Receiving the Kingdom
Three things concerning the kingdom of God that are very important to understand:
- Jesus told Nicodemus that a man must be born again to even SEE the kingdom of God. John 3:3
- Then Jesus told him that unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he couldn’t ENTER the kingdom of God.
- But then later on in His ministry He introduces another deep truth that adds to the equation even more; He speaks of RECEIVING the kingdom of God.
I don’t think we have a problem “seeing” the kingdom of God, and I don’t think we have a problem with “entering” the kingdom of God – I think we have a problem “receiving” the kingdom of God.
Consider this brethren: if I take you to a beautiful palatial home (a mansion) and we walk all around it and you take in the tall stone fireplace on the back of the house, and you admire the redwood deck right off the living room and kitchen, and you love the wood trim on the outside of the windows, and the beautiful ornate mahogany front door…that would be pretty nice to behold wouldn’t it? Then I say to you, “The realtor left me the key, lets go in and look at the house.” So we go inside and admire the high vaulted ceilings, the hardwood floors, the many rooms, the large kitchen with all the latest amenities, etc., etc., that would be even better because now you’ve been able to really understand how the house looks and feels from the inside. But then as we’re leaving I say to you “The house is yours to keep.” This changes everything now!!
So then, which is better? Seeing the home was nice, being able to enter the home and take it all in and really have an understanding of the inside of the home was even better…but actually receiving it as your own is the best. Receiving the house as your own is greater than seeing the house or even entering the house.
Peter, James. And John saw the kingdom of God in Luke 9:27-35. Jesus saying, “There are some standing here who shall not taste of death till they have seen the kingdom of God.” And then they went up on the mount of transfiguration and they did “see” the kingdom of God.
Many see the kingdom, but do not enter. Remember the man in Mark 12:34 who answered the Lord wisely? The Lord said to him, “thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” This man saw something. Otherwise he would not have come to Jesus in the first place. He was an enquirer, a seeker of truth; his heart was leaned towards the Lord. But notice something here: he could see the kingdom, but he hadn’t entered it yet. And we see this truth all through the gospels and the book of Acts: people seeing but not entering.
Now with this understanding, let’s take it a step further. In the same manner we also have seen the kingdom, and we also have even entered the kingdom, but many are not receiving the kingdom. Remember that everything in scripture is progressive revelation. In other words every truth in scripture starts off as a seed, then this seed blossoms, then we partake of the fruit of it. Another way of saying it is that every truth that you will see in scripture will began in infancy, come to maturity which is a process of time, then it will become fully mature.
It is the same way with the things of the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.” “Seeing” the kingdom can be likened unto infancy (the blade) – “Entering” the kingdom can be likened unto coming to maturity (the ear), and then “Receiving” the kingdom can be likened unto full maturity (the full corn in the ear). Can you see these truths brethren? For this particular truth will govern your entire walk with the Lord in every single area of your life. Paul said to not be children anymore in our understanding, but to be men in our understanding. “Manhood” is a position of maturity. As a matter of fact that word “men” in 1st Cor. 14:20 that says, “Brethren, be not children in your understanding…but in understanding be men” is the same Greek word for “maturity/perfection”.
Bare with me brethren, because we’re taking all of this somewhere. Brethren, the kingdom of God has already come. “Thy kingdom come” Luke11:2. Jesus said again and again “the kingdom of God has come near you.” He also said “the kingdom of God is within you“. He said, “the kingdom of God does not come with observation“. Did you really catch that? It does not come from any outward seeing or observation – the kingdom of God has to be received by faith.
This is the sum of what we are saying…the kingdom of God being realized and received is the greatest thing of it all. Because until we “receive” the kingdom, we cannot walk in its blessings, its benefits, its attributes, its privileges, or its authority. A kingdom has to have a king. The word of God says over and over that He has made us to be kings and priests unto our God.
Luke’s account of the last supper adds something that none of the other accounts record. It is the dialog concerning the kingdom. The Lord says here (Luke 22:29) that He had received a kingdom from His Father, and in like manner He also bestowed upon us a kingdom. Think of what He is saying here: He has already bestowed a kingdom to us!!
