Matthew 7:21-23 – Heaven or Hell?

Matthew 7:21-23
21
 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

-Do you believe that there is a judgment coming on the other side of life?  Do you believe that the Lord will open the books and judge both the quick and the dead?  (1 Peter 4:5)  Imagine the Lord asking you one question: “Why should I let you into Heaven over Hell?”  What do you plan to say to Him on that day?  I’m certain that many of us could tell of great things we’ve done and how we’ve tried to live ‘good enough’, but can we really expect the Creator of the universe to be impressed with even our grandest achievements?  So the question remains, Heaven or Hell, why should you get in?  When that day comes, if your answer is anything other than (or anything in addition to) the blood of Jesus Christ, the result for you can only be Hell.  “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

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Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 – A Hurtful Tongue

Ecclesiastes 7:21-22
21 
Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.

-What Solomon is saying here is simple; inevitably we will all be guilty of saying hurtful things that are better off unheard.  Even the people we consider most dependable in our lives will ultimately fail in this regard.  Although difficult, it is better to forgive and forget what is, in most cases, simply an emotional outburst.  To add greater impetus to this logic, the Holy Spirit is here to remind us that even we ourselves are guilty of the same.

John 3:16-18 – For God So Loved The World

John 3:16-18
16 
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

-The question is often asked “How could a loving God send people to Hell?”  As the Lord reminds us here in John 3, we were all under condemnation and on the way to Hell.  It was the Lord who wanted to keep us from that fate so badly that He sent His own son to take our place.  What more could He do?  What stronger statement could be made?  “The Lord is not willing that any should perish.” (2 Peter 3:9).  Not once in scripture do we hear Him say to someone, “I hope you don’t get in, you belong in Hell.”  Instead, He left us with 66 books saying “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  (Revelation 22:17)

John 10:9 – The Door

John 10:9
9
 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

-What are the two essentials functions of a door?  It opens to let people in and closes to keep people out.  While it is important to recognize Jesus as the way for all of us to come unto the Father, we must never lose sight of the fact that the Door also closes when necessary.  Jesus offered His own perfect life as the propitiation for the sins of all mankind.  In doing so, He made a way to grant us access to Heaven and the presence of God.  As the door, He opens to those who trust in Him; but Jesus also ensures that those who have not trusted in Him shall not enter into Heaven.  “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)

John 8:36 – Free Indeed

John 8:36
36
 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

-We all have chains that bind us; chains of worry, chains of doubt, chains of regret.  They may vary from person to person, but chains are chains.  The notion that we could be made free in salvation and yet still live bound doesn’t really make much sense.  More importantly, it’s not an idea that we learned from Jesus.  If we live bound and defeated it means one of two things:  1) We haven’t properly learned exactly how free Christ has made us, or 2) Our “freedom” comes from some other source and is no real freedom at all.  Fortunately, the cure for either of these is the same- Jesus.  He is both the giver of ultimate freedom and the teacher or what freedom ultimately means.

Mark 5:2-9 – Legion

Mark 5:2-9
2
 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

-The name given by the demons here, Legion, is one that carried a specific meaning at this point in history.  A Legion is a Roman military unit that was comprised of about 5,000 soldiers.  This is telling for two reasons:  1) Obviously, it tells us that a great number of demons had possessed this man and 2) It tells us how seriously Satan’s agents take their roles on Earth.  The powers of darkness do not just sit around idly and make casual suggestions; rather, they will fight to gain ground in our lives just like we would expect any army to fight.  As such, we should not expect opposing them to be easy, but rather, we must be willing to fight just as hard as they do.  “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Acts 11:26 – Christians

Acts 11:26
26 
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

-The name “Christian” literally means “The Christ-likes”.  What a name.  Notice what activities we see here that led to the giving of such a name.  The disciples were following Jesus (as evidenced by them being called disciples), they were assembling with the church, and they were teaching many people.  All of that earned them the name, “The Christ-likes”.  In a recent poll, 83% of Americans identified themselves as Christian and yet there are far less than 83% of Americans following Jesus, assembling at church and teaching others to do the same.  What would the disciples at Antioch think if they saw what passes for a “Christian” today?

Revelation 21:21 – Streets of Gold

Revelation 21:21
21
 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

-In Revelation 21, we are given a very detailed account of God’s heavenly city as it descends to the earth.  Notice the streets as they are presented here- pure gold as clear as glass.  My thought here is simple, God has prepared a place for us where we won’t have to worry about being defiled as we walk through life.  We will finally be free from sin and the curse as we walk streets that are free of poverty, free of worldly paths, and free of Satan’s influence.  HALLELUJAH!!

Matthew 19:26 – All Things

Matthew 19:26
26 
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

-Notice that Jesus didn’t say that with God more things are possible, but that all things are possible.  This brings to light an important aspect of the Lord’s nature; omnipotence.  Although it may be beyond our ability to understand, it is nonetheless important to accept that God has no limit.  He can do anything, at any time, in any place.  He sees, hears, knows, and understands everything.  He is not bound by time or space.  He’s not just more powerful than us, which implies that He could be measured on the same scale as us; He is all-powerful and beyond measurement.

Romans 6:16 – Captives of Sin

Romans 6:16
16 
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

-There is a condition in Psychology called Stockholm Syndrome; a situation where a hostage or victim begins to manifest affection toward a captor or attacker.  In some cases, a victim may mistake a lack of outright abuse as kindness and develop affection from there.  In most cases, however, it is a post-traumatic condition that stems from the level of power exerted by the captor over the hostage.  In extreme cases, hostages, once freed, have a desire to stay with and even defend their former captors.  This is sad in the physical sense, but it is tragic when it happens spiritually.  The Lord Jesus Christ conquered Hell and Death and won freedom for all of mankind (Revelation 1:18), yet many choose to stay with their current master- Sin.  Sin has had such a strong hold for such a long period that affection has developed for it; we choose to stay with and even defend our sin.  The Lord opened the prison for all of us who were bound (Isaiah 61:1), but we each have to make the choice to walk out.