“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying ‘ The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'” – Mark 1:14-15
According to Scripture, the only two kingdoms that exist are the kingdom of man and the kingdom of God! In light of this, consider the following questions: what is the difference between these two kingdoms? and how do you enter each of them?
First, the kingdom of man is very easy to understand and enter. When you are born, you have entered the kingdom of man. You gain entrance by your physical birth. One can actually see the kingdom of man because it is physical in nature. As a member of the kingdom of man, you live on this earth which is under the control and influence of Satan. 1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” The kingdom of man is a very worldly and temporal kingdom that will not last. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:31, “For this world in its present form is passing away.” So, why do we spend so much time, effort and resources on something that will not last? Finally, this kingdom has a king, and that king is man.
Now, let’s consider the kingdom of God. What is it and how does a man enter it? First, understand that a kingdom is the realm over which a king rules. Thus, the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Heaven, is the realm over which God rules. Unlike the kingdom of man, the kingdom of God cannot be seen with our physical eyes. It is an unseen kingdom because the realm of God’s rule is spiritual in nature. First and foremost, God rules over the hearts of all those who belong to Him by faith.
Here is the most important question one can be asked in this life. How do you enter the kingdom of God? Jesus answers this question in John 3, when a very religious man comes to him at night with questions.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Right here one can see both kingdoms: the kingdom of man and the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh—that is the kingdom of man. Spirit gives birth to spirit—that is the kingdom of God. Here is the truth: if you are born once, you will die twice. However, if you are born twice, you will only die once. Finally, the kingdom of man is ruled by man while the kingdom of God is ruled by the King whose name is Jesus.
In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Entering the kingdom of God by way of the narrow gate is simple. All you have to do is believe in Jesus. But if it’s so simple, why do so few choose to really follow Jesus. The answer is because it is difficult. You have to die to this world and all of its pleasures. You have to be willing to tell others that you are a follower of Jesus. Are you willing to do that? Have you ever done this? Why not? Because you risk losing a friend! Because you risk losing your reputation. You must be willing to forsake everything if want to enter the narrow gate. The reason so few enter the narrow gate is because the world, which is under the control of Satan, is such a powerful influence pulling many down the wide road.
Read the verse above again: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus came preaching the Good News. He said, “The time is fulfilled” (NIV says, “the time is now”). So, for some of you reading this, the time is now. You need to respond to this Good News while you have time. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:2, For He says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. Have you responded to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? If not, why not now? Repent of your sins and turn your life over to Jesus while it is the time of His favor.