"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."



Part 20


            In an earlier article of this series I wrote concerning the difference between seeing and entering the Kingdom of God.  Permit me to rehearse those thoughts for a moment before proceeding further into the supernal glories that lie before us upon our entrance into the full inheritance that belongs to each and every son of God in the Kingdom of Heaven.


            The Kingdom of God means different things to different people, according to their understanding.  This is only natural, because of the many figures under which the idea was presented by Jesus, and also because people are at different stages in their progress along the way to the Kingdom, which means that they have attained different degrees of growth as children of God in the family of God.  What a familiar topic the new birth is!  How many thousands of sermons have been preached about it!  But how many have perceived the true purpose of the new birth?  Jesus said that one must be born again in order to “see” or “enter” the Kingdom of God.  The reality He presented was the Kingdom!  The purpose of the new birth is not to get us into the church or to some far-off heaven somewhere.  The purpose of the new birth is to enable us to enter the Kingdom.  I fear very few who fill the pews of the churches today have this conception of the new birth that thereby God has infused into us His very own divine life so that we may be able to partake of His Kingdom. 


            Here we find Jesus laying down the preliminary requirement for an understanding of the Kingdom, as well as entrance into the Kingdom.  When men come into the world, they are born outside of the Kingdom of God, and they cannot see into it.  They may go round and round it, and examine it from the outside, and pass an opinion on it.  But they are no judges.  They are not seeing what they are speaking about.  For that which is born of spirit is spirit, and that which is born of flesh is flesh; and flesh cannot see into the realm of spirit.  Fleshly men can only give an uninformed and unenlightened criticism about something spiritual that they can neither see nor understand.  Therefore the critical value of a natural man’s opinion on spiritual matters is nothing.  His opinion is simply ludicrous he is talking about a thing that he has never had experience with.  If I am to partake and participate in the Kingdom of God, then I need to possess a life other than the life I have by nature.  I must be born again into a higher realm.  I must receive the life of God, the life of the Kingdom, for not unless I possess His life can I begin to enter into and explore and experience the realities and powers of His Kingdom.


            “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3).  Everyone with spiritual understanding knows that the words “see” and “know” are identical in their spiritual meaning.  When I tell a friend something he did not see before, and I am trying to get him to see it, all at once there passes over his face the illumination that indicates understanding.  He says, “Preston, I see it.”  What does he mean?  He does not mean that he sees anything with the eye of flesh.  He means that he “understands” or “knows” it.  How many times a day do you say, “I see!”  So Jesus is telling us that apart from the new birth a man cannot understand, comprehend, or know the Kingdom of God.  It is better to know the Kingdom of God by the spirit than to see with physical eyes any “age” or “external government” that might be called the Kingdom of God.  Here is the mighty power of the New Creation: it sees what others cannot see!  It sees, amid the thousand things natural men see and are guided by, something infinitely greater and more real it SEES GOD.  No wonder it leads a man to think and act differently from other men.  On everything it looks at, the bright light of eternity is shining.  The depths it perceives are infinite.  The heights it beholds are immeasurable.  The truth it understands is without flaw or error and is eternal.


            Seek to walk in the light of HIS countenance.  Seeing the INVISIBLE will make it easy to forsake this world and do the will of God!  The heavens are shut up from the natural man.  He cannot see eternal things.  He hears only the lower sounds of earth.  But you see beyond all this into the very heart of God, into the depths of His great plans and purposes, and the “whys” and “wherefores” of all things since the creation of the world and unto the consummation of all ages.  You see the Kingdom of God!  Far away in the depths of my spirit the perfumed breezes of the Kingdom of Heaven sweep over my being until my very soul weeps for joy and laughs for gladness.  I write to you today of a realm of reality that is wonderfully real, solid, awesome.  Jesus Christ intends for us to actually enter into the Kingdom of God here and now, and to begin exploring it in its height and depth and length and breadth.  “Get thee out of thy country...unto a land that I will show thee,” the Lord commanded Abraham.  Just as on any earthly adventure, we must be willing to be surprised.  And we will be, for “eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard,” what God has prepared for us.


            To “enter into” the Kingdom is, as we should readily understand, more than to “see” it.  Moses stood on the heights of mount Nebo and saw the Promised Land, but he never got into it.  God kept him on the other side of Jordan, although he was the leader of God’s people, because of his disobedience.  In this realm of entering the Kingdom we discover the Kingdom realm as a gift.  “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk. 12:32).  God is a giving God.  Because He is love, He would have to be a giving God.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (Jn. 3:16).  “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Mat. 7:11).  “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).  To His footstep followers today the Lord says, “Fear not, little flock, who already has the gift of eternal life; fear not, little flock, who already has bountiful gifts from the hand of the Father; fear not, little flock, who already has possession of the gift of the Spirit of God.  It is now the Father’s good pleasure to give you more yet than you have.  It is the Father’s good pleasure to GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM!”


            The Kingdom of God is not being offered here to the world.  It is not being promised to the natural man.  It is not being proffered to the religious people in the church systems.  Here it is being promised to the “little flock” who are already earnest and steadfast followers after all that God has.  “My sheep know my voice,” Jesus said, “and a stranger they will not follow.”  You are a sheep of His pasture if you are following hard after God, if you are following on to know the Lord; and it is to you that He gives the Kingdom.  The picture here is of the shepherd leading his flock out of the sheepfold down the dusty road until he suddenly comes to a gate.  The shepherd goes up to the gate, unlatches it, swings it open, and leads the entire flock into a lush green pasture.  The sheep enter and begin to graze and enjoy the fresh green field which has not been trampled down by the heavy feet of other flocks.  Jesus says, “It is my good pleasure to lead you down all the dusty roads of spiritual experience until I bring you to the secluded, reserved, select, appointed green field of God’s Kingdom.”


