How Much Are You in Debt?

Woman at Feet of JesusJesus went to have dinner at the invitation of a Pharisee named Simon. During the meal a woman that was known as a prostitute in the area came and washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair and anointed Him with her expensive perfume.  Simon’s thoughts were heard by the Lord. He judged Jesus for allowing this known sinful woman to draw near to Him and touch Him, something that no self respecting Jewish Rabbi would do at that time. The Lord Jesus spoke a parable to Simon:

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:40-42).

Jesus spoke about two debtors.  Although the Lord was speaking the parable to Simon, it is also applicable to all of us. Every one of us has a debt of sin that we have brought upon ourselves. At the time of Christ, a denarius was the take–home pay of a man for a day’s wages. One had a debt of the equivalent of a month and a half’s wages, and the other’s debt was equal to one–and–a–half-year’s wages. The Lord was acknowledging that, outwardly, the sinful woman’s sin was of the sort that spiritually was a high debt, but at the same time, He was pointing out that even though Simon thought that he was morally a better person, he could not pay his debt of sin either. Both were unable to pay.

Every one of us is spiritually bankrupt before this Holy God to whom we have to give account someday (Romans 14:12). Let’s use the analogy of being an Olympic long jumper. Maybe you can long jump eight feet as compared to Bob Beamon’s Olympic world record achievement in the long jump of 29 feet, 2 inches. However, if you and Bob Beamon had to jump across Niagara Falls, a distance of 1800 feet, both would fail. It matters not whether you are a 50-denarii sinner or a 500-denarii sinner, no one can meet the demands of a holy God.  Jesus put it this way:

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).

The law was given that men and women would see their need of a Savior and turn to Him and be saved in order to have their sin–debts cancelled. We can all improve our lives and characters to a certain degree, but we cannot, by ourselves, cancel out the debt of sin that is against us. Author R. Kent Hughes puts it like this:

“What we must understand is that the condition for being forgiven is to realize that we are broke and insolvent, where we are accomplished moralists or accomplished sinners. This is the problem—people keep trying to persuade God to accept the currency of their own making. Some submit the currency of integrity. “God, I work with compulsive liars. The only honest man I know is myself. Surely I am acceptable.” Others would argue that their domestic currency ought to make it. “In this X-rated world, my life is a wholesome G. I’m faithful to my wife. I love her and my children. I am a good husband, father, and son. I reckon that’s all I’ll need!” Social currency is a favorite too. “I am truly color-blind. My money (lots of it) goes to the needy. I volunteer at the crisis pregnancy center. I really do care. The world needs more people like me, and so does heaven.” Church currency is perhaps the biggest delusion. “I live at church. My goodness will surely be accepted.”

It is good for our hearts to consider regularly where we would be in life if not for the Lord interrupting our path and Jesus coming and eternally changing our lives with the Gospel. Those kinds of thoughts should give us a new appreciation and gratitude for Christ.  If there is a lack of love toward Christ in us, it is because of a lack of awareness and consciousness of the debt of sin that has been paid by Christ. How much in spiritual debt are you? Isn’t it time to come to the Lord and have Him graciously pay your debt for you? Turn to Him today, acknowledge your sin to Him that He may forgive you and have your debts paid for by Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross for you.

Keith Thomas

What! No Wedding Clothes?

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1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. 13“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14“For many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14).

In this parable of Jesus, the Lord tells us of a time that is soon coming, when the King of the Universe will gather together His people to Himself, everyone who has entered into covenant relationship with God through the sacrificial and substitutionary death of His Son. He Himself will be at the wedding banquet. We are told of His coming into the midst of the wedding celebration and seeing a man wearing no wedding clothes. In the story of Samson’s wedding in Philistine country we are told of the custom of supplying the wedding guests with linen garments (Judges 14:10-13). In Samson’s case he tried to get out of the custom by posing a riddle.

In this parable, this custom is alluded to. The king in the parable is a picture of God who supplies all of His wedding guests with a robe of righteousness. There will be none at the wedding feast better dressed than others—we will all be one in Christ Jesus and be clothed in God’s righteousness:

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10).

This man’s lack of the proper garment shows that he has purposely rejected the king’s provision for him. This is a greater insult than those who refused to come to the wedding. This man chose to affront the king in the presence of all His guests. He is a picture of those who refuse to wear God’s provision of the garment of righteousness that God has given (Isaiah 61:10). This part of the parable alludes to the Jews that were standing around Christ as He spoke, acting as believers but trying to trap Him in His words (Matthew 22:15). This is also a picture of those who think they are believers; however, they have never truly submitted their lives to the Son and been born again of the Spirit (John 3:3). Sadly, they will find out too late that the only way to come to the Wedding Feast in the Kingdom of God is to wear the Kings provision of His righteousness in Christ. Clothe yourself with Christ!

