What does this title mean? Are we laying hold of what God has given us to advance?
We are told, “The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.” (Matthew 11: 12)
Another version says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Jesus uses this verse as He was speaking of John the Baptist. John came upon the earth with a mission to prepare the way for Jesus to come.
As Jesus is speaking to the crowd He makes an analogy, He says, “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet, he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11: 11)
John was part of the old covenant which was preparation for the coming Christ. He is pointing out that the least of the New Testament saints has a higher privilege in Christ as a part of His bride (the church) than John the Baptist, who was only a friend of the bridegroom. (John 3: 29)
Jesus is comparing John the Baptist with us, the Christ-followers, saying the Baptist was just a friend of the bridegroom.
We the church are His Bride.
We, “The bride belong to the Bridegroom. (John 3: 29) Don’t ever feel that you don’t belong. You do! You belong to Jesus!
Do we understand the capacity of this role? We are in the company of those who belong to Jesus. He is our husband, we are His Bride. This is our identity.
Kingdom-minded believers must lay hold of this truth.
Our position of who we are in Him–has already been established, as His disciples.
Jesus ends his comparison by saying, “Wisdom is proved right by her actions.” (Matthew 11: 19b) This verse is pointing out that both John and Jesus came with kingdom messages yet had different roles.
NOTE: I am not elevating John the Baptist up with Jesus. What I am saying is God uses men to prepare for the coming of Jesus. There was a special relationship that the Baptist had with Jesus. I believe it all started when Mary the mother of Jesus, went and visited with Elizabeth the mother of John. That visit proved fruitful–It was the visitation of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit encounters will prove faithful in producing fruit.
Go back and read it for yourself. What happened during that visit (ation)? “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1: 39) Something occurred that day, when baby to baby, met! There was a holy union, a special relationship.
John grew up and preached repentance. Jesus preached salvation, the new birth. Prophetically, there was a union, a Holy Spirit, union that was birthed in these two babies, as they met. Interesting, that years later, John has the honor of this Holy Spirit reunion when he baptized Jesus at the onset of His public ministry; and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in bodily form like a dove. Then the voice of God was heard, showing His good pleasure.
- Repentance must precede the new birth in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Folks, we cannot operate in Kingdom business without the Holy Spirit. That union is inside of us, as disciples of Jesus.
Father, forgive us for not fully recognizing the importance of including the power of the Holy Spirit. But you are showing us and teaching us that it is by Your Spirit–therein the power lies.
A Kingdom lifestyle cannot successfully occur without Holy Spirit in His fullness.
Shortly after Jesus’ baptism and entry into public ministry, He walks right into that violence, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led into violent warfare with the devil in the desert. This was not an overnight stay, He was there for forty days and was fasting.
The power of the Holy Spirit will make a way out for us, as we yield to Him.
Learn to stand on God’s Word as the way out as the Holy Spirit strengthens.
After taking a little side trip, let’s bring it back remembering what Jesus said about wisdom is proved right by our actions. We should know that our actions must validate our words, as followers of Christ.
- A person doesn’t know we love them until we show them.
- Saying, “I love you,” is validated when we demonstrate it.
KINGDOM PRINCIPLE: Lay hold of what God has given us to advance His kingdom. We cannot receive the kingdom passively. Advancing it requires work; the work of the Holy Spirit and our yielding to Him.
It’s time to hold on and climb!
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