            At this point the Kingdom of God is a gift.  The offer of the Kingdom is not predicated upon any self-effort or any good work or religious exercise.  You cannot buy it.  Nothing you have can be traded for it.  All the education, position, fame or fortune you can amass will not gain you admission.  The offer is made, the call goes out, but God will not force the flock into that Kingdom.  If this Kingdom is entered it must be entered by a heart desire that will make us seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  The earnest, effectual desire of our hearts as followers of God’s Christ will bring us into this Kingdom that God is giving to His flock.  When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray as John taught his disciples to pray, the very first petition that He taught them was, “Thy kingdom come!”  They were to ask the Father with a sincere desire and a deep and intense yearning in their heart to let the Kingdom be made available to His flock for entrance.  This characterizes the people who receive it.  Let not the careless and unconcerned think that they shall have any part in the Kingdom of God and of Christ.  Those to whom the Kingdom has no value will miss it just as did the Pharisees and scribes in Jesus’ day.  They rejected the Kingdom when it was offered, and it can still be rejected today.


            Jesus plainly taught His disciples and the scribes and Pharisees that He had brought the Kingdom of God to them.  He spoke to them of its beauty and glory, of its principles and powers, of its ways and potentials.  But the Jews continued to reject it.  Therefore, Jesus told them that because they counted themselves unworthy of the Kingdom of God, God was going to take it from them, that is, they would not be permitted to enter into it, and God would give it to a nation, even a people, “worthy of it.”  He would give it to a company called His “little flock,” the body of Jesus Christ.  Jesus spoke many parables about the acceptance or rejection of the Kingdom of Heaven.  One such parable was about the man who went out into a field and began to plow.  Half way down the furrow it became very hard.  He gave up the task and returned home.  Jesus said, “No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9:62).  If you are of the little flock you have put your hand to the plow.  You have already begun to plow a furrow for God straight towards the Kingdom.  Have you grown weary and looked back to decide that the carnal house of religion and religious systems is easier and more secure than the field of the Kingdom of God?  Has the pressing of your way into the Kingdom seemed so hard you have compromised with the imperfection of the church realm and rejected the Gift of God?


            In my years of ministry I have had occasion to reflect upon this saying of our Lord.  Some people come to the hard work of pressing into the Kingdom only under painful duress.  Once the price of entrance becomes clear to them, they drop the plow and turn back to the beggarly elements of religion, joining themselves again to the programs and activities of a church system in a lesser realm.  They are not yet ready for the Kingdom.  They refuse to enter into the Kingdom.  In contrast are those who find themselves unable to leave the Kingdom walk.  They are drawn irresistibly to the transforming and creative process going on within them, and thoroughly understand that there is nothing in the church systems of man for them anymore.  Nothing could entice them not blessings, nor programs, nor fellowship, nor activities, nor personalities, nor needs, nor preachers to turn from their quest of the Kingdom.  THEY HAVE REACHED THE POINT OF NO RETURN.  No looking back!  The hook is in their jaw.  They can do nothing else, so help them God. 


            If we are the elect of God in this hour, there is a call within us, and deep calleth unto deep.  I tell you, my beloved, there is something within me, an inner compulsion, and I know that I have set my face as a flint and cannot turn to the right hand or the left from my journey into God’s fullness.  I can’t go back to the world the world has nothing to offer me; it is all vanity and vexation of spirit.  I can’t go back to religion religion holds nothing for me anymore; it is an abomination.  I can’t even go back to Pentecost, back to the Holy Place for the veil has been rent and I have tasted of the powers of the world to come.  There is no turning back because my heart has turned to the Lord.  As the apostle says, “When it (the heart) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away...and we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. 3:16-18).  For some in this hour the veil has been rent and we have found an entrance to behold the transcendent glories of that land that lies before us.  By the blood of Jesus we have been granted the opportunity to enter into the Kingdom of God.


            Sometimes, when the pressures and processings come, when the dealings  of God are deep and heavy upon us, when the going is especially painful or difficult and saints complain of its demanding nature, I ask, “Could you stop this inward work if you wanted to?  Could you find an exit and escape the demands of His purposes in your life?”  The answer comes back, “No I have no choice but to fellow on to know the Lord.”  For these precious souls the glory and honor of the Kingdom of God is close at hand, and there is no longer any question of dropping the plow and turning back.


            One more and more comes to know what it means to walk in the Kingdom as he follows on into deeper and deeper measures of God’s dealings and further separations unto His purposes.  As we become ONE WITH GOD the world does not understand what has happened; but they know that a separation has taken place between us and them that is more than bodily separation.  Although we are living and moving among them, and they see us at our earthly tasks and daily living, they realize that we have mounted up beyond them and their understanding.  In this connection a brother in Christ some time ago sent us these meaningful words: “Yes, this is an holy calling and it involves much separation, often from our friends, religious realms, and everything and everybody that would hinder the upward climb into the hill of the Lord, that we might stand in His holy place.  The flesh will cringe at the aloneness of the walk.  The mind will question as to why it must be so.  But the spirit within will continue to draw us onward without the camp, bearing His reproach, while we are loosed from so many hindrances and infirmities.  IT IS A DAY OF REVELATION and little did we know what things were hindering our spiritual progress until suddenly we found that God was stripping something from us, and though we wept at the time, and would have retained it if we could, nevertheless being yielded to the will of God, we relinquished our grasp, and found to our amazement that we received a new measure of freedom.  And how many things we hold so dear, but they are actually a weight upon us, rather than a help.”


