Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sermon Excerpt: Take It By FORCE

By: Rev. Michael Lee

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12 (KJVA)

Recently, I was listening to some gospel music over the internet, and I heard one singer quote this verse and it sounded funny to me. I said that didn’t sound right! Over the next few days I heard that same passage come up several more times and each time I said to myself that doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t seem like it makes sense in the way that it is being said. The violent take it by force. The Kingdom of heaven? What?

Finally, I looked up the verse and compared different translations and interpretations trying to get an understanding of what exactly was meant by this saying, “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” I’ve got to tell you I got the “deer in the headlights” look after I read some of the interpretations. I wondered how on God’s green earth did they get that from this. You’ve got to be careful where you get your information. Don’t just settle on the first thing you read. Try to get multiple sources saying the same thing if possible and pray about everything.

The interpretation that was presented most often, and the one I believe makes the most sense in light of the context of this chapter, goes something like this:

From the days that John started his ministry of preaching repentance in expectation of the coming king even until this present moment there was fierce opposition to the word; however, men, thirsty for this Word of God rushed into the kingdom with a violence like that of those who are taking a city by storm. It’s like the scene of a great multitude or mob of people who trample over one another trying to press themselves through a narrow doorway, all of them hungry for the Word of God and would stop at nothing to get the best seat or a good position to hear it, or just get in the door before the doors were locked and they were shut out.

In light of this interpretation, I asked myself what is it that characterizes a person who would “take it by FORCE”? What are the people like today who fit this description? If you want to lay hold to the kingdom before it’s too late you need to “take it by F.O.R.C.E.

Faith in God—Not the faith of the prosperity teachers and preachers. They teach a “God kind of faith” where you can call things into existence if you have enough of it. No, it’s not that. I’m talking about a radical, uncompromising faith IN God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” It is a radical EVEN IF kind of faith that says even if he does not raise me up off of my sick bed again, and he has raised you up off your sick bed before, but even if he doesn’t, and even if he doesn’t give me one more financial blessing, (And He has given you financial blessings, and you didn’t have to sew a seed to get it. In fact you didn’t have a seed to sew. You didn’t have a pot nor a window, but some how God blessed you anyhow.) but even if he doesn’t do it ever again, even if he stops blessing you right now today and never again, it’s the kind of faith that says I’m gonna serve Him anyhow. It’s that Job kind of faith that says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”

Obedience to His Word—Take it by FORCE people understand that obedience is better than sacrifice. Consequently, they understand that the Word of God needs to be memorized and imbedded into their innermost being so that they can walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Psa 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

Resist Obstacles—The Bible says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. As I travel on this road that leads to Glory I can light up the path with the light of God’s word so I can see clearly the obstacles in my way so I won’t be turned back. Phi 3:14 says, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” I Press on! Yes, I press on in a state of...

Continual Prayer—Jesus says in Mat 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you….” Prayer helps to focus our attention on the one from which we get our hope. “Take it by FORCE” people...pray for their friends, foes, all in authority, all elected leaders...for their eternal salvation cause it won’t be too long! It won’t be too long because we’ve got...

Eager Expectation and Anticipation of the coming King in great power and in glory and in judgment. Those who would take the Kingdom by FORCE have an eager, enthusiastic expectation of the soon coming of the King of kings, the Lord of Lords. Jesus said He’s coming back again to get his people, 1Th 4:16 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” 1Th 4:17 goes on, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus saves!


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