Wednesday, 20 July 2022
“Again the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind……. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous and will throw them into the lake of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:47-50 [NASB]
In our reading today, Jesus explains the principles of God’s kingdom, through various parables. Our key verses explain one such principle, which is of great importance and is often overlooked by many. A dragnet when thrown into the water will reach up to the bottom and when it is dragged to the shore will gather all kinds of fish. But the fishermen will make a selection from the catch. There will be a separation of the good and bad and all the bad will be thrown out. The fact that the fish was in the net from the time it was caught, does not qualify that fish to be selected. The selection criteria is solely with the fisherman – not with the fish!!
Jesus categorically stated: “So it will be at the end of the age…” It is very important to understand that there will be separation at the end - when Jesus Christ will come to gather His saints! Until then all people who are in the Church are believed to be in God’s kingdom, until when the angels do the separation process. What does that speak to us?
The mere fact of being in the kingdom of God (i.e. being born again and a member of a Bible-believing Church) does not guarantee your entrance into heaven! The kingdom standards are set – they are different from human standards!! The process of separation is not the task of people, but angels!!! Will the divine selection process find us fit enough to grant permission into heaven? Think!
Do I come under the category of “good fish” to find a place in the final selection to enter heaven? Let the Kingdom standards as provided in God’s word be our guideline:
1. Our Action: Take His Yoke
In Matt.11:29 Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart….” Being yoked with Christ talks about having Christ’s attitude – gentle and humble in heart! Humility is the basic requirement to even receive the Word in one’s heart. James 1:21: “… in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” God values a humble and gentle heart – 1Peter 3:4: “…but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”
2. Our Attitude: Have His mind
Philippians 2:5 exhorts us to have the mind of Christ! It means to have the attitude of Christ! What is it? The core of it is given in Phil.2:7: “He emptied Himself…” Jesus did not want to cling to His divine position but was willing to forsake it for fulfilling the will of God. What do we need to let go, to do God’s will or serve Him?
3. Our Aspiration: To keep ourselves pure as He is pure
“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3). This calls for Purity in:
Character: “…you must make every effort to supplement your faith with moral character… (2 Peter 1:5 ISV). Christ-like character is what a Christian aims for!
Possessions: 1 Timothy 6:17 says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
Integrity: Matthew 5:37 says, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”
Dear brothers and sisters, can we evaluate our lives on the basis of today’s Word and see where we stand? Let us make sure we are not thrown out!
Think on: Jesus said: ‘“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.’ (Matthew 7:21)