            Many times it is most grievous and perplexing to those who do not know the Lord, as well as to those Christians bound in the religious systems, who cannot understand the workings and separating processes of the Spirit of God, to have one who is near and dear to them in the flesh, separated from them in the Spirit.  Though the body with its personality is still in the home, office, or business, it is as though the loved one were not there.  In such cases, how often do they who are watching the lives of those who are entering hard into the Kingdom realm of God, entreat them that they will return; that they will again be unto them as they once were.  When an apprehended one has entered into this experience, he has counted all things but loss, and suffered the loss of all things, that he might WIN CHRIST AND HIS KINGDOM.  Truly, HIS DRAWING leaves us no choice but to FOLLOW ON that we might KNOW HIM in all His glorious and eternal reality!  “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Mat. 10:37-38).


            As we follow on to enter into the righteousness, power and glory of the Kingdom of God, earth and friends and religious things fade away in the exceeding brightness of our vision of God’s great purpose in us.  Our eyes are fixed with a steadfast gaze upon Him who has gone before us, opening up the way into the fuller glory that lies BEYOND THE VEIL.  Those apprehended  to be conformed to the image of the Son of God and to share the glory and authority of His Kingdom, have been caught away in the Spirit and set in the ranks of the chariots of  the Lord, even among the company of the overcomers who shall come forth in the name of the Lord to rule and reign and conquer and bless until all things have been subjected unto God.  The purpose of the Church is to form the body of Christ; the purpose of the Kingdom is to restore all things, in heaven and in earth, to God.


            I mentioned earlier that the purpose of the new birth is to give us the life of God which is the life of the Kingdom of Heaven.  As this life is perfected and raised up in us, the Kingdom of God is established within us by life and as life.  There are very special dealings of God within each of us in relation to the development of that life.  Our elder brother, Jesus, put it this way: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (Jn. 15:1-2).  Every branch that beareth fruit He purges it!  The purpose of purging, or pruning, is to effect a concentration of the life.  When all the branches of the vine are permitted to grow unrestricted there is a resulting debilitating or weakening of the life.  It is like diluting a chemical the more water you add, the weaker it becomes.  The nourishment and vitality of the vine are sapped by all the multitudinous branches, shoots and tendrils, and utilized to keep them alive and bearing abundance of foliage rather than being channeled into producing fruit.  Thus, with the excess branches and shoots cut away, the life becomes more concentrated and stronger in those remaining, and the clusters of grapes become more rich and full.  In like manner it is necessary that our natural tendencies, actions and desires, with all carnal religious activities and exercises, must be cut away, that the virtues and powers of our Lord be wrought and manifested  in us.  When Jesus speaks of “bearing fruit” He is not talking about “winning souls”;  rather, He is speaking of the formation within our lives of the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.  All these are the underlying nature of the sons of God who reign in the Kingdom of Heaven!


            It has been my experience that God not only prunes away the sins of the flesh and the emotions and tendencies of the soul, but a great deal of religiousness religious activities and those involved in them as well.  There was a time years ago when we made the circuit, speaking for the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship and various organizations and movements within the Pentecostal and Charismatic realms.  Our desire was pure to share the present truth of sonship and the Kingdom of God to inspire and bless and challenge any and all possible to the deeper life of the Christ within.  Here and there we found an elect few who had ears to hear, but for the most part it became evident that we were “spinning our wheels.”  Then, one day it dawned on me!  Our word was not producing fruit in those places.  Oh, they were delighted to have brother Eby come by and share his testimony, even minister a revelatory word, and prophesy over some people, with the laying on of hands, momentarily satiating the intense craving in a few hearts for a richer diet of spiritual fare.  But after I left, nothing changed!  There was no fruit.  There was no heightened vision, no going on in God, no raising up of the Kingdom of Heaven within.  These merely took the word we ministered, diluted it with their own shallow church program, and used it to further their own kingdom on a lower plane.  Ah, they enjoyed drawing life from us so long as it didn’t require them to bear Kingdom fruit!  As long as our ministry could be used to increase their branches and put on many beautiful leaves the manifestation of life without fruit we were welcome in their midst.  But what they were doing was “sapping” the life out of us to enhance and embellish and strengthen their own babylonish system!  Suddenly  the voice of the Spirit thundered authoritatively in my ear, “Enough!”  And the celestial husbandman did a pruning work.  He pruned from my life a RELIGIOUS REALM that will draw life but will not bear fruit of that life.  God does, indeed, prune people from us!  “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He TAKETH AWAY: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”  The doom of the unfruitful is: They are TAKEN AWAY.  There are multitudes today who loudly profess to be in Christ who yet do not bear fruit of the Christ life.  Though they are branches of Christ, and His life in them produces abundance of foliage, God will cut off their life-supply that they may be seen to be dry ones.


