Eleventh Hour Servants

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the twentieth chapter of this New Testament book. SO THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST, AND THE FIRST LAST! FOR MANY BE CALLED, BUT FEW CHOSEN! “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard” WHEN HE HAD AGREED WITH THE LABOURERS FOR A PENNY A DAY, HE SENT THEM INTO HIS VINEYARD! HE SENT OUT ABOUT THE THIRD HOUR, AND SAW OTHERS STANDING IDLE IN THE MARKETPLACE, AND SAID UNTO THEM; GO  YE ALSO INTO THE VINYEARD, AND WHATSOEVER IS RIGHT I WILL GIVE YOU! AND THEY WENT THEIR WAY! AGAIN HE WENT OUT ABOUT THE SIXTSH AND NINTH HOUR, AND DID LIKEWISE! AND ABOUT THE ELEVENTH HOUR HE WENT OUT, AND FOUND OTHERS STANDING IDLE, AND SAITH UNTO THEM, WHY STAND YE HERE ALL THE DAY IDLE? THEY SAY UNTO HIM, BECAUSE NO MAN HATH HIRED US! HE SAITH UNTO THEM, GO YE ALSO INTO THE VINYEARD; AND WHATSOEVER IS RIGHT, THAT SHALL YE RECEIVE! SO WHEN EVEN WAS COME, THE LORD OF THE VINEYARD SAITH UNTO HIS STEWARD, CALL THE LABOURERS, AND GIVE THEM THEIR HIRE, BEGINNING FROM THE LAST UNTO THE FIRST! AND WHEN THEY CAME THAT WERE HIRED ABOUT THE ELEVENTH HOUR, THEY RECEIVED EVERY MAN A PENNY! BUT WHEN THE FIRST CAME, THEY SUPPOSED THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED MORE; AND THEY LIKEWISE RECEIVED EVERY MAN A PENNY! AND WHEN THEY HAD RECEIVED IT, THEY MURMURED AGAINST THE GOODMAN OF THE HOUSE, SAYING, THESE LAST HAVE WROUGHT BUT ONE HOUR, AND THOU HAST MADE THEM EQUAL UNTO US, WHICH HAVE BORNE THE BURDEN AND HEAT OF THE DAY! BUT HE ANSWERED AND SAID, FRIEND, I DO THEE NO WRONG: DIDST NOT THOU AGREE WITH ME FOR A PENNY? TAKE THAT IS THINE AND GO THY WAY: I WILL GIVE UNTO THIS LAST, EVEN AS UNTO THEE! IS IT NOT LAWFUL FOR ME TO DO WHAT I WILL WITH MINE OWN? IS THINE EYE EVIL, BECAUSE I AM GOOD?

            “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again” THIS IS NOW THE THIRD TIME JESUS HAS TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES THAT HE MUST NEEDS GO TO JERUSALEM! THIS IS NOW THE THIRD TIME JESUS HAS TAUGHT AND SPOKEN UNTO HIS DISCIPLE THAT HE MUST NEEDS SUFFER! THIS THIRD TIME JESUS TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES THAT HE MUST NEEDS DIE! THREE TIMES JESUS DECLARED HE MUST NEEDS DIE! THREE TIMES JESUS DECLARED THAT HE WOULD RISE AGAIN! I AM GOING TO DIE, BUT I WILL RISE AGAIN! I AM GOING TO SUFFER, AND I AM GOING TO DIE, BUT I WILL RISE AGAIN!

            THE REQUEST OF JAMES AND JOHN! THE REQUEST FOR POSITION IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN! GRANT THAT THESE TWO MY SONS, MAY SIT, THE ONE ON THY RIGHT HAND, AND THE OTHER ON THE LEFT, IN THY KINGDOM! YE KNOW NOT WHAT WE ASK! ARE YE ABLE TO DRINK OF THE CUP THAT I SHALL DRINK OF, AND TO BE BAPTIZED WITH THE BAPTISM THAT I AM BAPTIZED WITH? THEY SAID UNTO HIM, WE ARE ABLE! YE SHALL DRINK INDEED OF MY CUP, AND BE BAPTIZED WITH: BUT TO SIT ON MY RIGHT HAND, AND ON MY LEFT, IS NOT MINE TO GIVE, BUT IT SHALL BE GIVEN TO THEM FOR WHOM IT IS PREPARED OF MY FATHER! AND WHEN THE TEN HEARD IT, THEY WERE MOVED WITH INDIGNATION AGAINST THE TWO BRETHREN! ”Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: EVEN AS THE SON OF MAN CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED TUNTO, BUT TO MINISTER, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RASON FOR MANY”

            AND AS THEY DEPARTED FROM JERICHO, A GREAT MULTITUDE FOLLOWED HIM! AND, BEHOLD, TWO BLIND MEN SITTING BY THE WAY SIDE, WHEN THEY HEARD THAT JESUS PASSED BY, CRIED OUT, SAYING, HAVE MERCY ON US, O LORD, THOU SON OF DAVID! AND THE MULTITUDE REBUKED THEM, BECAUSE THEY SHOULD HOLD THEIR PEACE! BUT THEY CRIED THE MORE, SAYING, HAVE MERCY ON US, O LORD, THOU SON OF DAVID! AND JESUS STOOD STILL, AND CALLED THEM, AND SAID, WHAT WILL YE THAT I SHALL DO UNTO YOU? THEY SAY UNTO HIM, LORD THAT OUR EYES MAY BE OPENED! SO JESUS HAD COMPASSION ON THEM, AND TOUCHED THEIR EYES: AND IMMEDIATELY THEIR EYES RECEIVED SIGHT, AND THEY FOLLOWED HIM!

