| Enter the Kingdom - Chip Brogden|
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief… some will enter that rest, but they to whom it was first preached did not enter in because of their disobedience (Hebrews 3:19; 4:6).”
The people referred to here are the Hebrews, most of whom died in the wilderness between Egypt, (representing the bondage of sin) and the Promised Land (representing the Kingdom of God). In First Corinthians 10:1-11, Paul says that they were ALL delivered, they ALL passed through the sea, they ALL ate the manna and ate the meat and drank the water from the Rock, Who is Christ. In spite of this they were not pleasing to God and they were destroyed in the wilderness. Twice we are told these things happened as an example to us. Why were they destroyed? Because of disobedience. They never lived out of all God had for them. They missed the fullness.
Upon hearing this message many become concerned about their relationship with God, and rightfully so. They have been taught that because God brought them out of Egypt, fed them manna, and gave them water that now they are set for life and can do as they please. Again, we are not questioning anyone’s inward condition before God. There is no need to. Our own heart will either convince us or convict us. If we are in the Path we know it; and if we are not, inwardly we know that as well.
What we are endeavoring before God is to show His people that the issue of Life dwelling in us today is not based upon a confession that was made years, months, weeks, or days ago. It is not based on mighty works done in the Name of Jesus. It is not based on spiritual gifts or experiences. It certainly is not based on church membership or attendance. Life today is immediately and directly related to whether or not we are abiding in Christ! This abiding is a continual thing, and this continual abiding WILL (not might) result in fruitfulness. Without the fruit, we cannot claim to be abiding in Him at all.
The Hebrews’ immediate concern was to get out of Egypt, but God’s concern was getting them to enter the Promised Land. It was relatively simple to get them out of Egypt, but only two men out of several million of that first generation reached God’s goal and crossed the Jordan. I think the problem is this: we have “going to heaven when we die” as the ultimate goal, and Christ has “entering the Kingdom of God” as the ultimate goal. Do we want to “just” go to heaven when we die, or do we want the preeminence of Christ expressed in “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth [now] AS IT IS in heaven”? If we continue to preach an easy Gospel and bring sinners to an easy Jesus by having them pray an easy prayer then we are guilty of propagating another gospel, a false gospel, a Gate without a Path. Thank God for the Gate, but there is a Path, and neither of them are wide, and neither one of them are easy. But do we preach this?
“Jesus looked around at His disciples, and said, ‘How hard it is for those with riches to enter the Kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were astonished at this saying. But Jesus repeated, ‘Children, how difficult it is for those trusting in wealth to enter the Kingdom of God! I tell you the truth, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:23-25).'”
We have saved the best for last. It seems this rich young ruler came to Jesus as a model “seeker”, having obeyed all the commandments from his childhood. If ever there was someone ready to walk the aisle, sign a decision card, or pray the Sinner’s Prayer it was this man. He actually ran up to Jesus! Surely there is a future apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher in this one! At the very least he can use his wealth to help support Jesus Christ World Outreach Ministries, Inc. No soul-winner or fisher of men worth his salt would let this catch get away.
But instead of doing what we would do, Jesus pinpoints the very thing that is going to keep him from entering the Kingdom, and throws it up in front of Him as an obstacle to entering. As soon as the rich young ruler knows the cost, he turns away, grieving, and we never see or hear from him again. It is interesting that Jesus, even though He loved him, just watched him go. Does this sound like an easy Jesus? Does this sound like a soul-winner? What kind of fisher of men is this? What a contrast to the way we solicit converts every Sunday, with repeated altar calls and singing that hymn “just one more time” to give everyone an opportunity to come forward. Eventually, under such pressure, someone always does. But have they really counted the cost, or did we just make it sound too cheap? A cheap Gospel results in cheap disciples with no depth of root.
The Jews had been taught that material prosperity was a proof-positive sign of God’s blessing (not too unlike some of the teaching we hear today). That is why Scripture records the shock and amazement of the disciples when Jesus announces that rich people will have a hard time entering the Kingdom. According to the way He words it we have to assume that it is well nigh impossible, more difficult than getting a camel to go through the eye of a needle. I have known some rich people, and I can affirm what Jesus says. It is most difficult for Him to have the preeminence over someone with great wealth. Even people of modest means can still be bound by riches, pursuing wealth or blessings, hoping to make it big one day. The pursuit of wealth is as dangerous as the accumulation of wealth.
The point is not that every disciple must be penniless. The point is that in this Kingdom, Christ alone has the preeminence, and you cannot serve two masters. Why are riches such a stumbling-block? It all relates to Self. For the rich man, Self is mostly represented in his riches. For the wise man, Self is mostly represented in his wisdom. For the good man, Self is mostly represented in his goodness. For the strong man, Self is mostly represented in his strength. YOU are your biggest obstacle to entering in. Why? Because there is no room in the Kingdom of God for Christ and Self. To leave the Kingdom of Self and enter the Kingdom of God is indeed a Narrow Path that few ever find.
Who Then Can Be Saved?
“His disciples were astonished beyond measure, saying among themselves, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men, it is impossible! But not with God; for with God all things are possible (Mark 10:26,27).'”
If you have endured everything said up to this point perhaps you are angry, confused, burdened, or amazed, just like the first disciples of Jesus, that entering the Kingdom is not as easy as you had at first thought. The Scriptures tell us that the Lord Jesus is “full of grace and truth.” With Truth comes Grace, and we will now conclude with how God accomplishes this impossible work by Grace.
Let us review all that is required of us in order to enter the Kingdom. We must be born again. In addition to saying, “Lord, Lord” we must actually do the Father’s will. We have to humble ourselves like children. We should be more righteous than a Pharisee without becoming a hypocrite. We must endure tribulation joyfully. We ought never disobey or show lack of faith. We have to give up every vestige of Self, whatever we love the most, whether it be money, pride, natural wisdom, friends, family, position or status. On top of all this we are told that many will try to enter in but will not be able to. So the odds are against us already. Then Jesus says, “It is impossible with man.” That eliminates self-effort altogether.
Some will say, “Oh yes, I can do all these things.” Very well. My advice to those who think they can do it is: keep trying! Perhaps one day you will come to the end of yourself. But the rest of us already know better. The disciples, absolutely dumbfounded by this time, were beginning to question this among themselves: “Who in the world can be saved?” And Jesus frankly said, “It is impossible with man.” Please note we are using “saved” in its ultimate intention of being established in the Kingdom of God, not merely going to heaven when we die, for that is the context in which it is used in this passage. Jesus says you cannot do it, I cannot do it, no human being can do this.
Where does God’s grace begin? It begins with man’s impossibility. It begins with “I cannot”. It does NOT begin with “All these things have I done from my youth until now.” As long as it is possible with man, there is no need for grace. We may be able to fulfill six out of seven things, or ninety-nine out of one hundred things, but when we meet Jesus on the grounds of self-effort there is always “one thing thou lackest.” And this “one thing” is going to stop us dead in our tracks every single time, no matter how perfect we otherwise are. The Lord is waiting for us to know and to confess, “I cannot”. For He can do what we cannot do; and He will do what we will not do! And once we allow Him, He brings us to where He wants us to be in a most remarkable manner.
“I am the Door [Gate]… by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved (John 10:9a).”
“‘So how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the Way [Path]’… (John 14:5,6ff).”
What is impossible with man is possible with God. Jesus is the Narrow Gate whereby we enter in and are saved. This much is obvious. So what is the Path? Is it being a good disciple? Is it fasting and prayer? Is it living a more holy life? Is it attending church or doing great works for God? Not at all. For Jesus tells us, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” The Narrow Gate is Christ, and the Narrow Path is Christ. This explains why the Gate and the Path are so narrow. There is no room for you at all. There is no room for self-effort. There is only room for Christ.
To enter the Kingdom is to lay down my life and live the Life of Another. The very thing which frustrates me is the answer to my problem: since I cannot do it, I have to depend upon the Life of Another to do what I cannot do. Hallelujah! I cannot enter again into my mother’s womb and be born again, because I am too old; I cannot be faithful to do God’s will at all times, because I am rebellious; I cannot humble myself and be like a child, because I am too proud; I cannot have a righteousness that is outwardly perfect and inwardly pure, because I am a hypocrite; I cannot endure tribulation with joy, because I love myself too much; I cannot find my way out of Egypt and into Canaan, because I am disobedient; I cannot just give away from everything I have worked for all my life, because I am selfish. I cannot, and you cannot, and no one can. This Gate and this Path is too narrow, too demanding. It is impossible.
