I want you to be prepared to turn to a whole bunch of scripture. I’ve been looking at this subject of the kingdom of heaven. I want to look at a whole bunch of verses that have to do with the kingdom of heaven. The title of my message this morning is “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
In Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
This is a very interesting verse to me because it really it is the beginning of the New Testament. And many of you know that the OT the last prophet was the prophet Malachi. He brought a message to the backslidden nation of Israel. He was calling for repentance for things that were creeping into the nation of Israel. After the Prophet Malachi spoke the windows of heaven were shut. The prophetic voice of God was silenced for a period of 400 years.
For you that don’t understand how long 400 years is, it is longer than America has been a nation. That’s how long God didn’t speak through the prophetic voice to the nation of Israel.
you get to the book of Matthew and all of a sudden a prophet rises up by the name of John the Baptist. The anointing of a prophet was upon him. The first words he had to say to the nation of Israel in verse 2:
KJV Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
What did John the Baptist mean by this? What did he mean by “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”? And, what does repentance have to do with the Kingdom of Heaven?
Well, if you have your Bibles, go with me over to chapter 4. In this chapter Jesus is led into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. As He comes out of that temptation victorious the Bible tells us that the power of the Spirit was upon Him (in Luke) and this was the official start of Jesus’ ministry.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
What does it mean by this statement that the kingdom of heaven is at hand?
Why do we have to repent? What’s that have to do with it? Where is this kingdom of heaven?
There are also references to the kingdom of God.
KJV Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
What is He teaching? Preaching the gospel of the kingdom. What are the results of the gospel of the kingdom?
Healing of the sick, all manners of diseases being healed. They are bringing sick people to him in verse 24 that were taken with diverse diseases, that were tormented, possessed of the devil. Those who were lunatics and those that palsy and those that needed healing. And He healed them. Brothers and sisters, you need to know something this morning. Healing is a part of the New Covenant message. It’s a part of the gospel of the kingdom. If you’ve got churches claiming to proclaim the Gospel and healing is not manifesting itself there, they are preaching another gospel. It’s that simple. Part of the Gospel of the Kingdom is the healing power of God. If that’s not in your gospel, you don’t have the Gospel of the Kingdom. It’s that serious.
Now Brothers and sisters the only way into this kingdom is the way John the Baptist spoke about, the way of repentance. The only way into this Kingdom is the way Jesus spoke about. It’s the way of repentance.
Now, this kingdom of heaven manifesting itself in Jesus life is this way. Let’s see what He says about it in the next chapter. Matthew 5:3. He began to talk about the qualifications of the Kingdom and he said:
KJV Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
So, this same Kingdom that Jesus was tapped into — He said the Kingdom of heaven is at hand — He said this kingdom is not just available to me the Messiah, the Redeemer, but it’s available to anybody that is poor in the spirit.
What does it mean to be poor in the spirit? It simply means you recognize your need. As a child of God you can’t do it in your own strength. You don’t have what it takes. The kingdom of heaven is what it takes and you are willing to lay down your flesh, your human abilities, your ability to succeed and say I don’t have what it takes, I need the kingdom of God. And your desire is for the kingdom of God, it’s very important.
Jesus here extends that kingdom to you and I. He is saying that if you and I qualify, the kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of God is available to us.
Next scripture. Luke chapter 17, you are going to want to stay with me. You will have to turn fast because I don’t have a lot of time to wait on you.
KJV Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.
The Jewish people believed that Messiah would come. They believed he would establish an earthly kingdom. He would overthrow the established empires of this world, which included the Roman Empire they were subject to. And He would establish an earthly kingdom. The Jewish people were partly right. They were wrong in thinking it would happen in His first coming.
Jesus said, No, I’m not here to manifest to manifest My Kingdom in earthly power and glory yet. That’s going to happen at a later time when I return. So the Jewish scribes and Pharisees had some questions about this man Jesus who was claiming to be the son of God, who was claiming to be Messiah. So, they said, If you are really this Messiah, when are you going to set up your kingdom and overthrow the Roman Empire? That’s really what they were asking when they asked this question.
