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This week it will be good for us to consider this sobering fact: whether we go to heaven depends on what we do with God’s word. When confronted with the truth of what God has said, what we do next says much about the kind of character we have. Jesus said, “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day” (Jn. 12:47,48).
Jesus came into the world to save it, not to condemn it — but many will be condemned as a result of Jesus’ coming. They will be condemned, not because that was Jesus’ purpose, but because they placed themselves under condemnation by their rejection of Jesus’ saving word. They will have judged themselves by refusing that which could have saved them.
This explains an apparent contradiction in Jesus’ statements about why He came. In the text above, Jesus clearly said that He “did not come to judge the world.” Yet, in another place, He said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” (Jn. 9:39). There is no contradiction when we see that although Jesus did not come for the express purpose of condemning anyone, nevertheless many will be condemned — not because He willed it, but because they refused His offer of forgiveness.
The word spoken by Jesus Christ divides mankind into two categories: those who accept it and those who do not. In this sense, Jesus is the Great Divider. His word demands a decision, and by their decision, people divide themselves in relation to His word. Jesus said simply, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Mt. 12:30).
It is sobering to think that we choose our destiny. If we turn away from the word which now comes to us as a message of salvation, that same word will confront us finally as a word of condemnation. To listen to Christ is no small matter. For in hearing His word, we take sides. Which side we take makes all the difference in the world! Let’s reflect on that all through this week.
Monday: John 12:42–50
Key Idea: At the Judgment Day, we will be judged by God’s word.
Questions for Family Growth: What does this passage say some of the Pharisees had done? What does it mean to “confess” Christ? What did Jesus mean when He said that His word will “judge” us in the last day if we reject Him?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 13:25.
Tuesday: Matthew 7:24–27
Key Idea: It is foolish to hear God’s word and then disobey it.
Questions for Family Growth: Whom did Jesus compare to the foolish man? What does the word “foolish” mean? Even if we do not deliberately disobey Jesus, what will happen if we just delay obedience and do nothing about what He says?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:1.
Wednesday: Luke 8:4–15
Key Idea: What we do about God’s word shows what kind of people we are.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Jesus refer to when He used the word “heart” (v.15)? What four kinds of people are described in the Parable of the Sower? What kind of heart is described in v.15, and why is that so important in our study of God’s word?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:2.
Thursday: Luke 19:1–10
Key Idea: We ought to be eager to obey Jesus.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Zacchaeus do when Jesus came to Jericho? Did Jesus have to beg and plead with him to do what was right? Why not? In v.9, what did Jesus say had come to Zacchaeus’ house?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:3.
Friday: John 3:16–21
Key Idea: Jesus wants us to obey Him.
Questions for Family Growth: According to v.16, why did God offer up Jesus to die for our sins? Will some people still be lost? Why? What did Jesus say about “truth” and “light”? How do we show that we love the light?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:4.
Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com