— Brother Phil Enlow: This is an absolute ultimatum. You’re either with Him all the way or you’re with the world all the way. But what a glorious picture this is, a prophetic picture, of what Jesus had come to do. Because before the kingdom could really begin to be established of the world, something had to be done about the fact that we were in prison.
We were part of Satan’s kingdom—part of Satan’s house! He was the strong man! He’s the one who had us completely encapsulated under his power, but somebody stronger had to come in and bind the strong man. And when He did that, He was able to go in and rescue. That’s what has happened.
That’s what the Gospel does. That’s what the Good News is all about! I have overcome! The Lamb has overcome! Praise God! That’s why we can preach, not a message of, oh, gloom and doom, look at what the world’s going to, but a message that causes us to lift up our eyes, because our redemption is drawing nigh. His Kingdom is alive and it’s real! It’s not measured by our…being able to fix the world. But praise God!
And I’ll just remind you of what Jesus said about, “…I will build my church…” (KJV). Matthew 16. Who’s gonna to build His church? You and me? No, He’s gonna do it. Our job is to look to Him and say, God, help us to be workers together with You. So that we’re not just building ourselves a little institution we call a church. You build Your church. You gather Your saints together—build us together.
But what does He say about that? “…The gates of hell shall not prevail….” You see the connection between those two scriptures? It’s talking about binding the strong man. The strong man would hold captive everyone under his power but Jesus came along stronger, broke his power, and said, I’m going in there. I’m getting mine! If you’re one of His, He’s gotten you out of a place…from which you could not extricate yourself. Praise God! My hope is not in me, it’s in Him!
So, moving forward though, just beginning to talk about what is the Kingdom like? Let’s look at a scripture over in Luke, chapter 17, because that question was asked Jesus in a way that He answered it…not the way they expected it. What were the Jews looking for, based on their Old Testament scriptures? If you just sort of read it with natural intellect, what would you suppose about the kingdom?
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It’s an earthly one…Somebody’s gonna come and they’re gonna reestablish Jerusalem as a great capital over…and it’s a government over the world. I mean, this is gonna be great. We’re gonna be great again.
Remember when Solomon was there? He was the greatest king on the planet. Everybody knew about Solomon. And all these…the picture they had was somebody’s gonna come and reestablish this Kingdom, and we’re gonna be exalted in the earth once again.
And so, verse 20, “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, the kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, here it is, or there it is, because the kingdom of God is within you.” (NIV).
Probably a better translation is ‘among’ you, because obviously, it wasn’t in them, literally. But, it was within the society. God is going to build His Kingdom right in the midst of this world—this wicked world. It’s going to exist here, and people are not gonna recognize it for what it is. And they’re never gonna be able to point to an organization and say, that organization, that institution, is His church, that’s His Kingdom.
God’s Kingdom will always be something that natural men do not recognize for what it is. But it’s real. And that’s what Jesus said, you have to be born again to really see it, to really be part of it. So, there is that aspect of it, that it is not something that’s political, is it?
Look what He said…in John chapter 18, is another scripture that bears on this. Because this is where the Jews come and they’re trying to come up with some reason to convince the Romans to kill Jesus. And so, Pilate is asking about this…the question. And he doesn’t know what’s going on. He says, are you a king? So, wait a minute, let me see…verse 33.
“Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Is that your own idea,’ Jesus asked, ‘or did others talk to you about me?’ ‘Am I a Jew?’ Pilate replied. ‘It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?’ Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’
“‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’”
See, you’ve got a picture now of a kingdom, that while it exists in this world, it’s not something that men are going to be able to point to and say, there it is. All right?
Let’s look at another scripture that bears on this, and I think I’m looking at Mark, chapter 8, near the end of it. And beginning in verse 34, we have Jesus giving us these familiar words, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” You can’t go to God and buy Him off.
“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Okay? “And he said to them, I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
Now, put that together. Do you not have two senses of the kingdom here—two stages of the kingdom? Because obviously, the people that heard him, that were standing there, they’re long dead. So, if He’s only talking about that time when He comes with all the holy angels, it’s all out in the open…if that’s all He’s talking about, then you know what He said didn’t make sense.
But I’ll tell you, the Kingdom of God came in power. When? The Day of Pentecost. When God came down and filled His servants, Peter stood and preached the Gospel, 3,000 people came into…were born into the Kingdom on that day. The Kingdom of God came with power.
But that Kingdom exists and continues to exist in the midst of a world that hates God and is going the other way. But one day, that kingdom will come to full fruition, and we will see, we will literally see Him split the eastern sky, however it literally happens. He will come and every eye will see Him and it will be the end.
So anyway, you see the two sides of this, where the Kingdom of God is going to be established here and now. But it’s also…this is going to grow from something small into something great. Praise God! And I finally got back to where I thought I was gonna go about two or three weeks ago.
So anyway, what is the Kingdom like? Jesus gave us a number of parables. And I’m just gonna go ahead and start here and we’ll see how far we get. But in Matthew, chapter 13…there is a principle here though that I particularly want to get to. So, this is the one where Jesus is talking, beside the lake, gets into a boat because the crowd is too big.
Verse 3, “Then he told them many things in parables, saying: A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
There’s a lot of truth buried in that and I don’t want to try and get into all of it. But I want to focus on the things that I think are relevant to what we’re talking about.
And so, the disciples asked Him, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” I don’t understand it. Why don’t You just come right out and talk plainly?
Here’s the key. “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven….” You’ve got the Kingdom right there, don’t you? And the Kingdom, the knowledge of the Kingdom is something that is secret, isn’t it? It’s not something that God just lays it all out where anybody can understand it. In one sense He does, but we’ll get to that.
“The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables.”
Now what in the world is he talking about? Has what? Look over…just hold your place there, but look over in a parallel passage. I believe it’s in Luke chapter 8…because the principle is very plain there. In verse 17, Jesus is talking about…okay, I’ll just break in.
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”
Now, do you see one of the keys to the Kingdom of God and how God reaches people? When God speaks, what has to happen? It has to be revelation, but what has to happen in here? There’s got to be a heart that receives, that is humbled to listen, that’s able to hear.
And what the Lord is saying there is that those who don’t have that, those whose hearts have gotten in a condition where they listened and God has spoken to them and they kind of…they’ve slipped and slid around it, and ducked and tried to hang onto their own ideas and their own concepts.
What happens to the human heart when you do that? It gets hard. It gets blind. And so, the Lord is saying, when I find somebody, who when I speak, they listen, they humble themselves and they reach out, I take note about that one. And I’ll tell you, I see that heart and I’m gonna give them more. I’m going to help them to understand all of these secrets that the world doesn’t know anything about. I’m zeroing in on those.
I’ll tell you, that’s a serious matter. There is no way that we could stand up here and expound the Gospel in such a way that it will just break through that kind of a barrier. Because, look at what He said in the parable, He talked about the four different kinds of soil, one was so trampled, the seed fell on a path…what was the problem there? It had become so hard over time that it absolutely made no impact whatsoever.
I’ll tell you, we have people come in here, and there may be a service where God really blesses it, and people are encouraged and they see, and they’re rejoicing in the things of God…and someone has no clue. It makes no impact. They go right out just like they came.
How did they get that way? How do people get that way? Because when God speaks, they’ve made a habit of saying, no. I’ll tell you, God is gonna build a kingdom of the willing. This doesn’t mean our wills are in charge…are in control of God. But it does mean that God is reaching a certain kind of people.
I want to have a heart that says, oh God, I don’t know anything as I ought to know it. Lord, when You speak, help me. Help me not to hide those places down here, I don’t want to be like the one that had the hardness—there was not a lot of soil there, so it came up quick. But it didn’t have what it needed down in the deep places of the heart.
You know, every one of us has got places where we need to be hearing God’s voice, don’t we? This is one of the secrets of the kingdom. And of course, Jesus goes on to explain it. And, look at what it says in verse 16. I’m not going to take a lot more time here. We’re about out of it, but that’s all right.
“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
You see the unfolding of God’s purpose? How many prophets in the Old Testament spoke what God told them to speak, did it in faith, and still said, God, I don’t know what this is about. Lord, show me. Nope, shut up the word, it’s not time yet. But now it was time, and God was unfolding the mysteries of what He had planned before the foundation of the world. And these people had a heart to open their hearts, and to listen.