Keith Thomas

Are You Ready for the Bridegroom’s Coming?

386532_241471039242595_100001391017391_660283_1411584229_nJesus shared many parables to illustrate spiritual truths. In one of them, the Parable of the Ten Virgins, He says that before His Second Coming to the earth, there will be some that will be unprepared to enter His kingdom, and will be shut out:

1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Matthew 25:1-13).

All ten virgins represent all those that profess to be believers, but only some have the light of life while others do not. Some people are empty lampstands that do not bear the light of Christ’s life. In many parts of the world there are good actors and hypocrites, people that say they are believers, but have never received the gift of new life in Christ! Judas, amongst the band of disciples acted the part of being a disciple but he never truly repented—he was a hypocrite, a stage actor on the stage of life (John 12:4-6, John 6:70-71). Only those who have truly repented (turned around from sin) and received Christ and the provision of His Spirit are truly lights in the world (Matthew 5:14). We are tri-partite beings composed of body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23); but our spirit is dead until we receive the gift of life and light from the Lord (Ephesians 2:1 and 5). The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being (Proverbs 20:27). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The five wise virgins represent true believers. The oil in their lamps represents the Holy Spirit living in them, and of course, no one can be a true believer without having the Holy Spirit:

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).

The big mistake that the five unwise virgins had made was that they always meant to get their lives right, but they had never done anything to prepare for His coming. This is the main emphasis of the parable—do not wait to get prepared for the coming of the bridegroom, but be always on the watch because you do not know the day or the hour (verse 13).

Hell is populated with people that meant well. They may have heard of Christ and meant to get their lives right with Him, but suddenly will come a time when they will need to know Him and it will be too late—they will come to the door only to find it shut, and the Master at the door will tell them that He doesn’t know them. I don’t want to even imagine their faces when they find the door closed on them at Christ’s words. You cannot wait until that day to make your decision of what you will do with the claims of Christ. There will be many who always meant to turn their lives over to Christ, but they will be shut out of joy eternal.

They had also made a big mistake in thinking that there would be further opportunity when the time came. Do not make the same mistake, the bridegroom will come in a time when many are not expecting Him. The unwise were not expecting the bridegroom to come so late into the night. They had made assumptions as to the timing of His return and found that the time had come and now there was no more time. What are your assumptions as to the ending of all things and the coming of the kingdom of God? Are you ready? My heart longs for you to be able to enter when He comes.

Keith Thomas

The One Who Brings Peace Between Arabs and Jews

palestine122There is a great love by the Most High Creator God for Jews and Arabic peoples. God tells of a time that is still future when there will be a highway all the way from Syria across Israel to Egypt. It will be a time when Arabs and Jews will worship the Lord together. Even though we cannot see it right now, God will bring it about. Egyptians, Syrians and Israeli’s will have a true peace and experience the blessing of the Messiah. This is what the Lord says:

23In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance” (Isaiah 19:23-25).

We cannot see it now because of a great war that is going on over the Middle East. This war is being fought on a spiritual plane, but has consequences on Earth. Paul the Apostle wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). What was Paul saying? He was saying that behind the things that are going on in the political world are invisible spiritual forces of evil that are vying for control over people’s minds and hearts. These invisible spiritual forces of evil plant thoughts and influence the minds of political leaders for a worldwide agenda to be brought about—a future One World Government under a dictator, that the God who created all things, calls the Antichrist. The hatred that has been fostered between Jews and Arabs is of unseen demonic origin. It is just being used as a ploy for gaining control of Jerusalem, and at a time in the future, a world leader, the Antichrist, will sit in a newly rebuilt temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and proclaim himself as God, seeking for all the world to worship him. The prophet Zechariah spoke 2500 years ago of a time that we are in right now:

2“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves (Zechariah 12:2-3).

It is important to understand that the name “Jerusalem” never appears in the Koran. The claim to Jerusalem came years after Mohammad’s death. Writer Hal Lindsey, in his book The Everlasting Hatred, The Roots of Jihad, says, “The justification for this comes from a verse which says Mohammad travelled to the “uttermost mosque,” (which is the meaning of Al Quds in Arabic) shortly before his death.” There is no evidence that this was Jerusalem—the legend of a visit to Jerusalem first appeared in the days of Khaliph Omar, the Muslim who originally conquered Jerusalem in April of AD 637, more than 560 years after the Jews were banished from Jerusalem by the Romans. There will come a time when the Arabic people will see that they have been manipulated by dark invisible forces and turn to the Lord. They will see that Jesus the Messiah has a great love for them just as He has for the Jewish people.  He will have mercy on all who call on Him—for He will forgive them of their sins when they cry out to Him. What a difference on Earth that will make!

Keith Thomas

What Shall I Do, Then, With the One You Call the King of the Jews?

