On its surface, this passage looks like it means that one’s eternal salvation is determined by one’s acts of compassion. Whenever we help the disenfranchised and the downtrodden of society, our entrance into heaven is all the more assured. On the other hand, as I heard one famous teacher describe it, Jesus will turn away at the final judgment from self-identifying Christians who failed to help the poor during their lifetime, saying, “I don’t want to hear it!”
Does the Bible say anything about the role that the local church ought to play in missions at the leadership and congregational level? Over the next few weeks, I would like to summarize some preliminary investigations into these questions.
What if we encouraged those in the pew, as we should in the classroom, to adopt a far more active stance? Imagine a church where the expectations for learning were far higher. People are not expected to simply take things in–but figure things out.
With a few words from a stranger, one story ended and another started—suddenly and unexpectedly. The mysterious visitor had not come to bless her plans, but to announce a reality. God was calling Mary out of her story and into His.
Have you ever listened to National Public Radio’s weekly news program, “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me?” I have developed a Christmas edition of this program for students of the Bible. See how many of these questions you can answer. Then share this quiz with your family and friends. You may want to add some questions of your own. But don’t make them too difficult! This should be an enjoyable learning experience.