Summary: God responds to the cries of His children who lay hold of Him & refuse to stop asking for breakthrough in their lives. The Kingdom of God is there to be seized by those who will not be turned back by inconvenience or difficulty...
Intro.: READ: Matthew 11:11-12 (Amp), “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].”
NOTE: God responds to the cries of His children who persistently lay hold of Him and refuse to stop asking for breakthrough in their lives.
Remember: in the 1st “if” of Proverbs 2, we are told to “receive” the Word (passive). In this 2nd “if” we are directed to “go after” the Word.
I. “Take” the Word
A. We are to both receive and take the Word
1. Not one or the other...
2. The receiving fuels the taking
NOTE: If our “receiving” ends w/ “receiving” it hasn’t accomplished its full purpose, which is to empower us to fulfill our spiritual destiny.
B. Our spiritual destiny is Christlikeness
1. This cannot be achieved passively
2. As Paul said, we must press on, lay hold of and reach forward
C. It is so much easier to receive…
1. Most of the church likes the receiving part
2. It can be done from the “lazy boy”
D. There is no award for being a spiritual cheerleader
1. The crown only comes to those who finish the race
2. Paul indicated that as long as we finish, we win…
NOTE: Michael Phelps had a lot of supporters, but none of them won eight gold medals at the Olympics because they cheered him on. Likewise, those who cheerlead for Jesus will not win the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who enter the race with Him.
E. In essence, God is saying, “If you want it, come and get it!”
1. Heb. 12 “lay aside every weight… and run…”
2. Phil 3:12-14 “press on”, “lay hold”, “reach forward”
3. Isaiah 52:1-2 (The Message)
NOTE: All this is telling us to swim against the current of this age…
NOTE: If you want the blessings of the Kingdom, GET AFTER IT!
II. The Context of Spiritual Violence
NOTE: Spiritual violence must be preceded by a revelation of the Father’s heart.
A. Jesus experienced a revelation of the Father’s heart
1. Matt 3:16 “…this is My beloved Son…”
2. This empowered Him to fast for 40 days & defeat the devil
B. This revelation has been spoken over us also…
1. Romans 8:15, “you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.””
2. The spirit of adoption unlocks our souls
NOTE: If you were a foster child, in foster care, with a wicked, hateful foster family, how would you feel if you were adopted by a loving, giving, unbelievably wonderful family that celebrates you as their child? If you knew that if you poured out your joy, your sorrow, your longings, your victories and your defeats on your new adoptive father, that he would pour out the full measure of his love, his compassion, his strength, his help and his provision on you, wouldn’t you continually seize the opportunity to run to him and lay hold of his heart? That is EXACTLY what our Heavenly Father has done for us as His adopted sons and daughters!!!
Concl.: How bad do we really want to experience the full measure of our Father’s blessing and the outpouring of His love lavished on us?
1. Then we must act in response to His Word
2. We can no longer sit back and “hope” for what we desire
3. No more cheerleading
4. We must seize the kingdom of heaven by force
a. As a precious prize
b. Pursuing it with ardent zeal and intense exertion
The Kingdom of God is there to be seized by those who will not be turned back by inconvenience or difficulty, by those who will choose to enter the fray rather than watch from the sidelines, by those who have chosen the high calling… READ: Phililians 3:12-14 (Message) I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.