The first words that came out of Jesus’ mouth after he received the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16), submitted to God (Matthew 4:1-2), resisted the Devil (Matthew 4:3-10) and the devil fled from him (Matthew 4:11), were “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” Matthew 4:17.
People have long taken this to mean that you should repent from your sins because God’s kingdom is imminent. While repentance from sins is definitely a part of the process, what Jesus is actually saying is to repent from your way of life. This is evident by Jesus’s own leaving the normal way of life as a carpenter’s son, his disciples doing the same (as he calls them), and living according to the Holy Spirit (John 12:49 and John 5:19 are great examples of Jesus specifically telling us this is how he is living and operating). He also has the disciples do the same and to wait for the Holy Spirit to come down on them (Acts 1:4) before doing anything in their ministry.
The disciples followed this command from Jesus and the Holy Spirit descended on them in miraculous fashion in Acts chapter 2, and the stories of the Holy Spirit’s ministry through the disciples plays out in the rest of the book of Acts. The first “church” or Ekklesia left their way of life as well and lived completely set apart from the world and truly held everything together as one (Acts 2:40-47). It is unclear, at least in the Biblical account, if these same actions were taken by the churches that Paul was planting, though there is evidence to suggest (based on provisions provided to Paul) that there was sharing of resources at a minimum.
What is the first requirement to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus’s example by living by the Holy Spirit. Repenting of your way of life, and living only according to the explicit direction of the Holy Spirit.
How do we know this? Because it was the first thing that Jesus uttered after he himself did it in the ministry God gave him (see Biblical references from first paragraph of this article). Additionally, we have the testimony from Jesus later that this is how he’s working (see the John references as a couple of examples of many where Jesus explains that his works come not from him but from the Father, every work and every word he spoke, via the Holy Spirit we can know because he received it in Matthew 3:16).
What’s another way we know? Because again, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 and since we know that Jesus says in John 12:49 that he speaks no words that the Father didn’t give him to speak, ‘For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. ‘ John 12:49″ We can know that Jesus is speaking the words of God himself via the Holy Spirit.
There are countless other references to this truth throughout Jesus’ ministry and the confirmation of it via the Acts of the Apostles that this is the ministry Jesus spoke of. Our salvation (the receipt of the Holy Spirit), comes by faith alone in what God accomplished via Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8). And when we receive the Spirit of Truth (another name for the Holy Spirit), it shall lead us into all Truth (John 16:13). We must be led by the Spirit of Truth in order to be led into all truth (in other words, walk by the Holy Spirit).
If we keep Jesus’ commands to do what He does and follow His ways, ‘Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”’ John 8:31-32
So there you have it, the simple and plain Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. Believe in Jesus Christ, deny yourself and repent of your way of life, submit to God, resist the Devil, and the devil will flee from you, and walk by the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) alone in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
One final proof of this, that I pray will make this plain to those who read this message. The Holy Spirit is the one who disseminates the will of God. He shows you the truth not just about the things of the Bible but also as your personal guide in your life for God’s will for your life. Jesus has this to say about the end of days and entering the Kingdom:
‘“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’’ Matthew 7:13-14,21-23 https://my.bible.com/bible/114/MAT.7.13-14,21-23
He says that not everyone who calls on his name shall enter the Kingdom of heaven but only those who do the will of His Father in heaven. In other words, those who walk by the Spirit of God in obedience to God’s will for your life.
This is the simple and True Gospel of Jesus Christ. The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. God is on the throne and Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. All Glory be to the One True God, who was, and is, and is to come. He reigns forever and ever.