What does it take to enter the Kingdom of God? Is obedience enough? The formula for making it into the Kingdom is more like obedience and godly love. But what is godly love? How do we demonstrate it? How do we exercise it in the Church and in our daily lives?
These are the notes taken live during services as captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing. This is not a word for word transcript. For the exact wording, please consult the audio recording.
Sit back and visualize your spiritual goal. Why do you do what you do? Why do you get all prettied up on the Sabbath and come to Church? Why do you live this way of life? One answer is that God commands it. Another is: What is off in the future. That prize. That crown. The words you hope to hear from Christ Himself after He returns. After growing, there is that crown in the future that we look forward. The future in front of us is spectacular. When Christ comes and His way is used in all the world, it will be a great time. Isaiah 11:6-9 Isaiah 11:6-9  The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatted calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
American King James Version×This is a small fraction of what that millennial time will be like. We often read this in the fall holy days. When I was a kid I used to listen to this and yearn for a big tiger as a pet. I grew up in Cincinnati and the local football team was called the Bengal Tigers. I could pull on his whiskers and not be hurt. The concept of toddlers playing with snakes that today are poisonous and could kill them – at this time their nature will be changed. The bears and lions will be changed. Here are some other prophecies. Isaiah 41:17-20 Isaiah 41:17-20  When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.  I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the middle of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.  I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:  That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.
American King James Version×– I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs. This is near and dear to be having lived in Arizona. The desert can be beautiful. I was digging a trench in Phoenix, and the ground was so hard the pickax bent.
Hosea 2:16-18 Hosea 2:16-18  And it shall be at that day, said the LORD, that you shall call me Ishi; and shall call me no more Baali.
 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
American King James Version×– Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth. It takes away the concept of me against you. Amos 9:13-15 Amos 9:13-15  Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.  And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.  And I will plant them on their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, said the LORD your God.
American King James Version×– The plowman shall overtake the reaper. Crops will be so plentiful, they will cross. Micah 4:1-5 Micah 4:1-5  But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it.  And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.  For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
American King James Version×– They shall beat their swords into plowshares. Habakkuk 2:14 Habakkuk 2:14For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
American King James Version×– The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Everyone will know God. That kingdom, that goal of ours, will be awesome. I’m looking forward to it. I sure you are too. Luke 12:32 Luke 12:32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
American King James Version×It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Our Father wants to give this to us as a gift. What is our role in all this? We have the Feast of Tabernacles in a couple of months that celebrates this? Is there are a scripture that tells you what our job description will be in the kingdom? If you do, I don’t. There are several that give high level overviews. Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×“Us” should be “them”. “We” should be “they”. These are angels talking about us. They will always be angels. But we will have rulership. We will be teachers and will be able to encourage others towards God’s way of life. Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
American King James Version×We know we are going to be with Christ. We will not be some distant thing off in the universe. We will teach the inhabitants of this earth about God.
Hebrews 11 says some of the saints had horrible things happen to them. But they will be there with us. They will rule next to Christ and those that are faithful who have gone before. Paul speaks of running a race. You have to keep jumping hurdles. You can’t give up part way through the race. We realize that is our goal: To make it into the kingdom. Is obedience all we have to do to make it into the kingdom? We want to rule and reign with Christ. We want to serve the people on earth. We want to get there. So is obedience all we need to do? How do we get into the kingdom of God? Is there a scripture or scriptures that give the formula for getting there? There actually is a formula for getting into the kingdom of God. If we want to be there, we can’t break this formula. If you want to find the diameter of a circle, it is two times the radius. What about the area of rectangle. Length times height. What about the formula for a good job? One might be some sort of schooling plus good work habits and good ethics and someone an employer wants on his staff. Multiply that by the blessings of God. What about a formula for a good marriage? 100% effort on both individuals parts minus selfishness. What formula can we derive for entrance to the kingdom of God? One formula is obedience plus godly love. There are two scriptures that support this. The first part is obedience.
Deuteronomy 30:11-20 Deuteronomy 30:11-20  For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not hidden from you, neither is it far off.
 It is not in heaven, that you should say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it?
 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it?
 But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.
 See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil;
 In that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: and the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it.
 But if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
 I denounce to you this day, that you shall surely perish, and that you shall not prolong your days on the land, where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it.
 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:
 That you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may hold to him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
American King James Version×We normally read verse 19 here. Let’s back up a bit to verse 11. Vs. 13 – This is not a pipe dream. You don’t have to send someone off to do it for you and bring it to you. Vs. 20 – This section of scripture is all about obedience. There are two choices: To obey God, or not to. To ease our burdens just a little bit. It comes down to who we are going to obey. Obedience is always the harder choice. It is harder to stand up and say this is not right; we need to change this. But when we push through that trial, as we push through that hurdle, the rewards are higher. Sin separates. So, there are rewards for obedience. Do a Bible study sometime on the word obedience. See how many scriptures. Blessed are those that do my commandments; that hear my words. God wants to know if you will do what He commands, or if you will be like Lucifer and go your own way. The second part of the formula is godly love. Matthew 22:37-40 Matthew 22:37-40  Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×This is the second component to gaining entrance to the kingdom. The Greek word here is agape. This is godly love. This is not brotherly love. This is not romantic love between a husband and wife. Obedience plus godly love is required to participate in the great future. If we simply obey all the commands, will it get us to the goal? No, it won’t. This love is not a sappy, Protestant love. It is not a mushy love. It is not oh, I love Jesus in my heart kind of love. Those are empty words in God’s mind.
Matthew 25:31-46 Matthew 25:31-46  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:
 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:
 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
 Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
 For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:
 Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink?
 When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you?
 Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came to you?
 And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.
 Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
 For I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink:
 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.
 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?
 Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.
 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
American King James Version×Put your Bible ribbon here. We will be back. Let’s read the parable of the sheep and the goats all the way through. Vs. 34 – Come witness all these Old Testament prophecies you have read. Vs. 46 – This is our living example of what we read in Matthew 22. This is our full on example of how to live a life of agape love. This is Matthew 22 in action – the sheep version. Jesus is speaking to both the sheep and the goats. He only talks with those the Father has called to Him. They both had some relationship with God the Father. What group are you in? If Christ separated us today into sheep and goats, where would we be? How many of you are naked? Nobody. That is good. How many are hungry? Nobody. We are all good there. Anybody thirsty or cold? No. So, we are all sheep. We would all be on His right hand. Baaa. We are all sheep. What do you think is being discussed? Does Christ want us to volunteer at the local homeless shelter? All of Christ’s parables are directed to those God is calling and working with. This parable is talking about that same group. The people that God has called. Those that have had the chance to witness what is off in the future. Vs. 32 – “nations” is “ethnos” – a multitude of people of the same nature. G1484 ἔθνος ethnos eth'-nos Probably from G1486; a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): - Gentile, heathen, nation, people.
Thayer Definition: 1) a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together 1a) a company, troop, swarm 2) a multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus 2a) the human family 3) a tribe, nation, people group 4) in the OT, foreign nations not worshipping the true God, pagans, Gentiles 5) Paul uses the term for Gentile Christians Part of Speech: noun neuter A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: probably from G1486 Citing in TDNT: 2:364, 201 Do we have the same nature as society at large? I hope not. Vs. 40 – “Brethren” means a fellow believer or born of the same father. G80 ἀδελφός adelphos ad-el-fos' From G1 (as a connective particle) and δελφύς delphus (the womb); a brother (literally or figuratively) near or remote (much like [H1]): - brother.
Thayer Definition: 1) a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother 2) having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman 3) any fellow or man 4) a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection 5) an associate in employment or office 6) brethren in Christ 6a) his brothers by blood 6b) all men 6c) apostles 6d) Christians, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place Part of Speech: noun masculine A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1 (as a connective particle) and delphus (the womb) Citing in TDNT: 1:144, 22 This parable is talking about us to us. It is not talking about anyone else. Galatians 6:10 Galatians 6:10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith.
American King James Version×Be careful not to confuse this with this parable. It is not wrong to volunteer at the food bank. Vs. 10 – “Good” means honorable or pleasant. We should do nice things to all men. G18 ἀγαθός agathos ag-ath-os' A primary word; “good” (in any sense, often as noun): - benefit, good (-s, things), well. Compare G2570. Thayer Definition: 1) of good constitution or nature 2) useful, salutary 3) good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy 4) excellent, distinguished 5) upright, honourable Part of Speech: adjective A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: a primary word
Citing in TDNT: 1:10, 3 But the parable of the sheep and the goats is not talking about the same group of people. We should be pleasing to all people. But the parable is to us and about us. Is obedience all that is required to gain entrance into the kingdom? It is not. We have to do something more than obedience. Simple obedience will land you as a goat. If all you do is try not to break the laws, you will be a goat. To be a sheep, there is another part of the formula. That is godly love. One definition of godly love is deliberate, applied concern for others. Write it down. Put sticky notes all over your house. If we want to be the sheep on our Master’s right hand as He separates those called through time, we must practice this. Failure to practice this will land us where we don’t want to be. If you do something deliberately, you do it with purpose. When you left your house, you didn’t just drive randomly. Wow! I arrived at church. No, you deliberately drove to church. Deliberate is not something that just happens. Applied means with purpose. We put it there because we want it be there. Deliberate, applied, concern for others. That is what God expects. We have to have obedience plus this deliberate, applied concern. That will land us in the kingdom, so we will get to witness the events of the future. One member calls the other. How are you doing? Bad day. Problems are piling up. Can I help? No, it is too much. Can I bring dinner? No, it is too much. I’ve encouraged everyone to call and write. Not to let the directories catch the drips from the coffee. Well, I did that. What is the outcome of that conversation? Would Christ put you in the sheep or goat category?
In the light of Matthew 22, where do you fit? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the most godly, where would it rate? You called. You showed concern. You offered dinner. You offered help. Must be enough. Bluntly and frankly, it is not enough. That is a goat conversation. What did that conversation cost you? Christ wants us to die for one another. Not that we jump off a building. Ahhhh….. But there is more required than a stamp. But this didn’t end there. The first member ordered take out for the second. It took one think out of the second’s rotten day. Now where do you think that conversation stands? It takes time. It takes money. It takes effort. It is a sacrifice. But it is a sacrifice God wants us to make. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us. John 15:13 John 15:13Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
American King James Version×This is not throwing yourself off a tall building. This is not just about money. We think we can’t help someone because the budget is tight. We have needy among us. Absolutely we do. God wants us to lay down our lives for our friends. For His friends. John 13:34-35 John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
American King James Version×All four of the English words “love” are from the Greek meaning godly love. G25 ἀγαπάω agapaō ag-ap-ah'-o Perhaps from ἄγαν agan (much; or compare [H5689]); to love (in a social or moral sense): - (be-) love (-ed). Compare G5368.
Thayer Definition: 1) of persons 1a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly 2) of things 2a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing Part of Speech: verb A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: perhaps from agan (much) [or compare G5368] Citing in TDNT: 1:21, 5 (He reread vs. 34-35 substituting “deliberate, applied concern” for “love” throughout.) We are to emulate Christ’s actions. He died for us. He forgave us. What a great gift that was! We sometimes hold grudges and don’t let them go. We broke God’s law and He forgave that. Can we live this way of life without knowing each other? Without knowing your brethren? No. We can’t do this without knowing each other. It is important to know each other. Here is the tough question: Do we know each other? I would say we don’t. We may know some of the basics. How many kids. Where you grew up. You have attended weddings and funerals. History does not equal knowing somebody. How many have been there when they needed a shoulder to cry on, or to yell yee-hah when they have a great blessing? In James 5, we are told, when someone rejoices, what do we do? Ignore it? Wish that it happened to us? No, we are to rejoice. That means we have to know them. We can rejoice with them. We can support them when they are sad. We need to really know each other. Beyond the kid’s names. Beyond the common pleasantries at Church. How was your week? Good. You? Good. Happy Sabbath! Happy Sabbath! How many of those conversations have you had today? Today, I asked you to move seats. We come and sit in cliques and talk to the same people each week. I think it is great to sit next to people you have never sat next to in your entire church history. We may have to work together. If we want to be a sheep we must get to know each other. We have to break the mold. How many do you know? I don’t know them, but they are all my friends! Nobody here is naked. Nobody is hungry.