            LABOURERS! THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST, THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST! MANY ARE CALLED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN! THE BETRAYAL, SUFFERING, DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS! A REQUEST FOR GREATNESS, POSITION AND PRESTIGE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN! YOU KNOW NOT WHAT YOU ASK! ARE YOU ABLE TO DRINK THE CUP JESUS DRANK, AND BE BAPTIZED WITH THE BAPTISM THAT HE WAS BAPTIZED WITH! JESUS DECLARED THAT WHOSOEVER WOULD BE CHIEF AMONG THE DISCIPLES WOULD BE SERVANT AMONG THEM! JESUS DECLARED THAT HE CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, BUT TO MINISTER, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY! JESUS NOT ONLY LET THE BLIND CONTINUE CALL OUT TO HIM, BUT JESUS STOOD STILL, CALLED UNTO THEM, HAD COMPASSION ON THEM, AND TOUCHED THEIR EYES! SITTING IN BETWEEN TWO PLACES OF VICTORY AND YET BLIND!

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will again find Jesus speaking about the kingdom of heaven—and not only speaking about the kingdom of heaven, but teaching about the kingdom of heaven using a parable. We were first introduced to the parables Jesus spoke concerning the kingdom in the fourteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel, and the language Jesus would use in virtually every parable was that of “the kingdom of heaven is like,” or “the kingdom of heaven is likened unto.” We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how incredibly powerful this language truly is, for when we read these parables Jesus spoke we are brought face to face with the absolutely incredible truths Jesus spoke concerning the kingdom of heaven. We know that when Jesus emerged on to the scene after being driven into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted of the devil He began preaching, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In the very next chapter—in what has been commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount—we find Jesus spending a great deal of team teaching the multitude concerning the kingdom of heaven and that which the heavenly Father requires of those who wish to enter in and experience it. Within this Sermon on the Mount Jesus emphatically declared that the meek would inherit the earth, that the poor in spirit would receive the kingdom, and even how those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake would receive the kingdom. Furthermore, Jesus would go on to emphatically declare that unless our righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees we would in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. In the sixth chapter we find Jesus instructing His disciples to not only pray unto the Father and ask that His kingdom would come—a kingdom that is intrinsically linked and connected to His will—but we also find Jesus instructing His disciples and followers to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all those things they have need of would be added unto them. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to read the words and language which was spoken by Jesus the Christ concerning the kingdom of heaven, and how Jesus wasted no time and held no punches when actually speaking concerning the kingdom. Jesus was very clear concerning the kingdom of heaven—and not only the kingdom of heaven, but what the kingdom of heaven demanded, asked and required of those who wished to enter into it.

            As you come to the thirteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel you will find Jesus teaching the multitude of people which had gathered themselves unto Him, and teaching them concerning the kingdom of heaven. What’s more, is that as we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture we encounter how Jesus would initially begin teaching the multitude concerning the farmer who went about sowing seed in the field. Upon sowing seed throughout the field the seed which was sown would be sown on four different types of soil. What makes this truly astonishing and interesting is when you think about and consider that the interpretation of this parable is how the seed is the Word of God, and how the One who sowed the seed was indeed the Son of man. The four different types of soil would represent the different types of responses and reactions that seed would actually have within the different types of individuals unto whom the seed was sown. Jesus would speak of that seed which would fall by the way side, and how this represented the seed which was sown unto those who heard and received the word, and yet they did not understand the word when it was sown. As a direct result of this, the enemy came and snatched away that which was sown, and would thus leave these individuals with absolutely nothing. What I find to be truly astonishing and truly remarkable is when you think about and consider the fact that these individuals would indeed hear and would indeed receive the word which was sown into their hearts and lives, and yet because they did not understand the word the enemy and adversary would come and snatch away the seed which was sown unto them. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like for these individuals having heard the word of the gospel, and having received the word, and yet because they didn’t understand the word the enemy was able to come and snatch the word from their hearts. This is actually quite intriguing when you consider it in direct relation to the next ground where the seed was sown—the stony ground—for Jesus declared this ground as representing those who heard the word of the kingdom and initially received it with joy. These individuals would hear the word concerning the kingdom, and these individuals would in fact respond with joy, and yet that joy—and not only the joy, but the fruit and manifestation of the word within their hearts and lives would be short-lived. Jesus would go on to describe how although these individuals heard the word concerning the kingdom and initially received it with joy—when persecution would arise for the sake of the word they would become offended. I would also dare say that such individuals didn’t merely become offended because of the word and because of persecution which rose up because of the word, but they also turned themselves back and quite possibly walked no more with Jesus.

            Jesus would continue to describe a third type of soil into which the seed was sown, and that seed was sown into and among the thorny ground. When Jesus provided the interpretation for this particular portion of the parable He described how these individuals would hear the word concerning the kingdom, and how these individuals would perhaps even receive the word with joy, and yet the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches would choke the life of the word from their hearts and lives. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this particular truth and this reality, for there are different types and different groups of individuals who hear the word concerning the kingdom—and not only are there different types and groups of individuals who would hear the word concerning the kingdom, but there would be different results and reactions to the word concerning the kingdom being sown into their hearts and lives. There would be those who would have the word of the kingdom snatched and stolen away from them because of their lack of understanding, there would be those who would become offended because persecution for the sake of the word would arise within their hearts and lives, and there would be others who would have the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the life of the word within their hearts and lives. Oh how absolutely necessary and imperative it is to think about and consider these words, for they call and bring our attention to the absolutely awesome and powerful truth concerning the kingdom of heaven—and not only concerning the kingdom of heaven, but also concerning the reaction and response to the word of the kingdom which was being sown into the hearts and lives of those individuals who heard it.

