Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tipping God

By Allen White

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
Matthew 23:23-24

Okay, think about this. How many spices do you actually use? Divide that amount by ten. Unless you’re Colonel Sanders, it’s a miniscule amount.



The Pharisees were faithful to the nth degree when it came to giving God a tenth of their possessions. But, God desires far more than a tenth of any of us. God wants all of us. And, He wanted all of the Pharisees too.

While the Pharisees were overly focused on the precision of their tithing, they overlooked more significant, godly pursuits – justice, mercy and faithfulness. They had paid at the office. They gave God what he was due monetarily according to the law. After all, it’s much easier to write a check than to give of ourselves. They had the perfect loophole.

Their tithing amounted to nothing more than tipping God. They gave their nod to God, then they were on their way to doing things their way. They felt they could turn their heads to injustice, because they had already done their part. Their God thing was out of the way for the week.

What are our excuses for not getting involved? “Well, I do usher for 10 minutes every Sunday morning…” I’m not bashing ushers here. People need to find seats. But, God wants each of us for far more than serving on Sunday or sitting in our small groups or writing a check.

The calling on every believer’s life is a 24/7 enterprise. God’s Kingdom is not built on spare time and spare change. God’s Kingdom is built by radical believers who give God everything they’ve got. As we go about our days in our homes, offices, factories and neighborhoods, we are on-mission for God.

What we did last Sunday sitting in worship or contributing to the offering plate is great, but it’s only the starting point of what God desires in our lives. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we are God’s representative, literally. The presence of God in our lives is a light shining into dark places. There’s no on/off switch.

The question is – do we take the time to notice what’s going on around us? And, when we see what’s happening, do we just complain about it or do we actually pray about what to do? When God gives us His marching orders, do we actually do it?

God values mercy over mint. Doing over dill. (I can’t come up with a c word for cumin. Sorry). How is God prompting you to give 100 percent of yourself to Him? Where do you find yourself holding back? When do you feel that God should be satisfied with what you’ve given?

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Promise is a Promise

By Allen White

Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it. Matthew 23:16-22

Do you have any promise-breakers in your life? You bumped into them, and their parting words were “We’ll have to get together sometime.” But, you’ve never gotten together. “Well, I didn’t mean that literally. It was just a nice thing to say.”



Apparently, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day had broken so many promises, they had rules as to which promises were actually promises and which promises were just talk.

Jesus makes it easy. Keep your promises or don’t promise at all. The method of the promise doesn’t matter nearly as much as keeping your word.

I’ve learned the hard way over the years never to make a promise to my children that I don’t intend to keep. I might forget what I promised, but they certainly don’t.

 Parents are such a huge part of their children’s world. If you forgot to take your son to the park to play catch, that’s a big deal to them. If you might or might not go, then don’t bring it up. If you’re definitely going, then say, “Let’s go!”

Integrity demands for us to keep our word – even if it costs us something. Not keeping our word is far more costly in the long run. Broken promises lead to distrust. Once you’ve lost trust with a child or a spouse or a client or anyone else, you’re sunk.

All of us would do much better by promising less and delivering more. Whether you’ve got your hand on a Bible or your fingers crossed behind your back, let your word be your bond.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Frustration of Religion Apart from God

By Allen White

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
Matthew 23:15

You’d think if a conversion made someone a child of hell two times over, they’d be better off unconverted and only a child of hell once over. Eugene Peterson in The Message says they are “double-damned.” From our point of view, we certainly wouldn’t be buying what they’re selling.



But the conversion offered by these religious leaders didn’t bring anyone from death unto life. It really wasn’t conversion at all. This was more of a self-willed reform. They converted ungodly people into folks who worked very hard at being godly, yet still didn’t belong to God.

By changing their ways and conforming to the  religious practices of the Pharisees, these new “converts” had a false sense of security. They thought they belonged to God, yet they didn’t. No one can work himself into Heaven. Yet, to think you’re okay and still not be okay is a precarious spot.

But, we might ask, if they are trying hard and are sincere about following God, why wouldn’t this work? The answer is simple: prideful human effort doesn’t win points with God. In fact, it places our trust in ourselves rather than fully trusting in God.

While I’m not encouraging anyone to become lazy in their Christian walk, we must realize that transformation comes from God’s power, not from our efforts. Now, if we never feel like pursuing the things of God, we do need to question how much transformation has actually taken place.

Pride and self-will got the most beautiful archangel thrown out of Heaven once upon a time. That angel we know as Satan, Lucifer, the Devil. This is why rebellion of any kind is considered satanic. Any time we put ourselves in a position where we think we  know better than God, we enter into this realm.

I believe the most miserable person on this earth is not necessarily the one completely caught up in sin. The most miserable person is actually caught up in religion apart from God. They attend services. They try hard to do the right thing. They judge others. They run out of steam, because they don’t have what it takes to successfully live for God. They don’t
have God.

Conversion is a supernatural transaction that can only take place through God’s power. We can certainly try hard to be godly, yet end up living with a lot of frustration and guilt. Surrender is the pathway to a godly life, not merely hard work. To let go and let God, we have to loosen our grip.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

[Weekly Digest] Galatians419 Devotionals for week of 2/19/2012

Just in case you missed something this week: 



The Secrets of Insecure Leaders

By Allen White

Insecure people can be both dangerous and obnoxious. Believe me, I know. At times, I am one.

People who seem so full of themselves prove to be rather empty. They want to be the center of attention because this helps to validate who they are. They need other people to think well of them, because they think so little of themselves. Read more...

Plagiarizing God’s Word

By Allen White

The best preaching is plagiarism. What we say and what we do should be lifted directly from the pages of Scripture. While creativity in expressing ourselves is a God-given gift, what we say and how we live our lives should be a reflection of God’s Truth. Read more...





Who Would You Be Surprised to See in Heaven?

By Allen White

Who would you be surprised to see in Heaven? A murderer? A Mormon? A child abuser? Your mother-in-law? That bully from junior high? Who would make you look twice inside the pearly gates?

Who’s going to look twice at you? Read more...


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Who Would You Be Surprised to See in Heaven?

By Allen White

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
Matthew 23:13-14

Who would you be surprised to see in Heaven? A murderer? A Mormon? A child abuser? Your mother-in-law? That bully from junior high? Who would make you look twice inside the pearly gates?

Who’s going to look twice at you?



Every person on the earth is sinful, and every sin has consequences, both temporal and eternal. Forgiveness doesn’t release anyone from state prison. If you do the crime, you will do the time. This is justice.

But, Heaven is another story. None of us are good enough to deserve Heaven – not even good people like you and me. We’ve all failed God in some way and thus became God’s enemy. But, nobody has to stay on the wrong side of God.

There are sins so heinous that we can’t imagine the offender making it to Heaven. We can thank God that we don’t struggle with these particular sins. Yet, to God all sin is heinous, even ours.

The only solution for broken lives is God’s grace. Only through God’s mercy, which is really His pity for us, does anyone find forgiveness and salvation. If grace is good for some, but not for others, then we should all feel insecure about that.

God’s grace is sufficient for every person on the planet. Everyone God calls will be saved – regardless of what He has called them out of.

So, what about Mormons? With any religious group the two key questions are: (1) What is their source of truth? And (2) What do they hold as their means of salvation? Everyone who believes in the truth of God’s Word, the Bible, and trusts solely in Jesus Christ for their salvation by grace through faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9) will enter God’s Kingdom.

People in regular, Bible-believing churches who haven’t surrendered their hearts and lives to Christ won’t make Heaven. But, everyone who confesses with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and believes in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead will be saved (Romans 10:8-9). That is the only criteria for entrance into Heaven. Anyone else’s rules don’t apply.

Who do you find yourself steering clear of, even at church? Would you be uncomfortable having a cup of coffee with any other believer? What backgrounds do you have difficulty relating to? Could your actions be keeping someone from finding their Savior? That’s a hard thought.

Pray for the folks who just came to mind. Pray that God will open your heart toward them – not in a na├»ve way, but in a loving way. Ask God to help you see that person as He sees them.

Once upon a time, someone saw what God could do in your life and introduced you to Him. What would the lives of those around you look like if they belonged to Jesus?

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Plagiarizing God’s Word

By Allen White

But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:8-12

The best preaching is plagiarism. What we say and what we do should be lifted directly from the pages of Scripture. While creativity in expressing ourselves is a God-given gift, what we say and how we live our lives should be a reflection of God’s Truth.



