I was born in the state of New York in the eastern USA. If I travel anywhere in the world, my passport will certify to other nations’ border officials that I am an American citizen. For your interest, about 2/3 of the readers of this website are citizens of the USA. The second-largest group of visitors to this website are residents of Nigeria, followed by the Philippines, South Africa, India, Kenya, and the UK. In the past week we have been visited by readers from 134 countries. These nations represent earthly “kingdoms,” and each of us belongs to one.
Usually we haven’t chosen our national citizenship. In most cases we are just born into it, although some change their citizenship from one nation to another by legal immigration, as my Irish grandfather did. However, there are two other kingdoms, and every living person belongs by choice to one or the other of them.
Satan has a kingdom. Jesus made that very clear. The apostle Paul called it “the domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13, NASB), the “dominion of darkness” (NIV), the “kingdom of darkness” (NLT). It’s a spiritual kingdom, ruled by Satan, assisted by many demon spirits. Who are its occupants, its citizens? The answer is: all who “reject God and who do not obey the Good News about our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8, GNT).
Jesus said this to the Jews who were rejecting Him. They protested to Him that God was their father (vs. 41). Christ said no, their father was Satan (44), because they were rejecting Him, the promised Savior sent from God (45). For the first 25 years of my life I was “of my [spiritual] father the devil,” because I had not yet chosen to receive Jesus into my life personally, through repentance and faith, as my Savior and Lord.
The apostle Paul was preaching the Gospel of Christ to the proconsul Sergius Paulus. The man was listening carefully to Paul’s preaching when a sorcerer named Elymas intervened and tried to prevent the proconsul from believing the Gospel. Paul rebuked the sorcerer and said to him, “You are a child of the devil” (Acts 13:6-12). The apostle John similarly spoke of two categories — “children of God … [and] children of the devil” (1 John 3:10).
In what the apostle calls the unseen world, there are evil rulers and authorities, mighty powers in a dark world, and evil spirits. Satan is our enemy (“your enemy the devil,” 1 Peter 5:8). He rules over large hosts of vicious, malevolent demons. And sadly, as Jesus clearly said to those who rejected Him, Satan has billions of earth’s population living as hostages in his kingdom of darkness precisely because they refuse the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is the central and all-important truth of the message I am sharing with you today: by faith in Jesus Christ the Savior you can receive forgiveness of your sins, have your eyes spiritually opened, be delivered out of darkness and into God’s light, and be turned from the power of Satan to God!
A change of spiritual kingdoms! Out of Satan’s and into God’s! That’s what every single person in this world needs. Until we come to God by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21), the Bible calls us spiritually “dead in [our] transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). But then the life-changing result of that repentance and that faith in Jesus is that we are “made alive with Christ … it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:5). And as Colossians 1:13 tells us, we are rescued, we are delivered from the dominion, the kingdom, of Satan. And at that very moment of salvation we are transferred into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. We become a son or daughter of God (2 Corinthians 6:18) by what the Bible calls being “born again” (John 3:3-7).
In my lifetime I have held citizenship in all three kingdoms. From birth to now I have been, and I continue to be, a citizen of the USA. For my first 25 years of life I lived without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and was a hostage, a citizen of Satan’s kingdom. I was, spiritually speaking, a child of my father the devil. Then I changed spiritual kingdoms. At age 25, having heard the Gospel of salvation from sin through Jesus Christ, I received him personally as my Savior and Lord. In that moment of time I ceased to be Satan’s child and became a born-again son of God Almighty, destined for eternity with Him and His wonderful Son Jesus. I was no longer headed for the flames of hell, but for the glories of heaven. Meanwhile, for the past 50 years I have enjoyed the ongoing blessing of the Lord upon my life. It has been and continues to be a privilege to serve Him here on earth in anticipation of the joys of heaven.
The choice of spiritual kingdoms is yours! You can ignore Jesus’ death for you and your sins and remain a child of Satan destined for an eternity in hell with other Christ-rejecters. Or you can receive Jesus’ gracious, self-sacrificial death on the cross for your sins, and His resurrection from the dead on the third day, and come to Him in repentance and faith. You will be born again into the family of God and will face the certain future of eternity in the glorious presence of the Lord after your time in this life is over.
I appeal to you today to follow the wisdom of that great hero of faith Joshua: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). That is the all-important choice you face for time and eternity. Choose to serve God. Choose to serve the Son of God, Jesus Christ. You’ll be delivered from the devil’s grasp and from his kingdom. And you’ll be eternally transferred into the indescribably glorious kingdom of God and His Son Jesus.
If God is speaking to your heart to come to Him today, He’s doing that because He loves you deeply. Please take the next few minutes to let the late, respected evangelist Billy Graham lead you in a prayer to leave Satan’s grip and to become a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Click here for Billy Graham’s helpful prayer guidance to receive Christ’s salvation and to enter into God’s family and His wonderful kingdom. It’s the greatest decision you’ll ever make. May the Lord bless you now and always.
Check out our in-depth Kingdom commentary at "Kingdom of Heaven/Kingdom of God Bible Study Notes" (in 3 parts)
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©2019, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons & Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.