At What Point Will the Door of Grace be Shut?

23Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.25Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out (Luke 13:23-28).

I think we would all agree that this passage teaches us that there will be no second chances after Christ comes for His people, those who have received the gift of salvation through the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. The Scripture tells us that there will come a time when the door of salvation will be closed. God is saying that when this time comes, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This time is called the Rapture or the snatching away of the Church. Then will begin the wrath of God and the judgments of God on those who have willfully rejected God’s free offer of a pardon. I don’t see anything in this passage to indicate even the slightest hope that if one were to come later, he would find the door open again.

There will be no opportunities for one to gain entrance into the Kingdom of God once the door is shut. It is as if God’s drawbridge of grace is lifted, and that those left behind must face the wrath of God. This hard truth is painful to accept because we all have friends and relatives that may be left outside that door when it closes. I do not want to imagine their moment of realization and their pleadings when they find that the door locked to them. At that time, it will not matter what kind of good life you have led on planet earth. When Christ comes for His church the deciding factor will be, do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? The Bridegroom says, “I don’t know you or where you come from”(verse 27). When will this rapture of the saints occur? Jesus told us clearly that the gathering together of the elect (those that have relationship and faith in Him) will take place, “Immediately after the distress (KJV Tribulation) of those days…at that time…he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31). I believe we are now entering that dark time foretold in Scripture that will happen before Christ comes.

Only those who have a relationship with Christ will be allowed to enter through the door. If you are not sure where you will go on that day, then God wants you to be confident and prepared for that day. God does not wish this truth of where we are going when we die hidden from us (1 John 5:13). Cry out to Him today. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). Keith Thomas

There Will be Great Deception on Earth.

21At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time (Mark 13:21-23).

Scripture is clear that a person will come onto the world scene in the days, months or years ahead that will set himself up as a Messiah or Christ-like figure. This man will be a master of deception; our passage in Mark tells us. He will be a charismatic leader who will solve complex problems on the world scene, perhaps resolving the Arab Israeli conflict, because Scripture says that he will set himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God and demand to be worshiped (2 Thessalonians 2:4). This act of desecration of the temple means that a temple is yet to be built in Jerusalem. At the moment, it seems inconceivable that a Temple could be built at the center of Jerusalem, but there is growing evidence that Solomon and Herod’s temple was further south nearer the Gihon Spring in Jerusalem’s City of David. Maybe as part of a peace deal, the Jews will be allowed to rebuild the Temple that they have been longing for 2000 years. Revelation 13:3 tells us, “the whole world was astonished and followed the beast” (another name for the Antichrist, the false Messiah, which our passage talks about). Verse 8 of the same chapter tells us, “all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names are not written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb.” Doesn’t it make you wonder how so many people will be deceived into following this person? When one thinks of how Adolf Hitler deceived the German people in the Second World War, what will keep people today from being deceived?

The best way to be kept from deception is to know the real Messiah, Jesus. Saturate yourself with the words of Christ in the Gospels; the truth will keep you from error.  When we allow the Word of God and the Spirit of God to direct our lives, we will recognize the counterfeit readily. Those that belong to the Shepherd know His voice (John 10:4). True believers will have discernment when the false Messiah comes along. When you commit your life wholeheartedly to Christ, you are one of His chosen, as our passage above tells us.  He has adopted we who belong to Christ before the foundation of the world (Colossians 3:12). No one can snatch you out of the Father’s hand, (John 10:29). Let that be your strength and encouragement to your heart.

Prayer: Father, I want to know you and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Come into my life and fill me with your Spirit, grant me discernment and a love for the Truth. Keith Thomas

What! No Wedding Clothes?

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 substitutionary death of His Son. He will be at the wedding banquet. The passage tells us of His coming into the midst of the wedding celebration and seeing a man wearing no wedding clothes. This custom we read about in the Old Testament. In the story of Samson’s wedding in the Philistine country, for instance, Samson had to supply 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.

This custom is what is alluded to in the Parable of the Marriage Feast, the passage above. 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 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 rejection of the wedding garment is a greater insult than those who refused to come to the wedding. This man chose to insult 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 parable Christ spoke to those who were standing around Him as He taught, those who were acting as if they were believers but trying to trap Him in His words (Matthew 22:15). This parable is also a warning to those who think they are believers; however, they have never 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

Did You Respond to the 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. Waiters were wearing snappy black tuxedos who offered delicious appetizers 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 the 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, and surely I could go to the reception without returning the RSVP!”

As we drove on, I began to weep. I was not crying because I had just missed the most lavish banquet of my life, but I was sobbing 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.)

The Purchased Possession

The Book of Revelation is a book in the Bible devoted to future things that God gave the apostle John. The Spirit of God took John outside of regular time to a time that is yet future to us. He saw things that “must soon take place” on earth (Revelation 1:1). He sees the Lord Jesus Christ as a Lamb, “looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne” (Revelation 5:6). He is the only one that is worthy to open a scroll sealed with seven seals. Scripture doesn’t tell us what the scroll represents but theologians and scholars believe that the scroll is the title deed to planet earth. When the Lord Jesus comes forward and takes the scroll from God the Father, seated on the throne of heaven, a song of praise to the Lord Jesus is sung by those that are there:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, 
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10 Emphasis mine).

The Scripture tells us two things: 1) The Lord Jesus Christ represented as a Lamb, has purchased people with His blood. 2) These people are from every tribe, language, people, and nation. Let’s look at the first thought. The Bible says,

“No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—that he should live on forever and not see decay” (Psalm 49:7-9).

No man can buy another out from under the curse of sin that controls the earth. The Lord Jesus Christ was the only one who could pay the ransom price to deliver us from Satan’s slave market. Eternal justice has placed a penalty on anyone who sins—the sentence is death (Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 6:23). Not just physical death, but separation from God for eternity. The whole of humanity, because of our sin, is seen to be in Satan’s slave market of sin. There is only one way out—God Himself would take the guilty person’s fate upon Himself. God came in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus, to pay the price of death as the just payment for our sin. With His blood, He has purchased a people for Himself.

Let’s now look at our second thought, who are the people whom He has purchased? Are they only from the West? No! They are from every nation, tribe, and language on Earth! You that are reading this in India, Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and China—you, along with all nations, are the ones that He has purchased to Himself. Do you have a God like that? One that will come and take the worst that Satan and fallen humanity can throw at Him and still love us enough to cry from the cross with His last breath—“It is finished” (John 19:30). This English phrase in the original Greek language of the New Testament is the word tetelestai. It means, “paid in full.” Do you realize that full payment for the deeds of your sin was fully paid nearly two thousand years ago? The God of heaven loves you so much that He came and paid the ransom price for you. Do you believe this? Believing requires you to turn from everything displeasing the One who paid the cost of buying you out from Satan’s dominion (Colossians 1:13). Repent (turn from your sin to follow Christ) and believe the Good news of your deliverance from Satan. I look forward to seeing you when our Lord Jesus comes for His purchased possession! Keith Thomas