Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kept Out of Heaven

Near the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus offered this scathing rebuke to some of the self-righteous who considered themselves religious - "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in" (Matt. 23:13). This brings to mind the reality that just as there were people keeping others out of heaven then, so some do today:

1. Hypocrites are keeping others out of heaven. Someone has said, "Being in a church building doesn't make you a Christian any more than being in a garage makes you a car." Faithful Christians WILL be found worshiping, but one's lifestyle may not well represent Christ and the church. Don't allow your activity to deter other people from the kingdom. If you are going to talk the talk then by all means walk the walk.

2. Complainers are keeping others out of heaven. Here is the scene: The worship service has concluded and the family is getting in the car. From the back seat the children hear their father complain about the service. Their mother rants about the preacher being long-winded. Somebody hurt somebody else's feelings....you get the picture. One day, when those children are not Christians, the parents wonder why. If all we ever do is complain about the kingdom, why would we think anyone else would ever want to be a part of it?

3. False teachers are keeping others out of heaven. Many people believe in their heart they are saved, when they have never met the Biblical conditions for salvation. You cannot merely "feel" you are saved. This may be the most common religious error of our time. You can KNOW you are saved (1 John 5:13). But this only comes through Bible study and complete submission to the doctrine and will of God. Many Bible reading, reilgious, teachers of the Word are not teaching all of it - and therefore they are keeping people from true salvation. If you are going to preach it, preach it all!

4. Church members are keeping non-Christians out of heaven. "This is my seat" are four words I never want to hear any church member say to a visitor. How disgusting! Brethren, we have not "arrived" (Phil. 3:13). By the grace of God we have been purchased by the precious blood of Christ. He loved us and died for us while we were yet sinners. Don't be a member of the church like you are a member of a social club. You have no status here. Consider yourself a slave in the kingdom.

5. Parents are keeping their own children out of heaven. This is the saddest reality of all. Children want to know Jesus, but their parents won't take them to worship, Bible class, or allow them other spiritual opportunities. Travel ball, extra-cirricular events, and cares of the world supercede the work of the church. Parents need to get their priorities straight. If your child does not know the Lord, and misses out on heaven, you have failed as a parent.

May God help us to be part of the reason others will go to heaven, and not part of the reason they are lost.

"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6

1 comment:

  1. Great words of wisdom that all of us need to hear! Thank you Jeremiah