September 5

Matthew 25-26, Psalm 94

There is a story of a meeting that Satan had with his demons how to trick people into rejecting Jesus, thereby receiving eternal damnation, ...One demon said, "I've got a plan. Let's whisper in people's ears that there is no God." "No", Satan said, "creation declares the reality of God. People are too smart to deny His existence. A few idiots might be sucked in, but not the masses." "I've got it", a second demon said, "We'll say there's no hell." "No", said Satan. "People innately understand the need for retribution and judgment. People won't buy that." A third demon said, "Let me suggest how we might trick them. Instead of saying 'No God' or 'No Hell', we'll just say 'No Hurry.' ". "That's it!" Satan said gleefully. And he commissioned his demons to go throughout the world whispering, "No hurry." Though this is a fictitious story, this is a major reason why people will not consider or commit their lives to Jesus. Each day seems just like the day before. There is no sense of urgency since nothing seems to happen until it happens. We don't actually know when we or our loved ones will die, so we go on like none of us will ever die. Even when someone gets sick or finds themselves in a near death experience, the focus is on getting better or getting out of the situation, not eternity.

Jesus teaches four Parables to conclude the Olivet Discourse which included His discussion on end times. In each Parable there were those who were faithful and lived their lives in expectation of eternity, and those who just went on, "in no hurry", treating each day like eternity will never happen. We read about "The faithful servant and the evil servant" in Matthew 24: 45-51, shortly after saying in 24:36, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." One servant treated each day in anticipation of the master returning, the other, due to the delay, acted wrongly. In 25:1-13, we read the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. This Parable illustrates the importance of securing through Jesus our own personal salvation. Realize that oil is often a picture of the Holy Spirit which we only receive when we are born again (John 3). Jesus concludes this Parable in 25:13 with "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." In 25:14-30, we read the Parable of the Talents illustrating how we should be faithful stewards of all that we have been given. Notice that the steward who received two talents and five talents were both commended, hearing, "Well done, good and faithful servant;". The one who was thrown "into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.", was not thrown there because he only had one talent, but because he didn't faithfully use what God had given him. In 25:31-46, we read "The Parable of the Sheep and Goat Judgment", illustrating how we should take seriously our servanthood.

Most of us live our lives like there is, "no hurry". If any would like to argue that point we should all make a pie chart of a typical day, week, month, and year in our lives. Put everything in including sleep, work, time with family and time serving God. Realize, this does not mean that we must all quit our jobs and enter full-time ministry. But we must all honestly ask ourselves, "what do we do when at work?, what do we do when with our families and friends?" For these should be our ministries. We all have the ability to glorify God in every sphere of our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, "But I say to you that every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." We can take that embarrassingly small sliver of pie that is honestly used for God and continually enlarge it becoming faithful stewards and servants as we live out our lives in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not push us where we refuse to go. But if we allow ourselves to be emptied of ourselves then we can become willing vessels to be used by Him. Another picture of the Holy Spirit can be seen as the Jordan River which empties into two bodies of water in Israel: the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Which body of water do we resemble. The Dead Sea gets filled by the Jordan River, but nothing comes out. Nothing lives in it, which represents anyone who does not allow the movement of the Holy Spirit in and through us. This is the many people who only look to be fed and never to reach out to serve another. The Sea of Galilee has the Jordan River flow in and out and is teeming with life. This represents any of us who allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us as we act as faithful stewards and servants. None of us know when the Rapture is coming, when our loved ones will breathe their last, or when we will breathe our last. We can either adopt the stance of Satan and live a life of "no hurry", or we can take Jesus at His Word and live each day as though it will be our last.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster