Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the nature of delayed entrance into the spiritual kingdom.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Delayed Entrance into the Spiritual Kingdom
Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, ‘‘Lord, Lord,’’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 21
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we examine the problem of delayed entrance into the spiritual kingdom. We shall examine the possible reasons for this delay. We know that some of us would love to see this problem resolved. Especially is this true for those of us who are involved in difficult and complex relationship that could become all so easy and simple if the recalcitrant would enter into the spiritual kingdom, where there is "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." To help us grasp the nature and fundamental difficulty of this problem, we shall again resort to material analogies.
Yesterday morning as I came out of my house, I saw my neighbor driving past. I waved to her and the children sitting in the back seat, and they waved back. I noticed that the driver wore a seat belt, and the children in the back seat wore theirs. At that time, I did not attach any particular spiritual significance to this, but this morning doing my worship, I pondered why it was that sometimes our children delay their entrance into the spiritual kingdom. Now as I reflected back on the children riding in the back seat of their mother’’s car, I realized that riding in the back seat with the seat belts in place was all that they had a memory of. There was no time in their young life when they could recall riding without wearing seat belts. They are ages three and four now. The oldest one will be five soon.
Now compare this scenario to a situation, where the parents never wear seatbelts themselves, and never strap their children in before driving them around in the car. In this situation, the children will grow up with just the opposite memory. There will never be a time in their lives when they can remember when they wore seat belts. And as they grow up and become adults, it is unlikely that wearing seat belts will be natural for them. They may eventually begin to wear them because of some distressing confrontation with the authorities who give tickets for not wearing seat belts. And some may eventually wear seat belts because they realize the safety benefits of wearing them. Now the children who grew up with no memory of a time when they did not wear seat belts will grow up naturally wearing them. It will require an act of rebellion for them not to because this is all that they know.
Now there is another situation that exists with the seat belt analogy that we can use for our purposes. Some parents may not wear seat belts themselves or require their children to wear them initially, but at some point of time, either due to reasoning and realizing the safety benefits of wearing them or because of the coercive pressure exerted by the authorities in the form of tickets and fines will begin wearing them. Now this creates a situation that may be variable in its immediate results. We have a confusing situation to present to our children. They have a memory when they did not wear seat belts as well as a memory of time when they did. The final result of this kind of training is bound to be somewhat confusing as the children try to sort out what the superior value is. In a situation like this the child is likely to pursue the path of least resistance, that is it may be easier for the child to drive his car without the hassle of putting on seat belts.
Finally there is one more situation that we shall add to the mounting hill of our argument. When a situation exists where one parents uses the seat belts consistently, and the other parent sporadically or none at all, this will also send a very confusing value to the child, as the child will not naturally know which set of behavior to follow. This is the conflict of value, and will probably have the effect of the child delaying the decision of whether or not to wear seat belts. In this situation he may wear them or he may not. But he will not be convinced that he should or that he should not. He may wear them because the law requires him to, but he will not be convinced that he should wear them, regardless of the obvious safety advantage.
And I add one further note: the child knows whether or not the parent is wearing the seat belts, and consequently their wearing of them because of a deep conviction that this the right thing to do or because it is the law that says they should wear seat belts. "When the Father's will is your law, you are hardly in the kingdom. But when the Father's will becomes truly your will, then are you in very truth in the kingdom because the kingdom has thereby become an established experience in you. When God's will is your law, you are noble slave subjects; but when you believe in this new gospel of divine sonship, my Father's will becomes your will, and you are elevated to the high position of the free children of God, liberated sons of the kingdom." "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God."
And now for completeness sake, we use one more material analogy which should help us to grasp the nature of the problem as well as its solutions. It is a nice hot day, the humidity is low, the sky is clear and the sun is bright. Amid this setting, a group of people are sitting around a swimming pool. The swimming pool is quite spacious and has graduated depths. At the far end of the pool, the water is over twenty feet deep, and the near end where most of the sun bathers are gathering, the depth of the water starts off at around three or four feet and gradually increases towards the far end of the pool. They have been sitting out there for quite a while now, sipping various beverages. Although the beverages have assuaged their thirst, it has done nothing for the steady increase in the temperature of their bodies.
Their bodies cry out to be submerged in the water. Some of them, have gathered on the side of the pool and sit with their feet dangling in the water. This cools their feet and the lower part of their legs, but the sun continues to rain down upon the rest of their bodies. A few of them not wanting to get in the water at all have retreated back inside the house, where they enjoy the coolness of the air conditioner. And this solves the problem of their bodies being too hot. But they have missed that refreshing combination of being immersed in the water while the sun shines upon them. There is nothing like that feeling of being hot and cool at the same time. Words cannot describe it. You have to experience it to really know it.
The pool is constructed in such a way that even those who are least experienced with swimming can still wade into the water and duck their bodies under momentarily and experience this marvelous sensation of being hot and cool at the same time. And for those who are advanced in water arts, those who are able to play in the deep part of the pool, there is no limit to the quality of their enjoyment of this sensation. They can ever dive off of the diving board into the water and feel the thrill of slicing through the water as their bodies are cooled as it enters the water until it is completely immersed. But still there are those who will not venture into the pool to enjoy the refreshing joy that this water supplies under the sun.
So we see that the delay in entering the kingdom has many reasons. Some of them are due to poor examples set by those entrusted with teaching and guiding us. As teachers and guides, we lack credibility unless we are what we say. If we don’’t enter the pool of the spiritual kingdom ourselves, than how can we expect those who are entrusted to our care to enter it? If we are inconsistent with our staying in the spiritual kingdom, in one moment, out the next, how can we expect those who are copying our value system to do any different?
And if we have a faulty value system, how can we expect our offspring to stay with that? It cannot be experienced and does not supply the magnificent experience of swimming in the deep end of the pool of spiritual values and catapulting off the diving board of spiritual meanings. And finally, if we are not wet with the water of love completely, then we have not completely immersed our souls into the pool of love. If we don’’t have those glistening drops of water with sunlight creating prisms of that overwhelming desire to do good to others, saturating our souls when interacting with our brothers and sisters, not only will we cause unnecessary delay in their entering the spiritual kingdom of divine values and meanings, but we are delaying our own entrance into the spiritual kingdom, where there is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
This concludes today's message on understanding the nature of the problem of delayed entrance into the spiritual kingdom. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry