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Apprenticeship IV

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What do you think when Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from Me, you evil doers!’ ”

Is Jesus harsh to say that to those who have obviously done what we would call work in His Name and yet turn around and say, “I never knew you”?  Now it is time to stop thinking like a child who is ignorant of his Father’s will or a servant who does not know his Master’s business, and see and hear what the Lord has said.

Firstly, He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven, which means, there are those who will enter by saying, “Lord, Lord,” but just not everyone, in particular those who claim to have done things in His Name.  You see, children, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who “Repent…” and there is no power in the Kingdom of Heaven to do miracles or to drive out demons.  John the Baptist was the one who first preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near, but he was not given the power of the Kingdom of God as Jesus was.  Those whom the Lord in particular rejected are obviously not those who belong to the Kingdom of Heaven, for by their own mouths they were able to drive out demons in Jesus’ Name, and as Jesus said, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”  And He told us driving out demons in His Name is a sign that accompanies those who believe and are baptised.  When Jesus spoke of being baptised, He was not speaking only of water baptism, which is John’s baptism for repentance of sins, but also of the baptism of fire and the Holy Spirit for power, and as well for His apostles the baptism of suffering.  So then, if you are to call Him, “Lord,” and tell the Lord that you have driven out demons in His Name, you are by your own confession telling Him that you are one who belongs to the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of power, and that you are His servant.  If you are, then you have no business entering the Kingdom of Heaven without His permission, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who do the Father’s will, and that is, “to believe in the One He has sent.”  You see, when asked by Jews, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”  Jesus answered, “The work of God is this:  to believe in the One He has sent.”  And since it was John the Baptist who first made mention of the Kingdom of Heaven and it was Jesus who made mention of the Kingdom of God, then it is John’s message that one must believe to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and Jesus’ message that one must believe to enter the Kingdom of God.

So then, Jesus was not being harsh at all when He said that not everyone who says to Him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, for the first will of God, that is, the works that God requires, is this:  “…to believe in the One He has sent.”  And since we are speaking of entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, we are speaking about believing in John the Baptist’s message, which Jesus repeated to indicate to us that He was the One John was sent to prepare the way for.  But Jesus’ work or message was not to tell us about the Kingdom of Heaven, but the Kingdom of God.  So you see, those denied entry to the Kingdom of Heaven are those who have no business to enter there, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.  They were evildoers in the first place because not only did they not know Jesus, but the proof that they did not know Jesus is that they don’t know which kingdom they had been called to by Jesus when they received the power of the Holy Spirit to drive out demons and do miracles in His Name!  So, it is not the Lord who is harsh at all, but rather, He is being just —and it is those who called Him, “Lord, Lord,” who are at fault for not knowing their place and presuming that they had the right to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

You see, Jesus never said that the Kingdom of Heaven would come upon the Earth, neither did John.  They just said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is near.”  That is, we are approaching the Kingdom of Heaven, that is, all men who live are approaching the Kingdom of Heaven, for all men who live will die, and it is by death that men are subject to judgement and assigned to either Heaven or Hell at that point in time to await the Day of Judgement when the Millennium is over.

John could only preach, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,” because he himself had no power to give life, life so abundantly that those who live and believe in him, John the Baptist, are subject to death.  And if they believed John, then they would have done the work God required of them and entered Heaven upon their death.  You see, all men approach the Kingdom of Heaven by their death.  However, the Kingdom of God is not approached by men; but rather, the Kingdom of God comes upon men as they live.  That is why Jesus told the seventy-two to tell people, “The Kingdom of God is near,” and He described the Kingdom of God as the kingdom that comes upon you.  It is the kingdom you see without tasting death, as He said, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God.”

It is therefore the righteousness and justice as well as the goodness of God, of Jesus, that He refuses entry to the Kingdom of Heaven for those who do not belong to it, not because they did not repent, but because they were in the wrong place anyway.

No one who calls Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” and has done miracles in His Name, driven out demons in His Name and prophesied in His Name, belongs in the Kingdom of Heaven but in the Kingdom of God.  And the Kingdom of God is within you already if you are born again of the water and the Spirit—the kingdom of power, the power that has been given to each and everyone to testify for Jesus by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who also testifies that Jesus is the Truth.

If the Kingdom of God is within you, then what business do you have of leaving that to go to the Kingdom of Heaven?  What business have those who claim to be in the Kingdom of God by saying that they have prophesied in His Name, driven out demons in His Name and done miracles in His Name, in dying and going to the Kingdom of Heaven, when Jesus has made it clear to all His servants to whom He spoke of the Kingdom of God, “I am going away and I am coming back to you”?  You see, Jesus never said to any of His disciples that they were to join Him, but that He would come back for them.  If someone is coming back for you, you wait for that person, and in our context, we wait here on Earth until He arrives unless we happen to be killed whilst doing our work of preparing for His arrival.

