REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM
The first item in the New Testament preaching was the kingdom. The first preacher in the New Testament was John the Baptist, and the first word out of his mouth was, "Repent for the kingdom" (Matt. 3:1-2). It is not merely a matter of being sinful, of going to hell, or of having peace and joy. It is not merely a matter of repenting that we may have salvation. We must repent for the kingdom.
The word repent means to change your mind, to have a change in your way of thinking. It means to change your way of reasoning, to change your concepts, ideas, philosophy, and even your theology. We all need to repent. Repent from your old concepts. Repent from philosophy and systematic theology. Repent from the old Bible knowledge, from the old expositions and interpretations of the Scriptures. We need to change our point of view.
Why must we repent for the kingdom? Because, regardless of the concepts we cling to, we are not for the kingdom. You may be for education or for religion. You may be for Christianity or for so-called churches. You may be for gospel preaching or for the mission field. You may be for doing good. You may be zealous for the spiritual gifts, or you may be seeking the power of God. I do not know what you are for, but I am afraid you may not be for the kingdom. You must repent. Repent from what you are. Repent from where you are. Repent from what you are doing and what you are thinking. Repent from all your concepts. I do not care and God does not care whether your concept is good or bad. That means nothing. As long as you are not for the kingdom, it makes no difference. We all must repent for the kingdom. The New Testament is for the kingdom. When the New Testament age comes, the kingdom comes. If you are not in the kingdom, if you are not living for the kingdom, you need to repent.
THE PREACHING OF JESUS
John the Baptist began the New Testament preaching by saying, "Repent for the kingdom" (Matt. 3:2). Then the Lord Jesus came and repeated the preaching of John the Baptist (Matt. 4:17). It is a shame that preachers today do not like to repeat the preaching of others. If one man should preach, "Repent for the kingdom," another will preach something new. They do not like to follow others’ preaching. The Lord Jesus, however, became a follower. He followed John the Baptist. The Lord Jesus was not the first one who preached repentance for the kingdom; He was the second. It is marvelous that the Lord Jesus repeated and continued the preaching of John the Baptist. Surely this shows the importance of the kingdom. If the preaching of the kingdom were not so important, then the Lord Jesus would not have repeated it. Because He repeated the preaching of John the Baptist, we have a strong proof that the preaching of the kingdom was very important.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)