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By what title do you address your pastor? June 25, 2010

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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In Christendom today it is quite customary for church ministers, pastors and certain elders to append titles to their names to perhaps signify rank and authority. For example, today we have pastor with titles such as, Senior Pastor, General Overseer, Apostle, Bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal, Rt Reverend, Patriarch, Metropolitan, Father, Abbot, Dr, etc. All of these different titles enable a system of hierarchy within the church and enables individuals to be exalted and venerated above their congregations as if they are somehow different or superior. The question I would like to ask though is whether any of this is biblical? Why have we become so besotted with lofty titles in the church? Does the Gospel support this milieu?

In attempting to answer the aforementioned questions we may note what Jesus said:

 8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matt 23:8-12)

From verse 1 of the passage we note that Jesus was speaking to both the multitude gathered before Him and His disciples when He uttered these words. Jesus has made it plain here that we should not seek to appropriate titles unto ourselves as Christians but rather that we should see each other as brothers and sisters. Jesus fully well knew of man’s lust of the flesh for power and recognition and this can be seen from His description of the Pharisees and scribes in the previous verses. Are we not therefore disobeying Christ by maintaining this hierarchical system along with its associated titles? Howbeit that man’s heart has become so haughty to the point where he can claim to be a follower of Christ but blatantly ignore His position on this issue? It is interesting to note that even the disciples suffered from this haughtiness when they came to Jesus and asked who is greatest in the Kingdom (Matt 18:1-4)? Jesus’ response however was that unless one humbles himself as a little child he cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus made it clear also in Matt 23:11 that the greatest amongst “you” would be “your” servant. It is clear then that this system of hierarchical structures and associated titles are an affront to the Gospel to say the least.

It goes without saying that in our church structures today those that assume lofty positions certainly do not act as servants but are rather treated in a lot of cases as demigods. Instead of them being servants to the church they are instead served by the church in a relationship akin to sovereign and subjects thus creating a system of government with the church. The idea of priest vs laity for example is promulgated throughout the church yet scripture has made it know to us that in Christ we are all priests (1 Peter 2:9). If we also look at the example of the early apostles like Paul, we note that he addressed the Thessalonians for example as brothers as opposed to lauding it over them as General Overseer. This was the example given to him by the Lord Jesus, and this was the example that he followed.

Peter also laid down the standard of how the elders who “pastor” the flock should conduct themselves:

1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:1-5) Emphasis added.

It is clearly laid out here that pastors/elders should not be “lording” it over the flock (God’s heritage) but should instead display a sense of humility in their character. Why then has the modern church become so far removed from these examples? Have we become so wise in our conceit? I pray the church would return to the truth of scriptures concerning this area.

Contending for the Faith but the truth is hard to “sell” January 28, 2010

Posted by Henry in Contending for the Faith.
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The road of apologetics and biblical discernment can be a very lonely one because often times the truth (i.e., the truth of the Gospel) will be offensive even to professing Christians. In spite of that true Christians have a responsibility to be uncompromising about their faith even if we are going to be ostracized and rejected for doing so. The scriptures say in Jude 1:3 that we should contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. Why? One of the primary reasons for doing so can be found in verse 4 of the said passage:

 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Whilst the “church” was sleeping certain men crept in without notice, men who were ungodly but who cloaked themselves in righteousness with the primary goal of deceiving the flock. These men have created a poison cocktail of biblical truths and half-truths, mixed in with lies and false doctrines which they feed to their undiscerning flock. This is why the work of Christian apologetics and applying biblical discernment is done.

 The reality however is that this work is usually opposed by the very people, the deceived undiscerning masses, it was set out to help to come out of deception. This is not surprising however since Jesus said in Matt 7:13-14 that broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that fall there in but narrow is the way that leads to Life but few there be that find it. There are some interesting parallels between Jesus’ own ministry and the work of apologetics and discernment today however.  At the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth the Pharisees and Sadducees were the self-proclaimed spiritual leaders who had replaced the by now defunct Levitical priesthood. But these supposedly righteous holy-men opposed Jesus at every turn. For example, in Mat 9:34 we see the Pharisees accusing Him of casting out demons by the prince of devils without discerning who He really was.