            Those called to this high calling, who shall rule and reign with Christ in His Kingdom in this great Day of the Lord, are being separated from all that binds them to a lower order, that they may enter into the fullness of His life.  Many people find it a lot easier to be one with the babylonish religious systems, where the crowds are, than to become separated to go out beyond, leading the way for others to follow.  How I rejoice that God is now calling a people sons of the Kingdom separated ones to a realm beyond the norm or religious activity, beyond the programs and promotions, beyond the sensationalism and hand-clapping, beyond the revivals and conventions and seminars, into the new and seemingly strange paths of  HIS LEADING.  The prunings are not easy, friends and loved ones and brethren do not readily understand, especially the preachers and organizations set upon holding you within their pews and coffers.  I do not doubt for one moment that many of these programs are being used of God on some level, in spite of the worldly methods and fleshly techniques, to touch many lives with salvation, healings, and blessings.  We are thankful to our heavenly Father  for His blessing on every plane where He chooses to work, but when the call comes to leave behind the outer court of salvation and the holy place of the baptism in the Spirit in order to ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD, those called to  be kings and priests unto God come aside to prepare for the glory soon to be revealed, to make ready for the next great move of God in the earth!


            The message is clear there are things that others can do, but which you cannot do, when you begin to enter into the Kingdom.  Religion today has become big business.  It is one of the biggest and most lucrative businesses in the whole world.  More than one preacher, supposing that gain is godliness, has become a millionaire over the past few decades, not because he was anointed by God, but because he was a TERRIFIC PROMOTER.  Through clever speech and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive they have beguiled innocent people, pretending that they were the great power of God.  By craftiness they obtain the names of tens of thousands of the Lord’s precious people to whom they monthly send their high-pressure pleas for financial help to further grandiose programs which are not the plan of God at all, but merely the product of an imaginative, scheming, grasping and greedy mind.  Untold millions of dollars have been extracted from innocent, humble saints to build huge cathedrals, church buildings, office complexes, radio and television networks, outreaches, and missionary programs that are more of a curse than a blessing.  Some time ago David Wilkerson was asked, “What do you think about American religious broadcasting, especially Christian television?”  His reply: “They should shut it down.  Turn off all the cameras.  Release all these men from all the pressures we have put them under.  They should be stripped from their heroic robes, all of their glamour, and be taken outside from all the lights.  Then they should go back to the ‘mountain’ and be broken before God.  Let God bring them back, as He chooses, in a purified form.  It’s all become flesh, absolute flesh...”  And though some will be offended by my words, I do believe that those who truly hunger and thirst to enter the Kingdom will hear, believe, and obey when I say that those who feed upon those polluted tables are no better than the preachers that spread the tables!  If you want to hear the voice of the King of kings in this hour, turn off the so-called Christian television, and fall upon your knees in holy brokenness before God until you receive a word directly out of the heavens.


            We have passed through a time of great darkness.  But thank God, the first rays of light of a new day are painting the eastern sky!  Thank God, a few of His chosen ones have arisen to behold the glories of the dawn and to drink in the intoxicating freshness of the morn.  But the popular churches are still lost in dreams.  They have not awakened.  They know not of the dawn.  And the Word describes them and their shepherds in very uncomplimentary terms.  The heads of the churches are called “the drunkards of Ephraim” (Isa. 28:1-4).  Then in Isaiah 29:9-11 we are told, “they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.  For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your heads...hath He covered.  And all vision hath become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed.”  And when these drunken shepherds spread tables for their flocks, instead of those tables being loaded with good wholesome spiritual food, the prophet says, “ALL tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is NO PLACE CLEAN” (Isa. 28:8).


            But we who are of the Day, who are not lovers of the drunkenness of religious teachings and promotions, nor sleepers of the night, have a higher heritage.  “We are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep as do others” (I Thes. 5:5-6).  We who have received the love of the truth are heirs to a higher calling.  We have privileges, and we have duties to perform.  We must be about our Father’s business.  It is time to forsake the shame and error, and time to look up, time to arise and shine.  The day is at hand.  The night is far spent.  We must go forth and lead the way for all who will follow.  “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean” (Isa. 52:1).  Because the church today has not received of God’s enlightenment, we find Christians in the pathetic state of darkness.  Because Christians today, whether baptized in God’s Spirit, or not, have stopped far short of God’s fullness, and are still spiritual babes, they, with few exceptions, do not discern the things that pertain to the Kingdom of God.  Their human minds comprehend the natural side of things, but  deep spiritual realities are veiled from their view.  They have not arisen above the mists of night.  But the Day which we have now entered calls for all who will to awake, and to go forth, beholding the more glorious scene of an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God.


            Do you know that one reason God’s children do not hunger and thirst after righteousness and follow on to apprehend the Kingdom of God, is because they have not taken the steps that went before?  With the things of God, there is a progression just as there is in any school; and if we do not take the first steps, we shall not take the last steps.  Every lesson we skip or neglect, we shall have to go back and learn before we shall be able to go on; for every advance step is a foundation for the next advance step.  The reason that many of God’s children have never advanced into higher realms in the Spirit is because they have not taken the steps as they came to them.  They have not perfectly endured or appropriated that which God called them to pass through, in order that they might reach this place of perfection and glory and power in Him.  Some of God’s people try to leap into the full strength and dominion of the Kingdom in one grand leap; but if they have this experience granted them, it is only when they have taken the first steps of enlightenment, understanding,  cleansing, pruning, judgment,  obedience, and overcoming.  Ah, the way of entering the Kingdom is by steps!


