Encourage Someone Today

The Kingdom of God and the Church 2001

Part 2

Hearing the Word of the Kingdom
...and Understanding It

FOR SOME DAYS, we will dwell with the first Parable of Matthew 13. This contains primary teaching from the Lord Jesus on the Kingdom of Heaven.

OF FIRST IMPORTANCE IS THAT WE RECEIVE THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM INTO OUR HEARTS. The heart is that tender inner part of us that can respond with both faith and feeling. There are things that lodge in the hearts of many of us, however, that hinder our receiving the Word.

DAY 1If we allow life to harden our heart, it will hinder us in understanding the Word.
Mt 13:3,4,19 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up... When any one heareth the Word of the Kingdom and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
· FATHER, thank You for the things breaking up the ground of my heart. There has come one painful thing after the other. Often I haven’t understood what was happening. But, here is one thing—it is causing my desire for Your Kingdom to increase.
Even we as believers must take care lest our hearts become hardenedMk 6:49-52

DAY 2Blindness and hardness in our hearts will shut out the Word of the Kingdom.
Eph 4: 17,18 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life ot God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness (or hardness) of their heart. Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
· FATHER, I open my heart to You to search it Find those things and ways of life I’ve held on to but that offend You and Your Kingdom. I present my mind and heart before You that they may become open and ready to receive the Word of Your Kingdom.
It is in the heart that belief unto salvation takes placeRom 10:8-10

DAY 3—If we refuse to open our hearts to the Lord, we set ourselves in line for His wrath.
Rom 2:5 But after
("according to") thy hardness and impenitent heart (a heart with no regret or remorse) treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
· LORD, I’ve repented for sin generally, but there are still things of wrong that weigh heavily on me. I am ready to bring each one of these to You—especially my rage. My conscience has born the strain of darkness long enough. Oh, start a cleansing work in me that will make me pure for Your Kingdom!

The first preaching after Pentecost brought conviction to the hearts of hearersAc 2:36-39

DAY 4—Worldly treasures may crowd out the Word of the Kingdom from our hearts
Lk 12:31-34 But rather seek ye the Kingdom of God: and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
· LORD, forgive me for having my heart wrapped up in things. I’ve become upset when people disregarded my treasures. But now, I’m ready to let all those feelings go and just let Your love flow. Teach me to love You more than things, for Your Kingdom sake.
When we open ourselves to the Kingdom, we find greater treasureII Cor 4:17,18; Col 3:1-3

DAY 5—Not forgiving others will make our hearts too hard to receive the Kingdom
Mt 18:34,35 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall My Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
· LORD, forgive me for all my complaining about what has happened. It has produced nothing but bitterness in me. I am ready, even now, to forgive and let it all press me into Your Kingdom. I am almost to the point of being ready to thank You for it all.
Jesus taught clearly that to receive forgiveness, we must forgive—Mt 6:12-15

RECEIVING THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM MAY BRING ON TRIBULATION AND PERSECUTION. But if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, these will cause us to grow in the understanding and power of God’s Kingdom.

DAY 6—If the Word does not take root in our hearts, we may well falter in adversity
Mt 13:5,6, 20,21 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. ... But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while
: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
· FATHER, I’ve allowed the pressures of life to push me down, instead of into You. The little persecution that has come my way has made me resentful. Oh, forgive me for this! I am ready to receive it all from You now. I thank You for it all.
A benefit of affliction is that it breaks up the fallow soil of our heartPs 119:71; Hos 10:2

DAY 7—Jesus said it is a blessed thing to be persecuted because of Him
Mt 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you.
· LORD, toughen me for persecution. Work in me so I can rejoice when I’m falsely accused. Bring me to the place, like You, where I’ll not defend myself with anger. I want to dwell in so close a communion with You that I can hear Your voice within telling me what to say when accused.
We can get it settled in our hearts that the Lord will come to our defenseLk 21:12-15

DAY 8—The early ministers prepared the churches for tribulation
Ac 14:21,22 And when they had preached the Gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.
· FATHER, work in me so lam not so quick to bow down in despair when things go wrong. Help me see that the pressures of life will not destroy me. Teach me how they can press me on into knowing Your Kingdom personally. While I don’t look for trouble, teach me to rejoice in what it can do for me. When it comes, let it help me know You better.
We can learn to rejoice when tribulation comes because of the fruit It will produceHeb 10:34-39

DAY 9—When unbelievers oppress us, we discover the protection of God’s presence
Ps 9:7-9 But the LORD shall endure for ever: He hath prepared His throne for judgment. And He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed. a refuge in times of trouble.
· LOVING GOD, teach me about the justice and protection of Your Kingdom. Let my heart know that You are aware of what I face—and what I am going to face. Bring me to the place of confidence and peace so I can be a faithful servant in Your Kingdom, even in the midst of tribulation and persecution.
We will live in the blessing of Zion’s rulePs 20:1-9

INVOLVMENT WITH THE WORLD WILL HINDER OUR GROWTH AS SONS OF THE KINGDOM. But if we separate ourselves from the world, the Kingdom can do its work in us.

