The Gospel of the Kingdom of God
In order for the 'Save 21-Save a Million' plan to work, the first and every subsequent person has to know and apply the Gospel. By Gospel, the meaning is now extended to be both the good news of the Kingdom of God ('Gospel' means 'good news') but also everything that a person has to do in order to enter it. Every person reading this is potentially the first person of 21 others, contributing to the accumulation of over one million people 'harvested' for the Kingdom of God as a result of that first person's endeavours. That first person, eg: you the reader, therefore needs to be sure that they both know the Gospel, and how to apply it. It is the application of the word of God that counts: just knowing it is not enough in itself.
How do we know what the Gospel is?
Jesus was both the messenger and instrument of the Gospel. We have the record of the things that He and His disciples said about it in the Bible. It was an essential provision from God that the Bible was written and created - without it we would have no point of reference and be unable to test any assertion made by anyone wishing to promote ideas or agendas of their own. Any assertion made about the Gospel must be supported by references to scripture in the Bible for it to be valid. Everything asserted here will have such references to validate them.
The first line of the Bible reads: 'In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth'. The life and works of Jesus confirm that there is such a creator God. The Bible gives testimony to the life and works of Jesus; without this testimony from the Bible we might not know anything about Him. The diligent acceptance and application of the Gospel taught by Jesus, brings people into a personal relationship with God and Jesus to which they are able to testify.
The ministry of Jesus on Earth began when He was baptised by John the Baptist and ended after He had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven. His ministry continues to this day in the spiritual realms from the Kingdom of heaven for the benefit of those of us still living on the Earth. The purpose of His mission was to establish the Kingdom of God (or Heaven), and remains to assist and enable us to live in that Kingdom with Him in all eternity. How do we know this to be true?
The first proclamations that Jesus made after being baptised were:
'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near' (From that time on Jesus began to preach,- Mathew 4:17)
'The time has come.'(He said)'The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.'(Mark 1:15)
So with these statements Jesus both announces the imminent establishment of the Kingdom of God, and gives an instruction as to what to do about it.
Jesus announced that the Kingdom of God had come near, then that means that at the time of that announcement it had yet to be established. There is a very good reason why there was no Kingdom of God at the time of Jesus's baptism - it was because there was at and prior to that moment no King. Implicit in the title 'Kingdom' is the essential requirement for there to be a King in order to establish such a thing. At the time of Jesus's baptism, there was no King appointed to that position and therefore by default there was no Kingdom. Moving forward to the very last appearance of Christ on Earth after He had risen from the dead, this is what is written in Mathew 28: 16 - 20:
'Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."'
We know that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus, because many people are able to testify that they have witnessed demons and unclean spirits (and unvalidated accounts of Aliens) become subservient by the mere mention of His name.
By His statement ' All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me'. Jesus confirmed that He had been made King, for who else holds all authority? By then becoming King, there also became the Kingdom, so this is the moment that Jesus referred to in His announcement that 'The Kingdom of God comes near' and had then arrived.
To be clear then: without Jesus being born, crucified, raised from the dead and then made King, there would be no Kingdom of Heaven. This is what the life of Jesus was all about - the creation of the Kingdom of Heaven under His sovereignty.
Here is a very critical point of the Gospel: not only did Christ's death on the cross enable Him to become King and establish the Kingdom of God, but also Christ's death on the cross was the means by which we are able enter it and live forever.
Why do people need saving?
God's plan was to create man, to live with Him in the spiritual realms. It was a labour of love. God would love His creation man as a father loves His children. God created the earth and the heavens, and multitudes of angels to serve Him in this purpose. Then what happened? One of His angels, the best and brightest of them, instigated a rebellion against God, thinking to take His place, and a third of the angels were persuaded to take sides with this would-be usurper. God had no choice but to throw these rebels out of heaven, and to create hell where they would be held captive for all eternity. God continued His plan and created man who were aided and protected by the remaining loyal angels. Can we imagine God's dismay when He sees that His new creation are by their own behaviour falling into the same Hell that He had created for the rebellious angels? God is not sending them there as a punishment - it is however, where they are going as the natural consequence of how they behave; influenced and misguided by the rebellious angels God expelled from heaven. God had to do something to stop His beloved creation from this tragedy. This was not a vengeful God meting out retribution on humanity, but a loving God dismayed at what was happening to it.
God had to throw His beloved creation a life-line to save us from ourselves; that lifeline took the form of Christ, who was in heaven with God, being sent to the earth to be crucified as atonement for what mankind was doing, being raised from the dead and made King of the Kingdom of heaven. It was the shedding of Christ's blood on the cross at Cavalry that made both the Kingdom of Heaven and our salvation as acceptance into that Kingdom possible.
Who will be saved?
Jesus said : "No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them." John 6:65. This implies that it is entirely in God's hands who will be saved. To an extent this is true, but who is saved and who is not, is not a destiny set in stone. We know that God responds to prayer, and there are many accounts of people coming to Christ after that being prayed for, sometimes for many years. So by that we know that we can influence God in His decision as to who will be saved. We can pray for ourselves or for others to be drawn to Christ and God will respond to that prayer. Therefore the first step in our quest to Save 21 is to pray for ourselves and others to be drawn to Christ and saved.
What do people have to do to be saved?
The first thing that Jesus did at the start of His ministry was to be baptised. The first instruction that He gave was to repent. John the Baptist was performing baptisms of repentance. This clearly indicates that baptism and repentance are very important elements in this matter, and that the two things go hand in hand.
What is repentance and why does it involve baptism?
If you repent of doing something then you change your mind about doing it and resolve not to do it any more. In the matter of salvation what else could it be other than being disobedient to God and breaking the 10 commandments that we repent of doing, and resolve not to break them any more? Baptism, serves as a public declaration of our resolve to be obedient to God and obey the 10 commandments. Full immersion baptism also facilitates a connection through the qualities of water to spiritual realms which can result in the cleansing of the consequences of sin from our inner being and/or (as in the case of Jesus) being infused with the Holy Spirit. Full immersion baptism is the only form of baptism that will enable anyone to be 'born of water' (John 3 :5 'Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit"')
Repentance implies acknowledgement that we have done wrong, or confession. Confession is an important element of our salvation, as we have to confess our transgressions in order to be forgiven them. Confession as the means to forgiveness is essential for us, especially as we are ever prone to fail in our resolve to obey God after we have repented and been baptised. Confession is a valuable tool for us to overcome the God-detested sin of pride, lest of course we become proud of our sins and boastful of them.
Baptism then is the outward sign of our repentance and serves as our commitment to obey the 10 commandments and as initiation into the body of Christ. What it is not nor should not be is a commitment to associate with and follow the doctrines of any particular church within the body of Christ.There is nothing scripteral supporting this. It is a common perversion of the principle of baptism sadly implimented by a multitude of contempory churches in place of the true baptism, as a means of maintaining the number of seats on their pews. This practice compromises the integrity of true baptism and is an impediment to the growth and development of the body of Christ.
Clearly if you wish to enter into a Kingdom then you first have to accept the sovereignty of the King. For this reason we have to confess (audibly declare) Christ as being Lord. The acceptance and declaration of Christ being Lord both gives us access into the Kingdom of Heaven and also gives Christ authority to speak over our lives. We need Christ to speak over our lives if we are to receive the blessing of salvation and answers to our prayers.
Here is a valuable observation: if everyone on earth accepted Christ as Lord, and obeyed the 10 Commandments, then the Kingdom of Heaven would manifest on Earth: ' Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven' (The Lord's prayer). When we repent and obey God's 10 Commandments, God will protect and provide for us (irrespective of what economic crisis is happening in the world).
What are the Ten Commandments?
The First Commandment has various translations predominantly: 'Thou shalt have no God before, or beside , or except me (meaning God). The translation Thou shalt have no God before me is the most common, but the problem with it is that it implies that it is all right to have other Gods as long as we put God the Creator first, whereas the translations 'beside' or 'except' impart an exclusive relationship. That God wants an exclusive relationship with us clarified by the Second commandment:
'You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments'.
When it comes to following the Ten Commandments, we cannot be wrong if we abide by what they say. By what they say, it is meant by what they actually say, and not what some people attribute them as saying, or imply they are meaning. The Second Commandment says ' You shall not make for yourself
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