REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND (re edited)
Most of you probably know where that statement came from, but for the sake of those who do not, they are the words of John the Baptist who himself said he was a voice of one crying in the wilderness preparing the way for the coming of the messiah, the son of God, Jesus Christ, the one spoken of by the prophets of old.
In John's day people where looking for the messiah to come set up his kingdom on the earth..God's ultimate plan is for his kingdom to be set up on the earth,but first it must be set up in the hearts of man. and that is what Jesus came to do.
In Luke 16, Jesus gives an illustration of a rich man who had a steward that was wasting his goods And the rich man asked his steward to give an account of his stewardship. The steward knowing he was caught went to some of his lord's debtors and released them of their debt. When he was fired from his stewardship he would then have some men that owed him and thus would receive him because he would have no where else to go. Jesus said " no servant can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other,or else he will hold to the one and despise the other ".
There are only two kingdoms in operation on the earth today. The kingdom of God which is governed by the holy spirit and the word of God. And the kingdom of the world, which is governed by satan and the flesh. Anything that is of the world is an enemy of God. Even things that may seem good outwardly, if they are done apart from the guidance of the holy spirit they are done in man's own ability. That makes them self righteous and that is the system of the flesh. However good it may seem it is abomination to God. It is the same sin that Adam and Eve commit in the garden (Sela).
Luke 16:15-16 And he (Jesus ) said unto them, (the pharisees) Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
Every man will be pressed into the kingdom of God and do you know why? Because the kingdom of God is coming on this earth in great power and authority and every other kingdom will be smashed by the kingdom of God. That was prophesied in Daniel. It will come to pass, because God said it would (Daniel 2:44) (Revelation 11:15).
There is a great evil within the church today parelled by this illustration of the kingdom Jesus gives us here in Luke. I believe it is the great apostasy Paul speaks of in 2 Thessalonians 2. Paul says before the coming of the lord and our gathering together unto him, first will come a falling away from the true gospel. Contrary to what most think it does not mean people would leave the faith, but that millions of people all over the world can sit in the churches and be strangers to the true gospel once taught and lived by the apostles and our forefathers in the faith.
Trying to live the Christian life in our own strength and ability. our own good works is a most dangerous evil. It is not a vulgar pornographic evil and gives the allusion that one is doing fine when in reality they are a stench of self righteousness to the nostrils of God. It makes the work of the cross null and void and leads to a powerless. useless Christian life And in most cases is only detected by the discerning eye.
Jesus said to the Pharisees, for you the kingdom of God will not be a good thing because you are living in the wrong kingdom. You are living in the kingdom of man and that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The Pharisees were self righteous in justifying themselves before man. Self righteousness does not cut it in the kingdom of God
We are not yet ready for the second coming of the Lord because we have not yet fully appropriated the purpose of his first coming. What kind of stewards are we of the holy spirit provided for us by the sacrifice of the Son of God. Can it be said of us that we have wasted our Lords goods? I know that could be said of me. I know that could be said of my wife..
The last time my wife and I went to our city mission my wife gave her testimony how she was a born again believer she had given her life to the lord If she died I believe she would have gone to heaven. But she was still drinking and smoking and she didn't look any different from the world. I was the same born again as a child and grew up going to church. I knew all about Jesus and how he died for me. But I was the same as my wife drinking smoking and we were living together unmarried. We would never have commit murder but we were both guilty of wasting our Lord's goods.
God let that go on for just so long and then there came that day for us both when God said " I want an account of your stewardship". For my wife it was watching her son come within inches of death and For me it was deep depression. The pain of depression got so bad Ifinally cried out to God and said God if you don’t take my life I will. I can't live with this pain any longer.
And God said to me "sure Tim ill take your life I've just been waiting for you to give it to me". So I gave my life to the lord by default..Honestly, I was done with the world and had lost all desire for the things of the world it was a been there done that sort of thing and the world had lost all of its appeal to me. I came to the place where I just wanted God, I couldn't do it in my ability any longer. I traded my own self righteousness for his righteousness my own ability for his.
