Scripture: (Mat 4:17 KJV) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Jesus preached the good news of the Kingdom of God. He teaches us today that there is a kingdom that overrides every other. There is a king of kings and Lord of Lords. And His kingdom rains for all eternity throughout the entire universe. You are invited to a kingdom celebration. You have been chosen to be a member of the royal family. Do you want to experience the fullness of this heavenly kingdom? I want to give you three biblical steps to a fuller realization of the kingdom of God in your life. Jesus came that we would have life and more abundantly. God wants you to have all that He has prepared from the foundation of the earth for you. Not only are we going to stop satan from taking any more of our blessings, but we are going to take back what the enemy has stole from us. When we look at the teachings of Christ we can see three clear stages of discipleship. The first of which is found in the scripture above.
The first step that we need to take in order to experience the fullness of the kingdom in our lives is to be converted. Get converted Church. The Bible teaches us that we need to not be conformed to this world but rather we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Jesus told us time and time again in many different ways that in order to see the kingdom of God we must be “born again.” He told us that we need to enter the kingdom as a little child. He told us that a seed must first fall to the ground and die before the tree can spring forth from the ground. We must be converted. So what does that mean. Does it just mean to say you believe that Jesus was the Son of God and died upon a cross for the forgiveness of our sins and rose again on the third day? So you said some mambie- pamby prayer asking Him into your heart but you never really changed a thing in you life. I don’t know do you call that converted. How about going to church and giving in the offering does that mean we are converted? Well, lets look at someone who was converted and see the difference. In the 15th chapter of the book of Luke you will find Jesus teaching us an in-depth lesson. Starting at the 11th verse we read about the prodigal son:
(Luke 15:11 - 13 KJV) And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
We have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and chose to do that which is evil. Even to the extent of calling that which is good, evil and which is evil, good. We have taken the wonder and splendor of life and cheapened it. We are not content with a magnificent sun set and fantastic weather, plenty of food and a warm, comfortable place to seep at night. There is a hunger that burns within our hearts. We have tried to satisfy that hunger with food, drink, physical relationships, drugs, gambling, sex, anything yet we always come up still needing more and more until we have become a slave to our cravings. Sometimes we have to reach rock bottom before we even realize we were headed in the wrong direction. The prodigal son did just that:
(Luke 15:14 - 16 NIV) After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
You know being raised on a farm I did not realize how low this young man had sunk until I came to discover that bacon was not kosher. This young Jewish boy was lowered to feeding unclean beasts. How low do we have to get before God gets our attention. I heard Dr. Tony Evens talk about how God does in fact at times give us more then we can bare in order to get us to turn the entire load over to Him. We need to be converted. Not just believe. Even the demons believe and they will all be cast into the lake of fire. Do not forget Jesus said many will come to Him and say Lord Lord and He will say depart from me you worker of iniquity. We need to be converted. It was when this young man hit bottom that he repented and conversion took place:
(Luke 15:17 – 19 NIV) "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'
Repentance does not mean some long drawn out gradual change of your career path and life structure. It means coming to your senses. The prodigal son finally came to his senses and realized the wealth of the father and the poverty of his own existence. Even the Greek word translated “repent” shows us this idea of coming to our senses. “Metanoeo”, translated repent means to have a change of mind. Meta for change and Noeo, a derivative of where we get the word for knowledge meaning mind. Change your mind about what is right and what is wrong. Run to Jesus. The Bible gives us the hope in that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness. Come to your senses and be converted Church. The prodigal son ran to his father not expecting anything else but to be his servant. Remember what the father did?
(Luke 15:20 - 24 NIV) So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
The father not only accepted his son back with open arms he put a robe upon his back and sandals upon his feet and a ring upon his hand. The father through a party. Let’s go back up to just before this parable in verse 15:10 “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
The first step is to get converted the next is to get together. The kingdom of God is a victorious kingdom. It is a place of joy and love and peace and prosperity and health. When you hang around kingdom people you cannot help but start praising the Lord. Stop being so religious and start celebrating the restored relationship with the Father. Get converted then get together with positive, Spirit filled believers. The Bible teaches us to not unequally yoked with unbelievers. That means stop hanging out with them. You will become who you hang out with. And I do not mean that you have to start hanging out with a bunch of stiff, cynical, religious snobs. I am not so sure they themselves have ever really been converted in the first place. Find people who love the Lord and know how to enjoy the wonders of life that God has given us. Step one get converted Church. Step two: Get together. Then to top it all off step three is “Get going.” Freely we have been given so let us freely give. Lets go back to our original scripture verse in Matthew. (Mat 4:17- 19 KJV) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Do you want to experience the fullness of the kingdom of God then get converted, get together and get going. I do not know where you are or what you are going through but God does. Some of you may have said that prayer before and asked Jesus into your life but nothing happened. There was not conversion. It is time to make it real. It is time to turn your heart over to God and allow him to create within you a new one. It is time that you became a completely new creation in Christ Jesus. Others of you may know, that you know, that you are born again but just have not been walking the walk. God is telling you today to commit yourself to finding new relationships. It is time to take a more active role in the Church of Jesus Christ. It is time for each of us to become the Church. It is not a building it is people joining together in the cause of Christ and going out and being fishers of men. Get converted, get together and get going.
(Mat 28:18 -20
NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, "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."