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Kingdom of God
By: Paul O. Johnson REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND
The massage of John the Baptist and of whom he prepared the way for Jesus the Christ is: Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. This is clearly revealed in these three passages: 1. Matthew 3:1-3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 2. Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3. Acts 1:1-3 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: God desire for His people (Israel, Church) is that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
In the prophecy concerning the great day of the Lord, the children of Israel were instructed to turn even with all their heart, and with fasting and with weeping and with mourning. The Word of the Lord continue to instruct His people saying, ´rend not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God for He is gracious and merciful slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth of the evil.µ Joel 2:12, 13 The people were instructed to fast with weeping and mourning, but it did not stop there, the Scripture went on to give intricate details as to how it needs to be carried out. Instead of simply carrying out God·s instruction to fast much more was required: they were to rend their hearts and not just their garments and turn to the Lord. It is clear that this detail that is given due to the lack of sincerity/genuineness in the execution of their fast. The execution of a fast is done by the Jews in sackcloth and ashes in times of great affliction or of pending affliction. Esther 4:1-3
4:1 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes , and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; 2 And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. SACKCLOTH A rough, coarse cloth, or a baglike garment made of this cloth and worn as a symbol of mourning or repentance. In the Bible sackcloth was often used to symbolize certain actions. In the case of mourning, either over a death (Genesis 37:34; Joel 1:8) or another calamity (Esther 4:1-4; Job 16:15), the Israelites showed their grief by wearing sackcloth and ashes. This was done also in instances of confession and grief over sin (1 Kings 21:27).(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers) Sackcloth- cloth made of black goats' hair, coarse, rough, and thick, used for sacks, and also worn by mourners (Genesis 37:34; 42:25; 2 Samuel 3:31; Esther 4:1,2; Psalms 30:11, etc.), and as a sign of repentance (Matthew 11:21). It was put upon animals by the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:8).(from Easton's Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.) ASHES To cover the head with ashes was a token of self-abhorrence and humiliation (2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:3; Jeremiah 6:26, etc.).(from Easton's Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.) The word ashes is also used figuratively in the Bible. Ashes were a sign of mourning, as when Mordecai tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and cried out with a loud and bitter cry (Esther 4:1). In the Book of Job, ashes are symbolic of dejection (2:8) as well as repentance (42:6).(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers) Isaiah 58:1-8 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. 3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. 4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast , and an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen?
toloose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rearward. Rearward ± 'acaph: OT:622 'acaph (aw-saf'); a primitive root; to gather for any purpose; hence, to receive, take away, i.e. remove (destroy, leave behind, put up, restore, etc.). (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded GreekHebrew Dictionary.Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.) Clearly God desires not just a symbolic execution of a fast or any other area of service, but one that is from the heart. God desires repentance from the heart from His people whom have fallen short of the glory of God. It is quite evident in Christendom as it was and is with Israel. Israel continued rebellion led to them rejecting Christ as king; Israel still continues their rejection and will only repent when come face to face with their worst destruction which will be revealed in the tribulation period. Christendom·s rejection is right before our eyes: the broken homes, broken families, increasing union with things of the devil, the gathering of believers being a substitute for the things of the world, the way we dress, etc. Man who desires to be clean must first be convicted of sin, acknowledge his sin and then repent. Repent ± NT:3340metanoeo (met-an-o-eh'-o); from NT:3326 and NT:3539; to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction). (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded GreekHebrew Dictionary.Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.) A turning away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and a turning back to God (Matthew 9:13; Luke 5:32). In a more general sense, repentance means a change of mind (Genesis 6:6-7) or a feeling of remorse or regret for past conduct (Matthew 27:3). True repentance is a "godly sorrow" for sin, an act of turning around and going in the opposite direction. This type of repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person's relationship to God. In the Old Testament the classic case of repentance is that of King David, after Nathan the prophet accused him of killing Uriah the Hittite and committing adultery with Uriah's wife, Bathsheba. David's prayer of repentance for this sin is found in Psalms 51.(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Isaiah 1:12-15 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. As it is in the case of Israelites so it is with us today. Many of our calling of assemblies for fasting and others God did not require it at the hands of those partaking in it as their actions are vain and He is full of it. My friends, his requirement has not changed. ´Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.µ 1 Samuel 15:22; Psalms 66:18 ± If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. John 9:31 ± Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
Therefore, God is calling us to be convicted of our sinful ways, acknowledge such sins, confess these sins and repent ² change our minds back to following God; having therefore a feeling of remorse, regret for our past conduct. Convicted of sin is simply to be found guilty of sin. When convicted we often times shrug it off: this is not too bad; Iwill soon address this; everyone is doing this ² even my leaders; and God understands. Conviction needs to be followed by acknowledgement then confession. Psalms 51:1-4 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Confession of one·s sin is to profess one·s wrong doing to God. These links to his acknowledging the wrong, but now bravely communicatethis wrong to God.
Many times this is where it is stopped and the most important act of reformation is not yet complete. In this journey we have often times become so intertwined with the deeds of the flesh and the things of this world that we refuse to let go. Having confessed our sins and reflecting on the path which is to follow ² the turning away, from sin we froze because the act of sin has become too satisfying - being blatantly rebellious despite the punishment that awaits such believer. My Christian friends we need to repent of our sinful ways, for the kingdom of God ² the time of restitution is at hand. What awaits us is the reward for our works in Christ. We need to with a feeling of remorse or regret for past conduct having being cleanse by the blood of Jesus (1John 1:9), take on the Word of God that He might sanctify and cleanse us with the washing of water by the word, that He might present us to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that we should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:26-27). This will see us turning around and going in the right direction. Thus repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person's relationship to God. Romans 12:1-2 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Christians, ´wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.µ Hebrews 12:28-29
REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND
Christian friends come hither! It·s time to look to yonder, God·s command still linger, Repent for the kingdom is at hand! This kingdom is for those Who chose to wash their clothe With the blood of Christ which flows, From His spear pierce side on the cross. It is not good enough To asked, forgive me Lord? We must with afflicted heart Be sorrowful, mourn of sinful past. It is then we fill with God·s Word The emptiness of guilt and shame, With Scriptures of hope and faith For our inheritance that awaits. We must with bated breath Live in newness of Spirit from the heart Which can be achieved within His Word Repentantly, for the kingdom is at hand.
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