Where will you spend eternity? How would you answer that question? Are you confident with the response? What gives you the basis for standing firm on your reasoning?
It is beyond sobering to acknowledge, we are not the Ruler of Heaven. Therefore we ultimately do not get to make the determination of where we spend eternity. God is the Ruler of Heaven. As owner of our physical home on earth, we determine who is received and accepted in our house and who we lock out, kick out, or fight out. God has all rule and authority to make the determination of who He allows in His dwelling. It is His decision to accept, receive, deny, cast out, or ban.
Each individual will be judged one-by-one. There will be no mass entry. The entry into Heaven is “narrow”. It is a “closely-defined path God ordains to travel on to gain His approval“. (Matthew 7:14) Like a one-by-one turnstile is the gate into Heaven. We are reminded of Genesis 3:24: “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” The experience is one-by-one to pass through the flaming sword which protects the entry into life forever.
God, in His Word the Bible, plainly states – It is not God’s will any perish. (2 Peter 3:9) God did not create the Paradise of God, to not share it. It is actually God’s good pleasure to give the kingdom. (Luke 12:32) God is not a Being that we should be afraid of Him. He loved humanity so completely that His perfect love would do away with all fear of torment. (I John 4:18) God so completely and perfectly loved all of humanity, He sent His only Son so that none would perish but all who believed on Him would enter into eternal life, Heaven, the Kingdom of God. (John 3:16)
When Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth He did many wonderful things including teaching three useful things for us to know about entering His Kingdom. He specifically addressed this instruction to those who were sure they were going to Heaven. All three of these stories have people who were right at the door. They were among the crowd expecting to get into Heaven. They were in the church. Heaven was their home and they were sure of it. Nothing could have convinced them otherwise. They were considered “among the wise, but not prepared”, “holding the gift, but having no interest”, and “with the chosen, but not dressed”.
Among The Wise, But Not Prepared (Matthew 25:1-13)
Jesus taught the way to Heaven would be like ten virgins waiting for the Bridegroom to come. Five were foolish by taking no extra oil for their lamps. Five were wise and had extra oil for their lamps. The Bridegroom delayed in coming a long time and all of the virgins slept. When the call came the Bridegroom was coming, everyone woke up. They all were getting their lamps ready. The wise virgins had oil for their lamps to stay lit. The foolish complained to the wise their lamps were going out and desirously asked for a share of the wise virgin’s oil. The wise refused to give it claiming they wouldn’t have enough for themselves if they gave to the foolish. The wise advised the foolish to go quickly and buy oil and then come back. The foolish went to buy oil. The Bridegroom came while they were gone. He began the celebration without the foolish virgins. When the foolish returned, they knocked for entry. The Bridegroom opened the door and refused to let them in claiming he did not know them. Therefore, they couldn’t come in. The foolish among the wise were rejected from entering.
The foolish were among the wise, but they were not prepared. They had chosen to keep company with the right people. They had chosen to remain in the place where the Bridegroom was coming back for them. They remained until the last minute when they realized their supply was too little. They had nothing to help them see until the end. The light they had depended on being enough was not enough. Their initial investment in obtaining oil did not enable them to have enough to last until the Bridegroom came. They hadn’t completely lost their light, but their lamps kept going out. Therefore, they had to leave the place to go and buy more. While they were gone, the party began without them. Entry to the festivities was not opened to them because they had decided not to be prepared.
Oil, in the Bible, often represents the Spirit of God. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, every person who belongs to God must be born again, must be born of the Spirit of God. Must move only with the breath, life, and movement of God. God must have total control and effect of their life. They must have given their all over to Him to be totally consumed by God. The foolish virgins had given over a portion or part of themselves, but they had not given their all in preparation for the Bridegroom. If they had already given all they had, they would not have gone to buy more oil. Going to buy more oil showed they had something to give in exchange for the oil. They had been holding on to something as their own and not giving their all. They returned with oil, which means they made a purchase. They traded something they had for the purpose of getting the oil that would produce light. The unfortunate thing is that it was too late. The Bridegroom had already come and they were left behind. They were refused entry with the Bridegroom. They had tried. They had thought it “wouldn’t be a problem”. Imagine the feeling of devastation and horror.