Earth and Heaven are not the reward or destination of those who are of the Kingdom of God unless they are martyred.  Now you might see the martyrs kept under the altar awake, not asleep, who are calling out to God in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until You judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?”  They are not part of Heaven as you understand Heaven, but are kept separate from Heaven in that holy place of being under the altar that is in the Temple of God.  It is the intention of Jesus that those who live and believe in Him would never die, unless they are put to death for the sake of His word and their testimony about Him.  As much as Jesus wanted all His disciples to live and never die until He returned, He also knew that when the things, which were to come when the church lost its power and the evil increased, many would be killed because of His Name and testimony, first by the Jews, then by the heathens and finally by the children of the prostitute herself.  As Saul killed Stephen and Herod killed James the brother of John and later the Romans would kill Peter and Paul and a multitude of the early church, so the prostitute who sets herself up in the city that sits on seven hills has made herself drunk with the blood of apostles and saints.  You see, those who were killed for the word of God they held onto and their testimony were interrupted in their work; they were not the ones who let go of the plough, but were killed while ploughing.  The sin of dying is not held against them for they did not plan for their deaths, but were killed for their work.  Is this unfair to those who did not have the opportunity to be killed while doing the work?  No, not at all, that is, assuming that those who call Him, “Lord, Lord,” were ever really doing the work required of them, that is, listening to Him, and practising His words until the power of the Holy Spirit was so manifested that the sick were healed, demons were driven out, and so on.

You see, the truth is, many who claim to work for the Kingdom of God have never worked the way it is prescribed, most because of ignorance and others because of hypocrisy.  Many who say they are of the Kingdom of God are really only citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, for they have been taught by their teachers to believe and die to go to Heaven.  Though they call Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” they cannot say to Him, “In Your Name we did miracles,” and so on.  So you see, Jesus is not speaking about those who having believed were never given the opportunity to grow.  They will enter the Kingdom of Heaven; that is the goodness of the Lord.

It is those who claim to be of the Kingdom of God with their testimony that they have driven out demons in His Name or done miracles in His Name, who are the victims of His anger here, as they call Him, “Lord, Lord,” to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  If you should find yourself dead, not killed, just dead because of accident or sickness, and you have driven out demons in His Name, done miracles in His Name and so on, listen.  Do not call out, “Lord, Lord,” when you see Him standing in front of you, but say, “Forgive me, Lord, for I am an unworthy servant.  I have not done what You commanded me.”  There is yet hope for you.

So then, do you see the goodness of God whose justice is so true and righteous that it divides between those who belong to the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God?

And of those who say they believe that the Name of Jesus can do miracles and drive out demons, and yet never practise them, never lay their hands on a sick person or believe for the multiplying of food, what of those who claim to be of the Kingdom of God, baptised in the fire and the Holy Spirit, and yet, never do it, they are like the wicked and lazy servant who buried the master’s money.  You see, when you claim to be a servant of the Lord, one who works for Him, and yet do not work to give Him the relief that He is seeking, to complete the work that needs to be done so that He can fulfil His promises to His friends, and yet at the same time are drawing the wages of a worker whilst waiting to return to Heaven, what should happen to you?  You know what to do with a lazy servant in your household, would you or should you expect the Lord to do anything less?  You know what to do to an illegal immigrant to your country, do you and would you expect the Lord to do anything less?  For if you do, then you think the Lord a fool and have not thought well of Him at all.

So then, do not be surprised that so many of your so-called fellow servants who claim to be of the Kingdom of God, but yet are looking to cross the border into the Kingdom of Heaven through death, know nothing of the way God is thinking, for what good master would entrust his thoughts and plans to a lazy and wicked servant who cannot even be trusted with a little worldly wealth?  So, be confident in your Lord and Master, for He knows His sheep.  He knows His friends and He knows who labours tirelessly for His glory.  Above all else, He knows those whose hearts are ever crying out to Him saying, “Come, Lord, come,” and are striving with all their heart, soul, might and mind to prepare this Earth for His arrival.  Even if you fail to remain alive until He arrives to fulfil your desire to see Him come in glory, it is still better than to succeed in dying to fulfil your desire to see you welcomed into Heaven with glory.

So, think well of your Lord and trust Him, for your labours will not go unrewarded.  For He has said, “Behold I am coming soon!  My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”  Then truly only those who are coming back with Him and those who are alive to greet Him when He arrives are the ones who will be rewarded according to what they have done; to one ten cities, to another five cities and so on, as they reign with Him through the Millennium.  That is the reward that He is giving when He arrives.  If you are not here with them when He arrives, what reward is there for you?  So, wake up!  And repent if you claim to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, a citizen of the Kingdom of God.  You have no business dreaming of the slumber that comes with death, for all covenants with death have been annulled in the Kingdom of God.

Think well of your Master, you who stay awake, and watch for His arrival.  Think well of your Lord, you who have kept His house prepared for His return.  Think well of your King, you who are resisting to keep all pretenders away from His throne, for He thinks well of you.

“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when He comes. I tell you the truth, He will dress Himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.  It will be good for those servants…”  So stay awake and watch how you think of your Lord and King.  Amen

 

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