The Kingdom of God
by Andy Zoppelt
Jesus’ purpose for coming to this earth was to establish the kingdom of heaven here.
"I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent." Luke 4:43, NKJV
“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God.” Acts 28:30-31NKJV
Jesus and John the Baptist ministries both started with the message, "Repent the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." The kingdom message is not a salvation message alone; it incorporates and defines everything we are, say and do. It includes every person and every ministry in the body of Christ. Before Jesus’ ascension the disciples asked Him,
"Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6
Jesus' response to that question was answered in verse 8,
“But you shall receive power [the manifestation of the kingdom] when the Holy Spirit [the agent of the kingdom] has come upon you [the domain of His kingdom]; and you shall be witnesses to Me [The purpose of the kingdom] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. [the extent of the kingdom]" Acts 1:8
Paul partially repeated the same purpose,
“For the kingdom of God is not in word [just preaching] but in power [manifestation].” 1 Corinthians 4:20, NKJV
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ for indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20-21 NKJV
Because the kingdom of God is within us, Jesus stated in John 14:12-13,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me [the condition of entering the kingdom], the works that I do he will do also [manifestation of the kingdom]; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” NKJV
Remove any of these following elements and the kingdom of heaven is diminished as an expression on this earth: Jesus being King, His authority, obedience to His commands, dependency on the power of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of His kingdom being a witness throughout the world. This new kingdom was both the kingdom of heaven from which it ruled and the kingdom of God which ruled through His called-out saints on this earth. They were called out of this world system into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said:
"My kingdom is not of this world…They [believers] are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” John 18:36; 17:16
What we see as God’s kingdom on this earth should be in direct union and agreement with what is in heaven.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Luke 11:2, NKJV
The cross and the kingdom
If we truly understood the cross and the power of His resurrection, we would understand that we died with Jesus to all that is of self and to the things of this world. Our focus should be on things above where we are seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph 2:6). We are crucified with Christ and our focus is off of “self” and on Jesus, Who is our life. Therefore He is the source of our love, our faith, our righteousness, our strength, our peace, the source of our total victory 24/7 and the focus of all our attention. We exchange our life for His, our yoke for His, our emotions for His, and on and on.
Colossians 3:1-4, “If then you were raised with Christ [past tense], seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God [kingdom of heaven]. Set your mind on things above [where we sit with Christ], not on things on the earth [where the unbeliever sits]. [ why should we do this?] For you died [to self and the thing of this world], and your life is hidden with Christ in God [in heavenly places]. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” NKJV
What is sad today is that the Christianity of the world today is not a reflection of the kingdom of heaven, but of the works and revelations of men. The power of the kingdom goes back to our beginnings, established at the cross, and our recognition and submission to His authority. Today few have entered the kingdom by repenting from their life and sin. They fail to understand that to be a Christian is to enter the kingdom of heaven and live under the authority of Jesus. Instead, most believe that to be a Christian is to enter the church or organized religion. Today our churches and movements are not being modeled after the kingdom of heaven, but they are being modeled after corporate and institutional America. Our churches are focused on earthly success and the achievements of men. Their methods are void of power and the true anointing to effect realistic change.
The King over His domain has authority
If we deny the authority of the kingdom of heaven over us and our being His single representatives under His authority, we are in reality denying Jesus’ rule and therefore God is withholding His power. The kingdom of God defines the relationship of its King (Jesus) over His domain, the body and bride of Christ.
God will not share His glory with another --- another leader, another organization, another church and anything that has worldly roots dividing His kingdom. Many hope they can keep their Ishmael organization and just make a few adjustments; this is not going to work and this shows that we do not understand the implications of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus cannot rule through a bunch of independent, disjointed organizations… even though they may use His name.
Every leader, whether pastor, elder or apostle must be subjected in one accord to the authority and building of the kingdom of heaven only. Any other kind of building is defined by Jesus as “lawlessness”; something that operates outside of His being Lord and His rule. Lawlessness is works that are being done outside of His authority and commandments. Anything outside of His authority is sin.