            There is a passage in Daniel 7:18 that says, “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.”  Here it says that we shall take the Kingdom, and sometimes we think this means that we are to take the Kingdom by exercising the authority; but before we can do that, the Kingdom must first be given to us, we must be able to enter into it, strong enough to possess it, and worthy to inherit it.  If we try to take it before the authority is given to us, we are usurpers, not inheritors, and are guilty of spiritual treason.  If I tell you that I intend to give you my car, but you come and take it before I give it to you, you are a thief.  If you worked for a large business concern and the president of the company mentioned that he had intentions of making you vice-president; if you took over the vice-presidency before he actually gave it to you, you would be a usurper and probably would be fired!  Although God has promised us the Kingdom, and is leading us into it step by step, we still do not have all the authority, power, or glory of the Kingdom.  Sometimes we try to exercise authority that we don’t have and it doesn’t work.  Some may be offended at me for saying this, but if you are honest, you will have to admit that it is so.  When we really have the authority, when it has been given to us, and we have laid hold upon it, it will work, not just sometimes, but all the time.  Either we have it or we don’t, and if we have it it will never fail.  May God in His great mercy forgive us if we are trying to usurp something we haven’t yet possessed.  I don’t want to be a usurper I want to be an inheritor!  My deepest desire is to be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God.




            A new movement can always benefit from having a few rich and famous converts.  So it must have been exciting when the rich young ruler approached Jesus to talk about his possible involvement in the Kingdom.  No doubt Judas already had his pledge envelopes out, and I can just hear Simon Peter exclaiming, “Wow, this guy is future board-member material!”  At the beginning of His ministry Jesus had said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal” (Mat. 6:19-20).  On another occasion He said, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”  The record states that the disciples were astonished at His words.  But Jesus answered again, and said unto them, “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mk. 10:23-25).


            Don’t misunderstand Jesus was not opposed to money.  His mind of omniscient wisdom understood the eternal truth that a person could hold on to wealth all the days of his life, but the only true and eternal treasures, which are in the Kingdom of Heaven, could only be obtained by doing the will of the Father in heaven.  The will of the Father is Kingdom business, and it yields Kingdom dividends in the realm of the spirit.  So be careful, Jesus warned.  Don’t get involved in the wrong treasure hunt.  He knew that people get obsessed with earthly things.  After a while little else matters to them, or, as Jesus put it, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  It is true that Jesus says merely that it is hard for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom hard, but not impossible!  Wealth tends to make a man self-sufficient and independent of God and arrogant and presumptuous towards others in that he learns that money will purchase him any special privilege he wants.  He becomes trapped in a mesh of values where everything has a cash-value attached to it.  “No man can serve two masters,” Jesus said, “you cannot serve God and mammon (money).”


            It is so very difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom because the Kingdom of Heaven is THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT.  The Kingdom operates within the economy of spirit, not the methods and systems of the flesh.  To enter into the Kingdom a person must allow God to perfect the spiritual dimensions of his personality.  The perfecting of the spiritual life requires the utmost attention and the expenditure  of much time and energy.  The heart and the determination must be turned from the things and circumstances of earth and placed in heaven.  Material wealth, with its attending demands and responsibilities, also requires the utmost attention and expenditure of prime time and energy.  Therefore, either the spiritual life of the Kingdom must prevail and the pursuit  of material gain must yield, or else the pursuit of material things must prevail and the development of the spiritual life of the Kingdom must suffer.  NO man can serve both of these masters at the same time.  The wealthy person often finds most of his pleasures and  resources in the material realm.  To enter the Kingdom of Heaven is, for the rich, very, very difficult.  To make the seeking of the Kingdom the prime consideration of each day is virtually impossible.  That is why the Lord counseled the rich young ruler to sell his many possessions, give the proceeds to the poor, and to “take up your cross and follow me.”


            Just recently I came across this article.  Hear what it says. “In 1928, a group of the world’s most successful financiers met at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago.  The following were present: the president of the largest utility company; the greatest wheat speculator; the president of the New York Stock Exchange;  a member of the President’s Cabinet; the greatest ‘bear’ on Wall Street; the president of the Bank of International Settlements; and the head of the world’s greatest monopoly.  Collectively, these tycoons controlled more wealth than there was in the United States Treasury.  And for years, newspapers and magazines had been printing their stories, and urging the youth of the nation to follow their examples.  TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER, THIS IS WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO THESE MEN: The president of the largest independent steel company, Charles Schwab, lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life and died broke.  The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cutten, died abroad, insolvent.  The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, served a term in Sing Sing Prison.  The member of the President’s Cabinet, Albert Fall, was pardoned from prison, so he could die at home.  The greatest ‘bear’ on Wall Street, Jesse Livermore, committed suicide.  The President of the Bank of International Settlements, Leon Fraser, committed suicide.  The head of the world’s greatest monopoly, Ivar Drueger, committed suicide.  All of these men had learned how to make money, but not one of them had learned how to live.”  And, may I add, not one of them had laid up even one copper cent of treasure in the heavenlies!


            Our Lord’s only concern for the rich young ruler was that this ruler seek for those things that were truly valuable, the priceless treasures of the mind of Christ, the eternal wealth of the will of the Father, and the imperishable riches of the nature and power of God.  Still this disciple-candidate was unable to act on what he heard.  The Bible says he was sorrowful.  Think about that!  The dictionary defines sorrowful as, “full of sorrow, disappointment, regret, grief.”  Why was the young man sorrowful?  Ah, the record states, “For he had great possessions.”  By the spirit of wisdom and understanding from God we can see how undiscerning and unwise he was!


