still remain our elder brother. This is a relationship that God has ordained.
In Deuteronomy 32:8-9 we find in Scripture something concerning the inheritance of the nations, and it is linked directly to what God has given to Israel. When we stand together with God in His plans for His nation, blessings come. It is also directly related to the Great Commission that Christ has given to His disciples. ‘The Kingdom is for all nations, every ethnos, for all people groups. Look at the people around you as God’s inheritance and you’ll be in a good land. Believe in the right things and do the right things.’
Pr Tsukahira imparted that in these last days we need to be trained and disciplined in God’s word. The advice that Christ gave to the Disciples was very direct and it is recorded for Christians in Scripture. ’We only have one book and it was not written by academics or university experts. It was written by people from the thick of life; marketplace men, farmers, shepherds, doctors, fishermen. It was written in the common language; designed by God to be understood by His people.’
Christ warned us about false teachings, about wars, persecution, hatred among siblings, and lawlessness. Particularly about lawlessness it was a warning about what happens when God’s people drift away from His law. Hearts will grow cold and people will become more and more self-centered and loveless. However, Christ has also counselled us not to grow worried about wars and such but to prepare ourselves, for His coming is near. Focus on the coming and we will see these things as signpost in the culmination of God’s end days plan.
‘As Christians, we receive strength and courage from the Lord. True revival is a revival that transforms. The Kingdom is not just for believers but also for nonbelievers. Prepare yourselves and walk it out. Channel what God has given to you and channel it well until there is transformation and real change among all peoples. Be thankful for your land in Malaysia. The Holy Spirit is still moving in this land. There is still a life of faith in this nation and this is a good land,’ Pr Tsukahira conveyed.
Pr Peter shared that even in the Holy Land, God is working to blast a spiritual highway, bringing the prophecy in Isaiah 19 to fulfilment. Amidst the chaos in the Middle East, Messianic Hebrews and Arab Christians are coming together in reconciliation meetings all over the region, uniting to build houses of prayer unto God.
Speaking to Christians, Pr Tsukahira imparted an encouragement. Sometimes when we see the sea of unbelief around us, we feel spiritually barren and we wonder where our impact is. But there is also a prophecy of promise in Isaiah 54.
‘I know there are a lot of Christians in Malaysia dreaming about the Promised Land; Australia, Canada, or the US, but Malaysia is a good land. It is one of God’s strategic nations. Stay faithful to Him. Make your identity as His people count. In your land, there are already a lot of people returning to God, only held back by fear. Be ready when God answers your prayer.
‘To the faithful remnant, don’t think you’re barren. Yes, there is going to be pain and discomfort before nations enter into their promise, but amidst these God is working to birth the good things He has purposed for your land. What difference is the Church going to make? “How would I care, protect, provide justice for everybody?” This is how the head thinks, no longer like the tail that gets dragged in the dust. Whatever it takes, we are going to seal this in His name and start thinking like the head and no longer like the tail. We are going to seek God and prepare ourselves.’
NOTE: All pictures from the conference kindly contributed by SOM
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