Jesus said, “the kingdom of God cometh not with observation”. In other words He was saying, not this time, the next time it will be in power and glory, but right now you can’t see the kingdom of God. Now look with me at the next verse.
KJV Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Now, let me correct something here. I’ve heard many a preacher including preachers here that have preached on kingdom of God being within you. I don’t want to make you feel bad. I used to preach about the kingdom of God being in you. And how the kingdom of God is in us. And I would use this verse to back that up. One day the Lord spoke to me and He said, “that is not what that verse means”. Oh, Really? That’s what it says. No, He said, “The Pharisees did not have the kingdom of God in them. That’s not what Jesus was saying.”
It is true that when you have the Holy Ghost in you and the Gospel in you and the message in you, it is probably OK to say “the kingdom is within you”. That’s New Testament, but you can’t use that verse to preach that message. Because that is not what that verse means. Jesus was not looking at the Pharisees and saying, the kingdom of God is within you. This word “within” if you look it up in the Greek means “among”. What Jesus was saying was, “I represent the kingdom of God as an ambassador of the kingdom. I am among you and you don’t even recognize it. The kingdom of God is among you and you are not even tapping into the kingdom.”
Now, brothers and sisters, Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. He said, “the kingdom of heaven is among you.” That means it was all around them. But, they weren’t tapping into it. Brothers and sisters, I’m concerned about that today.
I’m concerned about the fact that the Lord wants to release the kingdom of God in your life. It’s all around you it’s among you. I’m concerned about the fact there are only a few tapping in to it. Is that a legitimate concern? It is.
Now let’s look at some other scriptures. We need to recognize there are conditions to the kingdom of God. There are conditions. It’s not an automatic thing just because you go to church. It’s not an automatic thing just because you have been baptized. It’s not automatic thing just because you made a few changes in your life. The Kingdom of God comes with conditions.
Go to John chapter 3. Here’s where most miss it.
KJV John 3:3 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, [Jesus talking to Nicodemus] except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Jesus said to the Pharisees, “the kingdom of God cometh not with observation”. You cannot see it. But, now He is saying you can see it. But, you must be born again. Nicodemus was a Pharisee. Nicodemus may have been there when Jesus said, “the kingdom cometh not with observation, but the kingdom of God is among you, it’s here. You’ve just got to know how to tap into it.” Here Jesus lays out one of the conditions of how to tap into the kingdom: “You must be born again.”
Now the churches we’ve come out of tells us the way to get born again is to take a number of weeks of baptismal classes. Then you get baptized, and you adopt their traditions and doctrines of man and their religious ideas. Then you are born again if you follow the laws and rules of man. I’m here to tell you that you can do all that and never be born again. I’m here to tell you that many people do all that and are not born of the Spirit. They’ve never been born again. If you tell me you are born again and I want to know if you are tapping into the Kingdom.
What is the Kingdom of God? The bible says the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink. But it’s fruit is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Listen, you tell me you are born again and go around watching R rated movies and go around living a life of immorality, maybe not openly, but in here (points to chest). I’m here to tell you need to be born again. You need to be born of the Spirit! Jesus said that a couple verses later.
KJV John 3:5 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Born of what? Water: Those people who teach baptismal regeneration say, “You can’t be born again without being baptized.” So, they make baptism going down into the water or having water poured on you. I’m here to tell you today that’s not what that says.
What does water represent? The Bible talks about the washing of the water of the Word.
Brothers and sisters, baptism by the Spirit of God is the only way into the kingdom of God. The way it happens is you get washed by the water of the Word. You get regenerated by a work of regeneration of the Holy Spirit. That’s what it is talking about here in verse 5. “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”!
Now, If you’ve had a work of the Spirit done in your life, if you’ve had the washing of the water by the Word you will want to be baptized in water. That’s a good thing. If not something is wrong. But that comes as a result of the work of the Spirit.
It’s not that you do it so that Spirit works. That is putting the cart before the horse. That defiles people. That is the spirit of religion.
Brothers and Sisters, I am here to tell you that the only way into the Kingdom of Heaven is to be born of the Spirit.