            I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the absolutely astonishing reality that there would also be a fourth group of people who would not only hear the word, and would not only receive the word, and would not only understand the word, but the word would produce and bring forth fruit within their hearts and lives. What’s more, is that not only would the seed which is the word of God produce and bring forth seed within their hearts and lives, but that fruit would be thirty, sixty, and even an hundred-fold. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely incredible this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to just how absolutely incredible it is when reading the words which Jesus spoke concerning the kingdom of heaven. Jesus wasted no time teaching and speaking concerning the kingdom of heaven, and although He would teach and speak in parables, there would be those who would not only hear and understand that which he was spoken, but those who would actually depart from the presence of Jesus and seek to gain understanding concerning what He had taught and spoken unto them. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words contained within the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, for the words which we find here bring us face to face with the beginning of the parables Jesus would teach and speak concerning the kingdom of heaven. Jesus would begin teaching and speaking unto the people in parables concerning the kingdom of heaven, and would indeed and would in fact teach the people truths and mysteries concerning the kingdom—that which was hidden and concealed from the foundation of the world. John the Baptist would call and instruct men and women to repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and even Jesus Himself would initially call men and women to repent for the kingdom of heaven, and yet the fundamental difference between these two men is that Jesus would actually begin teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven. Not only would Jesus begin teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven, but He would actually begin to set up and establish the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth.

            If there is one thing we must needs realize and understand concerning the kingdom of heaven—and not only concerning the kingdom of heaven, but also Jesus’ words concerning the kingdom of heaven—it’s that the kingdom of heaven was not this distant and foreign reality which was somehow going to be manifested unto the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ. When Jesus taught concerning the kingdom of heaven He wasn’t speaking of something that would be experienced when those who walked with and followed Him passed from this life unto the next. When Jesus spoke concerning the kingdom of heaven He was speaking of a reality which would be manifested unto and among them in the earth during those days. In other words, the kingdom of heaven was not something the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ would necessarily look forward to in the distant future, but was something they could actually enter into and participate in during those days and times. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely wonderful and incredible this truly is, for when we think and speak about the kingdom of heaven we must needs realize that the kingdom of heaven is that which is manifested in the earth and is not limited to heaven alone. Oh pause for a moment and think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth that the kingdom of heaven was not limited to that realm where the Father sat upon the throne surrounded by the myriads of angels, cherubim and seraphim. The kingdom of heaven which Jesus the Christ taught and spoke about was indeed that which would and that which could be experienced in the earth by those who would walk with and follow Him.

            When we read the words Jesus taught and spoke concerning the kingdom of heaven we must needs realize and understand that the kingdom of heaven was that which would be manifested in the midst of the earth during those days. The kingdom of heaven was not something the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ needed to wait to experience, but the kingdom of heaven was something they could actually enter into during those days. Oh we must needs realize and understand that, for when we think about and consider the parable which Jesus spoke in this particular passage of Scripture we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that the kingdom of heaven was not only something that would be experienced within the earth, but the kingdom of heaven was that which the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ would and could actually and actively participate in. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly wonderful and powerful reality, for when we think about the kingdom of heaven we must needs recognize and understand its intrinsic link and connection to the harvest. It is absolutely impossible to speak about the kingdom of heaven and separate it from the earth—and not only attempt to separate it from the earth, but also separate it from the harvest that is found in the midst of the earth. Jesus came teaching and preaching concerning the kingdom of heaven, and we must needs recognize and understand this incredibly powerful reality, for at the very heart and center of the kingdom of heaven is the harvest which Jesus would send forth His labourers into that they might work in the midst of the fields. If you want to truly understand the kingdom of heaven, and if you truly want to see the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the earth during your generation, you must needs realize that the kingdom of heaven has at the very heart and center of it the harvest which is the world. With that being said, however, we must recognize and understand that with the earth being at the very center of the kingdom of heaven—or I should see the kingdom of heaven being at the very center of the earth—is a wonderful and tremendous responsibility the servants of the kingdom have present within their hearts and lives. We cannot afford to miss and lose sight of just how absolutely wonderful and incredible this is, for it calls and draws our attention to that which we have been called to do as servants within the kingdom of heaven.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the teaching which Jesus gave concerning the kingdom of heaven, and I find myself being absolutely and completely gripped and captivated with the fact that the kingdom of heaven is indeed that which is manifested in the midst of the earth—that which is manifested in the midst of the harvest. In all reality, I would dare say that the kingdom of heaven is indeed established in the midst of the earth through the labor of the servants whom Jesus would send into the midst of the field. It would be very easy to speak about the kingdom of heaven in terms of this spiritual and supernatural manifestation and reality within the earth—and while the kingdom of heaven does indeed and does in fact have a supernatural element and aspect to it, we must needs realize and understand that the kingdom of heaven has at the very heart and center of it labor. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN! Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that the kingdom of heaven carries with it a tremendous responsibility and a tremendous burden within the hearts and lives of the servants of the kingdom of heaven? Would it shock and surprise you to think and consider that the kingdom of heaven is about more than something we enter into, but rather something we move and operate in? What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder if you have ever taken the time to think about and consider the kingdom of heaven as carrying and bearing a tremendous burden and responsibility within your heart and life? We tend to think of the kingdom of heaven as something to be enjoyed, and yet I would contend that there can be no true enjoyment of the kingdom of heaven without and apart from a willing to labor in the midst of the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is indeed something that can be enjoyed and experienced within our hearts and lives, and yet that enjoyment cannot be separated from the tremendous responsibility that is found within the kingdom of heaven as we have been called to labor and work in the midst of the field, in the midst of the harvest and in the midst of the vineyard.

