Be the Salt and Light

Shane Willard

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2) If you walked in heaven today, would you recognise it as heaven, or would you think it was hell? Is there any part of Jesus' descriptions of heaven that you go: oh, I hope not?

3) Are Jesus' descriptions of heaven congruent with your life? Where would your life struggle to live in that environment today?

4) What pruning needs to take place in our life now, so that the kingdom can be established in you today? Today, why would you wait?

Now let me just quickly read a couple of scriptures to you, which sort of exacerbate this. First Corinthians 3:11 says this: For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw - I love that.

In other words, if your foundation is Jesus; whether you're rich, whether you're poor, it's all the same foundation.

That is great - their work will be shown for what it is, because that day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. Now is this talking about fire in hell, or fire in heaven? It's fire in heaven obviously.

If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; and yet will be saved, even though only as one escaping through the flames of heaven.

The idea is, it's an invitation from God, to do stock take of our life and say: if I walked into heaven tomorrow, what parts of me could thrive in God's kingdom, and what parts of me would have to be burned off? That's the flames of heaven.

How about this one: but who can stand in the day of His coming? Who could stand when He appears, for He will be like a refiner's fire, or launderers soap - once again a metaphor.

A fire, and a soap, are not the same thing, unless you're using it metaphorically. This is a cleaning agent. He will sit as the refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the Levites, and refine them with gold. Hang on, how do you purify silver and gold? Yeah, you heat it up.

How about this one: for the Lord, your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. How about Jeremiah 23:29: Is not My word like fire? Obviously a metaphor. Have you ever picked up your Bible and then when OW! That's hot! No, no. Come on, it's a metaphor.

It's saying that the word of God has a purifying agent in it. When you submit yourself to it, it purifies you; and like a hammer that breaks a rock into pieces; in other words, there is something about the word of God that breaks us up, so we can be put back together more whole, more complete. These are metaphors.

Jeremiah also talks later about God finishing His people, like a potter does a clay pot. How do you finish a clay pot? You heat it up. You heat it up. There it is there, Jeremiah 18. It says: the word of the Lord came to me. He said: can I not do with you, Israel, as the potter does, like clay in the hands of a potter, so are you in My hands - once again a metaphor.

Here's another one, Isaiah 42: So He poured out on them His burning anger, the violence of war. It enveloped them in flames, yet they didn't understand it - obviously a metaphor. If you set someone on fire, you're concern is hardly: do they get what you're saying? In other words, they didn't understand that God was trying to purify them. It's the flames of heaven.

Now as I was looking through all Jesus said about heaven, and being so challenged, this is one of the most challenging things I saw, and that is this. All when Jesus talked about heaven:

Everything that's buried will be unearthed. Now I want to unpackage this with you, and leave you with a big challenge. Revelation 22:12 - and behold, I'm coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each, according as his work is. Revelation 22, that's the end of the Bible.

Now let's go back to Matthew 25. Jesus is talking about heaven. He's closing out His ministry, and He's leading up to this incredible sermon about sheep and goats; and right and left; and people who are in, and people who are out. He defines it all by being defined as generosity, but this is part of the lead up to that. He's talking about heaven.