Through Much Tribulation...

Through much tribulation we enter into the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Tribulation is most often thought of as a segment of history on a time line, and that segment of history is usually placed in the future. Using the concept of a time line then, the Kingdom of God would be further into the future than the tribulation. However, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and Jesus’ disciples all said that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). Therefore, the entrance into the Kingdom of God is available now, and we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom.

John 3:3-5 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus 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?
5 Jesus answered, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

In verse three Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” So there is a birthing that must take place in order to see the Kingdom. Then in verse five Jesus added, “Unless you are born again, you cannot enter the Kingdom.” So there must be an expansion of your born-again experience to enter into the Kingdom. It is one thing to see it; it is quite another thing to enter into it.

There are many preachers today preaching about sonship and the Kingdom of God. Their born-again experience has enabled them to see many things concerning sonship and the Kingdom. The born-again experience of many of them, though, has not expanded so that they might enter into the Kingdom of God. The difference is information and Spirit. The one that only sees ministers truths and concepts about the Kingdom while the one who has entered the Kingdom ministers the Spirit and life of the King along with the truths and concepts. The born-again experience is not to be a one-time experience; it must be an experience that continues to expand.

Another thing about those who have only seen and have not entered into the Kingdom is that their ministry is usually on a time line. They speak of the Kingdom of God as future; that is, they speak of what God is going to do rather than what is. I know there is some validity. We must realize what God is doing now and that He is doing it in us. There is much said about God bringing forth His Kingdom on earth. I am more interested in God bringing forth His Kingdom in us. We need to get off the time line and believe for God to work it in us.

I was asked, “Don’t you believe that one of these days Jesus Christ Himself will come down upon the earth?” My answer didn’t please the one who asked, and it may not please some of you either. Nevertheless, I answered, “I don’t know. I’m interested in His life coming forth in me. If that doesn’t happen and He does come in that way it won’t be fun.” Do you understand what I am saying? I am not discounting the fact of a literal coming of Jesus Christ. I’m saying the important thing is for His life and presence to come forth in you and me. We must be the Christ in the earth.

Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.

A favorite topic among many is what God is going to do in the last days. Do you know what the “last days” are? When the Scriptures speak of what God is going to do in the “last days,” they are not necessarily speaking of what God is going to do in a time period at the end of the time line. Think about it this way: Your last days are the days of your maturity. When you come into the days of your spiritual maturity, God can do things and accomplish things in your life that He couldn’t do when you were immature. Also, everyone doesn’t come into their days of maturity at the same time for they are at various levels of spiritual growth. Some will mature and experience “last days” things before other members of the Body of Christ. It doesn’t happen all at once for everybody.

Through much tribulation we enter the Kingdom of God. Let’s don’t merely think of the tribulation as a segment of time on a time line. The Kingdom is at hand and tribulation precedes the Kingdom. We pass through a tribulation at every level of the Kingdom we enter. Listen to the Apostle Paul: We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5.

Why does Paul say, “We glory in tribulations”? It is because tribulations prepare us for entrance into the Kingdom of God. Tribulation is not just some punitive judgment that God brings upon the wicked of this world. It is the dealings of God in our lives that enable us to become as He is. Through much tribulation we enter into the Kingdom of God.

Copyright © 2004 by Henry DuBose