Greetings and good morning, 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 meaning of the divine judgment, "well done."
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
"His Lord said unto him, ‘‘well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.’’" Matthew, Chapter 25, Verse 21
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we examine the rules for the game of life. A few day ago, a great basketball coach passed away. He was 99-years-old. When asked what he would like for God to say to him when he got to heaven, he replied, "well done." When our souls stand before the Supreme Judge, the decision of eternal survival will not be determined by material successes or quantitative achievements but by qualitative achievements; the verdict reverberating through the high courts declares: "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few essentials; you shall be made ruler over universe realities."
We all want to hear those blessed words, but what are the rules of the game of life? How do we learn the rules? Who is going to teach us, and what parameters can we use to assess our progress ? How will we know when we are proceeding according to the rules? And how will we know when we have broken the rules? What allows us to get back on track if and when we break the rules?
We know that it is important for us to know the rules that govern our eternal salvation, for if we don’’t know the rules, we don’’t stand a chance of hearing those blessed words, "well done."
Let us see if we can gain some insight by looking at a material analogy. The game of basketball requires a certain set of abilities and skills in order to play at the professional level. ““Ability is that which we inherit, while skill is what we acquire. Life is not real to one who cannot do some one thing well, expertly. Skill is one of the real sources of the satisfaction of living. Ability implies the gift of foresight, farseeing vision." The ability or talent to play at this level is inherited. While the willingness to work hard, to practice, to actualize this ability eventuates in the skills needed to play basketball.
As the prospective basketball player begins, he acquires a coach, who helps him to refine his skill and teaches him the finer points of the game. From the coach he learns the rules of the game and how to play within the rules. Without learning the rules, he cannot successfully play. Having learned the framework of the game, he is now ready to master the game, with persistent dedication. He practices and practices. In time his skill is recognized, and he is given the opportunity to play at the professional level.
When he breaks a rule during play, he is cited for it, and certain penalties are assessed. The penalties serve as a negative feedback for the player to adhere to the rules. And many a game has been lost because of the players’’ accumulating excess penalties. Having gotten a feel for the rules of the game from the basketball analogy, we now turn our attention to the spiritual level.
In beginning the spiritual journey that will eventually lead us to the place where we can hear the blessed words of "well done," we must first possess the ability to proceed with it. Every normal-minded human being is inherently equipped to proceed. This ability eventually manifests itself when the mind of the human being makes its first moral choice, indicating that it has the ability to comprehend and respond to the rules of the spiritual journey. When the ability is recognized, the rules, the teacher, and the guide are all concealed within the mind of the candidate. The rules are written on the heart of the candidate. There are also outside spiritual coaches, who teach the mind the finer points of the rules and arrange for the training exercises that will bring out the skill necessary to successfully complete the spiritual journey. These spiritual coaches are especially skilled in using adversity to bring out the best in the candidate. This is not a matter of intellectual knowledge but spiritual knowledge and skill ensuring survival. By submitting to the Father’’s will, and by believing Jesus and following his command to love one another as he loves us, we become transformed into his image. And thus we receive salvation.
The inherent abilities of normal-mind human beings means that the human mind can recognize and choose to obey the rules of life. The moral nature of the human mind has the ability to choose relative right from wrong. And this same moral nature has the ability to recognize that it is making the superior choice. It is choosing the Father’’s will. As it continues to choose right over wrong, it becomes more and more skillful in doing so. Spiritual coaches ensure that he is given progressive external opportunities for choosing.
At first this progressive choosing may cause the soul to stumble because desires and self-will has not yet reached supreme levels. At this point, error and evil are distinct possibilities. Error and evil is similar to the basketball player who commits a foul. He is penalized by the failure to receive moral satisfaction. He must repent and seek forgiveness and be reinstated back into the game. Forgiveness restores the integrity of his soul, and he is once again able to continue to receive the satisfaction of moral meanings and values. As this progressive choosing continues, he soon recognizes moral distinctions and begins to recognize spiritual ones as well. Spiritual distinctions transcend moral choosing——the marvelous spiritual quality of divine love that includes choosing right over wrong.
Under the tutelage of the holy spirit, the mind begins to respond to the divine meanings of the divine values that have been lodged in the soul by the divine spirit, while the Spirit of Truth guides and leads the soul and the mind into a deeper grasp. The conscious recognition of these divine values and meanings constitutes the born-again experience. These values and meanings are eternally satisfying, constantly yielding new values and meanings as the mind and soul continue to engage in unselfish loving service. Once the soul is born again, it begins to participate in its own growth, aggressively pursuing opportunities for loving service under the supervision of spiritual helpers, who provide these service opportunities.
As the soul continues to grow, and the mind continues to be spiritualized, it begins to recognize its journey: less and less does the animal nature cast its selfish shadow over the soul. This is signified by ever-decreasing selfish reactions, accompanied by the unselfish reactions of the self towards others. The soul now looks back and sees how far it has journeyed and sees how far it has to go before it crosses the finish line. The closer the soul gets to the finish line, the more worship predominates, unlike at the beginning of the journey when prayer dominated worship.
The prayer of thanksgiving separates these two phases and is the outgrowth of the realization and appreciation of answered prayers and the prelude to true worship, where the soul becomes one with the heavenly Father. He now realizes that there is only one rule to follow: the rule of divine love. This rule of divine love is all-inclusive and actually includes all lower levels of divine values and meanings, it being the supreme rule.
And now having complied with internal rules, teaching, and guidance; having perfected his skill at following the internal rules; having duly received the instructions and guidance, he is now at the top of his game. He is ready to receive those blessed words, ““well done."
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the divine judgement: "well done." 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.