 An even more remarkable example can be found in John 5:38-39 where we see that the Jews did not believe Jesus’ testimony and sought to kill Him. Jesus said to them that they searched the scriptures thinking that in them they would find life but that the said scriptures testify of Himself. In verse 43 Jesus said that if He came in the Father’s name the Jews would not believe Him but if someone else came in their own name him they would believe. Jesus went further to say in verse 46 that if the Jews believed Moses that they would believe Him because Moses wrote of Him. This is no different to what is happening in the church today however. The point though is that if Jesus, the Son of God, who came in the flesh to deliver the Word from the Father, was rejected by those who studied the scriptures, how much more can we lesser mortals expect to be opposed and rejected by professing Christians for seeking to uphold the truth of Christ?

The Apostles of Mammon VS the Apostles of Christ January 27, 2010

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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The church today is dogged by many false teachers spouting false doctrines on wealth and prosperity, and many in the church have become deceived as a result. These teachers give promises of untold blessings, as if God placed them personally in charge of doling out His blessings, raising false hopes mainly amongst even the poor and destitute in the church. All you need to do to receive of these blessings is to hand over your money (sow a seed) and even if you don’t have it you should write an IOU or pay using your credit card. The “sheeple” are led to believe that unless they give they won’t receive any blessings. In one video floating around on the Internet, for example, people can be seen strewing money at “apostle” Leroy Thompson’s feet, during one of his “Money Cometh” speeches. Later in the video both “apostles” Leroy Thompson and Creflo Dollar could be seen walking or sliding across the money supposedly to “anoint” it. The basic idea then is that “money cometh” (blessings will flow in the form of money) to those who gave money and have it anointed by these “apostles”. The first question here is whether such practices are biblical. It shouldn’t take a “rocket scientist” or a theological degree for that matter however to ascertain the answer to that question. But how does this contrast with the Scriptures?

 In the early church it was common practice for the people to sell their belongings, be it houses or land and bring the proceeds and lay it at the Apostles’ feet. But what did the Apostles do with these generous gifts? Did they take it away to count up privately and use it as they saw fit, promising the donors that blessings will flow to them for their giving? On the contrary we notice something quite the opposite. In Acts 2 for example we read:

  42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

The first thing we note is that the church continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and they had all things in common and shared their possessions according to the need of everyone. No where do we see the apostles promising the church earthly blessings for the due care, brotherly love and kindness they showed to each other as Christians.  Again we may learn from Acts 4 to see how the apostles approached handling the gifts laid at their feet:

 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

 We note here that the apostles did not go off in secret to count the money and lodge it in some bank account and promise blessings to those who gave but they distributed it according to everyone’s need. How then did we get from this position to what we see Creflo Dollar, Leroy Thompson and others doing in the church today? Did the early Apostles, some of who walked and talked with Jesus Christ miss it? Did Jesus forget to tell the apostles that they should take the money and the goods laid at their feet and go enjoy it and in return give the church empty promises of blessings that will never materialise? Creflo Dollar and the likes may call this the “Word of Faith” but Brother James calls this dead faith in James 2:14-17:

 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

  Which apostles’ doctrine do you believe then? Those who teach the “gospel of mammon” or the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Activate Your Faith: Sow that seed January 21, 2010

Posted by Henry in False Doctrines.
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One of the common teachings one will hear from Word of Faith teachers is that one should activate or release their faith and this normally requires one to “sow a seed” (in the form of monetary donation), usually into the teacher’s own ministry. Usually this type of exhortation is accompanied with further encouragement that the size of your seed will determine the size of your harvest. It is thought that it is imperative to activate your faith if we are to receive from God, and to move to the “next level” of blessings. However, are these teachings scriptural?

 Firstly, if one is a Christian such teachings leave us with a dilemma. When we first came to faith in Christ what did we do in order to “activate” our faith at that point? Did we sow a “seed” in order that we may activate our faith such that we may believe in the Gospel of Jesus and thereby receive the free gift of Salvation? Noting that the gift of Salvation is the greatest blessing we could ever receive from God the Father. Scripture tells us that we were alienated from God and enemies in our mind by wicked works yet He chose to reconcile us through the work of the cross (Col 1:21). Had it not been for God’s saving Grace we all would have perished. According to the Ephesians 2:4-9:

 “4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 Verse 8 of the above portion of scripture tells us clearly that it is by Grace that we are saved through faith and not of ourselves. By ourselves we could do nothing talk less of “activating” our faith. More profoundly, how did we obtain this faith? It was given to us by God who gives a measure of faith to every man (Rom 12:3). Scripture also tells us that Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). Going by this scripture alone, we see then that it is Jesus Christ who starts us on the journey of faith, take us along and accompany us on the road of faith, and takes us to the finish line of faith. This happens as we abide in Him and He in us. If this is the case then how can anyone suggest that it is possible for individuals to “activate their faith” by their own doing especially by sowing a financial seed?

