The kingdom of heaven天国 (Matt 7:21，太7：21)
Sam was baptised this morning!Sam 早上受洗了。Hopefully, next week we can hear his personal testimony as to what made him take this step, since he had known Jesus’ story for more than 10 years. 盼望下周我们可以听到他的受洗见证, 为什么他会下决心受洗，其实他已经知道耶稣十年多了。That would be very exciting and encouraging…for God is alive! 那见证会很鼓励人，因上帝活着！A week ago上周, we left a question to answer for today我们留下一个问题，给今天回答, that is “what’s the difference between the kingdom of heaven and the Kingdom of God”——“天国” 和 “神国”有何不同. Jesus says主耶稣说, “not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of heaven 凡称呼我 “主啊，主啊”的人不能都进天国，But only he does the will of my Father who is in heaven惟独遵行我天父旨意的人才能进去。Matt 7: 21（太7:21）” Obviously很明显, there is a condition for those who desire to enter the Kingdom of heaven进入天国是有条件的, that is to do the Father’s will就是遵行天父的旨意。
Many of us have watched the video from the home church不少人看过我们家庭教会的视频, in which Sun xiaoRong关于孙晓荣, a sister who once had been demon-possessed for 18 years was set free鬼附十八年后得了释放。Once, the demon manifested and struck her body down onto the floor一次邪灵彰显时，把她摔在地上，her body became rigid身体僵硬，and she lost her control of her mind at that moment失去神智。Several sisters prayed for her有几个姊妹都为她祷告，one said一个祷告说, “In the name of Jesus I rebuke you out of her我奉耶稣的名，斥责你从她里面出来。” The demon replied那鬼回答说, “Praying loudly is useless祷告得大声没用。” The other prayed另一个祷告, “Lord, Lord,…主啊，主啊” the demon cut in and said鬼插进来说, “not everyone who says to Jesus, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven凡称呼我“主啊，主啊”的人不能都进天国, but only he who does His will惟独遵行我天父旨意的人才能进去。” That sister was cut to the heart那位姊妹的心被刺了一下，and confessed to the Lord in her heart于是心里向主认罪。Afterwards she said to me frankly之后她坦白告诉我, “Even the enemy knew that I dared not seek the Father’s will in everything I did连邪灵都知道我不敢为每件事寻求神旨意, because I was afraid因我怕, that if I sought out God’s will, He would not allow me to do what I’d decided to do要是我决定好的事，神不让我做怎么办。Even the demon knew this连鬼都知道。” Well, what does “entering the Kingdom of heaven” mean for a born-again Christian对重生基督徒来讲，“进入天国”意味着什么呢? Does it mean that those who do not do the will of the Father will lose their salvation是否没有遵行天父旨意的就不得救了呢?
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God因为凡被神的灵引导的都是神的儿子. We did not receive a spirit that makes us a slave again to fear你们所受的，不是奴仆的心，仍旧害怕, but we received the Spirit of sonship所受的，乃是儿子的心, and by Him we cry, “Abba, Father,” 因此我们呼叫 “阿爸！父！” the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children圣灵与我们的心同证我们是神的儿女. Now if we are children既是儿女, then we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ便是后嗣，就是神的后嗣，和基督同作后嗣. If indeed we share in His suffering in order that we may also share in His glory如果我们和祂一同受苦，也必和祂一同得荣耀 (Romans 8:15-17，罗8:15-17)。
These verses tell us这段经文说, that the Holy Spirit produces two profound changes in us toward God圣灵使我们有两个地位的改变。One is that Jesus is our Lord once we’ve received His Spirit一是 受圣灵而感耶稣成为我们的主，and the other is that God is our Father另一个是神成为我们的天父。This is not based on what we do不是因为我们做了什么，but based on what Christ Jesus has done on the cross而是耶稣基督在十字架上成就的工作。Yet for whether we will appear as His sons但关于将来我们会否是神的儿子, the bible says经上说, “Beloved亲爱的弟兄啊, now we are children of God我们现在是神的儿女; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be将来如何，还未显明, but we know that when He is revealed但我们知道，主若显明, we shall be like Him我们必要象祂, for we shall see Him as He is因为必得见祂的真体. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself凡向祂有这指望的，就洁净自己, just as He is pure象祂洁净一样. 4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness凡犯罪的，就是违背律法, and sin is lawlessness违背律法的就是罪（1 John 3:2,约一3:2）。
In other words换句话说, through Christ’s blood we become children of God by grace through faith我们藉着基督的宝血成为神儿女，是本乎恩，也因着信, and are given sonship through the Holy Spirit并藉着圣灵得了儿子的名分。But this is not the end but just the beginning of the race这不过是赛跑的起点，并非终点, we then need to prove our faith by doing the Father’s will我们需要行神旨意来见证这信心, so that we can say that we are really sons of God因此才能说我们是否是神的儿子们。How怎么行神旨意? Deny the desires of the flesh否定肉体私欲, like lust就如情欲, idolatry拜偶像, greed贪心, selfishness自私自利, hatred恼怒, jealousy争竞, speaking lies说谎, and so on等等, but live by the leading of the Spirit of truth to yield the fruit of Spirit被真理引导结出圣灵的果子, like love就是仁爱, joy喜乐, peace和平, patience忍耐, kindness恩慈, goodness良善, faithfulness信实, gentleness温柔 and self-control节制。
Therefore因此, positionally, we are co-heirs with Christ在地位上我们与基督同为后嗣, practically实际上, If indeed we share in His suffering in order that we may also share in His glory如果我们和祂一同受苦，也必和祂一同得荣耀。It seems to say that “No pain, no gain这像是在说 没有付出，没有收获”, “No cross, no crown没有十字架，没有冠冕”, “No suffering, no inheritance没有受苦，就得不着产业”, “No humility, no glory没有降卑，就得不着荣耀”. There is a condition to become qualified to share in His glory配与主同得荣耀是有条件的, that is to indeed share in His suffering就是确实地与祂一同受苦. What does Christ’s suffering refer to基督受什么苦? “Father, not my will, but Yours be done父啊，不要照我的意思，只要照你的意思.” no matter how good my (or your) will is不管自己的意思有多好! The reason we suffer is because our sinful minds are hostile to God我们感到难受，是因为自己的想法与神为仇, that’s why Jesus gave us His Spirit to help us to war against and beat the flesh因此耶稣赐下祂的灵，帮助我们与肉体争战并去得胜。
However, was it easy for Joseph to forgive his brothers who betrayed and sold him as a slave to Egypt可是，要约瑟饶恕把他卖到埃及做奴隶的亲哥哥们容易吗? Was it easy for Moses who refused to be known as Pharaoh’s daughter’s son要摩西不做法老女儿的儿子but chose to be mistreated along with God’s people却与神子民一同受苦，容易吗? Was it easy for David to be chased by the jealous king Saul for more than 10 years in the desert 要大卫忍受被扫罗王追杀十几年and to wait patiently for God’s time to come只能在旷野耐性等候神的时间来到，容易吗? Why did these people choose to obey the Father’s will by bearing with long-suffering他们为什么宁愿长久受苦也要遵行天父旨意呢? Because they wanted to share in His glory因他们盼望与主同得荣耀, for God has prepared a city for them in heaven神在天上为他们预备了一座城. We are also invited我们也这样被邀请。
Jesus says主耶稣说, “but only he does the will of my Father who is in heaven惟独遵行我天父旨意的人才能进去.” What does this heaven mean这里的天国指什么? The bible clearly tells us that salvation is God’s grace 圣经清楚地说，得救是神的恩典and a free gift to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ 白白赐给信耶稣and His redemption work on the cross和十字架的人。It’s not by our works得救不是出于行为, so that no one can boast of themselves免得有人自夸 (Eph 2:8-9，弗2:8-9). If so若是这样, why does Jesus say that only those who do the will of the Father who is in heaven耶稣为什么说惟独遵行天父旨意的人才能进天国呢? If “in heaven” is just saying that we can enter the Kingdom of God如果“天国”仅仅指神国, which is a free gift而进神国是白白的恩典, why does Jesus raise a condition that “only he does the will of the Father who is in heaven”为什么还要多加上 “惟独遵行天父旨意的人”的条件呢? How can non-believers do the Father’s will不信的人怎能遵行天父旨意? Of course they can’t当然不能. Only those who are people of God只有神子民才行. Therefore那么, the only reasonable explanation of “in heaven” is that it must have a different meaning from just entering the Kingdom of God唯一合理的解释就是，进入“天国”与进入神国不同。
In the Beatitudes, Jesus teaches His disciples主在登山宝训里说, “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake为义受逼迫的人有福了, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven因为天国是他们的. Matt 5:10（太5:10）” We all know that the teaching of the Beatitudes is to lead us into the mature character of Christ-likeness登山宝训的目的是为引导我们成为耶稣的样式，具备耶稣的品格, such as humility虚心, meekness温柔, hunger for righteousness饥渴慕义, mercy怜恤, purity of heart清心, and peace-making使人和睦. They are talking about the further progression of our spiritual growth 说的都是属灵生命的成长进程not the initial step of being born-again而不是指起点阶段的重生. Jesus says that if you act in righteousness主耶稣说，你们若行义 – “what is right in God’s eyes就是行神眼中看为正的”, you will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake就会为义受逼迫. But don’t worry但无须担心! The sweet presence of God and the love of Christ is much more powerful than any persecution因与神同在的甘甜和基督的爱大超过逼迫的苦! No weapon forged against you will prevail任何对付你的武器都胜不过你, if you really act righteously而你若真正行义! And God has a great reward for those who are persecuted for acting righteously神为那些为义受逼迫的人预备了极大的奖赏, for He promised that “theirs is the kingdom of heaven”就是应许“天国是他们的”. It means that they will inherit the Kingdom of heaven as a reward for suffering persecution也就是说，这些人将因受逼迫得着天国的赏赐.