Only one Man has perfectly fulfilled all these requirements – the Lord Jesus Christ – and this Man lives in me now. I thank God that what is impossible with me is easy achievable with Him! “As you have received the Lord Jesus Christ [Gate], so walk in Him [Path] (Colossians 2:6).” We come to the Lord admitting that we cannot save ourselves, and He does the saving. That is the Gate. Now we come to the Lord every day, admitting that we cannot enter the Kingdom, and He does what it takes to conform us into His image. That is the Path. Hence, I have no secret for the Christian Life, but Christ. I have no key, but Christ. I have no method, but Christ. I have no formula, but Christ. I have no technique, but Christ. I have no life, but Christ for it is no longer I that lives, it is Christ that lives in me (Galatians 2:20a). In Him, through Him, because of Him, by Him we may enter the Kingdom.
| 2019/10/20 12:09||Profile|
| Re: Enter the Kingdom - Chip Brogden|
This is so true.
"Where does God’s grace begin? It begins with man’s impossibility. It begins with “I cannot”. It does NOT begin with “All these things have I done from my youth until now.” As long as it is possible with man, there is no need for grace. We may be able to fulfill six out of seven things, or ninety-nine out of one hundred things, but when we meet Jesus on the grounds of self-effort there is always “one thing thou lackest.” And this “one thing” is going to stop us dead in our tracks every single time, no matter how perfect we otherwise are. The Lord is waiting for us to know and to confess, “I cannot”. For He can do what we cannot do; and He will do what we will not do! And once we allow Him, He brings us to where He wants us to be in a most remarkable manner."
| 2019/10/21 7:59||Profile|
| Re: |
It would be wonderful if he explained how to do what he is saying to do. A large majority of believers can read his words but still have no idea about what to actually do, practically speaking.
| 2019/10/21 10:09||Profile|
| Re: |
I think the point is that we need to first focus on the inside of the cup and if we abide and place our trust in Christ then the indwelling Lord will produce the fruit of "doing". Christianity is first and foremost about right relationship. If we are truly and properly attached to Christ then we are true disciples and image bearers who bear fruit. While I am all for righteous conduct and behavior, if we try in our own limited ability to focus on outward compliance with the law without examining our disordered heart we will become Pharisees. So again, the first thing is to humble ourselves and admit our inability in ourselves to be Christ-like and then choose to abide in Christ and walk in the spirit. Abiding in Christ and walking in the Spirit are relational concepts and simply cannot be broken down into simplistic formulaic steps. Our part is to have no confidence in self, trust in Christ instead and as He leads us by the Spirit, we follow. Again, this contrasts sharply with simple law keeping because it is highly relational and trusting in Another who dwells within us. Sorry if it seems "impractical".
| 2019/10/21 10:34||Profile|
| Re: |
Nothing to apologize about.
But if you were to sit down with someone who really wanted to enter into this “resting” relationship with the Lord, how would you counsel them?
Obviously they can’t just sit there- or can they?
The word says to seek after the Lord but how can a person do that without doing something? Or stop doing something?
If I sound frustrated it is because I am. This is one of those topics where it is easy to describe what the end result should be but very hard to explain how to get there. I would find it hard to instruct someone in this area.
My relationship with the Lord has involved years of different sorts of “activities” ie praying, studying scripture, serving, fellowship with other believers, etc.
But the article seems to suggest that that is not how one grows in relationship with the Lord.
The article says to just confess that it cannot be done.... but then what?
| 2019/10/21 12:27||Profile|
| Re: We have to fail miserably.|
From my own experience I had to experience complete and utter failure of all self effort before I could receive HIS GRACE.
I found out that my own willpower accomplished nothing and was the root of my sin.
God allows us to fail Him (sometimes repeatedly) to bring us to the point of abandon and futility. How many times will you have to experience failure before you realize you can't live the Christian life in accordance with a perfect conscience and with the light God has given you? To experience victory in this life, we need divine grace, and God only gives this grace to the humble. The problem with many believers is that though they mean well and love God with all their heart, mind and strength, they are still inwardly proud, endeavoring to repent and gather strength from protracted prayer and laborious Bible study and red-hot preaching. This is able to keep them temporarily, but eventually a defeat in some area will overtake them once again...and back to the wheel of pain they go.
God will allow this cycle to go on indefinitely, until we learn to say, "I can do nothing but fail, all my supposed repentance is but an act of willpower, I can do nothing, I know nothing, and I am tired of failures and theology that looks good on paper and is preached anointedly from the pulpit...but does not in any way help me gain a victory that lasts."
When we come to this place, and finally surrender to all of our efforts of repentance and struggling against sin, God will at this very moment of profound weakness grant us the insight of what it means to be "in Christ" and how He alone is our Righteousness, our Strength, our Sanctifier. Then we will have the victory, because the victory is not intrinsic to ourselves, but the Living Christ in us, made perfect in our weakness.
Failure in our self-effort is a necessary experience, so we will recognize our need of depending upon Christ in us. Failure is to convince us that we are hopeless in ourselves and need another, more capable life. The Father uses "all things", including failures, to show us our need of Christ as our life. Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
Edited - added the last paragraph
| 2019/10/21 12:38||Profile|
| Re: |
You are flirting around the edges but you are not quite being clear enough.
Are you saying that your recognition that you were a failure was some sort of a “mystical” experience?
Because lots of Christians realize and even admit they are failures but don’t have some transformative experience.
You seem to have had some transformative experience when you admitted you were a failure because when you admitted that all of a sudden Christ took over. Does that mean you no longer fail? And what did you do that others are not doing?
| 2019/10/21 14:43||Profile|
| Re: |
May I ask again,...please tell me, are you Of the Baptist denomination?
I do not ask this for a debate, ever.
I can only give u an account of my relationship /experience,w/ The Lord.
And please don’t take it as I am looking down or being a lord over the inheritance The Lord has for us,... I say this humbly,...
The Lord’ Grace, is what draws us to Him, at the very beginning,.. we could not come to Him except He draw us by His Grace.
His Grace,if we yield to it, will then show us things that He wants to change in our life.
Example for me:
One of the first things that I remember:
I was smoking and cursing ,.. I was seeking the kingdom of God,to seek the kingdom, is to seek Jesus, and desire,..as Paul,”what would thou have for me to do, Lord, ?” .... while this was going on within me,... this grace: , this Devine effluence Of His Spirit upon my heart,.. drawing me to His will. (His Grace, His Spirit was heavy, .. strong upon me.
That , my dear Bro is the true Grace.
He delt with me about everything, and whatever He wanted,.. I went down,.. submitted under that effluence.
(That is the death , .. the baptism that He has called us into.)
It is ‘ the no longer I That liveth, but it is Christ that liveth in me, ... allowing Christ to ‘resurrect’, ..being filled w/The Spirit of God,and being led by His Spirit.
I have failed many times,... and as Paul, and do not claim, to have completed the race, but that is the path,.. forgetting those things that are behind,.. because we can’t go back, except to repent,.. but reaching for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord,and Savior,.. And He truly wants to give us power to become the children of “The Spirit/Word” (God),..
.....(Conformed to the image of God, Who is The Spirit/Word of God)
And my I add,
His Grace is always there to help us.
In His love I speak this,
We pray one for another ,
Edited, to add:
The Lord has not called us into a denomination,... He has called us into Himself,... Himself being Jesus, The Word of God.
| 2019/10/21 15:54||Profile|
| Re: Failing|
Are you saying that your recognition that you were a failure was some sort of a “mystical” experience?
NO! I did not have a “mystical” experience.
I am no one special or different than any one else.
After years of struggling with sin and losing that battle every single time. I came to the realization that it was impossible for me to ever win against sin by myself so I gave up all self effort.
Heb. 4:10,"For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
The Holy Spirit started to show me that I had already been made one by Him - not by my doing. 1 Cor. 1:30
So I just decided to take God at His word - that I was already one with Him and that the person of Christ had already made His home inside of my WEEK mortal body.
I decided to believe God's truth about me. That I was buried, crucified and raised with Him.
Now Christ was my Life and that was the real me. There was no bad me that had to die because the CROSS killed my old self once and for all.
What do I do? I stand in the victory that Christ has set me free every second of the day and I cast down, totally reject any idea, thought, emotion, circumstance or feeling that attempts to tell me otherwise.(LIES)
Jesus Christ is NOW my LIVING connection to God. He carries me every second of the day.
I am sure that many others are now experiencing this reality of Christ within.
| 2019/10/21 16:15||Profile|
| Re: |
Thanks for trying to explain Vern.
Perhaps it is something that can only be experienced, not explained.
In other words, maybe it is impossible to explain in a way that would satisfy me.
Many Christians accept what you say you believe- that they were crucified, buried and resurrected with Christ. That is sort of Christianity 101- I mean it’s not an advanced course.
When I pray, worship, study the word, etc it is not out of a sense of duty but because I want to grow in my relationship with Christ.
| 2019/10/21 16:37||Profile|