The whole of Matthew 7 teaches us about what kingdom living looks like.
Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
The kingdom of heaven coming to this earth is not a place but a practice. It is not a destination, but a journey. It is not something to be achieved, but is a fluid reality constantly being lived out by those seeking it.
This is why Yeshua taught that obedience to the will of God is the marker that identifies those who are true followers of him. Many will claim to know him and call him Lord, but their practices will reveal they don’t really know who he is.
The context of Yeshua’s statement above sits squarely at the center of his teaching on the narrowness and exclusivity of the way.
Matthew 7:13-14 – “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”
He also speaks of the fruit, the evident outworking, of those who can be identified as sincere or false in their doctrine:
Matthew 7:18 – “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.”
The entire context of this passage is speaking on how the kingdom is a specific ideal that must be constantly and diligently striven after, and how the actions one does demonstrates their harmony with this ideal. Yeshua captured this thought by warning against hypocrisy:
Matthew 7:3 – “Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye?
Notice, each of these different concepts work together to create a picture of the kingdom being a demonstration of a life lived in sincere obedience to the will of God. This can be shown by stating the reverse, and viewing who Yeshua says is NOT in the kingdom. Hypocrites are not in the kingdom. Trees with bad fruit are not in the kingdom. Those who do not accomplish the will of God are not in the kingdom.
The kingdom kind of life is a life that is constantly open to learning from God, seeking how to best honor him. In doing so honestly and sincerely, one will be granted access to that which they desire.
Matthew 7:7-8 – “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
When one walks with God in this way, not with the dogmatism of human assertion and the inconsistency of hypocrisy, but with humility and openness to understand the behaviors and practices God desires, then the kingdom becomes manifest through that individual. Living in obedience and harmony with God’s will is what the kingdom is all about, and what God desires for all mankind.
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