Jesus said, Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand
(Matthew 4:17). Then in Acts 14:22, We must through much tribulation enter into
the Kingdom of God. Tribulation precedes the Kingdom. You cannot enter into the
Kingdom without going through tribulation, and that is true at every level of
the Kingdom. If you are not yet in the Kingdom of the Lord, then you will have
to go through tribulation to enter. If you are in the Kingdom, you will have to
go through tribulation to enter the next level. There are many levels or realms
of the Kingdom of God, for the increase of His government and peace there shall
be no end (Isaiah 9:7). Every time you move into more of God – increase in your
relationship with Him – there will be less of you. It is impossible to make
advancement in God (or in the Kingdom) without some elimination of self.
This message will be taken primarily from the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy. As you know, Deuteronomy, along with Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers were written by Moses. It is important to understand that these writings are most important today. And here is why: Jesus said that Moses wrote of Him (John 5:46). That means the writings of Moses hold in a mystery truths of the Lord and His Kingdom. Then in Luke 24:44-45 Jesus spoke to His disciples, saying, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. At that time the only Scriptures were what we call the Old Testament. I firmly believe that more attention should be given them, because in them lies the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
Deuteronomy 4:1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.
The Word comes to teach us. Jesus told His disciples, When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. John 16:13-14. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:6). And it was He who was speaking through Moses (I Peter 1:10-11). The Word has come to teach us. O Lord, forgive us of our stubborn ways and give us teachable hearts.
The Word comes that we might do them. It is required of us to respond to the Word. We must do them. We must be an expression of the Word. The Lord is glorified when we allow the Word to flow through us (John 7:38-39). And thus also are we cleansed. If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. I John 1:7.
The Word comes that we may live. The Word is a carrier of the Life of the Lord. The Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life (John 6:63). Thus, it becomes necessary to hear the Word and to assimilate it that we might live His Life.
The Word comes that we might go in and possess the land God is giving us. The land spoken of here is the spiritual land of the Kingdom of God. He is giving it to us! Jesus began His ministry saying, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (John 4:17). However, He gives it as a provision. We must go in and possess it. From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven suffereth (allows) violence (intensity), and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12. Many Christians do not want the Kingdom of heaven enough to take it by force. They would rather stay in a man-made religion and call it the Kingdom. In this way you will know whether you have heard the Word of the Lord: Are you motivated to take the Kingdom of heaven by force?
Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the Word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
The Pharisees and scribes did this. Listen to what Jesus said, In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Mark 7:7-9. Denominationalism is based on tradition. Each one forms its own tradition.
Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.
That is exactly what happened; they did forget. The tremendous miracles and plagues that freed them from the bondage of Egypt were soon forgotten. This has always been the way of God’s people. It happened to the church of Ephesus. They continued to function, but they had lost their first love (Revelation 2:4-5). It is very difficult for a church or an individual to continue a forward march into more of God without a let up. It happens to churches and to individuals. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip…How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation… Hebrews 2:1, 3.
Deuteronomy 4:25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye
shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a
graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shalt do evil in the sight of
the Lord thy God, to provoke Him to anger…
The begetting of children and children’s children speaks of successful ministry – a church that has reached many people, for example.
And ye have remained long in the land (literally “and you have grown old”), and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or likeness of anything… I remember in my first church that the members who had been involved longer had grown old in their zeal. They no longer had the life they once had; the fire was missing. They had an image, though. They maintained an image of life that was no longer there. Unknowingly they corrupted themselves, and the Lord was provoked to anger.
Every religious movement after “growing old” has regressed to a more conventional and fashionable religion. As Paul said, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (II Timothy 3:5). An image without the life is “evil in the sight of the Lord.” The Lord, though, has a remedy.
Deuteronomy 4:26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
Our objective is to press in to the Kingdom of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. Luke 16:16. When the people of God move into a mere form or image of what they should be, deception sets in and they are not aware of how close they are to being destroyed. Now there is a need for God to be merciful again lest we perish.
Deuteronomy 4:27-28 And the Lord shall utterly scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.
28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
Thinking they are okay with their show of religiosity they serve the gods of their flesh nature, and their works are the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Religious works cannot see the handiwork of God, nor hear the Word of the Lord, nor partake of His table, nor smell the fragrance of His Spirit.
Deuteronomy 4:29-31 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shall be obedient unto His voice;
31 For the Lord thy God is a merciful God; He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them.
This is important! What is the purpose of the tribulation? It is for the purpose of waking up His people from their deathly slumber. It comes because He is merciful. The most needful thing for many of God’s people right now is the wake-up call of tribulation. The majority of Christianity wants to miss tribulation. They do not understand that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).
When people are mired in a religious slumber and are not aware of their danger, something is needed to wake them up that they might be saved. We see in this fourth chapter of Deuteronomy that it was God’s mercy and love for His people that brought the tribulation. It was necessary to turn their hearts to the Lord. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shall be obedient unto His voice; for the Lord thy God is a merciful God; He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee.
Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose