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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven

Today I'd like to present a couple of thoughts brought about by either a scripture that I read and it related to a story or news item OR a story/news item I came across and it reminded me of a Bible passage. Either way, here's a couple of thoughts for you to consider this morning.

The scripture reading for my first thought is found in Matt. 7:21, that oft-cited verse where Jesus says: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

What reminded me of this verse is something I read about a play/movie from the '70's entitled "Jesus Christ Superstar." I've never watched this movie, only read a little blurb about it and it's actually one of the scenes talked about in it that caught my attention. It was depicting Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem a week before His death on the cross. Here's what I found interesting and relative to our passage.

As He was entering the city there were great crowds of people lining the road shouting "Hosannah" and waving palm fronds. Obviously a very joyous and worshipful occasion. The people in the movie were singing "Christ you know I love you, did you see I waved?"

If you read about this event in the Bible record you'll see that there was "a very great multitude" gathered for His entry. That the "whole city was moved" by this occasion and they were asking, "Who is this?" (Matt. 21) In answer to their question, Matthew identifies Him as "Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." and John says He's the "King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord." (Jn. 12:13)

Such was the scene on that Sunday a week prior to His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. Yet, just a few days later we read where another multitude gathered but this time they were crying "Crucify Him, crucify Him." Right here in the same city with only a few days having passed.

Now my thought here is, I wonder how many of the people were part of both multitudes? The first multitude welcomed and worshiped Him. The second one, as we say in flying, was 180 degrees different, crying "crucify Him." What could have happened in those few days? My guess: the political winds changed and Jesus was seen more as a threat than a blessing to the ruling Jewish hierarchy of the day.

He went from being welcomed as the "King of Israel" to being treated like a common criminal as crucifixion was the method of capital punishment for common criminals. And, we know from the Bible record that He took the place of a real criminal who was guilty of his crimes.

Okay, here's my closing thought about this little lesson. We all know of Christians, members of the Church, who have "fallen away" or, as Rev. 2:4 puts it, "left their first love." I see these members, had they been citizens of Jerusalem back then, as participants of both "multitudes." I base my opinion on the words of Heb. 6:4-7 where it says that when we "fall away" from being "partakers of the Holy Spirit," basically renouncing God's Word, that in effect, we're "crucifying" the "Son of God" again. Would not this be the same situation of being a member of both multitudes?

Now, let's shift gears, change the subject matter and look at another thought based on scripture and news items/stories. The topic of discussion is the "Mission of the Church." This topic was occasioned by my having heard or read a phrase often used in military and/or corporate parlance. That phrase is "mission statement."

I'll start off by asking you, What is the mission of the Church? Now, before you answer, I want you to understand that "the Church" is not some nebulous entity. We, you and I, are "the Church." And, "the Church" does in fact have a mission statement. Allow me to provide that mission statement to you at this time.

"To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Eph. 3:10-11)

Perhaps, like military or corporate people, we might be asked to define our "mission statement." How would you answer if asked to state a Christian's mission statement? I think an all around good answer would be something along this line: To do the absolute best job we can to show our part of the world the "glorious gospel of Christ." (2 Cor. 4:4)

Think about it. Isn't that a Christian's mission? Their charge? 2 Cor. 4:4-7 tells us that Christ's gospel is to be "shone" to the unbelievers of the world. That it has been left to us, the "earthen vessels," to shine forth the "light" that we've received in our "hearts." We, "the Church" are to "make known" this Gospel. This "manifold wisdom of God." That is the Church's mission.

A while back I read about a man, a Christian, who was being recruited for a high level corporate position and during his interview, he was asked what his "purpose in life" was? I think that his answer to that question can serve all Christians as a simple, yet concise response should we be asked what our "purpose," our Christian "mission statement" is while here on earth.

The man answered: "To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can." Can't we say the same thing?

Ron Covey

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