That's not only what Jesus preached, but that is what He commanded others that He sent out, to preach! The typical evangelical message urging people to come forward and " get saved " virtually ignores the teaching of Jesus, concering the Kingdom of God. If you are one of the few, who really study the Bible, rather than AMEN clever preachers, this has been bothering you for some time.
The Kingdom of God, being born again ( from above ), being born of God, and surrendering control of your life to Jesus, all go together. And this is much deeper than the repeating of a prayer under pressure, water baptism, and joining a particular church or religion. America especially, is filled with people who claim to be Christians and saved, who have never become new creations, as described in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 " Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
Take a look at the Lord's prayer. Some call it the Our Father.
Matthew 6:9,10 - " Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. " The Kingdom of God ( Kingdom of Heaven ) already exists in heaven, and we should be praying for God's will to be done on earth also. That would make the Kingdom of God on earth as well. But it can only happen if we submit control of our lives to God, becoming children of God, and His subjects. Look at Matthew 16:24,25. " Then Jesus said to His disciples, ' If anyone desires to come after Me, let him DENY himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it! ' "
You don't believe these things? Check out these scriptures:
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say,
" Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. "
And when He sent out His disciples:
" And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' "
By the way, the Kingdom of Heaven ( a term found only in Matthew ) and the Kingdom of God, ( the term found in the other New Testament books ) are absolutely the same thing. Anyone who says otherwise, is using a source other than the Bible. The term, Kingdom of Heaven, appears in the gospel of Matthew, but does not appear in any other New Testament book.
Compare these sets of scriptures:
Matthew 4:17 with Mark 1:14,15
Matthew 5:3 with Luke 6:20
Matthew 8:11 with Luke 13:28,29
Matthew 10:7 with Luke 9:2
Matthew 11:11 with Luke 7:28
We could go on and on.   It is obvious from scripture that the two terms have the same meaning.
Matthew, on rare occasions, uses the term Kingdom of God, as he does in Matthew 19:23,24.
Frequently, the Kingdom of God is associated with another term, repentance. We cover that on another page called, " Repentance, the key to heaven ". You can access this page by clicking on that link at the bottom of this page.
If you want to see your pastor give a blank stare, ask him what is meant by the term Kingdom of God. Few pastors and religious teachers have a clue. To learn what this term means, we first must ask the question, " What is a kingdom? "
There are very few real kingdoms on earth today, so it is hard for people, in our day, to relate to this term. I know that this sounds overly simple, but a kingdom is a territory or domain, which is ruled by a king. In a kingdom, the king is the one who makes the rules. There is no voting, or congress, or senate, or parliament. The king makes the rules, and appoints the officers to enforce those rules on his subjects.
Whether you call it the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom of God; In His kingdom,- it is God who makes the rules. People either subject themself to God and His rules, or they suffer some sort of punishment. Yes, Jesus paid our penalty, but it was for His people, those who belong to Him, not for those who are in rebellion against the His authority, and His commandments. Remember that all the Bible books are written to God's servants,- not to those in rebellion against God.
Most people don't want to know about God's kingdom, because they think their ignorance will be cause their sin to be excused. So, they run off to a church where people assure them that they are " saved ". That's called having itching ears. Jesus said that he who " endures to the end will be saved ". See Matthew 10:22 and Matthew 24:13. So much for those who think that they have the " freedom " in Christ to live any way that they want to live, and to disregard the commands of Jesus. Jesus said a person must DENY himself and follow Him. ( Matthew 16:24 ) If you think that living a righteous life is optional, lots of luck when the time comes! There are some who believe, but in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1,2 says, " Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, IF YOU HOLD FAST THAT WORD WHICH I PREACHED TO YOU - UNLESS YOU BELIEVED IN VAIN. There are many around us who think they are saved, and all set, but they are headed for hell, because they have believed in vain. In other words, they have trusted in what a preacher, or evangelist said, instead of what Jesus said.
Jesus said in John 3:5-8 "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. "
There are a few corrupt Bibles that have changed verse 5 to say " Unless one is BORN AGAIN OF WATER..." This makes it sound like a person to gains entrance into the Kingdom of God through some act like water baptism, or joining a church. The apostle John makes it clear that this is not the case. Look at John 1:12,13 " But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: WHO WERE BORN, NOT OF BLOOD, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD.
The key to going to heaven, rather than hell, is to repent. Repent is the English translation of the Greek word μετανοησατε. To repent means to " have another mind ", or " have a different mind ". As one well known American preacher wrote, " You need to think about what you're thinking about ! "
When we were born, we were created to be able to look out for ourselves. It had to be that way, in order for us to survive. But, when confronted with the teachings of Jesus, we are told that we need to repent ( have another mind ) about things. That means to surrender all of our selfishness, all of our desires, all of our plans to God. To be born-again, or born of God, we need to surrender the control of our lives to God, knowing that He will take better care of us, than we would take care of ourselves.
The new birth is something that only God can give us. As Jesus said in John 3:5, we need to be " born of the Spirit". That is what we need to pray for. No preacher, including those here at the Mexico Beach Christian Worship Center, can give that to you. It isn't a special prayer. It is simply a sincere prayer, telling God that you would like to surrender control of your life to Him, and to live as He directs you to live. We urge people to pray this kind of prayer, when they are alone, and only God can hear it. We recommend saying, " God, please change me. Please give me the spiritual birth. Please make me into the kind of person that You want me to be ".
Baptism is a picture of the New Birth. The going down under the water symbolizes the death, and burial, of the old, self-serving life. The rising up out of the water symbolizes the beginning of the new life, as a truly new creation, one born of God. Many people go through ceremonies,- the sinner's prayer, walking the aisle, joining a church, or baptism, without actually experiencing the death of the old life, and the beginning of a new life, in service to God.
Some people believe that being " born of water " means being baptized, but if you look closely at all that Jesus said in John chapter 3, you find that being " born of water " is simply being born, as human beings are normally born, from a water environment,- the " bag of water " in their mother's womb. Jesus contrasts the natural birth with the spiritual birth,- the birth that only God can provide. There are a few corrupt Bibles that say " born again of water " but that was not in the original, and was inserted to make people believe that by being baptized in water, by their church, they would be assured of heaven.
The following scripture will help you determine if you are a professing Christian, or a true Christian. Are these verses describing what you were, or what you still are?
" Do you not know, that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. That includes those of you have been told that you are saved ! 1st Corinthians 6:9-10
1st Corinthians 6:11 goes on to say: And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. " If you haven't been washed by the Holy Spirit, you will not inherit the kingdom of God !
A professing Christian is no different from the typical person of the world. Churches are full of professing Christians. The Crusaders were professing Christians. not real Christians, which is one reason why Muslims despise Christianity today. The Muslims look at the things that these evil men did in the name of Christianity. They don't realize that these were not true Christians.
A true Christian is different from other people. A true Christian is a newly created being. Non Christians and false Christians don't understand this. Real Christians are people, who have been changed by God from the inside out,- given new hearts and new human spirits. Yes, they look the same as other people, but their hearts and spirits have been changed by God. ( See Jeremiah 31:31-34 and elsewhere. ) Once changed by God, they have different goals and desires.
To demonstrate this inner change, a person is commanded to be baptized in water. The act of baptism doesn't change. or " save " a person. Only God can make a person a new creation.
This description of conversion is consistent with the Old Testament teaching about the New Covenant. ( New Testament ) You can find it in Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 11:19, and in Jeremiah 32 and Ezekiel 18 and Ezekiel 36. Only God can bring about this change in the inner person. Attempts to bring about this change by human means, human acts, church ceremonies, etc. are futile. They often create an impression that people have been converted, when in fact, their hearts, and spirits, are still unchanged. Their desires are still evil, and they give Christianity a bad name.
People are not " born-again " or converted by good works, which they do. The Bible says that all our righteousness is as " filthy rags ", and that all of us have sinned. So much for the view, often held by those in law enforcement, that there are " good people " and " bad people ". All people have sinned. All police officers have sinned. All lawyers, and judges, and politicians, and all members of the clergy have sinned. True Christians leave their sinful pasts behind, and always try to do what is right in the eyes of God. The Bible also says in Titus 3:5
" not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. "
Good works are not what gets us into heaven. It is the work of God that allows a person to escape hell and go to heaven. Good works are a testimony to others ( and ourselves ) that something has happened within us to make us a new kind of person. When people are not living Godly lifestyles, it is a strong indication that no matter what they profess to be, they are still evil people, living in sin.
So, you ask, how can a person be born-again, changed, converted, or whatever name you want to give it? First, you need to recognize the hopelessness of the condition you are in. You may have gone to church every time the doors were open, gone through all the ceremonies, and joined the church. But, if God hasn't changed you, you are still just as lost as the worst person on earth. If you have tried to reform yourself and " live a better life " you know that that doesn't work. You need help that only God can provide.
To get God to change you, you need to go to Him in prayer. He is waiting eagerly to hear from you. Talking to God, when you are alone, is best. Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't good enough to talk to God.
God wants to hear from you,- just as you are! That way it is just you and Him. That way there is no pressure from a public invitation in a church, or your relatives, or your friends, or anyone else. That way, there is no distraction. God knows every sin that you have ever committed, and that He is the only one who can help you. He loves you, but He doesn't love your sin. He wants to give you the power to turn away from your life of sin ( repent ), and to change you. That is why He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for your sins on that cross, many years ago.
After you have asked God to change your heart, and you know that you have been changed, it is important to tell others what God has done for you. Jesus said, " ...whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. " ( Matthew 10:32-33 ) Being baptized by immersion in water, is a part of that confession.
God is waiting for you. He wants to give you two gifts. First of all, He wants to give you the new birth,- a new spiritual life. His Son, Jesus Christ died for you on that cross, many years ago, otherwise, this would be impossible. That is why we say that Jesus is our Savior. Second, He wants to baptize you with His Holy Spirit, and give you the power to live your new life, and to be a witness for Him. You can't be a silent Christian. You must not be ashamed of what God has done for you.
If we can help, e-mail us, or visit us.
Our Sunday AM services are being held at the Mexico Beach Civic Center. In accordance with federal laws, we have permission to use this heated, and air conditioned, facility on Sunday mornings at 10:00AM central time. We begin with a short time of greeting and fellowship, and then TJ leads us in worship. After the service we have holy communion, a time when people can request prayer, especially for healing, and sometimes, a pot luck luncheon.
The Mexico Beach Civic Center is located at 105 N. 31st Street. It is the white building with the dark green roof, which is just behind that new Mexico Beach restaurant, Mango Marley's. It is behind Parker Realty, and is on the northeast side of Rte 98. It is about 7/10 mile south of the Mexico Beach Welcome Center. For a map showing the location of the Mexico Beach Civic Center, click below the photo:
Mexico Beach Civic Center
Map of Civic Center Area
Have a wonderful week. May God bless you, and your family!
Would you like to know more about the return of Jesus Christ?
Check out this page: Jesus Is Coming Soon!