Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
A lot of people do not understand that we are not under the Jewish covenant. The bible says that the law and the prophets were until John. The law (Moses’ law) and the prophets (the men who instructed and came to warn the children of Israel to return to the law) they were until John and after John the kingdom of heaven is preached and men press into it. I think one of the things that is missing in today’s message of the gospel is that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. It is now! It’s not sometime in the future during the millennial reign or 1,000 year reign, the kingdom of heaven is now! And whenever the only hope that you are saved now is that someday you will be a part of the kingdom of heaven whenever Jesus comes back, you’ll miss it! The kingdom of heaven is now! That’s why the first words Jesus preached were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” When something is at hand, it’s right there. It’s not way off in the future a thousand years from now … it’s now.
Let’s turn to Luke 6. These are the words of Jesus. Last night we talked until after midnight with some people who were following the teachings of Paul. They are following and teaching that if you do not understand what Paul taught, you cannot be saved. That is a lie. Paul did not come into this world to deliver us from our sin. I believe Paul, he is our brother and God used him, but if we get Paul ahead of Jesus, we miss it. We put glasses on our eyes that make things look completely different instead of taking those things off and seeing Jesus and then being able to look at Paul through Jesus. Jesus is our God! Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” He did not say, “Don’t worry about following. Just believe that you are a sinner and believe that Jesus died for you and you’ll be saved.” That’s not his message! He told us as much as anyone to follow Christ. If we believe that Christ is God, he is the one we need to hear. If we disregard what he says because we have some doctrine taken out of context by looking at what Paul said only through Paul’s teachings instead of Christ’s, then it clouds what Jesus taught. The gospel of the kingdom is what is to be preached.
We become a Christian when we have been set free from this world and then decide to follow Christ. Not just the Christ of our own imagination or the Christ of a denomination, but the Christ of the bible; the Christ that gives us instructions of how to be a Christian. If I’m going to be a plumber and I decide, “I’m going to be a plumber today!” and then you call me to fix your drain and I just make a big ole’ mess all over the floor because I don’t know what I’m doing, am I a plumber? No! I’m not a plumber until I’ve learned what a plumber does and have learned how to do it myself. Once I’ve studied and learned under someone of what it actually means to be a plumber, and then put that into practice – then I’m a plumber! That is not that difficult. Jesus’ disciples forsook everything and followed him. For three years they followed him. What were they doing? They were learning how to be a Christian the way Jesus was. They were learning. They had started on the journey and began putting into practice the teachings of Christ. That is when we believe.
- David Keeling, 10-21-12