Teachings of Jesus 8: How to Know If You Are Worthy of Heaven? (With the Parable of the Dragnet)

How Do You Know If You Are Worthy of Heaven?  (With the Parable of the Dragnet)

For a list of all free video teachings and transcripts in this series, go HERE.

Get the book or e-book to go along with the study. We will be covering 18 teachings this summer by video.  The book, however, has nearly all Jesus's teachings in Mark and into Matthew.  Get the book or e-book at Amazon by clicking HERE.

HERE is the full video for Teaching 8 titled How to Know If You Are Worthy of Heaven? (With the Parable of the Dragnet).  A written transcript is right below the video, if you prefer reading through it.  Enjoy...and I would love to hear any feedback/discussion you have by commenting here, on facebook, or by sending me a message on facebook.

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This is the dragnet cast into the sea. This is another parable about the end times - how the separation, the sorting of the evil from the good is going to occur at the end of the age.

Here is the scripture. This is from Matthew 13:47-50.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.

So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” - Matthew 13:47-50

So in this parable, it tells us that the dragnet is cast into the sea, and it pulls in all the fish. So in this parable, the dragnet is Jesus's message, the gospel message. It went out from one point, it went out from Galilee, and now it has gone out throughout all the world, and everyone who hears this message is caught up like a fish caught up in the dragnet, and it is pulled up to the shore. And just like in the last [parable] there is going to be a separation, from the wheat and the tares. He tells a different parable but it is the same basic idea. There is going to be a separation – and guess who is going to do it? Who is going to do the judging? The angels will be doing the separating, based under the authority of Christ, of Jesus. It said very specifically in the [parable of] the wheat and the tares that it will be the Son of Man, which is the biblical term for Jesus, along with his angels that will be separating the wheat from the tares. And the angels will be separating the wicked from the righteous, and they will be throwing [the wicked] into a fiery – now this is a metaphor – into a furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This phrase, “weeping and gnashing of teeth” – this was like a cliché in the Bible. It means a place of great sorrow, of great anxiety, a place where you are not sure where you are going to get your needs met. What is very clear, from Jesus' words himself, is that at the end of this age, there is going to be a separation of the good from the wicked. The good will go to be with God in the kingdom of heaven, in the kingdom of God. The wicked will go to a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place of great sorrow and anxiety.

And many people say, “Oh that's fine, because I know I'm not wicked. I know I'm a good person. So when the time comes, the angels are going to look at me and they are going to put me over there [with the righteous.] Because I am a good person. I don't really mean to do anything wrong or to hurt anybody, and when I do -  I am sorry for it.”

Here is the problem and what we don't understand. God's definition of good and evil, or righteous and wicked, it is different from our definition. God says every single person – every single human being on the earth – is fallen. Because he doesn't just judge on how we act, or how we behave, or whether or not we have murdered somebody. He judges on our thoughts! Jesus says, “You know not to murder, but I tell you if you hate someone you have murdered him in your heart, and you are not worthy of the kingdom.”

So when Jesus started teaching this, the disciples themselves were like, “So how can anyone ever be saved?” And Jesus answered them and said, “God's grace is what saves you.” His actual words were, “With man this is not possible, but with God this is possible.” So how do we know if we are fallen, if we are wicked, or if we are righteous? Well, the biblical worldview is if we are here, we are fallen. Because no one is perfect. And nobody can ever do enough good deeds on their own to make up for all the evil thoughts that we even have.

First I want to ask the question. When your time comes, when the end of the age comes – whether you believe this happens at your physical death or at another time at the actual end of the age – are you sure that you will be separated with the righteous?

Here is what the gospel is – here is what the good news is – there is a way to be sure, and that way is through believing and following Jesus. See, here is what the Bible says about this question: How, how can this be possible? How can anyone be saved? How can I be sure that I am considered righteous?

The Bible says everyone is fallen – everyone is fallen and everyone needs forgiveness. The only way to be considered righteous is to be forgiven. The Bible also tells us that this forgiveness – there is only one way to get it – it's through Jesus. This is Romans 3:23, everyone needs forgiveness. And forgiveness is only available through a relationship with Jesus. That is Ephesians 1:7.

Now the good news is that God is willing and ready to forgive everyone. He wants you to find him, he wants you to find His forgiveness. And that is John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life. So the good news is it is available to everyone, but it is not automatic. There is a false teaching going out saying, “Oh! God is going to – at the end -- He is going to be lenient, and He is going to save everybody.” No, God never said that. It is very, very clear that His forgiveness is available, but not automatic. Jesus himself said that not everyone who even claims to be a follower of Christ will actually go into heaven. Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who calls me 'Lord! Lord! will enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Again, just like the disciples asked, “How can anyone be saved?” We are not able to redeem ourselves in any way. It is by the grace of God. He wants us to be saved. And He has made this one, relatively simple way. And it is through His grace that we are saved; it is nothing we have done. It is His choice to save us, and He promises us that He will do so if we choose to be in a relationship with Jesus.

Then once we believe Jesus, we begin following him; we repent; we turn away from our sin. And we don't do this on our own. The desire to repent comes from the Holy Spirit – and I don't have time to go into all the teachings about the Holy Spirit -- but Jesus walks with us, his Spirit goes with us and convicts us and actually gives us new desires to want to be better and to want to get rid of the sin in our lives. This is a life long process. Luke 13:3 says, “Unless you repent, you will all perish as well.” Then, John 14:6 says, “No one comes to the father except through me.”

To the skeptic, I ask you, what have I lost? If I die and I am wrong, I guess I will just turn to dust. But if you don't accept this free gift from God. If you don't accept Jesus, and you are wrong, then you've lost everything.

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit their soul?” Mark 8:36

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Get the book or e-book to go along with the study. We will be covering 18 teachings this summer by video. The book, however, has nearly all Jesus's teachings in Mark and into Matthew. Get the book or e-book at Amazon by clicking HERE.

For a list of all free video teachings and transcripts in this series, go HERE.

If you would like to learn simple, practical ways to walk closely with God every single day, then we recommend Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today. 

If you would like to read posts like the ones from this blog in book form, then you will enjoy the author's title A Key Question for All Life's Problems available as a Kindle book. The excerpts in the book may be read for personal spiritual growth, or used as sermon starters or lesson outlines. 

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