Matthew 16:15-19 (NKJV)
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Heaven is real. It is a tangible Kingdom that has an impact in and on our life today. Jesus Christ through His Work on the Cross has given us access to the Kingdom of God once again. It begins by designating Him our Savior and Lord. This act of simple humility will open the door of opportunity in our life which is far greater than we could ever think to ask for. But before the Kingdom becomes a relevant factor in our life – it must be a real place. We can hear the stories of others and their encounter with Heaven. We can read about it in the Word of God with all the many promises it holds great potential but until we believe in our mind, soul and body that it is a real place that houses a real God who gave His Only Son that we might be saved from our sin to live in His Righteousness than faith has no point. I was reminded the other day of a statement that I made about three years ago. It was after our son’s first round of chemotherapy as we celebrated his first “remission”. I told this person that what good is my faith if it will not lead me to confident hope. If it doesn’t carry me to the end so that I receive the Kingdom then it is worthless. Little did I know the length of our journey or the painstaking endurance that would be required to make it this far. I believed what I said back then, but I believe it now more than ever. Somewhere in the last three years, my relationship to Jesus Christ became a real and relevant factor in my life. The Kingdom of Heaven became a driving force and motivation in each day probably somewhere along the way when every other factor fell short of my expectation. As we stepped into the realm of hope, I found it to be worth more than anything that I had ever experienced. Rather than returning to my ordinary life when danger passes, I have found greater comfort peace in my faith in God more so than I have ever discovered. I must have it. I must cultivate it in my life. It’s got to be real.
Jesus asked a simple question. “Who do you say that I am?” The first time he asked the disciples made a lot of excuses as to who everyone else proclaimed the Messiah to be. Jesus wasn’t interested in all that and asked again, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered from his heart and soul. Jesus promised Peter the Keys to His Kingdom. Not only that, the Lord revealed the great potential in his disciple’s life in that moment. I am going to build my church (my kingdom) through your faith. How substantial is your faith today? Can you build a life on it? Our faith in the Lord should produce a belief that changes our life. It your life is not daily producing more and more of the fruit of His Spirit, it may be because His Kingdom is not real to you. Little girls love fairytales. But it doesn’t take long to find out that they are just stories in books that seldom happen in real life. Have we relegated the Kingdom of God to be as a fairytale a wonderful story without much credibility? Our life has the potential to become directly linked to the Kingdom of God today but who will reach out if they do believe it is real?
Matthew 13:44 (NKJV)
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Are you buying it? Do you really believe that there is life after death? The problem with faith in the Body of Jesus Christ today is that it is not worth anything to us. We do not value our Kingdom connection probably because we do not appreciate the great value or cost of it. The Kingdom of God is our chance to be set free from our sin and shame and enjoy all the benefits of being a Child of God now AND forever. It is not someplace we are going but a place that we can be. How much of your life are you willing to give to secure God’s Kingdom in your life? Would you give up everything that you have to be His Child? Let me ask you this…if your situation or circumstances never changed – would you still love Jesus Christ and pursue Him. Those who know Him as Savior and Lord will give up their entire life to know Him more. The catch is that those who really do will begin to prosper and flourish in His Care. We give nothing and want everything. The potential of His Kingdom comes to us when we use our talents to secure it.
Matthew 25:14-29 (NKJV)
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.’”
Jesus spoke in parables to His Followers because He said that we they were allowed to know the mysteries of His Kingdom. The Parable of the Talents is one of these stories. The man left for another country and left his servants “talents”. Each one would be responsible for them until his return. The first servant and second servant took goods that they were left and traded them for a return on their investment which they dutifully gave account for when their master returned and he was well-pleased so they would become ruler over many things in his kingdom. But the servant given one talent buried it. He did nothing with it. So when the man returned – he had nothing to give him but the talent that he was given. The man was angry and called his servant lazy taking from him that which he had been given. This parable begins…”for the Kingdom of God is like…” What have you invested?
In this new age of grace that is being taught in churches all across the world, people are burying their talents ready to offer the “grace” card when Jesus returns. But those who believe that His Kingdom is real and relevant today cannot live in such a way. The Spirit of God within them drives them to invest their life in the Kingdom and produce godly reward. Grace is an opportunity to live a righteous life. Those who take the Lord for granted, using His Name in vain by calling upon it with no intention of ever following, not only are missing out but are sadly mistaken. The Kingdom of God is real and we must live for His Return. My faith is worth nothing to me until it produces enough confident hope that will provoke me to give the rest of my life to Jesus Christ not one day but every single day that I am alive in full anticipation of His Return.
Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)
“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. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied 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!’”
Let’s be real for a moment. When calling on the Name of Jesus Christ not everybody wants to be saved from their sins, but rather escape punishment for them. Not everyone who comes to Christ makes a full-blown commitment to the Kingdom of God. There are some who will hear the dreaded words, “I never knew you; depart from Me.” Who? “You who practice lawlessness.” What does this mean since we no longer are bound by the Law of God? We may not be bound to it but our commitment to Jesus Christ is a commitment to the Word of God. Jesus is the Word. I am my father’s child. We were raised to respect our parents. I am a full-grown adult with children of my own. There are still things that I do out of respect for my dad that I do not have to do as an adult. I do it because I love and respect him. He is my father. We have a relationship and commitment to one another. The life of every born-again believer who has asked Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord should represent this commitment not because you have to but love for your Father and His Son requires it of you. It is your personal choice based on love and respect not because you have to. I know my dad. I have the opportunity to know my Savior, Jesus Christ. But it is in humility that I come to Him, giving up my way to have His Way. (Matthew 18:2-5) Like a child, I come to Him in obedience out of love and a deep desire to maintain right standing with my Dad in Heaven. To ensure that Christ knows me on that day, I must strive and press in to know Him more every day! It is a relationship with Jesus Christ that connects us to His Kingdom. It must become the reality in which we live by faith and confident hope. We will live according to what we believe for this is human nature.
Matthew 13:18-23 (NKJV)
“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
What do I have to give? What is the seed that will produce His Kingdom in my life? It begins with His Word. The Kingdom of God is found in His Word. Jesus Christ is the Word of God wrapped in flesh to come and show us God’s Love for us. Now as we take the Word of God and invest it in our life by faith, it becomes confident hope to put more and more of our life into. Our belief prospers because of it. When we believe His Word is real, we invest our life in it and begin to prosper. First in our soul and then throughout the rest of our life. As God’s Word comes to life – it gives us a roadmap to His Kingdom. His Spirit inside of us uses it to change our thoughts, attitudes and actions to align with God’s Plan. We prosper in it. We must put God’s Word in good ground which is watered by the Word, covered in the Blood and focused on His Kingdom above all other things. It may be a challenge at first but as we learn to identify with our role as Child of the King – it is then that we begin to experience Heaven on earth. Once Heaven is real – you will be hooked! I know that I am! All of me for all of You! That’s my motto today and every day – after all I have to be real! I have the opportunity to take hold of the Key to His Kingdom and use them on earth. It’s time to be real!
Matthew 13:45-46 (NKJV)
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”