Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the meaning of the assault upon the spiritual kingdom.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Assault upon the Spiritual Kingdom
Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, ‘‘Lord, Lord,’’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 21
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we share some additional insights into entering the kingdom of heaven. In order to enter, we need to be born again. We are born again when we make the decision to do the Father’’s will. In so doing, we must remember that it is our faith that makes it possible to do the Father’’s will; therefore, we must muster our faith and take the kingdom by spiritual assault. This is to wholeheartedly believe Jesus when he says that he is the way, the truth, and the life. To help us grasp the idea of this spiritual assault, let us consider the material assault upon a city.
During the times of Jesus, cities were protected by walls. These walls were strong and could not ordinarily be torn down easily. These cities had small doors that would allow entrance when the main door was closed, thus the term "straight is the gate," which refers to the narrowness of the door. It was so small that only one person could pass through it at a time. There were many reasons why an enemy army desired to conquer a city. Sometimes it was because the city rebelled against the rule of the King who had previously conquered it. Sometimes it was because the city was rich and the opposing army desired to lay hold upon these riches. Sometimes, it was because a king wanted to expand his empire.
War during those times was a protracted event. When the armies decided to take a city, thy would lay siege to it. The first tactic that they employed was to surround the city so that no one could leave or enter. This was done to shut off any supplies of food. This would put the inhabitants of the city on a starvation course. In due time, the effects of not having food would weaken the inhabitants and their morale. Sometimes the inhabitants of the city would meet the opposing armies before they reached the city to seek the terms of peace; other times, after a protracted siege, the inhabitants would give up.
If they did not surrender, the opposing army would bring in their war machines and lay assault to the walls of the city. The catapult was one of their weapons that they used to assault the wall. These ancient war machines would hurl large and powerful stones at the wall. This constant pounding would eventually break the integrity of the wall and weaken it so that it would eventually fall. Then they would bring in their assault ladders. These ladders would allow them to climb up the wall. Once upon the wall, they would bring into play their powerful swords and destroy those defending the wall. Of course those defending the walls would shoot arrows at the soldiers trying to scale the wall, and would pour hot oils on top of them as they tried to scale the walls. But eventually attrition and the vigorous attacks would eventually rule the day. The success in overcoming the city lay in employing the right tactics, the right weapons, and the integrity of their fighting force. The successful assault on the material city was made possible by the skill arising from the mind. It made use of material forces.
Though in our assault on the spiritual kingdom we use spiritual forces, we still must apply the same determination and purpose. When the armies of old laid siege to a city, they had a specific purpose in doing so. That purpose was clear and they were dedicated to it. They were prepared to pay the supreme price and often did on behalf of their efforts. In our assault on the spiritual kingdom, we must first count the cost of making it. Jesus said to his disciples: "If you are not willing to pay the full price, you can hardly be my disciple. Before you go further, you should each sit down and count the cost of being my disciple. Which one of you would undertake to build a watchtower on your lands without first sitting down to count up the cost to see whether you had money enough to complete it? If you fail thus to reckon the cost, after you have laid the foundation, you may discover that you are unable to finish that which you have begun, and therefore will all your neighbors mock you, saying, `Behold, this man began to build but was unable to finish his work.' Again, what king, when he prepares to make war upon another king, does not first sit down and take counsel as to whether he will be able, with ten thousand men, to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? If the king cannot afford to meet his enemy because he is unprepared, he sends an embassy to this other king, even when he is yet a great way off, asking for terms of peace."
Why do we desire to enter the kingdom of heaven? Why not just remain outside the kingdom of heaven? Some would enter the kingdom for selfish reasons. One of the benefits of entering the kingdom is the gift of eternal life enjoyed by those therein. But the kingdom of heaven is not a kingdom predicated upon selfishness but rather on loving service which those outside must desire in order to enter.
The gate into the kingdom is very straight and narrow, and only those who pass the scrutiny of the Guard can enter. Jesus said, " I will declare that I am both the door to the Father's sheepfold and at the same time the true shepherd of my Father's flocks. Every shepherd who seeks to enter the fold without me shall fail, and the sheep will not hear his voice. I, with those who minister with me, am the door. Every soul who enters upon the eternal way by the means I have created and ordained shall be saved and will be able to go on to the attainment of the eternal pastures of Paradise."
In preparing to enter the kingdom, we must thoroughly examine our motives. Are we desirous of embarking on the ways of love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness? Are we willing to serve rather than to be served? Are we willing to draw near those lost souls whom we are desirous of attracting into the kingdom? Are we willing to become the Father’’s emissaries? In order to do that, we must become like Him. Are we willing to withstand the terrible fiery reorienting process, whereby our most cherished values are replaced with the Father’’s values? Are we willing to be supremely loyal to the Father’’s will as revealed in His Son, Jesus? Are we willing to change our supreme purpose for living from a selfish one to an unselfish one? Are we willing to suffer the emotional casualties inflicted on us by those who remain outside the kingdom, those wayward souls who only think about themselves?
Are we willing to withstand confusion as we move from the kingdom of material values to the kingdom of spiritual values? Jesus said: "Forewarn all believers regarding the fringe of conflict which must be traversed by all who pass from the life as it is lived in the flesh to the higher life as it is lived in the spirit. To those who live quite wholly within either realm, there is little conflict or confusion, but all are doomed to experience more or less uncertainty during the times of transition between the two levels of living. In entering the kingdom, you cannot escape its responsibilities or avoid its obligations, but remember: The gospel yoke is easy and the burden of truth is light."
Once admitted to the kingdom, are we willing to remain by declaring in every personal crisis, "Not my will but your will de done." Are we willing to be misunderstood, abandoned, and hated by those left behind, those who refuse to follow us? Are we willing to remain in the kingdom of spiritual peace, joy, and righteousness even though this has absolutely no effect upon our material status? Are we prepared for the disappointment that arises when our temporal hopes and dreams are shattered? Are we willing to believe that we are safe in the Father’’s hands and no one can pluck us out?
If we pass this scrutiny, are we willing to use the only weapon that can be used to enter the kingdom? Are we willing to use spiritual faith to enter? Are we willing to enter, remain, and progress in the kingdom by our faith? The force of such faith breaks through the inertia of doubt that has so effectively chained us in the prison of the material kingdom. If we exercise the faith of a mustard seed, we will overcome all difficulties of doubt that might stand in our way of entering the kingdom. Jesus stands at the narrow and straight gate and allows us to enter. By clothing our souls with his Spirit of Truth, we enter into the kingdom of heaven and we do so by faith. By simply believing with all of our hearts that we are clothed by the Spirit of Truth.
Finally, whereas the weapons of assaulting the material kingdom are of the mind, the weapons for assaulting the spiritual kingdom are of the heart. And these weapons are faith, hope, trust, sincerity, dedication, and loyalty to the Father’’s will.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the assault on the spiritual kingdom. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.