Entering God’s Kingdom
When we read the Gospels, we discover that a large part of Jesus’ ministry involved preaching the good news of God’s kingdom. He traveled through towns and villages telling people, essentially, There is a kingdom, and I’m the King. You’re not in the kingdom yet—but if you’ll follow Me, you will be the King’s subject and a citizen of the kingdom.
When we pray “Your kingdom come” (Luke 11:2), therefore, our desire should be that men and women would be brought into Christ’s kingdom by new birth—that they would become committed followers of Jesus. We pray for those who live in rebellion against God to be “delivered … from the domain of darkness and transferred … to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). Jesus made it perfectly clear that the only way to enter into His kingdom is by this new birth.
Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus in John 3 underscores this truth. Nicodemus was a religious man, a man of authority and influence—and yet he was still restless, still seeking. As he engaged Jesus in conversation, Jesus pointed out the necessary prerequisite for both seeing and entering His kingdom: to be born again by the Spirit. This new birth is brought about, He said, not by nature but as a result of God’s Spirit working a miracle in the human heart. No one is able to enter the kingdom without Him working in them; no one is too far away from the kingdom for Him to work in them.
When we pray for God’s kingdom to come, we are asking for eyes to be opened and ears to be unstopped so that men and women may be born again. The King is coming to usher in His everlasting kingdom, and the King is at work today by His Spirit to bring men and women into that kingdom. Until the day of our King’s return, may your awareness of the way people enter Christ’s kingdom produce increasing wonder over your own conversion and a burning passion to pray that the Spirit would do what only He can in the hearts of the lost.
You Must Be Born Again
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This man came to Jesus1 by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again2 he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.3 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You4 must be born again.’ 8The wind5 blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you6 do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.7 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.8
Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.