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Senior Pastor Phil Roland


Pastor Ray Scott


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Matt. 5:38-48 - Luke 16:16 - Matthew 11:12

                    Over the years I have written several sermons about Matthew 11:12,


“Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he, and from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”   

My first encounter with the passage was at my Bible School in Anaheim, California with my Professor of Evangelism, Jack Hayford. Pastor Jack was fresh from 10 years as a Professor at Life Bible College in Los Angeles. He quoted this passage in an evangelism context and it deeply affected me on the emotional level. The rub is that I struggled to understand the passage.

          My four semesters of Biblical Koine Greek study helped a little, but I was still struck by the paradox of terms. The word violent seemed so harsh for a description of entering into the Kingdom of God.

          Wasn't Christianity supposed to be a religion of peace and meekness? Really violence? Hmmm. . . My friend and mentor, Alan Langstaff has what I consider one of the clearest understandings of the teaching I have ever seen. His newsletter this month opened a whole new understanding for me of the text.

          There is a cacophony of violence going on around us. Bryant McGill says, "Television itself is a cacophony of violence, death obsession, screams, gunfire and drama. You think it's fine because you are damaged."  Cacophony?  Definition: A harsh or discordant sound or mixture of confused, different sounds. Television is the mouthpiece of our violent culture purporting revenge, retaliation and murder as a virtue, while opposing all the elements of the Kingdom of God as taught by the Savior.

          My sermon this morning is my ongoing attempt to understand and put into practice what Jesus taught and commanded. Taking the Kingdom by Force.


Pastor Phil  <><<


November 5, 2017

Sheepfold Ministries, Pastor Phil Roland


"The Passionate Take the Kingdom"

Matt. 5:38-48 - Luke 16:16 - Matthew 11:12


"Alan Langstaff, a personal friend and mentor, suggests that William Barclay has an understanding of what Jesus was actually teaching here. Barclay combines two gospel passages where the teaching is recorded.

His conclusion is astounding."                                                 Pastor Phil  <><<



Koine Greek = biazw = BIA-TDZO = Taking something by Force

VIOLENCE - A Zealous Fanaticism. .  .A Fiery Fervency. . .

Eg. A zealous football fanatic / A Zealous Tea Party Conservative

      A zealous anti-Trump fanatic


First, Matthew 11:12b and then Luke 16:16,


11b. . .from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”   

16 The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.


Commentator, William Barclay paraphrases,


"Always my kingdom will suffer violence, always savage men will try to break it up and snatch it away and destroy it and therefore only the man in whom the violence of devotion matches and defeats the violence of persecution will in the end enter into it." (i.e., enter the kingdom)



I.  WORLDLY VIOLENCE - Matthew 5:38

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'
          A. The Violence of Opposition / Persecution

                        1. The church is under attack today

                        2. Everything we as believers hold dear is openly opposed

                        3. Attacks have not yet become physical as in the Middle East

          B. There is a growing movement to make the U.S. Secular

                        1. Historical Revisionists keep trying to re-write history

                        2. We have been founded on Judeo-Christian principles

                        3. Forbidding the display of Flags of the past

                        4. Tearing down statues of famous historical figures

                        5. The Supreme Court may soon have to rule on this issue



Taking the Kingdom by Force, Cont. p.2



44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,         Matthew 5:44

            A. William Barclay, "The man in whom the violence of devotion                            matches and defeats the violence of persecution."

                        1. This involves men and women who are radically committed                                to follow Jesus regardless of the cost

                        2. A Zealous Fanaticism. .  .A Fiery Fervency. . .

            B. The Plus Factor of Living

                        1. The heartfelt desire to pursue something for Jesus

                        2. The pursuit gives meaning and purpose to your life

                        3. The Plus Factor is something we pursue with all our heart                             4. We forget ourselves in pursuit of the Kingdom and Call

            C. John the Baptist was a Plus Factor person

                        1. Cousin of Jesus and Forerunner of Christ

                        2. He was spiritually in tune w/what God was saying

                        3. He opposed the powers of darkness with prophetic words                                 and actions

                        4. John's righteous zeal pictures for us how his violence of                                    devotion opposed the violence of persecution

                        5. John was a RADICAL who called the people to a Baptism of                              Repentance in a public display outside the Temple

                        5. Herod's swordsman silenced John's voice, but NOT his                                      message

            D. Jesus' obedience to the Will of the Father even involving His                             Death on the Cross - Isaiah 50:6,7

                6 I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who

                plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. 7

"For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced;

                therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be

1. Jesus set His face like a flint to do the Father's Will

                        2. At His Cross we see the violence of devotion matches and

                            defeats the violence of persecution

                        3. Jesus sets the example for all of we who follow Him

                        4. He was obedient even unto His death on the Roman Cross

            E. Jesus Crucifixion bought for us Eternal Salvation - 1 Cor. 15:3-4      3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died

              for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that

              He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

                        1. Jesus defeated sin, death and hell to set us free

                        2. We take the Kingdom by the Fiery Fervency of spiritual force

                        3. There is an eternal struggle, but WE WIN!