Summary: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” Mark 10:15.
Theme: Worldwide Communion: How to receive the Kingdom of God
An important topic Jesus taught about during His life concerned the Kingdom of God. The Lord’s Prayer shows the priority Jesus gave to the Kingdom when He taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Many people believe that you can enter and belong to the Kingdom of God by joining the Church. They equate the process to that of joining a club. This is one of the reasons why many unbelievers see the Church as a club for religious people with similar interests. The Church, however, is not a club but the body of Christ, a family of believers. No one has ever become a member of the Church by filling a membership card, paying tithes, giving offerings and participating in Church programmes and activities. The Church is the body of Christ and there is only one way to become part of the family of God. You must be born into the family of God. This is the only way to enter and belong to the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is the place where Christ reigns and rules, a place were His presence is evident. To belong to the Kingdom of God is to submit your life to the rule or reign of Christ and this demands obedience to the will of God. The Kingdom of God is a place of righteousness and all those who enter have the righteousness of Christ. It is a place where we are no longer dominated by a consciousness of sin but by a consciousness of righteousness. The Kingdom of God is a place of God’s blessing, protection, and provision. How can one be in he presence of the eternal all sufficient One where everything is in abundance and lack? How can one be in the presence of eternal life and perfect health and be sick, or in the presence of everlasting peace and joy and be sad and depressed?
God created man a perfect being in His own image and likeness. He created the earth for man to have dominion over and rule over it as He did in heaven. What separated man from God was that he was a created being and could not exercise his dominion without God. To be able to exercise his power of choice he was forbidden to eat the fruit of only one tree in the garden. He disobeyed and lost all that the presence of God had made available to him. In his fallen condition man could no longer fulfil God’s divine purpose. But God did not leave man in this condition and went to great lengths to restore all things to their intended purpose. God wants man to enjoy His presence and a life of abundance. He wants all men to fulfil His divine will concerning their lives and through Christ has opened the doors of the Kingdom of God to all believers.
A price had to be paid for man’s redemption and the righteous judgement of God demanded the death penalty for sin. It demanded the shedding of blood. Jesus Christ by His death paid the penalty for the sin of the whole world past, present and future and opened the doors of the Kingdom of God to all those who would believe in Him. Jesus Christ not only paid the penalty for sin but bore our judgement that we can be justified and become the righteousness of God.
The death of Christ was the only way to lead us out of slavery to sin and into the glory of reigning with Him. It was necessary because of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. It points to the seriousness of the sinful human condition that could only be remedied through the death of Christ. The wages of sin is death and so no sin or sinner could come into the presence of a holy God. This was the reason why in the Old Testament sacrifices were continually being offered to cover sin and to gain access to God’s presence. The access to God’s presence was not because of their righteous acts but because of their sacrifices. Job offered sacrifices on his own behalf and on behalf of his family and was reckoned as righteous in the eyes of God. As a result God protected him, blessed him and met all his needs. The attacks of the enemy only resulted in a greater blessing. The Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the time that Christ, the perfect sacrifice, would take on flesh and blood, and be put to death to make atonement for the sin of the whole world. The blood of Christ has accomplished eternal redemption for all mankind. It has cleansed us, made us holy and set us apart. But we can only benefit from what the blood of Christ has done for us when we acknowledge Him as Saviour and Lord and gain access to His grace.