            The more I think about and the more I consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the words which are found in the final verses of the ninth chapter—and not only that which is found in the final verses of the ninth chapter, but also that which is found in the tenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. We read the words which are found in the twentieth chapter of this gospel narrative, and yet I am absolutely and completely convinced that we cannot truly understand the words which are found within this passage of Scripture without and apart from recognizing that which Jesus spoke unto His disciples in direct connection and relation to the harvest which was before them, as well as the words which Jesus spoke unto them when He sent them forth into the midst of that harvest. I am absolutely convinced that if we want to truly understand the words which are found in the twentieth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we must needs realize and understand the words which are found in chapters nine and ten of this gospel. What’s more, is I would dare say that we must also realize and recognize the words which are written and recorded in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John, for the words which we find here are words which bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth concerning the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth, and how the kingdom of heaven cannot be separated without work. We must needs realize and understand that the kingdom of heaven cannot be understood without and apart from the harvest—and not only the harvest, but also the tremendous burden and responsibility that comes with that harvest. Perhaps one of the most remarkable and astonishing truths surrounding the parable which Jesus spoke on this particular occasion is that he described the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto those who were hired at different times within and throughout the day to work in a certain man’s vineyard and field. Oh it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close and careful attention to this, for it calls and draws our attention to two of the parables which Jesus spoke—that which is written and recorded in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. With this being said, I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the ninth and tenth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

            “…And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few: Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38).

            “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease…These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, GO not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israe. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses. Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy: and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house of city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say not you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Matthew 10:1-15).

            “In the mean while His disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life ternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:31-38).

            It is quite clear from the words which are found within each of these passages that Jesus viewed the earth as a harvest—and not only as a harvest, but also as a harvest which was indeed white and ripened unto the harvest. Within these passages of Scripture we are brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the kingdom of heaven is not only manifested within the earth, but the kingdom of heaven has an intrinsic link and connection to the earth. What’s more, is that the kingdom of heaven being manifested within and upon the earth carries with it an awesome and powerful responsibility to the earth, and that which is found present within the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular reality and truth, for this reality calls and draws our attention to the truth and idea that the kingdom of heaven is not only intrinsically linked and connected to the earth, but those servants within the kingdom of heaven do indeed and do in fact have a responsibility to the earth and to the harvest that is found within and upon it. When we think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth concerning the kingdom of heaven we must needs realize and understand that the kingdom of heaven was indeed manifested within and upon the earth, and how the kingdom of heaven is indeed and is in fact a powerful laboring within and upon the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly awesome and powerful truth, for the kingdom of heaven is not simply something we enter into and enjoy without and apart from responsibility. There are countless men and women who think and consider how the kingdom of heaven is simply that which we enter into and enjoy, and that it is absent any type of responsibility, and absent any type of work and labor. The truth of the matter, however, is that the kingdom of heaven is not without labor, the kingdom of heaven is not without work, and the kingdom of heaven is not without and apart from responsibility in the midst of the earth. In all reality, I would dare say that the kingdom of heaven being manifested within and upon the earth has a tremendous responsibility and burden to the earth, and the kingdom of heaven cannot be manifested without and apart from the earth. What’s more, is that we cannot truly speak of and speak about the kingdom of heaven without and apart from the harvest, the field and the vineyard.

            Have you ever stopped to think about and consider just how absolutely incredible and tremendous it is to read the four gospels which were written by the gospel authors, and how the four gospel narratives all call and draw our attention to the fact that Jesus viewed the world, and Jesus viewed the earth as a field, as a vineyard, and as the harvest. While during those days the field, the harvest and the vineyard were limited to Judaea, to Galilee, and to Jerusalem, those three realities would increase in their scope, size and manifestation before and unto the disciples. While Jesus was present within and upon the earth we find the manifestation of the field, the vineyard and the harvest as being the house of Israel, and all those who were present in the midst of the lands of Judaea and Galilee. There would, however, come a point in time when the field, the vineyard and the harvest would extend and expand beyond simply the house of Israel and would include Samaria. When Jesus initially and originally sent out His twelve disciples into the field, into the vineyard and into the harvest He instructed and commanded them not to enter into any Samaritan city, and not to go unto and among the Gentiles. When Jesus sent the twelve disciples out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits to cast them out, when He gave them authority to heal all manner of sickness and disease, and when He gave them authority to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven, Jesus specifically instructed them to remain within the borders and boundaries of Judaea, Jerusalem and Galilee. This same reality and principle would hold true when we think about and consider the reality of Jesus sending out the seventy others whom He would send into the field, into the vineyard and into the harvest. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke you will find and encounter Jesus sending seventy others out into that field, into that vineyard, and into the harvest. Not only this, but Jesus would send them before His face and before His presence to make ready and to prepare a people for His coming and for His arrival. These seventy others would be called, ordained and appointed by Jesus the Christ to go before Him into the field, into the vineyard and into the harvest that they might labor in the midst of it. Oh we must needs realize and understand this particular reality, for when we think about the kingdom of heaven we must needs understand that the kingdom of heaven is indeed something which we must labor and engage in work within and upon the earth. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke:

            “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. GO your ways: behold I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. GO not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I sayu not you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city” (Luke 10:1-12).