The first reason all church members will NOT go to Heaven is because they are not prepared. They still have things of themselves they are refusing to trade for more of the Spirit of God. Church attenders and those associated with the church will NOT go to Heaven when they die because they have not given their all, emptied themselves of all they have so that they can have much reserve of the Spirit of God. Not all church members are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Those church members who have not surrendered all the ability they have to contain things to God, will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. All the “trading” must have already happened before the Bridegroom comes. The wise did not offer any oil or money to the foolish virgins. The wise understood it is personal preparation to be in readiness for the Bridegroom. The entry of the five wise into the Bridegroom’s presence was not conveyed in the story, but the mass exodus out of the Bridegroom’s presence was clearly displayed.
Holding The Gift, But Having No Interest (Matthew 25:14-30)
Recorded is another parable describing the Kingdom of Heaven. A man going away on a great journey calls three of his servants. The man gives to these three servants belonging to him some of his treasure. To the first he gives five talents, to the second he gives two talents, and to the third he gives one talent. The man gave the men the talents based on his judgment of their ability to handle what he would give them. The man leaves and the men go away. The servant with the five talents immediately goes and invests his gift and gets 100% return. The servant with the two talents does the same thing, getting for himself 100% profit. The servant with the one talent dug a hole and hid his talent. After a long time, the man came back and called his servants asking them to account for what they had done with what he had given them. The first two servants showed the man their 100% profit on the value he had entrusted to them. The man was delighted, brought them into closer, joyous fellowship, and entrusted even more to the first two servants. The third servant came before the man claiming he knew the man was hard, gaining from what he had not invested, and claiming as his own where he had not put anything. The man was furious, took what he had given to the third servant, gave it to the one who had ten talents, and judged the third man to outer darkness, the place of much crying and torment.
All three servants in this parable were given at least one talent. They were given a gift, something valuable from their master. All three servants belonged to the master. He claimed all the servants as his own. He wanted all of them to belong to him. The man put a gift in each one of their hands according to the servant’s ability to receive it and do something with it. The first two servants wasted no time. They understood what they had was valuable. They traded or exchanged the value to gain even more value from what each had been given. Their dealings were very profitable. The third servant had the value in his hand, dug a hole, and buried it. He did nothing with what he had been given. Instead of exposing it, he hid it. Instead of letting it gain profit and increase in value, he suppressed it, put it out of sight, and did nothing with it. When the man returned, he met with his servants to have them account for what he had left with them. The man judged the first two servants very good and faithful inviting them to enter into his joy. The first two servants had shown how much they loved the man, how good he had been to them, and they doubly returned the value to the man. The third servant gave back what the man had given him reporting his thoughts of the man’s character, business, and way of doing things. The third servant had no value for the man or what had been placed in his hands. He did nothing with it and gave it back just as it had been given to him. After hearing the servant’s reasoning for his action, or lack thereof, the man told the servant about his reputation and said even if you felt that way about me and what I had given you, if you had just put my value with the bankers and gained a little interest, I would have spared you. But since you do not have even a little interest to bring with you at my coming, I will remove what I have given you. There is no place for you in my joy. Instead, you are thrown out to pain and torment.
The third servant had been given something of value. It may not have been as much as the first two servants, but it was according to his ability to receive and do something with it. The gift of God to all of man kind is the sending of His Son, Jesus. 1 John 5 tells us that God sent Jesus in the world because of His great love for mankind. It is when we receive the love of God by receiving His Son that we are born of God. Those who are not born of God through believing Jesus is the Son of God, call God a liar. The third servant called God a difficult person to deal with, a liar, and a thief. The third servant failed to see that the man had already showed how much he cared about him by giving him this valuable gift. The third man failed to value the gift He had been given. Though the third servant had already been accepted as his servant and had received from the man something of the man’s own, the third servant had no change in his opinion on the man’s reputation. The third servant failed to see the value, instead when providing his “account” before the man talked only of his own thoughts, observations, and conclusion about the man discounting the value the man had already placed in his hands. The third servant had the value in his hand, but had no interest in it. The third servant would forever be in the dark with continuous crying and tormenting pain.
The second reason all church members will NOT go to heaven when they die is because they have no interest in the gift God has given them. They are numbered with those who are followers of God. They say they have a value of their masters, but are not interested in it. They take no action to promote, display, or expand the value of their owner. They do their “own thing” without any regard, investment, or interest in God’s only begotten Son. The first two servants understood the value of what they’d been given. They wasted no time to share what they’d been given. They promoted what had been placed in their hand thereby being profitable for their master. The first two servants experienced much joy in displaying their valuable pieces. The third servant had no joy in his master. He was eager to return what his master had given him and had no shame in telling his master what he was really thinking. The interest we have in the son of God, the gift God has placed in our hands is the determining factor on where we spend eternity. It is an individual ruling. The two good, faithful, profitable servants couldn’t get the third wicked, lazy, unprofitable servant into the joy of the master. Neither is the person beside you on the pew, your pastor, or your best friend at church able to get you into Heaven. Entry into Heaven is determined on what you do with the valuable gift placed by God into your hand, His only begotten Son.
