William Andrew Dillard
TWO PREACHERS-ONE SERMON
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. 3:1-2.
Reading further in Matt. 4:17, it is written, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” So, Jesus and John delivered the same initial message to the Jewish nation, and it was not a new plan of salvation of the spirit, but something new, and at hand: the kingdom of heaven.
Dr. Fred G. Stevenson, instructor of Old Testament Hebrew for many years in Missionary Baptist Seminary, stated often that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God as it is variously called are one and the same, and what constitutes it is the righteous ways of God being carried out by righteous men.
Truly, the concept of such a kingdom was in play as early as Eden, but took on the necessary processes applicable to sinful men after the fall to bring them to a state of spiritual maturity. Those processes are the Bible story, the full fruition of which, men still struggling with sinful flesh, is realized in this age of grace through the New Testament church. The complete fullness of it will be realized in the millennium and subsequent heaven ages.
The Lord’s church, a mystery hidden in ages past, is the heavenly designed climax of four thousand years of experience designed to bring men to the position of mature sons by virtue of spiritual growth aided by the anointing of the Holy Spirit which came to permanently reside in the church on Pentecost, Acts 2. The church is the bride of Christ, the branches of the vine, and kingdom representative and executive in the present age.
Make no mistake about it. The kingdom of heaven did not exist prior to the ministry of Christ Jesus even though it was in preparation. Both Jesus and John declared it was at hand. Some may object because Jesus said to the rejecting Jewish nation that the kingdom would be taken from them and given to another bringing forth the fruits thereof. That simply means what was intended for Israel would not be received by them, but by another.
Thus was the kingdom of heaven entrusted to a prepared people to receive it. This was the mission of John the Baptist, and the message of both John and Jesus. What a treasure beyond words God’s obedient people have today, but individual decisions are still necessary to be positioned in it.
Opening the mind to ultimate truth is God’s Work: exposing the mind to the Word is ours! How sad it will be for some to go out into eternity having had copies of the Bible in their possession, but not knowing what it was all about. Hear then the message of two heaven sent preachers. Learn its meaning!