June 6, 2014.
I was listening to a sermon yesturday about what Jesus said about the kingdom of Heaven. As I am reading through the book of Matthew, I am starting to realize that I don’t think a lot of us think about what Jesus actually says. A lot of times a gospel of only love, peace and happiness is proclaimed, leaving out many things that Jesus taught. There are some very scary parables that Jesus used to describe the kingdom. Scary for any who do not obey his words, that is. The question on my mind is how many of us actually believe what Jesus said about the kingdom. Or perhaps a better question would be, how many of us actually know what Jesus said about the kingdom?
In Matthew 22, Jesus is in the middle of telling many parables about the kingdom and he starts one about a wedding feast. I think most people, including myself, are more familiar with a similar story in another gospel. This parable is more vivid than the other one. Regardless, The story goes that the master invites many people in to eat with him, but they kill the messenger, he gets mad and has the same punishment to them and then calls the “common” people in to his wedding feast. Sound familiar? What may not be as familiar is the next part:
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Now, for those who propose a gospel of only love, peace and happiness, this parable presents a problem. Indeed, God is love, and no one should deny that by any means. In fact, even here notice how the king deals with the one without the wedding garment, calling him “friend.” But The Lord is a righteous judge, not allowing sin to be in his presence. This is why he throws out the one who came in to the feast without a wedding garment. This goes to show that there are those who are in the kingdom that will be separated out when the time comes. Indeed, the parable of the tares among wheat tells a similar message:
“He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
On the Judgement day, there will be a separation of the tares from the wheat. And that’s with people in the kingdom. Now there’s something to think about.
“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
(I Peter 4:17-18)
Let us always seek truth.
Suggested Daily Reading: Matthew 13, 22, I Peter 4, II Peter 2.
The Lord grant you wisdom.