Four opportunities to enter God’s Kingdom
Published 1:27 pm Friday, October 23, 2009
Scripture: Mark 12:1-21
Aim: To help the pupil understand that persons enter God’s Kingdom to be blessed here and hereafter only by their own surrendered response to Christ and the Father.
Golden Text: “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 12:15).
The old Negro preacher declared, “Everybody talkin’ ’bout heaven ain’t a gwing there!”
I have often thought about that statement. It seems to me that it is akin to Jesus’ statement, “Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5).
You see, there is only one way to get to Heaven. That is to be born again by the Holy Spirit of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He alone is the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father but by Him (John 14:6). This has always been the case.
In the Old Testament times men “believed God” and it was accounted unto them righteousness. Men always have been saved by grace, through faith. We have four opportunities and the responses in this Scripture.
I. The Pharisees came to Him, questioning Him (Mark 12:1-12). They had no intention of believing on Christ. They wanted to trap Him into saying something they could use to help them get rid of Him. They wanted Him dead and out of the way. They were highly religious. This just goes to show that being religious has nothing to do with entering God’s Kingdom. Religion and religious practices do not, and cannot, change the heart and bring men into harmony with God.
The Pharisees asked about Moses’ Law regarding marriage. In Jesus’ answer it is evident that they did not really believe Moses’ Law. That was their “religious” persuasion. Jesus explained the law of marriage and divorce. They were hushed for the moment. They had not believed on Christ, and they had no intention to repenting and believing on Him as God’s Messiah.
II. The disciples stand in the way of children coming to Christ (Mark 12:13-16). Jesus rebuked the disciples and told them to bring the children to Him.
“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (vs. 14). Jesus further explained that in order for a person to enter the kingdom of God he must become as a little child.
A child is believing and trusting. They are not infected yet with the hypocritical attitudes of adults. In order to enter the kingdom of God, one must humble himself and come to Jesus Christ believing that He is the Savior and will save and forgive one’s sins. Not like the haughty Pharisees above, and not like the rich man we discuss next.
III. The rich young man refused to enter the kingdom because of all the riches and “stuff” he possessed (Mark 12:17-22). He asked what he should do to inherit eternal life (vs. 17). Jesus referred to the last six commands, which have to do with man’s relationship to man. The youth declared that he had always kept them (vs. 20). Jesus then touched on his problem. He asked him to sell all, give it away and come follow him (vs. 21). He was “grieved” and went away sadly! His “stuff” was more important than God and His kingdom. Many are that way in our day.
IV. Jesus gave God’s requirement and the result to His disciples (Mark 12:28-31). The disciples declared to Jesus that they had left all to follow Him (vs. 28). Jesus’ response was that those who believe and follow Him will receive “an hundredfold now in this time … and in the world to come eternal life” (vs. 29-30).
Even if earthly family forsake the believer, the believer gains many relatives through the blood of Christ. Each becomes a part of the eternal family of God with an inheritance in Heaven. Another thing should be emphasized. All who follow Christ and become a part of His kingdom will have “persecution” (vs. 30) because they have chosen to be a part of God’s kingdom through faith.