Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Faith, Born Again
Volume 7 No. 394 January 20, 2017
 
III. Featured Articles: Faith

Faith That Leads Us to God

by Dr. Ray Pritchard

A friend sent me an email telling about a question asked by a coworker:

"How is a Christian defined? It used to be that if you were not Jewish or Hindu or Buddhist, you were a Christian, whether Catholic or Lutheran or Episcopal or Baptist. But it seems now that the word means something more specific. Is it considered to be an actual religion other than Catholic or Lutheran or Episcopal or Baptist or whatever. If so, what makes it different?"

That's a very good question. It shows that the person has been doing some serious thinking about spiritual issues. It also reveals that her friend has penetrated to a core issue that has long confused millions of people: What is the difference between being a Christian and a church member? The simplest way to answer that question is to say that a Christian is a person who has come to know God deeply and personally through genuine saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. To say it that way means that while nearly all Christians are church members, not all church members are necessarily true Christians. Knowing God through Christ is about a personal relationship made possible through faith; it is not about religious ritual or merely "joining a church."

That truth leads us to an important point: No one "drifts" into Christianity by accident. At some point you must consciously trust Christ as Lord and Savior. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, "You will never go to heaven in a crowd." It's true there will be crowds in heaven, but we only go there one at a time. God saves individuals, not masses or groups.

That's a hugely important issue to consider as we gather in this public park. Today there are hundreds of people here from various churches. Some are Catholic, some Baptist, some Methodist, some Lutheran, and many of you come from Calvary Memorial Church. We're glad to have all of you here and we want to you to feel right at home. And I want you to know up front that we're not here trying to get you to come to Calvary Memorial Church. You're certainly welcome to visit any time you like but that's not what this event is all about. Even if you wanted to join our church today, you couldn't do it. We're not trying to get more members. We want to introduce you to Someone who can change your life forever. His name is Jesus Christ.

John 1:12-13 offers a simple outline of what it means to come to Christ for salvation:

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

A Simple Step - Receiving Him

"To all who received him." The way of salvation begins with a simple step: Receiving Christ as Lord as Savior. The word "receive" means to welcome a visitor into your home. It's what happens when someone knocks at your door and you open the door and invite them to come in. To "receive" Christ means to welcome him as an honored guest and to have him make your heart his home.

A Wonderful Result - Child of God

"He gave the right to become children of God." The word "right" means "honor" or "privilege." The moment you receive Christ into your life, God gives you the honor of becoming a member of his family. This teaches us that not everyone is a child of God. All are created by God, but not everyone in the world is a child of God. Sometimes people carelessly say, "We're all God's children," but the Bible says no such thing. God only gives the privilege of being his children to those who by personal faith receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

A Mysterious Truth - Born of God

"Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God" (John 1:13). This verse teaches us that God's grace doesn't run automatically from one generation to another. You aren't a Christian just because your parents were Christians or because your grandfather was an Episcopal bishop or your uncle a Baptist deacon. And you won't get brownie points with God just because you come from a good family and have a fine education. You can't save yourself by human effort so don't bother trying. The sooner you stop trying to save yourself, the sooner you can be saved by God.

The whole gospel is contained in the little phrase "born of God." Salvation is of the Lord. It's a free gift - totally free and totally of grace. It's not a cooperative venture where you do your part and God does His. But someone may object, "Don't I have a part to play in salvation?" You do indeed have a part. Your part is to be hopelessly lost in sin and God's part is to save you. That way God alone gets the credit. Salvation is a work of God from first to last.

That leads to some questions you ought to ask yourself:

"Not everyone is a child of God. Am I?"
"Not everyone has eternal life. Do I?"
"Not everyone will go to heaven. Will I?"

