Do not risk being shut out

What does the image of a door say to us about the kingdom of God? Jesus' story about the door being shut to those who come too late suggests they had offended their host and deserved to be excluded. It was customary for teachers in Jesus' time to close the door on tardy students and not allow them back for a whole week in order to teach them a lesson in discipline and faithfulness.
Who will be invited to enter God's kingdom? - Jesus told this story in response to the question of who will make it to heaven - to God's kingdom of everlasting peace and eternal life. Jesus surprised his listeners by saying that one's membership as a people who have entered into a covenant relationship with God does not automatically mean entry into the everlasting kingdom of God. Second, Jesus asserts that many from the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations would enter God's kingdom. God's invitation is open to Jew and Gentile alike.
Jesus is the door to the kingdom of heaven - But Jesus warns that we can be excluded if we do not strive to enter by the narrow door. What did Jesus mean by this expression? The door which Jesus had in mind was himself. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved (John 10:9). God sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to open the way for us to have full access to the throne of God grace (favour and blessing) and mercy (pardon for our sins).
Following the Lord requires effort and commitment on our part - If we want to enter God's kingdom and receive our full inheritance which is stored up for us in heaven, then we must follow the Lord Jesus in his way of the cross through a willing renunciation of our own will for his will - our own life for his life - our own way for his way.
Why did Jesus say we must strive to enter his kingdom of righteousness and peace? The word strive can also be translated as agony. To enter the kingdom of God we must struggle against every force or power of opposition - even the temptation to remain indifferent, apathetic, or compromising in our faith and personal trust in Jesus, our hope in holding firm to the promises of Jesus, and our uncompromising love for God above all else (the "love that has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Spirit which has been given to us" (Romans 5:5).
The Lord is with us to strengthen us in our trials and struggles - The good news is that we do not struggle alone. God is with us and his grace is sufficient! As we strive side by side for the faith of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27) Jesus assures us of complete victory! Do you trust in God's grace and help, especially in times of testing and temptation?
"Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your guiding presence and mercy towards me. Through the gift of your Spirit fill me with courage and persevering faith to trust you in all things and every circumstance I find myself in. Give me the strength to cling to your promises when the world around me begins to shake or crumble. And when my love and zeal begin to waver, fan it into a flame of consuming love and dedication for you who are my All."

Full text at www.dailyscripture.net

Download Parish Newsletter 21 August 2016