Go down to the next bible verses我们来看下一节经文, 12 “Blessed are you when people insult you人若因我辱骂你们, persecute you 逼迫你们and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me捏造各样坏话毁谤你们，你们就有福了. 12 Rejoice and be glad应当欢喜快乐, because great is your reward in heaven因为你们在天上的赏赐是大的, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you在你们以前的先知，人也是这样逼迫他们.（Matt 5:11-12，太5:11-12）
You can see这里看到, that if you endure the pain of unjust suffering for doing good because of Jesus’ sake你若因耶稣行义而忍受不公正的对待, this doesn’t just result in entering the Kingdom of God其果效不仅仅是进入神的国, but results in your reward in heaven而是得到天上赏赐. that is “for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”就是“天国是他们的” – for they will inherit the kingdom of heaven因为那些人将承受天国.
From the four gospels四福音里, we see that Jesus brings up two terms “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” 主耶稣引入“神国”和“天国”两个说法. In Matt 4:17（太4:17）, “from that time Jesus began to preach and to say从那时起，耶稣就传起道来，说, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.天国近了，你们应当悔改！” And in the Beatitudes天国八福里说, “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake为义受逼迫的人有福了, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven因为天国是他们的. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven凡称呼我“主啊，主啊”的人不能都进天国, But only he does the will of my Father who is in heaven惟独遵行我天父旨意的人才能进去.”
Knowing the doctrinal difference between these two terms 明白两者在教义上的差别 is the key to understanding the complete line of Biblical history past, present, and future是理解从过去、到现在、直到未来的圣经历史时间线的关键. And it may give you much understanding of what rewards you may receive after you pay the price to follow in Christ’s footsteps并让人明白，若付代价跟随基督的脚踪，将得什么赏赐. And may encourage you to seek spiritual maturity that is Christ-like character和激励你去追求基督的属灵丰盛生命。
From the four gospels在四福音里, we see that the Israel people were only looking for a political Messiah King to come and reign我们看到以色列人只是在等候一个要来掌权的政治弥赛亚, because in the OT, God promised them因神在《旧约》里有应许, “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, 耶和华说：“日子将到，when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch我要给大卫兴起一个公义的苗裔, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land祂必掌王权，行事有智慧，在地上施行公平和公义。 Jer 23:5（耶23:5）
That’s why even John the Baptist was puzzled所以连施洗约翰都搞不明白, although he had recognized Jesus Christ as the Son of God尽管他一开始认出耶稣基督是神的儿子, when he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Jesus那时他看见圣灵像鸽子降在耶稣身上. Since John had heard about the works of Christ in prison施洗约翰在监里听说耶稣所行的事后, he totally couldn’t link this to the work a political Messiah King was supposed to do他完全无法将耶稣所做的和一位来统治的君主联系到一起. So John sent somebody to question Jesus于是打发人去问耶稣, “are you the Coming one那将要来的是你吗, or do we look for another还是我们等候别人呢?” The Israelites were expecting military deliverance from the Romans’ rule以色列人所盼望的是军事上的解救，可以脱离罗马政权. They were looking for a political Messiah King who would bring a political Kingdom to reign in Jerusalem所等候的是一位在耶路撒冷建国的政权统治君主.
