Who Will Inherit the Kingdom of God

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1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Who Will Inherit the Kingdom of God?

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.[1]

God saves all who come to Him through His Son.  He forgives their sin, sets each saved individual free from condemnation, and places His Holy Spirit within His redeemed people.  Each saved person is destined for adoption as a son of God, with all the rights of that inheritance.  The saved will inherit the Kingdom of God.

The text which serves as a foundation for the message this day indicates that some supposed Christians, and a host of non-Christians, are in for a surprise.  In fact, they will not inherit what they anticipate.  I should think that the prospect that some will not inherit the Kingdom of God would prove a worrisome spectre to some Christians.

There are some unfortunate souls who are obviously uninterested in living as God’s redeemed people.  They make no pretence of seeking after God.  I marvel at such people, but then I was once among their numbers.

Just a few weeks ago, we all witnessed the rescue of nine coal miners from what seemed certain death.  After three days, trapped 240 feet underground in a flooded coal mine near Somerset, Pennsylvania, nine miners stepped out, one by one, into the floodlit night.  Those of us who couldn't go to bed until the last one was rescued will never forget the wonderful relief as the capsule emerged with the final miner.

Only a few hours earlier, the drillers had managed to lower a two-way radio into the chamber and were thrilled to hear that all nine were alive.  Not surprisingly, the miners expressed a keen interest in getting out.

Their rescue was a parable for salvation.  Trapped in darkness, the helpless men yearned for deliverance.  A narrow but utterly necessary and sufficient way was provided, and they grasped it.  Their minds were filled with the vision of light and love and life above.  How strange it is that many are indifferent or hostile to rescue.  Just imagine the drillers' getting these radio responses to their breakthrough:

“No way I'm getting into that capsule.  It's too confining.”

“I think I'll pass.  It's pretty exciting down here, and life up there sounds so boring.”

“No thanks.  They made me third watch captain, and I'm finally somebody.  I'm afraid I'll be a nobody up there.”

“I'm not really interested.  There's a lot of this mine I want to explore, yet.”

“If that loser down the block is up there, I want no part of it.”

“What's all the fuss?  We'll all end up there anyway.”

“I'm not coming up until you persuade me it's an interfaith rescue team.”

“I won't come unless I can bring my gear up with me.”

“Naw, I'll just dig or swim out on my own.”

“Some of the guys down here are sceptical.  What do I know?  I'd better hold off.”

“I’m a member of the West Virginia Coal Miners’ Rescue Association.  If they aren’t doing the rescue, I’m not interested.”

As crazy as these responses sound, each of us who witness to others has heard precisely such feeble excuses from those who are spiritually lost.  Thus, the apostle Paul wrote, one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus [Philippians 3:13, 14].  He was oriented on the light and sound from above.

He was happy to stay on earth (in the mine) as long as God pleased, that he might be a servant and blessing to others trapped below.  But, unlike many others, he never confused the mine with home.  Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.  For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ [Philippians 3:17-20].

Some contemporary Christians have confused this world with the promised Kingdom of God.  In fact, though we are citizens of Heaven and part of God’s eternal Kingdom, we live as though we will spend eternity on this earth.  We are dying creatures, condemned to live out our brief lives in the flesh, after which, if we are born from above, we will receive our promised inheritance.  We must never forget that we do have an inheritance.  We must resist the downward pull to live as though this world was all that is or as if this world was all that shall ever be.  There is more to come.

An Inheritance is Promised to the Righteous.  By his statement that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God, the Apostle is stating that an inheritance is promised to the righteous.  That inheritance is identified as the Kingdom of God.  Whatever can the Apostle mean when he speaks of the Kingdom of God?

The term Kingdom of God (occurring sixty-six times in the New Testament) is for all practical purposes equivalent to the term Kingdom of Heaven (which occurs thirty-two times in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke).  Merrill Unger states that “the ‘kingdom of God’ is evidently a more comprehensive term than the ‘kingdom of heaven’ and embraces all created intelligences, both in heaven and on earth, who are willingly subject to God and thus in fellowship with Him.  The ‘kingdom of heaven’ … is a term descriptive of any type of rulership God may assert on the earth at a given period.”[2]  The two terms Kingdom of God and especially Kingdom of heaven, are synonyms for the salvation of the believer, his life in Christ and his walk with the Saviour.

The two terms are used interchangeably throughout the Synoptic Gospels.  In fact, of the ninety-eight occurrences of the two terms in the New Testament, all but sixteen occur in the first three Gospels.  Twice, John has Jesus speaking of the Kingdom of God [John 3:3, 5].  Doctor Luke uses the term an additional six times, of which four are quotes concerning Paul’s use of the term [see Acts 14:22; 19:8; 28:23, 31].  The final eight uses of the term Kingdom of God occur in the writings of Paul.