A lot of people made that coming up to the altar and saying, “Lord Jesus, I accept you into my life.” NO, NO, NO. You can do that and never get saved. I’ve seen people come up and say the sinner’s prayer and nothing changes. It has to do with the heart.
Whenever you say something with your mouth, the Lord checks your heart. If your heart does not agree with what you say, He says you don’t qualify. That’s the way it works.
Hypocrisy is to say something with your mouth and not believe it in your heart. That is why Scripture says confess with the mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, thou shalt be saved. That’s how it comes, brothers and sisters.
You must go beyond a parrot confession. You must go beyond just praying a sinner’s prayer. There needs to be a spirit of faith that rises up in your heart. That’s what activates salvation. You put your faith in the shed blood and broken body of Jesus Christ.
Now let’s go to the next one, Matthew 23. Again we are talking about “The kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. Jesus in this chapter and He unloads on the religious system of His day. These are the churches, the synagogues that are bringing in the multitudes. This is where the majority of God’s chosen people went to church. And Jesus really unloads on them. Here He calls them hypocrites.
KJV Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
There actually were Jewish people who had put themselves under the leadership of Israel going to their synagogues, going to their churches, going to their fellowships, who wanted to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And Jesus said because of the traditions and doctrines of man these people could not enter the kingdom of heaven. Because the leaders were not leading the way. What an indictment against the religious system of His day!
Brothers and sisters it’s no different with religion today. That same spirit of religion will shut up the kingdom of heaven against man. That same spirit of religion that says, you must follow my doctrinal way of doing things, the doctrines and traditions of man in order to be part of the kingdom, does not work. It will shut down the kingdom of heaven.
Now, next verse. Romans 14:17
KJV Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
You need to see this, it’s very important. People may think the Kingdom of God is “I’m being blessed and making a lot of money. I’ve got a nice place to live and a nice car to drive, so I’m tapping into the kingdom of God.” NO, The kingdom of God is not meat and drink. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, it’s peace, and it’s joy in the holy Ghost. Do you know what that means?
There is a certain amount of righteousness that can be achieved on your own strength. It is self-righteousness. There is a certain amount of joy in your life that is human joy. There is a certain amount of peace in this world that is human peace. You go to the bar and meet your buddy there. There is a certain amount of comradery and love that is there. The buddy, buddy thing. “Hey I’ll buy you a beer.” There’s a certain amount of laughing. I used to go to the bar before I got saved. When I got saved, I stopped doing it. I remember back in those days we had a good time there. We would laugh and joke and have fun. There was some joy there. There was even a certain amount of peace there. But it was human joy, human love, and human peace. Thank God for human love joy and peace. It’s a good thing. Even sinners that are wicked and evil have certain amount of love, joy and peace.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus came to this earth and said, “My peace I give to you.” There’s a peace that goes beyond human peace. Human peace is based on “everything is going good and I’m having a good time.” Human happiness is based on “it’s Friday night and it’s happy hour.” That’s what human joy is.
We can go beyond that to a true joy, and everlasting joy that doesn’t matter what you go through. There’s a spirit of Grace operating in your life to take you through those circumstances and situations. Good News! There’s a peace that goes beyond earthly peace. Most of those sinners, ask them if they have peace the next morning when it is hangover time. I’ve worked with some of those fellows. They have no peace besides that earthly peace that might show up at happy hour. They have no joy. They are miserable. They are wretched. I’ve been there.
The good news is that Jesus is here to give us true joy, everlasting joy.
Now let’s go back to the kingdom of Heaven.
It’s not meat and drink, but it’s righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Let me ask you this. How is it in your house?
Is there peace there? Is there Joy? Is there righteousness there?
Or, Is there strife, division, discord, backbiting, undermining, rebellion, those types of things? What’s in your house?
Brothers and sisters, I’m here today to tell you that you can choose what’s in your home. You can choose the kingdom of heaven or you can live according to the lust of the flesh and let that stuff that comes from the kingdom of darkness remain.
KJV 1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
Brothers and Sisters I don’t care if you believe in law or you don’t. It doesn’t matter to me. I just know this, there are certain qualifications to enter the kingdom of God. You will not inherit the kingdom of God if you are living in unrighteousness and you have uncleanness.
You can say that’s not grace brother because the popular grace message of today is that you can have grace without meeting the conditions.
I’m here today to tell you the Spirit of Grace will not work with those who frustrate the Spirit of Grace. He never did and never will. When the Spirit of Grace comes in he teaches you to deny ungodliness. He teaches you to rise above the lusts of the flesh. He teaches you to live in righteousness and holiness.
KJV 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
That’s good stuff. We can talk the talk. Can you walk the walk?
The power of the Holy Ghost coming upon an individual is the kingdom of God.
KJV Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
What things? Well, you take time to read it and study it out.
It’s talking about everything from competitiveness to strife and division and carnality, immorality, fornication. All kinds of things are listed there in Galatians 5 as a fruit of the flesh. It says “they shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
We’ve gotten the message twisted around in the churches and say, come as you are and Jesus will accept you.
Jesus said in His own words, “repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. You cannot enter the kingdom of God without repentance. It’s impossible. You cannot tap into the Spirit of Grace.
We’ve been talking about these different ministering spirits. The spirit of truth, the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of knowledge, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of might. You cannot tap into these spirits without repentance. It is impossible. There’s also a spirit of repentance. You need him to repent.
Think about this. How do we get into the kingdom of God?
KJV Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
There are many many more verses like this. As Jesus would teach the parables He would say the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Heaven is like unto this or like unto that. He would share these different parables, like the ten virgins, like a man sowing seed. He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. He had the power of the Holy Ghost back up the Gospel He was preaching, proving He was preaching the right gospel, the right doctrine.
Brothers and sisters, the Gospel we preach needs to be backed with power. It needs to be backed with the fruit of the spirit. It needs to be backed with the love of God. We need the kingdom of heaven.
Now. These verses I dumped out at you should have established several things. One of these things is that this kingdom cannot be seen in the natural. It’s not meat and drink. It’s not a natural thing. It’s spiritual. The results of the kingdom, Jesus said to Nicodemus, it’s like the wind. You can’t see it, but you can hear the wind. You can see the results of the wind. In the same way the kingdom of God is not with observation. You can’t see it. Jesus said you can see the results of it.
Jesus also said, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. I want to establish that today. That mean look at your hand. Do you see your hand? This thing right here. Look at it. That’s how close the kingdom is to you. Jesus said to one of the Pharisees, “you are not far from the kingdom”. It was only as far as his hand from that man. I want you to know the kingdom is that close to you. It’s right here! Any time you want, if you qualify (remember there are qualifications). The modern day grace movement says qualifications don’t matter and you can tap into it anyway. I am here today to tell you that is a lie from the devil. You’ve got to qualify. That kingdom you can tap into anytime if you qualify. That’s good.
Now that’s the third thing that should have been established already. The kingdom of God is not for everybody. It’s only for those who qualify.
What were some of those qualifications?
Repentance was one of them. Being poor in the Spirit. Seek first the kingdom. Making lifestyle changes. They that do such… you know what “such” is. They that do “such” shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Now, let’s take this thing a step further. Let’s go over to the book of Romans. Romans chapter 8, drop down to verse 5.
KJV Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
One of the things that I’ve found out is that most carnal people do not know what carnality is. Most carnal people when they are chastened by the Lord or by a servant of the Lord ask, “what’s wrong with me? There’s nothing wrong with me.” Because carnality blinds you to what spirituality is.
Brothers and sisters, if there is something that makes you an enemy of God (carnality is an enemy of God there is enmity between carnality and spirituality, there’s enmity between carnality and the Lord Himself) should I not try to find out what is separating me from God and try to get rid of it.? Amen!
Let me give you a good marriage tip. If you want a good marriage, you need to find out what your wife enjoys and then do what she wants you to do. Amen?
Now let me read the verse.
KJV Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Remember, the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
If you want to have a good relationship with God you need to get rid of carnality. What is carnality? That is a loaded question. I’m going to give you an opportunity to get into the message this morning. What is carnality?
