What if we could know God's thoughts toward us, both the love and the disappointments. Scary?? Well the seven churches in Revelation had just that opportunity. It was a heavenly mid-term or mid-year performance evaluation. The final is soon to come. In school you experienced the pop quiz. Soon the pop-final exam of life is coming.

When a church fails the test he will abandon the place, not willing that his Name should be tarnished by evil. He did that before and allowed his sanctuary to be ravished, and set aflame, and his people to be scattered among the nations.

When we refuse to allow the Spirit to control our worship, it is not God who is honored. It is the deceiver, the author of false worship.

When we refuse to allow the Spirit to control our lives, it is the deceiver who has control of us.

When we fail to obey God we are obeying the author of lies.

The final exam will come, like it did to the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. Five were ready, five were not. When God owns us, his Spirit burns within our hearts. We will joyously expect his return and welcome the final exam for we will be clothed in Christ's righteousness.

But those clothed in only their own righteousness are without the Spirit, and can only offer false worship. They fear the final exam, fear the heavenly report card, or indifferent - saying, "He will never call us to account. Surely a loving God wants us to pursue every desire of our heart."

They attempt to enter the most grand and joyous wedding feast in the history of creation bearing only their own works, dressed in stinking, filthy rags. Yes they got an invitation, but as the saying goes, they were, "A day late and a dollar short." When the groom arrived they were off seeking oil for their lamp, they were seeking fulfillment everywhere and anywhere but from the author of life. The five who were ready had their sins forgiven, were wearing glorious wedding garments, their entrance was paid by the blood of the Lamb. The other five sought to enter on their own, but the price of admission is beyond comprehension, it is not possible to pay it. You need a sponsor - Jesus - who recognizes you and picks you out of the line and says, "Don't wait here, walk with me into the banquet. I have already paid your admission. All that is owed has been paid."

Yet unbelievably many reject his offer, and when they get to the front of the line find to their astonishment they are unable to enter, for they can not pay. For they did not recognize the author of life when he came to them with the offer of a free gift of entrance.

lmv 3/11/2000