Thy kingdom come.Matthew 6:10a (KJV)
Jesus often said the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For example, after He was tempted in the wilderness by the great adversary, Satan, Jesus at once began to say publicly “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17 KJV)
Then again in the next chapter of Matthew we have the sermon on the mountain beginning (Matthew 5:1-7:29). Take your New Testament and notice the sermon was addressed to those who will enter 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 7:21 (KJV)
Those who do the will of the Father will enter into the kingdom. “Lord, Lord” is a confession. Doing the will of the Father is a life profession. So, just exactly what is the “will of the Father” we must ask? Read the sermon on the mount, the preacher replies. Jesus is explaining it in detail.
Keep the “Beattitudes” of Matthew 5:3-12, for example. I tell you the truth. The core of the lessons in the sermon on the mount is summarized in those short nine verses. Listen. The Master Teacher is whishering a secret through the pages of your e-Bible.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and these things shall be added unto you”Matthew 6:33 KJV
Put God’s kingdom before your job. Set it before your vacation. Put the foremost goal on your heart to seek citizenship in the kingdom of Heaven and the blessings you receive? Well, your cup will run over with them.
Friend I’m going to let you in on something, and I hope you I don’t become your enemy by telling you the truth. True believers are welcome in the kingdom of Heaven. Now wait, don’t get huffy until you let me explain. Turn your New Testament to Matthew 8. I’m going to use a modern translation because it makes the point needing to be conveyed crystal-clear.
“When Jesus entered the city of Capernaum, an army officer came to him, begging for help. 6 The officer said, “Lord, my servant is at home in bed. He can’t move his body and is in much pain.” 7 Jesus said to the officer, “I will go and heal him.” 8 The officer answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for you to come into my house. You only need to command it, and my servant will be healed. 9 I, too, am a man under the authority of others, and I have soldiers under my command. I tell one soldier, ‘Go,’ and he goes. I tell another soldier, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and my servant does it.’ 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. He said to those who were following him, ‘I tell you the truth, this is the greatest faith I have found, even in Israel. 11 Many people will come from the east and from the west and will sit and eat with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But those people who should be in the kingdom will be thrown outside into the darkness, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.’ 13 Then Jesus said to the officer, ‘Go home. Your servant will be healed just as you believed he would.’ And his servant was healed that same hour.” –Matthew 8:5-13 NCV
The people coming from the east and the west are non-Jews, which the Bible refers to as Gentiles. These folks recognize the Lord’s authority. They humble themselves before the Son of Man. Trusting in Jesus’s verbal command is all the soldier needs. The centurion and non-Jews like him will sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
Focus your attention on verse twelve. Zoom in on it. Hover over it with your bifocals. Make the page larger on your screen. Do what you must, to get this point down. Does the passage state people who should be in the kingdom will be thrown outside into the darkness? They will cry and grind their teeth with pain.
I am aware the KJV does not include the word “should” but that’s the foremost reason I selected the New Century Version to quote this passage. I am no Greek scholar and do not want to debate Bible versions. My goal is to make a point that is distinguished here – no matter what version you are reading. Some people who are supposed to be in the kingdom of heaven are rejected before they get there.
Contextually, the Jews reject the Messiah and had Him assassinated Him on a man-made tree. Gentiles have a kingdom inheritance because they hear, confess, believe and obey the good saving news of Jesus Christ. Thousands of Jews were saved on Pentecost in Acts 2 and a notable introduction of Gentile conversions in Acts 10. Jesus is making a point. Kingdom entry is dependent upon doing the Father’s will.
Its interesting Jesus preaches people living in His earthly journey will be alive at the kingdom arrival (Mark 9:1). Guess what? The Holy Spirit confirms the kingdom did in fact arrive in the same century. He inspires Paul to write in Colossians,
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” –Colossians 1:12-14 KJV
Jesus gave Peter the key to unlock the kingdom (Matthew 16:19). Indeed, Peter is the first apostle to preach the Gospel to the Jews in Acts 2, opening the church kingdom to them with the power of the saving gospel (Romans 1:16). Then again, Peter is the first apostle to turn the key by preaching the gospel to the Gentiles in Acts 10, thereby introducing the kingdom church to the rest of the world.
The kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. Jesus’s kingdom is not of this world, according to John 18:36. And, the eternal kingdom cannot accept physical flesh and blood upon its final state beyond the grave (1 Corinthians 15:50).
It does nobody any good to say Jesus is King if He doesn’t have a kingdom to rule. This is why He is Lord over lords and King over all governments. Jesus is superior to all governing powers that be (Romans 13).
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”Luke 19:38
To be continued….
Continue To Lesson 3