            Yet, among the Lord’s people I have heard it said that if we really focus our energies on the Kingdom, we will become rich.  Or another way of saying it is that prosperity is a sign of God’s blessing.  The more affluent a brother or sister in Christ is, the more they must be seeking the Kingdom or applying the principles of the Kingdom.  The reasoning goes like this: God has promised that He will bless His children if they are faithful to Him and have faith.  Since kings live in extravagant palaces, sons of God have the right to live luxuriously to demonstrate that they are indeed the “King’s Kids” members of God’s Royal Court.  Children of a king should dress and eat in royal fashion.  They should have the best jobs, live in the finest homes, drive  the most expensive cars, and enjoy all the amenities of life.  Just follow Jesus, we are told, and we will be successful in almost everything.  Just walk in the Spirit and we will rise to the top of the ladder.  Have faith in God and we will win more beauty contests, hit more home runs, make more sales, and receive more awards!


            My beloved brethren, does this not contradict the words of our Elder Brother and Forerunner that a rich man can hardly enter into the Kingdom of God?  Have these reprobates in the modern “prosperity message” never read the inspired admonition of our beloved brother Paul, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: FROM SUCH WITHDRAW THYSELF.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called...” (I Tim. 6:3-12).


            Oh, would to God that all who name the name of Christ would learn what it means when Jesus says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  As we move from “things” to seek the reality of Christ’s Kingdom we discover that our goal in life is not to make money or accumulate things.  If that is our goal, then we need to set our priorities straight.  You see, in the world within, that world which you are, that world where Christ dwells, that inner world where the Kingdom of God is found, there is no money and there are no things.  There is no need for money and there is no need for things.  The only need for money and things is in the world on the outside.  But if we go out and try to seek that which is on the outside, then we have left the Kingdom.  If we love the world, the love of the Kingdom is not in us.  The Kingdom of God is within you.  The world of the Kingdom is that inner world of the spirit.  There are two dimensions of “you” the outer you and the inner you.  Paul refers to these as the “outward man” and the “inward man”.  “Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:16).  The outward man is the visible, tangible and fleshly life of you.  The inward man is the invisible man of spirit.  The former is of earth, natural, carnal, and mortal; the latter is of heaven, divine, spiritual and immortal.  The former is the first Adam, the latter is the last Adam Christ.


            Within that inward man is the power of all things.  The law of the Kingdom is that he who makes the Kingdom of God and the righteousness of God his first and chief concern will have all earthly necessities supplied in the overflow.  Care for God’s essentials, and God Himself will care for your incidentals.  First seek the bread of heaven, the water of life, the robe of righteousness, and the peace, joy and power of the Kingdom, and the Lord of the Kingdom will see to it that you shall not lack earthly bread, water, raiment, or any good thing. 


            All our choices in the outer world should serve to extend, express and demonstrate the reality of what we are in the inner world.  When we choose a job or any activity, we don’t choose on the basis of its value in the outer world, we choose that which will serve as an expression of the inner man.  That’s where peace is.  That’s where joy is.  That’s where righteousness is.  That’s where the power of God resides.  That’s where the only fulfillment is.  Because that is where the Kingdom is, that’s where life is, that’s where reality is, that’s where the true riches are, that’s where heaven is!  So many people work on their jobs just to make money, to pay bills and put food on the table.  They don’t really like the job, and are miserable.  That is what the outer world calls “making a living”.  But making a living is more than making money, for all the men in that outer world are dying, and what they are actually doing is MAKING A DEATH!  Their emphasis is on laying up store for old age, making out the will, and seeing that the funeral is paid for.  That is not life!  The Lord of the Kingdom has taught us the truth of the Kingdom in this sublime word of wisdom: “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Lk. 12:15).  To make a living means, first and foremost, to LIVE!  It’s making what you are live!  It denotes quality of life, and the only life of quality is the inward man Christ.  You will know true joy, peace and power when your inward man lives through your outward man, your inner world is expressed and revealed through your outer world.  Matters not what you do outwardly, where you live, what your vocation is, what your responsibilities are when your inward life is dominant all outer things are affected, transformed, swallowed up.  As sons of God we are not victims of either money, things, or circumstances.  These are not able to take away our peace.  They are unable to rob us of our joy.  They cannot take our life.  The Christ within is our reality, our stability, our substance, our all.  And that is what we are seeking.  We are seeking incorruptible and immortal realities and powers.  We are seeking the Kingdom of God.  And that is why a rich man can hardly enter into the Kingdom!


            While I have written of the perilous danger to those who pursue the wealth of this world, there is an abomination more dreadful than this right within the ministry of that which professes to be the Church.  There is no shortage of men and women seeking gold and glory in the name of the Lord.  The land is overflowing with them, those seeking their own gain and each staking his own claim.  Within the past decade or so, two of the most famous international television pulpiteers have been exposed and their vast financial holdings have been publicized.  They had millions of dollars invested in their personal homes and property while they begged and pled for money from the widows and the poor.  They lived sumptuously while multitudes of those who supported their grandiose programs were living as paupers.  And things have not changed one whit.  Where are those who are true ministers of God and blessers of creation rather than those who gather money?  Where are those who are building God’s Kingdom rather than their own?  Where are those who truly feed the sheep?  Where are those who are not lifted up with pride?  Where are those who are not puffed up with their own importance?  Where are those who do not exalt themselves?  Where is the preacher who doesn’t seek to ingratiate himself to the one with the expensive clothes and the luxury automobile? 


            Where is the weeping before the altar?  Where are those who refrain from using the world’s methods to conduct God’s business?  Where are those who do not charge for the gospel, even if it is only a price on their tapes or books?  Where are those who do not have a ministry for sale?  Where are those who have not taken unto themselves the gold and the glory?  Where are those who are not displaying flesh in their man-made schemes and promotions?  Where are those of a broken and contrite spirit?  Where are those with the meekness and purity of the Lamb?  Where are those who have not brought the spirit of the world into their midst?  Where are those who do not put their picture on every page of their magazine and their name on everything they do?  Where is the beauty and glory of the message of the Kingdom of God without the Hollywood extravaganza and showmanship?  Where is the worship in the beauty of holiness, in spirit and in truth, rather than musical entertainment?  Where are those who approach God with reverence and godly fear and do not treat the sacred things as though they were part of a carnival?  Where are those who have laid hold of God?  Where are the humble?  Where are the pure in heart?  Where are those who are being conformed to the image of the Son?  Where are those who are putting on the mind of Christ?  Where are the prayer warriors and the intercessors?  Where are those who love and treat the poor, the elderly, the senile, the maimed, the feeble minded, the illiterate, the sick, the homeless,  the diseased, the widow and the orphan, and those in prison as their own flesh, yea, as the Lamb of God Himself?  Where are those who proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom without the slightest motive of financial reward?  WHERE ARE GOD’S TRUE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE HOUR?  Of this you can be certain these will not be found within the halls of the harlot religious systems, nor will you see them on the Christian television networks.  You will find them only among God’s faithful remnant that has heard the Spirit’s call to come out of that great city Babylon and, forsaking all, have gone unto Him, without the Camp, bearing His reproach, separated unto Him alone.


            No one can deny that religion today is BIG BUSINESS.  Some of the best known “born again” Hollywood personalities, should you inquire about engaging them to give their testimony at a meeting, will send their business manager over with a contract guaranteeing them several thousands of dollars for their forty-five minute appearance; and if there is no contract, there is no “ministry”.  This is not ministry it is BIG BUSINESS.  And the Judge standeth at the door.  The local Christian Bookstore has become quite a showcase for what is called “Christian bric-a-brac”.  They are crammed full of every imaginable trinket, plaque, statue, poster, and artifact that they can sell with a religious flavor.  Christian music albums now cost $8.00 to $12.00 apiece.  The country is swarming with those who call themselves Christian speakers, musicians, bands and singers who CHARGE an admission fee to their seminars and concerts.  Verily, I say unto you, the ticket prices are an abomination and a stench in the nostrils of a holy God and a spike in the hand of our dear Saviour who freely and sacrificially gave His all for us and to us.  There is no Biblical or scriptural foundation or precedent whatsoever for SELLING THE WORD OF GOD be it a Bible, a music album, a sermon, book, tape, trinket, concert, seminar or any other thing.  It was just such abominations that led the firstborn Son of God to enter the temple in Jerusalem and, weaving a whip of cords, violently drive the money changers and those who bought and sold sacrifices from His Father’s house.  Methinks it is TEMPLE-CLEANSING TIME AGAIN!


            The only person who can enter the Kingdom realm of God is the one who elects to come on God’s terms and in God’s way.  The word of God reveals hindrances  to entrance into the Kingdom.  Another obstacle to entering into the Kingdom is the noxious weed of fleshly religion.  When Jesus spoke to the self-righteous Pharisees and the blind, mis-guided chief priests and elders of the Jews, He delivered to them this stinging rebuke.  “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in” (Mat. 21:31-32; 23:13).


            The damning sin of the Pharisees was that they made godliness a law rather than a life.  “Moses said!” they thundered from their station high upon the craggy pinnacle of Sinai, and proceeded to lay upon the people the heavy burden of 613 commandments that must be meticulously kept according to the elaborate and extrapolated interpretations of the rabbis.  I must point out that self-righteous religion is as old as the garden of Eden.  In the mists of that heaven blest paradise, when the first woman and man stretched forth their inquisitive hands and furtively took of the forbidden fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, the eyes of them both were mysteriously opened to discover their own nakedness.  To be naked means to have ones flesh exposed.  Only the knowledge of good and evil could have caused them to realize that their flesh was exposed, and that knowledge never came to them as long as they walked in life.  It was, in fact, a forbidden knowledge.  There were only two trees the tree of life and the tree of law the knowledge of good and evil.  God’s purpose for man is that he live in life, not after law.  The law came by Moses, but grace and truth (life) came by Jesus Christ.


            By means of the law “the eyes of them both were opened,” but, alas! to what a sight!  When they departed from walking in life it was only to discover their own nakedness.  They opened their eyes upon their own condition, which was “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17).  By the law is the knowledge of sin, the scripture teaches us.  Suddenly “they knew that they were naked” they knew that their flesh, their fleshly nature, was now revealed, bare and exposed sad fruit of the tree of knowledge.  No sooner does a man discover his nakedness than this knowledge gives rise to the impulse to make an effort to COVER the nakedness.  Thus, in the case of Adam and Eve, the discovery of their nakedness was immediately followed by an effort of their own to cover it “they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons” (Gen. 3:7).


            This is the first record we have of man’s attempt to remedy, by his own device, his condition, but this was not the single act of Adam in the Garden, it is truly the act of each of us, yes, OUR VERY OWN!  The Spirit must make it very real to your heart, dear reader, that Adam’s effort to cover his nakedness was not a mere physical act, not even a moral act, it was a RELIGIOUS ACT.  Our spiritual understanding of what transpired in that Eden of long ago will afford us wonderful instruction as to the character of human RELIGIOUSNESS in all ages.  In the first place, we see, not only in Adam’s case, but in every case, that man’s effort to remedy his flesh nature is based upon the sense of his nakedness.  He is shocked and shamed by his own sense of nakedness, so that all the “works” that follow are the result of this consciousness.  This can never avail!  For just as it was GOD who clothed man with life before his disobedience, now it must be GOD who clothes the man in his state of nakedness.


            And this, let every man know, is just the difference between the walk in the Spirit of God and human religiousness.  When you “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and “walk in the Spirit” you are wonderfully clothed thereby as you eat of the tree of His Life.  There was no sense of nakedness so long as they lived by the tree of life.  And though it is a great and deep mystery, what happened to Adam happens to us.  What he was we have been.  His experience is our experience.  Ah, child of God, may the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God give enlightenment to your mind that you may comprehend of a truth that what happened to Adam in the Garden IS EVEN NOW HAPPENING TO EACH OF US.  Every man from Adam to this day has been naked his fleshly nature has been exposed  and, at some time, in some manner, has been busily engaged in weaving together his very own fig-leaf apron to try and cover his nakedness.  No one wants to appear as what he is, even though he is a thief, an adulterer, a murderer, a liar, or a religious hypocrite.  In an effort to appear other than he is he sews together very wide leaves of the fig tree, to gloss over his true condition; that is, he tries every device he can, including multiplied religious works, rules, regulations, dress codes, good deeds, and a thousand others, to gloss over his true condition.  Much fleshliness is still exposed, but the more gross manifestations are partially and temporarily concealed by his apron of fig-leaf works.  But all the garments a man may devise to hide his nakedness become mere “spider’s webs” when the blazing light of God’s presence and glory shines upon them. Fig-leaf righteousness is so shallow, limited to outward observances, religious exercises, ceremonies, rituals, appearances, works, regulations, do this, don’t do that, go here, don’t go there, eat this, don’t eat that, drink this, don’t drink that, which make a show of righteousness in the flesh but leave the nature unchanged, the mind untransformed,  and the will of the Father undone.


            The miracle of what God has done through Jesus Christ ravishes my heart.  I am enthralled beyond measure that by faith He has clothed me with the robe of Christ’s righteousness.  The first thing God does is to strip away all the artificial, man-made coverings, and presents His own glorious covering, the slain Lamb.  “For Adam also and for his wife the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21, Amplified).  We would be hard pressed to understand the deep mystery of these “skins” with which the Lord clothed the sorrowing pair were it not that the scripture informs us that at that precise point in history GOD SLEW A LAMB FOR OUR COVERING.  Christ, the Lamb of God, was “foreordained before the foundation (disruption) of the world” (I Pet. 1:20), and He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation (disruption) of the world” (Rev. 13:8).  And that Lamb is the atonement (Hebrew: covering) of God for us, typified by all the Old Testament atonement sacrifices, and He  is our only robe of righteousness.  Interesting that the Lamb was slain not merely for the sinning man and woman, and not only for the naked man and woman, but for the man and woman CLOTHED IN FIG LEAVES!  The “skins” of covering from the Lamb were given to replace the fig leaves of man’s self-effort, and not only was the man himself brought to the cross, but all his self-made religion of works as well!  Ah, yes, the cross shall deal not only with sin and nakedness, it shall deal as well with our fig-leaves!


            How vain have been our strivings about externals and our insistence upon carnal technicalities that we in ignorance deemed so very important!  How often the spirit within me has been grieved as I have listened to brethren wasting their time contending over baptisms, communion, foot washing, meats and drinks, holy days, dress codes, long hair, short hair, women preachers, prayer veils, and petty doctrines of every kind, and when they were through with their pietistic wrangling, they had accomplished nothing but to prove that they knew everything about the dead letter of the Word and absolutely nothing about the mind of Christ or the life-giving Spirit!  Men do not need any external ordinances, ceremonies, rituals or regulations.  They need CHRIST AS LIFE!  It was not the gospel, but the Old Covenant “which stood in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptisms), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation (change).  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands (not anything you can produce externally)...” (Heb. 9:10-11).


            Fig leaves!  Fig leaves!  Fig leaves!  Cursed covering of man’s own devising!  And any man with eyes to see can see the flesh shining brazenly through it in spite of all the intricate design and superficial appearance of life.  Oh! how men try to conceal the corrupt flesh underneath, and indeed they may partially hide it from men, but the fig-leaf apron can never screen a man from the eye of God.  But, blessed be the name of the Lord, God has reserved to Himself a people who is completely different, a people who is wholly HIS, a people who dwells in the light which Christ Himself is, elect according to the foreknowledge of God, sanctified by His Spirit, obedient to their heavenly Father, and clothed in the GARMENTS OF LIFE, even the righteousness of God’s Lamb by the Spirit of resurrection from the dead.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is the people that shall be granted an ABUNDANT ENTRANCE into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!


            To be continued...                                                                                          



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