(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
I wonder how much land modern day Jews would occupy in Israel if 4,200 years ago Abraham had not obeyed what God told him in Genesis 13:14 through 17:
And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are — northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
The Contemporary English Version translates verse 17 this way: “Now walk back and forth across the land, because I am giving it to you.” And this promise is repeated in a more exact way in two other places:
- While they were camped east of the Jordan River in the land of the Moabites, Moses told the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 11:24:
Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours, from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea shall be your territory.
- When Joshua took the leadership position over Israel after Moses death, God spoke to him in Joshua 1:2 through 4:
...arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land I am giving to them — the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness of this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Eu- phrates, all the land of the Hittites, and o the Great [Mediterranean] Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.
Every time this promise was reiterated, it carried the same requirement: “You have to actually walk and explore the extent of what I, the LORD, am giving you.” Only once was the kingdom of Israel approaching the borders of the territory promised! And that was under Solomon’s reign, circa 970 to 931 BC. The Jews fell short of the promised boundaries because they failed to walk with God and claim the land, as well as receive many of the blessings the LORD wanted to give them!
So it is with many Christians today! God has amazing promises for those who enter into His kingdom through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 10:9 and 10 He said,
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he shall be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture....I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught in Matthew 7:13 and 14:
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
In the latter, Jesus is the narrow gate. In the former, the door. But there is more, so much more, than just entering into the kingdom by the door, the gate! There is…
- …the pasture to find and in which to freely feed!
- …the way to walk, though it be difficult !
I met an affable young man yesterday. As we talked, I asked him if he was a Christian. He said yes, without hesitation. But as we conversed further, I asked if he was married. “No,” he replied, “I haven’t found the right person. I have gone through a couple of bad relationships.” I told him that maybe God has someone special for him. He might find her in church. “Yeah,” He said, “I guess I should start going.” I asked him if he read the Bible. He answered, “I really need to start reading my Bible again.” He had gone through the door, the gate, into the kingdom, but he was still standing just inside the entrance!
I have met so many believers who claim to have entered the kingdom through faith in Jesus! From what they say, they are saved! They are born again! (See John 3:3-5; I Peter 1:23). But there is so much more to learn and to do, to explore!…….and they are just standing there – just inside the gate!
What must one do to begin Walking Around The Kingdom? There are several basic things:
- First and foremost – Get in the Word! Read it! Study it! Meditate on the passages that the Holy Spirit brings to your attention. Memorize the verses that jump off the page because they apply to you. If I could identify the one most important thing a Christian should do, it would be get in the Bible! (See Colossians 3:16; Isaiah 34:16; II Timothy 2:15; Psalm 119:11; Joshua 1:8). There is so much more the Word of God can do in the believer’s life! Check out What the Word Will Do, published on April 24th.
- Obedience to the Lord is of utmost importance for the Christian as he or she explores the kingdom! Jesus posed this question to the religious Jews in Luke 6:46: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say? ” He could ask the same of many who identify themselves as Christians today!
✞ He plainly told His disciples, “...the first of all the commandments is ‘...love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:29, 30). ✞ Jesus further stated in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Or, “If you love Me, OBEY Me!” So we can substitute the word ‘obey’ for ‘love’ in the Great Command- ment: “...OBEY the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’”
And where do we find what He wants us to do? In the Bible!
- Prayer is a vital part of walking around God’s kingdom! There are so many promises concerning prayer in the Bible. Check out the three Gems of May 22nd, 25th, and 30th; Does Jesus Understand? These three expound one of the greatest prayer promises in the Bible, Hebrews 4:14 through 16. So important is prayer in a Christian’s life that Paul rates it as one of the two offensive weapons of the armor of God! (See Ephesians 6:18). No wonder the apostle tells us in I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”
- It is written in Hebrews 10:24 and 25:
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day [of the Lord’s return] approaching.
This is referring to the Church, the body of believers regularly gathering together for worship, fellowship, teaching, encouragement, and more. Too many who identify as Christians tell me, “I don’t go to church. I worship the Lord in my own way.” But do you realize Christ established the Church, paying for it with the exorbitant price of His own precious blood? How dare we neglect this aspect of exploring His kingdom! (See I Peter 2:4-8 – Read also the warning in Hebrews 6:4 through 6.)
- “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so…,” wrote the psalmist in Psalm 107:2. Sharing your faith with others is part of walking around the kingdom! What Jesus told His disciples in Acts 1:8, just before He ascended into heaven applies to all believers today: “…you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Start where you are, and reach out further from there! (See also Matthew 28:18-20; I Peter 3:15). Someone had to share the gospel with you, in order for you to believe!
- Giving is a vital part of the kingdom! And it goes far beyond opening your wallet or purse! Paul wrote in II Corinthians 8:1 through 4 concerning the stewardship of the Macedonian Christians. He wrote this to stir up the generosity of the believers in southern Greece:
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Mace- donia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and this fellowship of the ministering to the saints [in Jerusalem]. And this they did, not as we had hoped, but first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
This is the order of all giving:
✞ First give yourself to the Lord! Not just in- itially, but daily (moment by moment) following and obeying Him! (See Mark 8:34-38; I Corinthians 15:31; Galatians 2:20). ✞ Then, as He leads by His Holy Spirit, obey His leading, and give...of your time, your prayers, your actions, your possessions, your money!
God always richly repays! It may not be in this life, but the Christian has all eternity to enjoy the Lord’s riches!
There is so much more to the kingdom of which we are a part as soon as we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Paul exclaimed in awe of all this when he wrote in Romans 11:33: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! ” And so he prays for the believers in Ephesians 1:17 through 23,
...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory...give to you the spirit of wisdom and reve- lation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your un- derstanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Now get up! Start Walking Around The Kingdom! Explore what God, through Jesus Christ the Lord, has given you!