Copy (5) of Ecce Homo PictureThe Jewish Religious leadership brought Jesus before the Roman Governor to get a verdict against him of death. Pilate saw their envy of Christ but was pressured by them to make a decision. When he questioned Jesus, he came away from the interview convinced that Jesus was innocent of all charges concocted by the religious elite. But what to do? He was afraid that the religious elite would tell on him to his boss, Caesar. Inside his heart, he sees something different about the Lord Jesus and is in an inner battle wanting to release Jesus. Even his wife comes to him while he is trying to make a decision:

19While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him (Matthew 27:19).

Suddenly, an escape clause came to Pilate; he remembered that at Passover there was a tradition of releasing one prisoner as an act of grace and mercy. He would offer to free Barabbas, a man convicted of murder, or Jesus, the One loved by all of them (except the religious elite). With the crowd before him, Pilate raised his voice and suggested this act of clemency. He gave them a choice, feeling sure that they would choose Christ. After all, only a few days previously the common people had been laying down palm branches before Christ as He came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. They were crying out then, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:9). Surely they would pick the Son of David over the insurrectionist, Barabbas. He felt sure that the ruling elite did not want a revolutionary, such as Barabbas to roam free. The trouble was that the religious elite applied pressure on the crowd to shout for Barabbas.

I want you to imagine that Barabbas was in the dungeon underneath the courtyard, a very likely scenario. He couldn’t hear individual conversations, but he could hear the crowd shouting. When Pilate gave the choice to the crowd, Jesus or Barabbas, they shouted at the top of their lungs for Barabbas. Down in his dungeon, Barabbas the murderer did not know how long he had before his execution. He would have wondered why his name was being shouted. Up in the courtyard, Pilate then went back to the crowd:

20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21Which of the two do you want me to release to you? asked the governor. Barabbas, they answered. 22What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ? Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23”Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” (Matthew 27:20-23).

It would have been a scary thing to Barabbas to hear after his name, “Crucify him, Crucify him!” Imagine what it would have been like moments later to hear a Roman soldier coming down the hallway with the sound of keys in his hand. Barabbas must have thought to himself, “This is it, my time is up.  They’re coming to crucify me.” Imagine his shock to be told that he was being released and that someone else had taken his place—he was free to leave and go wherever he wanted. All charges against him were dropped! I like to think that later on, as he got out of the city of Jerusalem, he saw Jesus crucified in his place as his substitute.

Can you relate to Barabbas? Can you think of any thing that you have in common with him? Like Barabbas, we too have deserved a just penalty for our sin.  Like him, we, too, have been offered grace. Jesus has taken our place and given Himself as the substitute for all sin. This substitutionary death that frees you, is charged to your spiritual account when you place your faith and trust in His finished work on the cross. Imagine if Barabbas had chosen to stay inside his small cell, and chosen not to walk outside into the light. Would that seem crazy to you? If such a thing were to happen, the grace given to Barabbas would have done him no good at all. We, like Barabbas, have all at one time been in a spiritual prison of our own making. Thank God, Jesus has given Himself in exchange to set us free. Who are you most like today? Pilate or Barabbas? When the truth is presented, do you wish to compromise as Pilate did, or walk out of your cell like Barabbas and thank God for sending a Substitute?

Keith Thomas

Did You Respond to the Wedding Invitation?

As a professional singer, it was not unusual to be asked to sing for a wedding, but it was a bit unusual to sing for the wedding of a millionaire. I knew the wedding would be picture-perfect and was pleased to be able to participate, but when the invitation to the reception arrived I knew it would be something exceptional.

The reception was held on the top two floors of Seattle’s Columbia Tower, the Northwest’s tallest skyscraper, and it was even more wonderful than I imagined. There were waiters wearing snappy black tuxedos who offered luscious hor d’oeuvres and exotic beverages for the most discriminating tastes. The atmosphere was one of grace and sophistication.

After about an hour of merriment the bride and groom approached a beautiful glass and brass staircase that led to the top floor. A satin ribbon, which was draped across the bottom of the stairs, was cut and the announcement made that the wedding feast was about to begin. The bride and groom ascended the stairs and the guests followed. What a lavish event of which to be a part.

A gentleman with a lovely bound book greeted us as we reached the top of the stairs. “May I have your name please?” “I am Ruthanna Metzgar and this is my husband, Roy Metzgar,” I replied. The gentleman searched the Ms. “I’m not finding it. Would you spell it please?” I spelled it slowly and clearly. After searching throughout the book the gentleman looked up and said, “I’m sorry, but your name is not here. Without your name in this book you cannot attend this banquet.” “Oh, there must be some mistake,” I replied. “I am the singer. I sang for this wedding!” The gentleman calmly answered, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did, without your name in the book you cannot attend this banquet.” As I looked around the room I thought briefly of running to the groom and trying to plead my case, but with a hundred guests on the stairs behind us and every place at the tables assigned according to the thoughtful choices of the bride and groom, I stood silent.

