Summary: No matter how well we think we have made preparations, there are times that we fall short of our goal. It is not through our own efforts that we will attain eternal life - it is only through obedience to God’s plan and acceptance of Jesus as our Savior.
Wednesday evening – How do we put that in perspective? We thought we had a plan. We were taking the youth to the Real Life Church in Macon to their Judgement House presentation called “the METH Effect”. I had called earlier in the week to try to make a reservation and was told that the earliest available was 8:45. When I expressed my concern over how late that would make the evening for the school kids the work adults, the lady on the line suggest we just show up early and they would fit us in as quickly as they could. That sounded like a workable solution. Max and Toni arranged their work schedules to start gathering kids beginning at 5:30. We traversed the town of Hawkinsville multiple times to eventually end up with a jam packed van full of folks – 14 in all. We then made the quiet, serene trip to Macon. And then the church came into view. It was large, it was impressive, it was welcoming. Perhaps too welcoming. As we pulled into the parking area we found a sea of people who obviously arrived before we did. After filling out registration cards we stood, and we stood, and we stood. Every 15 minutes 25 people were allowed in to view the presentation. After waiting for the first 10 groups to be called, I inquired where we fit into the scheme of things to get an idea of how long it might be before we would be called. After some lengthy research we found out some of us might get called in group number 15. That meant at least an hour and a half out in the cold before gaining entrance and then going through the presentation. That added up to getting out at 11:00 at the earliest. We then would still have to find a place to feed the kids and drive back to Hawkinsville. I went back to the registration desk and with drew our names from the list. I suppose you would agree with me it was not our finest hour. So why bring it up this morning and have us relive it. Because I feel there are important lessons to be learned from:
The Failed Journey
Though our intentions were good – we could not get in because we did not have the right credentials
Alexandra Flynn of Fremont, Nebraska, was looking forward to the 2002 homecoming dance. She left home in high spirits, but she did not have her high school ID with her. When the man at the door refused her admission without her ID, she went home to get it. Unable to find it, her mother went with her back to the dance to identify her and to explain. Again, the daughter was refused admission without the ID. Alex had the tickets in her hand but still was not admitted. Even though Alexandra Flynn of Freemont High is Student Body President, plays cello in the Allstate orchestra, is on the Honor Roll, is the school’s number one cheerleader, and she spent hours decorating the gym for the Homecoming Dance, she was still not admitted.
Did I mention she was homecoming queen?
But, she never did get in.
>>In a similar way, getting into heaven isn’t a matter of our good deeds and accomplishments. Without Jesus Christ, we have no ID to get into heaven.
Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mt 7:22 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?’
Mt 7:23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Message Matt 7:13-14
“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in you spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life – to God!-is vigorous and requires total attention.”
Matt 7:21-23 “Knowing the correct password – saying Master, Master for instance-isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience-doing what my Father wills. I can see it now- at the Final Judgement thousands strutting up to me and saying “Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, out God-sponsored projects had everyone talking. And do know what I am going to say? You missed the boat. All you did was use to me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.”
In John 10 Jesus spoke of the right way to gain entrance – through the gate. He said anyone who tries to gain entrance any other way is a thief and a robber.