Fake or Real?

“In Matthew 25, Jesus tells three parables: The Parable of the Ten Virgins, the Parable of the Talents, and the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. The Ten Virgins parable ends this way: ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you’ (vv. 11-12). The Talents parable ends this way: ‘And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (v. 30). The Sheep and Goats parable ends this way: ‘And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life’ (v. 46). The message of all three parables is the same. Jesus told them of people who thought all was well between them and God, yet their life said something completely different. How surprised they were, when they thought they were to receive glory; instead they received doom.

“The burden of the pastor today is no different than the burden of Amos: to confront people each week who presume to have a relationship with God, but who actually may not have one at all. And though Amos could not see the heart of those he preached; he saw their fruitless life as evidence that there was no devotion to God, and therefore no relationship with Him. The pastor cannot see the parishioner’s heart either, but he can observe the parishioner’s fruit—or lack thereof. What would you like me to do with that observation?”

“…Today, many in church go through the outward motions all well and good, but their life looks precious little different than the ‘Jones’s’ next door who haven’t been to church since Grandma Jones died five years ago last spring. I really believe that is a product of not fearing God, as well. Is it not? The God of the Bible is angry at sin every day, and His coming judgment is sure. Yes, those who are in Christ need not fear judgment, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fear Him at all. Goodness, He is Almighty God! As His adopted child, I want to please Him. I want to please Him because of my love for Him, but I also want to do so because of my fear and respect.

“But if He is not important to us, His will won’t be either, and our life will declare that loudly and clearly—a life where we get up each morning and live it to please the most important person in our world—me! If that is the case, we are in trouble. Through Amos, when it comes down to it, God is saying: ‘Seek Me’ and ‘Hate evil, love good.’ We might characterize what God is saying this way: trust Me and obey Me.

“The fake and the fraudulent aren’t always found out down here—but a lot of times, given time, they generally are. There is a time and place where they always are, however. That will be when we stand before God. Every one of us will be found out. It shall be revealed if your relationship with God was fake or if it was real”

May it be real, my friend, may it be real.

Pastor Rich Hamlin

August 28, 2014

Excerpts from Prepare to Meet Your God, pp. 84-85, 86-87, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle