February 24, 2019

Entering His Kingdom

When Jesus taught us to pray saying, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” He was referring to both now and the future. The ‘now’ part was like a door opening:

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1–3)

When Jesus came on the scene, the door opened a bit farther:

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14–15)

This doorway or the entrance to the kingdom is by way of repentance and faith that results in a new birth. Jesus told us the necessity of being born again:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God . . . Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:3–7)

Those who have walked through that door can see the glory of the King. Without repentance and faith, my eyes were blind to the kingdom of God, but when He opened them and brought me in, I could see His glory and know who He really is. If that were not enough, the Word God illuminated by the Holy Spirit shows that more awaits me. This King Jesus has gone to heaven but will return. When He does, I will see Him face to face. All will see Him and He will rule. This event will be significant:

The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. (Acts 2:20)

And yet it will come when many are not prepared for it or the calamities that will happen:

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2) . . . But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:10)

The Gospels have much to say about the return of Christ. The new Christians were expecting Him any minute. Some were even afraid that they missed the event. To them and to us, God gave this instruction:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:1–12)

Lord Jesus, this passage is both an encouragement and a burden. I can see the activity of Satan among those who have rejected the King and His Kingdom. I’m aware of the strong delusions and the rampant pleasure in unrighteousness as I look back at the other side of that open door. I am also aware that God’s plans will take place and all things will be summed up in You. You will return and usher in Your glorious Kingdom. It is my prayer for as many people as possible to walk through that open and welcoming door to experience it — before it is too late.

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