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 ourselves.
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 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? Repentance and baptism is the first step in cultivating a relationship with the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord, which is a key issue in the matter of our relationship with God.
Baptism serves as a public declaration of our resolve to be obedient to God and obey the 10 commandments. The problem is that the harder we try to live obey the ten commandments, the more difficult it is. It is necessary to make a distinction between 'The Law' and the Ten Commandments. The Law refers to the law of Moses and is very complex. The Bible makes it clear that no-one is able achieve salvation by following the Law. Nor is it obedience to the 10 Commandments that gives us salvation, but rather God's forgiveness through Christ of us breaking them when we have failed to, i.e 'Grace'. We worship God by obeying His 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 including the expulsion of unclean spirits, 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 would most likely fail in any resolve we made to obey the 10 Commandments 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 acknowledgement that we have failed to live up to 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 or maintaining adherance to rigid, not necessarily scriptural proprietry doctrines. 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 endeavoured to obey 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 endeavour to obey God's 10 Commandments, God will protect and provide for us (irrespective of what economic crisis is happening in the world).Dueteronomy 5:33 "Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess."
The outward declaration of our acceptance of Christ being Lord has to be supported by our subjecting ourselves to His rules; the 10 commandments. It would be of little value to acknowledge His authority if we did not endeavour to obey His rules which are the Ten Commandments, and petition His forgiveness for not living up to them should we fail to do so.
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 is 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. God will not chastise us if we follow the words that He spake. He may however, chastise us if we do something else instead. 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 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'. That is a very clear and simple statement. Yet you might go into some church and find statues and icons, images of Jesus, Mary and Saints, which is exactly what this commandment says don't do. If it says don't do it, then you cannot be wrong not to do it. This commandment against idolatry, is also frequently asserted by some as meaning anything that you love, treasure, prioritize, identify with, or look to for need fulfillment outside of God, but that is not what it says. It just says do not make an image of anything on earth or in heaven and bow down to it in worship.
The Third Commandment is :"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain". When God uttered this commandment He may not have forseen the gradual migration of people calling on the name of Jesus in times of stress to His name becoming an expletive when our cars break down on a motorway or we twist our ankles, so we need not interpret this commandment as meaning that specifically, as many people do. The more serious offence this was intended to prohibit was using the name of God to give false authority to agendas of our own. For example: putting the name of God to a completely false religion or prophesy.
The Fourth Commandment attracts the most controversy of the Ten Commandments although when you read it there is clearly no room for any controversy about it. In it God says :"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
God clearly states what day the Sabbath is and in what way we are to remember it. The Sabbath is the Seventh day of the week (Saturday) and we are to remember it by doing no work. Biblical days are measured from dusk to dusk so this means do no work from dusk Friday to dusk Saturday. There can be no argument. That is what it says. If we do what it says then we cannot be wrong. Notice that the Fourth Commandment does not make any allowance for the substitution of any other day of the week to be a day of rest, nor does it make any reference to holding services or meetings on the Sabbath. Early on in the history of the church there was a Pope who took it upon himself to break the first and third commandments, using God's name to combine the worship of God with the worship of the Roman Sun God by changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday -a grave offence to God. People may attend church by all means on Sundays, but to be innocent of breaking this commandment we must 'do no work, nor our son, for our daughter, nor our male servant' etc.. from dusk Friday to dusk Saturday. The consequences of breaking this commandment are severe, the rewards for keeping it are extensive.
These first four commandments were summerised by Jesus as to 'Love God'. The remaining six commandments He summarised as being 'Love your fellow man'.
The Fifth Commandment is: "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." There are two ways that anyone can honour their parents : one is with one's words and how we speak to and about our parents; the other is by our acts and what we ourselves do, that either brings shame or honour on our families.
The Sixth Commandment is: "Thou Shalt Not Murder". Often translated as 'Thou Shalt Not Kill', which implies the killing of anything, man or beast. That the correct translation is Murder was clarified by Jesus Himself (Mathew 5: 21: 'You have heard that it was said to the people that anyone who murders will be subject to judgement') Jesus goes on to admonish that even getting angry and having bad thoughts about people constitutes 'Murder'.
The Seventh Commandment is: "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery". Adultary means having any sexual relations outside of marriage, including prior to being married. Jesus further clarified that even having sexual thoughts about a person constituted Adultery (Mathew 5:27-28). Whether adultary applies to sexual fantasies about imaginary people is not made clear.
The remaining Commandents are:
"You shall not steal".
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour".
"You shall not covet your neighbour's house; you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour's".
Repentance, Baptism and Obedience of the Ten Commandments do not in themselves constitute salvation; it is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as being Lord that is the essential requirement. However, Repentance, Baptism and Obedience are an important factor, and God's promise is that anyone who does these things will enjoy His provision and protection in their EARTHLY lives.
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him.
You will eat the fruits of your labour: blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitfull vine within your house,
your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.
