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A Kingdom Without Borders

A Kingdom Without Borders

Neither the gates of hell nor the borders of the most God-hating regimes on earth can prevail against Jesus. No countries are closed to Christ. They may be closed to us — either because we can’t get a visa or because our passport is the “kiss-of-death” for gaining entry — but Jesus has never been dependent on our access or resources to accomplish his mission.

More than thirty years ago, in the early years of my ministry, I walked from a Berlin train station down a wide chasm that snaked through the city. Until recently, it had been “No Man’s Land.” But now the mines and barbed wire were cleared, and the Berlin Wall lay in heaps. The Iron Curtain was collapsing, mapmakers were busy redrawing borders, and new flags were being stitched.

During these first forays into Eastern Europe, I often laughed in disbelief at the freedom and ironic opportunities for the church. I recall how we published gospel tracts in Moscow using the now-idle presses of the Communist newspaper Pravda (Russian for “Truth”). Pravda had published lies and smeared Soviet Christians for years — but now the presses were turning out the truth of the gospel!

I remember standing in Berlin at what had been the epicenter of the Iron Curtain. Tens of thousands of Christians on both sides of the East-West divide had tried every kind of way to get the gospel over and around and under this wall, but God saw fit to simply tear it down. I fished out a large chunk from the rubble and tucked it into my backpack.

Today, as I pen these lines, the old souvenir sits on a shelf before me. It is a constant reminder of Samuel Zwemer’s words — words that have shaped my thinking, my prayer life, and my expectations in all the years since I stood in the debris of the Wall. Zwemer, a pioneer missionary to Arabia, wrote, “The kingdoms and governments of this world have frontiers, which must not be crossed, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ knows no frontier. It never has been kept within bounds.”

In a few lines, Zwemer captures the power and progress of the gospel and the unmatched authority of our risen King.

No Lines

Most world maps are covered with lines and colors that define country borders — about two hundred countries in the world. The number of nations has quadrupled in the last century. Our maps and our world are filled with lines. But if we could see a map of Christ’s kingdom, there would be no lines, for the citizens of this country are ransomed from every tribe and language and people and nation.

Zwemer captures this power and progress of the gospel to cross every kind of barrier — geographic, ethnic, political, religious. The gospel cannot be contained because it is not a man-made work. It is a Christ-made work. He builds his church in every place to the ends of the world.

Neither the gates of hell nor the borders of the most God-hating regimes on earth can prevail against Jesus. No countries are closed to Christ. They may be closed to us — either because we can’t get a visa or because our passport is the “kiss-of-death” for gaining entry — but Jesus has never been dependent on our access or resources to accomplish his mission.

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