10/18/1998 11:00 AM
That which is esteemed among men is not necessarily esteemed by God. The kingdom of God is put in contrast to the law and the prophets here. The law had requirements and commandments; it had the prophets as a go-between for God and man. The law was something to do; the kingdom of God is something to enter into. We need to be a partaker of the kingdom of God.
Mark 1:14, 15
Repentance (an absolute requirement) is the beginning of entering in. Let's look at some things that won't get you in to the kingdom of God.
The righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees will not get you in to the kingdom of God. It says here, unless your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees you cannot enter in. Their righteousness was following all the mandates of the law to the letter. Our righteousness should exceed theirs in that we are pleasing to God. These despised, and were proud - sins people often overlook. The most important thing is to please God (and this includes not sinning). The kingdom of God is something to enter in to.
The disciples thought was "Who is the greatest?" They should have been thinking on this line... "How do I get in?" Unless you are changed and become meek and lowly you cannot enter in. Be willing to be just the worst of the best. Find the lowly route. Humility is required to enter in. This is a difference in the kingdom of God and the law. Under the law men were very often exalted.
"How hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God." You will have to put your faith in God rather than in your riches in order to enter in to the kingdom of heaven. It would be easier to put a real live camel through the eye of a little bitty needle, than for a wealthy person who trusts in his/her riches to get saved. You cannot buy your way into the kingdom. Riches cannot get you in, and very likely they will keep you out if you trust in them.
Not everyone that says "Lord, Lord" will get in. A profession is not enough. It will not get you into the kingdom. Doing God's will, taking action on what you know to be the will of God, will get you into the kingdom of God. Profession does not give to the soul of man what obedience to the will of God brings.
Watching hypocrites and using them as an excuse will not get you in to the kingdom of God. They don't enter in themselves, and the hinder others from getting in. You have to rise above just having a profession. Sin is not approved of nor blessed by God.
Matthew 7:13, 14
Enter at the strait (narrow) gate. There are things you have to come over and go through to get in to the kingdom. It is so strait a gate that you have to be completely focused on getting in or you will miss it. Some things must be left behind. You must go through the narrow way to get in.
Seek the kingdom of God first, that you may enter in. It is something we are added to; something we enter in to. People who were born under the law and the prophets were born into them. You don't get in to the kingdom of God through someone else's experience. You have to pursue the kingdom of God for yourself. It must be a personal experience.