Hope That Never Disappoints

Hope is the confidence that no matter what happens, we'll be okay because we have placed our lives into God's hands. It's the certainty that earthly circumstances cannot separate us from the Lord Jesus Christ. True hope means that you come to the end of your life knowing that death ushers you into the presence of the Lord. Do you have that kind of hope? Suppose you were to die tonight, are you certain that you would go to heaven? "I think so," you reply. Or maybe you say, "I hope so." But that's not the kind of hope I'm talking about. The hope that God gives isn't a wish or a dream, it's a settled confidence that rests on the unchanging promises of God himself.

I've never forgotten a police officer I met in my first church in California. He had been a cop's cop. He was tough with a capital T. He had seen the underside of life and it had left him jaded and skeptical. Before he was a cop he had served in Vietnam and had seen some horrible things. I think that's what made him live "on the edge."

He lived right across the street from our church and his children occasionally came to Sunday School - and he and his wife would sometimes show up for a worship service. Over the months we struck up a friendship - mostly because he told the most incredible stories I had ever heard in my life. He was what you would call a "seeker." For a long time, he just plied me with one question after another about the Bible and Jesus Christ, not hostile or negative but sincerely looking for the truth.

One day we went to eat at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant where they made the best tacos in town. He said, "Let me tell you what happened to me." And he proceeded to tell me that after thinking about it for a long time, he had recently given his heart to Jesus Christ. "As I was reading the Bible, suddenly it hit me, 'This stuff is true!'" Then he told me how he had asked Christ to become his Savior and Lord. I will never forget his description of that moment: "It felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders."

That's what it means to have peace with God. The weight of sin is lifted off your shoulders. The guilt is gone because your sins have been forgiven.

The Need For Forgiveness

We need God's forgiveness because the Bible says we are lost in our sins. Isaiah 53:6 declares, "All we like sheep, have gone astray, we have turned each one to his own way" Our problem is sin and it is a problem that affects each of us. The famous words of Romans 3:23 remind us that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We need forgiveness because we are lost and we are lost because we are sinners who have strayed away from God.

Our sins have separated us from God. He is on one side and we are on the other and there is a great divide between us. Where will we find such a bridge? We stand on one side and cry out, "Help, we need a bridge across the great divide." Who will build it for us?

The Provision For Forgiveness

God's answer to our need is wrapped up in a person. His name is Jesus. Acts 10:43 says, "All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." Someone may hear that and say, "Good! I believe in Jesus." But it's not enough to believe that Jesus existed or that he was a good man. It's not enough to believe about Jesus, the Bible says you must believe in Jesus in order to be saved. Acts 4:12 tells us that "salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." If you want to go to heaven, the only way to get there is through Jesus Christ. It's not as if God has a Plan B for those who reject Jesus. Our Lord himself declared, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). This is a truth that Oak Park needs to hear. Jesus Christ is God's appointed way of salvation.

He was and is the Son of God from heaven.
He was born of a virgin.
He lived a perfect life.
He died on the cross for the sins of the world.
He died in your place, bearing your sins.
He rose from the dead on the third day.
He is God's Son and our Savior.

Billy Graham tells the story of a patrolman on night duty in a town in northern England. As he walked the streets, he heard a quivering sob. Shining his flashlight into the darkness, he saw a little boy in the shadows sitting on a doorstep and tears were running down his cheek. The child said, "I'm lost. Please take me home." And the policeman began naming street after street, trying to help the boy remember where he lived. He named the shops and the hotels in the area but the little boy could give him no clue.

Then he remembered that at the center of the town there was a church with a large white cross and that cross towered high above the rest of the city. The policeman pointed to the cross and said, "Do you live anywhere near that place?" The little boy's face immediately brightened up. He said, "Yes, sir. Take me to the cross and I can find my way home."

The cross is God's provision for man's sin. If you go to the cross, you will find your way home to God. If you are lost and confused, the cross of Christ beckons you to come, repent of your sin and receive Christ.

Love That Lasts Forever

The most famous verse in the Bible declares that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). If you doubt that God loves you, go with me to a rocky hilltop outside the walls of ancient Jerusalem. There you will find three men hanging on Roman crosses. Fix your gaze on the man in the middle. He has been beaten severely. He is bruised and covered with blood. His face is covered with grime and sweat mixed with his own blood. He wears a crown of thorns. Around the cross a mob gathers to watch him die. They laugh, they jeer, they mock his every tortured breath. When he cries out, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing," the mob howls like a pack of wild hyenas. They did not come for forgiveness; they came to watch him die. Soon they will have their wish. But first he cries out again: "It is finished." The word he used was common in those days. It meant "paid in full." By his bloody death God's justice had been satisfied and the price for sin had been fully paid.

Think of it. In the death of this One Man, the price for sin has been fully paid for - past, present and future. As a result, those who believe in Jesus find that their sins are gone forever. Since Jesus Christ paid in full, the work of salvation is now complete. That is what "It is finished" means. The debt was paid, the work was accomplished, the sacrifice was completed. And since the verb is in the perfect tense, it means that when Jesus died, He died once for all time. The sacrifice was sufficient to pay for the sins of every person who has ever lived - past, present or future.

So let me ask you a personal question. What sin is keeping you from God right now? Is it anger? Is it lust? Is it a hard heart of unbelief? Is it alcohol abuse? Is it an uncontrollable temper? Is it cheating? Is it gambling? Is it stealing? Is it adultery? Is it abortion? Is it pride? Is it greed?

Let me tell you the best news you've ever heard. It doesn't matter what "your" sin is. It doesn't matter how many sins you've piled up in your life. It doesn't matter how guilty you think you are. It doesn't matter what you've been doing this week. It doesn't matter how bad you've been. It doesn't matter how many skeletons rattle around in your closet.

When you come to Christ, you discover that all of your sins have been stamped by God with this phrase: Paid in full.

Anger … … … … … … … … Paid in Full
Uncontrolled ambition … Paid in Full
Gossip … … … … … … … … Paid in Full
Drunkenness … … … … … Paid in Full
Fornication … … … … … Paid in Full
Embezzlement … … … … Paid in Full
Lying … … … … … … … … Paid in Full
Disobedience … … … … Paid in Full
Slothfulness … … … … … Paid in Full
Pride … … … … … … … … Paid in Full
Murder … … … … … … … Paid in Full
Bribery … … … … … … … Paid in Full

Those are just examples. Just fill in the blank with whatever sins plague your life. Through the blood of Jesus Christ the price for "your" sins has been Paid in Full.

Being a Christian means coming to Christ for salvation. It means leaving your sin behind and leaning completely on Christ by faith, trusting totally in Him. You come by faith because that's the only way a guilty sinner can come to God.

As we come to the moment of decision, let me ask you one final question: "If you were to stand before God and he said to you, 'Why should I let you into my heaven?' what answer would you give?" You might say …

"I was raised Catholic."
"I was raised in an Orthodox Church."
"I've been a Baptist all my life."
"I go to a Lutheran church."
"I was baptized as a baby."
"I attend Calvary Memorial Church."
"I came to Calvary in the Park."

But if that's what you are banking on to get into heaven, you're going to sadly surprised one day. None of those answers will suffice when you stand before the Lord. The only answer that counts is tell God in your own words that you are trusting Jesus Christ for your salvation. Then and only then will the gates of heaven swing open for you.

Ponder the words of this little verse:

Upon a life I did not live,
Upon a death I did not die,
I risk my whole eternity.

That is what it means to be a Christian. It means trusting in Christ so much that you risk your eternity on what he did for you in his life and in his death. I have sometimes told people that trusting Jesus for salvation means to trust him so completely that if he can't take you to heaven, you aren't going to go there. Are you willing and ready to do that?

Let me say a word to the gamblers in our midst. If you gamble at all, you know that it's usually not a good idea to bet all that you have. Lots of gamblers have lost it all because they bet it all on a "sure hand" that turned out to be not so sure after all. Most gamblers will bet some and hold the rest back. That may be good advice when it comes to wagering your money, but it's bad advice when it comes to wagering your eternal destiny.

