Blessed… How Could They Not?

“How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You shut people out of the kingdom of heaven. You don’t enter yourselves, and you won’t allow those who want to enter to do so. “How terrible it will be for you, legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You travel over sea and land to make one convert. But when they’ve been converted, they become twice the child of hell you are (Matthew 23:13-15, Common English Bible).

I sometimes have a really hard time understanding the Pharisees. In today’s lesson, Jesus says the Pharisees and legal experts keep people from reaching the kingdom of heaven. My question is a quick one-word question, WHY?

Perhaps the reason is that they have no interest in the kingdom of heaven for themselves. I am still, however, not sure why. Why would a religious person not have a desire for entering the kingdom of heaven? I can understand why an atheist or an agnostic might refuse to go there. For them, it is something unrealistic. It is something that does not exist or at least they question its existence. But here, we are not talking about an atheist or agnostic. We are talking about the most religious people in Biblical Israel and they have no interest apparently in eternity with God. That is too bad.

What I find most troubling is the idea of blocking the kingdom from others around them. If I am not interested it is one thing for me to make my declaration. It is another thing altogether to prevent others from moving forward.

Jesus talks about the lengths the Pharisees and legal experts would go to reach a convert. That is admirable. What is less than admirable is, apparently through their teaching or perhaps their lack thereof, these converts became worse than the Pharisees and the legal experts.

I am not sure this is what Jesus meant in this passage but it is the place I am going to choose to go. It has always bothered me when we go to great lengths to reach people in the name of Jesus Christ and then once a profession of faith is made, we leave them to fend for themselves. Does our lack of follow through leave these people, these converts to the faith worse off than they were before we arrived on the scene?

It is up to us to demonstrate through our actions and not just our words the importance of being a part of a worshipping community, to join together with other believers in corporate Bible study and corporate prayer and to be part of small groups, be it Sunday school or some other group for both education and accountability. I believe that when we don’t demonstrate such activity and when we do not lead and encourage such activity we are falling short of our responsibilities of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. That is our call.

How do you lead others to a full life of being a disciple of Christ?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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