However可是, this time when Christ Jesus came耶稣基督到来了, He didn’t bring a political Kingdom并没有建立一个政权王国, but a Spiritual Kingdom to people’s hearts而是带下在人心里的属灵国度, He said祂说, “The Kingdom of God does not come with observation神国来到不是眼所能见的; nor will they say人也不得说, ‘see here看哪，在这里”! or “see there看哪，在那里！” For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you因为神国就在你们心里.” Luke 17:20-21（路17:20-21）. “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God我若靠着神的灵赶鬼, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you这就是神国临到你们了. Matt12:28（太12:28）” These verses tell us that the kingdom of God is on earth now in a spiritual form in the hearts of God’s people这些经文表明，这个时代，神的国，在地上，是以属灵的形式存在于神子民的心中. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray主耶稣在主祷文中教我们这样祷告, “Our Father in heaven我们在天上的父, hallowed be Your name愿人都尊你的名为圣, Your Kingdom come愿你的国降临.” And When Pilate asked Jesus并且，当彼拉多问耶稣, “are you a king你是犹太人的王吗?” Jesus said耶稣回答说, “My kingdom is not of this world我的国不属这世界. If it were我的国若属这世界, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders我的臣仆必要争战，使我不至于被交给犹太人. But now my kingdom is from another place只是我的国不属这世界. John 18:36（约18:36）” They all tell us that the Kingdom of God exists today both in heaven 这些经文都在说，神国，今天既在天上and now has come invisibly within the hearts of His redeemed people through the Holy Spirit但又在地上，是藉着圣灵临到被赎子民的心里, but not yet in its literal (political, fullness) reign on the earth却还不是在地上实际政权掌权的国度。
However然而, the Jewish disciples were waiting for this political Messiah Kingdom to come for long time身为犹太人的门徒们等候政权弥赛亚的国度已经等了很久, that’s why the disciples asked Jesus at the beginning of the book of Acts于是在《使徒行传》一开头，门徒们就问耶稣, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel主啊，你复兴以色列国就在这时候吗?” Jesus answered耶稣回答说, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority父凭着自己的权柄所定的时候、日期，不是你们可以知道的. (Acts.1:6-7，徒1:6-7)”
This dialogue shows that the Jewish disciples were still expecting the political Messiah kingdom to reign in the nation Israel这段对话说明，犹太人门徒还在盼望一个在地上统治的以色列民族的政权弥赛亚国度. And they were inquiring of Jesus about the timing of this restoration就询问耶稣复兴以色列国的时间. Jesus’ answer shows that their understanding of the promised Kingdom而主耶稣的回答表明，他们所理解的应许之国 - “the political kingdom of Heaven” would come down was correct就是天国的政权实体掌权，将会到来，这没错, except for the time of its coming只不过那时间, for only the Father knows the time只有天父知道. We thank God for Christ who made the way for us who were gentiles感谢神，因基督给我开路，使我们这原来是外邦人的, but now we are all God’s people 现在却成了神子民and we can share in this promised covenant through faith in Christ又因信在基督里同得这应许之约.
A week ago上周, we learnt that when Jesus returns我们分享到，主再来时, the kingdom of heaven will come down 天国也要来到and reign on the earth for a thousand years with those who are overcomers and Jesus’ martyrs, 主要与得胜者和殉道者一同作王一千年，as foretold in the book of revelation正如《启示录》 (19:6-8, 21:2) and the book of Zechariah和《撒迦利亚书》 (4:17)的预言.
In Revelation 21:1-3（启21:1-3）, 21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” 我又看见一个新天新地，for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away因为先前的天地已经过去了, and there was no longer any sea海也不再有了. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem我又看见圣城新耶路撒冷, coming down out of heaven from God由神那里从天而降, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband预备好了，就如新妇装饰整齐，等候丈夫. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying我听见有大声音从宝座出来说, “Look看哪! God’s dwelling place is now among the people神的帐幕在人间, and he will dwell with them祂要与人同住. They will be his people他们要作祂的子民, and God himself will be with them and be their God神要亲自与他们同在，作他们的神.
It clearly tells us这段话说得很清楚, when a new heaven and a new earth come将有新天新地, the Holy City, the new Jerusalem will come down out of heaven from God圣城新耶路撒冷将由神那里从天而降, which will be the centre of government for the kingdom of God圣城就是神国的政权中心, God’s throne will be in the Holy City神的宝座设立在圣城内, along with those who have been prepared as a beautiful bride in God’s eyes那些在神眼里预备好的新妇也与神同在. And this Holy City - the centre of government of the Kingdom of God will reign for ever and ever 神国的政权中心——圣城，将要掌权直到永远 (see Re 22: 1-5，启22：1-5).
