(An adaptation of the exposition on John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 given in The Grand Spiritual Assumption)
I remember speaking at a luncheon to a ladies group about ten to fifteen years ago that was made up of women over the age of sixty. The church had called it the three-score-and-more class. The director of this little luncheon and outreach for the ladies wanted me to teach something encouraging from the Bible and, at the end, give an evangelistic, come-to-Jesus invitation. I was told that many of the ladies invite their non-Christian friends to join them at this monthly event so I would have a chance to lead several to faith in Jesus. This was long enough in the past that I was still committed to that approach in evangelism. I was more than delighted to do all that was being asked of me.
While I can’t remember the passage of Scripture I taught the ladies, I do remember how I gave the final evangelistic invitation. Based upon my understanding of John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 at that time, I explained to all those present that God was offering a free gift to each person. That gift as called eternal life, and once it was received, it guaranteed to the person receiving it a place in heaven forever. But I was careful to explain, God only gave this gift through His Son. So you have to believe in Jesus in order to obtain your free gift of a heavenly destiny.
We’ve mostly divided the world into two categories: believers and unbelievers. The believers are those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior (and some add to that the concept of lordship: Jesus must be believed in as Lord as well as Savior). Those who haven’t believed in Jesus as Savior (and Lord) are the eternally lost and, consequently, are hell bound. The basic controlling premise is that believing in Jesus is the only way to heaven and the only escape from hell. Hence, the believers are the eternally safe, good guys, and the unbelievers are the eternally condemned, bad guys.
But the fact is the Bible never presents the issue in these terms. The Bible is constantly urging believers to continue to believe and unbelievers to begin to believe. There are unbelieving believers in the Bible as well as believing unbelievers. The cookie cutter presentation of believers and unbelievers is simply not a Biblical concept. It is messier than that, sort of like the kitchen at breakfast time on Mother’s Day!
(These brief thoughts are adaptions of the information that has been given in the four volume series on understanding the Bible: The Prodigal Paradigm, Acceptable to God without being Saved?, The Grand Spiritual Assumption, and Freedom through the Cross)
To my knowledge the small town in Alabama where I grew up didn’t have any all-you-could-eat buffets. I didn’t come across such a thing until I was dating the gal who later became my wife. Maybe her folks thought that was the only way to fill me up. I have been known to eat ten pieces of fried chicken at a single buffet (which was sorta like Superman and the tall building thing that he was known for).
The Emperor has no clothes on! The Emperor's New Clothes is a Danish fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen and first published in 1837. The story goes like this:
There once lived a King who cared excessively about fine clothes. He loved to show them off whenever he could. One day he heard from two men who were swindlers in disguise. They claimed that they could make the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth ever seen. This cloth, they said, also had a special quality about it: it was invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position.
It occurred to the King that he himself might not be able to see the cloth. And if he couldn’t see it, he would be declaring to all that he was unfit to be King. So the King first sent two of his most loyal and trusted men to see it. Of course, since neither of them wanted to admit that he could not see the cloth. That would be an admission that they were either stupid or unfit to be the King’s loyal servants. So they both praised it.
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