 Clearly scriptures show that this type of Word of Faith doctrine of activating our faith is false. It is designed to deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom 16:18) and make merchandise of the sheeple (2 Pet 2:3). I pray that those who have been deceived by this type of doctrine would wake up to the knowledge of truth.

Do we need “New Revelations” and are they valid? January 15, 2010

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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In the current church age there are numerous prophets, apostles, and teachers that have arisen and who are buzzing with excitement, claiming to have “new revelations”, new teachings and new insight into scriptures. Some of these individuals use the Old Testament scriptures to base their “new” teachings, some radically re-interpret Christ’s message, and some even claim to have received new revelations from God that even falls outside of the realms of the already Revealed Word. These preachers and teachers promises that their messages will be “awesome”, especially as God is doing a “new thing” and they scurry around to hold concerts and conferences to deliver this “new message” to the masses.  Seemingly, they have whipped up a frenzy among church-going folks who rush to and fro to attend their meetings/gatherings in the veiled hope of receiving a “word from the Lord”. This is in spite of scriptures warning us not to be carried away with every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14).

What then is the position that Christians should take in regards to these teachings? We first need to ask whether there is a scriptural basis for anyone to lay claim to having “new revelations”. Certainly we could go down the road of arguing that Christ said “it is finished”, i.e., the redeeming work of the Cross was finished. This would mean then that we would not need anything else other than that which we have received through the Word, the Bible. We could also argue that God in sundry times past spoke to us via the prophets but today speaks to us by His Son (Heb 1:1-2). Since Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14), then what Heb 1:1-2 is saying is that God speaks to us today by the Word. Again this would mean there is no need for any new revelation since God continues to speak today by the Revealed Word.

In spite of those cogitations however we may examine further evidence as to whether claims of new revelations are valid. One area which is often overlooked with regards to this question is what is sometimes referred to as the “Great Commission”, the pertinent scripture being Matt 28:19-20:

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

What did Jesus command the Disciples to teach to all nations? The answer to that is, “to observe all things whatsoever I (Jesus) have commanded you”. This commission given to the Disciples is the same commission given to us today. Jesus clearly did not say to the Disciples to teach the Old Testament practices, to re-interpret scriptures or His words, or to teach “new revelation” that He will provide. How then can anyone claim to be a true follower of Christ and claim to have “new revelations”? It is noteworthy to mention here that there are those who will still insist that the Holy Spirit gave them new revelations. In that case what did Jesus say of the role of the Holy Spirit? To answer that we may look at John 14:26:

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Jesus did not say that the Holy Spirit would give us “new revelations” outside of Scriptures but that “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Do we therefore heed Christ’s commands or do we go after our own way to seek new revelations or doctrines?

False Prophet Simon and the Church Today November 26, 2009

Posted by Henry in False Doctrines.
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There are many false prophets parading in the church today professing to be God’s mouth-pieces. Seemingly they have caused the church (at least those they oversee) to become mesmerized to the extent that the people are unable to discern Biblical truth from the false doctrines they promote.  This scenario however is not new to the church as this very same thing was occurring during the early days of the church. Acts chapter 8 records that there was just such a “prophet” by the name Simon who had put the people of Samaria under a spell and convinced them that he was the true prophet of God.

Acts 8

9

But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

10

To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.

11

And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

What we see here in this passage is no different to what is currently happening in Christendom today. Jesus warned us that many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many. The problem with “churchianity” however is that they do not exercise discernment nor do they believe that discernment should be applied in church. In fact one of the tricks used by these false prophets is to discourage the church from questioning anything they say as this is seen as attacking the “Lords anointed” and therefore challenging their “authority”. To support this position they misuse scriptures such as Psalm 105:15, which says, “Touch not the Lords anointed and do my prophets no harm.” Many people however fail to see the context in which this scripture was delivered and that it in no way related to exercising Biblical discernment. Scripture admonishes us on the contrary to, “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Rom 16:17). In churchianity today however we have a situation where all churches and all doctrines are accepted as being relevant even where there is a blatant contradiction of scriptures. To many, our differences shouldn’t separate us but rather what we have in common should bind us. This is of course a departure away from scriptures and is termed ecumenism.

In churchianity today there are people who claim to be Christians but who also claim to equally belong to other religions at the same time. An example of this was seen in a news article about an Episcopalian female priest who claimed to be both Christian and Muslim at the same time. How can these things be one might ask. Scripture however warns us in 1 Tim 4 about this departure from the faith.

1 Tim 4

1

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2

Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

One of the endemic problems in churchianty today, however is that people have become convinced that such departure away from Biblical orthodoxy is actually a “new move of God” or an “end-time revival”. The “Florida Outpouring” springs to mind here as a classic example. The situation is so bad that it is as if people have literally taken leave of their senses. They have allowed themselves to become so wrapt up in deception to the extent they are not able to discern between truth and falsehood. What is certain though is that the false spirit of Simon is rife in the church today and this type of spirit is bewitching the people and blinding their eyes to the truth.

May the Lord have mercy upon us that our eyes may be opened to the truth of His word and that we will be able to exercise discernment and do not so easily become so deceived by false spirits.

Deceitful Use of Scriptures October 8, 2009

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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One of the things I find amazing in church circles today is how easily church folk can be fooled by this minister or that who can seemingly make scriptures appear to say something it actually doesn’t. For example, leading up to this year’s International Gathering of Champions (IGOC) conference, which was held back in August 2009, I received a flyer through the post informing about this conference. The title of the flyer was “Step Up” with a partial quote from Revelations 4:1, “come up here” which appeared to underpin the overall heading. For the main theme which was also imposed on the front of the flyer were the words, “Step Up out of…. Poverty, Obscurity, Bondage; Step Up and FULFIL YOUR DESTINY.” Needless to say I of course did not attend but on reading this at first glance and without prior knowledge of this scripture many might readily assume that what is being spouted here is Biblically based in scripture, that being, based on Revelations 4:1. I am also confident that thousands rushed out to this said conference without checking the scripture, as the Bereans (Acts 17:11) would have done, to see if what is being claimed here has scriptural merit.

Scripture admonishes us not to be carried away with every wind of doctrine but these warnings however seems to go unheeded by the church. The pertinent scripture here is as follows:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Eph 4:14)

It would be to our profit however to obey the cautions of scripture which would save us much trouble in the end. Going back to Rev 4:1 however, does it actually say or support any of the things being claimed on the IGOC flyer? Lets look at what it actually says:

1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. (Rev 4:1)

Anyone who has read Revelations would clearly appreciate that this scripture is part and parcel of a much larger revelation which the Apostle John had received. In fact if we read the verses following on we soon see that John was having a vision of heavenly places and truly spiritual things which the angel took him up to see:

2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. (Rev 4:2-3)

Now how do these scriptures relate to what is being claimed on the flyer as aforementioned? The truth of the matter however is that John was being taken up to see God being worshipped and glorified. In contrast, the claims on the flyer of stepping up out of poverty and out of obscurity, seeks to achieve one goal and that is for man’s self-glorification – to put man in the limelight of self-illumination. To use scripture to make it appear to support this position therefore is quite deceitful to say the least. These conferences in any event are just more opportunities by which the organisers prey on the greedy and also the vulnerability of those who are desperate and in dire need, in order to fleece them.

No "Should" in Tithing September 18, 2009

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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In a discussion about tithing a young woman once said to me that I “should” pay my tithes. That basically was her final word on the matter. But is the tithe something that I or the church should observe? It is interesting however to see how close-minded some church people can be on the subject of tithing. They refuse to apply any rational thought to proper application of scripture but instead take it as a given that if one is a Christian and a churchgoer one should pay their tithes. For them the question doesn’t even merit discussion as the attitude generally is “this is what we believe in and this is what we do at our church”.

