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The Kingdom of Heaven: key verses


People often confuse religion with the kingdom of heaven, but in many ways they are quite opposite, as these verses will show.

1. Luke 17:20-21 God's kingdom is invisible. No organisation can guarantee that you will have the kind of qualities that God is looking for: love, faith, honesty, humility, etc.

2. Acts 7:48, Acts 17:24-25 God doesn't live in man-made buildings. Stephen was killed after saying this verse. (Acts 7:57-58) And Jesus was killed for saying the Jewish Temple would be destroyed. (Matthew 26:61)

3. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:16 You are God's house. The kingdom of heaven is more interested in people than in buildings. Religion is the opposite.

4. Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:32-35 Early Christians lived communally. The churches have stopped "assembling together" the way the first Christians did (Hebrews 10:25) because they want to use their lives working for money.

5. Hebrews 10:25 Don't stop living together. It is important as we move closer to the Great Tribulation, for us to return to living together and developing greater unity.

6. Acts 11:26 Assembling together means living together. From this verse it is clear that "assembling" lasted for much more than a few hours once a week. It was a permanent relationship. Disciples are Christians. Not all Christians are "apostles" (as the 12 were), but we're all disciples, and any requirements for disciples apply to all of us.

7. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 If you don't work, you can't eat. The first Christians lived and ate together. This rule stopped people from joining the church to get free food and a bed. In a Christian community we don't work for money, but we all have jobs to do.

8. Ephesians 4:11-12 We should either be ministers or be learning to be ministers. There are no pew-warmers in a truly Christian community. And the "ministry" is not something just for "experts".

9. I Corinthians 11:20-22 Communion should be for the commune--not for public meetings. Each time we eat together we remember Jesus. Turning communion into a public ritual only embarrasses non-members.

10. Luke 8:1-2 Living together demonstrates God's kingdom. Our living together becomes a sample of the kingdom of heaven, where all live by faith and work for love. It is easier to preach what they see practised.

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