In our text, Paul speaks of the Kingdom of God as an inheritance—an inheritance which precludes the unrighteous.  He identifies the unrighteous as the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, those who practise homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers.  In Galatians 5:19-21, he speaks of the works of the flesh, which he identifies as: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.  He then categorically states that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Christians who suffer persecution because of their Faith are enjoined to view the opposition they experience as an indication that God Himself considers them worthy of the Kingdom of God [see 2 Thessalonians 1:5].  Another apostolic revelation teaches us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God [1 Corinthians 15:50].  Moreover, Christians that live defeated lives disgrace the concept of the Kingdom of God, for the Apostle teaches us that the Kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power [1 Corinthians 4:20].  Similarly, the Kingdom of God is not defined by the activities associated with this perishing life, such as eating and drinking, but it is rather defined by spiritual pursuits, such as righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit [Romans 14:17].

Putting this information together, we are driven to the conclusion that the Apostle has in view heaven.  It would appear from the apostolic writings that the Kingdom of God, our inheritance among the saints, is also the Kingdom of Christ [Ephesians 5:5], also referred to as the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ [see 2 Peter 1:11].  In Scripture, we also find reference to the Kingdom of God’s Beloved Son [Colossians 1:13], an apparent reference to this same concept of the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God appears as nothing less than the ultimate inheritance of the redeemed.  For one moment, consider just what that inheritance entails and permit yourself to marvel at the grace and goodness of our God.  The inheritance we shall receive is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.  Moreover, our anticipated inheritance is kept in heaven where man cannot sully it [see 1 Peter 1:4].  Eternal life, not merely length of days but a radical new quality of life, is the promised inheritance of those who follow Christ [Matthew 19:29].  We inherit salvation [Hebrews 1:14].

I love reading the end of the Book; it is such an encouragement to the weary saint.  John, in Revelation 21:5-8, writes: he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  And he said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

Now, I have love, joy and peace.  I have access to the throne of God.  Christ ever lives to intercede for me and He delights to answer prayer.  He comforts me in my sorrow and strengthens me in my weakness.  He lifts me up on eagle’s wings when I am weary.  Though I live in a desert land, He refreshes my soul.  Through Him, I shall conquer death and I am free from fear.  My feet are established on the solid rock and I cannot be shaken.  He promises me that I shall inherit heaven itself.  If somehow that were insufficient, God at last gives me His very self.  This is the old-time religion!

Don’t be ashamed of the old-time religion.  There is nothing newer.  We have a New Testament about a new and living way.  We enter that way by new birth.  We are new creatures with a new name and a new song, walking in newness of life, living by a new commandment, headed for a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem.  And almost the last word of the New Testament in Revelation 21:5 is I am making all things new.  At last, I shall have a new and living relationship with God Himself.

The Claimants to the Inheritance are Many.  Though we modern Canadians are raised in a climate of egalitarianism, we nevertheless continue to live in a world identified by distinctions.  Though we profess equality in all things, gender still distinguishes male from female.  Citizenship confers a different status on those so blessed in contradistinction from those who are yet classed as immigrants and refugees.  Deny the distinction as much as one may wish, yet social status is a reality, determined in part by possessions and in part by position, but certainly distinguished by power.  The great distinction for all humanity is the distinction stated in the text, the distinction of whether one will inherit the Kingdom of God or whether one will be shut out from that Kingdom.

All of humanity may be distinguished as either “saints” or “ain’ts.”  Either we have been born into the Family of God or we are outside of the Family.  Either we are saved or we are lost.  Either we are righteous or we are unrighteous.  Despite our egalitarian tendencies, we are distinguished in the eyes of God.  Consequently, we distinguish ourselves in this present life through the lives we live.

There are individuals who name the Name of Christ, but their lives indicate that they treat their relationship to Christ as a sort of celestial fire insurance policy.  They profess His Name, but they give no evidence that they possess His life.  Such individuals must be warned that God is not fooled, neither are those who witness their lives.  What one is inside is revealed through how one lives, and that is a truth which must not be neglected.  Whether one is a Christian or not is witnessed by how one lives.  Let me ensure that this one truth is crystal clear in each mind.  We are called to godly lives because we are Christians; we do not live godly lives in order to become Christians.

Among the inhabitants of this earth, there exists not a single righteous individual, if we seek righteousness through human effort.  Solomon wrote of his discouragement in seeking a righteous individual.  Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins [Ecclesiastes 7:20].  Solomon must have had some bitter experiences with women.  Despite having wives and concubines numbering into the thousands, in seeking those who would prove upright, the Preacher wrote these words.  Behold, this is what I found … [o]ne man among a thousand, but a woman among all these I have not found [Ecclesiastes 7:28].  I do not wish to engage in an argument as to which gender is more unrighteous—there is sin enough for all of us.  Eliphaz was right when he said that we drink injustice like water [Job 15:16].  I do not need to seek out sin, I am sinful.

Ask a hundred people whether they believe they will go to heaven, and the overwhelming majority will answer in the affirmative.  Ask why they think they will go to heaven, and you will receive a variety of answers.  Some have convinced themselves that they merit heaven because they believe they have “done nothing wrong.”  Others compare themselves favourably to other sinners and think themselves worthy of mercy.  Yet others will say that they observe religious rites, or that they maintain a standard which they themselves have devised, or they will claim to have their own religion.

Ultimately, there are but two religions to which one may turn—true or false.  All religions either attempt to compel God to accept us, or it will insist that we must cast ourselves on His mercy.  Either we are able to perform some deed which compels God to accept us, or we must seek His mercy and His grace.  What is not in question in every religion (whether true of false), is that all mankind is sinful.  The Word of God is quite accurate when it asserts that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23].

Paul takes pains to ensure that none miss his point concerning the unrighteous.  He carefully spells out the acts of the unrighteous.  Included among this awful catalogue of sinners are the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who practise homosexuality, thieves, greedy individuals, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers.  I suggest that the net has been cast widely enough to include every one of us, if we depend upon our own efforts.

The phrase, the sexually immoral [povrnoi] refers to that which is characteristic of contemporary society.  It is sexual immorality in general and especially that of unmarried individuals in particular which is in view.  This is the rampant and pervasive sexuality found in magazines, movies, television and music.  Those individuals who feed their mind on pornography, who watch salacious videos, or gratify their own sexual appetites outside of marriage are the ones in view by this condemnation.

Television morality debates whether it is right to sleep with someone on the first date or whether it is better to wait.  Godliness states that we save ourselves for marriage.  Modern morality assures us that serial sexual partners are acceptable so long as “we don’t hurt anyone.”  Godliness says that sex is anything but casual.  We fill our minds with sexual rebellion and marvel at our lack of intimacy with Holy God.

The word idolaters [eijdwlolavtrai] speaks of that which is exalted above God.  Though few of our fellow Canadians may actually bow down to an idol constructed of stone or wood, they worship at the shrine of success, at the altar of power, before the throne of pleasure.  We are the worst sort of idolaters in that we exalt many things above the Lord God and say that we are good Christians.  Among the worst sort of idolaters are ministers of the Gospel who worship wealth and position, using the people of God to advance their own careers, without caring whether they trample underfoot God’s holy heritage.

Adulterers [moicoi;] refers specifically to married people who indulge in sexual acts outside the marriage partnership.  God commands that we who are Christians are to honour marriage.  Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled [Hebrews 13:4].  The reason we are given this particular admonition is that God is pledged to judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.  I need to speak quite pointedly to this subject.  It would be good if each man among us would follow the practise of righteous Job, who testified, I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman[3] [Job 31:1]?

Men who practise homosexuality [malakoi; ou[te ajrsenokoi`tai] is comprehensive.  There are two separate words used to describe these sinful activities.  The footnote in the English Standard Bible informs the reader that the two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts.  Consequently, our pew Bible speaks of male prostitutes and homosexual offenders.[4]  Male prostitutes and sodomites[5] is another translation.  The Word of God condemns homosexuality.

No Christian should ever be guilty of condoning that which is rebellion against the mind of Holy God.  There is no excuse for such rebellion against the will of God.  Homosexuality is sin.  It is no more sinful than other sins, but it is sin nevertheless.  There is a growing movement to normalise homosexuality.  There are a growing number of homosexual churches which identify themselves as evangelical.  In order to appear evangelical, they must adopt the language of the New Testament without appearing to violate their own conscience concerning the justification of their sin of homosexuality.

The Metropolitan Community Church claims that the New Testament does not condemn homosexuality.  The federation asserts that Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 6:9 can be explained away with “fuzzy Greek” or simply reinterpreted in light of modern culture.  For example, 1 Corinthians 6:9 does not actually uses the word homosexual, they say.  Well, yes, it does.  Both Greek words used in the passages [malakov" and ajrsenokoivth"] mean an effeminate, homosexual, male sexual pervert and Sodomite.  Both are used in the context of Paul's description of “immorality” among the Corinthians.

