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Is this an easy answer for you? Jesus says anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. He also says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
So is the kingdom really open to everyone?
In Matthew 23:13 Jesus says, " Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."
The interesting thing here is that the kingdom does have a door and Revelation 3:20 says that Jesus stands at that door and knocks, wanting us to open that door and come in...and let others in as well.
Here are two ways to enter into the kingdom of God:
1. Confess faith in Jesus. Turn away from sin, be baptized, and receive newness of life in Jesus. God's desire is for everyone to enter in.
2. Decide to enter into the kingdom of God daily, following the leading of the Holy Spirit. It's easy to fall back into our selfish ways. We are called to be a living sacrifice, but the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar! We need to remember to not be transformed by the world and it's worldview. We need to renew our minds daily to know the will of God and follow His leading.
It is a daily commitment to follow hard after God.
We are deceiving ourselves when we do not spend time with God on a daily basis.
We are deceiving ourselves when we do not spend time in His word.
We are deceiving ourselves when we do not spend time praying.
We are deceiving ourselves when we do not spend time with other believers who encourage us in our walk with Him.
The overwhelming influence of the world around us will deceive us into thinking that my career and making money is God's will for me and that seeking pleasure and entertainment is what I deserve. We have to combat that influence by immersing ourselves in Him and spending time with Him, getting to know Him and His will for us.
Whoever wants to be a disciple of Christ must deny himself and take us his cross daily.
It is a daily decision. A conscious effort. We must open the door to Him each and every day. It is then that we can open the door for others. If we do not enter ourselves on a daily basis then we are standing in the way of others to enter.
Jesus is knocking on the door of the church, asking to come in.
Do we have the welcome mat out? Or have we hung the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door?
Are you opening the door to the kingdom of heaven?
***Based on the notes taken from John Ketchersid's sermon on July 25, 2016.***