I want you to give me a list of things that are completely OK in the Word of God, but it is also completely OK with the flesh.
Can you tell me something the flesh enjoys and is not forbidden by the word of God?
Is eating forbidden by Scripture? Absolutely not. It’s OK, legal, good.
What happens if you don’t drink water. Why don’t you try it for 5 days and tell us how you make out. I went on a water fast, and it is the worst thing I’d ever done to my flesh.
Eating and drinking water are necessary if you want to live and keep on. Some speak of “sipping saints”. There is no such thing. Saints do not indulge in that stuff.
Working is actually something that God requires of us. It says if a man won’t work he shouldn’t eat. As a church, we are OK with helping someone out if he runs into hard times. There will come a point where we will check to see if he will work before we help you out a lot more. You don’t work you don’t eat. Working is a law of Scripture this nation has transgressed by all the handouts it provides to everybody. That is destroying this nation.
Rest. Did you know that sleep is one of the promises of God? “He gives His beloved sleep”.
Taking a shower
Laughter. Nothing wrong with laughter.
Singing. Nothing wrong with singing. Depends on what you are singing.
Comfort. Nothing wrong with recliners.
Approval, pat on the back.
Nice clothes. Is there anything wrong with nice clothes? Jesus wore a robe, that was so nice, that Roman soldiers were fighting if they can have it or not.
Good job. If you have a nice car, nice clothes, you have a good job.
These things are natural desires that are not forbidden by Scripture. The flesh likes popularity, approval, recognition. Is that wrong? God says, “Humble yourself before Me, and I will exalt you. Pray to Me in your prayer closet in private and I will reward you openly”/
So approval… We see it in Joseph, Abraham, they had the blessing of God upon them.
There is something you need to understand, that is getting me into this message of carnality. Those men did not make decisions to see how they could gain in these areas.
They made decisions to see how they could advance in the Kingdom of God. That’s very important. The flesh likes these creature comforts. But the flesh does not like difficulty. It does not like resistance. It does not like to be deprived of the things it desires. So what the flesh does it gets into self-pity. Do you know what self-pity is? The Lord told me something the other day.
When the flesh does not get what it wants, self-pity. It doesn’t get the pat on the back, approval, recognition. It doesn’t get its way. So it goes and it pouts. It gets offended and throws a fit.
The carnally minded person. What is carnality? Carnal, fleshly, earthly, natural, are all words that can be used interchangeably. It is to be natural minded. These things are carnal, earthly, fleshly.
Are they wrong? No. It does not say that a carnal person is an enemy of God. It says a carnally minded person. You and I have things in the natural. We need to breathe, we need to sleep, we need to eat. We would like to have a roof over our heads. But when that becomes the number one focus in life you become carnally minded. When you are driven to pursue these things at the expense of truth, at the expense of serving the Lord, you become carnally minded.
The number one focus of a carnally minded person is preserving the flesh. The number one focus of a carnally minded person is pleasing natural desires. A carnally minded person is wholeheartedly led by the five natural senses. What you can see, what you can taste, what you smell and hear and feel. That’s what dictates your life. That’s how you make decisions.
A carnally minded person makes decisions on how well will this choice affect me in this lifetime, or right now. They don’t look at it from an eternal perspective. A carnal minded person may do spiritual things like go to church. That’s one of the biggest problems in the church. Brothers and sisters, that many people who go to church are carnally minded, they are not spiritually minded. They may do spiritual things like fasting, praying, and going to church. But it’s always when it suits them and their motive is always for my personal gain.
I want you to hear this. So how do you know if you are carnal??
It’s really hard for a carnal person to get the revelation that they are carnal. Most carnal people actually think they are spiritual. They are so focused on self that they don’t realize the error of being focused on self. They are so driven to please the flesh that they don’t recognize the error of trying to please the flesh.
Let me show you what happens in a carnal person’s life. Go with me to 1 Corinthians 3:3.
Brothers and sisters if this is happening in your life, in the workplace, in your home, with your children, you are a carnal person. Let me read it to you.