Matthew 25 -- Christ admonishes us to think about our actions. One conclusion we can come to is that everyone has needs. It takes effort to identify those needs. People drop hints and we are very good at ignoring them. I sure am thirsty. Can I have a glass of water? (I have water.) We have leaky faucets. There are things we need done around the house. We needed a lawn cut. We put the need out there, and we were swamped with responses. Matthew 25:35-36 Matthew 25:35-36  For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:
 Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
American King James Version×Let’s break down the characteristics. “Hunger” can mean to be hungry. It can also mean to have physical needs. The righteous gave food and meat. It means to have those needs satisfied. G3983 πεινάω peinaō pi-nah'-o From the same as G3993 (through the idea of pinching toil; “pine”); to famish (absolutely or comparatively); figuratively to crave: - be an hungered.
Thayer Definition: 1) to hunger, be hungry 1a) to suffer want 1b) to be needy 2) metaphorically to crave ardently, to seek with eager desire Part of Speech: verb A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from the same as G3993 (through the idea of pinching toil; “pine”) Citing in TDNT: 6:12, 820 “Thirst” in Greek means to painfully feel that there is a need to be refreshed, comforted, or strengthened. G1372 διψάω dipsaō dip-sah'-o From a variation of G1373; to thirst for (literally or figuratively): - (be, be a-) thirst (-y). Thayer Definition: 1) to suffer thirst, suffer from thirst 1a) figuratively, those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened Part of Speech: verb A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from a variation of G1373 Citing in TDNT: 2:226, 177 How many of you have been thirsty this last week? That you have a painful need for comfort or strength. The righteous gave drink. In Greek, it means to saturate their mind. To refocus it on what is important. “Stranger” means to be a foreigner or unheard of. Maybe you have been attending a few years. How many people here know you? G3581 ξένος xenos xen'-os Apparently a primary word; foreign (literally alien, or figuratively novel); by implication a guest or (vice-versa) entertainer: - host, strange (-r).
Thayer Definition: 1) a foreigner, a stranger 1a) alien (from a person or a thing) 1b) without the knowledge of, without a share in 1c) new, unheard of 2) one who receives and entertains another hospitably 2a) with whom he stays or lodges, a host Part of Speech: adjective A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: apparently a primary word Citing in TDNT: 5:1, 661 There are visitors that come to church to check us out. Others are members from other areas who happen to pass through. The response of the righteous? They took them in. That means to be hospitable. Who cares about your messy house? We have three boys. Our house is always a wreck. I didn’t mean always. I think I’ll suffer for that one later. (Laughter.) “Naked” can mean a soul without friendship or companionship. How many of us eat alone, and spend Saturday nights alone? G1131 γυμνός gumnos goom-nos' Of uncertain affinity; nude (absolutely or relatively, literally or figuratively): - naked.
Thayer Definition: 1) properly 1a) unclad, without clothing, the naked body 1b) ill clad 1c) clad in undergarments only (the outer garments or cloak being laid aside) 1d) of the soul, whose garment is the body, stripped of the body, without a body 2) metaphorically 2a) naked, i.e. open, lay bare 2b) only, mere, bare, i.e. mere grain not the plant itself Part of Speech: adjective A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: of uncertain affinity Citing in TDNT: 1:773, 133 “Sick” means to be powerless. G770 ἀσθενέω astheneō as-then-eh'-o From G772; to be feeble (in any sense): - be diseased, impotent folk (man), (be) sick, (be, be made) weak. Thayer Definition: 1) to be weak, feeble, to be without strength, powerless 2) to be weak in means, needy, poor 3) to be feeble, sick Part of Speech: verb A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G772 Citing in TDNT: 1:490, 83 The righteous response? They visited. It means to look upon in order to help or benefit. To examine with the eyes. That means you are with them. You are in their home. You are holding their hand at the hospital. “Prison”. This word doesn’t mean that. It means a guard or people keeping a watch. G5438 φυλακή phulakē foo-lak-ay' From G5442; a guarding or (concretely guard), the act, the parson; figuratively the place, the condition, or (specifically) the time (as a division of day or night), literally or figuratively: - cage, hold, (im-) prison (-ment), ward, watch.