True saving faith means to push all the chips to the center of the table and risking everything on Jesus Christ. If you hold something back because you think, "I'm going to bet 80% on Jesus and 20% on my good works," you'll never make it to heaven. God's plan is simple and clear: Only Jesus and Jesus only.

Are you ready to risk it all on Jesus? Perhaps it will help you to form your words into a very simple prayer. Even while I encourage you to pray this prayer, I caution you that saying words alone will not save you. Prayer doesn't save. Only Christ can save. But prayer can be a means of reaching out to the Lord in true saving faith. If you pray these words in faith, Christ will save you. You can be sure of that.

"Lord Jesus, for too long I've kept You out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear You knocking. By faith I gratefully receive Your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust You as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank You for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe Your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.

In the end I can't believe for you or you for me. Jesus said, "Come unto me." Will you come? Come and see for yourself. Come and discover how Christ can change your life.

If you are fearful, put your heart at ease. He avoids no seeker. He will not turn you away. You will see for yourself. God invites you. But still you must come. Do not hesitate. Stop making excuses. Come to Christ and be saved. Trust in Him and your new life will begin.

If God gives us understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what He did for us, our only response can be to come to Him in love and trust, asking Him to save us. May God grant you faith to believe in Jesus Christ. If you have doubts, come and see for yourself. The way to heaven has been opened by the Son of God. Come just as you are, holding nothing back, making no excuses. Come, and as you come to Christ, He will come to you. Amen.

© Keep Believing Ministries

Apostolic Doctrine: Just Whose Recipe is it Anyway?

by Abbot Tryphon

One of the most powerful reasons for embracing Orthodoxy is to be found in the Church's insistence that she holds to the evangelical and apostolic doctrine of the Ancient Church. In an age when everything is up for change, there is a certain security and stability when one institution (the Church) stands firm in her Apostolic Authority, and refuses to allow popular culture or political correctness to influence her rightful role as hospital for the soul.

"It is not lawful to differ even by a single word from the evangelical and apostolic doctrine, or to think otherwise than as the blessed Apostles and our fathers learned and taught concerning the Holy Scriptures (Saint Leo the Great)."

We know from the very foundations of the Church, set down in the Gospels, and in the Apostolic Canons, that the Church exists, not to judge, but to bring healing. Her mission is to make whole those who would enter into her gates, as entering into a hospital. She forces no one, for one who is forced is not open to healing. Yet the Church is also aware that sin is not really a private matter, for all sin affects everyone. She knows that even private sins have an effect on the whole of the cosmos. Therefore, the Church continues, as she has from ancient times, to give witness to the commandments of God, the hope that is found in the Gospel of Christ, and the forgiveness and healing that can lead to wholeness.

The Church may seem to be a backward looking institution, irrelevant for our times, a view that has caused many of the denominations to alter basic foundational teachings in order to please a more liberally leaning society. This has led numerous of the denominations to allow parliaments to enact laws that have forced these religious institutions to ordain women as clergy, perform same sex marriages, and bow down to modern views on abortion that have lead to the death of thousands of innocents.

As an Orthodox monk who stands out in appearance, what with my long white beard and black robe, I demonstrate that I am attempting to live a faith that is not of this world. Like all Orthodox clergy, I teach by my presence in a modern and fallen world, that my faith is an ancient one, and that change is not necessary, for the faith of our fathers is just as relevant today, as it was two thousand years ago. What the Church has to offer today, is just as effective in bringing about the healing of the soul, as in ancient times.

The sad state of American Christianity has as it's basis, a constant attempt to conform to an ever changing society, and with each change, there is less and less of authentic, ancient Christianity to be seen. It could be compared to using an old family cake recipe, dropping one ingredient, or changing another, with each passing generation. In the end, is it really great great grandmother's cake recipe, or is it something else?

