Summary: Being a citizen of the Kingdom of God is the most important decision anyone will ever make in their life. However, along with citizenship comes responsibility. God expects us to Embody Christ’s name, Embrace His mission,and Obey His Word.
Kingdom of Heaven Series-Lesson #6
Title: Who Can Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
June 23, 2013
Text: Matthew 7:15-29
For six weeks now we have been discussing a wonderful place called the Kingdom of God. But, as we have discovered, this Kingdom is more than just a place; it is a lifestyle, a mindset, and a way of living. Being a citizen of the Kingdom of God is the most important decision anyone will ever make in their life. However, along with citizenship comes responsibility. For example, we are all citizens of the United States, and as such we are expected to obey the laws, and pay our taxes. As citizens of the Kingdom of God, God expects us to do certain things, too; things like—Embody Christ’s name, Embrace His mission, and Obey His Word. I have talked about these three before, and I said for a person to be truly happy and in the right relationship with the Father we must accept these responsibilities.
The Kingdom of Heaven is a wonderful place. It is a place where we can experience the full riches of God’s grace and mercy. It is a place where we hope to live eternally someday. But may I suggest to you that the Kingdom of heaven is also a place in which we may reside today. I know there’s a kingdom of God coming in the future, but there is also a kingdom of God in the present. It is a kingdom in which I can participate, right here and right now.
The Kingdom of God is present in the hearts of those who will be true believers in Jesus Christ. But, the Kingdom of God is not something that everyone has access to at any time. Instead, it is reserved for those who have made the intentional decision to follow in the steps of Jesus.
Those who enter the Kingdom of Heaven will be those who “do the will of God.” This is an extremely challenging thought for those of us who have been in the church for decades. It causes us to ask, “Have I been faithful to the calling that I received?” Was my decision to follow Christ more than a intellectual or emotional decision?
Did you know that it’s possible to receive the blessings of God and not enter the Kingdom of Heaven? And it is possible to perform miracles in God’s name and not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is also possible to work in the name of God and not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Friends, we must be cautious when dealing with the fate of our eternal souls. We take it for granted that God will overlook our lack of commitment and our lack of work for Him. But God is evaluating all our work and testing it to see whether it is pure or flawed.
The Kingdom of Heaven is not for everyone who states, “I belong to a certain church.” There are many people who are on the roles of a church, who are not residents of the Kingdom of Heaven. This begs the question- “How do I know if I am a resident of the Kingdom of Heaven?” And “Who is it that can enter the Kingdom of Heaven?” The question we are going to answer today is “How do you know if you have entered the Kingdom of God?” I believe there are 8 characteristics that are present in a Kingdom of God person.
1. As a Kingdom of God person, you have confessed your sin. (1 John 1:8-10)
The scripture says—“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” The word “confession” is a combination of two Greek words that mean “same,” and “to say.” The word confession as it’s used here, means, “to say the same thing” or “to agree.” Believers are called upon to say the same thing about sin that God says, and to see sin as God sees it.
When the believer confesses his or her sins and professes faith in Christ, then God will faithfully and justly forgive those sins and cleanse them of all unrighteousness. But, doesn’t God know everything we do anyway? So, why not acknowledge our sins, and ask for His forgiveness. Confession is essential to any believer’s relationship with God and to having fellowship with other people. And confession of sin goes hand-in-hand with the faith that saves us; a person who believes in Jesus and is truly sorry for their sins and confesses those sins immediately becomes a citizen of God’s Kingdom.