IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES
TOPIC: THE KINGDOM THAT SUFFERS VIOLENCE CAN ONLY BE TAKEN BY FORCE!
Rev Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
But,” says one, “do you wish us to understand, that if a man is to be saved he must use violence and vehement earnestness in order to obtain salvation?” I do, most assuredly; that is the doctrine of the text. “But,” says one, “I thought it was all the work of God.” So it is, from first to last. But when God has begun the work in the soul, the constant effect of God’s work in us is to set us working; and where God’s Spirit is really striving with us, we shall begin to strive too. This is just a test whereby we may distinguish the men who have received the Spirit of God, from those who have not received it. Those who have received the Spirit in verity and truth are violent men. They have a violent anxiety to be saved, and they violently strive that they may enter in at the strait gate. Well they know that seeking to enter in is not enough, for many shall seek to enter in but shall not be able, and therefore do they strive with might and main.
Ye have enemies within you, enemies without, enemies beneath, enemies on every side – the world, the flesh, and the devil…The man who would be saved must be violent, because of the opposition he encounters”
You wish to be saved without the violent desperation required to force yourself to do all the prescribed Bible readings. When the sermon is preached you let it pass over your head without violently and desperately forcing your mind to think about the sermon deeply. And you seldom pray for your own salvation. And when you do, it is only a lazy prayer. There is no violent zeal in your prayers for salvation. There is no desperate pleading with God to convert you. Again, I say with Poole, “The violent take it by force: they are not lazy wishes or cold endeavors [attempts] that will bring men to heaven.”
Remember the violent desperation of Paul, who fasted three days, and travelled a long distance to be counselled, and did exactly what he was told after he was counselled. No wonder he was soundly converted. He was serious and even violent with desire to be saved. How different Paul was compared to your “lazy wishes and cold attempts”! John Wesley travelled the ocean, fasted, prayed and threw himself into the work of finding salvation in Christ. So did George Whitefield. So did Martin Luther. And so must you. Away with your lazy wishes and cold attempts! Get the holy violence of Paul, Wesley, Whitefield and Luther. Feel within yourself that you must have Christ or perish in the attempt. Spurgeon went through a snow storm to hear the sermon that converted him. He was in violent pursuit of salvation in Christ. And you must be just as violent, just as relentless, in your pursuit of salvation. “The violent take it by force.”
Only the violent are saved, and all the violent are saved. When God makes a man violent after salvation, that man cannot perish. The gates of heaven may sooner be unhinged than that man be robbed of the prize for which he has sought
(C. H. Spurgeon,
You have never earnestly sought after Christ. You come to church and listen listlessly to the sermon. There is no urgency in you. You are like a man in bed who hears his neighbor screaming, “Fire! Fire.” But you turn over on your bed and go back to sleep. The flames are leaping up in another part of the house, and are steadily making their way toward your bedroom. Soon you will be engulfed in a mountain of fire. But you are drowsy and sleep on. This is the way a lost person acts, sleeping on, even in church. Sleeping on, even as the flames of Hell lick at your shoes!
“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead”
Awaken and press into the Kingdom of God!
The gates of Heaven are clogged with massive crowds of people, “and he that would enter must press, and elbow, and push, or he [can] go away certain that he can never enter”
You must either get serious about pressing your way into salvation – or you will go to Hell while you sleep on!
The earth is inherited by the meek Matt. 5:5. Heaven is inherited by the violent. Our life is military. Christ is our Captain, the gospel is the banner, the graces are our spiritual artillery, and heaven is only taken in a forcible way.
What violence IS meant here—it is a HOLY violence. This is twofold.
- We must be violent for the TRUTH. Here Pilate’s question will be cited, “What is truth?” Truth is either the blessed Word of God which is called the Word of truth; or those doctrines which are deduced from the Word, and agree with it as the dial with the sun or the transcript with the original; as the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of the creation, the doctrine of free grace, justification by the blood of Christ, regeneration, resurrection of the dead, and the life of glory. These truths we must be violent for, which is either by being advocates for them, or martyrs.
Truth is the most glorious thing; the least filing of this gold is precious—just so, with truth. What shall we be violent for, if not for truth? Truth is ancient; its grey hairs may make it venerable; it comes from him who is the ancient of days. Truth is unerring, it is the Star which leads to Christ. Truth is pure, Psalm 119. 140. It is compared to silver refined seven times.
Truth is triumphant; it is like a great conqueror; when all his enemies lie dead, it keeps the field and sets up its trophies of victory. Truth may be opposed but never quite deposed.
Truth has noble effects. Truth is the seed of the new birth. God does not regenerate us by miracles or revelations—but by the Word of truth, James i. 18. As truth is the breeder of grace, so it is the feeder of it, 1 Tim. iv. 6. Truth sanctifies:
Sanctify them through Your truth. Truth is the seal that leaves the print of its own holiness upon us; it is both a looking-glass to show us our blemishes, and a laver to wash them away. Truth makes us free.Between here and Heaven you will always have to fight, more or less, and frequently the severest struggle will be at a time when you are least prepared for it. There may be smooth passages in your career and you may, for a while, be like your Savior in the wilderness, of whom it is said, “Then the devil departed from Him, and angels came and ministered unto Him.” But you may not, therefore, cry, “My mountain stands firm, I shall never be moved,” for fair weather may not outlast a single day! Do not grow secure, or carnally presumptuous. There is but a short space between one battle and another in this world. It is a series of skirmishes even when it does not assume the form of a pitched battle. He that would win Heaven must fight for it! He that would take the new Jerusalem must scale it and if he has the wits to take Jacob’s ladder and set it against the wall and climb up that way, he will win the City. “The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.”
Between here and Heaven you will always have to fight, more or less, and frequently the severest struggle will be at a time when you are least prepared for it. There may be smooth passages in your career and you may, for a while, be like your Savior in the wilderness, of whom it is said, “Then the devil departed from Him, and angels came and ministered unto Him.” But you may not, therefore, cry, “My mountain stands firm, I shall never be moved,” for fair weather may not outlast a single day! Do not grow secure, or carnally presumptuous. There is but a short space between one battle and another in this world. It is a series of skirmishes even when it does not assume the form of a pitched battle. He that would win Heaven must fight for it!
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