How then is this kingdom received? By faith. Paul said in 1st Cor. 15:50 that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Make no mistake about this brethren, Hebrews 12:28 says, “we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken”. “WE ARE RECEIVING“ a kingdom. Not will receive a kingdom, not shall receive a kingdom; but “we are receiving a kingdom“. This can only be received by the spirit, through Christ, yet in faith. We are receiving this kingdom right now!! Can you see this truth, can you enter into this truth, and can you receive this truth?
We read of these great men in the Bible and throughout church history that moved entire nations and did mighty deeds and we love them and want the same things in our own lives. What is the real difference between us and these “pillars” of the Church? They were walking in kingdom authority because they realized the truth of receiving the kingdom and that when they began to walk in the reality of the kingdom that was bestowed upon them; then the authority of the kingdom came with it. If I give you the house that I spoke of earlier in this article then I would also give you the keys to the house. And by giving you the keys to the house, I’m giving you the full authority to govern, rule, keep, and run the house.
Brethren, Jesus said that “a son abides in the house forever“, not a servant. He is not bringing many children to glory. The word of God tells us that He is “bringing many sons to glory.” The child has matured and become a son that is able to inherit the kingdom from his Father and run it and rule over it in equity, truth, righteousness, and maturity. He has come of age and his Father can now trust him with greater responsibility. A kingdom has to have three things to function properly: a king, a territory, and an authority given by Another (and recognized by all) to rule the kingdom. Without these three things, it’s nothing more than what the Queen of England has: a title and nothing more. She’s just a figurehead. She has no authority at all. She can’t even enter parliament as a guest without an invitation, and she has no say in the laws or the government of the land. She has the title, but she doesn’t have (rule over) the territory, and she has no authority to even make one decision.
But this is not the case with us brethren. We “have been made kings unto our God“, we have been given a vast domain (the earth) and He has given us the authority to root out all that offends His kingdom. What offends His kingdom? Devils, sickness, darkness, and sin. Why was Jesus manifested? 1st John 3:8 says, “…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” And John went on to say in the same epistle, “As He is, so are we in this world.” We are to also be destroying the works of the devil, walking in a divine authority where our words are weighty and powerful, putting to flight the armies of the enemy. When a king speaks, he speaks with authority and people listen. I have cast out many fierce devils over the last 24 years and one thing I have noticed each and every time…when I command, they leave; sometimes reluctantly, yet they always leave. I know that He whom I am under authority to gives authority to me because I am honoring His word and increasing His kingdom on the earth and in the earth when I obey His word and do His word and speak His word.
He has given us authority over all these things. Consider this verse from Mark 13:34, “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work and commanded the porter to watch.”
He gave authority, He entrusted His house (territory – the whole earth), and he made us kings. All three things to have a kingdom are present. Then why aren’t we walking in the reality of this kingdom? Because of a lack of commitment to THE King, and unbelief. The Lord Himself saying, “When the Son of man returns, will He really find faith on the earth?” Anyone who has ever done anything for God received the kingdom by faith and did it by faith. Might help to read Hebrews 11 again real quick.
We also have received a kingdom from our God. What are you doing with that kingdom? Is it just a “figure-head” kingdom to you; or is it a kingdom of authority and rule and dominion? Make no mistake about it brethren, how you conduct yourself in the kingdom now will determine your position and authority in the kingdom then. This truth coming from the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us become very serious about these issues, and wake up and realize that there is one trying to rend this kingdom from our hands by conducting a military coup against us in secret. The kingdom has come and we are walking in it now!! Can you really see this?? Those of you who are walking and living where you should be can see it, I know. Let us teach these truths to the younger generation before their minds and hearts are blinded by our common enemy to this deep, deep truth.
We will close this with a verse from Galatians 4:1-2,”Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the Father.” Let us delve deep into the life and meaning of these two verses so that you may obtain great insight into one of the deepest truths in scripture pertaining to the kingdom.
Notice that it begins with “Now I say that the heir” So we see that the actual “position” objectively is that this one is a “heir.” This is his position whether he realizes it or not. Bill Gates’ little boy doesn’t realize he is the heir to his father’s fortune because of his age and his immaturity. He is 13 now, so he may realize his father is rich but he doesn’t understand the finite complexities of his father’s business. His mind isn’t developed enough to grasp the enormity of it all. He still needs much education and personal instruction from his father on the family business.
But make no mistake about it; he is the heir to the Gate’s empire. Now if he chooses to squander his life and remain infantile in his thinking and never mature into manhood (we would say this is abnormal, right?) and not want to finish school…then Bill will give it all to someone else who has proven themselves worthy, responsible, honest, and someone who is faithful with Bill’s best interests at heart.
Let’s move on to the next phrase, “as long as he is a child.” This is the choice of the child and not the parent. As a parent I want my children to mature more every day and show more and more responsibility. If my 12 year old daughter is still playing with dolls and talking like a 12 year old at age 25, I’ll be taking her to see a doctor pretty quick!! But we see this among the members of the body every day. Ones who have been saved for years and are still 3 years old in their thinking and in their acting (behavior). This should not be. THIS IS ABNORMAL!! THIS IS WEIRD!!! IT’S ALMOST SATANIC!!! Watchman Nee said that if a Christian is not mature in a few years after being saved, then this is a sad state of affairs indeed. Because this one is not wanting to progress spiritually by prayer and study and doing the word. And if you are not progressing, then you are digressing.
The next phrase “does not differ at all from a slave.” Jesus said that a slave does not abide in the house but a son abides forever. The one who chooses to remain a child in spiritual things is no different than a slave. He has no privileges, no rights, no blessing, and no say in any matter. He lives in the servant’s quarters and just doesn’t realize he is the heir of it all. He just works for wages and nothing more. His vision is very small because his heart is very small.
The next phrase, “though he is master of all.” (KJV “though he be lord of all”). This is a huge statement. “though” Here he is the lord of it all and he doesn’t even realize it. If he could only believe the words of his Father…if he could only believe…if he could only believe.
“But is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the Father.” The KJV reads, “But is under tutors and governors…” The word tutors means “one who has the care of children, a guardian of minors” And the word “governors” means the manager of a household, a superintendent, an overseer, and one who has been entrusted with another man’s personal affairs or business affairs.” Our father is running two different businesses at any given moment and these two businesses are 1) His business affairs – this pertains to the world, drawing sinners unto Himself, and continuing to destroy the works of His enemy and He does this through His Church, and 2) His personal affairs – this pertains to His children, their welfare, their maturity, anything that pertains to the children of God. And we must be about tending both of these businesses with our Father and His Son. His “business affairs” deals with the field (Matt. 13:38 “the field is the world”) and His “personal affairs” deals with the vineyard (Matt. 21:28 “Son, go work today in My vineyard”) and this is the Church, the children of God.
With these definitions in mind, consider the following section of divine scripture: “And He gave some, apostles: and some, prophets: and some, evangelists: and some, pastors and teachers (actual Greek on the last one should read shepherds and teachers, referring to one office (noticing the word “some” is missing on the very last one; therefore making it a 4-fold ministry as Kenneth Hagin brought out many years ago and others brought out before him). In other words a man can be a teacher but not a pastor and we see this is Acts 13:1 where is says that “there were in the church at Antioch certain prophets and teachers…”, but a pastor will be a teacher for how could one lead the flock of God without being able to teach them? And Paul also lays down this qualification in scripture in the qualifications of an elder needing to be able to teach; in which a pastor would be an elder by default.) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 (Now notice how the very next verse begins: “That from now on we be no more children”
Now with this last paragraph in mind, let us touch upon the previous paragraph again. So then as long as one chooses to remain a child, he will be under tutors (teachers and shepherds) and governors (apostles and prophets) until he can come to maturity and began to walk in one of these offices and minister to others that which he has also received. “For the perfecting of the saints” this word “perfecting” means to bring to maturity; “unto a perfect man” this word also means to bring to maturity. Are you seeing a truth emerge here? It’s all about maturing from a child into a man. For as long as you remain a child, you can never help anyone else come into the deeper things of Christ.
There is so much more that could be said here. Hopefully we will be dealing with these issues at a minister’s conference in April of this year. We hope to see many of you there with open hearts and open ears.
“Father, drive the truth of this home to the people of God. Let their spiritual ears (Luke 9:44) be able to hear, let their hearts be opened by you to receive these words ((Acts 16:14) and let us begin to obey Your word. James 1:22 says, “a doer of the word” but then James 1:25 says, “a doer of the work.” Oh Lord Jesus ~ cause us to really see again…help us to really believe again…and let out hearts truly be as a little child’s again. By the great strength and faith of our God and through the mighty Name of our Lord and everlasting Saviour, Jesus Christ – Amen”