KJV 1 Corinthians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Do you see that? If there is enmity in your home… Do you know what enmity is? Disagreement. You are at each other and at each other’s throats. Constantly bickering back and forth. The children are constantly bickering. Parents bickering with children, children bickering with parents. If that’s happening you are a carnal person. If there is division, if there is strife, you are a carnal person. You can say well it is because the others are carnal. Well they are carnal because you are carnal.
When you become spiritual you will be able to help heal those rifts and bring healing into those things.
I want you to see this thing of carnality, because it is the number one thing that is keeping people from tapping into the kingdom of heaven, that is at hand, It’s right here. Put your had up against your face. That’s how close the kingdom of heaven is. But if you are a carnal person it’s like this thing was thousands of miles away on the moon somewhere. The kingdom of heaven is as far as from here to heaven. That’s a long ways, if you are a carnal person. That’s how far you are from heaven. Wow, that’s a long way!
Now, lets us take a look at the spiritually minded person.
The kingdom is so close to that spiritually minded person, he can tap into it whenever he or she wants. Whenever they need something spiritual, they can just reach out there and grab it. A spiritually minded person is concerned about spiritual things. Their interest is the Kingdom of Heaven. Their interest is in spiritual things and spiritual activities. When the church doors are opened they will be in church. On time too.
Let me give you a revelation for those who are always late for church. Here’s what I found out happens. You go to pray and say, I need your help now. And, He always shows up too late. Do you know why? Because you have always been late for everything you have ever done. You’ve never been on time. Now you want the Lord to show up on time. It’s the law of sowing and reaping. Enough said about that. But it is a good thing to be on time when you come to the house of God. If you can’t give the Lord that kind of respect something is wrong. It grieves the Holy Spirit when someone is constantly late for things. You know what? If you are always late for things you have an integrity issue in your life. You are lacking in integrity. There is a lying spirit operating in your life.
A spiritually minded person is concerned about the needs of others and will sacrifice self so others can be blessed. Let me in on something else.
Spiritually minded people need to be flexible. Do you know why? I know certain people. Now let me do a little bit of meddling here. If things aren’t just going perfectly in their life (they don’t have the dishes washed, they don’t have the laundry put away, they don’t have everything just perfect and taken care of) they are not going to go help someone else. Because their stuff is not caught up. That’s not being flexible. If you think everything has to be in order and in place before you can be a blessing to others something is wrong with that picture. You are not putting the Kingdom first. You are putting yourself and your needs first. It doesn’t work. It’s not spirituality.
For a spiritually minded person, spiritual things are a priority. Now this is really important. They look at things from an eternal perspective. They make decisions from an eternal perspective. The carnally minded person makes decisions based on right now and what can I get out of it. A spiritually minded person will make decisions on how this will advance the Kingdom of God.
The number one thing I want you to notice about a spiritually minded person, THEY ARE AWARE OF THE SPIRIT REALM. They are sensitive to the spirit realm. They are aware of the Kingdom of God. They are sensitive to the kingdom of God.
Remember those ministering spirits I was talking about. Do you know why I was talking about them? Do you know why I was talking about the spirit of Grace? Do you know why I was talking about the spirit of Truth and the spirit of wisdom and the spirit of holiness and the spirit of knowledge and the spirit of might? Do you know why I was talking about them? It was just because it was not some great idea to talk about. I was talking about them because the Lord was putting on my heart that He wants to release these ministering spirits into your lives.
Do you know what they represent? The Kingdom of Heaven. If you are a spiritual person you will be able to tap into those ministering spirits.
If you are a carnal person, those spirits are not going to work with you. If the kingdom of heaven is not number one in your life, those ministering spirits will not be able to be accessed the way you need them.
Spirituality is a matter of what has priority in your life. That’s what it comes down to. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with sleeping. But if sleep is more important for you then to get up and pray something is wrong. One of the reasons people don’t want to get up and pray is they got to bed too late. That’s entirely another subject.
Do you realize that one of the reason’s people are late for their appointments is that they started too late? I’ll bet you never thought of that. Did you know if you started earlier you would make it on time? That’s a brilliant revelation isn’t it? Did you know if you went to bed earlier you wouldn’t be as tired the next morning? Isn’t that something? See we want to be up all night doing this, texting. I’m convinced that texting is of the devil if you are a carnally minded person.
