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Summary

  • The parables of Matthew 25 are very clear about the Final Judgment of mankind. Neither mentions the word “faith”, or “believe”.
  • John 3:16 must mean something more than many (most?) are being taught.
  • Paul encourages us to judge ourselves; Peter, that we would make our call and election sure.
  • Is it wise to presume about any of the qualifications found in these parables?

In a previous article, The Sky is Falling!! Again?, we proposed that – in speaking about the signs of His coming and the end of the Age, Jesus strongly encouraged His disciples (including us) to avoid deception, endure to the end, resist being troubled; and, above all, be prepared.

Continuing His discourse, Jesus explains what that preparation looks like. He also highlights the rewards for preparing; and the consequences of failing to do so. With that in mind, take all the time you need to read Matthew 25… prayerfully and carefully. Then, please prayerfully consider the following.

The parables of Matthew 25 are very clear about the Final Judgment of mankind. If you have enough oil you will get in to Heaven. If you properly invest the talent that has been entrusted to you, you will get in. If you feed, clothe, etc. the brethren of Jesus Christ, you will get in.

If you fail at these, you will be shut out, cast into outer darkness (where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth), and cursed to the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. In simpler terms: You will go to Hell.

I know this is challenging to many. Jesus said – right there in John 3:16 – that God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Nothing there about bringing enough oil to the party, being a wise investor, or ministering to the brethren.

At this point we must ask ourselves a few questions: What does believing in Jesus mean? Does it include the requirements of Matthew 25? Is what we know as “faith” enough for salvation; without oil, or return on invested talent, or ministry to the brethren? Is faith without works dead (i.e., ineffectual for our salvation)? How will our faith be judged? Read the rest of this entry »

And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:2-3

In response to Jesus’ declaration that the Temple would be destroyed, His disciples asked three questions:

  1. When will this happen?
  2. What will be the sign of Your coming?
  3. What will be the sign of the end of the age?

Jesus could have answered the first of these questions directly (i.e., in about 40 years). He chose not to. Well, actually, His Father chose not to.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Matthew 24:36

Furthermore, notice that the disciples did not ask “when” in regard to His coming, nor the end of the age. Somehow, they knew better.

So, why has this become our focus?

Is the time and energy we spend trying to determine the day and hour a distraction from more important matters? I believe it is.  In fact, Jesus has promised that the day and hour we come to expect will not be accurate.

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44

Jesus could have quickly, and succinctly, answered all three of the disciple’s questions. Instead, He used their questions to raise more important matters. There was something much more important that He wanted them (and us) to understand, believe and obey.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Matthew 24:4

But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:13

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour
your Lord is coming.
Matthew 24:42

Take heed, endure and watch; for though you do not know the day or the hour, tribulation – and then judgment – is coming.

The primary purpose of this discourse is the disciple’s preparation. God help us to discover the same passion for those in our spheres of influence.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Here we are: Already into the eighth article of this series. Some of you are itching to get on with the plan. Am I right? I know how you feel – fighting the urge to get something done.

So, step back from the edge and take a deep breath. You don’t want to go there. You really don’t. Be encouraged: God has it all under control. It’s more about the journey than the destination.

We are making progress. In fact, we are about to move on to the next phase – from positioning ourselves before God, to discovering His purpose.

Remember, patience is a virtue. It is also a necessity – assuming we are determined to find the center of God’s will in the good works He has created us to walk in.

Are You Ready to Move On?

God’s greatest intention, in calling us to more, is to better position us to hear, believe and obey His voice. Now is the time – in these relatively quiet beginnings – to establish that foundation. Doing so will protect us when the chaos of adventure arrives.

Therefore, we are going to take a pause here to check ourselves. Just how are we doing with our preparation? Important note: These are intended to be conversation starters… with God.
Read the rest of this entry »

You may recall from the beginning of this series that we are on this journey together. God has called me – and inLight Consulting – to more. Like you, I feel the tension of transition in the air. God is up to something.

Up to this point in the series, I have been introducing (and applying to myself) the basic principles that I share with other Workplace Leaders. This past week, God introduced something extra.

It is not unusual for God to add something particular for the person I am discipling. In this case, that person is me. I hope it will also help some of you.

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Westminster Shorter Catechism

Motivation is a big deal in the kingdom of God. As we prepare ourselves to be transformed by the Holy Spirit for the more of God’s call, it will do us well to check our motivation.

Why are you following Jesus? Why did you say the “sinner’s prayer”? Why did you make that fateful decision? Why are interested in the more God is offering you? Read the rest of this entry »

As I mentioned in my previous article, God prepared my wife and I for His call to more – what we call “our house fire adventure” – with a few encouraging words. The last, and the one I want to focus on here, was, “You need to grieve”.

Of all He had to say to us, this is the word we would not have thought of ourselves; nor would we have imagined the impact it would have on our journey. We didn’t understand it at the time, but we chose to be obedient.

Once it was safe, my wife and I went into the house and assessed the damage. Every picture on every wall was destroyed. Smoke had found its way into every closet and drawer. It is absolutely amazing what high temperature smoke can do to treasured items.

So, we held each other and cried. Later, I led our children (individually) into their rooms. One of them grieved; the other got mad. One was able to move on from the tragedy; the other suffered for years.

Most only think of grieving in relation to the death of a loved one. It is the process we must go through to “get on with our lives”. In our tragedy, my wife and I learned that grieving is a grace of God for more.

Our response to God’s call to more requires our leaving something behind. Many times, it is security, long held beliefs, even people and places we have grown to love. Rarely does this call not involve a dying to ourselves.

So, there is grieving.

God’s call to more is His invitation to a higher level of glory.  Responding positively, we soon experience the process of transformation (2Corinthians 3:18). The Greek word for “transformed” is metamorphoo: the death of a caterpillar, that a butterfly might emerge.

Grieving is not something most people readily embrace, because we associate it with negative events. I am encouraging you to see grieving as the grace God has provided for all His children. Knowing our weaknesses, He has given us grief that we might more easily and productively walk through His transformation. Read the rest of this entry »

Our Heavenly Father desires nothing more for His children than for them to become fruitful citizens of His kingdom. Our contribution is ultimately for His glory; for His name’s sake. However, He loves us with a father’s love; a love that desires the best for His children.

When God calls us to more, it is important to consider how we are thinking about the call. Is it a burden to us, or a privilege? An obligation, or an opportunity? Are we dreading the journey, or looking forward to the adventure?

On April 18, 2009, my wife and I watched helplessly as firefighters did all they could to save the house we had lived in for most of our marriage – the home where we had raised our children. The fire, smoke and water destroyed practically everything. It could have been the beginnings of a burdensome tragedy.

As we stood watching this tragedy-in-progress, God whispered three things into our hearts,

“I am sovereign. Nothing happens outside of my will.”

“I am a good God, I love you, and I have a plan for you.”

“Reckon these things to be true.”

And so began God’s call to more. As we settled into our first temporary quarters (the Holiday Inn Express), we turned to our Heavenly Father. Beth began, “Father God, whatever you have for us in this, we receive it.”

Praise God for His encouragement, in the prayers of a godly wife!

This was the surrender our Father was looking for; and it opened the storehouse of Heaven. With one word (our “whatever”), we had entered into the purpose of Almighty God. Our tragedy immediately became an adventure. Read the rest of this entry »

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