The Kingdom of Heaven
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Are you living for the kingdom of heaven? Are you longing to be with your Lord and Saviour? If someone were to come up to you and offer you an eternal life of indescribable joy and peace, in exchange for all you have in this life, I'm sure that the majority, if not all of us would gladly accept the offer without thought or delay. This is exactly what Jesus offers all who give their lives to Him. Just imagine eternal life with our Saviour and Lord Christ Jesus, worshiping before the throne of God, immortality, a life filled with indescribable joy and pleasure, without end! Are you excited about this? Do you realize what you have in your grasp? If only all professing Christians really truly understood what is at stake here, then the majority of us would not continue living such worldly lives.
We have wonderful parables that Jesus gave us about the kingdom of heaven. Let's take a look at how Jesus compared the kingdom.
Matthew 13:44 ...'Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.' ... This man in the parable, when He finds the Kingdom of Heaven, (in other words, when he finds Jesus and realizes what Jesus has done for him and what awaits him in Heaven), he is filled with so much joy that he has found this treasure, that he goes and sells everything he has to gain it. This man's worldly wealth and possessions mean nothing to him compared to this treasure.
Matthew 13:45-46 ...'Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.' ... Again, this man discovers this great pearl, this great treasure that puts all his worldly wealth and possessions to shame, and he goes and sells all he has to gain this great prize.
These two parables belong closely together, and they illustrate the response which the Kingdom of Heaven requires from us. There is no sacrifice too great and no other thing, whether earthly wealth or possessions that should stand in the way of it. But notice that the two men in the above parables do not begrudgingly give up their earthly wealth for this treasure, they do it with absolute joy! We need to be like Paul and count all things in our lives worthless compared to life with Christ Jesus ... Philippians 3:8 ...'Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.'
I love the story of Zacchaeus! This is a man who truly found the Kingdom of Heaven. He was a wealthy man in his day and when he found Jesus, he realized his wealth meant nothing ... Luke 19:2-9 ...'And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, that he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, this day is salvation come to this house.'
Zacchaeus realized that day that Jesus invited him into His Kingdom (the kingdom of heaven), and what did he do? He gave away not only half his wealth, but promised to pay four times the amount to those who he falsely took from. I can imagine what Zacchaeus must have been thinking. He probably thought "I can have Jesus!, I can have Jesus!" He probably looked at his wealth and thought "Are you kidding me! I don't need this, JESUS has invited me in! Here, take it, take my wealth and give it to the poor, I HAVE JESUS!" Friend, this is how we should be reacting to the Kingdom of Heaven, to being with Jesus. And Jesus confirmed that salvation had come to Zacchaeus' house that day. You see, Zacchaeus 'sought after Jesus', and he 'received Him joyfully', and he was repentant, and gave his money to the poor and promised to not only pay back those he abused, but to give them much interest. And do you know what? I believe that even if someone came and offered Zacchaeus the whole world after that day with Jesus, he would have said, "no thanks, I have far greater riches, I have JESUS!"
In the previous chapter of Luke, Jesus tells another parable about another rich man ... Luke 18:22-23 ...'Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.' ... You see, this man did not understand the Kingdom of Heaven, like Zacchaeus did. This man went away sorrowful, because he put his trust in his own wealth and possessions, and did not want to let them go, just like the prosperity gospel preachers do! There are so many professing Christians who are like this. They believe in Jesus and want to be with Him, but at the same time they want to hold on to this world and the things of this world. But Jesus is teaching us that you need to be willing with a joyful heart, to give up everything for Him and His Kingdom. Afterall, we are talking about eternal life with our Lord Jesus, why would you want to hold on to the things of this world, when it will be destroyed soon when Jesus returns? Why be concerned about gaining wealth in this life, when you could be walking on streets of gold in Heaven? Just look at what the New Jerusalem will be like:
Revelation 21-22 ...'And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal ... And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones ... And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof ... And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.'
Forget about building a "nice" home for yourself on this earth that is passing away and start focusing on the amazing eternal home awaiting us in heaven and on the new earth. There is great treasure in Heaven awaiting all those who are willing to give their all for Jesus. But if you are holding on to things of this world, then I ask you to really think about what Jesus did for you, and ask God to open your eyes to the kingdom of heaven and to help you receive it the way Zacchaeus did. Everything we have belongs to God, therefore we should be using it all to further His kingdom on this earth and to bring more people to it.
I plead with you to give your all to Jesus and live for the Kingdom of Heaven.