Summary: To avoid the nightmare of not being recognized by Jesus, I must recognize the truth and live by it.
September 23, 2001
The Doorway to Heaven – Part 2
Once in awhile I’ll have dreams that I can remember in the morning. For some reason it doesn’t happen that often. Kim on the other hand is a practically a professional dreamer. In fact, this has been one of the single most surprising things I’ve learned about her since we’ve been married. On any given morning she can tell you in great detail about every dream she had during the night. Sometimes as many as three or more separate dreams. Kim doesn’t just dream - she has sleep time experiences in digitally mastered technicolor with Dolby Surround Sound.
Last month, several days after an exhausting week of Vacation Bible School, she had a dream that she was talking with Al and Ellen Hsu. Al and Ellen commented, “Kim, you look tired. Maybe we could do the Children’s Ministry. Looking at each other they confirmed with their eyes and said, “We could do that. We’ll do the Children’s Ministry.” Kim thought, Wow, that’s sure nice of you. When Kim told Ellen about this dream, Ellen’s real-life response was not so energetic.
Kim had another dream not too long ago, in which she went through the entire birthing process, and after delivering her baby said, “That didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it would.”
Now and then she’ll have a dream that’s rather frightening. A couple of years ago I was getting up early to play basketball at the YMCA a few times each week. After I’d leave Kim would have the same dream. She would hear the noise of someone running upstairs followed by the sound of footsteps in our bedroom. She sensed that someone approached the bed and leaned over directly above where she was sleeping. She could hear the person breathing. As she dreamed she kept wanting to wake up, but she couldn’t. It seemed so real. She had this dream on three or four occasions. Finally to avoid the dream altogether, she decided to just get up when I left for the gym.
That’s scary. But no nightmare is any more frightening than the scene Jesus paints for us near the end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7. People are gathered together at the great Judgment expecting to be welcomed into heaven, but to their horror they hear Jesus say, “I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers.”
Talk about scary.
Who are these people and why would Jesus say such a thing to them? Are they rebelliously defiant people who spit in the face of God? No. Did they intentionally lead others astray? Certainly not. Do they reject the notion that God exists? Not at all. Then why such harsh words from Jesus?
As we’ll discover this morning, these are ordinary people like you and me. People who professed to know Jesus and looked forward to heaven. People who went to church and actively got involved. But something was missing. So as you can see, this is scary. A nightmare none of us want to see become a reality.
I don’t picture Jesus saying these words with an angry tone. I picture him saying this out of great anguish in His heart. He wants us to understand the implications of what has just been said in the Sermon on the Mount.