If what we are building is outside of His commands then we must ask ourselves, “Whose kingdom are we building and by whose authority are we building it? Is it patterned after the kingdom in Heaven?” Pastors and apostles are not kings and therefore they have no God given right building anything in any city, in any part of the world, separate from the kingdom of God and the rulership of the King.
The kingdom was originally to be a kingdom starting in Jerusalem and, without any changes in the gospel, continuing to the ends of the earth. Its responsibility was to maintain one kingdom accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit as a witness to the world.
Whenever there is a breakdown of His authority through the various ministries, then the ministries themselves will take over, with each doing what is right in their own eyes… hence - no power. I tremble at the thought of the confident leaders today as they stand before Jesus and He calls their ministries and authority into question. Such leaders might be proud in what they have built, but they will not be proud of what they hindered… the kingdom of heaven.
If we understand that the body of Christ is the King’s domain, then it follows that the kingdom of God is made up of those individuals who obey Him as King and Lord and therefore keep His commands specifically. In the Kingdom of God, obedience is an absolute, we must obey Him as Lord and God gives no room for man, his opinions or revelations.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21, NKJV
Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?” NKJV
Hebrews 5:9, “He [Jesus] became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” NKJV
We can’t get around this; this is the divine principle in which salvation and His body operates. It is the divine principle in which we shall all be judged. What are we doing with His kingdom? We have no right creating something outside of His stated purposes.
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching [instructing] them to observe [obey] all things that I have commanded you." Matthew 28:18-20.
I would like to deal with the subject of making disciples, but space will not permit it here… another time. It is the responsibility of every leader and every person in the kingdom to first obey His commands and then to instruct others to obey His commands. What we have done is used God’s word as a means of expounding doctrines and presenting "our" revelations while dividing His kingdom. We are creating a mess and we are having an opposite affect on the kingdom, the kingdom preached and practiced by Jesus' disciples. Discipleship can only happen when we have disciplined “disciplers” as a means of maturing the saints and not dividing them for material in building our churches, ministries and movements. Our lack of power demonstrates our lack of a true anointing. Our understanding of the anointing is limited by our lack of experience. Our lack of real Holy Spirit anointing is not causing us to break out of our different levels of lukewarmness. We have warmer and cooler levels of being lukewarm.
There is but one foundation and one gospel and we must obey it.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached [past tense] to you, let him be accursed . As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9, NKJV
The gospel was handed down to us by Jesus and those He sent (who we call apostles… that is a different subject) and we must follow and obey the gospel of the kingdom.
2 Thessalonians 3:14, “And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.” NKJV
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” 1 John 2:19, NKJV
All heresies begin with men departuring from the gospel and then they depart physically from those entrusted with that gospel taking others with them… these are wolves. Some of the nicest people are wolves and that is why it is so hard to recognize them. Who would ever believe a high priest could go to hell? Read your OT, there were plenty of them.
1 Peter 4:17, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first [who call ourselves Christians], what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? NKJV
Every prophet, every man and woman of God must build strictly on the foundation of the gospel and His commandments. There is no room for men’s traditions:
“Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do." Mark 7:13, NKJV
We are clearly seeing men who feel free to exercise their own "revelations" without fear of not being submitted to the kingdom under His authority. Deception is exposed when what we are saying and doing is not in harmony with God’s word. If the bread at Passover must be without leaven (a type of sin), what makes us think we can addour own leaven into His kingdom and not be judged for it? God will clean out His own house, His own field first, before He deals with the world. Once Jesus reestablishes His kingdom it will be through that kingdom He will bring salvation and deliverance to the ends of the earth as a witness.
The coming of gospel of the kingdom is a sign of the end
“And this gospel of the kingdom [the one Jesus and His followers preached] will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations [ends of the earth], and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
This is the same phraseology we read coming from Jesus right before Pentecost, “Holy Spirit… power…shall be my witness… to the end of the earth” and in Matthew 28, what we call the great commission.
If we are not walking in “this gospel of the kingdom” we will not see the power of “this gospel”, the witness of “this gospel” or the fullness of “this gospel” to the ends of the earth. The gospel was to mirror the kingdom of heaven on all mankind, much like the moon mirrors the sun on this earth. What we are witnessing today is another gospel tailored to fit man’s needs, for his convenience, to grow his own ministries. This gospel is not some evangelistic meeting where we call a bunch of people forward and have them repeat some sinner’s prayer, and then for them to leave without having any understanding of the cross and the kingdom. There is only one gospel of the kingdom and we have been straying from it.
This gospel is going to follow a great falling away first, Jesus referring within His field said,
“many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound [in the churches… “workers of lawlessness”], the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:10-12.
These false prophets are in our midst right now and by their fruits they are being revealed to the true believers, but to most they we are burying their heads and are as dead as the dodo bird!!!. By nature, godly truth divides, and many will be offended because of their long-held pride. Today more and more people are separating from one another due to a lack of authentic love and life. This is not a sign of the restoration of “this gospel of the kingdom;” this is a sign of the great falling away preceding the coming of the kingdom of God on this earth. Our first love is out the door and we are failing to recognize these symptoms. Therefore it is coming at a great personal loss to many. Looking back, was this not what happened when Jesus came to this earth the first time? Were they not in a fallen state incapable of leaving their religion for the sake of His kingdom?
Jude 3, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Was not Jude referring to “this gospel of the kingdom?”
1 Corinthians 3:11, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid [past tense], which is Jesus Christ.”
Was not Paul referring to the same Gospel of the kingdom? Aren't these verses meant to limit our personal agendas and independent ministries and put us all under one authority of the kingdom?
Many today are following the traditions of men at great cost because they are not obeying Jesus’ commands, and this is directly affecting those under their ministries. We are not building according to His word and on “the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints.” What we are witnessing is a falling away from the kingdom of God in the west through its leaders. These leaders are blinded by their own efforts and success. Can anyone visualize heaven being in such disarray as what we are seeing in the church today? And yet, where is the alarm from true men and women of God? If anyone does sound the alarm, he or she will be recognized as being nutty, wacky and crazy. We think such people are out of touch, bitter, or carrying some hidden agenda to scare us.
Because the gospel gives us only "one" king, there should be only one kingdom. How could anyone even believe or even think that Jesus, being King, would agree with us having hundreds of churches in a city, movements scatter around the world, all being divided, disagreeing and in competition with one another? What kind of a witness is this? It is a kingdom-hindering-witness. Yet with all that, we are not in the slightest convicted or weeping over such blatant and obvious sin against the gospel and His kingdom and authority.
If all our leaders were submitted to the same King and obeyed the same gospel, we would see the manifestation of the kingdom of God demonstrated in our cities as it was in the early assemblies. We would hear of the called-out assembly in Miami, New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, etc..
But instead, we have become entrenched and committed to our organizations and movements to the point that we can't even imagine how to get out of this mess. Denying we are in deception will not help on Judgment Day. We need to break away from these individual systems and find those who fear the Lord and tremble at His word. I am convinced we are too casual about the coming shaking. I believe it is going to take an immense shaking far beyond anything we could ever imagine to put us on the floor and wake us up. The “Sauls” will first arise and be dealt with for rejecting “the word of the Lord.” and at the same time God will be preparing His “Davids” in the wilderness learning to fully obey and trust in Him. If you are living in a city and you are hurting and weeping for being divided from the rest of the body, there is hope for you. At times, we must be willing to get together with those who are at the other ends of our country because no one is willing in our area to come together.
Where did we ever get the right or notion to name our churches? From God? I don’t thinks so!
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25, NKJV
Our kingdoms are our kingdoms... they are not His. What we call churches and movements are divided. Our cities are divided and therefore our homes are divided because the leaders are divided. Man’s natural and carnal desires have in these last days jaded our thinking and divided us to where unity and harmony seem impossible. We have taken the purposes of God and we have created a powerless parallel religion using His name without being under His rule. Jesus called those men thieves and robbers. Our lack of harmony and unity is evidenced by our lack of respect for His authority. His word and commands that were passed down through His disciples are plain and clear, yet we act and live as though He never gave them or obligated us to obey them. The highest authority on earth should be the Almighty God. His desire is to rule through the hearts and minds of His people: those called by His name and those who meet in His name only. If we reject Him as being the King over our homes and cities, we will have rejected His rule and therefore His kingdom. It is not scripturally okay to have our “own” church, to have our “own” movement and to have our “own” kingdom in town and throughout the earth.
The question is, how is it that we know so clearly how to do what is wrong, like dividing His body, and yet we don’t have the foggiest idea how to do what is right and unite His body? The answer is simple; it is because the things we are holding on to are not things that are fit for His kingdom. If we would be humble and honest enough to allow ourselves to face the fact that we are robbing God of His bride without wrinkle and spot, maybe then we would see the beginning of His kingdom on this earth as it is in heaven. We have established an institute of convenience and not conviction. We have form without power and yet without fear we have blindly moved forward against His will.
The function of the called out assembly within the kingdom
As believers we are the “called out ones;” we are not a church building with a pastor consuming all the ministry, but we are a body being built together as a holy temple under Jesus’ authority and ministry.
Paul illustrated many times the true function of the body of Christ as one united body and no part of the body has the kingdom right to say "I have no need of you." Let us take a quick look God's purpose for His called out assembly; Paul speaking to the Ephesians in 4:7 says that we all have gifts and then Paul goes on and speaks of the responsibility of the five-fold ministry in verse 11 and how they are responsible to work together in bringing us all to the “unity of the faith, etc..” Paul then turns to the whole working of the body and says,
“Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16, NKJV
Have we seen any city functioning as described in the above scripture? if not, it is because we are not under God's authority and leaders are fearfully insecure over their own ministry and flock. Moreover, to the Corinthians Paul said,
“Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, and has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification [building up the body]” 1 Corinthians 14:26
We are not only to believe in Christ, but we are to function as a living body as we gather together in His name and under His authority. Do we assemble as parts of a living body to function together supporting one another? We are not to be a crowd coming to hear some speaker, but we are to be an assembly of parts coming together to function as one body under the power of the Spirit.
I used to wonder how it was that the five foolish virgins didn’t have oil at the coming of the Lord. Certainly they called Him “Lord, Lord.” No one supposed that they were not following the Lord. But when they awoke from their slumber they then realized that they did not have the oil or anointing as they saw in the five wise virgins. Could this be similar to Samson?
“And he [Samson] awoke out of his sleep [like the five foolish virgins], and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist [did] not [know] that the Lord was departed from him.” Judges 16:20, KJV
The churches we witness in America are not examples or witnesses of the kingdom of heaven and there are few examples we can draw from today which represent the characteristics of the kingdom, with individuals flowing and functioning under authority. The whole idea of the saints being called out of the world, functioning under Jesus, is something that is totally alien to our experience.
While serving in the military, I caught a glimpse of kingdom functioning. The army is made up of thousands of individuals “called out” of civilian life into the army. To watch our soldiers train and fight our wars is an inspiration and an example of unity, discipline and authority. To hear them shout “huah” in unison brings chills down one’s spine. Every platoon and platoon sergeant, every company and company commander, every battalion and battalion general, and every branch of service and its commanders all together make up one awesome united fighting force. They are defined by their rules, their obedience to orders, and their functioning as one. There are no sergeants running off with their own platoons bragging about their works like our pastors today in the kingdom of God. These soldiers are to be admired, while we are scandalously squandering all our efforts on our own little divided impotent micro-kingdoms... Do you pick up some anger in my tone??? You are darn tootin'!!! I want the kingdom back!!! I cannot even imagine how much Jesus wants His kingdom back. Souls are daily falling into Hell while we get excited over some person who left their church to come to ours. If our growth is too slow, maybe we need to take a few mega-church classes or add a larger screen for our worship team... I am sick and weep day and night...
"Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King [kingdom], The Lord of hosts." Isa 6:5, NKJV.
Disgracefully contrary to the kingdom of God, our churches and movements are competitive, entertaining corporations bidding for the numbers in each location and assuming numbers and growth is a sign that God is with them. They hype up the emotions of their audiences in hopes they will come back and place their “tips” in the offering plates. Hype has replaced the anointing; no wonder we don't know what to do. Many people in our churches are emotional basket cases overcome by depression and sin. When trials come they plead for deliverance from their trials, rather than rejoice knowing God is working His character and nature in them. In the church, we speak of a power and authority we do not possess. Our very existence is based on good meetings rather than tight biblical relationships, committed to the authority of Jesus' kingdom. It is true that there are "some groups" who have a form of relationships within the limits of their own leaders and micro-kingdoms. But even they fall short of the principles of the kingdom.
“In those days there was no king in Israel [in our churches and movements]; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” NKJV
When a people lose sight of their king, there is chaos; and when we have failed to be the called-out assembly, each functioning supernaturally, and, as a body, mirroring the kingdom of heaven, we lose our witness on this earth. The fact that we are all doing what is right in our own eyes is proof that we have no king.
“We have turned, every one, to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6, NKJV
Warning to the leaders
On the Day of Judgment, the harshest judgment will fall on men and women who have assumed leadership positions without submitting to Jesus’ rule. Personally, I fear such a judgment and I am reluctant to go beyond what God has shown me or what God has worked in me concerning His kingdom.
“The prophets [preachers] prophesy falsely, and the priests [pastors] rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:31, NKJV
“Knowing that we [teachers] shall receive a stricter judgment.” James 3:1, NKJV
Let’s look at some of those warnings given to us. First, let us remember that when we speak of the temple of God and the kingdom of God, we are speaking of the same thing.
“If anyone defiles [divides] the temple [God’s kingdom] of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy [and it is His and not ours], which temple you are [as believers] .” 1 Corinthians 3 NKJV
Paul was only echoing something Jesus commanded earlier,
“Every kingdom divided against itself [what a picture of our churches and movements] is brought to desolation….He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters [divides] abroad.” Matthew 12:25, 30, NKJV
This command of gathering as opposed to scattering is clear in Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians 1:10-11:
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ [a command no one should ignore], that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Are the men who are leading us today obeying this command… “till we all come to the unity of the faith?” Paul went on to warn the Romans:
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions [in the kingdom of course] and offenses, contrary to the instructions which you learned [again it is the words and commands of Jesus being passed down], and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 16:17-18
How could they serve the Lord if they practice divisions as a norm? Calling Jesus Lord is one thing; building contrary to His word is against Him. Jude also speaks of such leaders:
“These are sensual [carnal] persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” Jude 19, NKJV
Jude spoke earlier where these leaders came from:
“For certain men have crept in [like grievous wolves] unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 4, NKJV
They “deny the only Lord” by changing the whole message of grace. Lawlessness is infused in their ministries and actions. Paul addresses these false leaders that Jude and Jesus referred to in his warning to the Ephesian elders Acts 20:29-30,
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock [they are savage because they don’t spare the flock]. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things [subtle deceptions], to draw away the disciples after themselves [around their own ministries, churches, revelations and work creating divisions].” NKJV
These “savage wolves” positioned in the body of Christ pose the greatest threat to the kingdom of God; they are the tares sown in the field, as mentioned in Jesus’ parable. Jesus refers to them as ravenous wolves in Matthew 7:15-16,
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing [appearing to be one of His sheep], but inwardly they are ravenous wolves [because of the fruit of their actions]. You will know them [not by their clothing but] by their fruits [dividing the body of Christ is not a fruit of the Spirit nor a command of Jesus]”. NKJV
These men outwardly appear as sheep: they are honorable and good teachers. Nevertheless, they are ravenous wolves because they tear the body of Christ into pieces and destroy its witness sending millions into hell. Leaders are taking a piece of the body of Christ, like a ravenous wolf, and then tearing off a piece of the flesh to satisfy his beastly hunger. They are like a pack of wolves fighting over the prey. The biggest enemy within the body of Christ today are these blinded wolves, men and women, who are tearing up the body of Christ in every city. A friend of mine from China once said to me over lunch, “Our biggest prayer in China is that the doors of China will not open to your missionaries in America, you will destroy us.” He did not fear communism, but the American church. Jesus said,
“I send you out as lambs among wolves [deceived leaders are the hardest to fight against].” Luke 10:3, NKJV
Jesus is referring to men who gather the saints around “their” ministries and “their revelation” and “their work” and “their location” within the body. They often think they are working for Christ because they are doing this in His name, calling Him Lord, Lord and achieving a measure of success. In reality, they are working against Christ and the establishment of His kingdom… such a revelation is beyond them. It is the leaders who are ignoring Jesus’ commands, like the commands given in John 17 and the others listed above, and they are building churches and movements around themselves. The scriptures list these leaders as “Not serving the Lord,” “not having the Spirit,” “Against me,” “God will destroy him,” “wolves,” “ravenous wolves,” “grievous wolves.” So what is all this saying about men who have taken the title of apostle and pastors, etc.? It is saying,
"Woe to the shepherds [pastors and apostles] who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” Jeremiah 23:1, NKJV
You can be rest assured that the true message of the kingdom of God will never be heard from any pulpit, any convention or at any conference.
“If therefore the light that is in you is [instead] darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:23, NKJV
Speaking of the many leaders who expect to enter heaven, Jesus says, “Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied [ministered and preached] in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness [reject my commands]!’” NKJV
Matthew 23:28, “Even so you [wolves] also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” NKJV
1 John 3:4, “Whoever commits sin [transgresses Jesus commands] also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”
Lawlessness is ignoring the laws of His kingdom and building on that which seems right in our own eyes. If the light we have is darkness how great is that darkness?
Paul, listed “heresies” in Galatians 5:20 as a condition that would keep a person from inheriting “the kingdom of God.”
“Hairesis (hah'-ee-res-is); properly, a choice, i.e. (specially) a party or (abstractly) disunion: heresy [which is the Greek word itself], sect.” Strong's dictionary
Heresy actually means divisions or a sect. Today’s pastors and leaders, the ones who have been entrusted with the responsibility of His kingdom, are the primary source of causing all the divisions we see today. They are so focused on their works that they cannot see the damage they are doing to His kingdom. Will they inherit the kingdom heaven? Will calling Him Lord, Lord be enough? In finality, for all we have done, we will all stand before Him at that great Day of Judgment. I am wondering what makes us think that what we are doing on this earth, that which is contrary to principles of the Kingdom of Heaven, will give us just cause to believe we are going to heaven? God’s kingdom accepts no divisions under His rule, neither on earth or heaven. Deception perverts and twists from what is obvious in scripture to what is convenient for men.
The call to the hungry
God is going to bring in His kingdom through the hungry, the poor in spirit, and the righteous who are looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. Many men and women are seeking Him outside the camp and God is calling them into the wilderness to reveal Himself to them. God is removing all that is of man and this world so He can fill them with all that is in His heart. We are to “strive,” to “labor,” “fight the good fight of faith” to enter the kingdom. We must give Jesus all our worth-ship in the Spirit. He must be our Lord and we must ever be conscious of His kingdom before we take one step forward. We must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. For what is of man, there is a need for mammon. What is of God needs only His power.
There are 147 references to the kingdom:
70 times as the kingdom of God:
32 times as the kingdom of heaven
43 times as the kingdom,
once as the kingdom of Christ and once as the kingdom of the son.
Do you think "kingdom" has top priority with the Lord?
Preach the kingdom... but don't step on my toes. Ouch!!!