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He Calls Us By Name.

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Christianity is not a Religion. It's the only way to Eternal Life!

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Faith Walk

Often-times, sheep were kept in a round enclosure called a sheep pen built with walls made of stocked rocks. The pen would have a small opening for the entrance that the sheep would go in and out of when called by the shepherd. The shepherd would lie in front of this entering space and sleep at night to protect the sheep. Sheep are known for their poor eyesight, so they wouldn't be able to clearly see the narrow opening that leads them out of the pen. When the shepherd colled them out by name, they recognised and they followed the sound of his voice, drawing them out of the narrow enclosure to him.This is such a powerful picture for us today. We usually don't know exactly where God. is leading us or can't see the full picture. However, as we walk by faith, not by sight, seeking God through prayer and His Word, we find His voice calling us by name, leading us through the narrow opening straight to Him and His will for our lives.

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"You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

Matthew 7:13-14

Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught about the character of those in his kingdom, as seen in his list of Beatitudes. They are the poor in spirit, those who mourn over sin, they are the meek who submit to the Lord's leadership, they hunger for righteousness, and so on. Ultimately, this leads them to be persecuted (Matt 5:3-10). They practice a higher standard of righteousness than so called spiritual leaders like the Pharisees and scribes (Matt 5:20). While hypocritical leaders are consumed with the outward appearances of religion, true kingdom citizens focus on the inward reality. Their disciplines are done to be honoured by God and not by people. They continually confess and rid themselves of sin and seek to help others do the same (Matt 7:1-6).

Here at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ gives his conclusion-the application of the sermon. He calls all listening to choose which path they will take, which kingdom they will be a part of. No one is born into God's kingdom, at least not by natural means. It matters not if one's parents were Christians, if they were baptized or dedicated as infants, no one enters until they have made a decision to enter.

Christ's command to enter does not deny the fact that salvation is by grace alone; it simply affirms the reality that those who choose God have been given grace to be saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast." Even our faith-our ability to choose God-is a gift from him.

At the end of Christ's sermon, he challenges his hearers because many would be tempted to simply stand in amazement (cf. Matt 7:28-29). They would say to themselves, "No one ever spoke like this. 'Love your enemies. Bless and don't curse them!"" Many have admired Christ's words throughout history. Because of his words, Christ has been called a great teacher or prophet. However, few who have heard these words have truly felt the weight of them and been pressed to make a decision. Which kingdom will we be a part of? There are two rival gates with two different pathways, leading to two rival kingdoms-one is the kingdom of this world and one is the kingdom of heaven.

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As Christ calls us to choose one of the pathways, he gives us characteristics of each, so we can make an informed and wise decision. This is very similar to the description of two paths in Psalm 1. The Psalmist describes the pathway of the wicked which leads to destruction and the pathway of the righteous which leads to life. The righteous delight in God's Word and meditate on it all day long. They become like trees which prosper in the various seasons of life. In the beginning of the worship hymnal of Israel, the Psalmist calls worshipers to choose. True worshipers follow the pathway of the righteous and so do true disciples of Christ.

PRAYER

God, I want to help people find You. Please guide me as I share Your love with those around me. Help me become a good representative of You. Put me in situations where I can share Your good news with others. I'm here to serve You, Lord-send me where You want me to go. In Jesus' name, Amen.

© 2022 Jenissy