A Prepared Place

Matthew 13:47-50 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Greeting and blessings to you all! Heaven is one of those topics that you just don’t hear that much about in many churches anymore. Heaven (and how to get there) is put on the back burner while the main focus for many congregations seems to be how to make our time on earth more like ‘heaven on earth’.

There are even some who preach that heaven is open to all and that God would not dare exclude any. While it is true that God does not wish to exclude any, our choices will determine our inclusion. We must use this time here on earth to prepare for heaven. Today’s story gives an ideal analogy for understanding heaven.

During the World War, a luxurious French villa lay in the path of the oncoming armies. Although deserted, it was shelled and left with great gaping holes in its stone sides. A few swine, which had somehow escaped extermination, rooted their way into the magnificently furnished drawing room. Over the rich, velvet carpet they tracked their muddy feet, overturned the upholstered furniture, tore the expensive draperies and chewed whatever gave any promise of satisfying their hunger. The beauty, the elegance, the cultural characteristics of the place meant nothing to the beast nature. They were not partakers of the intellectual or spiritual qualities of the owner.

To the unregenerated millions of earth, the glories of Heaven would be like the French villa was to the swine. They are not partakers of the Divine nature and would have no capacity for enjoying the holy atmosphere of the Glory Land.

As the scripture above indicates, heaven’s gates will not be open to everyone, no matter how painful that may be to hear. However, the choice is ours if we choose to accept the gift that is offered by Jesus when He died for our sins. Jesus offered wisdom in this parable when he said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (v. 45-46). He is seeking all who will accept Him and His promises. He has paid a great price to acquire us and our acceptance of His free gift becomes the price of admission into heaven. Be blessed and be a blessing!

Ernest Marsh, Houston, Texas

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