The Wedding

by Sylvia Bambola June 2, 2014 13:03 PM

I love weddings: their testimony that love finds love, their beauty, their promise, their pomp and ceremony, and yes, their food, too. So in Matthew 22:1-14 when Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a king who gives a wedding banquet, I’m all ears. But I soon discover it’s not your typical wedding. First, the invited guests refuse to come. And even when the king sends his servants to personally tell them that all is in readiness, they actually make light of the invitation and give silly excuses why they can’t attend. Then to make matters worse, they even abuse the servants and actually kill some.

What’s the king to do? Well, being a king with all the authority and power of a kingdom at his disposal, he answers this affront by sending his soldiers to punish the murderers and abusers. Not only do they forfeit their lives, but their city is burned.

Next, the king once again sends out his servants to collect guests for the son’s wedding, this time ordering them to go to the highways and byways. Everyone was now welcome, even the assortment of unsavory characters one always encounters along life’s roads. Even so, it pleases the king for now his banqueting hall is full. But wait! There was one who didn’t wear the required wedding garment, the garment provided by the host for each of his guests to wear. And what a sad end for him, for he’s quickly bound hand and foot and thrown out into the darkness where “there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”

Of course this speaks about God and the wedding feast He is planning and preparing for His son, Jesus. And the wedding guests refusing to come are His chosen people the Jews. When, as a nation, they rejected their Messiah, the invitation (the salvation message) was extended to all peoples of the world. And oh how fortunate for us! But don’t despair, God is not finished with His people and will, in the last days, bring them to Jesus.

God is love. And that love desires a banqueting room full of people who have accepted His invitation of salvation. And that invitation has been extended to everyone, all of life’s symbolic derelicts, which means us, so no one is excluded. However, like that man who entered the banqueting hall improperly dress and was promptly thrown out into utter darkness, no one will be able to enter without the garment of righteousness that Jesus’ blood sacrifice secured for us. We must wear the garment God provided or we cannot enter.

And oh how sad for those without the proper garment. Instead of a sumptuous wedding feast in a beautiful setting (symbolic of eternal life with Christ) their eternal future will be lived in darkness and weeping and pain.

It seems so foolish. The invitation is for all and the only requirement is that we are dressed in God’s proper garment. So why do so many make light of the invitation and give silly excuses?

Until next time,

Sylvia

 

 

Category: Spirituality

Held Accountable

by Sylvia Bambola August 12, 2013 11:49 AM

Right after Jesus reveals that the secret of greatness is tied up with becoming child-like and a servant, He tells his disciples that anyone who receives these child-like believers also receives Him. And then this dire warning: and whoever causes one of these child-like believers to stumble and sin is in big trouble. In fact it would be “better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Then Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 18:7 (Amplified) “Woe to the world for such temptations to sin and influences to do wrong!” and “woe to the person on whose account or by whom the temptation comes!”

This is pretty serious stuff. From it we understand that there will be a day of reckoning; that all those influencers who peddle evil and smut and perversion (we need not look any further than the entertainment industry), and entice to do evil, will be held accountable and have to answer for it, and it’s not going to be pretty. But we are accountable, too. Our actions, the way we live our lives, the things we say, can also cause people to stumble and we need to take it seriously.

Jesus said it would be better to cut off our hand or foot or pluck out our eye if they cause us to transgress rather than to be thrown into “everlasting fire.” Yes, there is an “everlasting fire,” and it’s called hell. And what Jesus was advocating was not to literally cut off our body parts, but to remove ourselves from sinful situations and stop participating in sin. The Bible tells us that hell was created for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Sadly, there will be many others residing there, and that fact breaks the heart of God for He wishes that none should perish.

For our part we have to stop winking at sin, stop pretending that the things that go on around us doesn’t matter, when in fact they are polluting the whole world. And in our own lives we need to call our sin what it is, “sin.” We have to stop acting like what we do doesn’t matter. It does. Will this make us stand out like sore thumbs? Be chided? Ridiculed? Shunned? Maybe. Probably. But now that’s the thing that doesn’t matter.

