Focal Passage: Matthew 7:13-23
Warning: that will be the last humorous part of this article. What will be discussed from here on out is the most serious subject we can consider, eternal destiny. We must be sobered by, in my opinion, the scariest words in Scripture and they’re from Jesus Himself that people won’t hear in this life but the next one. He said, “Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me.’ ”
People will stand before the Son of God earnestly expecting to be brought near to His side and welcomed into Glory only to be sent away. If this biblical teaching doesn’t provide us a moment of pause, nothing will. How we deal with Christ’s claim will determine how we answer the question the entire lesson is based on. Jesus answered the question about all people going to Heaven with unequivocal clarity. Now, you as the reader/studier/teacher must decide how to respond.
As I almost always have (but don’t always share), let me give you an illustration from Lord of the Rings. If you’ve seen the movies you’ll remember when the fellowship is journeying through the Mines of Moria and they approach a place where their singular path splits into three.
While the journey they are on carries with it a sense of urgency they linger at this juncture because the route they take will have serious consequences.
There are three ways we can respond to Jesus’ teaching. We can choose to reject, remain, or receive these words of Jesus about heaven. So, here you sit, with three paths before you and the route you take will have serious, even eternal, consequences.
Path No. 1 — Rejection. You can choose to outright deny Jesus’ teaching. Some treat the Bible like a buffet. They go down the line picking and choosing what to add to their plate and what to leave untouched. With this decision, God’s Word ceases to be the authority for life. The Bible is either authoritative and sufficient or it isn’t.
Path No. 2 — Remaining. Some will choose not to make a choice. Don’t be deceived, trying to remain neutral when it comes to belief in heaven and hell and who will go to these places is crucial. A non-decision is a decision. You can’t remain where the path splits.
Path No. 3 — Receiving. My prayer is that every Christian will receive the teaching of Jesus and recognize the urgent implications that come with it. The first implication is personal. It is good and biblical for one to consider their own place in the Kingdom (Philippians 2:12). If you or those you will teach are struggling with assurance, emphasize an honest reading of I John.
The second implication is evangelistic. Once we’ve received Jesus’ teaching we should individualize it. Realizing that you have loved ones who right now are without Christ and therefore, are in danger of an eternity apart from Him should amplify your urgency to share the gospel.
Do more than just discuss these eternal realities with others. Do your part to keep as many people from hearing the scariest words in the Scripture as you can. B&R