Not Far from the Kingdom of God

I’d like to draw your attention to Mark 12 where Jesus answers questions from the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes. Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment of all is, in Mark 12:29-31 (NASB), He responds, “Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”. Jesus right here is talking about the Law. I’d like you to take note of how the scribe responds to Jesus and what Jesus then says next to this scribe. 

One of the scribes responds in verses 32-33 with “Well said, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no other besides Him;  and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”. A scribe was a teacher of the Law, this was an expert on the Ten Commandments, and he agreed with what answer Jesus gave him. 

In verse 34 we see, “When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And then, no one dared any longer to question Him.”. What did Jesus mean when He said “you are not far from the Kingdom of God”? In these few verses if we pay attention we will gain an understanding of a critical key when it comes to evangelizing the way Jesus has called us to. 

The scribe in this passage understood what Jesus was saying about the Law. When we evangelize people do we bring up the Law at all? Do we tell people that they are dead in their sins and need a Savior? Do we take the time to show people that no matter how good they think they are, they still have sinned against God? We can simply just show the unsaved people how lying makes them a liar, and according to God’s Word, liars inherit the Lake of Fire for eternity (Revelation 21:8). 

It is with sadness, but with the truth that I have to say the church at large in the modern movement does not evangelize people the way Jesus set before us. At large the idea of evangelism is getting a crowd of people in a large room, talk to them about how God has a wonderful plan for their life and will make them happy, healthy, and prosperous, and then dim down the lights and get people to repeat some prayer. Then we have the nerve to tell them they are good to go for eternity. Then these same people will go out and live their lives unchanged thinking they are on their way to Heaven when they pass on, but will soon realize they have been deceived. I say this with absolute certainty because I have witnessed this first hand, and I must speak out against this type of false evangelism because I care about people’s eternity! 

If there is no realization of how bankrupt we are that it took the death of God’s own Son to pay the price for our sins, then you have not even come across the basics of the Gospel. But sadly the modern churches have dumbed down the Gospel to just be about self-worth and self-esteem. Let me make something clear, it is still true God will bless His children in accordance with His Will which is founded in His Word. However, because of the prosperity gospel, we have placed the earthly blessings above Jesus meeting our greatest need, which is having our sins covered with His blood sacrifice. 

So why did Jesus say to this scribe “you are not far from the Kingdom of God”. Because the Law is our schoolmaster to Salvation through faith alone. The Apostle Paul tells us this in Galatians 3:24 (NKJV), “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”. So let me say something, Biblical evangelism involves using the Law as a schoolmaster. People must realize how bankrupt they will be when they stand before a Holy God on Judgement Day. People need to clearly see their need for a Savior. 

Let us examine ourselves, are we presenting the Gospel Biblically to the unsaved, or are we compromising the message for sake of numbers? 



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