Until next time,

Sylvia

Category: Spirituality

The "H" Word

by Sylvia Bambola March 21, 2011 7:16 AM

No one talks about the “H” word anymore.  Hell.  What is it?  A curse word? A myth? Or . . . is it actually real? According to Jesus it is.  He spoke of hell many times.  Here are two examples: Mark 9:43-44 “”And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” And in Matthew 10:28 He says, “”And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

 

Chilling isn’t it?

 

Then there are numerous people who, either through a near death or other experience have seen hell for themselves, and returned to tell about it, like Bill Wiese who in numerous interviews and in his book, 23 Minutes in Hell, talks about his journey there and describes the people in unbelievable torment, their horrible screams of anguish, the disgusting stench, the unbearable heat, the grotesque demonic creatures, and finally the broken heart of Jesus as He watched.

 

Why is it important for those of us who truly believe in Jesus to also believe in a literal hell?  After all, it’s not a place we need to bother with.  We’re not going there.  Well, it’s important because some of our family and friends and neighbors are if they leave this world as enemies of Christ. An evangelist once said if we really understood the nature of hell, really believed Jesus when He said NO man comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6) and that hell awaits those who try to go by any other way, we would crawl through broken glass to preach to our loved ones in order to spare them the horrors that await.

 

I don’t know why I feel such an urgency to get down on my knees and cry out to God for the salvation of those I love who have yet to come to the Lord.  Perhaps it’s because after watching the graphic TV footage of the Japanese disaster, it brings home just how tenuous life is. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation.

 

Until next week,

Sylvia 

 

Category: Spirituality

God is . . . Just Judge

by Sylvia Bambola March 8, 2010 9:14 AM

The Bible tells us that it is God who is our judge and lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22) and that He will judge the ends of the earth (1Samuel 2:10b); that He’s the judge of all (Hebrews 12:23b).  And get this, He’s going to judge the secrets of men (Romans 2:16). Ouch!  And being a just judge God can’t be bribed; His arm can’t be twisted.  And He’s no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Your wealth, position, reputation will not impress Him. He’s a judge who will call it like it is and punish sin to the fullest extent of the law. 

 

There was a time when I didn’t take this seriously.  Rather, I had an imaginary scoreboard erected in my mind that tallied up my “good deeds” and weighed them against my “bad” ones, and I just hoped that at the end of the day the balance would be in my favor and leave me in good standing with God.

 

What I forgot was that He is the lawgiver. He makes the rules.  He says what’s right and wrong. He keeps the record His way.  Not us.  And what He says is this: If we break just one part of the law (it’s called sin), we’ve broken it all.  And that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).   And what is this death? Nothing less than separation from God, in hell. 

 

No one likes to talk about hell these days.  It’s seems unsophisticated, narrow, intolerant. It’s even become fashionable for some Christians to say things like, “Oh, God won’t send anyone to hell, He’s too loving.” Still other Christians say, “there are many paths to God and all lead to heaven.” Really? Then why did Jesus talked about hell?  And when He did, He left no doubt how terrible and real it is.  In Mark 9:43-47 Jesus says it’s better to cut off (symbolically speaking) your hand or foot, or pluck out your eye if they cause you to sin rather than be sent to hell.  He goes on to describe hell, calling it a “fire that never shall be quenched” where “worms dieth not.” He also tells us in Luke 12:5 that the One we should fear is the One who has power to cast us into hell. 

 

So if God is a just judge and He can’t be bribed and He’s such a stickler on sin, what is a person to do?  Well, Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood and I (God) have given it to you upon the alter to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” That’s why, in the Old Testament, the Israelites sacrificed spotless animals to atone for their sins.  But in the New Testament we see that Jesus became a spotless lamb for us and was sacrificed for our sins; that He is our atonement. And all we have to do is accept Him and what He has already done. But the choice is ours.  He won’t force Himself on anyone.

 

If you consider the terrible light in which God views sin, and the terrible price He paid so He can forgive us our sins and at the same time satisfy His requirements as Judge, can we call Him unjust if we don’t accept His prepaid free gift and He sends us to hell?  Hardly!

 

Until next week,

 

Sylvia

Category: Spirituality