April 10, 2018
WILL YOU BE FOUND IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
As Jesus was teaching in the towns and villages on His way to Jerusalem, someone asked Him how many would be saved. His answer must have been surprising to His Jewish hearers. For most of them thought that just being Jewish was enough. They were children of Abraham. They were circumcised on the eighth day. They went to the Temple for Jewish festivals. They were God’s chosen people. Surely, if anyone would enter the Kingdom, it would be them. But Jesus warned that many would knock at the door of the Kingdom, yet not be allowed entrance because the Lord would reply, “I don’t know you.”
Jesus named three individuals specifically that would definitely be found in the Kingdom–– Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This would not have surprised His Jewish audience. Of course they would be included. Then He said all the prophets would be there. “OK, that makes sense.” They must’ve thought, although there were quite a few that they didn’t listen to in that group. But finally, Jesus said that people from “all over the world” would be represented in the Kingdom. That was a big surprise!
“You mean people from Ninevah and Babylon?” They must have wondered. “Philistines and Moabites too?” They must have questioned. “Why in the world would you let them in and keep us out?” They must have asked.
Jesus had already given them the answer. They had to “know” Him and be known by Him. Being born Jewish was not enough. “You must be born again!” He told Nicodemus (John 3:7). Only those who have been born again of the Spirit will be found in the Kingdom of God.
April 9, 2018
CONSIDER YOUR OWN SINFULNESS
After hearing the news of certain Galileans being murdered by Pilate in Jerusalem and of those who died when the tower in Siloam fell, Jesus corrected the people’s assumption that those who died must have been the worst of sinners. Jesus asked, “Do you think this happened to them because they were the worst sinners?”
Jesus answered His own question with, “Not a all!” They didn’t die because their sin was worse than others. They perished because sin always brings suffering and death.
Jesus urged the people to stop focusing on the sins of others and to consider their own sinfulness. Stop thinking you’re good because someone else’s sin seems worse than yours. Instead, “repent” of your own sinfulness. Focus on your own condition. Admit your sin and ask God to help you repent of it. Turn away (“repent”) of your sin and turn to God.
God doesn’t measure you by calculating your good works vs. you evil works. Nor does He compare you to the righteousness/unrighteousness of others. God judges you according to His standard of righteousness. And only One person has measured up to this standard–– Jesus. Therefore, repenting of your sins is recognition of your desparate need of Jesus as Savior. And turning to God is surrendering your will to Jesus as Lord.
April 9, 2017
The planting and growth of the gospel is like the small, yet ultimately great growth of the mustard seed. The gospel seed was planted by Jesus into His small band of followers. It went unseen and unnoticed by most of the world at that time. Yet, before even a generation had passed, the apostles had carried the gospel throughout the Roman empire and beyond. Today, even many nations rest like birds on the branches of the gospel, supported by its work in men.
Have you received the mustard seed of the gospel? Have you planted it in your family and in your city? It always starts out small and barely seen, but it grows to have huge results!
April 9, 2013
One of many parables of Jesus describing the kingdom of God (or heaven). This parable teaches the “small to great” effect of the kingdom. That just a little leaven causes the whole bread to rise, perhaps points to the small gathering of disciples in an obscure country that will turn the world upside down with the gospel. God often chooses the little to affect the great, the weak to overturn the mighty, the foolish to confound the wise. The kingdom may be “hidden” for a time, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t at work making everything new.