Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Birth Of A Vision




He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.  Isaiah 53:11




God wants to give you a spiritual vision just as He did Paul. God also wants to reveal the purposes and objectives which will enable you to fulfill the vision.

As you experience the "birth of a vision" you will become a participator instead of a mere spectator in God's divine plan.

The natural birth process which brings a human baby into the world is similar to the process of the birth of a vision in the spirit world. You will experience the following stages as you give birth to spiritual vision.

Conception"Conception" means to create. A spiritual vision is created in your spirit by God.
When God gave Paul spiritual vision He identified the source. He said, "I am Jesus" (Acts 26:15). God conceived Paul's vision.

DevelopmentWhen you first receive a spiritual vision, it is in "embryo" form. An embryo is a basic cell of life. Just like the development of the human embryo, God develops your spiritual vision as you grow in Him.

The basic cell of life in the human baby is the embryo, from it all the basic human features are developed. If you try to change the embryo, deformity or death can occur to the child.

God conceives the basic spiritual vision within you. The vision must remain the embryo from which all features develop. If you try to change the vision, it will be deformed from the perfect plan of God, or it may be aborted.

When the vision explained in this course is conceived by God in your spirit it must always remain the same although you may fulfill it in different ways.

The vision will grow and develop as you mature spiritually. Its features will not be the same as yesterday, last week, or last month. But you must never forget the basic vision which is the divine purpose for which you are called.

This development of a vision will be a stretching experience as it is in the natural world within the body of a mother. If the vision does not develop within you it will die.

Just as a mother carries her child within her body, when you receive this vision it is with you constantly. It becomes a vital, living part of you. It draws from your own life source as well as from the divine source which conceived it.

While the baby is developing, a pregnant mother will deny herself of certain things. As your spiritual vision develops, you may have to do this also. You may have to deny yourself of your own plans and ambitions. You may have to lay aside worldly treasures. You will have to sacrifice time to fast and pray.

TravailEcclesiastes 5:3 states:  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business. (Ecclesiastes 5:3 – KJV/Apocrypha)

The meaning of the word "multitude" is great. "Business", according to one Hebrew meaning, is travail [difficulty]. So a dream or vision comes through "great travail.”

In natural birth there are facts about travail that parallel the spiritual travail which births a vision. Natural travail is a time of intense, concentrated effort to birth the child. This time of travail is also called "labor.”

As in the delivery of a child, a spiritual vision is birthed by intense mental, physical, and spiritual concentration. As you study this course, concentrate on what God wants to birth in your spirit.

In the natural world during labor [travail], the one giving birth must let the natural forces take control. Physically forcing the child into the birth canal before it opens can kill the child.

The same is true in the spirit world. Let God take control of your life. If you try to birth the vision in your own strength it will abort the plan of God.

Everything within you may cry out to push and bring the spiritual vision forth with natural abilities. But by self-effort you can destroy the vision.

Peter cried out to Christ, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man," when he realized what Christ was calling him to do (Luke 5:8). He knew the vision was too great for him to fulfill by his natural strength and abilities.

As a mother in travail hides herself from public gaze, so those in travail spiritually must be alone with God.

The Time Of Transition:  In the natural birth process there is a time during labor known as the time of "transition.” It is the most difficult time of travail right before the birth canal is open to permit the birth of the child.

This parallels the birth of a vision in the spirit world. When God births in you a spiritual vision you will experience a time of transition.

Transition means change. As God gives you this spiritual vision it is going to require change in your life. It will call for new commitment and dedication.

You may experience pressure in every area of your life. Everything within you may cry out for relief from the spiritual birth pangs of what God is bringing forth.

This is the point where many fail to receive the vision. Time and time again God has brought His people to the time of transition to birth His vision within them.

But because the transition was too difficult many have turned back. They could not take the pressure of this most difficult time.

It required changes in their thought patterns and lifestyle which they were not willing to make. They could not abandon self-effort and tradition. They could not set aside their own ambitions and desires to embrace the plan of God. This is what happened to the nation of Israel:  

Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in Thy sight, O Lord.  We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. (Isaiah 26:17-18)

Travail brings sorrow but it leads to the birth which brings joy:  

A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. (John 16:21)

We are told in Isaiah 53:11 that God witnessed the travail of Jesus Christ and was satisfied. 

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.  Isaiah 53:11

A vision was fulfilled that day on Calvary ...a vision that had been promised since the fall of man into sin.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  (Genesis 3:15)

Through travail, the vision of redemption from sin became a reality.

Travail is a painful experience, but it is only through travail that the vision can be birthed:

...for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.  (Isaiah 66:8-9)

The BirthThe development of a spiritual vision has an expected end, just as a human embryo. That end is birth. Prematurity of birth and delay of birth can result in death, both in the natural birth process and in the birth of spiritual vision.

After birth in the natural world the child continues to grow and develop. After the birth of this spiritual vision it will continue to grow and develop. It will have new features and form, but they all must develop from that basic cell of spiritual life which is the vision.

Abraham tried to bring forth his God-given vision through self-effort by the birth of Ishmael. He knew God wanted to make him a great nation and he thought an heir could not come through his wife, Sarah.

So he did something about it and Ishmael was born. But whose power was behind Ishmael, that of Abraham or that of God? Was the fulfillment of the vision through Ishmael man-made or God-made?

You can bring an Ishmael on the scene through your own efforts. Ishmael represents your plans and methods of trying to do God's will through natural abilities. But the heavenly vision, represented by Isaac, must be birthed by God.

Who is the source of spiritual vision?

When asked, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?", Jesus responded, "This is the work of God", indicating that He, Himself, was the source (John 6:28-29).

God did not want Abraham to be the source of the heavenly vision any more than He wants us to bring forth man-made or organizationally-made visions.

God is the source of spiritual vision. The vision which you will receive in this course is His plan. It is not a plan of man, a denomination, or an organization.

Scripture has no record of God speaking again to Abraham for thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael. Not until it was humanly impossible for Abraham to have a child did God again stir the vision within him. By then, self-effort had died.

Then came the birth of a vision, for in the perfect timing of God Isaac was miraculously born. But with the birth of God's plan [Isaac], Ishmael [self-effort] must be cast out.

It is time for your Isaac [God's plan] to be birthed in your spirit. In order for this to happen, Ishmael must be cast out.

It is a painful experience to cast out self-effort, your plans, ambitions, tradition, and organizational programs.

But God is saying to you as He did to Abraham, "Grieve not for Ishmael [self-effort], for in Isaac shall your seed be called." In Isaac the source of the vision was God.

ARE YOU READY?

Birth requires change. In the natural world, the child must leave the security of the womb.

When you were born again you had to leave the old life of sin. You had to let Jesus change your thought and action patterns.

To give birth to spiritual vision also requires change. It requires courage to step from the known into the unknown.

Are you ready to receive that spiritual vision? Are you willing to experience spiritual travail in order to birth something new and vital in your Christian life? If you are not willing you had better stop here, for once you glimpse the vision from God, your life will never again be the same.

(Biblical Studies)



08/01/14

11/26/15

Seeing Beyond Our Natural Circumstances

 


Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)








The scripture states in Proverbs 29:18, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." The vision to which this verse refers applies to all aspects of our life as well as spiritual purpose.

Spiritual vision provides direction. It provides challenge and structure for life. Without it, people become spiritually dead. Developing spiritual vision is the process of recognizing the purpose for which you have been brought into the Kingdom of God.

Why is spiritual vision necessary? Why do people perish without it?

The answer is found in one of many Biblical examples of spiritual vision. The account of the Prophet Elisha and his servant, in II Kings 6:15-17 is an excellent example of the effects of spiritual vision.

God's people, Israel, were surrounded by the enemy nation of Syria. There were many soldiers, horses, and chariots of war. When Elisha's servant, saw the great force of the enemy he was afraid. He cried out to Elisha, "What shall we do?" Elisha told him:

Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.   (II Kings 6:16)

Then Elisha prayed that God would open his servant's eyes and allow him to see in the spirit world. The request was granted, and the servant saw the spiritual forces of God surrounding Israel.

