Tag: Things that will keep you out of the kingdom

Things that will Keep You Out of the Kingdom

Things that will Keep You Out of the Kingdom

As the year 2018 begins, I can’t help but think about the past year that has just gone by. If God were to evaluate me, will I get a passing mark? Or is there a possibility for me or any other believer who has been faithfully serving God to be kept out of the kingdom of heaven? If yes, how and why? What could be the things that will keep you out of the kingdom?

One Scripture that keeps ringing in my head in as far as making it to heaven is concerned is Matthew 7:21 which says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

I’ve heard this text preached many times over as a means to warn all believers that they could be faithfully serving God today but could be lost in the end. If we are to continue to Matthew 7:22-23, it’s pretty clear that Jesus was speaking to spirit-filled believers.

No one who does not have the Holy Spirit operating in his life will be able prophesy and cast out demons in the name of Jesus. The only way anyone can do wonders and miracles in the name of Jesus is if they are genuine believers and are filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Kingdom of God on Earth vs. the Kingdom of God in Heaven

Before going any further, it’s important we differentiate between the kingdom of God on earth and the kingdom of God in heaven. But is there really a difference or are they actually one and the same?

When a person gets born again, that is, he repents of his sins and decides to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of his life, he immediately becomes a part of the kingdom of God on earth (John 3:3). This kingdom of God on earth consists of the believers in Christ who were given the right to become God’s children based on their confession of faith in Christ (John 1:12).

We have to understand that before we came into the saving knowledge of God by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9), we belonged to the kingdom of darkness, blinded by the ruler and God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Before we got saved, we belonged to our father, the devil (John 8:44).

The kingdom of God in heaven on the other hand, is the dwelling place of God where we will be spending eternity. But believers will only gain entry into the kingdom of heaven when Jesus comes back at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) to take His bride, the Church, to heaven as He has promised in John 14:2-3.

Things that will keep believers out of the Kingdom of Heaven

So if a genuine believer can be denied entry into the kingdom of God, what are the reasons or the things that will keep them out?

1. Hypocrisy

This is the behavior of people who do exactly the things that they tell other people not to do; or when you preach to others to live a certain way, however, you choose to do the opposite. In other words, you do not practice what you preach, you do not “walk the talk.”

In Matthew 7:3-5, we read Jesus rebuking people who are keen to see and correct other people’s fault without recognizing their own. Jesus is saying that it’s okay to correct other people but before doing that, you first need to right your own wrongs. It’s very clear from the text I quoted that the only way we will see clearly the faults of others is if we recognize our own faults and make them right.

It’s pretty easy to fall into the trap of hypocrisy but we can avoid this by “living by the book.” Let us be careful to not be like the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who were hypocrites. They were trying so hard to live by the law but often forget to practice the weightier matters of the law (Matthew 23:23).

No one who passes judgment to others or tells others what not to do while he himself practices them will escape God’s judgment. When you judge others for the very same things you practice, you are condemning yourself and will be judged by God at the judgment day (Romans 2:1-3).

In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the apostle Paul said that he disciplines his body like an athlete to do what it should do because he fears that after preaching to others he himself might be disqualified. Paul is talking about self-discipline and how believers are supposed to conduct themselves. He likens our journey towards the kingdom of heaven to that of an athlete who needs to be disciplined enough in order to get to the finish line.

This is a challenge to all pastors and preachers who were given the huge responsibility and accountability to stand behind the pulpit to teach and exhort the Word of God. Admittedly, what you preach is often the thing that comes back to bite you if you are not careful. Always make sure that you practice what you preach to avoid falling into the trap of hypocrisy.

2. Unforgiveness

Forgiveness is a very prominent theme in the Bible, yet it’s not uncommon for Christians to have questions about forgiveness. The act of forgiveness does not come easy for most of us because our natural instinct is to recoil in self-protection when hurt.

Although we know very well that unforgiveness is a sin, we still struggle to forgive. Matthew 6:14-15 is very clear in saying that if we do not forgive others their sins, our Father in heaven will not forgive our sins. (See also Mark 11:25-26.) And if we are not forgiven of our sins then we are still separated from God because sin separates us from Him (Isaiah 59:2).

We cannot approach the holy throne of God if there is any hint of unforgiveness in our heart. There is no way to explain this truth away. Let us be very careful then with the sin of unforgiveness because unforgiveness when not properly dealt with can lead to bitterness. The Bible warns us against any form of bitterness, rage and anger (Ephesians 4:31).

I had the privilege to meet sister Susan, a Christian woman whom God used mightily in the ministry as a worship leader, musician, music coordinator and preacher. She came to the Lord when she was forced to leave her daughter behind to work overseas in order to support her, because her husband abandoned them.

After a few years, she was diagnosed with a terminal illness which eventually caused her to leave her daughter for good. But before her last breath, it became apparent that she has not really forgiven her husband for what he did to them. Our senior pastor who was at that time in another country made an overseas call to convince her to release forgiveness, otherwise, all her labor in the Lord will be in vain.

I cannot imagine the pain she has been carrying in her heart all those years and it would be heart-breaking to know that all her effort and faithfulness were wasted just because she couldn’t forgive her husband. She was so dedicated and devoted to the Lord that she wholeheartedly supported God’s work. She was a faithful giver and tither, she even gave a double portion of her tithe and also gave her monthly pledge.

Sister Susan, in between her few last breaths, forgave her husband and as a testimony of God’s love and faithfulness to her, she was given a VIP treatment by the consulate when shipping her body back home to be buried in our homeland.

3. Not repenting

Placing your faith in the finished works of Christ and becoming a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) does not mean you will no longer commit sin. It just means you made a conscious choice to repent of your sins, accept God’s forgiveness and strive to live a life that is pleasing to God by using the Word of God, the Bible, as your guide.

While we are still in the flesh, we are prone to commit sin and violate God’s laws. But when we do sin, the Bible gives us clear instructions to confess our sins to God and He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

There’s just one problem when it comes to this very familiar Bible verse and that is, many Christians seem to abuse it. Just because they know God is always ready to forgive as He has promised, they commit the same sin repeatedly, over and over again. When we get to this point, we are in danger of falling into the sin of unrepentance.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 talks about being sorry for your sins and that sorrow which is godly will produce repentance leading to salvation. In other words, Paul is saying that someone could be sorry for the sins he has committed and yet his sorrow does not lead to repentance. It doesn’t matter how many times you ask God to forgive your sins if you still keep doing it after receiving His forgiveness.

Committing the same sin after confessing it and receiving God’s forgiveness is proof that you are not really sorry to begin with. Revelation 2:5 gives us a warning about not repenting. This is clearly addressed to the Church, the believers, that if they do not repent, God will come to remove their lamp stand from its place.

Conclusion

As followers of Christ, we are a part of the kingdom of God here on earth but our journey does not end here. Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). Let us continue to journey towards our final destination, the kingdom of God in heaven.

We may face many trials and difficulties while we are still in the kingdom of God on earth but God is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24), so be confident that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

Beware of the things that can keep you out of the kingdom of heaven. Do not get sucked into the sins of hypocrisy, unforgiveness and unrepentance. Instead, keep serving the Lord faithfully, keep fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).