With The Chosen, But Not Dressed (Matthew 22:14-30)
Jesus told another parable about a great wedding feast banquet a king had prepared for his son. The invitations had already been sent out inviting the guests to the banquet. Those assigned the task of rounding up everyone who had been invited were sent out. Many who were invited were unwilling to come. The king sent out others to round up those invited to come explaining everything was ready and for them to make their way to the feast. The invited guests either paid no attention or beat the messengers who were sent to bring them to the banquet. The king was furious and slew those invited who did his messengers harm. Then he sent out other messengers to go into all the highways and find all who would come to the wedding feast. The banquet hall was soon full. The king came and looked over the crowd. He found one man not dressed in wedding clothes. He asked the man how he got in without wedding clothes. The man was speechless. The king instructed for that man to be bound hand and foot and cast out to outer darkness where there would be weeping and tormenting pain.
The man was in the right company. He had decided to go to the banquet. He knew the right place to be. He was with those chosen to attend. Notice the order of those invited, rounded up to come to the banquet did not exclude anyone. There was no one who didn’t get the invitation to come. The banquet didn’t begin until everyone, even those in the highways, got a chance to attend. The problem was that everyone had on wedding clothes. They were clothed properly for the banquet. Everyone had gotten the message a certain dress was required, except the one man. Either he didn’t get the message, or had chosen not to conform to the attire required. He made a decision to “not ask any questions” when his dress was different from others. This was either by choice or failure to notice. The king of the banquet made the determination, after giving the man opportunity to provide defense, he was not able to stay. He was to be bound hand and foot and cast into complete darkness where there was great weeping and pain.
Because the man was not properly clothed, he was not allowed to remain at the banquet. Unless we are properly clothed with the righteousness of Christ Jesus, we will not be properly dressed for Heaven. We do not have to be discouraged, God Himself clothes us. Isaiah 61:10 says “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” The man at the banquet had failed to rejoice in the king’s son. Therefore, he was unclothed for the banquet. He was at the banquet by his own standard, character, and dress. The man missed the wardrobe appointment to ensure he was properly covered for the event. Because of the man’s failure to be dressed properly, he was thrown out of the party and into darkness, pain, and torment.
The third reason all church members will NOT go to Heaven is because they are not properly dressed. They have not received with rejoicing the dying of the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. They have not joyfully accepted the covering of salvation He provided for them through the cross. They have failed to trade in their clothes to be covered by the blood of Christ and receive the righteousness of God. Therefore, they do not have on the right clothes for Heaven. Just as the man was in the right place, fully expecting the partake of the king’s banquet; those who fail to receive the free gift of salvation provided by Jesus Christ will be unable to partake of Heaven.
Notice the similarities between all three of these teachings. All of the people “cast out”, thought they were going to “let in”. With this in mind, it is important that we take heed to the message in 2 Peter 1:10-11 which exhorts all in the church in this way, “brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
This scripture refers to “these things”. In the prior verses it explains we first must receive the divine nature of Christ in order to escape corruption. This is done by faith, the persuasion of God, and trusting the promises of God. Then we add to our faith a measure of virtue which is moral goodness or making right and good moral decision. To virtue we add knowledge which is teaching and direct application of God’s word. To knowledge we add temperance which is self-control, an evidence of being under the control of the Holy Spirit. Then add to temperance, patience which is a remaining under the troubles of this life. Next add to patience godliness which is an inner response to God and the things of God. Continue on by adding to godliness brotherly kindness, affection and care for other believers. Finally add to brotherly kindness, charity which is the focus on what God prefers.
We are comforted to know that if we begin with the nature of Christ in our life through faith in the promise of God recorded in John 3:16, believing on Him for our eternal life. Next we receive his nature as our own by faith followed by good moral decision. Then the good moral decision are followed by good teaching and application of God’s word. Allowing God to control us by His Holy Spirit and always remaining in the troubles of life. Then we have a personal inner response to God’s Work, affection for other believers, and always carrying out what God prefers. In the end we will have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:11)
Written By: Anne Gurley