The gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
Luke 16:1-18 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ 5 And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. 9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.
10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.
16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.
Jesus ends today’s text saying: “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.” John preached a gospel of repentance. He proclaimed the one who was coming who would fulfill the Law and the Prophets. Jesus fulfilled what the Prophets had spoken. Over three hundred and fifty Messianic Prophecies, regarding His birth, His life and His death, were fuflilled by Jesus. He, as the spotless lamb, sacrificed for our sin, fulfilled the requirements of the Law. Today, because Jesus has come; because He did die for the sins of the world, many proclaim a gospel of grace. Surely as Ephesians 2:8-9 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast, it is by grace; by God’s gift to us that we are saved. Still though as Jesus says: “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.” We cannot force our way into the kingdom of heaven claiming God’s grace. Verse 10 of Ephesians 2 says: We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. John called those in his day to repent and prepare for the one who was coming. Today, because of grace, we are called to repent and walk in the good works of God. We are recreated in the image of Christ, to change the way we think and act; to be like Him, without sin. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
We just celebrated the resurrection of Christ from the grave. He conquered sin and death. Because He lives we can live, both eternally in heaven and victoriously here and now. Even though He conquered sin, it is necessary that we repent and live righteously in Him. The Prophets proclaimed that He would come. They also though proclaim that He is coming again. When He does, it will not be as a suffering Savior, but rather as a conquering king. In Revelation 21:6-8 the Lord says: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” In Revelation 22:12-15 He says: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.” In Revelation 2 and 3, in the letters to the church, even though Christ has come and conquered sin and death, the message was and is that they and we should repent. Revelation 22:20-21 ends saying: He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
That Jesus has been raised from the grave; that He has conquered sin and death; that we live under grace, does not change the fact that we should and must repent. That we should walk in His righteousness, doing the good the good works God created beforehand; the works He prepared for us and prepared us for in Christ.
Lord Jesus Christ, as the words of the song say: Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, life is worth the living just because He lives. Thank You for the gift of life; that because You live, I can walk in Your righteousness. Amen.