In this example, God actually let the servant see the spiritual vision with his natural eyes. But the important point is that without spiritual vision the people of God cannot see beyond the natural circumstances of life.

Like the servant, they are defeated by the powers of the enemy which they see at work in the natural world around them. Their vision is focused on their problems and their life becomes a cycle of crying out, "What shall we do?" Without spiritual vision, they cannot see and understand the divine plan of God.

Before we are born again we are blinded by sin. Through salvation by the blood of Jesus our spiritual eyes are opened. Then God wants to develop our spiritual vision.

This process is a spiritual parallel of an actual incident in the ministry of Jesus:

And He cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto Him, and besought Him to touch him.  And He took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when He had spit on his eyes, and put His hands upon him, He asked him if he saw ought.  And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that He put His hands again upon his eyes and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. (Mark 8:22-25)

This miracle was an actual physical healing performed by Jesus during His earthly ministry.

Why didn't the first touch of Jesus heal the man completely? Didn't Jesus have all power? Wasn't He the Son of the living God? Jesus was providing a natural example of a spiritual truth. Jesus wants to touch you spiritually just as He did in this natural healing. First He wants to clear up the basic blindness of sin in your life. Then He wants to develop your spiritual vision.

Spiritual vision involves seeing beyond the natural world into the spiritual world. It is understanding the divine purpose of God and recognizing your part in His plan.

Believers who are spiritually "perishing" are in one of the following categories:

Ø  They do not have spiritual vision.

Ø   They have received a spiritual vision but have not been disobedient to it.

Ø   They have a vision, but do not know how to fulfill it. They have tried and failed.  

Spiritual vision provides a clear image of what God wants you to do and then directs every step of your Christian life towards achieving that goal.

The Apostle Paul had spiritual vision. He said:

Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: (Acts 26:19)

The heavenly [spiritual] vision became the compelling force in Paul's life. He recognized that having a vision is not enough. Action must be taken to achieve the vision.

A vision can remain "visionary.” This means it never becomes a reality because you never act on it. When God gives a vision He also provides spiritual and practical strategies for fulfilling it.

When God gave Apostle Paul a spiritual vision, He gave him specific things to do to fulfill the vision.

 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;  Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:16-18)

God gave Apostle Paul spiritual vision for the purpose of making him a minister and witness.

His ministry was to be to a special group of people, the Gentiles. The term Gentiles refers to everyone who is not a Jew, so it really means all the other nations of the world.

God gave Paul objectives [a plan] to achieve the vision. Paul was to:

Ø  Open their spiritual eyes from darkness to light.
Ø  Turn them from the power of Satan to God.
Ø  Lead them to forgiveness of sins.
Ø Reveal their spiritual inheritance made possible by faith.

God does not save us just to sit and glory in our salvation.  He always gives an assignment.  In the account of the demented man in the tombs (Luke 8:26-39), after Jesus delivered him, the man was so thankful he wanted to follow Jesus but Jesus gave him an assignment!  Are you allowing God to open your spiritual eyes?  Are you following the instructions that He has given you to accomplish the vision.

(Biblical Studies)

01/20/15
04/08/16
04/28/17

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Win a Soul, Not an Argument



And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.  (Mark 6:11)





God expressly lets us know how we are to witness the gospel of the kingdom.  We already know as evidenced in our own lives and in the narrative of the bible that everyone is not going to receive the word of God.  That is something that is sometimes beyond our word.  We can say all the right words and live a shining example and yet some minds have already been hardened and our words and lifestyle fall on deaf ears and blinded eyes.  But, this is what the word of God tells us:


And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  Matthew 24:12


This scripture is significant because of what it does not say or imply.  It does not tell us that the end will come when everyone has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior or even when everyone believes that Jesus is Lord and Savior.  It says the end is coming when the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world.  So then our assignment is to publicly proclaim.  How we publicly proclaim is the focus here.


The nature of patience as requiring forbearance toward others is brought out strongly by Apostle Paul to the church in both Ephesus and Colossia. 


With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Ephesians 4:2
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  Colossians 3:12-13

This exhortation was given within the church, but it extends itself beyond the church.  It demonstrates how patience should always express itself “in loving forbearance with one another.” To bear with another is to put up with his or her faults, differences, and peculiarities (at least as it seems to us). We are to do so because we know we have our own, because we do not want to harm the unity of the body, because we are conformed back to God’s image, and because we know God uses these very differences just as the differences of the members of our body are vital to our function:  


For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  1 Corinthians. 12:12

There are two other passages that point to another important situation that requires the quality of patience, that of communicating the message of the gospel to others. Communicating God’s truth very often meets not only with resistance but hostility. This is true with non-Christians in evangelism or when seeking to teach and train Christians in the truth of the Word. When Apostle Paul preached in Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-10), some of the Jews and God-fearing Greeks were persuaded, but many of the Jews became jealous. Then, when he preached the resurrection to the philosophers in Athens, some began to scoff (Acts 17:16-34). Satan, is against the truth and does everything in his power to blind the minds of men to God’s truth:   

among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.  

2 Corinthians 4:4

Unfortunately, such resistance and hostility may also come from Christians. The church at Corinth not only questioned Apostle Paul’s apostolic authority but they were critical of his person and ministry claiming: 

For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. (2 Corinthians 10:10)

If you have sought to witness of the Savior or teach others the Word, you too may have run into resistance.  Thus, witnessing, teaching, preaching, etc., requires a great deal of patience.

In view of the reality of the coming of the Lord and His judgment, Apostle Paul wrote, 

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
2 Timothy 4:2  

This is immediately followed by the reason and need for complete patience:  


 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.  2 Timothy 4:3-5

Apostle Paul did not just call for complete patience, but complete patience and instruction.  The reality of resistance should not send us into the closet or keep us from being willing to either witness or teach or enter into dialog. Instead, such conditions require even more instruction and dialog where possible, but always accompanied by patience, love, compassion and understanding.   

We need to know what we believe and why and to be ready to give a verbal defense for our faith or beliefs according to the evidence of the historical facts of the New Testament and the clear teaching of the Word, but vital to one’s effectiveness is the spirit in which the communication of the Word is given. The goal is not winning an argument, but winning a soul.

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?  But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 1 Peter 3:13-16 

Apostle Paul also instructed Elder Timothy regarding the need for patience in a witnessing, teaching situation:    

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  2 Timothy 2:24 

Here Apostle Paul refers to “bearing evil without resentment; patiently affirming a belief in face of mockery. The gist is that of a relentless teacher who firmly overlooks the painful consequences of his affirmations.


Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. 2 Timothy 2:22-26  

This passage reveals that coming to repentance and the knowledge of the truth is the work of God and not our skill or methodology. While our responsibility is to present the truth in dependence on the ministry of the Spirit, we also see from this passage that our attitude does play an important role and can be a tool God uses or a hindrance Satan uses in communicating the truth.


Often the messenger must exhort his listeners to sound doctrine or to some form of spiritual action that will require submission, obedience, and spiritual change, so the listeners need to bear with the message, endure it in a positive way. Apostle Paul wrote:     

And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.    Hebrews 13:22

But sometimes because of the spiritual hardness and indifference that occurs in the hearts of people, they reach a point where they will suffer or not bear with sound doctrine. Apostle Paul goes on to say:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 2 Timothy 4:3

Despite this, we continue on spreading the word of God, being good representatives and ambassadors for God, being a beacon of light to a dying world, being good laborers in the harvest.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  
1 Corinthians 15:58


Biblical Studies

10/16/14
11/25/15
01/19/17

Monday, November 11, 2013

What's Hindering You?
















Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.  (Matthew 18:3)








There is absolutely nothing. . . no sin, no person, no pleasure, or no possession worth the penalty of being denied entrance or cast out of the Kingdom.   In addition to those lists of specific sins named in I Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before , as I have also told you in time past , that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21

there are other things mentioned in the Bible which result in entrance to the Kingdom being denied, Paul warned:

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
(I Corinthians 15:50)

This relates back to the keys to the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom. We cannot enter it with our flesh and blood body. We must make a spiritual decision to enter the Kingdom by being born again:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.. . .


Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. (John 3:3 and 5)

For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
(II Peter 1:11)

Jesus said...

Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. (Mark 10:15)

It is necessary to become like a little child in order to enter the Kingdom of God. This does not mean you become physically or emotionally like a child, any more than being born again means entering again into your mother's womb. It means we must enter the Kingdom by simple, childlike faith. If we do not do so, we cannot enter the Kingdom.

On one occasion during the earthly ministry of Jesus, a certain ruler said he wanted to follow Him as a disciple.  The rich ruler would not follow Jesus because his riches were more important than the Lord. This ruler was a religious man, but Jesus said...

Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that He was very sorrowful, He said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God.
(Luke 18:22-24)

And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God. And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, 
Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. (Mark 10:23-25)

Jesus did not mean that riches would keep men out of the Kingdom. It is the love of riches that keep men from the Kingdom because:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (I Timothy 6:10)

When riches are more important than following Jesus they prevent entrance to the Kingdom.

If we are guilty of any sin, there is only one remedy: forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Paul said:

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
(I Corinthians 6:11)

No matter what we have done in the past, no matter what you are doing in the present, you can be forgiven:

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(I John 1:8-9)

When we are cleansed from all unrighteousness, we are forgiven of all sins which prevent entrance to the Kingdom of God.

In the passage below, Jesus teaches that if your hand or foot offends you, you are to cut them off. He says if your eye offends you, pluck it out:


And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.  And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:43-48)

Jesus means that anything which causes sin in your life must be removed. Even though it is something you consider needful or precious, it must be removed. He uses the example of the hand, foot, and eye. In the natural these are needful and precious body parts. But Jesus says if they cause you to sin, it is better to remove them than to let them prevent your entrance into the Kingdom!

(Biblical Studies)

12/24/14

04/07/16

Getting to the Kingdom







Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  
 Matthew 12:21





When Jesus came to earth to extend the Kingdom of God, some who acknowledged Him as King thought the Kingdom would come through revolution. They thought there would be an actual physical revolt against the existing ruling powers of the world. But Jesus taught that the key to His Kingdom was not revolution but repentance:  

Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world: if my Kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my Kingdom not from hence.
(John 18:36)

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel. (Mark 1:14-15)

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)

When Jesus died on the cross two thieves were crucified on crosses near Him. One of them repented and asked:  

Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
 (Luke 23:42-43)

Repentance is the only way to gain access to the Kingdom of God.

Jesus warned that there would be many false doctrines with claims that they were the way to the Kingdom:

Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
 (Matthew 7:13-14)

There is only one way to enter the Kingdom and that is through Jesus Christ.

Jesus warned that we should enter the gate to eternal life now, because one day the entrance will be shut:  

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us: and He shall answer and say unto you, I know not whence ye are. (Luke 13:24-25)

Now the door to the Kingdom is open. You can enter it by repentance from sin. In the time of God's judgment of the world, it will be too late. The door will be closed.

Jesus told a series of parables in Luke 15:1-32.  They all concern entrance to the Kingdom of God.

Ø  The parable of the shepherd seeking the lost sheep illustrates how God seeks to bring those who are spiritually lost into His Kingdom.

Ø  The parable of the woman looking for a lost coin illustrates the diligence with which you should seek for those lost in sin to guide them to the Kingdom.

Ø  The parable of the lost son illustrates the principle of repentance through which you can gain your rightful place as an heir of the Kingdom of God.

It is through faith in God through His Son, Jesus Christ that you enter the Kingdom of God:

Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him. (James 2:5)

The Apostle Peter, however, speaks of spiritual qualities we should seek to develop in our life after the new birth experience:

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue: and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 (II Peter 1:5-11)

After we enter the Kingdom through faith, we must develop a lifestyle consistent with governing principles of the Kingdom of God. If we do not do this, we will soon forget God has cleansed us from sin and return to the old sinful lifestyle.  Therefore hear the word of God, seek Him with your whole heart by striving to apply it to your life.

(Biblical Studies)


08/18/14

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