If however, we say that someone “should” pay their tithes then effectively what we are saying is that we are obliged by some law to pay a tithe. From a Biblical point of view however are we under a legal or other obligation to tithe? We should remember of course that we are no longer under the Law but under Grace because Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. This is not to say however that since we are under Grace we can do what we like. Of course not! But does scripture support the view that the New Testament church should pay a tithe and are obligated to do so. Under the Old Testament which we sometimes refer to as the Law Israel was obligated under the Law to pay tithes but surely this Law does not apply to us today, or does it or perhaps you don’t really know? The Law that governed the tithe was part and parcel of the very same Law that Jesus has redeemed us from. But you ask, “What about Malachi 3:9-11?”

Many a minister has wrongly used this passage to convict their members to pay the tithe, suggesting that they are “robbing God” if they don’t and that they are cursed as a result. But clearly a close look at the passage will tell us who this passage was speaking to and it was not the New Testament Christians but the nation of Israel. Only the Levite priests of the nation of Israel had a commandment to take a tithe of their brethren (see Heb 7:5). The curse mentioned in Malachi 3 referred to the curse of the Law and not specifically to the issue of not paying the tithe. Some will argue however that the tithe was before the Law since Abraham tithe to Melchisedec in Gen 14. But on close examination of what occurred we can clearly see that this is no basis for establishing a tithe teaching in the church. What then is the motivation of pastors and church leaders to demand a tithe? Again others will ask if we shouldn’t tithe then what should we do? We should bear in mind that tithing is not supported anywhere in the New Testament. Paul’s instructions on giving to the work of the ministry were thus:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9:7

Clearly we all have freedom in Christ to give according to how we feel led. Do you therefore still think that you are obligated to tithe, and on what Biblical basis do you make such a conclusion?

The Kingdom of Heaven September 18, 2009

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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Many people may have heard this faithful saying, that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand”, especially being preached from street corners and in market places but few would even bother to pay attention to what they might perceive as fanatical drivel, much less to believe or accept it. Instead many people mistakenly think that these preachers are simply deluded mad men or women or religious fanatics especially when in our day we have bold adverts being posted on the sides of buses saying, “There is probably no God, so quit worrying and enjoy your life”. But I have news for you friends, “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”! Yes, John the Baptist uttered these very words over some 2000 years or so ago now and no doubt many people thought he was crazy then because he was not a man who wore smart apparel and esteemed in society but rather a dishevelled man dressed in animal skins and lived on the edge of (polite) society. Many must have wondered what on earth is this “lunatic” talking about! But still many believed on his message and were baptised by him.

We should note here that the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven” are synonymous. The first mention of the Kingdom (for ease of reference) in the New Testament is in Matt 3:1-3:

1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

In the passage John did not say plainly what the Kingdom is precisely but he left no doubt as to the significance or importance of it, if we look further along in the passage. The key point here to note though is that we should repent of our sins because of the Kingdom.

We see in the passage where John baptised all those who repented of their sins because they wanted to “partake” of this talked about “Kingdom.” But at this point the Kingdom had not yet (fully) come so this baptism was in a sense a prelude to the future Kingdom which John hinted at in verse 11, which was to be established by Jesus Christ. The interesting thing to note here though from verse 7 is that pursuing the Kingdom also represented a “fleeing from the wrath to come”. Though it is not spelt out here we can conclude therefore that the Kingdom of Heaven represented “salvation” for all men who would actively seek “it” through repentance and turning away from sin, and which is evidenced by “good fruit”. We also get a sense from verses 10 & 12 that the Kingdom is governed by a Righteous Ruler (Jesus Christ) who will separate (Judge) those who have attained to the Kingdom (i.e. produces good fruit) from those who don’t.

Jesus made it clear to us that the Kingdom of Heaven should be our primary goal in this life – it is of paramount importance. In Matt 6:33 Jesus implored us not to seek after worldly things or to worry about food, raiment etc but rather to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

The Kingdom of Heaven is important to us because the Bible says in Heb 9:27:

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

There will come a time at the end of the age when God will judge the world. Those who are His children will inherit eternal life but those who are not will be cast out into eternal damnation. The Kingdom of Heaven is therefore the only path to salvation and Jesus Christ is the only “Gateway” into this Kingdom. For He said in John 14:6:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Do you want to enter into this Kingdom? If so you need to enter by way of Christ.