4/22/2011: At Heaven’s Gate – My guest pastor’s sermon
I’ve just decided to write a discovery because while reading the news on Yahoo!, I read a lot of hateful comments.
Last Sunday, we had a guest pastor for our church. He is Chinese who can also speak Spanish :) . He titled his sermon “At Heaven’s Gate”.
In Spanish, El Paso literally means “the pass,” but is more accurately translated as “gate of entrance.” It is worthy of that name because the city of El Paso is a major transit point between Mexico and the United States. A gate, as everyone knows, is not an easy place to get into. Only those who are authorized can enter.
Many Mexicans, when they look across the border into the United States, what do they think? In Mexico, living standards are poor, but in the US, it is much better. Some of them have a longing to enter in the US, but what if they legally can’t? What do they do? Some in the congregation said “dig a hole.” Yes, those seekers may choose to dig a hole to enter into the United States, but digging a hole is hard work and can take many years. Many may start digging, but as the hard labor and time goes on, many quit. They resign and decided that they could endure living in Mexico, but a few still chooses to not give up. The hole took many years of hard labor, but in the end, those men were able to enter into the US.
When you look at heaven, do you have a longing to go there? If you do, it is because Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. Many people may disagree here. They may say going to church is a waste of time but that is because “they are fascinated by the rainbow lights of the world but they don’t see the true light” (John 1:9). The Bible says Jesus is the gate (John 10:9). In order to reach heaven, you must have longing to get there. We must have a desire to make time for God and to obey His Word no matter what the cost because if you have no time for God, you will be very susceptible to the world. Like the diggers who dug a hole in order to reach the US, we must have the same longing and desire to get to heaven and, if you are faithful to the end, you will get there.
The pastor gave our congregation some pointers on how to get there. First, we must love because God is love. We need to share love to other people. We need to believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths (Romans 10:9) that Jesus is Lord. We need to have time daily for God because without it, we would be very susceptible to the pleasures of this world. We must have a longing heart to invite people to church. Even if they say bad things about you, you must have a willing heart to the Lord. We must continue to dig our tunnel.
He ended by telling us not to worry if you lack strength. Just follow God and do things with love. All our effort will not be in vain. Just follow and walk with God. One day the gate will close but no one knows except the Father.
I took notes during his sermon and that is my effort in retelling what he taught us. He mentioned that a “Christian life is love because God is love.” While reading those comments on Yahoo! I feel that the end of the world is near because the Bible says towards the end, the “love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Why do I feel that the love of most is growing cold? Because people are becoming more selfish; they are worrying more about themselves and disregarding others.
The right answer would be to love others regardless of circumstances because God loves us no matter what we do. Even if we have nothing, even when hardships come, we must still love because God is love (1 John 4:8).