Matters of Faith: It’s Taken By Force

Rev. J_Loren RussellIT’S TAKEN BY FORCE


By Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.    


Matthew 11:12 (CEV)

“From the time of John the Baptist until now, violent people have been trying to take over the kingdom of heaven by force.”


When we think about the kingdom of heaven, rarely do we discuss violent people entering that sacred place. We envision humble, contrite souls entering into glory. But Matthew says that from the time John the Immercer (The Baptizer) appeared on the scene, “violent people have been trying to take over the kingdom of heaven by force.”  


Matthew was writing about the verity that those who encountered the Lord pressed their way to the Master. It was a ruthless and violent pursuit to be saved, and a violent push forward in order to enter into the kingdom. They were not like our modern day, common church-and-chapel-goers who are content with hearing an exciting sermon and go away showing little to no sign of having been in His presence or really wanting to get into the kingdom. They may think they want in, but when you look at people like the woman who had the issue of blood for 12 long years and pressed her way through the crowd to get in position to touch the hem of His garment; or the men who climbed on, tore a hole in, and lowered their friend through a roof to get him into the presence of the Lord; or Zacchaeus, who ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree just so that he could see the Master; or the man who bought his son to His disciples to be healed of the demons who possessed him and pressed his way to Jesus for Him to heal when they couldn’t, you find an altogether different type of persistence. You find forceful and violent efforts to get  their blessings.


Charles Spurgeon says that he has gone into churches and seen dead men in the pulpit, dead man as deacons, dead men holding the offering  plate, and dead men sitting to hear the Word of God. I have too!

Not so with those I’ve mentioned. Again, Spurgeon says, “So intense was their desire to hear the Saviour that they pressed upon him, insomuch that they trod one upon another. The crowd became so violent to approach his person, that some of the weaker ones were cast down and trodden upon.” (Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 15th, 1859, by the REV. C.H. SPURGEON at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens).


When the Lord witnessed all this, He recognized that this is what is done by those who will be saved. They fight, push, lock arm-in-arm with each other, and anxiously fight to get in reach of the Master; a crowd of souls desiring to get to the living Saviour. He saw them press, and prod, and push, and thrust, and tread on one another in their anxious desire to get at Him. This is a definitive directive to His hearers that unless we have this earnestness in our souls, this dogged determination and the violent intensity to reach Him, we will not get into the kingdom. But if we are forceful and violent, we will certainly enter! “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”


God Bless +++


Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx and hosts Matters of Faith The Radio Show on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 10:00 PM., or by phone at 626-226-1448. Note: You don’t have to talk, but you can access the show by calling in.   



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