Are You Near The Kingdom

J. D. Conley
September 1, 2013

All accountable people can be divided into three groups.

First, there are those who are in the kingdom. They have been translated into it in obedience to the gospel. "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col.1:13). They voluntarily became subjects of the King of kings in order to enjoy citizenship in His kingdom.

Second, there are millions of people in the world who are far from the kingdom. They are willing to barter their souls for a few days of sinful living. Our Lord is anxious to save these people and we should show great interest in them, for Jesus died for the ungodly (Rom.5:8, 1Jn.2:2).

Third, there are thousands who are near, not far, from the kingdom. We have a sincere interest in these people too.

What does the Bible mean when it speaks of the kingdom of God? It means that realm over which Christ reigns. It is His church. The terms "church" and "kingdom" are used interchangeably, (cf. Mt.16:18-19).

How and when does one enter the kingdom? Jesus made this clear when He talked to Nicodemus. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (Jn.3:5). Someone is ready to say "water does not mean water." If water does not mean water in this passage does it mean buttermilk or Kool Aid?" It simply means water. That is what our Lord said.

Who are those who are near the kingdom? Those who have good and honest hearts. Cornelius was easy to convert because he had an open heart. He said to Peter, "...Now therefore are we all present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God" (Acts 10:33).

Many have been taught that being near the kingdom is enough. Preachers tell people that all God requires of them is to believe to be saved. If one is saved by faith only then repentance would not enter into salvation, nor baptism. But Jesus commanded both.

King Agrippa was near the kingdom, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" (Acts 26:28). That is not enough.