Thayer Definition: 1) guard, watch 1a) a watching, keeping watch 1a1) to keep watch 1b) persons keeping watch, a guard, sentinels 1c) of the place where captives are kept, a prison 1d) of the time (of night) during which guard was kept, a watch, i.e. a period of time during which part of the guard was on duty, and at the end of which others relieved them. As the earlier Greeks divided the night commonly into three parts, so, previous to the exile, the Israelites also had three watches in a night; subsequently, however, after they became subject to the Romans, they adopted the Roman custom of dividing the night into four watches Part of Speech: noun feminine A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G5442 Citing in TDNT: 9:241, 1280 There were originally three watches in the night. Later, under the Romans, four. If you are off at the edge of the camp at night, who is with you? You are separated from your family and friends and your support network. The righteous response: They brought hot apple cider and sat down to be with them until the end of their shift. Doing these things takes time and energy. It is more than just a phone call or sending a card. Someone who is thirsty needs someone to saturate their mind with comfort. It is a long road. We have people who have no family here. We have sick and weak and feeble among us. Do we look in on them, examining them with our own eyes?
[Editor’s note: Members names have been replaced with asterisks.] What about **** ********? Some say he talks a lot and fast. Yes. He is from Boston. I spent a lot of years in Boston. Bostonians are among the friendliest people on earth? Can you name three of his strengths? Take Mrs. *******. Does she use a walker because of her age or some other reason? What is her favorite scripture? What has shaped her life? What about ***** ****? Where is he from, originally? How about *** *******? He is trying to type every word I say. Why does he do it? What is his motivation for serving in this manner? Do you realize he takes that setup to the feast and eight days in a row he is typing? When an opportunity presents itself, do we offer drink? Some are widowed, divorced. Some are bullied. Some can’t get pregnant. Some are lonely. Some have severe health conditions. How well do you know your congregation? Who is the oldest member here? Who has been married the longest? It is easy to know the basics, but it is harder to be a sheep. We must know them well enough that we can sit together and hash things out. We need to step in and apply deliberate applied concern. I have a handout. Pick a name from your directory. See how many questions you know about that person. We have to know our congregation. I want all of us to be in the kingdom. Part of the formula is showing godly love to the congregation. This list is not just to check off. What kind of stresses are in your life? Check.
Next question. No, it may take years to get to know everyone that well. God is looking for effort. When someone is hungry, and we know it, do we give them meat? Are we so comfortable with our friends that we never venture outside of that? God has given us a formula that includes showing love. How can we do that if we don’t know each other? The answer is: We can’t. Take the church directory. Start sitting down with people. Find out what makes them tick. Find out what they are studying. Conversations may be difficult at first. One or two times a month, invite someone over. Or take them to a restaurant. There is nothing like meal time to get to know someone. Work your way through the whole directory. Then start over again. It may take a year or a year and a half to go through the directory once. God wants to know if someone stands before you naked, will you know what to do?
Matthew 25:37 Matthew 25:37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink?
American King James Version×The righteous didn’t even know they were doing these things. Interesting. They were serving. They were helping. They were giving. They didn’t even realize what they were doing. They were doing because they had deliberate applied concern. They loved what they were doing. This is the ultimate. Not forced. Because you love it. Psalms 119:97 Psalms 119:97O how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day.
American King James Version×How much do we really love God’s law? If we really love it, we do it pretty much on autopilot. We do it because we love it. My family and I love camping. We don’t go because we hate it. Oh! We hate it. We have to go anyway… No, we do it because we love it. We should keep God’s law because we love it. Do we truly love God’s people so much that we are sheep? We should be. We should be doing it almost without conscious effort. God wants to see that growth. He wants to see us help and feed and clothe and giving drink. Revelation 20:6 Revelation 20:6Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
American King James Version×We began the sermon with a reminder of the awesome kingdom of God. Let’s wrap us like we began. We are going to be priests and rulers and a tremendous governmental system the likes of which earth has never seen. It will be a great place to be. We all want to be there. Are you ready for that kingdom? That is our destiny? God must know that you want to be a sheep and not a goat.
The sermon title today is “Formula for Entrance to the Kingdom Part 1.” Next week, we will continue. Going to Church, tithing, not eating shrimp – it is not enough. The Pharisees, Christ said, did very well at not breaking God’s laws. Christ called them a brood of vipers. Christ speaks heavily on this topic of applied love. Until next time, continue to realize the importance of deliberate, applied concern for others. 1 Corinthians 12:26 1 Corinthians 12:26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.
American King James Version×How can we suffer and rejoice if we stay cliquish? God is calling each of us. Will we choose to be a sheep or a goat? Get to know each other. By doing so, we can see each other in the great and awesome kingdom of God.