Advancing the Kingdom of God | Week 10 | This Present Kingdom
Donna Gaines brings This Present Kingdom to a close by pointing out the differences between the narrow path of salvation and the wide path of this world. When we choose to root ourselves in God and His Word, while advancing His kingdom, we find the ultimate satisfaction.
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This Present Kingdom
Week 10 – Kingdom Wisdom
It starts with the heart. Jesus began by dealing with the interior life. When our heart’s affection is set on Him, our actions will be transformed.
R. A. Torrey stated, “If loving God with all our heart and soul and might is the greatest commandment, then it follows that not loving Him that way is the greatest sin” (The Reflective Life by Ken Gire, p. 84).
It is only through loving the Lord with all of our being that we are able to live according to the Sermon on the Mount. The Greatest Command is for our greatest good! When my love for Christ surpasses my love for self, sin loses its grip and appeal.
The theme of choice runs throughout the Bible. Christ wraps up His sermon by driving home the truth that we must choose. Our choices determine the path upon which we travel, the destination and the ultimate quality of our lives.
- Psalm 1:6
- Wisdom and Folly (Proverbs)
- Prophets – Jeremiah 21:8
The Great Invitation
Multiple Illustrations of the same truth.
I. The Narrow and Wide Gate and Paths
Some of you think you are saved because you are on a road. But you must be on the narrow road. You must enter through the narrow gate.
Jesus is the gate – He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
It is a small gate – you cannot take anyone or anything with you.
“Matthew’s Jesus is appealing both for an evangelical decision (the gate) and for an ethical endurance (the way). Taken together, then, the narrow gate and the tough way are simply the difficult choice for Jesus and the constantly challenging decisions for discipleship to Him” (The Gospel According to Matthew, by Leon Morris, Logos).
Life “in Christ” is not “natural”. It takes effort and a daily dying to the flesh. (Luke 9:23; Romans 12:1-2)
“But Christianity is not about being very good, or very bad, or very comfortable. It is about being in God’s kingdom or staying out. It is about allegiance to God, or rebellion. It is about being on the road that starts narrow but opens out into the life of heaven, or staying on the broad road of our self-centeredness until it contracts to a dead halt in final destruction” (The Message of Matthew, by Michael P. Green, Logos).
II. Fruit Inspection
A. Wolves in sheep’s clothing B. Good trees and bad trees
“You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20).
(Excellent Resources – MaMa Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies edited by Hillary Morgan Ferrar, Another Gospel: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity by Alisa Childers)
Liberalism – Loosens the Word
Legalism – Tightens or adds to the Word
III. The Judgment
The judgment will be where the truth is revealed. Those who practice lawlessness will not be allowed to enter. Jesus said, “I never knew you, depart from me you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).
Lawlessness – “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
“Those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:16-21).
IV. The Two Foundations
Those who hear and act upon the Word of God prove that they belong to Him. When we build our lives upon Christ and His Word, we are building on the rock.
When we build upon our flesh and the world, we are building on the sand. In the end, our lives and all that we have built will be washed away.
“What Jesus offers is totally different. It begins not from our reaching up, but from God’s reaching down. It is not a religion at all, but a revelation and a rescue. Jesus is the revelation of what God is like; never has there been such a true likeness. The King has come to bring in the kingdom. He is no less than God’s rescue for men and women lost in self-centeredness and sin” (The Message of Matthew, by Michael P. Green, Logos).
Jesus taught with authority and the people marveled. We should stand in awe of Christ. But our awe must lead to obedience!