Pursuing the Kingdom of God

by Greg Laurie on Apr 20, 2024
Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.’
—John 3:3

Nicodemus finally had his face-to-face meeting with Jesus. He began by saying, “Rabbi . . . we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you” (John 3:2 NLT).

Interestingly, the teacher Nicodemus was calling Jesus “Rabbi.” A man whom others looked up to acknowledged that Jesus was the teacher. But how did Nicodemus know this?

Being a student of the Scriptures, perhaps he had studied the prophecies of Daniel. If he did, then he would have discovered that Daniel gave an actual timetable for the birth and ministry of the Messiah. And not only did Daniel tell us that the Messiah would come, but he also specifically said that He would be cut off.

Nicodemus began with pleasantries, but Jesus immediately got to the point. He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3 NLT).

An estimated 50 million Americans claim to be “born again.” However, if there were 50 million genuine born-again Americans today, we would be living in a different country right now.

The term “born again” is an important one, and Jesus tells us why: “Unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

I’ve actually heard people say, “I’m a Christian, but I’m not one of those born-agains.” That is ludicrous. If you are Christian, then you are born again. And if you are not born again, then you are not a Christian. You had better be one of the born-agains because if you are not, then you won’t enter the kingdom of God.

When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God in its original context, He was speaking of His ministry on earth. When Jesus was walking this earth, the kingdom of God was among the people.

On one occasion He said, “The Kingdom of God has arrived among you” (Luke 11:20 NLT). By that He was simply saying, “I, the Son of God, the living Savior, am here.”

But the kingdom of God also has a present application. It speaks of the person who is living under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. When you have asked Jesus to come into your life and are following Him, then you are pursuing the kingdom of God.

Then, there is a future application. The Bible teaches that one day, Jesus Christ will come back. He will come again and establish His kingdom. This is the time the Bible speaks of when all the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.

Thus, here’s what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus: “You won’t see the kingdom of God presently until you realize who I am. You won’t experience it internally until you open your heart to My rule and reign. And you won’t be there externally until you are born again.”

Simply stated, if you’re not born again, then you won’t go to Heaven. And you won’t experience life the way it was meant to be experienced, which is in a relationship with God.

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