Paul says that the homosexual is only one type of sinner that will be excluded from heaven.  He or she stands condemned as does the drunkard, the adulterer and the slanderer.  The gospel's good news, however, is that Christ redeems and changes human beings—even homosexuals.  After all, Paul wrote, “some of these things you once were.”

Thieves and greedy people [klevptai … pleonevktai] point to the same basic sin of greed.  The greedy want what others have and the thief takes it.  At the root of either sin is selfishness.  Today, it seems increasingly difficult to find an individual satisfied with what God gives.  Income and possessions seem insufficient to satisfy.

Drunkards [mevqusoi] is self-explanatory.  Anything which causes an individual to lose control of their thoughts or their actions is condemned by God.  Revilers [loivdoroi] are “those who destroy with their tongues.  They wound with words, an activity which God does not consider to be mild, because it comes from hearts full of hate.  Thus, the reviler causes misery, pain and despair in the lives of those attacked.”[6]  Swindlers [a{rpage"] are thieves who steal indirectly.  The concept embraces extortioners, embezzlers, those who advertise falsely, those promoting defective goods and services.

The Apostle has provided a dark list of sins, each of which describes that which is wrong.  What I would have you see is that there is no gradation of sin, the offence of one sin is as great as the offence of another.  The homosexual is just as detestable before Holy God as is the reviler or the greedy.  The other point I must stress is that in these eight terms are found sins which describe activities each of us has engaged in to greater or lesser degree.  Before God, we are guilty of sinful behaviour.

One other point I must stress is that there is no such thing as a “little bit of sin.”  We cannot congratulate ourselves and say that we sin “just a little.”  Neither can we compare ourselves to another and say that our sin is not as odious as his sin.  We are alike condemned before God.  Moreover, if we think we can excuse ourselves because we just “sample” these various sins, we deceive ourselves.  The manner in which we live exposes us, revealing our character.  Character, consequently, is what you are when you think that no one is looking.  Reputation is what people think you are, and character is what you actually are.  This is the dark list, and too many of us are condemned by it.

I have read from Petersen’s interpretation of the New Testament on several occasions in recent sermons.  I think it may prove beneficial to read his rendition of this particular passage as well.  Listen carefully to his understanding of the apostolic warning.  Don’t you realise that this is not the way to live?  Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom.  Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom.  A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list.  Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.[7]

The Heirs are Specified by God.  I confess that the message has been dark to this point.  There is a reason why we who proclaim the Good News begin by painting the dark backdrop of sin which characterises our fallen race.  The stars shine most brightly against the black backdrop of deep space.  Just so, the righteousness of the redeemed shines most brightly when displayed against the dark backdrop of human sinfulness.  The great New Testament scholar, J. Gresham Machan, wrote condemning this point.

[A]lthough Christianity does not end with the broken heart, it does being with a broken heart; it begins with the consciousness of sin.  Without consciousness of sin, the whole gospel will seem to be an idle tale.  …But if the consciousness of sin is to be produced, the law of God must be proclaimed in the lives of Christian people as well as in word.  It is quite useless for the preacher to breathe out fire and brimstone from the pulpit, if at the same time the occupants of the pews go on taking sin very lightly and being content with the moral standards of the world.  The rank and file of the Church must do their part in so proclaiming the law of God with their lives.

And such were some of you.  I am ashamed to confess that there is not a sin listed within this apostolic catalogue of which I am not guilty—either vicariously or in deed.  We live among these conditions.  We have each given ourselves up to these practises at various times.  Were the secrets of our lives displayed for all to see, we would each be horribly ashamed.  Were the secrets harboured in our hearts exposed so that we could no longer hide them from others, we would each be dreadfully ashamed.  If we have not personally practised these sins, we have given quiet assent to each of them at various times, and thus, we are each equally guilty before God.  We stand condemned.

Note the sharp contrast provided in verse eleven by one wee word—but.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified…  What I once was is of no consequence.  What I may have been is forever changed.  The first tense is somewhat different from the rest—you washed yourselves.  You washed yourselves through believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Through that cleansing, you are declared holy and free of condemnation.

Think about that!  Among us are those who were once sexually immoral, but they have washed themselves through faith in the Risen Son of God.  Among us are those who were once idolaters, but they are now holy to God.  Among us are adulterers, but they are now free of all guilt.  The effeminate and the sodomites are free of condemnation in Christ.  The thieves and the greedy are declared pure before Holy God.  The erstwhile drunkards have been cleansed through faith in our Lord.  You who once destroyed others with your tongues have washed yourselves, as have those who were once swindlers.

How can we any longer live as we once did?  We who have been cleansed must not return to our filthy ways.  We who are holy must not now embrace that which is detestable to Holy God.  We who are free of all guilt dare not return to our wicked ways.  Once I was filthy, and now I am cleansed.  Once I was distinguished by my sinful condition, and now I am set apart for God’s service.  Once I was guilty, and now I am free of all condemnation.  This is the contrast produced by the Faith!

A dear friend used to say that a sheep may fall into the mud, but because it is a sheep, it will not lie down in the mud.  Because it is a sheep, it will endeavour to try to cleanse itself from the filth which adheres to it.  Just so, the child of God will seek to extract himself or herself from the mire of sin.  We may sin, but we no longer enjoy sin.

Turn your mind once again to the scene which played out on television a few weeks ago.  I began the message by referring to the dramatic mine rescue in Pennsylvania.  Television coverage at the mine rescue in Somerset, Pennsylvania was full of talk about prayer, miracles and the goodness of God.  Still, there surely were lost people on the scene.  Their hearts were fixed on mine rescue.  They were indifferent to earth rescue; God had lowered the capsule, and they paid it no mind.

The paper reports that the operation took place on land adjacent to a rural Lutheran church.  Perhaps one of the crusty drillers, a jaded newsman or a desperate relative wandered into that church, slumped down in a pew, lifted a hymnal from the rack and humbly received the message of Martin Luther's If God Had Not Been on Our Side.  It concerns the persecution of Christians on earth, but it points to the one who rescues from every evil and gives eternal freedom from sin, want, fear, confusion and suffering:

Their furious wrath, did God permit,

Would surely have consumed us

And as a deep and yawning pit

With life and limb entombed us.

Like men o'er whom dark waters roll

Their wrath could have engulfed our soul

And, like a flood, o'erwhelmed us.

Blest be the Lord, who foiled their threat

That they could not devour us;

Our souls, like birds, escaped their net,

They could not overpower us.

The snare is broken—we are free!

Our help is ever, Lord, in Thee,

Who madest earth and heaven.

Entombment.  Dark waters.  God's deliverance.  Now that's a rescue.  And how might men escape should they neglect it?  This is an awesome question which each of us must answer.  If we belong to the Living God, if we have been redeemed by Him, we are responsible for the way in which we live.  If we think we can ignore righteousness, we delude ourselves and invite His discipline.

Listen once more, and with new understanding, to the frightful words recorded in Hebrews 10:26-31 and weigh them carefully.

If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.  Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.  How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”  And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The call of this message is a call to a life marked by righteousness.  Some among us need perhaps to seek forgiveness of our sin.  Here is an old fashioned altar.  Come, while the invitation of Christ is extended, and kneeling at this altar, ask forgiveness of Him who gives you life.  Some among us need to commit ourselves in a fresh way to serving this Holy God.  The invitation is for you to come to this altar and kneeling there, seek a renewal of your commission to serve Him who loves you and who gives you life.

Among us are some who have never openly confessed their faith in the Risen Son of God.  This invitation is for you to come, confessing that you have submitted to the reign of Christ Jesus the Lord, even as Scripture commands.  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  …For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” [Romans 10:9, 10, 13].

Others within this congregation today, have yet to openly obey the command of the Master, following Him in baptism.  We call on you to openly identify with Him as He commands.  Take a stand with the redeemed of God.  The first command for every believer is that they prove obedient to the Word of God, identifying with Christ in His passion through baptism.  Why do you wait?  Rise and be baptised and wash away your sins, calling on His Name [Acts 22:16].

No doubt, others need to come to place their membership in the fellowship of this dear church.  God commands that we stand with His people, uniting and lending our gifts for the purpose of building one another up and thus glorifying Him.  The people of God languish, waiting for you to openly stand with them.  The cause of the Saviour is hindered, waiting for you to join in the great crusade.  The purposes of God are unfulfilled for your life and for the life of His church, because you wait.

Let the people of God purify their hearts and cleanse themselves from their sin.  Let us each set aside the weigh which hinders us from running the race and let each of us join in the great work of bringing the lost to Christ and glorifying His dear Name.  Amen.


[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version.  Wheaton: Good News Publishers, 2001.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

[2] Merrill F. Unger, Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven (art.) in R. K. Harrison (ed.) The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Moody Press, Chicago, IL 1957, 1961, 1966, 1985, 1988) 740

[3]Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Tyndale House, Wheaton, IL 1997).

[4] Holy Bible: New International Version (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 1988)

[5] Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN 1996, c1989)

[6] John MacArthur, Jr., 1 Corinthians (Moody, Chicago, IL 1984) 143

[7] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs (NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO 1995).

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