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It is rather obvious from the way that the world is functioning that there is something desperately wrong with the world. People are quite happy to put others down for their own progress; families do not get on together, neighbourhoods need policing, there are huge security forces to preserve nations and governments can abuse even their own people. People can blame the environment but the environment can only adversely affect people because people have the capacity to be adversely affected. A magnet cannot draw pieces of wood to it because the wood is of a different element to metal. But a magnet can draw pieces of metal to it because metal is of the same element as the magnet. So the fact that all people can, in varying degrees, be drawn to what is wrong in their thoughts, words and deeds, shows that we have something wrong inside us and this is what God says: “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory (meaning the character or standards) of God” (Romans 3v23). God does not say that all have badly sinned and badly come short of His standards but says that all have sinned and have come short of those standards.
Matthew 18v3 “And (Jesus v2) said, ‘Assuredly, I say unto you, unless (or except) you are converted and become as little children, you will be no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
God makes this statement because He longs to bring home the truth with the ultimate aim of blessing us. His judgment is unclouded by sin. Psalm 147v5 “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” So God speaks from complete understanding. Also John 3v16 says “For God so loved the world …” You might say how can God love the world seeing that there is so much sin around? God did not bring sin into the world but people did as Romans 5v12 says “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Also 1Peter 5v8 says “your adversary the devil” who spreads evil influence around and is against you. That amazingly does not stop God from loving us. Consequently in God’s complete understanding of everything and His love toward us He hides nothing from us and He says, “unless (or except) you are converted … you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” To convert means “to turn quite around”. So unless you change your mind and believe God’s Word, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. If you fail an exam you cannot enter an educational establishment or work situation, how much more will you not enter God’s kingdom when you have failed His standards or test. So to change your mind, i.e. repent, is essential to see God’s kingdom, which is far better than earth. Therefore unless you are converted you will not, at all, enter the kingdom of heaven.
If you gave good things to a person who decided to go their own way and constantly offended you, including breaking the rules that you had made for their best good, would you not be upset? If after years of constantly upsetting you that person one day said, “Sorry and will you forgive me?” Would you forgive them? Probably not. Yet God says in Ephesians 1v7 “In Him (Jesus Christ v5) we have … the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” God gives no exception to his forgiveness. Additionally God’s Word says in Ephesians 1v3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” So not only does God want to totally forgive all our sins but He wants to give us offenders against Him every spiritual gift that He can. Examples of this are the gift of eternal life, becoming part of His spiritual family, belonging to Him, peace and reconciliation with Him, an assured place in His kingdom and heaven with eternal glory. What an amazing God is available to faith!
John 3v5 “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
The Lord Jesus says “Unless a man be born” so He is saying that naturally people have not got the eternal life that enables them to enter God’s spiritual kingdom. This is reflected elsewhere in the Bible in Romans 6v23 “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” So unless you receive this new and eternal life you cannot, (the word in the original language is a double negative) meaning that it is an absolute impossibility, to enter the kingdom of God. God further says that we are spiritually dead in Ephesians 2v1, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”. Therefore if a corpse is among a group of living people, then it does not matter what the living people say or do, the corpse cannot enter into their mind and activity even though it is physically in their company. So God says that unless you receive the gift of new life from Him whatever you attempt to do will be impossible for you to enter His kingdom and that includes whatever Christian company you are in.
So how can you receive this eternal life and enter the kingdom of God? The Lord Jesus first says that “except you are born of water,” which speaks to us of God’s Word, the Bible, as in Ephesians 5v26 “that He (Christ v25) might sanctify and cleanse her (the church v25) with the washing of water by the word. 2 Timothy 3v16 says “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable …” So all the Bible is inspired of God. Some say that man wrote the Bible and so it must be full of inaccuracies. That comment comes from taking half the idea of how the Bible was written. 2Peter 1v21, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved (meaning “borne along”) by the Holy Spirit.” So the Word of God was spoken and written by men but it was when they were under the Divine and positive influence of God the Holy Spirit and therefore wrote God’s Word accurately. So to be born of water means that there is no salvation without the Word of God but conversely there is salvation through the Word of God.
“Born … of the Spirit”. The Holy Spirit will be the active Agent in this spiritual new birth and at the moment of your faith in Christ as your Saviour, the Holy Spirit will put eternal life in you so that then you will then be “born of the Spirit” or “born of God.”
Matthew 5v20 “For I (Jesus v1) say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” The scribes and the Pharisees were the big religious people in Christ’s time on the earth. However in Luke 20v46 Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; … and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.” Their righteousness consisted in outward observances of the ceremonial and traditional law. They fasted often, prayed much, and brought heavy burdens upon people. (Matthew 23v1-7). Their big show before people seemed impressive but these people’s religious living did not come out of a life from God. Accordingly the Lord Jesus said that except your righteous living has spiritual reality in it, because of your personal relationship with God, and so exceeds that of those religious people, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
So how can you enter the kingdom of God? Jesus said, Mark 1v15 “and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” 1Corinthians 15v3-4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Consequently when Christ died on the cross He personal bore the judgment of your sins “that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3v16). So believe that He died in your place and that He took the punishment that your sins deserve. Then God says He will forgive all of your sins, so that, after death, you will not perish forever in hell. Then you will receive everlasting life, a place in His kingdom and home in heaven forever after you die. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16v31).
MINUTES AFTER I DIE
Loved ones will weep o’er my silent face,
Dear ones will clasp me in sad embrace,
Shadows and darkness will fill the place,
Ten minutes after I die.
But the faces that sorrow I will not see,
The voices that weep will not reach me,
But where, O where will my spirit be,
Nine minutes after I die?
Quickly the years of my life have flown,
Gathering treasure I thought my own,
There I must reap from the seed I have sown,
Eight minutes after I die.
Thanks be to Jesus for pardon is free,
Christ paid the debt on Calvary’s tree,
I trusted the Lord, He will still keep me,
Seven minutes after I die.
But if I have gone on my chosen track,
I cannot repair the good that I lack,
No room to repent; no turning back,
Six minutes after I die.
Then I can stifle convictions stirred,
Then will be silent God’s Voice now heard,
Then be fulfilled God’s rejected Word,
Five minutes after I die.
Mated for aye with my chosen throng,
Long is eternity, O so long,
Then woe is me if my soul be wrong,
Four minutes after I die.
If I am flinging a fortune away,
If I am wasting salvation’s day,
“Just is my sentence,” my soul shall say,
Three minutes after I die.
Fool that I am — hard word, but true
Passing the Saviour with death in view,
Doing a deed I can ne’er undo,
Two minutes after I die.
God help you choose! Your eternal state,
Depends on your choice, you dare not wait,
If you don’t choose now, it will be too late,
One second after you die!