I’ve got something stirring in me on that stuff now. The Lord has really been dealing with me about that. Here’s the problem, when you are electronically communicating with people you get the picture of what they want you to think. It’s very easy to cover up a person’s character when you are communicating electronically.
And, you know that so many of relationships today are started electronically by the internet, by facebook, by twitter, by texting. When you communicate with a person through those methods, it’s a good way to do business, but when you start communicating with a person in a relationship, you can impress that person into thinking exactly the kind of person you want them to think. It is easy to be hypocritical when you are texting. You don’t get to know the person’s heart, to know the person’s character. I want to encourage our young people. If you want to pursue a relationship with a person, if you are interested in that person, don’t do it electronically. Do it the right way. Get to know the real person, the person’s character. That’s what courting is about. It was never intended to be done electronically. It doesn’t work. These whole ideas about a person are built around a fantasy. It’s not that way in reality. It’s deceptive. That was a side note.
What is the Kingdom of Heaven? What is the kingdom of God?
Brothers and sisters, it’s the inheritance of the saints.
There are two types of people who go to church. One is spiritual, the other is carnal. One is Jacob the other is an Esau. It says Esau “despised the inheritance”. It is wrong to despise your inheritance. There are churches today that despise the inheritance of God. When somebody comes to you and says “all these things passed away with the Apostles”, they are despising the inheritance. Saying “the gifts of the Spirit are not for today” is despising the inheritance.
Saying “We are all sinners saved by Grace”, “We all sin a little bit every day”, is despising the inheritance. Do you know that part of your inheritance is the spirit of holiness that God wants to put into your life? He wants to make you holy. He wants to fill you with holiness. Part of your inheritance is the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord. He wants you to have the fear of the Lord.
Part of your inheritance is the Spirit of Grace. He wants great grace to be upon your life. Part of your inheritance is the love of God. He wants to shed the love of God abroad in your heart. Part of your inheritance is the Peace of God. He wants you to have peace in your marriage, with your children. He wants you to experience the peace that passes all understanding in your life. He wants you to have it in your home, at the workplace. That’s part of your inheritance.
Part of your inheritance is wisdom from above.
Part of you inheritance is the spirit of knowledge.
Part of your inheritance is the spirit of might.
Do you know what is behind that spirit of might? He’s the one who comes with the miracles and signs and wonders and healings and deliverances. That’s not just for preachers. It’s for all people who want to minister. But you must be spiritual. You know, you go to work next week and you can be operating with the spirit of might. You lay your hands on someone and all of a sudden they get delivered. Good thing.
You could be operating with the spirit of wisdom. The neat thing about the spirit of wisdom, he’ll give you wisdom in the natural. He’ll show you how to operate in the natural realm. He’ll show you how to make money, but not when money is number one. Not when you are seeking first wealth. But when you seek first the kingdom, The spirit of wisdom may tell you to go fishing today and there will be a coin in the first fish you catch. That’s what the spirit of wisdom will do. That’s how to pay your taxes. You ask, “Lord how am I going to pay my taxes?” Work another 30 hours a week? I’d say that’s not wisdom, that’s slavery. It’s good for a man to work, but if work is more important than God, something is wrong. You need to be able to shut that thing down when you need to serve the Lord.
Repent ye. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. What does repentance have to do with the Kingdom of heaven?
I want you to hear this. By default, (does anybody know what default means? example of default program in a computer, like a web page that automatically comes up when you go online) in the spiritual realm if you are a carnal person when you tap into the spiritual realm it will automatically be the kingdom of darkness. That is by default. You are not saved. You are carnal and may go to church and have been baptized and prayed the sinners prayer. If you’re carnal the ministering spirits that were fallen back before time (it says the dragon took a third of the stars of heaven), those stars, that were defiled, those spirits still want to minister to you.
