1) Jesus and His Second Coming: “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.” (Matthew 13:46-50, Parable of the Dragnet).
When Jesus returns Scripture says He will be King of kings and Lord of lords and He’s bringing His Kingdom with Him. The Kingdom will encompass the entire globe and will be like a paradise on earth with Jesus as its Ruler. We just read in the Parable of the Dragnet that the first thing He does as King is to separate all the people in the world into two groups: the “good” and the “bad.” Those He considers “good” will enter into His Kingdom and live there with Him forever and ever! They will never grow old, never get sick, never be sad or angry and never die. He totally transforms them giving them new bodies, minds and hearts that are just like His. Those He considers to be “bad” will be thrown in the Lake of Fire where they will stay forever. The question we need to ask and have answered is: what does Jesus consider “good” and “bad”?
2) Sin and repentance: “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” (Matthew 21:33-41, Parable of the Vinedressers)
The landowner is God the Father, the vineyard represents the world, and the vinedressers are you and I. The Father has “leased” the world to us with the understanding we would worship Him and obey His laws . . . but we haven’t. We’ve disobeyed God for millennia now and at first He tried to send the Old Testament Prophets like Moses, Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah, to lead us back to Him. But we killed, stoned and imprisoned them and rejected the messages they brought from God.
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS. Let’s take the 10 Commandments for example, the 10 most important of all of God’s Laws. Have you ever lied? What are people who lie called? Have you ever stolen something even a piece of candy when you were little or maybe downloaded a song illegally from the internet? What are people who steal called? Have you ever taken God’s Name in vain? People who do so are called blasphemers. Have you ever been so angry with someone you’ve cut off having a relationship with them or called them a bad name? Jesus called that hate and said that hate is murder. What are people who murder called? (Men only): have you ever looked upon a woman that’s not your wife with lust? Jesus says that’s adultery.
GUILTY! If either you or I are guilty of breaking these 4-5 commandments then we are lying, thieving, blasphemous, murdering adulterers…. Keep in mind there are 5 more commandments to go in the 10. I told you a moment ago that the first thing Jesus does when He returns is to separate all the good people from the bad. Suppose He uses the 10 Commandments as His litmus test to judge you and I—where do you think we end up having broken all 5 of those we’ve covered with 5 more to go? Will we enter into His Kingdom or be thrown into the LOF?
JESUS DIED FOR US. Let’s get back to the Parable of the Vinedressers. God sent the OT Prophets to bring us His Commandments and turn us away from our sin and back to Him. After we rejected the Prophets He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, Who lived up to His Father’s commandments for us. He never stole, lied, blasphemed, hated or lusted because He was God’s Son. He was pure His whole life and never did anything wrong. Since He lived up to His Father’s expectations He made an agreement with Father God—that He, Jesus, would be the final sacrifice for MY sin and yours. He would take the blame for the wrong things you and I have done.
CONFESS. Now you and I don’t have to be perfect and obey all the commandments because Jesus did that for us already. One of the first steps we take toward our Salvation and gaining our citizenship “papers” to Christ’s Kingdom is to recognize that we’ve done wrong.
SINNED AGAINST GOD. When we confess to God that we’ve sinned, fully recognizing and acknowledging that what we’ve done is wrong, God really starts listening. We have to realize that we sin against God first—the vinedressers wronged the owner and it was the owner who would eventually call them into account and punish them.
CHOOSE JESUS OR REJECT HIM? So now we stand at a crossroads. In the Parable God the Father sends His Son, Jesus Christ, to try and get the vinedressers to confess and repent . . . but they kill Him instead.
REPENT. But if we realized that we have sinned against our Father God, confess our sins, and have an honest desire to turn FROM those sins then we side with King Jesus. If we call upon Him to be our Savior and our King, at Judgment something wonderful will happen . . . He will recognize us as one of His! As someone who took advantage of the great sacrifice He made and offered freely to us that cleaned our sin off of us. He will tell us on the Day to enter in His Kingdom and His Joy forever!
3) An earnest desire to pursue Christ and His Kingdom. Knowing Jesus is like receiving a priceless treasure. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44, Parable of the Treasure in the Field.) The man in the example sees Christ and His Kingdom as a priceless treasure and is willing to give up everything he owns just so he can own the field where the treasure is and find it. Jesus goes to say: “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.” (verse 45, Parable of the Merchant’s Pearl.) The merchant values the pearl so much that he gives up his livelihood just to possess that pearl.
SEEK JESUS & KINGDOM. Suppose you lost your job but owed all sorts of money: home mortgage, car payment, electric, heat, phone/cell phone, and groceries. Your money runs out…. The bank says it’s going to foreclose and leave you on the street. Repo man is coming to repo your car, electric company is going to turn off the power at any moment, cell phone company is about to cut you off, and you and your family are starving as the food is gone.
Next thing you know someone leaves you a note at your door with a phone number written on it, offering to pay your debt completely . . . not just this month’s mortgage but the entire thing so you will own your home free and clear. Same with the car. He’ll restore your electric, heat and cell and fill your cupboards with food. Would you throw it out or call the number immediately, remembering the alternative is for you and your family to be on the street starving? If your phone and cell phone were already shut off would you not sprint to a neighbor’s house and beg to use theirs?
When you finally get a hold of Him, you ask if this is for real and He says yes. You ask what does he want in return? He answers that He's doing this for free, no strings attached. He asks you to meet Him in the center of town that evening to make the final arrangements to pay all your debts. Again I ask: even if your car were already repossessed would you not hike all the way to town to meet up with Him? What if it were raining or really cold? All in all would it be fair to say you would strive very hard to meet up with this man and enter into this agreement with Him? The length of the walk or the weather conditions would not stop you as EVERYTHING is at stake!
JESUS PAID OUR DEBT. This is Jesus Christ and He has done all this for us in the spiritual. In our lives we’ve built up great spiritual debt to God the Father for all the times we’ve broken His commandments, and if we die without calling on Jesus to pay that debt then the Father will “foreclose” on this debt we cannot pay. Right now we have already accumulated great debt against God and Jesus is offering to pay it for us. Everything is at stake . . . our immortal souls and where we will spend eternity.
4) Having a little faith. One would think that to get to know the Son of God, take advantage of His generous offer, and to become part of His wondrous Kingdom would take a giant leap of faith . . . but it doesn’t. It only takes a little on our parts! Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32, Parable of the Mustard Seed.)
Mustard seeds are the size of pencil tips, and Jesus is telling us it only takes a small leap of faith on our parts to reach out to Him and He will take our hand and make us His! Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” (Verse 33, Parable of the Leaven.) “Leaven” is yeast and just as it only takes a small amount of yeast to make a loaf of bread grow to several times its own size, it only takes a small amount of faith to make us grow spiritually in Christ.
If we can have just a little faith in Who Jesus is, in the sacrifice He made for us, and that we can become a subject of His Kingdom, He will do the rest. As we continue with Him, He will cause us to grow.
GRACE. If you choose to take this small leap of faith and call upon Jesus Christ to pay your debt of sin, then call upon Him to forgive you and be your Lord and Savior. He will completely cleanse you of ALL sins, no matter how many or how severe. He will forgive you not just of the past, but of the present and FUTURE sins...yes, you read that correctly. He will then send part of Himself--the Holy Spirit--to come live inside of you forever. You will become the new Temple of the living God. He will not turn you away if you go to Him!
"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (John 6:37)
DON'T HAVE TO "DO" ANYTHING. Many ask "what must I DO to be Saved?" The answer is only to ask the Father for forgiveness of sin and call upon Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. That's it. You can't earn your way into the Kingdom. There aren't enough old ladies to help across the street or money to give to charity. Jesus alone fulfilled all the requirements for Heaven and now gives it to you and I at His cost.
Thus says God: "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
Jesus is waiting for you right now to call upon Him as Lord, Savior and Friend. Here is how He feels about you right now:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39)
PRAYER. If you are ready, say this prayer today to have Jesus the Messiah enter into and transform your life:
"Heavenly Father, I'm not perfect and haven't lived a perfect life. I've done things to wrong you and others and I ask you today to forgive me of all my sins--past, present and future. I call upon the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, on the Cross to cleanse me of all sin. I acknowledge Him as my Lord, my Savior, and my Friend. Thank You, Father, for letting me enter into Your Kingdom where I know I will be with You forever. Amen."