DAY 10—The world with its distractions and deceit seeks to crowd out the Kingdom from us
Mt 13:7,22 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them.... He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the Word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word, and he becometh unfruitful.
· FATHER, besides the trouble, even my everyday life has crowded in upon me. I’ve drowned my grief in becoming busy—too busy for my own good, too busy for You. I repent for getting into this condition and ask You to let me know Your presence with me today. Help me discipline myself to wait before You.
Waiting on the Lord may be the most profitable thing we can doPs 37:7-9; Ps 40:1-4

DAY 11—Too much involvment with the world may be one of the hardest things to break
I Jn 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
· FATHER, I lay these three things before You—the lust of my flesh, the lust of my eyes, and my pride of life. Each of them has troubled me and hindered me in knowing Your Kingdom. For each of them I need Your grace and Your power. Please break their hold on me so I can get on with purpose in Your Kingdom.
Renewed hope will cause us to want to be free from the impurities of the worldI Jn 3:1-3

DAY 12—Worry and fear will keep us from knowing the power and provision of God’s Kingdom
Phil 4:6 Be careful
("anxious") for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Mt 6:25,33 Therefore I say unto you, Take no ("anxious") thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? ... But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.
· FATHER, anxiety and care have ruled my life for too long. Today, I renounce them. Take the tendency to worry and fret from me. Teach me to trust You. Teach me to look to Your Throne when everything around me seems to fail. Teach my children this—my parents, my friends, even the people I work with.
We note how sharply Jesus dealt with those who trusted their wealthMk 10:17-23

DAY 13—It is a dangerous thing to have all one’s wealth in worldly possessions
Rev 18:17-19 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city
("Babylon")! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
· LORD, even now we stand in awe of Your ways. Bring us to the place where we’ll not fall when Babylon falls. Teach us the wealth of Your Kingdom. Show us how we can live when the commerce of the world falls, when every bank fails, and every earthly government folds. Teach us the ways of Your Throne.
In the midst of adversity we can learn to be still and know the LordPs 46:1-11

WHEN A BROKEN LIFE RECEIVES THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM. THERE IS HOPE FOR A NEW DAY. Like soil tilled by a plow, it is ready to receive the good Seed.

DAY 14—Understanding is of prime importance
Mt 13:8,23 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. ... But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the Word (lógos), and understandeth it: which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
· LORD, let me hear Your Lógos Word. Help me discern it when I hear it so I can open my heart to receive it. lncrease in me a hunger for the Word of Your Kingdom so I will search it out for myself. Teach me to meditate upon it and bring it over into my understanding, and into my living.
As Kingdom persons, God’s Word becomes the rejoicing of our heartJer 15:16; Ps 119:77, 111, 162

DAY 15—Receiving the Word Jesus brought can produce instant change in us
Jn 5:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word (lógos), and believeth on Him that sent Me. hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.
· DEAR LORD, just help me know the power of Your Word. If it can reach into death and break its hold, then I believe it can reach into this problem I face today and break its hold over my spirit. Help these I hold before You hear also. Bring them to know the power of Your Word and of Your Kingdom.
In times of opposition, the Word (Lógos) of God will grow and prevailAc 12:21-24; Ac 19:14-20

DAY 16—The Word Peter preached on Pentecost was a Logos Word
Ac 2:40,41 And with many other words (from lógos) did he testify and exhort saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his Word (lógos) were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
· LORD, thank You for the Life that was in that Word Peter brought to the people long ago. Help me to hear it now, and rejoice in it, so it can do its work in me. Let a life-giving Word like that begin to come forth in the Church today. Bring Your anointing upon these ministers I hold before You.
Let us hear some of the Word that came from Peter that Pentecost dayAc 2:29-37

DAY 17—The Word the Apostles preached was a Logos Word
Ac 4:1-4 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the Word (lógos) believed and the number of the men was ("came to be") about five thousand.
· FATHER, I see how the power of the Word brought conviction upon the people who would hear it and reaction from those who would not. Help me not to fear either. Please let Your preachers move with wisdom as they minister in the power of Your Spirit.

The people at Berea received the Word Paul preached. Then came persecutionAc 17:10-13

DAY 18—No soul rejoices in the Living Water from God like the thirsty soul
Ps 63:1 O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is. Is 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring.
· FATHER, I thirst for the Living Water that comes from Your Throne. I hunger for the Bread of Life that You give. It seems there is a famine in the land for all this. Please pour out You Spirit upon us who seek Your face so there will come an abundance of spiritual food for Your hungry people.
The resurrected Christ will open our understanding so we can hear and receive the WordLk 24:44-49

DAY 19—As the early church developed, the lógos Word increased with them
Ac 6:7a And the Word (lógos) of God increased... Ac 12:24 But the Word (lógos) of God grew and multiplied. Ac 19:20 So mightily grew the Word (lógos) of God and prevailed.
· LORD, bring upon me a new and deep hunger for Your Word. I want it to enter my heart and bring forth its fruit in me. Let it find release in my life so that I will become a "living epistle." When adversity comes, let Your Word spring up in my heart.
Persecution and knowledge of the Lógos Word caused the early church to flourishAc 4:23-31

DAY 20—Paul heralded the Kingdom as he ministered the Word (lógos) of God’s grace
Ac 20:25,32 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching
("heralding") the Kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word (lógos) of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
· DEAR LORD, help us who minister Your Gospel to others see the relationship of Your grace to Your Kingdom. Remove all doubt and hesitancy from us with regard to both. Help us make the Word clear and plain that Your Grace brings us into Your Kingdom, and sustains us there. Let the Word preached lodge in the hearts of people everywhere. Let it take root, and grow, and produce fruit for Your Kingdom.
Paul gave admonition that the Lógos Word of Christ would dwell in us richlyCol 3:14-17

Now, start again with Day 1.

Go now to Part 3:
What Is God’s Kingdom Like?






© Berean Ministry

Berean Publications
PO Box 38
Elk Park, NC 28622-0038

Visit Us at http://www.maschil.com

© Berean Gospel Fellowship. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Permission to reprint in part or in whole is usually granted.