As a result, we can see, that the Kingdom of God is the whole所以我们知道神的国是指神国度的全部, while the kingdom of the heaven is a part of the whole天国是其中的一部分, representing the centre of government for the kingdom of God代表神国的政权中心. For example打个比方, people who are New Zealanders are legally allowed to stay in this country permanently新西兰人有权在新西兰永久居留, and are entitled to the state welfare benefits并享受各种国家福利. But only a few are members of parliament但当国会议员的只有少数. Similarly同样, everyone who is born-again in Christ enters the Kingdom of God每个重生基督徒都进入神的国, but only those who are overcomers are in the centre of government for the Kingdom of God (the kingdom of heaven) to rule with Christ in the thousand years但只有得胜者才进入神国的政权中心，就是进入天国 (Re 20:4-6，启20:4-6), when Christ Jesus returns并在基督再来时，与基督一同作王一千年.
If you understand this如果你明白了, you understand why Jesus says就知道主耶稣为什么说, “not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of heaven 凡称呼我“主啊，主啊”的人不能都进天国, But only he does the will of my Father who is in heaven惟独遵行我天父旨意的人才能进去. ” That is not stating that a born-again Christian will lose his salvation这并不是说重生基督徒失去救恩, because he doesn’t do the Father’s will因他们没有遵行天父旨意, but he will lose the opportunity to enter the Political City of the Kingdom of God to rule with Christ when Jesus returns and bring His Kingdom of Heaven to reign in Jerusalem on the earth而是说，基督再来，天国在地上掌权时，这些人将失去进入神国政权中心与基督一同作王的机会. That’s why many will be weeping and gnashing of teeth因此有许多人就哀哭切齿, kept out of the door of the Political City of the Kingdom of God in the thousand years被关在神国圣城的门外, and they will regret what they’ve chosen to follow in this life为今生的选择而懊悔. But after that thousand years and final judgement in Revelation 20 但在启示录20章，那1千年和最后的审判后, we can see that in Revelation 22我们看见在启示录22章, all the people of God can go into the new earth and the new heaven所有的神的百姓进入新天新地, the difference is that only these overcomers will stay in the Holy City and reign with Jesus forever (Re 21:7, 22:5，启21：7，22：5) 唯一区别是只有那些得胜者将与基督一同在圣城作王直到永远. That’s the real glory! 这是真正的荣耀！And it endures forever!这荣耀要存到永远 We praise God whose words are just and true!赞美主话语的公义和真实！
The way of this world is to argue about who is right and who is wrong世界的道路是争辩谁对谁错, which only results in pride and self-righteousness不过生出骄傲自义. Think about yourself,想想你自己 when the time you get mad at somebody else当你对某人生气时, is this because that person who is doing wrong in your eyes?是不是因为那个人做了你眼中的错事？ However, the way of Christ is to do the will of the Father可是，基督的道路是，遵行天父旨意. Christ Jesus doesn’t condemn us who sin against him 耶稣基督没有定我们的罪, but chooses to forgive us and gives us time to turn to His way却选择饶恕和给我们时间悔改, and leaves room for the Father to judge.听凭父怒 Are you following His way? 你正在跟随这路吗？
Behold看哪, the eventual triumphant Ruler of the eternal Kingdom is Christ Jesus在永恒国度 最终得胜掌权的是耶稣基督. He first came as a Lamb祂起初来的时候是羔羊, who was slain被杀害. Those who are called and chosen and faithful followers will not be exalted by this world but will be persecuted那蒙召被选的忠心跟随者，不会被这世界高举，却会被逼迫, “a student is not above his teacher学生不能高过先生”, but the Lamb of God is the King of kings但神羔羊是万王之王, His second coming is as the Lion of Judah祂再来的时候是犹大狮子, Jesus will bring His political Kingdom to reign on earth for a thousand years主耶稣的掌权国度将在地上掌权一千年, and when the new heaven and the new earth come并且到新天新地到来时, He and His faithful followers will reign forever主和那些忠心跟随者要掌权直到永远! Who will share in His a great glory谁可与主同得这极大无比的荣耀? Those who do the Father’s will.那些遵行父旨意的 If indeed we share in His suffering, we may also share in His glory.如果我们和他一同受苦，也必和他一同得荣耀！
For this reason因此, we need build our house on the rock by practicing His words我们需要操练行道，将房子建在磐石上. Next week下周, we will look at “therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock”我们会一起分享“所以，凡听见我这话就去行的，好比一个聪明人，把房子盖在磐石上”.