The kingdom of god will not come through a weak, self righteous people tainted by the world. God's kingdom will come through a people who like Paul can proclaim .
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain". ( Galations 2:20-21)
You know what Paul is saying here? Simply put Paul is saying I am not wasting your goods lord. The kingdom of God will come through a people that are fully appropriating what God purposed for us to walk in from the foundation of the world, a manifestation of his life through us. Christ is in the father and the father is in him, we are in Christ and he is in us. And we are one
God is looking for a people who are ready to totally surrender there own will to the will of the holy spirit, to the point were they can say, if you have seen me you have seen Christ. Jesus said " I do nothing apart from the father " we will say I do nothing apart from the holy spirit who is Christ in us. Who can possibly do that you say? No one. In their own ability that is. Lets take a look at one more parable on the kingdom to drive this whole idea home.
THE PARABLE OF THE KING THAT PREPARED A MARRIAGE FOR HIS SON
In Matthew 22 Jesus says "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king wich made a marriage for his son. And sent his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding, and they would not come. Again he sent other servants saying tell them that were bidden I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, But they made light of it and went their ways one to his farm and another to his merchandise, and the remnant took his servants, and treated them shamefully and slew them. when the king herd of this he was wroth, and sent his armies and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, the wedding is ready but they that were bidden were not worthy, go ye therefore into the highways and gather together all that would come, both bad and good. And the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came to see the guests,he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment. And he said to him friend how camest thou hither not having a wedding garment? And the man was speechless. Then the king said unto his servants bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, For many are called but few are chosen.
We can draw many parellels from this parable. We have the call of the Jew and how it was rejected, then we have the call of the gentile. Some say the prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem is in here also. I don't want to debate any of that. What I am saying is God is big enough to give us a parable that was relevant to the people of that day and also to the people of these last days. God was speaking to men through out the ages.
I believe the marriage is talking about salvation. Dont confuse salvation with being born again, they are two different things and The scriptures are very clear about that. Born again means you are born from above and have the holy spirit in you. You are a new creation, a new species. You are no longer just a carnal minded,flesh dominated being, you now you have the very spirit if God, the mind of christ in you. Only made possible by the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, portrayed here by the sacrifice of the oxen and fatlings.
Salvation is the process of appropriating that sacrifice, feeding on the spirit of Christ in you and allowing that spirit to transform the carnal fleshly dominated mind, into the mind of Christ. God has invited any one to this marriage that would come, good or bad. Anyone can get born again and come, But only those with a wedding garment on can stay. This wedding garment is what I want to focus on. understanding the significance of the garment will solidify the point I am making about the kingdom of heaven.
The custom of the Jewish wedding ceremony was that the father of the bridegroom was to provide the wedding garments. They were a gift and it was a dishonor to attend the wedding without wearing the garments provided. The spiritual significance of Garments in the bible,is a covering of the sinful flesh nature of man. The only thing that can truly cover our fleshly sinful nature (or nakedness) is the righteousness of christ provided for us by the father through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ
The very first picture of this is in Genesis. And I want everyone to stop right here! This is the point where you have to turn off the natural mind. If you are to get a hold of this whole concept, you have to get a revalation of this from God. Gods word says that there is hidden manna (revelation 2:17). It is not hidden because God does not want us to see it. It is hidden because God is so big so complex it will take eternity with him to know all there is to know about him. I believe its all in his word. So it is hidden only because we have not yet seen it .
I am not adding to the word or taking away from or changing the word in any way, I am just revealing something to you that you may not have seen yet.
