The kingdom of heaven, sometimes referred to as the kingdom of God, is literally all around us. Not long before Jesus began His earthly ministry, the scriptures tell us that John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Him. John proclaimed, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matthew 3:2). John continued to openly preach of a coming kingdom right up through his imprisonment and eventual beheading. During the of John's imprisonment Jesus withdrew to Galilee and began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matthew 4:17). During that time Jesus warned His followers to separate themselves from the religious people of the day, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20).
Today, Jesus continues to warn us to avoid walking in the ways of this world. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14). This message has been a mainstay over the centuries and an integral part of the life of the true disciples of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the Lord offers eternal life in heaven to all who are willing to come. Those who hear His message, surrender their lives, and turn from the ways of this world will find eternal citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. However, those who hear His message and choose to reject it as they go on living their lives for themselves will find eternal pain and suffering in the end.
Consequently, many who hear the gospel, even though they refuse to fully surrender their lives in this world, do make a conscious effort to try to live a better life. They have no intentions of foolishly turning away from everything they desire here on earth, but do make an attempt to please God by trying to be a good person in hopes He will save them from hell and instead allow them into heaven when they die. These so-called converts probably prayed some form of a sinner's prayer, began looking for or attending a local church, obtained a bible, and some will even tell others about their new found life as a "Christian." However, they are only deceiving themselves if there was no true change of heart or spiritual transformation in their life. Without a full surrender they remain disobedient and lost souls destined for eternal separation for God. Sadly, many of these deceived individuals actually believe that they are "saved" and heaven bound, but because they chose to place their trust in the half-truths offered in manmade doctrines and traditions, they remain eternally lost.
The truth is, Satan knows the gospel better than most people in this world, and he also believes that Jesus is Lord of all. Therefore, Satan surely knows that Jesus died to set mankind free of sin, he knows every verse in the bible, he attends local churches regularly, and is no doubt an inspiration to all those who choose a "good" religious life as opposed to true salvation through Christ. Satan also knows he will never enjoy eternity in the kingdom of heaven, and therefore, he does not want anyone else to go to heaven if he can help it. The bible tells us that the Jews, God's own chosen people, lived life following false manmade religious doctrines and traditions. Regrettably, so do those who follow similar practices in local church assemblies around the world in the name of Christ.
Moreover, we also know that Jesus called these Jews out because of their practices. Jesus told them, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44). This same message is applicable to the countless religious minded self-proclaimed Christians of today. They follow their manmade practices in the name of Christ, yet blindly are deceived by the lies of the spirit of this world who leads countless down the broad path that leads to destruction.
However, there is a narrow path that leads to a narrow gate where true believers pass through to enter the kingdom of heaven. "When asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God will not come with observable signs. Nor will people say, 'Look, here it is,' or 'There it is.' For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst." (Luke 17:20-21). The kingdom of God is revealed daily through acts of love performed by true followers. These are the acts of kindness performed by servants of the kingdom revealing God's love to the needy and lost in this dying world.
Jesus said, "The knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him." (Matthew 13:11-12). "But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." (Matthew 13:16-17). The true followers of Christ are blessed to learn the deep mysteries and spiritual truths about the kingdom of heaven because the Holy Spirit indwells them for this purpose.
Consequently, there are countless churchgoers who falsely believe they have eternal life and yet remain spiritually dead in spite of all of their efforts to reach heaven. They are part of the many who take the broad path that Jesus spoke of; the ones who choose to hold onto their lives here on earth rejecting the free choice to surrender everything to serve the kingdom of heaven. The true Gospel message tells us we must lose our lives here on earth by surrendering everything. Moreover, this is not a one-time act of surrender as some suppose. It is a lifetime commitment whereby we pick up our cross daily to serve the kingdom of heaven. This is a great contrast from the false teachings of today's religious establishments whereby they tell their followers that they can gain eternal life through praying a simple prayer.
Moreover, this so-called Christian life, today sometimes referred to as "Churchianity," is nothing more than a lie from Satan. Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' "'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' "'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time, I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'" (Matthew 13:24-30).
Therefore, in spite Jesus' sacrifice on the cross to free mankind from sin, Satan has shrewdly taken advantage of mankind's selfish motives to cleverly create today's so-called Christian church system. In these misguided institutions, countless members are in fact the weeds mentioned in the parable above. These religious minded people reject the truth and unwittingly end up becoming children of the devil. However, just the opposite holds true for true servants of the kingdom, the wheat in the parable above, as they will find themselves gathered into heaven on the day of judgement.
"Then He (Jesus) said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest." (Matthew 9:37-38). "Therefore, do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans (those who serve the spirit of this world) strive after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:31-33).
