They were young and determined,
these ten gentlemen who took the ten seats in front of us. They were in the
reserved seating area at the Performing Arts Center of the Kingdom Bound
Christian Music Festival, and they were eager to watch one of their favourite
bands in action.
Then one of them stood up and scanned the area. He pointed to a row of empty seats closer to the stage, and suddenly they were gone, making their way excitedly forward.
But wait. If they had reserved seats, how could they just change them?
We weren't left to wonder long. A couple of minutes before the performance, the usher showed up and kindly asked the young men to leave. Apparently they didn't have reserved seats after all, and the legitimate owners of those places had arrived!
It didn't matter to the usher that these 10 young men were supposedly personal friends of the performing band! They were still ousted from the reserved seating area, and because the Performing Arts Centre was already completely filled, the young gentlemen found themselves outside on the grass. They were as far from the stage as it was possible to get, with no view of the band and very poor acoustics. How embarrassing!
Unfortunately, many of us will find ourselves in a similar situation on the day of Jesus' second coming. The do-gooders will be pushing their way up front boasting about their works. The legalists will be pushing their way to the front, boasting about the merits of their denominations.
But despite what these "Pharisees" of our own day and age think, they will find that they do not have reservations! Although they are confident in their own endeavours, they will hear Jesus say, as He said to the 5 unworthy virgins: "I tell you the truth, I don't know you." (Matt 25:12 NIV).
These will be the ones who, just like so many of us, can't stop themselves from boasting about their works: "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'" (Matt 7:22 NIV)
However Jesus will not be impressed: "Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt 7:23 NIV)
Many of us have been granted the privilege of eating and drinking the "spiritual food" and "spiritual drink" provided by Jesus Himself. However this, by itself, does not assure us reserved seating in Heaven.
"They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them…" (1 Cor 10:2-5 NIV)
Too often we forget that we are not saved by our own merit. It isn't about WHAT we do, it's about WHO we know intimately: Jesus, the Christ!
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3-4 NIV)
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph 2:8-9 NIV)
Does this mean we can sit around on our backsides and watch others die of thirst? Hey, we are saved by knowing Jesus! But would we be acting like Jesus if we did that? Or would we, by our own actions, show that we truly don't know Him at all?
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (Matt 25:35-36, 40 NIV)
Sorry sir, I believe you're in my seat…
The Illustrator: This daily newsletter is dedicated to encouraging everyone to look towards Jesus as the source of all the solutions to our problems. It contains a daily inspirational story, a Bible verse and encouraging messages. HTML and plain text versions available.
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