Genesis 2:25 says and they (Adam and Eve) were both naked the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. They were not ashamed because they had a covering, this covering is a marriage. The man and his wife representing a marriage, not a marriage bettween each other but rather a marriage with the father. So in other words they had a fleshly sinful nature but they were not ashamed because their intimacy with the father was their covering. That intimacy with the father prevented intimacy with the flesh. They only "knew" good. They did not yet Know good and evil. In their minds eye they only "knew" the image of God. And the bible also says that Jesus was the image of God (Colossians 1:15)
The first thing that happened after they ate of the tree of "knowledge of good and evil" was their eyes(minds) were opened and they "knew" they were "naked". They had lost their covering. They sewed fig leaves together and tried to cover themselves which Represents self righteousness, And is an abomination to God. You cant cover your flesh. You in your own efforts will never stop sinful lustful desires. satan can get strong holds in your mind that you can never combat in your own strength.
Genesis 1:27 "says so God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them". Genesis 5:1 again repeats that Adam, the original man was made in the image of God, but then 5:3 says that Adam begot a son who was made in the image and likeness of his earthly father Adam, not God. ''And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth (Genesis 5:3).
Many christians only read and quote from the verses that talk about mankind being created in the divine image of God. The children of man however, after Adam's fall into sin were born into that fallen nature (image) of man which is of the flesh, not the spirit. Our old fallen nature is desperately in need of redemption and salvation, we must first be ''born again'', then you can put on the garments provided for you by the father and come to the marriage of the son and know him so intimately that there is know place left for that sinful nature in your heart.
The best thing that could happen to me when I was living a carnal christian life, was for God to throw me into the darkness of depression. I lost all desire for the things of the world. Nothing in this world could satisfy the holy unrest that was in me. That day, I loved not my life unto death. I truly had lost my life to God and since that day I cant get enough of him. My eyeballs are on the scriptures not the television. My ears are constantly hearing good preaching like Art Katz, David Wilkerson, George Warnock. My mind is on the things of God even in my sleep. I fill my mind with the word of God at night purposely so my dreams will be heavenly. Yes I still sin I haven't achieved but I press on towards the mark of the high calling in christ Jesus.I keep filling my heart and mind with Christ the image of God until some day I will be so one with him I will no longer know or be ashamed of my nakedness. That my freind is the true gospel and that is the way the kingdom of God will come one heart at a time.
A little shaking up
Now I am going to shake you up a bit. There is a falling away from this truth in the church today. We have been lulled to believe that we are supposed to do the best we can in this carnal sinful flesh world. We have been taught to live a good moral life and bring as many people as we can with us to heaven, and look foreword to what a glorious day that will be, or if Jesus comes back, which ever comes first.
I sat in church this Sunday and listened to the pastor preach a message on denying self and being holy. He ended his message with "what a glorious day that will be when we see Jesus". When he said those words God spoke to me and told me to ask him a question. Patiently I waited for him to finish his mingling with the congregation and when he was alone I said to him "good message today but I have a question for you, you ended your message with what a glorious day that will be when we see Jesus. I said what is wrong with saying we can see him now in all his glory. Why do we have to wait until we go to heaven, it is up to us how much of him we see in our minds eye now"
His response to me was,"I understand what you are saying. but their are people in this church who are just not there yet in their walk,so I am trying to get them there by encouraging them to think of when they do see Jesus face to face". God allowed me to see right through this pastor, he did not care what God's heart was for his people. He was satisfied with the status quot and he was not going to upset the apple cart so to speak. He cared more about his little kingdom he was building than he did about the heart of God. The sad part is I don't think he even realizes what he is doing. Satan has blinded his eyes and he is taking his whole congregation with him. A perfect example of many churches around the world today.
Colossians 3:1-4 says "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
According to this scripture I don't think this pastor will even go in the rapture, and I don't know how glorious it will be if this pastor goes to heaven either. This scripture says in order to be risen with Christ you must be seeking and setting your affections on those things which are above, not things on the earth. When we are dead to the flesh, to the world, and to self and our affections are on things above, then our nakedness can be hid with Christ. When Christ appears who is our life, only then will we appear with him in glory, or only then will it be glorious. If Christ is not our life we will be very much ashamed like Adam and Eve.
I have heard it said the church today is the Laodicean church age, I believe that is true. Take a look at what Jesus say's to the Laodicean church.
Revelation 3:15-22 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.