Upon further review…
Joseph was a good man. Well-loved. Church-going. All knew him to be a godly man.
One day at the ripe, old age of 97, his heart gave out.
His spirit went to the heavenly Gate of One Pearl.
St. Peter was the gatekeeper that day. He stood at the gate with a checklist in hand, waiting in anticipation of Joseph’s arrival.
When Joseph arrived at the gate, he expected to be let in. But something happened.
Peter halted Joseph and said, “I’m sorry, but you can’t come in.”
“Why not?” asked Joseph, surprised.
“By whose name do you enter? Whose name is on your keycard?”
“Why, Joseph, of course.”
“Then I’m sorry. The only name that opens heaven’s gate is the name of Jesus.”
“But didn’t I prophesy and drive out demons in Jesus’ name? And what about the miracles?”
“Upon further review, you have not been found worthy to enter. The Lord says to tell you He never knew you.”
And Joseph was turned away that day.
Upon further review…
Not something desirable to hear when entrance to heaven is requested.
What kind of life, then, receives a refusal to enter heaven?
If we peek behind Joseph’s curtains, we’ll find he had impressed others with his accomplishments, been on every church committee, served in every position, showed up every time the doors opened, had bumper stickers on his car, wore a Jesus pin, and went on mission trips.
A good, godly man, right? Wrong. That was just his outward appearance.
Joseph wrapped himself in doing for the Lord and forgot to be of the Lord. He prayed sporadically at best, never read his Bible except when he had to, was a grouch around the house, always had a negative attitude, was stingy, said things that hurt others, gossiped about the preacher and the elders, and was generally impatient.
Except for church. There he wore his church mask. He hid it all very well. Like the cursed fig tree. All showy leaves and no fruit. No fruit of the Spirit, like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23 NLT)
So, in other words, he was a hypocrite. He never allowed his life to be shaped by God’s Word.
Jesus said to the hypocritical Pharisees, “People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.” (Matt. 23:28b Msg) Their outward confession of dedication belied their inward condition of denial.
Upon further review…
If others could peek behind your curtains or listen in on Alexa, what would they find out about you? Would they be surprised at the content you put before your eyes and ears, like movies, games, books, podcasts, music, or websites? Or the content that comes out of your mouth?
Or would the fruit of the Spirit be detectable?
No keycard will open heaven’s gate if it does not have the name of Jesus written upon it, as written upon our hearts. And unforgiveness will leave us standing out in the cold, not being forgiven (Matt. 6:15). And not confessing the Lord before others is a sure denial in heaven (Matt. 10:32-33).
Surely our hearts long to see the other side of heaven’s gate and never wish to be turned away.
Lord, I long to be with You in heaven. May I never be turned away because I’m a hypocritical fraud, never ashamed to speak Your name. May I always be forgiving, obey Your Word, and allow the fruit of the Spirit to work and through me. Amen!
May you never be a fraud or hear those dreaded words: I never knew you.
Blessings of authenticity and dedication…Lynn
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