Now, this passage should be read in the context of the wishes of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, or else things could get weird in a hurry. What if my kids stopped calling me “Dad” because of Jesus’ words here and began to call me “Allen”? That’s not where Jesus is going with this.

The titles of master, teacher and rabbi were high honors for these religious leaders. They prided themselves in their position. They needed an ego boost to keep their insecurities at bay.

By referring to God Himself as our Master, Teacher and Rabbi, Jesus cuts out the middle man. Our goal in life shouldn’t be to seek honor for ourselves or give honor to insecure people to merely prop up their egos. All we need is The Master and The Teacher.

Now God has called all of His people to ministry in various roles (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4). While most believers have a day job, a few are blessed with full-time church work. But, the Kingdom of God isn’t built on a pyramid or an org chart.

The greatest in God’s Kingdom on earth is Jesus. Yet, the Greatest became the least by offering Himself as a sacrifice for all of our sins. Beneath the derelict on skid row, one level down from the prostitute, underneath the oppressors and slave holders in this world went Jesus to save them, and us, from all of our sins.

The nature of the church is to serve each other. Rewards will come later in Heaven. Honors will be given on the other side. But, on this side, our role is to serve.

At this point in your life, what task do you feel is beneath you? What do you feel that you deserve? How are these thoughts and feelings getting in the way of God using you? God elevates the humble and demotes the proud. You have to go down to go up.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Secrets of Insecure Leaders

By Allen White

Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
Matthew 23:5-7

Insecure people can be both dangerous and obnoxious. Believe me, I know. At times, I am one.

People who seem so full of themselves prove to be rather empty. They want to be the center of attention because this helps to validate who they are. They need other people to think well of them, because they think so little of themselves.



This was the case with the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They narrowed down God’s Law to manageable requirements. No human being could perfectly obey the Law, so the bar had to be lowered at least to the level where they qualified as righteous.

But, think about these religious leaders. They had no assurance of their salvation like believers today. Theirs was a religion of externals – sacrifices and synagogues. They fulfilled the mechanics of religion but lacked a personal relationship with God. They lived in a cycle of sin and sacrifice, then sin again. Grace was lacking. Peace was scarce. Guilt and shame were plentiful.

They presented themselves as more than who they really were. They cast the shadow of the Great and Powerful Oz, yet they were merely men hiding behind a curtain.

Insecure people often appear larger than life. What they present to the world often seems unreal – probably because it’s fake.

People driven by insecurity don’t believe the truth about themselves. They don’t see themselves as God sees them. God loves every insecure person on the planet. We are important to Him. He designed us for a purpose. Where we feel inadequate, He makes us adequate.

When do you feel tempted to present yourself as someone you are not? What assumptions do you allow people to keep? When someone criticizes, what place does that take you to?

You are enough. God made you to be you. He has equipped you with both strengths and weaknesses to fulfill your purpose on this earth. Yes, I said “weaknesses.” More people will relate to your failures than to your successes.

Don’t allow the devil or anyone else, including you, to poison your thoughts and convince you that you are worthless. When you hit the wall and don’t know what to do next, cry out to God: “I can’t make this work. I don’t know what to do. I need you to help me.” And, God always will.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

[Weekly Digest] Galatians419 Devotionals for week of 2/12/2012

Just in case you missed anything this week...


Don't Go There

By Allen White

“Nothing is certain, but death and taxes,” so the old saying goes. I wonder if that quote got its start in this verse. The Pharisees challenged Jesus on his view of taxes, while the Sadducees went after him on death and resurrection. In general, these are things we all think about at times. Read more...



If You Don’t Do Anything Else, Do This

By Allen White

In the tag team match of trying to tie Jesus up with His own words, the Pharisees pick up where the Sadducees failed. If they could only catch Jesus in a twisted Scripture, they would have the justification they felt they needed. But, not only does this tactic backfire, it also produces one of the most beautiful truths in Scripture. Read more...


The Truth About Pastors

By Allen White

Over the years, I’ve known quite a number of pastors. Some whose churches I attended. Some I worked for. And, hundreds I’ve consulted with and coached over the years. While I’ve never met a pastor who was quite as despicable as the Pharisees, not one of them was perfect either. Read more...

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Truth About Pastors

By Allen White

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Matthew 23:1-4

Over the years, I’ve known quite a number of pastors. Some whose churches I attended. Some I worked for. And, hundreds I’ve consulted with and coached over the years. While I’ve never met a pastor who was quite as despicable as the Pharisees, not one of them was perfect either.



Pastors are people. They are not cut from a different clothe. They just have a different calling from the rest. Most are sincere, godly people. Many are broken and complex. All of them are sinful and weak, just like everybody else.

I learned early on in ministry to look at Jesus as my example, because people will always disappoint you. Even good people have bad days.

I’ve often wondered why God doesn’t call better people. Even when you look in the Bible, Abraham lied. Moses murdered. David, well, you know David. Can’t God do better than this?

The reality is all God has to work with are sinful, fallen people who depend on His grace to survive spiritually. God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called, which is a good thing, because I’m one of those pastor people too.

While the Pharisees didn’t apply the truth of God’s Word to their lives, they taught the truth of God’s Word. Jesus instructed people to hear the truth of God’s Word and follow the teaching, but not to follow their example.

Now, I’m not trying to set up some sort of moral loophole for pastors who have lost all credibility. The Pharisees were not highly regarded, but God’s Word should always be highly regarded. While it is difficult to follow a leader who doesn’t allow God’s Word to transform his life, it’s not impossible to be transformed yourself.

Every one of us, pastor or not, has areas of our lives we need to continually surrender to God. We have broken places that need healing. We have sinned and need to seek forgiveness from God and others.

But, we all have the truth of God’s Word. Rather than getting caught up in following a personality or depending on someone else’s spirituality, we need to hear the truth of God’s Word regardless of who’s communicating it.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

If You Don’t Do Anything Else, Do This

By Allen White

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:34-40

In the tag team match of trying to tie Jesus up with His own words, the Pharisees pick up where the Sadducees failed. If they could only catch Jesus in a twisted Scripture, they would have the justification they felt they needed. But, not only does this tactic backfire, it also produces one of the most beautiful truths in Scripture.



What’s the greatest commandment? Jesus says the first and greatest commandment is to love God with our whole being: heart, soul, mind and other places mention strength. God wants our devotion through our thoughts, our feelings, our will, and our actions.

When it comes to thoughts, most believers are educated well beyond their level of obedience. We know the Bible. We’ve heard teaching. We’ve memorized Scripture. But, how has God’s Word transformed our lives?

I was talking to a pastor the other day about a series he’s starting on the “One Anothers” of Scripture – Love one another, Forgive one another, Greet one another with a holy kiss – you know the verses. He has a lot of scientists and engineers in his church. If someone says, “Well, it’s not rocket science.” In that church, it actually is.

We were talking about the outcomes for the series. If people simply studied and memorized the “One Anothers,” we agreed this would be a failure. But, to take Christ’s words to heart and actually begin to practice the “One Anothers” – there we would see success.

That may seem like such a simplistic, ridiculous example, yet how many of us have read Colossians 3:13 and continue to harbor bitterness and resentment in our hearts toward someone. It’s not so simple after all.

Jesus added a second commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How do we love ourselves? By making sure our needs are met for starters. Who do we know whose needs aren’t met? They don’t have adequate food or shelter. Maybe they don’t have anyone to talk to. Maybe they need someone to believe in them. How can you love that person like you love yourself?

This passage, known as the Great Commandment, is Jesus saying to us, “If you don’t do anything else, love God with everything you have and love other people as much as you love yourself.” If we can get those two things down, the rest is easy.

As you think about these verses today, what do you need to surrender to God? What thought popped into your head? Now, don’t get discouraged if what you need to do seems impossible. Ask God to help you. He always will.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Don't Go There

By Allen White

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.

“Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching. Matthew 22:15-33

“Nothing is certain, but death and taxes,” so the old saying goes. I wonder if that quote got its start in this verse. The Pharisees challenged Jesus on his view of taxes, while the Sadducees went after him on death and resurrection. In general, these are things we all think about at times.



The political climate of the day was not in favor of paying taxes to the Roman government. In fact, Jews who collected taxes for the Romans viewed as among the worst of sinners in many people’s opinions.

If the Pharisees could get Jesus to advocate paying taxes, they could turn the crowd against Him. If they could get Him to rebel against Roman taxation, then they had Him there too. But, Jesus was no ordinary human. He knew what they were thinking.

Jesus’ answer is simple and poetic: “If it belongs to Caesar, give it to Caesar. If it belongs to God, give it to God.” It’s the perfect answer.

Then the Sadducess, who didn’t actually believe in the resurrection of the dead, challenged Jesus on a hypothetical about the resurrection. How dumb did they think He was?

Again, Jesus gives a simple and direct answer: nobody is married in Heaven. The point was moot. End of discussion.

The Pharisees and Sadducees weren’t looking for the truth. They were looking for a fight. Jesus knew better than to even go there.

Is there someone in your life who will say and do things just to get you worked up? They aren’t happy until they get a rise out of you. If they can make you angry, then they know they can control you.

How do you deal with a person who just seems against you? Looking at Jesus example, we start with kindness. Jesus didn’t avoid them. He responded in a kind way.

But, the other thing we learn from Jesus is not to play their game. While we may not have the perfect thing to say in every situation, we can choose just not to go there. It’s not worth it.

Who do you dread being around? What relationships are difficult for you? Invite God into that conversation, not in a public or dramatic way, but in a whispered prayer. Let God direct the situation and say as little as possible.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

[Weekly Digest] Galatians419 Devotionals for week of 2/5/2012

Just in case you missed something this week:



Christian Athiests

By Allen White

Back in Bible college, we would often be called to moments of commitment in our chapel services. Usually those appeals would go like this, “Everyone who will commit to pray for this missionary every day, please rise to your feet.”

My friends would hop to their feet. I would sit in my chair. Scornfully, my friends would whisper, “You’re not going to pray for this missionary?”

I would whisper back, Read more...

God’s Unfair Labor Practices


In this day and age, a parable like this doesn’t make any sense. If we owned a vineyard and sent an employee to check on it, only to discover the employee was killed by the tenant, we’d call the police. We’d have them arrested. We would throw them out immediately. But, this was no ordinary vineyard. Read more...


How Do You Know Who’s Going to Heaven?

By Allen White
This parable aims at a hard truth – not everyone will make it to Heaven. Even among those who traffic in church circles -- not all of them belong to God. How do you know? How do you know who’s in and who’s out?

Some guests were invited to the banquet, but they were distracted by other things. Their business and their interests kept them from the party.

Others were invited, but were actually resistant to the invitation. Their response was met with severe punishment.

Then others, who prior to Jesus’ day, were never invited to the party suddenly received invitations. Who let them in? God did.

We can see from this parable that God’s people, Abraham’s descendents, who rejected Jesus, also refused entrance into God’s Kingdom. They may yet change their minds. Read more...

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Do You Know Who’s Going to Heaven?

By Allen White

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:1-14

This parable aims at a hard truth – not everyone will make it to Heaven. Even among those who traffic in church circles -- not all of them belong to God. How do you know? How do you know who’s in and who’s out?



Some guests were invited to the banquet, but they were distracted by other things. Their business and their interests kept them from the party.

Others were invited, but were actually resistant to the invitation. Their response was met with severe punishment.

Then others, who prior to Jesus’ day, were never invited to the party suddenly received invitations. Who let them in? God did.

We can see from this parable that God’s people, Abraham’s descendents, who rejected Jesus, also refused entrance into God’s Kingdom. They may yet change their minds.

The next invitations went out to Gentiles. This would include most of us who are Christians today. We are not the natural born children of Abraham, but spiritually we are part of God’s family.

Then, there’s the poor guy who was wearing the wrong clothes. Was grandma right? Do we need to wear our Sunday best instead of our Sunday whatever to church?

The correct attire for this party is God’s righteousness that only comes through our relationship with Christ. We can’t earn it on our own. In fact, our futile attempts amount to garbage (Philippians 3:8). This man was wearing the filthy rags of his righteous deeds instead of the pure righteousness of Christ.

Admission to God’s party comes only through accepting His invitation. Not everyone who’s invited will come. That’s unfortunate. God paid the ultimate price by sending His Son to save us. Those who reject God’s gift will not make it to Heaven. God desires to forgive everyone for all of their sins, yet there are some who cling to their sins rather than to Christ.

Who needs to be invited to the party? God has an open invitation. Maybe invite them to church with you next Sunday. Maybe serve them in some way to show them the love of Christ. Definitely pray for them, before you do anything else. You never know who just might show up at God’s party.

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