Jesus gave us many parables to describe the kingdom of heaven. Some of these included the use of a banquet, talents, sheep and goats, a fig tree, and virgins to name a few. In each case, Jesus illustrated for us that the kingdom is intended for all of mankind, yet only a few will enter in the end. Jesus said, “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). The difference between the broad and narrow gates is great and we should think of these two as going in the opposite direction. Thus, the narrow gate calls for mankind to make a full and complete surrender of their life turning away from their worldly life to become a daily servant of the kingdom of heaven. Conversely, the wide and broad path is the way of this world controlled by the spirit of this world and the desires of the flesh. This is the easy path of compromise where many will lie to themselves that they have truly repented of a life in this world. This is usually when they have done nothing more than prayed a simple sinner’s prayer (with no true daily commitment) or they just ignore the gospel by rejecting it altogether. This is much like what mankind did just before the great flood that destroyed all of creation except those saved on the Ark.
To further illustrate the kingdom of heaven Jesus shared the parable of the ten virgins. “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take along any extra oil. But the wise ones took oil in flasks along with their lamps. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ said the wise ones, ‘or there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy it, the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut. Later, the other virgins arrived and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matthew 21:1-13).
This is clearly a message for all of mankind. We have the choice, today, to surrender our sinful lives here on earth and repent from a life of self-centeredness for a life that is Christ-centered. This means we MUST walk away from the life we live as members of this world for a life as a servant of the Father in heaven. This humble life is lived according to God the Father’s will. We must set aside our will, and by faith, ready ourselves each day for the Father to use us as He sees fit. This is how Jesus taught us to live as He would always yield to the will of the Father, and this was in spite of the fact that He and the Father were one! This is the same condition we all can attain through a full surrender when the Holy Spirit (God) comes to live within us. It is this full surrender that causes a spiritual rebirth and we become, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus, born-again. “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3). This life has little or nothing to do with following the religious practices found in today’s so-called local churches around the world. They teach manmade doctrines, traditions, and other practices that satisfy the same desires of the five foolish virgins who figured they could surrender their lives when it was convenient for them. If this is you, then you will find that when the Lord returns you will have missed your opportunity because your spiritual lamps remain empty. Today is the day of salvation and if you wait it will be too late – surrender all to serve the kingdom of heaven and become a new creation!
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