Today’s Scripture – November 14, 2016

Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV) “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”

This paragraph is intimately related to the previous one.  Jesus doesn’t just encourage His followers to be bold in their proclamation of Him before men; He demands it!

Those who obey Jesus’ commands and who are bold in their testimony before men, never shying away out of fear of repercussions, will find that Jesus will be bold in acknowledging them before God’s throne on the day of judgment.  He will claim them as His own, and they will be saved.

But those who succumb to their fear of men, who keep their mouths shut because of fear of being penalized or persecuted will find an entirely different situation.  Because their silence and disobedience effectively denies Jesus before the very people that they have been sent to save, Jesus will deny them before God’s throne on the day of judgment.  Instead of a “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21), they will hear, “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)

This may sound harsh to ears that are used to hearing that Jesus loves everyone and would never turn anyone away at the judgment.  But Jesus is eternally passionate about those who are lost.  He gave His life to save them, and has, in every age, sent His people, those who have been rescued from eternal death by His blood, to bring in the rest.

Those who obey Jesus commands, who go and tell others the good news, and who keep working in the harvest each day out of a shared love for those Jesus cares about, demonstrate that they are truly His people.  But those who pull back from the work out of fear of people show that they value themselves more than they value Jesus, and more than they value those that He is passionate about.  Their self-love overriding any selfless love betrays that they do not truly belong to Jesus, and that fact will become patently obvious on the day of judgment.

Father, this is much different than most people are taught, but the plain words of Jesus are very clear.  Over and over His parables speak of dire consequences for the servants that have been remiss when the Master returns and demands an accounting.  Obviously, the only force powerful enough to keep us on task, even in the face of opposition and persecution, is Your love for the lost working through us.  Help me to have that love overflowing my life today, so that, no matter the cost, I can be diligent and steadfast in working the harvest every day.  Amen.

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