Are Christians called to do social service to enter Heaven?
Matthew 25:42, 43 -
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Today's scripture is of very prime importance, for in the scripture we see certain conditions are given as necessary to receive eternal life.
If we look at recording of the Apostles in the book of Acts we see the Apostles did not concentrate on these factors. In Acts 6 a situation arises wherein the widows of the Greek and Hebrew were not attended to (given daily meals) equally so the matter is taken to the Apostles. And we read the Apostles did not jump into it. They said they had more important matter to do then to feed people. Were they not aware that if they rejected the hungry they would not enter Heaven? Also note in Acts the widows were from within the disciples who accepted Jesus Christ. Why did the Apostles not feed the hungry widows of those who were Jews or of other religions?
When we say 'saved' there are 2 factors to it. One is saved from hell and other 'saved' means receiving eternal life, meaning saved from death. A person is saved from hell by repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ. That means anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is saved from hell, which is the grace (the required mercy) we receive through faith in Jesus Christ. But that does not means by just believing we go to Heaven to have eternal life (since the Tree of Life that enables us to have eternal life is in Heaven - it is not an actual tree but symbolic to an earthly tree).
To have eternal life Jesus gives various conditions some of them are we need to be born-again, we need to be baptized in water (Jesus Christ) and in the Holy Spirit, eat His flesh and drink His blood, overcometh and becoming Sons of God.
If we look at all these conditions we see they all have to do with the Word of God and Spirit of the Lord. When we are baptised in the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of Truth reveals the Word to us and teaches us all things. This teaching is not just knowledge, for the Spirit helps us walk according to the Word and thus overcome our sin nature. The word flesh in Hebrew comes from the root word that means message or tithing and blood symbolizes righteousness. That is why Jesus said only when we be His disciples (walk in His righteousness) knowing the Truth, the Truth will set us free.
We need to understand our good works do not get us a ticket to Heaven. Righteousness means being right in the sight of God and sin sets us in the opposite direction of righteousness. That is why God says the righteousness of man is like rags before God. But a man knowing the truth will automatically walk in righteousness for the truth is in him.
Even after baptism in the Holy Spirit we still sin for our past sins are taken away but the sin nature that leads us to sin is still in us. The Holy Spirit helps us overcome this sin nature. That does not mean one day we will not sin. Paul says anyone who says he does not sin is a liar. This Paul wrote nearly 2000 years back and is valid even today.
The Word of God says as we keep growing in understanding of scriptures one day the complete Truth / knowledge of the Word will be known to man and that day God says it is sufficient and says come up. In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve sinned and lost Truth by eating the fruit of doubt (Good and Bad) and Righteousness because they sinned by disobeying God. Through Jesus Christ we receive these 2 back again.
The Spirit of God made available by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ helps us know the Truth and on Judgement Day the Righteousness of the Son (Blood) covers us (replaces our unrighteousness) and thus enables us to enter Heaven.
Keep this in mind we need to understand today's message. The message talks of certain conditions.
Feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty.
Give shelter to those without.
Cover those naked.
Look after those in prison.
If we look at the works of the Apostles, they in reality did all these, concentrating on them alone even though they seem to have not done them in the natural.
Jesus came to give us not any earthly land or kingdom which is temporary (for at the end this earth is destroyed). Jesus came to give is an eternal Kingdom that is forever, that is why He said I am going to the Father to prepare a place for us.
When Jesus spoke of giving us Living Water or Bread that gives eternal life, they were not natural bread or natural water.
If we look at the instructions God gave the Israelites in the book of Moses. He commanded them to be good and merciful to the strangers that dwell amongst them, but to their own they needed to do all that they could. We are called to help all who are in trouble and be good to them even our enemies but to our brethren / neighbours we need to love them as we love ourselves, like Jesus loved us.
In short feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give shelter and clothe the naked in today's message is more to do with spiritual things and less natural things. It is all about taking the Cross (Cause / Burden) of Jesus Christ. Unless we do not do the things we are commissioned to do as Christians we cannot be sure to go to Heaven.
We as Christians should be doing social service to show the merciful nature of God in us but that is not the mission of a Christian. The mission of a Christian is to bring the lost sheep to God, to share Jesus and build people in the Lord. It is about saving souls of those who are children of God. We are one family in God and if we do not show love to another family member how can we claim to be family?
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You said those who are yours will hear your Voice and come to You. Lord, we as your disciples are called to be carriers of your Voice (Gospel) to all who have your seed of faith in them. We are called to help in protecting this seed as it becomes a plant and called to help make the plant into a great tree that bears fruit. At the end we are called to bear Fruit of the Holy Spirit and help others also. Lord we pray your people walk not an earthly path by earthly understanding but the Way which is You...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
1 Corinthians 13:3 - And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
2 Corinthians 8:9 - For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
John 12:48 - He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
|The Word of God was given free to us, therefore we should also share it freely with others.
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