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery

Abraham's Life of Faith

by Oswald Chambers

"He went out, not knowing where he was going" - Hebrews 11:8

In the Old Testament, a person's relationship with God was seen by the degree of separation in that person's life. This separation is exhibited in the life of Abraham by his separation from his country and his family. When we think of separation today, we do not mean to be literally separated from those family members who do not have a personal relationship with God, but to be separated mentally and morally from their viewpoints. This is what Jesus Christ was referring to in Luke 14:26.

Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason - a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world.

The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character, and we encounter many changes in the process. We feel the presence of God around us when we pray, yet we are only momentarily changed. We tend to keep going back to our everyday ways and the glory vanishes. A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another, like soaring on eagles' wings, but is a life of day - in and day - out consistency; a life of walking without fainting (see Isaiah 40:31). It is not even a question of the holiness of sanctification, but of something which comes much farther down the road. It is a faith that has been tried and proved and has withstood the test. Abraham is not a type or an example of the holiness of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith—a faith, tested and true, built on the true God. “Abraham believed God. . .” (Romans 4:3).

Source: My Utmost for His Highest (The Golden Book of Oswald Chambers) 1935

Three Foundations of the Christian Faith

by Dr. Joe McKeever

"God is faithful" (I Corinthians 10:13).

1) If you do not like change, you do not want to start following Jesus.

Jesus Christ has great plans for your life, and if you hand "you" over to Him-and continue doing so every day of your life for the rest of your earthly journey-you will find that involves change, change, and more change. We may call it growth or something spiritual like "sanctification," but it's all about change.

He loves you the way you are, but loves you enough not to leave you that way.

Here is how the Apostle Paul put it: "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (II Corinthians 3:18).

That is the plan.

You don't like change, you say?

Then, do not come after Jesus.

He's all about change, both throughout our earthly years and at the consummation of this age when the most massive change of all will take place. Again, the Apostle Paul: "We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…. and we shall be changed" (I Corinthians 15:51-52).

How come so much change there at the end? Because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither does the perishable inherit the imperishable" (15:50).

Therefore, "This perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality" (15:53).

So, get used to it, pilgrim. Change or die. Those are and have always been the two choices.

Don't like change? Find yourself resisting innovations? Something inside you rebels when your leader (a pastor, your boss, the teacher) introduces a new approach, a different formula, an unfamiliar technique?

That's actually fairly normal.

Since "He Himself knows our frame" (Psalm 103:14), the Lord knows this and accepts it as a fact of human existence. In fact, Jesus said, "No one after tasting the old wine prefers the new, for he says the old is good enough" (Luke 5:39).

It may be human, but it's a trait of our fallen nature which we have to work against.

Those who follow Jesus Christ have to resist the deadly urge to stand still, to settle for the status quo, to resist growth, to resent innovation, to lay down speed bumps inhibiting new ways.

Remember, it was rebellious, faithless Israel that wanted to return to Egypt (Numbers 14:4).

Anyone following Jesus Christ will find out in a New York minute what He meant in saying "New wine must be put into fresh wineskins" (Luke 5:38). The "wine" of the Holy Spirit-that is, this new thing Jesus is doing-requires a flexible container, one able to give, to change and adapt and grow and expand.

Follow Jesus faithfully and a year from now you will hardly recognize yourself, you will have changed so.

Note to pastors: You will never ever have a church made up of one-hundred percent change-lovers. There will always be those resisting innovation and growth. And, since the Lord knows this about us, you must know it about yourself and your people and not let it throw you. However, as pastor and shepherd of the flock, your task will be to continually educate your people in this regard, to keep pushing growth and advancement, and not let the nay-sayers talk you into camping out on the status quo.

"Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:5).

Second note to pastors: When members tell you they do not like new things, smile broadly and tease them about that, because they do not mean it. Repeat: They. Do. Not. Mean. It. All you have to do is look in their driveways (they are not driving 1948 Pontiacs but something much more recent), look in their living rooms (they have computers and HD televisions), and look in their closets (they are not wearing their grandparents' clothes, but new and attractive clothing).

Clearly, they enjoy change and love new things. What they mean to say is they like change to be manageable, something they can deal with, and not all of it at once.

Rick Warren says Saddleback Church is always tweaking things, always introducing new ideas and programs, but they do not use the word ‘change.' "I tell them we're going to experiment with this," Rick says. "Experiment is less threatening."

2) If you do not love Jesus, enjoy fellowship and worship with God's people, and appreciate serving the Lord, you would not like Heaven. So, God will not make you go.

Now, no one is saying Heaven will be an endless 11 o'clock worship service. Even the preachers would not want that! (Okay, especially the preachers!)

On the other hand, if you enjoy serving the Lord, we have good news for you. Revelation 22:3 says, "And His servants shall serve Him." In Heaven, you will serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you don't like serving Him, well then, the news is not so good for you.

Furthermore, the centerpiece of Heaven is Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:22). If you love Him here, you'll love Heaven. Otherwise, not.

The primary activity of Heaven seems to be reigning with the Lord, plus worship and praise of the Lord (Revelation 19:6-7 and 22:4). I think you get the idea now.

Bottom line, if you love God's people, are devoted to God's Book, and doing His work in the world is your great joy, you should be right at home in Heaven.

And, if you do not love the Lord Jesus, if you do not care to read His Book, and if doing His will is not something that appeals to you, you probably should not be making plans to go to Heaven.

It would be hell for you.

So, we have good news for you. God is not going to make you go to Heaven.

Heaven is for the redeemed, the ones God has declared righteous (see Matthew 25:34-36), those who "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," who is Jesus Christ (Revelation 7:14).

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people (John 14:1-6).

A convention-goer stood on a street corner in downtown New Orleans, waiting for the bus which would take him to his hotel. He had over-imbibed that day and was having trouble thinking straight. When a bus stopped for the traffic light, he stepped on, not realizing he had joined a busload of preachers and their spouses in town for their own annual convention. As the drunk took his seat, he noticed the fellow beside him reading the Bible. In front of him, two people were praying out loud. And behind him, a number of preachers and their wives were harmonizing on a favorite hymn. The man stood, lurched to the front of the bus, and asked the driver to let him off at the next corner. Later, telling a friend how he found himself on the bus among a bunch of Christians, the drunk said, "It was hell."

C.S. Lewis' book "The Great Divorce" makes the same point, that the hell-bound would be miserable in Heaven for the simple reason that they do not fit. Given the choice of staying in the Celestial region or leaving, the group in Lewis' story choose hell. Profound truth.

3) If you are not willing to enter Heaven through Jesus Christ, you will not be going at all.

"I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved…." (John 10:9).

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

"Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Are we clear on that?

In Matthew 22, Jesus told a parable which ties this together as well as it can be done. A king gives a wedding feast for his son. When the invited guests reject his invitation, the ruler sends his servants out with instructions to "go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding."

"So those servants went into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests."

When every seat was taken, the servants informed the king who entered for the festivities. He surveyed his surroundings, looked over all his guests, and then spotted something out of place.

Jesus said, "He saw there a man who did not have on a wedding garment."

Do not miss this. Although unstated, it is a given that when these replacement guests entered, the palace servants equipped each one with a wedding garment of some kind or other. (Bear in mind no one had left home that morning thinking they might be invited to the palace, so "I'd better take along my tuxedo." This was the ultimate come-as-you-are party.)

The fellow sitting in the banquet hall dressed in his own clothing had bypassed a palace servant. He had entered in his own way.

He had not come by the door.

"The king said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?'"

Had he entered by the door, he would have been in good shape.

"And (the man) was speechless." (Matthew 22:1-13) He had no excuse.

There is only one Door to Heaven and His name is Jesus.

You may believe otherwise, and you are free to believe what you please, but not and call yourself a Christian.

These are non-negotiable, irreducible, most basic aspects of the Christian faith.

- To follow Jesus means change, change and more change.

- The best way to know we will "fit" in Heaven is to love the things of the Lord now in this life.

- The only way into Heaven is through the Door, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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