How The Gospel Fits Into God’s Plan – Part 9/Citizen of His Kingdom (concluding part)

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What Must I Do To Enter The Kingdom Of God?

Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God. One night, a Pharisee called Nicodemus visited Jesus in secret. He was not a spy trying to trick Jesus, but was genuinely seeking God. Nicodemus found it difficult to grasp the concept of being born again therefore Jesus used an illustration from the Old Testament (Jewish Scripture) to help make it clearer to him (Numbers 21:8).

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.  He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?  Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.  I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?  No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

john 3: 1-15 new international version

By believing in Jesus, we are born again by the Spirit and become a citizen of His Kingdom. However, it does not stop with simply believing. As a subject of God’s Kingdom, we need to play an active part by having faith in our LORD and our King and abiding by His laws and teaching.

First of all, we must repent and ask God to forgive us for our sins. To repent means turning away from our sinful thoughts and ways and learning to live by the Word of God. However, it’s important not to wait until ‘you are a better person’ or until ‘you are able to stop sinning’. We cannot do this on our own without Him. God wants us to come to Him now! He will love and accept us just as we are and the Holy Spirit will help and guide us. Read the Bible consistently to learn how God wants us to live. A good place to start is the teachings of Jesus in the first four books of The New Testament i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We will find much of Jesus’s teaching in The Sermon of The Mount (Matthew Chapter 5 and 6).

As well as His teachings, Jesus left us two commandments that encompassed the whole of the law of Moses:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

matthew 22: 36-40 new international version

When we put our faith and trust in God, our relationship with Him will become stronger and deeper, and we will begin to develop the attributes of a Kingdom Christian. These are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Jesus warned us though, that the Christian life was not guaranteed to be easy – in fact, it would become more demanding at times, but He said He would be with us and that He would never leave us. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—” John 14:16 He is talking about God, the Holy Spirit.

lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:20)

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Once we are in a relationship with God, it is important to stay close to Him. It is vital that we don’t disregard His teachings and become lukewarm Christians. Although God offers the gift of Salvation freely, it is then up to us to work (with the help of the Holy Spirit) to produce the fruits of being a Christian. If we neglect that, then our faith will become meaningless and dead (James 2:26). We must abide in Jesus and His teaching. Here is what he says about this:

Jesus the True Vine

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

JOHN 15: 1-11 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

Now that we are a citizen of the Kingdom of God and living by His laws, there is one more thing we have to do – something that Jesus Himself commanded us to do:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

matthew 28: 18-20 new international version

The above words are those spoken by Jesus to His disciples just before He returned to Heaven. Our King reigns at the right hand of our Father in Heaven for now, but the time will come when He will return to earth and gather us to Himself to live forever with Him on the New Earth. Meanwhile, He commands us to tell others about the Kingdom of God so that they may become His disciples too.

If and when you get the opportunity, tell others about the Gospel of God’s Kingdom. It may not always be possible to go into full detail, depending upon the circumstances, but even if you have only a few minutes, make your words about Jesus and the Cross and pray that the Holy Spirit will nourish this seed and help it grow.

This is the final part in the series, but not the conclusion of God’s Plan for His people. He began His Creation and He continues to work within it and His desire is for us to work alongside Him. Hallelujah!

A M E N

Please follow these links to read Part 8, Part 7, Part 6, Part 5, Part 4, Part 3, Part 2, Part 1

Our Father,

For all who may read this, I pray that You make Yourself known to them and bless them greatly for Your Glory.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

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