            It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for with this particular passage we realize and encounter the awesome and incredible truth that Jesus didn’t merely send out the twelve before Him and before His face, but He also sent out seventy others who would go before Him in the cities and villages into which He would come. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture, for it further confirms and highlights the truths which are before us in the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John. In both of these passages we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that when Jesus viewed the world—not only did He view it as a harvest, but He viewed it as that which required laborers to be raised up within it. I find it incredibly intriguing to think about and consider the fact that when we read the four gospel narratives we find Jesus referring to the world before and all around Him as the field and as the harvest—and not only this, but we also find Jesus referring to seed being sown into the world. In the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we are given two incredibly powerful pictures of the field—and not only the field, but also the seed which is sown into the field. The more I think about and consider the words which are found within these passages the more I am brought face to face with the absolutely remarkable and astonishing truth that when Jesus viewed the world—the world which God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son to be crucified within—He viewed it in terms of it being a field, a harvest and a vineyard. This language must be properly recognized and understood, for this language calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that the world is indeed that which requires responsibility from the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus did indeed and did in fact declare that the meek will inherit the earth, however, I am absolutely and completely convinced that the meek inheriting the earth is not so much a matter of enjoyment as it is responsibility.

            Would it surprise you to think and consider how the meek inheriting the earth is not necessarily a matter of enjoyment as much as it is a matter of responsibility. We speak of the meek inheriting the earth and we tend to think of it in terms of the children of Israel entering into and inheriting the land of Canaan, and yet the truth surrounding this is so much greater and so much more vast than simply that which we are actually able to understand and comprehend. We must needs realize and understand just how intrinsically linked and connected the earth and heaven truly are—and not only how connected these two are, but also the fact that within the earth the kingdom of heaven is to be manifested within it. It is not by coincidence and accident Jesus the Christ taught His disciples and followers to ask that the kingdom of God would come, and that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, for the ultimate truth and matter is that the reality and manifestation of heaven can indeed and can in fact be evidenced and manifested within the earth. WE dare not, we cannot and must not think—even for a brief moment—that the kingdom of heaven has absolutely nothing to do with the earth, and that the kingdom of heaven is not something which is somehow separate from the earth. Perhaps the single greatest truth surrounding the Lord’s prayer is that Jesus taught His disciples—not only to pray that the kingdom of God would come, and not only that the will of the Father would be done on earth as it is in heaven, but that the reality and manifestation of heaven must needs be manifested within and upon the earth.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the awesome and tremendous truth that when we think about the earth we must needs realize and understand that through the kingdom of heaven the living and eternal God is essentially restoring the dominion and authority Adam originally forfeited through sin and disobedience. There were Old Testament saints such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Joshua, Caleb, Samson, and the like who were used to manifest that authority and dominion within and upon the earth which Adam forfeited through disobedience, however, we must needs realize and understand that the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth is a powerful manifestation of stewardship and responsibility of the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must needs realize and understand that at the very heart and center of the kingdom of heaven is stewardship, which is why Jesus spent so much time talking about stewardship within His parables. It is with this parable found in the twentieth chapter Jesus begins to set the scene and set the stage for what the kingdom of heaven would indeed look like after He departed unto His Father in heaven. Jesus has already taught His disciples how He must needs go unto Jerusalem, suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel, how He must needs be mocked and scourged by the Gentiles, and how He would be crucified and killed before rising from death to life on the third day. In fact, there would be a third instance within this chapter of Jesus once more teaching and speaking unto His disciples concerning His suffering, His death, and ultimately His resurrection from the dead. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for the parables which Jesus begins to speak concerning the kingdom of heaven begin taking on an entirely different shape and form, for the kingdom of heaven is beginning to be understood as that which Jesus would begin to establish during the days in which He walked upon the earth, but how that kingdom of heaven would indeed need to be manifested and demonstrated in the earth after His departure. Eventually we will begin seeing language used by Jesus concerning the kingdom of heaven being likened unto a master who would leave and go on a journey while leaving his servants entrusted with his work, with his resources, with his wealth, and the like. Eventually the narrative found within the parables concerning the kingdom of heaven dramatically shifts to the kingdom of heaven remaining within and upon the earth, and yet being that which would be carried on and carried out by the servants of the kingdom.

            The words which we find here in this particular passage of Scripture wonderfully and powerfully bring us face to face with the tremendous truth that the kingdom of heaven was going to continue remaining within and upon the earth, and that although Jesus would depart unto His Father who was in heaven, the field, the vineyard and the harvest would still remain. Jesus would depart from the earth, and yet He would leave His disciples and followers entrusted with talents, time and resources that they might continue the work of stewardship in the midst of the earth. When we think about and consider the kingdom of heaven we must needs realize and understand that at the very heart of the kingdom of heaven is responsibility and stewardship—that which we as the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ must needs commit and devote ourselves to. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely incredible and tremendous this truly is, for it places a tremendous responsibility upon our shoulders to not only be wise stewards of what we have been given within and upon the earth, but also recognize and understand the tremendous responsibility that is placed upon us to be faithful laborers in the field, in the vineyard and in the harvest. WISE STEWARDS, FAITHFUL SERVANTS, FELLOW LABORERS. If there is one thing we as the people of God must needs recognize and understand it’s that we have been called—both to a stewardship of the earth and the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth, as well as a responsibility to be faithful laborers in the midst of the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven must needs be understood in terms of the field, the vineyard and the harvest, for it is in these three realms and arenas the kingdom of heaven is truly and ultimately manifested within and upon the earth.