The acceptance of Jesus Christ being Lord has to be expressed vocally in the form of an audible declaration; preferably within earshot of at least one other person. Church officials and members frequently ask others 'Do you accept Christ as being Lord?' when they have been asked to pray for them. It is a critical question; by answering 'Yes' you are affirming that Christ still exists and in a position of authority, and also subjecting yourself to that authority such that Christ can speak over your life and that you may have access to His kingdom. Answering 'No' and rejecting Christ could deny you those things for eternity. If someone is not sure, there is of course the option to answer that they would like to know more before deciding, so as to avoid making the fatal mistake of denial.
Once someone has declared Christ to be Lord, they then have the potential to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. It is a simple matter of organised prayer to receive the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit to enter into a person's body. The ubiquitious 'Alpha' course caters for this very effectively with the 'Holy Spirit Day' that it includes as part of its' cariculum, but any prayer meeting can include praying for specific individuals to receive the Holy Spirit.
Blessings, Curses, Spirits and Demons.
The author of this website does not understand the full mystery of how the Holy or any other spirit has the ability to enter a human body and 'co-habit' with its' owner or why that abilty exists; it appears as though the human body is like a sponge full of holes and can 'soak up' other entities that might influence and control it. However, it is also apparent that there are conditions in place that either prevent or allow this to happen according to what is going on with that person.
When we talk about spirits, demons, blessings and curses, we are talking about emotive, sentient entities with intelligence and personalities. However, as is often the case, we can look to modern technology to provide analagies as to how they funtion and affect us. If we can think of ourselves as the hardware of a home computer with a default software installed that determines how we think and what we do, in addition to the default software, other software packages can be downloaded and installed into the computer that make it function in various ways, according to what that software package was. We can opt to choose and download what software we want, or it can be a malific programe that installs itself into our hard drive and causes us problems. In the case of the Holy Spirit, we can download it by accepting Christ as being Lord and asking through prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit, God's response is generally immediate with a corresponding manifestation, such as a sudden ability to speak in tongues. The function of the Holy Spirit is to draw us closer to God.
Besides the Holy Spirit there are other 'unclean' spirits and demons that under certain conditions can also infuse our beings and cause us to think and act in certain ways, invariably in ways that will take us further away from God. Examples of how they can gain entry are: when we choose to do wrong; when we suffer some traumatic event; and we can also inherit them from our parents. Importantly, any number of different spirits can co-habit in the same person, including conflicting ones such as the Holy Spirit and demons, just as you can have malific programs in your PC at the same time as constructive ones. In order to free your PC of a malific program you install anti-virus software, in the case of unclean spirits we resort to exorcism and prayers of deliverance. Deliverance constituted a major part of Jesus's mission on earth, yet it is often overlooked by many churches. Deliverance is a practice that should constitute an everday part of Christian life.
Similarly to spirits, blessings and curses can also be thought of as programs that affect an individual's or group of individuals lives. Both blessings and curses can be invoked by ourselves, by a third party or can be brought on ourselves by our own actions. Blessings and curses can both be passed down from generation to generation. There are a lot of factors involved in both of these things and it is a matter that warrants full attention and further study by both churches and individuals. For the purpose here it is sufficient to advise that these phenomina are very real and affect people's lives and success as Christians. With proper understanding blessings can be invoked and curses broken by prayer similarly to the matter of dealing with spirits.
Closely related to this is the application of the blood of Christ. We are saved by the blood of Christ; it was Christ's sacrifice on the Cross that enables us to be cleansed and made holy. However, the blood cannot be assumed; it has to be applied. The process of applying the blood is something else that is seriously deficient in most churches yet it is another essential requirement in the process of salvation. The best explanation of how to apply the blood of Christ has been made by Dereck Prince on the youtube video here:
Applying the Blood of Christ (Derek Prince)
The application of the Blood of Christ is the factor that secures and seals our salvation. It's effectiveness is dependant on our first being obedient to God, and depends on our continually being obedient or 'walking in the light'. If we should go astray and walk out of the light for any reason, then the blood remains there to cleanse us once more when we repent and return to it.
So, the process of Salvation is:
Repent and be baptised
Obey the Ten Commandments
Confess Christ as Lord
Be delivered from curses and unclean spirits
Receive the Holy Spirit
Apply the Blood of Christ
When you are on this process of salvation, there are things that God wants to do for you, and there are things that God wants you to do for Him. It has been said that: 'When you are saved, you are also called'. We need to cultivate a relationship with God such that He can communicate with us directly so that we can both co-operate with His plans to bless us and also to know and undertake our particular calling. The key to this is continued obedience and for it we have to learn how to 'harken to the voice of God'. Our best aid in this is the Holy Spirit which is in fact the Sevenfold Spirit of God, The aspect of the Sevenfold Spirit of God that will help us the most is the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord that was referred to earlier. This spirit will come to us if we pray for it to, and will benefit us in many ways when it does.
After your salvation, God has three further interests in you: 1) Your edification, 2) Your well-being and happiness 3) Your service including praise and worship
One of the ways that God begins to talk to us personally is through reading the Bible. Reading the Bible is also essential for our edification. When you read something in a book and learn something from it, that is a process of education, but when you read something in a book and reading that thing makes a change in you that improves you spiritually, than that is the process of edification. This is what happens when we read the Bible.
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