There is a spirit of slumber, some of you were tapping into him this morning. There is a spirit of whoredoms. Some of you were tapping into him this last week. He’s the one who puts those unclean thoughts in your mind. There is a spirit of anger. There’s a spirit of fear. Did you know it is sin to fear? God has not given us the spirit of fear which is torment but one of power one of love one of a sound mind.
What I am saying here is that by default if you are a carnal person you start tapping into these carnal spirits. These unclean spirits begin to operate in your life. The Bible talks about a spirit of disobedience. When someone in authority gives a command (the boss, maybe that means husband, maybe spiritual authority, maybe it’s parents,) and right away, and you resist that command let me tell you what is operating in your life. It’s a spirit of rebellion and a spirit of disobedience. The Bible talks about the spirit of disobedience.
Why repentance? Why did John the Baptist say Repent Ye the Kingdom of heaven is at hand? Why did Jesus say Repent ye, the kingdom of heaven is at hand?
The reason He said that was that He knew there was no way without repentance to tap into the kingdom of heaven if you have been tapping into the kingdom of darkness without repenting.
One of the things we need to learn to do when we become angry or when we become bitter or we become jealous, when we have allowed the spirit of whoredoms, fornication and uncleanness to operate in our minds, we need to learn to repent of yielding to those spirits. That is one of the keys. You can’t just say I’m going to stop doing that now and tap into the other kingdom. You need to repent of cooperating with the kingdom of darkness, cooperating with those fallen spirits.
Let’s go to James in closing.
KJV James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
I want you to see this. What is going on is James is addressing a group of people calling themselves Christians. In their midst there were certain people who said they had great wisdom. “We sat at the feet of Gamaliel, we went through all the teachings of the old testament, and all the laws of God. We went through all of that. We have great wisdom.” Their wisdom stirred up strife. Their wisdom stirred up carnality. Their wisdom stirred up division, discord. James is saying, “wait a minute, there are two kinds of wisdom.” I told you a couple weeks ago about Michael Jackson. Every time he would get ready to write a song he would climb the tree of knowledge that the new age people worshipped. He would sit up in that tree and this spirit of knowledge would come upon him and the spirit of wisdom would come upon him. They called it the tree of knowledge or tree of wisdom, maybe both. He would get the lyrics for his songs. Very demonically inspired songs. If you listen to those words, they are demonically inspired. He got it from a spirit of wisdom. It was defiled wisdom. It was earthly wisdom. You look at the way that he danced. It was sensual wisdom. It’s the wrong kind of wisdom.
There is another kind of wisdom. The kind that’s not earthly.
KJV James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Brothers and sisters, I want you to see something today. I want you take this home with you. We’ve got the kingdom of heaven that I have been preaching about for a number of weeks. I’ve been talking about these different ministering spirits. I want you to see this, it’s at hand. Put your hand to your face. That’s how close it is. It’s at hand. It’s available to you.
I want you to see, there is another spirit realm out there. By default, if you are a carnal person that is what is going to operate in you. By default you are going to be that way.
When you seek first the kingdom of God, when you seek first His righteousness, you pursue that Kingdom. As the kingdom begins to work in you, you yield to that kingdom more fully and it increases and builds up in your life. That’s pretty good.
You can be spiritual. That’s the way you tap into that kingdom. That kingdom is spiritual. Some day it will come with great power and glory to this earth. But it’s spiritual now. The only way to connect with it is to become a spiritual person. Seek first that kingdom.
You can’t make that transition without repentance. I’ve seen so many people try to do better and they fail. I’ve seen so many people make outward adjustments, but inside they are just as unclean as they have ever been. I’ve seen people come forward and pray the sinners prayer but their hear wasn’t into it. Nothing changed.
I’m here today to say there is only one way to really make that change and that’s just to completely rely on the blood and broken body of Jesus for salvation and deliverance, that victory.
Transcribed by Richard Noel
Beacon of Truth ministries. Sabbath, September 17, 2011.
Audio of that sermon is here – http://www.botmi.org/2011/09/the-kingdom-of-heaven-a091711a/
Video of that sermon is here – http://www.botmi.org/2011/09/the-kingdom-of-heaven-v091711a/