            I am sitting here today thinking about the parable which Jesus spoke on this particular occasion, and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the incredible responsibility that this master over the vineyard went out at different times during the day to hire those who would work in his particular vineyard. It is absolutely inescapable when reading the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture to not encounter and come face to face with the awesome truth that this parable is a powerful illustration and picture of the kingdom of heaven being manifested within the earth. Within this parable we clearly see the kingdom of heaven as being represented in the vineyard this master hired men to work in, and these men whom he would hire were those who would be hired at different times to work in the same vineyard and in the same field. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely incredible this truth truly is, for when we think about and consider it we must needs realize and understand that these men were hired for one specific reason and one reason only—to work within the field and the vineyard. What’s more, is that within the parable Jesus referred to those who were hired as standing idle in the marketplace—perhaps waiting to be hired by someone who would bring them into the vineyard and the field. This reality concerning standing idle in the marketplace is actually quite remarkable when you take the time to think about it, for I can’t help but think within my heart and mind that these individuals would go into the marketplace and essentially position themselves to be hired. I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth that there were individuals who would go into the marketplace with the sole purpose and intention of being hired to work in someone’s vineyard. What makes this even more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that there would be individuals who wait all day long before actually being hired by someone to work in the vineyard. I can’t help but think about and consider how much this parable points to an alludes to the tremendous truth of those who were standing idle—not necessarily because they didn’t want to work, but because they were waiting for someone to come and hire them.

            The more I sit and think about this particular reality the more I can’t help but think about those who would stand in the marketplace waiting for someone to hire them, and how it is possible that while they were waiting to be hired by someone they watched other people get hired before and ahead of them. Within this parable we realize and understand that this man who owned this vineyard and field would hire men to work in his vineyard all the way up until the eleventh hour of the day. Pause for a moment and think about what it would have been like for those to stand in the marketplace waiting to be hired by someone, and yet finding themselves continuing to stand there because no one would hire them. Oh I can’t help but wonder what men and women looked for during those days when they sought to hire laborers to work in their vineyard. We know from this particular passage that this master of the vineyard went out at different times during the day, and at different times during the day actually hired those who were standing idle in the marketplace. FROM IDLENESS TO LABOR! FROM IDLENESS TO RESPONSIBILITY! It’s actually quite remarkable and quite astonishing to think about and consider the words which are found within this parable, for they bring us face to face with Jesus and how Jesus desires to take and transform men and women from standing idle in the marketplace into being wise stewards and faithful servants in His vineyard, in His field, and in the harvest of the Father. I can’t help but get the strong and powerful sense that this parable is a strong picture of Jesus the Christ who seeks to take and transform men and women from a place of idleness within the marketplace, and brin gthem into the vineyard and field that they might work.

            This particular parable is one that is quite astonishing and remarkable when you take the time to truly read and understand it, for this master of the vineyard essentially took countless individuals who were standing idle in the marketplace waiting to be hired. There were different times within and during the day when this master of the vineyard would go into the marketplace to hire those who would work in the vineyard, and I can’t help but think about and consider just how large this vineyard actually was, and how much work there actually was to do within the vineyard. I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome truth that the fact this master would go unto the marketplace four different times to hire those who would work in his vineyard not only suggests the tremendous amount of work that needed to be done within the vineyard, but also how massive and how big the vineyard actually was. Pause for a moment and think about what the scene in the marketplace would have been like as men would position themselves in the marketplace that they might ultimately be hired by one who would see them and put them to work within their field, within their vineyard, and within their harvest. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when you read these words, for these words bring us face to face with the kingdom of heaven, and how the kingdom of heaven can be defined as Jesus the Christ taking those individuals who are idle within the earth and how He brings them into that place of stewardship, faithfulness and wisdom within His harvest and within His field. The words which are found within this parable must be carefully understood as such, for it presents us with a strong and powerful picture of the kingdom of heaven being that which men and women are brought in to labor in the field and labor in the vineyard. The kingdom of heaven is ultimately about an invitation that is given unto those who were at one point standing idle, and bringing them into the place of fruitfulness and into the place of productivity. Although the field and the vineyard did not belong to those who were hired, they nonetheless were a part of working and laboring in the vineyard. They were given the invitation and opportunity to enter into the work of the vineyard—and not only work within the vineyard, but also get paid for doing so.

            The parable Jesus told concerning the kingdom of heaven being likened unto a man who would go out at different times during the day to hire men to work in his vineyard is a truly powerful and awesome truth and reality for those whom the Master would bring in from the outside that they might work and labor in His vineyard. We must needs realize and understand that the Master of the vineyard, and the Master of the field would indeed be Jesus, and how Jesus would invite and bring men and women into the place where they would participate together in the work of the vineyard. One thing I absolutely love about this particular parable is that not only would this master bring those who were idle into a place of productivity and responsibility, but he would also bring them into a place where they would partner together with others who were called and chosen to work in the vineyard. This parable is a strong and powerful picture of men and women who were at one point idle, and yet those who were also called by the Master into a place of stewardship, faithfulness and responsibility. The words which we find in this parable bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that there were men and women who would be called and brought into a truly wonderful and powerful place of working and laboring together, and I can’t help but think about how beautifully this describes the kingdom of heaven and its manifestation within our lives. Perhaps one of the greatest truths which I find in the tenth chapters of the New Testament gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew and the physician Luke is that Jesus invited His twelve disciples—and not only His twelve disciples, but also seventy others—to participate in the work of the kingdom of heaven.

