A young man who had been troubling society with impalpable doctrines of a new civilization which he called "the Kingdom of Heaven" had been put out of the way; and I can imagine that believer in material power murmuring as he went homeward, "it will all blow over now." Yes. The wind from the Kingdom of Heaven has blown over the world, and shall blow for centuries yet.
Since 'the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force' (Mt. 11:12), and it is impossible for the faithful to enter it by any other way, unless they come through the narrow gate of trials and tribulations, the divine oracle rightly commands us, saying: 'Strive to enter by the narrow door' (Lk. 13:24). Again He says, 'By your endurance you will gain your souls' (Lk. 21:19), and, 'Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of heaven' (Acts 14:22).
The level above Man is called the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God in the Gospels. It has many other names in different writings. In the Gospels, it is said that the Kingdom of Heaven is within. It is at a higher level of a man. To reach it, a man must reach a higher level in himself. If everyone did this, the level of life on this earth would change.
The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God on the earth will be combined together at Christ's coming - and that time is not far distant. How I wish we could get the vision of this work, the genius of it, and realize the nearness of that great event. I am sure it would have a sobering effect upon us if we realized what is before us.
The Kingdom of grace is nothing but.... the beginning of the Kingdom of glory; the Kingdom of grace is glory in the seed, and the Kingdom of glory is grace in the flower; the Kingdom ofgrace is glory in the daybreak, and the Kingdom of glory is grace in the full meridian; the Kingdom of grace is glory militant, and the Kingdom of glory is grace triumphant.... the Kingdom ofgrace leads to the Kingdom of glory.
Jesus' kingdom was not like the popular expectation. He used the phrase 'kingdom of God' with a different meaning. His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). It was not like the kingdoms of this world. It was the kingdom of God, a supernatural kingdom. It was invisible to most people (John 3:3)-it could not be understood or experienced without the Holy Spirit (v. 6). God is Spirit, and the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom.
Men sometimes speak as if humility and meekness would rob us of what is noble and bold and manlike. O that all would believe that this is the nobility of the kingdom of heaven, that this is the royal spirit that the King of heaven displayed, that this is Godlike, to humble oneself, to become the servant of all!
The Church was redeemed at the price of Christ's blood. Jew or Greek, it makes no difference; but if he has believed, he must circumcise himself from his sins [in baptism (Col. 2:11-12)] so that he can be saved . . . for no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except through the sacrament of baptism . . . "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God"
If the kingdom of God is within us and that is a kingdom of justice, of peace, and of joy then whoever remains with these virtues is certainly in the kingdom of God. By contrast, all who deal in unrighteousness, in discord, and in death-bearing gloom have taken their stand in the kingdom of the devil, in hell and in lifelessness. It is by these tokens that the kingdom of God or of the devil is recognized.
In the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no grandeur to be won, inasmuch as there all is an established hierarchy, the unknown is revealed, existence is infinite, there is no possibility of sacrifice, all is rest and joy. For this reason, bowed down by suffering and duties, beautiful in the midst of his misery, capable of loving in the face of afflictions and trials, man finds his greatness, his fullest measure, only in The Kingdom of This World.
Therefore, if a great kingdom humbles itself before a small kingdom, it shall make that small kingdom its prize. And if a small kingdom humbles itself before a great kingdom, it shall win over that great kingdom. Thus the one humbles itself in order to attain, the other attains because it is humble. If the great kingdom has no further desire than to bring men together and to nourish them, the small kingdom will have no further desire than to enter the service of the other. But in order that both may have their desire, the great one must learn humility.
Seek first the kingdom of wealth and you'll worry over every dollar. Seek first the kingdom of health and you'll sweat every blemish and bump. Seek first the kingdom of popularity, and you'll relive every conflict. Seek first the kingdom of safety, and you'll jump at every crack of the twig. But seek first His kingdom and you will find it. On that, we can depend and never worry.
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