“But He answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” (Matt. 15:24-25)
“And these twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: ‘Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans, but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’” (Matt 10:5-8)
It is not often you get a clear picture from God as to exactly what path He wants you to take, but I rejoice to say that is exactly what He has done now for me! I’ve always known God had something very special for me to do in this life, and while I believe that involves a vision for revival of Christian community that has not fully taken shape, the path along the way has.
Recently, in a rare and special men’s group that has become an integral part of that vision for Christian community, we were discussing the verse above from Matthew 10. At the time I didn’t realize the full extent of what God was about to show me, but then He led me to dive deeper into the passages around it. During my studies of the kingdom, I have found some basic truths concerning it:
- God sent His Son to us after 400 years of silence with just nine words, which the Father also gave to John the Baptist to herald His coming, which we’re told were also His first sermons preached: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Repent means to literally change our mind and the words “at hand” mean “to draw near, to join one thing to another.” Jesus came to tell us to undergo a complete mind change to see and understand the kingdom in heaven above had been joined to earth, forming a new kingdom of heaven on earth to give us an entirely different reality in which to live.
- This kingdom must be pursued above all else, just as Jesus must be followed above anyone else, if it is to be found. It requires, as Paul said, total “transformation through the renewing of our minds,” for that is where the battle is, and this so we can “stop being conformed to this world” and rather begin to “prove what the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God is” (Rom. 12).
- We need this transformation because we have been deceived by the gospel of salvation we preach today, a watered-down gospel that can be spoken and requires little from those who speak it. The gospel of the kingdom must be lived as well, which Jesus did. Salvation is but a part of the kingdom, but it is so much more than where we go when we die. Our modern gospel produces converts who have little to do but await eternal life, while the gospel of the kingdom disciples people in to a fulfilling life following Jesus right here, right now into heaven on earth!
- Jesus said the specific gospel that would be preached to the whole world before the end came would be the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 24). Therefore, this gospel is the gospel John preached to herald Jesus’ coming, the one Jesus preached to fulfill the New Covenant, and the one He commanded His disciples to preach (Matt. 10). In fact, the “gospel of the kingdom” is the only one Jesus is found preaching where an adjective is attached specifying it.
- Lastly, discerning which kingdom we choose to be citizens of answers all other questions, for it provides the perspective I view the question with, a kingdom one or a worldly one. The kingdom is wisdom, peace, and righteousness and the world offers only foolishness, fear, and chaos. Between the two absolutely NO fellowship exists.
There is much, much more I could say on the subject. So much more, in fact, am currently writing a book entitled The Kingdom Election. But on to breaking down these specific verses in Matthew, for He has revealed they will be my path to wherever I am going. Beginning in Matthew 9:35, Jesus is found going about synagogues teaching and preaching and modeling this powerful gospel. Immediately after He utters those famous words we errantly teach as a command to evangelize, “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,” and then tells His disciples to pray to God to send workers into His harvest.
Then Jesus sends them out instructing them specifically not to go to the Gentiles [unbelievers], but rather to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” It is also the second time Jesus’ ministry being exclusively to God’s people is implied [for He was “teaching in the synagogues,” not in the streets]. His primary mission is repeated to the woman who begged for crumbs in Mark 7, “I have come only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This passage concerning fields white for harvest was not speaking to evangelism, but discipleship of those lost in God’s own house.
According to any survey you view, around 95% of modern-day churchgoers are misled to believe they are righteous through a false gospel, when in truth they are “lost,” as their priorities and deeds reveal. How can He effectively reach unbelievers when His own house is not in order? These lost in God’s house will be the most powerful force on earth if they can just be awakened! That is why Jesus came to them then, and why He sends me to them now. He wants His people to fully mature in to entirely “new creatures,” not remain babes. Therefore, Peter says, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God” (1 Pet. 4).
My heart profoundly breaks for the lost converts that fill most of our temples we call churches today, especially my brothers. Why? “Because they [like those in Jesus’ day] are distressed and dispirited as sheep without true shepherds” (Matt.9). After gaining a revelation of the reality of the kingdom of heaven on earth and seeing all the lost sheep wandering around temples without true shepherds, sharing the kingdom with them is, for me, the most important evangelical field of all, as evidently it was for Jesus.
I am beginning to witness the results of this calling, as ever since He showed me my path He has brought me into contact with a steady stream of men left wanting by religion and wanting more than they now experience. And so, brothers and sisters, from this day forward my message will be the same one God ordained to announce the most important event, and Person, in human history: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
After 400 years of silence, His grand return speech consisted of the most important nine words ever spoken—the only nine words we truly need to hear. Pray over that. Read other blogs on this site discussing how current events have all been instituted to get our attention and call us out of the world and into the kingdom. Discover an entirely new faith and way of life available to you! As it was then, to be transformed of mind to be able to understand heaven joined to earth is the message the lost sheep of God’s house need most to hear today, and my path revealed!