            Within these two chapters found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and the physician Luke we encounter and come face to face with Jesus inviting, we find Jesus calling, and we find Jesus choosing those individuals whom He would allow to partner together with Him in the work of the kingdom. Jesus ultimately came to set up and establish the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth, and with the calling, the appointing and the choosing of the seventy and the twelve Jesus was inviting men and women to partner together with Him in the work of the kingdom of heaven. If there is one thing I so absolutely love and appreciate when reading these passages is that the work of the kingdom of heaven was far too great and far too much for one individual—even if that individual was the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely tremendous this truly is when you think about it, for it brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the work of the kingdom of heaven was far greater than Jesus to carry out and complete by Himself. Oh, although Jesus would indeed and would in fact heal untold hundreds—if not thousands of individuals—and although Jesus would indeed feed at a minimum of nine thousand men and women, the work of the kingdom of heaven being manifested in the midst of the earth was far too great and far too vast for Him to accomplish within and upon the earth. What’s more, is that if Jesus was able to carry out the work of the kingdom by Himself in the midst of the earth He wouldn’t have commanded the twelve disciples to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judaea, in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. What we must needs realize and understand when reading these words is that Jesus the Christ not only came to the earth to begin to set up and establish the kingdom of heaven, but He also departed unto the Father entrusting the kingdom of heaven and the work of the kingdom in the hands of His disciples and followers. We must needs realize and understand this truly awesome truth, for Jesus would indeed depart from this earth and return to His Father in heaven, and the work of the kingdom must needs continue. When Jesus sent out the twelve, and when Jesus sent out the seventy He did indeed and did in fact send them out into the harvest during those days and at that time, however, after His departure the work of the kingdom would take on an entirely different level.

            I absolutely love reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for it brings us face to face with the fact that the closer it came to Jesus suffering, and the closer it came to Jesus dying on the cross and being raised from death to life, the more the parables concerning the kingdom of heaven would begin to shift and take on an entirely different meaning. The parables which Jesus the Christ would begin speaking at this time would indeed speak of and suggest that He would depart from this earth and would return unto His Father in heaven. With that being said, we must needs realize and understand that Jesus would leave the work of the kingdom of heaven in the hands of the twelve apostles—eleven of whom He had specifically called and chosen. We know that Judas Iscariot forfeited his place among the apostles when He betrayed Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel, and that his place was given to another who would be numbered among the apostles. It is actually truly astonishing and remarkable to think and consider how Jesus came into the earth to establish the kingdom of heaven in the midst of it, and upon His departure from the earth He would entrust the kingdom of heaven, as well as the work of the kingdom in the hands of His apostles. What makes it even more remarkable is when you think about and consider the fact that this work of the kingdom wouldn’t merely be continued by the apostles only, for the apostles themselves would eventually die and would be martyred for their faith. We must needs realize and understand that when Jesus departed from the earth He left the work of the kingdom of heaven in the hands of the apostles, however, that work would continue and would be carried out by the early church fathers and ultimately through the lives of the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ throughout the centuries and generations.

            YOU HAVE BEEN ENTRUSTED WITH THE MANIFESTATION OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IN THE EARTH! YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED AND CHOSEN DURING THIS HOUR! ELEVENTH HOUR SERVANTS! ELEVENTH HOUR STEWARDS! ELEVENTH HOUR LABORERS! Oh I can’t help but read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and parable and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that within the parable there were those who were called in and at the eleventh hour, and were brought into the vineyard and field to continue and carry out the work which had been performed by those who were previously hired and brought into the vineyard. Over the past several years or see the language and dialogue has been centered upon the fact that we are living in the Last Days, and that we might very well be the generation that sees and witnesses the return of Jesus the Christ. What makes this truly intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that in all reality we as the saints of God in this generation are essentially those who have been called and chosen—and not only those who have been called and chosen, but those who have been called and chosen in the eleventh hour. We as the saints of God have been called and chosen “for such a time as this” which were the words which Mordecai spoke unto Esther concerning the urgency of the hour into which she had become queen of Sheba. Mordecai sought to bring Esther into the place where she would understand and recognize that she had been called and chosen for that appointed time in order that she might provide deliverance for the Jewish people throughout the Persian Empire. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for each of the servants who are mentioned within this parable were called and chosen at a very specific time during the day, and at a very specific hour. What’s more, is that regardless of those who were called and at what hour and time of the day they were called, they would all receive the same reward from the master. This is truly unique when you take the time to think about and consider it, for there is coming a day when all those who have been called and chosen to participate in the work of the kingdom of heaven will indeed and will in fact receive the reward that has been promised unto them. All those who have been called and chosen by the Master of the vineyard to work in the harvest and in the field can and will be rewarded for their work in the midst of the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with how absolutely tremendous it is for us who are alive during this generation, for we are essentially “eleventh hour servants.” We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for just as David was called and chosen to serve God within his generation, so also we have been called to serve the living God in our generation. We as the saints of God have been called and chosen to serve the living God within this generation, and we have been called and chosen to continue and carry out the work of the kingdom which began with Jesus the Christ. In all reality, I would dare say that the word of the kingdom essentially began with John the Baptist who emphatically preached and proclaimed the powerful truth that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. It would be Jesus who would emerge on to the scene and would declare and proclaim that the kingdom of heaven was among them, and called men and women to repentance in light of that truth. For three and a half years Jesus would set up and establish that kingdom of heaven within and in the midst of the earth before ultimately ascending unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven. Upon ascending unto the right hand of the Father in heaven we find the kingdom of heaven remaining upon the earth. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that even though Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father, He left the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth.

