Date Posted: January 3rd, 2012
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 3:2
Notice how John the Baptist describes heaven—as a kingdom. A kingdom is a place under the rule of a king. To be in the kingdom of heaven, means to submit yourself to the rule of the King of heaven. But what does John mean when he says that the kingdom of heaven is near?
God is opening the doors of heaven
“The kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 3:2
Heaven has been closed to men and women since the sin of Adam. The cherubim with their flaming swords barred the way into the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24), where Adam and Eve had known the blessing and the presence of God.
Access to heaven was cut off for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and all of the prophets. God was gracious to them, but when they died, they joined a long line of people who were waiting for God’s promise to be fulfilled. Now, at last, God was about to open up access to heaven through the coming of Christ—heaven is near!
If you want to grasp this golden opportunity, you have to change
“Repent…” Matthew 3:2
God is opening the doors of heaven for Old Testament believers, and for everyone who will believe, including you. And He is doing it through Jesus Christ. This is a moment of golden opportunity, and if you want to grasp it, you are going to have to change—repent!
For 38 years of my life, I was not subject to the laws of the United States of America, because I was living in Great Britain. Then in 1996, I was invited to serve as a pastor in the States, and when I came I was immediately released from an old set of laws I’d been subject to in Britain, and I became subject to a new set of laws in America.
Some of the new laws were difficult for me, like driving at low speeds on open roads. But I’ve found—from experience—if I’m stopped by a police officer, it simply will not do to say, “I am operating under the laws of Her Majesty, the queen!” The officer would point out that if I want to operate by another set of laws, I’d better go back to the place where those laws hold sway.
Bow to the King
The borders of heaven have been thrown open. But if you want to be in the kingdom where Christ reigns, you must place yourself under His authority, and that means you’re going to have to change. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. You cannot have the benefits of the kingdom if you will not bow to the King.
This LifeKey is based on the message “Repentance,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, from the series, “Unlocking the Bible in Matthew,” preached on January 14, 2001.