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Summary: Who is qualified to go to heaven?

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No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service

“Am I Qualified for heaven”

Matthew 22:1-14

A woman and her young daughter were attending the wedding of one their relatives. And this was the first time the little girl had ever seen a wedding ceremony. She was in awe by the pomp and beauty of everything. The music, the formal atmosphere, the decorations, the bride and groom and their attendants in fine gowns and tuxes.

Sometime during the ceremony, the little girl leaned over to her mother and whispered: “Mommy, mommy.”

“What dear,” her mother replied.

"Why is the bride dressed in white?"

The mother thought about that for moment and struggled to come up with a simple explanation her daughter would understand. Finally, she smiled and said to her daughter: "The bride wear white, because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life”

The little girl thought about this for a moment, and then she said, "So why’s the groom wearing black?"

Jesus told them several other stories to illustrate the Kingdom. He said, 2 "The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 Many guests were invited, and when the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify everyone that it was time to come. But they all refused! 4 So he sent other servants to tell them, ’The feast has been prepared, and choice meats have been cooked. Everything is ready. Hurry!’ 5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went about their business, one to his farm, another to his store. 6 Others seized his messengers and treated them shamefully, even killing some of them. 7 "Then the king became furious. He sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their city. 8 And he said to his servants, ’The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. 9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 "So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ’Friend,’ he asked, ’how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ And the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ’Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen." (NLT)

A survey US News & World Report cited about 9 years ago. (Granted, the people mentioned are a bit dated now, but you’ll get the general idea).

They gave the people they interviewed a list of possible candidates, and asked who amongst those individuals they would think would qualify for heaven

Mother Teresa - 79%

Oprah Winfrey 66%

Michael Jordan - 65%

Colin Powell - 61%

Bill Clinton 52% (he apparently had a 50/50 chance)

Al Gore and Hillary Clinton 55%Newt Gingrich 40%

Pat Robertson 47%

Dennis Rodman 28%

O.J. Simpson 19% (he may have been cleared of his murder charge… but apparently most people still thought he did it).

And… of those surveyed (on their chances) 87%

Now it’s intriguing. Those who received the highest votes were not necessarily known for their religious affiliation. So why did most of these people receive such confidence in their salvation? Because they were nice people. They did nice things.

Also intriguing was that the people who received the most votes… were the people who were voting. They placed their chances at getting to heaven even higher than Mother Teresa’s!!!

Why? Because most people think of themselves as “nice” decent individuals that God wouldn’t even consider rejecting at heaven’s gates. After all, their garments look so much like what they know He would accept.

What parables are...They are earthly stories with heavenly meaning. Jesus used stories to tell about spiritual realities that are hard to understand.

I A Royal Invitation - v2

A. The invitation rejected v3

I read this story a pastor wrote this week. “ In the mid-1980’s my Aunt Vivian received an invitation to attend a rose-garden ceremony with President Reagan at the White House. I found the invitation a couple of years ago when I was looking through a box of old documents and newspaper clippings. What shocked me is she didn’t go. You see, I’ve always been fascinated by the presidency—and especially the White House. I’d jump at the chance to meet the man we call “president.” I’d be thrilled to participate in a ceremony on the White House grounds. But those things just didn’t appeal to her. You see, the ceremony she was invited to marked the anniversary of her imprisonment by the Japanese during World War 2. And I suppose that was a part of her life she had no desire to relive.

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