Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. (1 Corinthians 15:50, NKJV)
Even though Jesus taught plainly that His kingdom “is not of this world” in John 18:36, many souls continue to believe His kingdom will be established as a future world government, with Jesus ensconced on His throne in Jerusalem. However, Jesus said His kingdom would come into existence “with power” during the lifetime of those who heard Him teach (Mk. 9:1). His kingdom was established through the powerful events recorded in Acts 2. His kingdom is His church (Dan. 2:44; Matt. 16:18-19). When Jesus returns on resurrection day, He will deliver the kingdom to God the Father, not set it up on the earth (1 Cor. 15:23-26). At that time, with resurrected, immortal bodies, we will enter the heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18). Our mortal, corruptible bodies will not inherit heaven. The kingdom of God is incorruptible and not of this world. Even so, only with resurrected, immortal bodies will God’s people pass into eternal life (1 Cor. 15:52-56). “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1–2, NKJV)
Let us ask and answer the question posed by the wise men to Herod: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” The Scriptures tell us Jesus arose from the dead and ascended into heaven (Matt. 28:1-6; Acts 1:9-11). In heaven, Jesus is at the right hand of God, having been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18; Acts 2:33). At God’s right hand, Jesus is the head of His body, His church (Eph. 1:20-23). There, Jesus sits on the throne of David over His kingdom, just as God had promised (Lk. 1:32; Dan. 2:44; Mk. 9:1; Acts 2:30-31). He is there as High Priest, having presented Himself an offering for the sins of the world. Now, He ministers on behalf of the people of God (Heb. 8:1; 9:24-26; 4:14-16). Where is the King? Why, He is in heaven on His throne, ruling by His truth and blessing with salvation all who believe and obey Him. One day He will return, and judge us all in righteousness (Acts 17:31; 2 Cor. 5:10). The question is: Will you worship Him like those wise men of old? Or, will you deny where He is?
9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9–11, NKJV)
Jesus reminded His disciples that now is the time for diligent work in the service of God (Jno. 9:3-4). Now is not the time to rest. God has created good works in which we must walk (Eph. 2:10). So, we must not be sluggish and neglectful, but energetically obedient in doing the will of God. Notice in verse 11 that obedience is equivalent to being “diligent to enter that rest” that awaits us, since not to be diligent amounts to disobedience. Here is another place where faithful obedience is defined as the “work” we do – not to earn heaven, but as our dutiful, faithful obedience to our Master. Death brings blessed rest “from their labors” to those who die in the Lord, and “their works follow them” (Rev. 14:13). Please do not confuse the diligent work of obedience with an attempt to earn one’s way into heaven. Obedience to the Lord is our faith doing His works, all the while anticipating our eternal rest.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2, NKJV)
In what direction have you set your mind? The word of God simplifies our choices. In truth, our mind is either set on heavenly things, or we set our mind on things of this earth. The first is spiritual, fulfilling and eternal. The second is worldly, unsatisfying and temporal. This is not a “one off” setting of the mind. We are to keep on setting our mind on things above. Are you seeking heaven (Col. 3:1)? If so, you cannot attain it by fixing your mind on earthly things. We are so much more than flesh and bones. We have been made in God’s image, with a mind that reasons and operates on free will (not instinct), possessing moral consciousness intellect and emotions. And so, we should fixate our whole being on heaven. For the Christian live for the earth instead of for heaven defies the very reason we have been raised with Christ from spiritual death (Col. 2:12; 3:1).
27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. (Philippians 1:27–28, NKJV)
Our lives must be worthy of the gospel of Christ. How we live is to reflect that we are citizens of heaven even while we live on this earth (Phil. 3:20). We cannot hold the values of the world, make decisions like the world, and practice the sins of the world, without in fact being of the world (1 Jno. 2:15-17; Jas. 4:4). A life lived “worthy of the gospel” stands steadfast, united in spirit and fully engaged in the struggle for the faith of the gospel. With boldness and not fear, let us persevere in the face of every adversary who opposes the salvation God assures us in Christ.
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, NKJV)
The Lord has spoken plainly and sin and its deadly effect. Sin keeps souls out of the kingdom of God. The enemies of the cross obscure this truth, deceiving blinded minds about this simple fact. Immorality prevents one from inheriting heaven. The gospel has power to save sinners of every stripe and sort. Every sinner must be convicted of the reality of his sin and its eternal death in order to come to Christ for salvation. “Do not be deceived” into thinking you can live as you please in the indulgence of the flesh, refuse to be “washed,” “sanctified” and “justified” from your sins, yet still have God’s eternal blessings. “And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). Will you? Or, will you be deceived?
4 Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! 5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:4–5, NKJV)
Wealth is not the panacea many believe it to be. Riches are perishable; they come and go. For example, billionaire Donald Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times since 1991. Solomon (himself vastly wealthy) advises not to work yourself to death trying to be rich because earthly wealth is temporary. The wise person understands money can be used for good or evil, just as one’s attitude toward it can either be thankful and generous, or covetous and miserly. Content with food and clothing, and thankful for much more than that, lay up treasures in heaven. The imperishable riches of eternal life are laid up there for the faithful (1 Pet. 1:4-5).
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where ‘THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.’ (Mark 9:47-48)
Jesus gave a clear warning of the possibility of being cast into hell. Many wish to deny the reality of hell and its never-ending punishment. Yet, Jesus warns of “hell fire” where agony does not diminish and where fire does not consume. In another place, Jesus described hell as a “furnace of fire” where “there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42). Sin will be punished – its wages is death – “but, the free gift of God is eternal life is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Thanks be to God who saves all who “call on the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21, 37-41; Rom. 10:9-13). Accept God’s gift of eternal life like Saul: “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Heaven is real and eternal; so is hell. Where will you spend eternity?
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. (Psalm 116:15)
I spoke with a wonderful Christian lady today. We have never met, but, it seemed like we had known each other for years. We spoke of trips to far off places. She knew of my approaching trip to India, and said she would pray for me. I replied that she is in the hearts and prayers of many. She talked about her own trip home. She expects to get there soon. She is in hospice care, and she knows her death is drawing near. But what an impact she had on me today! Oh, what a blessed hope to possess the comforting assurance of the Savior as your life draws to its end. The Lord sees death as a great and valuable experience for His holy ones. And, God’s people see death that way, too. Are you ready for your passage from time to eternity? Live by faith. Walk in the light. Love your God and your neighbor. One day we will also go home. I want to meet Shirley when I get there.
3 He spoke this parable to them, saying: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:3–7)
The Good Shepherd has compassion on every lost sheep. Like a shepherd who searches for the one lost sheep, Jesus searches for each lost soul. Furthermore, each soul is so precious that heaven responds with rejoicing when a single soul is saved. Never think you are worthless in God’s sight! He is full of compassion for you, and in love He sent His Son to save you from the wilderness of sin and death. Hear His voice and follow Him. Repent, and heaven will rejoice.