A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, October 7, 2021
"Close Is Not Enough!"
Message summary: Today we consider not being far from the Kingdom of God; being close but not in. If you're close we appeal to you please go ahead and make the decision to come to Jesus!!!
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34). “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame’. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:9-13).
I don't like the way football and many other sports have become "woke", pandering to the cultural craziness of our age. But I still like to watch sports and the other night Ester and I watched the highly touted return of Tom Brady to face his former team, the New England Patriots. The game was close and came down to an opportunity for the Patriots to win with a field goal at the end.
However the kick was unsuccessful, but oh so close, hitting the goal post in a colorfully described "doink", which is an onomatopoeia. (I remember being fascinated with that term when I learned it in grade school and it's great to occasionally use it in a sentence!)
The effort was close but not close enough. In sports the margin between victory and defeat is often very slight. But whether the score was 52-0 or 19-17 or whether the field goal hit the goal post with a doink or missed by 50 feet the Patriots still lost. Being close is not enough!
Today let us consider being close to the Kingdom of God. In the first daily text Jesus is addressing a scribe who approached Him and asked, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” In this exchange of dialogue Jesus answered the scribe’s question and he in turn essentially rephrased in agreement to Jesus’ answer. (Mark 8:28-34)
Jesus then responded, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”. It was as though he stood at the door of the kingdom; he was close but not yet there. This account is not explained further (allowing for various interpretations), but one can only hope that in time this particular scribe did take the step of faith necessary to enter the Kingdom of God.
I recall a gospel tract from many years ago titled, “Missing Heaven by 18 inches”. The basic premise was an emphasis on believing with the heart, which summarizes our response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet it is more than just head knowledge but also heart knowledge that is essential to enter the kingdom of God (thus the “18 inches” from the head to the heart).
Both head (mouth) and heart are involved in the salvation process: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Consider that the Almighty God of the universe has called you to be His child and paid a tremendous price to adopt you. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Today let us rejoice in the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and praise Him who richly blesses us! Let’s not just stand outside the door close to the Kingdom of God but let us walk in and take up residency so we can experience all that God has in store for us!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are “richly blessed” when we call upon You to save us from our sins because You share richly with the redeemed. Far too many play around with the idea of surrendering their hearts. They get close but don't enter in. We pray that they would not stand outside the door of the kingdom, but take the necessary step of faith to step inside the kingdom of God by confessing with their mouths and believing in their hearts that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead. When we truly believe and boldly confess our faith in Christ our convictions are changed from within and our actions from without. That’s the mark of the true believer. May our lives give evidence of Your redemptive work and boundless blessings. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Come To Jesus" Video The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir If you're close we appeal to you please go ahead and make the decision to come to Jesus!!! As one comment stated, "JUST COME TO JESUS, JUST AS YOU ARE. FOR THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS! AMEN
"Christ Is Enough" Video The Worship Initiative and Shane & Shane
Video (37 seconds) of missed New England game winning field goal. You can even hear the doink!
Last night we went to the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game with Jesse and six of the Lapp children, including Sara Beth and Stephen who watched their first "big league" baseball game*. The highlight was a visit from Cylo, the team mascot.
Do you remember your first big league baseball game? I remember my dad taking us to the old Municipal Stadium in Kansas City to see the Kansas City Athletics play the New York Yankees. Just stepping out and looking down at the colorful green field was a sight for little eyes to behold. Since that time I've been to several big league stadiums but my favorite is Fenway Park in Boston!
The last time we went to a game was in 2016 and the Red Sox won 6-4!
* Of course the Lancaster Barnstormers wasn't actually a big league game but we don't need to tell Stephen and Sara Beth that little detail! Compared to the baseball field in their Amish school yard it's quite massive.
Click on photo to enlarge
Early this morning these carpenters were preparing material for a home improvement project. Lamar, the older man with the saw is mentoring Luke, the young man in the background. We are so thankful for people who work!
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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