Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
TITLE: Who is Qualified?
By Iris VanDeventer-Whitney
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There is a kingdom of heaven and a kingdom of God. In searching the scriptures, it can be found that the two are different. The kingdom of heaven is on the earth and the kingdom of God is within us. The kingdom of heaven is provided for us while we are here living on the earth. Conversely, we obtain the kingdom of God through a precious gift: the Holy Spirit of God. God came to us through His precious son, Jesus Christ. It pleased the Father that the fullness of the godhead should dwell in Jesus.
In contrasting between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God, the differing times of the introduction of the terms must be noted. When John the Baptist started his ministry, he preached, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). This was prior to the commencement of Jesus’ ministry, and prior to his Jordan River experience, when he was baptized and the Holy Ghost fell on him in the form of a dove (Matthew 3). Jesus gives a concrete description of the kingdom of heaven in the book of Mathew. It is full of wrong-doers, and tares are allowed to grow with the wheat until the harvest, when the good is separated from the bad (Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:36-43). The kingdom of heaven is not in us. However, we can live on a heavenly plane as Jesus did, and overcome the world.
After Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit fell upon him, he had the full authority to say, “The kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). It can be noted that Jesus used the phrase often. He was the chosen personification of God. Think of it: To be found worthy for God to inhabit our body! It is a miracle. God is a spirit; He desires a body to dwell in. We are that body.
Jesus had to qualify to meet the standards. He was baptized and the Holy Ghost was poured upon him. After that point, the Bible then says that he “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). His fiery trial in the desert (directly following His baptism and Holy Ghost experience), prepared Him to begin His short ministry.
It is vital that we prepare ourselves for the kingdom of God. 2nd Thessalonians 1:5 advises us to endure the trials and tribulations; that we might be counted worthy of the kingdom of God. Verse 8 of this same chapter speaks of those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It says that they shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of God.
If we need to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ to obtain the kingdom of God, we must know what that gospel is. The Bible states that there is “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). This being established, we need to be sure that we have the correct knowledge of this one gospel, so that we may qualify for his beautiful kingdom. The Bible also admonishes us that if we attempt to climb up any other way, we are the same as a thief and a robber (John 10:1).
The Gospel can be represented in the three steps that Jesus took in earning salvation for us, and is introduced in Acts 2:38:
1. Death: Repentance, sorrow, dying out to sin.
2. Burial: Baptism in Jesus’ name. The Bible is clear on this matter. In Colossians 3:17 it says “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
3. Resurrection: Beginning of a new life in Christ, after the infilling of the Holy Ghost (which, according to the salvation accounts in the book of Acts, should be confirmed with the evidence of speaking in tongues).
These same crucial steps are still salvation unto the church of today. In Acts 2:39, it says that the Gospel’s promise is “unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” As a child of God, you have received the call. Answer. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on the glorious joy that shall be experienced upon entrance of the majestic kingdom of God.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, 2001.
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