Summary: How to live the life that satisfies God.
A man died and went to heaven. As he rang the bell he felt quite confident that God would welcome him in. After all he`d lived a pretty good life, he`d done his best, worked hard for his family, been kind to his neighbours. He was sure they`d want someone with his track record in heaven.
But, when Peter answered the doorbell he said to the man, "We`re getting quite crowded in here, so God`s asked me to make quite sure that anyone applying for entry sits a written exam before we let him in". The man sat down and looked at the exam paper Peter placed in front of him. It said: "If you want to enter heaven you must write a brand new genuine Shakespeare Play".........
"What a strange entry requirement - a brand new Shakespeare Play" - the man thought to himself "Still
God must know what he`s doing - He IS God after all", so he started working on his Shakespeare Play.
He went to the library and got out all the books about Shakespeare he could find - immersed himself in the way Shakespeare thought, the way he acted, the way he went about writing his plays. Then he started studying History,his play was to be the story of Ethelred the Unready - after all Shakespeare had never written about HIM.
The days went by, and bit by bit it came together - and, as it did, the man began to feel quite proud of himself. He was thinking like Shakespeare, his characters were acting like Shakespeare`s characters, the language was Shakespearean. Peter would be intrigued by the same kind of sub plots that always
appeared in Shakespeare`s plays.
And so he came once again to Heaven`s gate and rang the bell. "Here`s my Shakespeare Play" he said to Peter. Peter sat down to read it. When he finished it he looked at the man and said, "You`ve done
very well, very well indeed. It looks like a Shakespeare Play, it sounds like a Shakespeare Play, the characters are really Shakespearean. Yes, its very good indeed. But I`m sorry, I can`t let you into heaven - there`s something wrong with what you`ve written".
The man was aghast, "What`s wrong with it", he asked. "I told you that God wants a brand new GENUINE Shakespeare play before He`ll let you in. Yours is a very good imitation, very good indeed, but it isn`t the real thing!".
The man replied: "But for it to be GENUINE, Shakespeare would have had to have written it, and he`s
been dead for hundreds of years. There`s no way that anyone can write a brand new genuine Shakespeare Play" ....... and then a thought struck Him, "But if William Shakespeare`s SPIRIT could come alive in me - take over my thinking, take over my actions, take the pen in my hand and write the play then it would be a brand new GENUINE Shakespeare play".
"That`s right" said St. Peter, "You`ve got it. THAT`S the way to enter heaven".
"But that’s impossible" the man replied, and went away sadly.
Some times, when I tell that story it creates fireworks. Lots of people have brought up to believe that the way to enter heaven is "DO YOUR BEST, AND GOD WILL DO THE REST". My story says something
else, something quite upsetting and yet it`s all there in the Bible!. What God asks of us is NOT our best
- our best is never good enough for God, never good enough for heaven. God`s examination pass-mark is
100% if we are depending upon our behaviour - He calls for perfection from the day we`re born to the day we die, for only a perfect life qualifies us for entry into a perfect heaven. But the Bible also teaches that heaven is full of righteous men - how did they get there?
The only way we can fulfil God’s demand for perfection is for the only One who ever lived a perfect human life to forgive us for everything we`ve
ever done, and then come and live in us, so that HE produces IN US a brand new genuinely perfect
re-presentation of the life He lived.
And, in fact, that`s why Jesus lived - to show us the perfect life that God requires.
And that`s why, when Jesus told all those righteous people that, despite all their keeping of the Ten
Commandments, they still weren`t good enough for God, they were violently angry, and killed Him.
And that`s why the Spirit was poured out on men who, despite their passionate commitment to Him, denied Him and betrayed Him, whose lives were good, but none of them good enough for God. Jesus died so that they could be forgiven for their that were IMITATION.