The gentleman with the book motioned to a waiter and said, “Show these people to the service elevator please.” We followed the waiter past beautifully decorated tables laden with shrimp, whole smoked salmon, even gracefully carved ice sculptures. And adjacent to the banquet area was an orchestra, its members all dressed in dazzling white tuxedos, preparing to fill the room with glorious music.

We were led to the service elevator, stepped in, and the waiter himself pushed “G” for garage. My husband, thoughtfully, did not say a word, nor did I. As Roy drove out of the Columbia Tower garage, we both remained silent. After driving several miles in silence, Roy reached over and gently put his hand on my arm. “Sweetheart, what happened?”

And then I remembered: “When the invitation arrived for the reception I was very busy and I never bothered to return the RSVP. Besides, I was the singer, surely I could go to the reception without returning the RSVP!”

As we drove on I began to weep. I was not weeping because I had just missed the most lavish banquet of my life, but I was weeping because suddenly I knew what it will be like someday for people as they stand before the entrance of heaven: People who were too busy to respond to Christ’s invitation to His heavenly banquet. People who assumed that the good things they had done, even perfect church attendance or singing in the choir, would be enough to gain entry to heaven. People who will look for their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life and not find it there. People who did not have time to respond to Christ’s gracious invitation to have their sins forgiven and accept Him into their hearts.

And then I wept again because I was so grateful that I had, many years earlier, received Christ as my personal Savior and can be confident that my name is written in the most important book of all: The Lamb’s Book of Life. Is Yours?

(Copyright Ruthanna Metzgar, excerpted in Heaven, by Randy Alcorn.)

There’s A Place For Each of God’s People

1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:1-3).

It was the night of the Last Supper, before Jesus was to be crucified. Jesus had just told his followers that He was going to be leaving them through the door of death. As Christ looked around the table at His disciples, His heart went out to them. When our hearts are troubled, stressed, fearful and uncertain, when it seems as if our world is caving in—we are to remember what Jesus said here in this passage: “my Father’s house has many rooms” (John 14:2). No matter what is going on in your mind and heart, no matter how broken you are, no matter what you are going through, there is a place in the Father’s house for you. He’s saying it to Peter and the disciples, but He is also saying it to us.  Deep down within the very soul of each person born into this world is a yearning for a better place:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

It is said that Professor T. H. Huxley, the famous agnostic (who, by the way, invented the term “agnostic” and applied it to himself), reversed his views prior to his death and came to believe in God and a future life. As he lay dying (so his nurse reported), he raised himself on his elbows and gazed into the distance as if surveying some invisible scene, then dropped back on his pillow and murmured: “So it was true! So it was true!”[1]

Yes, it is true. In the Father’s house there are many rooms. Perhaps you have read the English King James Version, which translates the Greek word monai as mansions, but the term really means dwelling places or rooms. The picture is that we will live with God in His house—that His house has many rooms for us to abide with Him. For those of you that have lived with the insecurity of moving from place to place, and in dismal circumstances, take hope! We are talking about having an eternal house in the heavens where we will be at home with God forever! When Jesus said; “I am going to prepare a place for you, we should not think in terms of Jesus the carpenter building each of us a physical home. The Greek word that is translated ‘prepare’ is hetoimazō, the word that is used of an oriental custom of sending a person before kings on their journeys to level the roads and make them passable. The word was also used to describe the disciples going to prepare the Upper Room for the Passover feast (Luke 22:9, 12). The sad departure of Christ was for the way to be prepared for the disciples and us to follow Him to the Father’s house. He went ahead of us to make the way to God “passable” for us.

So that we get a picture of what heaven will be like, the scriptures tell us of a time when a heavenly city will come down from heaven to earth—a city that is prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. Notice who we will be living with:

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

How wonderful it will be to live with God—the pain of this world will be dried from our eyes by the gentle touch of the Lord Himself. I think He has purposely not told us much about heaven, because many of us would want out of this world before our time. In another place Paul the apostle tells us:

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

In our wildest dreams and imaginations of heaven we cannot imagine how good it will be for those of us who walk with Christ on this earth. If your heart is troubled by the way this world is, and what you are going through, let your mind and heart be fortified with the fact that you will one day be with God Himself in His holy house. How that must have encouraged Peter, especially after he had denied Christ, that there was room for even him after he had denied his Lord. Will you be in that place with Christ? You can be! Ask Christ to come into your life and forgive your sin—receive the free gift of life—I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

If you would like to read more on this topic, this meditation was taken from the study, found on this page under the Book of John studies, John 14:1-14—Jesus the Way.

Keith Thomas


[1]  Every Day With Jesus, May-June 1996 edition, Crusade for World Revival.