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Economic Principles of the

Kingdom of God

Bryan Johnson, May 2007

Jesus was anointed by the Spirit,
to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim
release the captives, economic recovery for the
blind, and to set free the downtrodden:
to declare the favourable year of the Lord (– the
year of Jubilee) Luke 4 :18, 19.

What did the poor envisage

from Jesus proclamation?
The anointed ministry of
Jesus targeted four groups of
economically disadvantaged
 The poor – probably destitute
 The blind – relied on alms
 The demon –possessed – if
they were like the man at
Gadarene – he was tied to
tombstones with chains – no
 The unjustly treated – slaves
and other dispossessed
people in society who received
no pay for their labour
The good news of the Kingdom
Jesus proclaimed was a holistic

 The kingdom is holistic

because God created every
aspect of our lives
 We are required to integrate
the holistic principles of the
kingdom into every area of
our lives
 We expect transformation in
every area of our lives from a
secular way of thinking to an
holistic praxis
 No area of life is
unholy/sinful after this
Was there an intended economic
outcome in Jesus proclamation
of the good news for the poor?

 Good news for these

four groups had to
include economic
 The favourable year of
the Lord referred to
“jubilee”, a year of
economic renewal
The Bible teaches that God has always
being trying to develop viable
communities among His people as an
expression of His pastoral care

 Exodus 18-20 – Moses was

instructed by God to
develop viable community
life among the people
 Acts 2 – The early Apostles
and the N.T. Church
 Paul writing to Timothy in 1
Timothy chapter 3
Viablility is economic, social,
infrastructurally developed,
and spiritually vibrant
Creation reflected God’s
economic genius……
– an expanding global economy
 God’s first command to
mankind was to be
fruitful and multiply.
 God envisioned an
expanding economy
 God made the animal,
plant, and fish kingdoms
more productive than
man, so there would be
provision for mankind’s
obedience to His
Economic principles of the
Kingdom of God - Genesis 1

 God’s Nature is to be reflected in us

 Principle 1: Creativity
 He creates (Gen 1:1)
 Take risks to create
 Makes something from nothing
 Transforms the chaotic into
something of beautiful
 Transforms the despised/useless
into something of beauty
 Makes continuous creative
development and innovation
 His creation is expanding, viable and
 His creation is beautiful and
purposeful glorifying the Master
Economic principles of the
Kingdom of God - Genesis 1

 Principle 2: Cooperative endeavour.

He works cooperatively (“Let
us”1:1). There is no selfishness in
His motives. This avoids greed. It
facilitates equitable profit sharing. It
maximises reward for labour and
effort. It eliminates exploitation.

 Principle 3: Success
“He made”, “it was good” “He
transformed” the despised into the
climax of His creation.
Dust was transformed into Man by
the breath of His Spirit.
His Spirit enhances intelligence,
beauty and creativity.
Economic principles of the
Kingdom of God - Genesis 1

 Principle 4: Work.
God works for six days.
His work is of
outstanding quality
and value that it
glorifies Him.
Our work becomes an
expression of our
relationship with and
worship of Him.
Principle 4: Work
 Human work
 To manage the earth

 To subdue it

 To fill it

 Work was cursed in the fall

 It became hard work

 From gardener to farmer,
from fulfilment to frustration
 But the command to
manage did not change
Principle 4:
Work & Productivity
 God is the creative worker
 His work was good,
expressing beauty
 Made something out of
 Evolved each step into
something new
 His work was artistic
 His work was good
 Work is honorable
 God’s work can be seen in
four categories: creation,
providence, judgement,
Economic principles of
the Kingdom of God -
Genesis 1

 Principle 5: Celebration.
We commence work with
prayer, thanking God as
the source of our creative
talent. We sing songs,
write poems and design
artwork in His honour. We
eat and feast together.
Worship of God becomes a
daily activity of joy from a
heart of gratefulness.
Acts 2 verses 41-47.
Economic principles of the
Kingdom of God - Genesis 1

