S34P7 – The kingdom of heaven: exclusive

Matt. 7:21

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

When a king builds a kingdom, he must be discerning. Those he invites to be members of his court must meet certain qualifications. It is like the old adage that tells us those who reach the top now have targets on their backs. When you are the head honcho, you must consider whether your closest allies have followed you for your good or for theirs. The wise king must discern which of his apparent friends are indeed true friends. The reason for this is that there cannot be discord within the kingdom. As scripture tells us, a divided kingdom will fall. It cannot survive. That is why the king must be welcoming yet exclusive when forming his court. This is the same kind of exclusion that exists within God’s heavenly kingdom. Although the invitation is broad, there are qualifications that make entry exclusive.

One must appreciate the pure simplicity of Jesus Christ’s words here. He has illustrated how a man measures himself against the kingdom of God. Those who truly seek the kingdom for its sake and not their sake will obey God. They will follow the King for the pleasure and honor of the King. Jesus tells us that there are many people who will try to ride his coattails for what they can get out of the kingdom of heaven. They fail to recognize that Jesus is perfectly wise and can discern who truly has lived for God and his kingdom. No charlatan will be able to infiltrate under the guise of loyalty when he really has no interest but self-interest. This will be obvious to the wise King. Our lives are the measure. He who loves God will obey God. He who desires the prosperity of the kingdom will live to help the kingdom prosper. Those who talk a good game with hollow words will be exposed when the hour is upon us.

We cannot confuse God’s welcoming love for a lack of wisdom. We know that the road to the kingdom is narrow, and many will not find it. The fact that entry into God’s heavenly kingdom is exclusive does not mean that He is not loving or compassionate. It is an exclusivity born of righteousness and love. He desires that all would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Those who have truly been saved will live in a manner evident of their citizenship in God’s heavenly kingdom. The Lord will be able to recognize those who belong there. There will be no stowaways on this ship. Only those whose hearts are truly turned to the Lord will be granted entry into this heavenly kingdom. Father, thank You that your kingdom is reserved for those who are truly citizens of heaven and children devoted to pleasing You.