            JESUS DIDN’T TAKE THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN WITH HIM! One of the most profound and powerful truths surrounding the departure and ascension of Jesus, as well as the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven is that when Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father—not only did He leave the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth, but so also did Jesus send the person of the Holy Spirit unto His disciples and unto the church that would be established. How absolutely remarkable and powerful it truly is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus did indeed ascend unto the right hand of His Father in heaven, however, He left the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. Even though Jesus had indeed and had in fact ascended unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven, He would leave the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth and His disciples and followers who would not only seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, but those who would realize that the ultimate purpose, role and function of the kingdom of heaven was to bring the manifestation and reality of heaven within and upon the earth. Essentially the kingdom of heaven upon the earth is a powerful glimpse and picture of what Adam and Eve experienced in the garden of Eden before the fall. Adam was given full dominion and authority over the earth, and was entrusted with tending, caring for the garden. What’s so powerful about this is instead of one man and one woman being entrusted with a garden we now have millions of disciples and followers of Jesus Christ who have been entrusted with the kingdom of heaven upon the earth. Do you know that you have been entrusted with and have been appointed as a steward over the earth as Adam and Eve were appointed as stewards over the garden? Do you know that you have been called and entrusted to establish the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth, and to ensure that the kingdom of heaven is established and increased upon the earth. WE dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how incredibly powerful this truly is, for it highlights and underscores the tremendous responsibility we as the saints of God have been called to do within and upon the earth. Just as Adam and Eve were entrusted to care for and tend the garden which was placed in Eden, so also have we been entrusted to tend for and care after the earth—and not only the earth, but the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven upon the earth.

            When Jesus emphatically declared that the meek would inherit the earth and the poor in spirit would receive the kingdom of heaven, I am absolutely and completely convinced the two were intrinsically linked and connected to each other. I am absolutely and completely convinced that the meek would inherit the earth in the sense that they would be entrusted as stewards and laborers in the midst of the earth. Not only this, but to receive the kingdom of heaven is not this foreign and abstract reality, but is indeed a powerful manifestation to be experienced in the midst of the earth. The kingdom of heaven is a truly powerful demonstration and manifestation that is to be found and experienced in the midst of the earth, and is to be experienced in the here and now and not in the already but not yet. We must needs realize and understand this tremendous truth, for it calls our attention to the truly wonderful truth that we as the saints of God have been entrusted as stewards of the earth, and that we are responsible for it. We would like to think that even pertaining and related to this nation that the government is the steward over this nation, and yet the truth of the matter is while the government has been given authority in the midst of the land, they are not the ultimate ones who have been entrusted with care and tending for the nation. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we as the saints of God have indeed been called and chosen “for such a time as this” to be faithful and wise stewards over and within this nation. We dare not and must not look to the government to accomplish in the nation what only the kingdom of heaven can accomplish.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I am absolutely and completely convinced that we dare not and must not look to the government to accomplish in this nation what only the kingdom of heaven can accomplish. If you and I want to see the true change that is desperately needed within this nation we must needs be those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. WE must needs realize that the kingdom of God coming unto and among us, and the will of God being done in this nation as it is in heaven is the ultimate solution for this country. I don’t care who is in the Oval Office, or who sits on the bench of the Supreme Court, or who sits in the House of Representatives or the Senate—the true and ultimate manifestation of the hope that is desperately needed in the midst of the earth is and can only be found in the servants of the Most High God exercising the dominion and authority of the kingdom in the midst of the earth. With this being said, however, we must needs realize that this does not mean that it will be easy, nor even that it will come cheap. Please note that even with this reality comes the tremendous truth that there will be persecution, there will be suffering, and there will be trials and tribulations. In fact, I can’t help but ask whether or not this nation can be saved through persecution and through suffering. What if this nation can indeed be purged by and through suffering and persecution, and that which we have boasted is not present within our shores is actually one of the single greatest answers to what we are facing? What if the only hope for this nation is indeed a baptism of suffering and a baptism of persecution that awakens the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, and compels and propels them to be servants of the most High God within this country? WE have spent a considerable amount of time bragging and boasting of the freedoms we have enjoyed within this nation, and yet I can’t help but wonder if those freedoms somehow being violated, and those freedoms somehow being removed isn’t a powerful answer to that which have been facing. What if the current administration that is in office does indeed unleash a torrid flood of persecution within this nation, and yet that persecution is meant to be a tool and instrument in the hand of the living God to bring this nation to repentance?

What if the current administration and the way the government is constructed right now isn’t the means to assault and attack our liberties and our freedoms, and can and will do so in order that we might be baptized, purged and purified by suffering? What if this current administration and construct of the government is meant to usher in a powerful wave of affliction, suffering, trouble and opposition, and that in and of itself is to be used in the hand of God to baptize us afresh and anew. We spent a considerable amount of time bemoaning and crying out when the church buildings were closed and shut, and yet what if that was divinely orchestrated by the living God as the means of bringing us into the place where we are more concerned with our cities, our towns, our neighborhoods, our states, and our country rather than our buildings. Oh there were a number of men and women who were more concerned with the church buildings being shut down than with the kingdom of heaven being manifested in the midst of the cities and streets within this country. Heaven forgive us for missing the point and thinking and considering that the doors of our churches being shut was somehow something that should be shunned and disregarded. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs realize and understand that we have been entrusted with stewarding the earth, and with that earth comes our cities, our towns, our streets, our neighborhoods, and the land within this country. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for I would dare contend that what might be needed within this nation to bring about the restoration and awakening we need is indeed persecution, affliction, tribulation and suffering. We have a great need to witness and behold the powerful presence and manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and with that might very well come that which we have avoided, and that which we have oftentimes boasted as not being present among us. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand that we dare not and miss and lose sight of this, for we must not look to any government to accomplish what only the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven can.

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