 Principle 6: Rest.
Savings from well paid
work enables rest and
holidays. His rest shows
good financial planning
and management.
Principle 6: Rest
 Abuse of work takes two forms:
 Idleness
 Overwork
 Work without rest is one of the
major sins
 The Sabbath
 a symbol of the covenant
between God and his people
 a time to reflect and rest
 out of this reflection, worship.
 Christians enter a permanent
 We rest in the Spirit in our work
 But we also take seasons of rest
Economic principles of
the Kingdom of God -
Genesis 1
 Principle 7: Accountability.
To God, ourselves, marriage
partner and the next
God entrusts resources to us to
be used wisely in our time and
then passed to the next
generation for their diligent and
wise use. He has made us
 Principle 8: Fruitfulness. God
requires us to be fruitful with
the resources He provides…
see parable in Mark 4 v 20
Economic principles of the
Kingdom of God - Genesis 1

 Principle 9: Replenishment.
Our trusteeship requires us to leave
creation in a better state than it was
received. This facilitates earths ability
to provide for an expanding
population in keeping with God’s
command to be fruitful and multiply.
This implies viable and sustainable
utilization of resources.

 Principle 10: Giving.

Both sacrificially and out of the
abundance of fruitful labour as an act
of worship to God. Again this implies
good financial planning and
Economic principles of the
Kingdom of God - Genesis 1

 Principle 11: Investment.

Savings enables the ability to invest.
Investment in people and resources.
Can involve very costly and sacrificial
personal decisions to develop the
innovation required to accomplish the
Divine mandate of fruitfulness and
replenishment. Capital has the ability
to create income, and make innovative
ideas a reality.
 Principle 12: Redistribution.
Wealth sharing so there was a
demonstration of justice in the
community of God’s people. “Jubilee”
redistributed wealth by forgiving debt,
and restored land lost through unpaid
debt. Debt was a mortgage on future
work and limited response to God’s
will for our life.
Principle 12: Redistribution
The Jubilee (Lev 25:8-17)
Every 7th and 50th year,
 It was a time of justice for the unjustly treated.
 It is synonymous with the year of liberty.
 Slaves are to be set free.
 Economic freedom is inherent in the gospel message.
 Celebration is inherent in the gospel message.
 The means of production, the land was to be returned to the
original owners. Redistribution of the means of production is
inherent in the gospel message.
 Even the Levites were to have their own home
Economic principles of the
Kingdom of God - Genesis 1

 Principle 13: Security.

Identity and security is created through
Land ownership. God’s people gained an
identity through the land they owned
either individually or collectively. Both
methods of land ownership are in
scripture. Both are without
possessiveness. Abraham and Lot in
Genesis; The rich N.T. Christians in Acts
2 who sold their excess property and
redistributed the wealth to those in need.
They gave to immediate needs and
invested in income generation for the
poor members of the church.
The N.T. community expanded from 3,500
in Jerusalem in 33AD to 25% of
Mediterranean population by 300AD.
“Jubilee” restored land lost to poor
families and forgave debt.
Economic principles of the
Kingdom of God - Genesis 1
 Principle 14 : Measurement
Money is not evil. It measures the value of
labour. Labour is intended to be a form of
worship by creative production.
God commands His subjects to be fruitful
and measures and rewards fruitfulness.
It is the “love of money” that is the root of
all evil. Money becomes an idol when we
love money rather than the God who gave
the power to create wealth.
Greed possesses the soul of those who
have a wrong attitude to money. The rich
suffer a hard heart as a result of their love
of money. Jesus said it is hard for a rich
man to enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus’ Message of the
 This theme of the Jubilee Jubilee
becomes central to the
New Testament
 In the central passage
around which Luke builds
his gospel and the Acts,
Luke 4:18, Jesus declares
his mission
 He inaugurates the
Jubilee eternally.
Jubilee Economics in the
Acts Community (Acts 2:42-44)
Cooperative Rich 5%
economics Middle
3rd PRINCIPLE: Corporate Class
5th PRINCIPLE: 10%
Celebration Labouring
Poor 45%
10th PRINCIPLE: Voluntary
giving Destitute Poor
10th PRINCIPLE: The just 40%
12th PRINCIPLE: Giving to
meet needs