Enter the Kingdom of God
We all want to be saved and to be in the Kingdom of God. The thought of being alive for ever and ever is interesting to think about, and it is this that motivates us to believe and to be faithful about what is being preached to us. There are conditions laid down for us to enter into the Kingdom of God. We listen to what is being preached, believe and are baptised and live a life in a continuation of faith all the time until we stop breathing.
While we live by faith, there are always obstacles which are not pleasant to face. These come about when our faith is concrete in our Lord Jesus Christ. We have the example of Paul in Acts 14:19-22: “But Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium; and having persuaded the people, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strenthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God.”
When people know that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, they sometimes create problems which will bring us tribulations. Paul faced the very same situation, and he was stoned and dragged away, his enemies thinking he was dead. These tribulations strengthened his faith in Jesus Christ.
The truth should be found as a sign upon our hands and as frontlets between our eyes, and written on the door posts of our houses and on our gates, so that people will know of our belief. Our behaviour will be easily noticed. So it is this truth and belief in Jesus that will cause opposition and bring us tribulation.
We learn of the first death that came about when Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God while his brother Cain, the killer was not accepted, because it was not what God had laid down, which was the cause of his envy, resulting in the death of Abel. Abel suffered because his sacrifice was accepted by God. There are so many Cains these days who will bring tribulation upon us and cause us suffering.
During Paul’s time, the Jews persuaded the people of the city to stone him. Likewise, in these days others will persuade the people of the land and those in authority to bring about tribulation to believers. And for those who believe in Jesus Christ this is a good indicator that a believer is fit for the Kingdom of God, because it is written, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”
Later on, Paul appeared before king Agrippa. He felt fortunate to be able to defend himself against all the accusations which were made by the Jews. Paul’s appearance to the king shows how tough it was going along the road to the Kingdom of God. Being accused and brought before the king for trial were the tribulations that our early brothers went through.
During the trial, Paul said that he himself had opposed the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and he did this in Jerusalem and some of our brothers in those days were put to death. So we can see just how tough the narrow road to the kingdom is.
In other parts of the world, some are safe, while other brothers and sisters are going through many trials. When such problems are faced we only have to ask our Lord Jesus Christ to strengthen us to continue on the Kingdom road.
Shadrach, Meshech and Abed-Nego were thrown into a burning, fiery furnace because they believed God and did not worship an image made by man. They believed in God only. If we are to be saved, we must follow Christ and, by following him we must expect problems, he said: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus very well knows the way we are to travel. Those who persecute us are against Christ, and Jesus will deal with them, for he said that he is with us to the end.
Bro A D Liwawa (Neno, Malawi)