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Chapter 7: Entering the Kingdom

The Father is preparing the “bride” for His Son and you must be ready — you must be filled with His Spirit.

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

Ephesians 5:15-16

“…Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy (righteous) and blameless.”

Ephesians 5:25-27

The Lord is showing this generation that you MUST be “born again” AND “filled with the Spirit” to be ready! The flesh (self) cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth; no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

John 3:3

“I tell you the truth; no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to Spirit.”

John 3:5-6

When you are “born again” (repent of your sins), you are introduced to Jesus, and you can SEE the Kingdom of God.  The Greek word used in the original text for see is I’do (to see, be aware of). Jesus was very careful to make the distinction between “seeing” and “entering” the Kingdom.  When you are “born of water and the Spirit,” you can ENTER the Kingdom.  

Jesus is the water – which is the Word. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit.  The Greek word used for water is hoo-dor (means water literally or figuratively). The Greek word for Spirit is pneuma (means Holy Spirit). The Greek for enter is ice-er-kom-ahee (to go in).  Jesus clarifies to us that the water He is referring to is the Word of God which is Jesus Himself. You must be born of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

The water is clearly identified as the Word (Jesus) in the fifth chapter of Ephesians:

“That He might sanctify and cleanse it (the church, the bride) with the washing of water by the Word.”

Ephesians 5:26

To be “born again” and not filled (baptized) with the Holy Spirit clearly falls short of entering the Kingdom. You must be filled with the Holy Spirit to be ready. Why? The reason is that self cannot and will not enter the Kingdom of God.

Every living soul up until this generation died!  The “self” nature went to the grave.  This generation of believers MUST enter the Kingdom BEFORE the trumpet sounds because we will still be alive – and self cannot enter.  Therefore, “self” must be surrendered and disrobed in order to be “clothed” with the “robe of righteousness” – the Holy Spirit.

As you die to “self” and become empowered by the Holy Spirit, you enter the Kingdom and are able to walk in obedience and victory.

“I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Luke 24:49

The key is surrender – dying to self!

Self cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Self (the spirit of the flesh) must be surrendered. As you surrender and die to self, you are symbolically removing the garment of self and allowing the Holy Spirit to come upon you, placing on you His “robe of righteousness.” This is the key that will open the doorway into the kingdom of God.  You have in your possession the “key” that will open that door – it is the key of surrender. It is your key to entering the Kingdom of God.

Many people repent and receive salvation but never make Jesus Lord of their lives by surrendering “self.” It is impossible to overcome sin in your life with self still in control. This is why we struggle with sin in our lives and wonder why we can’t overcome it. We must have the infilling or empowerment of the Holy Spirit to walk in righteousness.  The apostles received that same infilling power at Pentecost.

The Lord told the apostles to remain in the city until they had been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). There is no set formula for receiving from the Lord. You can enter the Kingdom of God simply by repenting of your sins, surrendering your life completely to Jesus’ lordship. Tell the Lord you want all He has for you. Then remain open and ready for the infilling power of the Holy Spirit to manifest. God will do it if you are sincere. He will create or change the circumstances to make it happen.

The doorway of surrender is a great and mighty entryway through which you can enter into the fullness of the Spirit and literally enter the Kingdom of God. It is a doorway of praise and worship, of lifting holy hands – and a doorway of dancing unto the Lord!

For some people, self won’t truly praise and worship the Lord with a whole heart.  For others, self won’t lift hands to the Lord in a crowd of people. And for most, self won’t dance before the Lord in front of others.

To achieve the fullness of eternal life, to experience the full expression of your soul, you must shed the dignity of “self” and the inhibitions that hold you back. Once free of these “self-centered anchors,” you can then give full energy to your talents, your family and discover His will for your life. You will be truly glorifying the Lord when you “enter” His Kingdom.

The truth is Satan has built strongholds of dignity and pride in the areas of life that bring God the most glory. If you find yourself having difficulty entering into the fullness of the Spirit, then it is time to leave your “self” in the pew and lift those heavy hands in worship. And if that doesn’t free you and allow the Spirit to enter, then step out in faith and rejoice! Dance and give God the glory with your whole being. You will be set free!  You will enter the Kingdom.

The Secret Weapon

“But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions and saying: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance….’”

Matthew 11:16, 17 NKJV

The original Greek defines “Rejoice” as to jump up and spin around… in other words, dance!

Dancing gives glory to God! It demonstrates worship with your whole being. It humbles the natural man and helps usher the spirit man into the Kingdom of God. But more importantly, it delights the Father when His people praise Him with dancing. It is another “secret weapon” to conquer “self.”

Dancing is part of the wedding preparation… it is the self-surrendering act of glorifying God in the assembly of His saints.

Dancing before the Lord is worshiping God with your whole being! Dancing releases your “self” and brings total surrender.  When you dance before the Lord in the presence of others, you will be completely surrendered, and the garment of “self” will fall away. The Holy Spirit will clothe you with the “robe of righteousness.”

Dancing is the outward expression of the surrendered heart and spirit of a man.

King David sang these words:

“Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints… Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp… For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation.”

Psalm 149:1, 3, 4

Dancing and humility go hand in hand. We should desire to express our total worship of the Lord when the Holy Spirit presents the opportunity. Of course, not every worship environment is fitting for the ministry of dance.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

The wedding garments are not made with physical fabric but the substance of obedience and adoration for the Lamb and Father God. They are woven in our times of surrender and placed upon us as we enter into the fullness of the Spirit – as we enter into the Kingdom of God.

Our openness, willingness and heart’s desire to glorify Him is the real issue. You must be willing to dance – in your heart. Those who are the bride shall know the freedom of dancing before the Lord. It is the natural response of an “overcomer” who will be prepared as a bride for the coming of the Lord – one of the “wise virgins.” (Matthew 25:2)

God says in His Word through the prophet Jeremiah:

“Then shall the virgin (the bride) rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and I will comfort them (with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter) and make them rejoice from their sorrow.”

Jeremiah 31:13

We are the harvest generation—the “Bride of Christ”! We are being prepared for the “wedding of the Lamb.”

The Lord also says of the bride:

“From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sounds of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained…and their community will be established before Me.”

Jeremiah 30:19, 20

A Man After God’s Own Heart

King David was a warrior, an artist, a poet, a mighty man of wealth and business – a king! He was also a man who fell to lust of the flesh with Bathsheba. And yet God still calls him “a man after his own heart.” Why? Because he was a humble man in whom pride had no place.

King David, whose life is chronicled in the book of Samuel and whose feelings are expressed in the book of Psalms, gave honor and glory to the Lord in every aspect of his life. He was fearless in battle and obedient in leadership. He glorified God in praise and worship and in dance! David danced before the Lord with all his strength.

“So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.”

II Samuel 6:12-15

David personified the fullness of life – of eternal life! He had a fullness of heart for loving and giving; a fullness of mind for aspiring to great and mighty thoughts; a fullness of courage to overcome the enemy and achieve his destiny; and a fullness of faith to have fellowship with the Lord and attain his full measure of eternal life.

King David is a symbol of strength and freedom. You and I can find no better example to follow than God’s very best – God’s mighty king in whom He was so well pleased.

King David was a man after God’s own heart; he had no pride hindering his reverence of God. David’s wife, Michal however, was indignant with his uninhibited worship of God and ridiculed her husband for his behavior. Michal represents many, like friends and family members, whose pride of life and attitude of dignified “self” would attempt to humiliate you – hold you back – from entering into a holy worship.

King David, who danced before the Lord, expressed it this way to his wife, Michal:

“When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, ‘How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of slave girls of the servants as any vulgar fellow would!’

David said, ‘It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel – I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.  But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.’

And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.”

II Samuel 6:20-23

David was saying that He didn’t care what other people thought about him. He was referring to the eyes of the natural man. He identifies the pride of life that holds back the natural from entering into true worship – the kind of worship God originally intended for His children.

God invented dance for His glory. That was its original purpose! Give glory to the Lord with your whole being. Love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole heart and your whole spirit and with your whole strength – and worship Him in DANCE! He is the Father! He is the Son! He is worthy! He is Lord!

The essence of surrender is this: The Lord is reminding us of why we are here – why He created us.

You and I were created to live for Him… to worship Him… to glorify Him!