Through the year's mankind has practiced wickedness, been disobedient towards God, and have desired to live their lives in a selfish manner. Regrettably, these are the same attributes that dominate the population of our world today. Thus, it should come as no surprise that mankind so easily embrace false teachings about the kingdom of heaven. Consequently, this has produced an abundance of counterfeit doctrines and traditions that serve the needs of the many people who congregate regularly in manmade churches around the world today. These institutions follow the ways of the world more closely than most people think.
For example, many of these church organizations offer a platform for members to boast about the great number of souls they have won for Christ. However, unless they are referring to how many new member's they added to their congregations they are greatly mistaken. Only God can save or win a soul. Mankind may be capable of changing another's mind, but the changing of a heart required for salvation is between the individual and God alone. I cannot help but wonder how God feels when He sees these people, with their good intentions, go forth and use sales tactics to convince, scare, or coerce others into believing the gospel of salvation. Once they draw these potential converts in, they have them pray a sinner's prayer to save their souls and claim victory for Christ. Unfortunately, many of these encounters produce no more than new member to some local church, or far worse a deceived lost soul with a false hope of salvation.
Furthermore, these manmade institutions are populated with far too many pride-filled self-centered men and women who strive to gain key positions in these so-called churches. These conceited individuals pride themselves once appointed by congregations into sought-after positions such as pastor, teacher, bishop, etc. Moreover, many of these make-believers compete with other local churches somehow believing that they are better than those who they compete with. They believe that they have better teachers, more gifted worship groups, or sounder ministry opportunities. Consequently, they have their just reward right here on earth within their manmade institutions, but in the end, they will be sadly greeted with harsh judgement form the Lord.
Understandably, these are not new practices at all as the Lord's disciples had the same mindset from the start. The disciples asked Jesus, "Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Jesus invited a little child to stand among them. "Truly I tell you," He said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:1-6).
Therefore, a true servant of the kingdom of heaven is not concerned with lofty positions or recognition, but instead will humble themselves giving all glory and honor to the Lord for everything He does through us. Shame on those who boast of their lofty position in today's religious establishments. This same shame falls on those who believe they are superior to others because of intellectual prowess as they become self-proclaimed bible scholars. Their behavior is no different than that of the Scribes and Pharisees who confronted Jesus. Worse yet, many of these so-called scholars stand guilty of causing true brethren to stumble and non-believers to be deceived by their many false traditions, doctrines, and practices.
On another occasion, little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on and pray for them. At that time the disciples rebuked those who brought them telling them to go away. "But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." And after He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there." (Matthew 19:14-15). Once again, here is just one more example of how mankind will take it upon themselves to pass judgement based on their human thinking without ever consulting the Lord's will in these matters.
Moreover, contrary to popular churchgoers' beliefs, Jesus does not wish for us to become bible scholars taking on leadership positions that place us into situations where we become decision makers. Whatever happened to taking these issues to the Lord? Instead, Jesus continuously tells us that He is the Teacher, the Shepherd, the Lord of all who are true servants of the kingdom of heaven. Consequently, there are many here on earth who "play church" as they choose to be in control and often lean on their own understanding when making decisions. Great judgment will come upon them when they have to answer for their folly on the final day of judgement.
The Apostle Paul wrote about this same issue in one of his letters to the Corinthians. "Brothers, consider the time of your calling: Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were powerful; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast in His presence. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). We are nothing in the kingdom of heaven without Christ, we must not try to take things into our own hands but instead yield to His guidance.
Hence, the question of who will be the greatest in heaven is the last thing true followers of Christ should be concerned with. However, this will no doubt continue to be an issue with mankind because it is human nature to want to be first. In fact, even though Jesus clearly answered this question with His disciples earlier, the same issue came up again during the last supper. "So, Jesus declared, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in authority over them call themselves benefactors. But you shall not be like them. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who leads like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines? But I am among you as the One who serves. You are the ones who have stood by Me in My trials. And I bestow on you a kingdom, just as My Father has bestowed one on Me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:25-30). Therefore, let us be like Jesus and truly humble ourselves to become faithful servants of His kingdom just as He taught us to be and not how we wish to be.
Consequently, if you now discover through reading these truths that you have been deceived by Satan's religious system and wish to repent of this life, the time is now to repent and live for the true kingdom of heaven. Do this right now, today. Each of us must individually find and develop our own personal relationship with Christ. This can only happen if we fully surrender our lives in this world (everything) and ask the Lord to forgive us of our past sinful life and accept us into His kingdom as lifetime servant of heaven. This choice is the greatest one you will ever make, and your eternal existence will depend on your decision to accept or reject the calling of the Lord for your soul. Furthermore, once you choose to truly surrender you will receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (God) who will guide, teach, and protect you the rest of your days.
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Serving The Kingdom Of Heaven
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