I pray that everyone who hears this will have that kind of a heart. It won’t be my words that you listen to, but it’ll be Him. And you’ll say, Lord, you are the King. You have truth that I need. I don’t need to cling to my own will and my own way. And then, you had the one that sowed among thorns. What was that?
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Yeah. He explains it down here…the cares of this world. In other words, when God reaches a heart, this is an absolute choice. My life becomes about Him. It’s not that I add Jesus to my life so I can go to heaven when I die. This is when my life becomes His. Yes, I may do things in the world, but that is not my priority, and if that starts interfering with this, that has to go.
Lord, I’m not here…I’m like Jesus, I’m not here to do my will. I’m here to do the will of the One who sent me. What a model we have for the Kingdom of God. This is…people do not understand what a clear black-and-white situation this is. People are either in the kingdom of the world or they have sold out completely and said, I am with Him.
I appreciate the way one of the brothers said it down in the service last Sunday. We were talking about baptism, and one of them kept using this phrase, ‘all in.’ And we know what that means in our culture. That means everything’s on the line. I am ‘all in’ with Jesus. I am in to the point where if they line me up and say, if you deny Jesus, we’ll let you live, if you don’t, we’re gonna kill you. And we say, well, praise God, I’m in His hands, not yours. I cannot deny my Lord!
That’s what it meant. That’s what it meant when the Kingdom of God was first born into this world. It came in as an enemy to every establishment in this world, and the Devil tried everything he could, to stamp it out. But God had a people who said, I am with Him. I’m all in!
And that’s what God is going to do in our midst in a greater way. I believe God wants us to have a deeper, more practical understanding of what His Kingdom looks like within this world, because we’re not sitting here…we can go to two extremes. The one extreme like I described is, we’re gonna circle the wagons and wait for Jesus to come. Isn’t it going to be wonderful? Well, Praise God, it is.
But we could say, I’ve got to go out and fix the world. I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that. Or, we’ve got to have a program. There are so many ways that men have gone. But I’ll tell you, what we need to do is to say, Jesus, You are our head. You are the King. You build Your church. You show us what our part is. Help us to model the Kingdom of God, not simply to talk about it.
Wouldn’t that be a good thing to be praying? Lord, teach us what it means, not just to have the doctrines right. But, teach us what it means to ‘model’ the Kingdom so that when people look at us, they’re not just seeing another group of people who are like everybody else. They’re seeing a people that, hey, wait a minute, they’re different. There is something different here. And then God can use that to draw hearts.
I’ll tell you, one of the things I see in the end time, is not just the Devil finishing his plan. I don’t know what kind of harvest there’s gonna be, because there’s some harvest going on in parts of the world right now. Do you want to be a part of what God is doing and not just sitting here waiting for Jesus to come?
Let’s pray and say, God, work in us so that we can be Your people in the world. We can live, we can have hearts that are willing for You to dig down into every deep place and establish your Lordship so that we can by Your resources live out Your life in a broken world. So that when that day happens, we’re gonna stand there in glory, because of what He has done.
I’ll tell you, there’s a glorious future for the people of God. We’re gonna go through some dark times in this world, but God has given us a hope where we don’t have to look at that, and be swallowed up in dismay and fear. We can look up and say, our redemption is drawing nigh. God, fill us with yourself.
God, you’re not gonna put us in a situation we can’t handle with Your strength. Doesn’t the scripture say that? No temptation has “…taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will…with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (KJV).
We’re gonna be able to go through whatever God puts us through, whether it means our death because of the testimony of Jesus, or whether it means there are people that are gonna be anointed to carry the Gospel into places where it’s never been. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I know God is alive and I know His Kingdom is real.
And I know He wants us to be, not simply an ecclesiastical institution, but literally a colony of heaven, if you will. I love that expression. I ran into it recently. But Praise God! That’s… I guess one of the main points of that scripture is not only the fact that we’re all in, but the fact that we’re gonna have to have open hearts, because you cannot understand the things of the Kingdom unless God reveals them. Praise God!