Patience and Pressing Into The Kingdom
Our Savior said that “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it”. showing us that our acquisition of things from “Gods Kingdom at hand” is a persistence. And may we say we are still pressing in today. That salvation is more than a confession or a professing but a lifestyle of reaching a completion. Even as Paul said ”Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on to lay hold of why Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do is forget those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are placed in front of me, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
These were the words of Paul earlier on in his development that started with him being an antagonist as a Pharisee. It was him who was chosen from that lowly estate to give us all hope that anyone can be saved. For you see him authorizing and standing watch over the persecution and death of Stephen before Christ apprehended Paul as “The Bright Light from Heaven”. And lucky for us because if Paul from that “brood of vipers) can be saved, then anyone can. This is why Paul referred to himself as “the least of the apostles”, and “one born in my own time” after the other 11 to replace Judas Iscariot.
The word he used for “born” in the Greek was “ektromah” from trauma and meant an abortion. That was quite likely because of the forcefulness of his being born again, because of his struggle against Christ who said “Saul why do you kick against the goads? As if to prod him into the right direction
We see that Paul was seasoned from the beginning, that this would NOT be an easy transition. Yes, the very one Paul opposed, grabbed him by the proverbial scruff of the neck, blinded him and had him led by the hand to the other disciples who just happened to be avoiding Paul. Even as Paul said “ However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
Meaning that Paul had to start from the furthest point from grace to be used for this example for an anti-Christ, because Paul was out to kill the followers of Christ. Even as he inquired “who are you Master?” To which Christ answered “I Am the one whom you persecute. Isn’t it hard to kick against the goads?” Christ was referring to His body of beliverers of which He is the Head even in our day.
So what does this all mean? Well number one, it means that everyone is within reach of the grace of our Heavenly Father because Paul was a “chief sinner”. And two, that Paul’s journey and ours, is NOT an easy task. That “to press in to attain to Christ’s fullness” was NOT to be taken lightly and why Christ said that “now the Kingdom is preached and the violent take it by force”. Showing us a certain type of aggression needs yo be used.
So for us this portrays more of a military type of training and effort. Even as Paul told Timothy 2.1-7. You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardships as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that they may please him who enlisted them as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, they are not crowned unless they compete according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may Christ give you understanding in all things.
And again This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may (be empowered to) wage the good warfare,” Showing us the seriousness of our purpose as becoming a saint. Which is to “lay hold of why Christ laid hold of you”.
You may think that this is NOT for you. To which we say maybe, but follow the “unction of the Holy Spirit”. You may be right because this is not for everyone. But we also don’t want to be categorized with the lazy or the slothful steward, or worse yet as “those who are rich and have need of nothing” or are “poor blind and naked”. Or just carried about by the concerns of the day”. Meaning your health, wealth and your current comfort.
We see that Paul acknowledged and understood that part of his role was to endure discomfort saying “11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things (which is a measure of resistance while pressing in); nevertheless I am not ashamed (however foolish this may appear to observers), for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Showing us that Paul fully understood his responsibility, duty and aware of the help he would receive where and when neccessary.
And again “10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, perseverance (pressing in), 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all YHVH delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live according to God in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
And “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Then we see Paul referring to a more firm grip of his accomplishments while he sojourned here where the obstacles that bring about our maturity are in abundance saying “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is (collected and) laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His (multiple) appearings.
Meaning that Christs appearances are not just first and second as many suppose for His appearing’s are many. As Paul and Barnabus were sent to “strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God”. And not to sit and wait like for a second coming. That is a “slothful steward” approach.
That Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if He should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch (or the 30th or 400th), and find them so (watching), blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house (you with your body) had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Who also said that He would come as a thief and take all they had, and others “what I say to you, I say to all WATCH!
This is why we were instructed to preach the Kingdom at hand because Christ comings are many and why He comes as a thief as He further instructs:
And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due (meaning their own) season? Blessed is that servant (maybe you) whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will (incrementally) make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming, (or is found waiting for a second coming)’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know (or understand), yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
So yes, Christ may come in the first, second or third watch and Blessed are those servants who He finds watching.” Even now!
And as often as you need and as often as you “reach out to lay hold of why Christ lay hold of you”? You can see that we are to always watch. And however many are watching for a man from the sky to come and save again? What did Christ look like when He saved Paul? Wasn’t it a blinding light that dropped him to his knees? What was it you were hit with when you first believed? Well this is how we define all revelations. As blinding lights that spot light one thing after another until His Testimony is confirmed in you. That you “reach out to lay hold of why Christ laid hold of you”. Which is a proverbial carbon copy of Him. Except the carbon was the old you, and the light? Is the new you. That “we walk in the light as He is in the light” because we become that light too. This is the new you that you get to keep because “flesh and blood does NOT inherit the kingdom“, but the re-spirrited mind of faith does. This makes useful our time here as sojourners here in the faith, to “put on Christ” one revelation after another until our personal transfiguration is complete. “For you are complete in Him who is head of all principality and power”. Amen!
This is The Kingdom of God at hand. As for the others who sit and wait? Where is there kingdom? Is it on hold keeping you in limbo? You’ve got the wrong savior.