Summary: "What will it be like - who will judge us?" Part 1 of a Presentation for Good Friday.

Have you ever asked yourself, "What`s the purpose of life - What are we here for?"

I believe that life is a TESTING GROUND.

God has put us here on earth for a certain number of years so that we can learn about Him (or miss Him as many do)............... and learn how to become CITIZENS OF HEAVEN.

It`s as simple as that.

Here`s how the test is conducted........

The first years of our lives are spent in laying down the foundation stones of what we are like, and learning the first lesson of life.............

This could be called "CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME" , but that saying doesn`t mean what people usually think it means. It does not mean "me and my family first, and if there`s anything left we might think of giving it away".

No! In this first lesson we learn how to receive love from our parents and then how to give love back to them, so that later on we have a solid base for loving a much wider group of people.. So the correct title of the first Lesson of life is "LOVE BEGINS AT HOME".

Of course there are people who do not learn this lesson at all. They don`t learn it because their parents are incapable of teaching it, they are so self-centred and self-concerned, and that`s how their children grow up. Mean, selfish, looking after number one.

And those who do not learn this lesson are dreadfully handicapped. They are handicapped for they are incapable of loving anyone outside themselves - they cannot love God, and certainly they cannot love their neighbours as themselves.

Nevertheless, our lives here on earth do have a plan and purpose. They are to be spent trying to give love to people - and learning to recognise love when it is given to us in return. THAT is the purpose of life, a purpose that will be made perfect on the day we die.

You see, on the day we die, we will be brought face to face with God - and then the judgement will take place, and the judgement will not be given by a hard-faced God opening books to see the good things we have done, and balancing them against our failures. The judgement will be THE WAY WE RE-ACT WHEN WE MEET GOD FACE TO FACE.

Do you remember that time when Peter was out fishing. They`d fished all night and caught nothing. Then Jesus appeared at the lake-side, and told Peter and his fishermen friends to let down their nets - and the catch was ENORMOUS! They`d never had a catch like it.

When he saw it, Peter threw himself into the water, and swam to Jesus, threw himself at Jesus knees, and cried out, "Leave me alone, Lord. I am a terrible sinner". WHAT A STRANGE RE-ACTION!

But that`s what will happen at the judgement. There we will be brought face to face with the poverty of our own efforts, the poverty of our own love, as we see the overwhelming love of God, and we will want to run away from it. We too will cry out, even the best of us, "Leave me alone, Lord. I`m a terrible sinner".

And that`s the point where the NEXT TEST will come, for at that point Christ, the great loving Christ, who faced the terrible truth about mankind, when He was dying on the Cross, will then say what He has always said:

"Father, FORGIVE - He didn`t know what he was doing".......

and some of us, because we have never really discovered what love is like - and certainly not an all-embracing love like that - and because we have learned how to respond to what love was given to us in this life - and because we have so little love in ourselves............... will find the utter purity of God`s love so great, that we will run away from it, as Peter tried to do..........

we will run away into the darkness, anywhere to get away from the presence of the heat and light of that overwhelming love.

but some of us , because we have in some fashion or another learned that we can be loved, that we were and have learned how to give love in return, in deepest humility as we see the truth about ourselves and how away from God we have been be able to accept the love that Jesus offers, will be able to accept the love that Jesus offers, and be led into the joy of the Kingdom of Love.

And THAT is the purpose of life - and death - and what comes after death.

So, you see, when we stand before God on Judgement Day, it will not be God who is doing the judgement. He will be pleading for us. No! As we stand revealed in the light and purity of God, WE will pass judgement on ourselves, and carry out the sentence of life.... or death..

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