Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

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Written by Peter Langbroek
I have an exercise for you to do. If youÕre doing it on Sunday after a church service when youÕve heard a sermonÑthat would be a great time to do this. I would like you to think about this past week and think about the good deeds and the bad deeds youÕve done and then write it on a piece of paper like the example here.

Do the exercise privately. DonÕt have anyone see what youÕre writing. Then look it over.

I predict that most of you will have lists that are quite even. But I also think there may be someone who has written all his deeds on the bad column. That would be a true sign of being humble, because, when we examine everything weÕve done according to GodÕs pure and holy law, everything we do is affected by sin.

Good DeedsBad Deeds
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Now I want you to turn to 2 Chronicles 33:1-10 and 2 Kings 21:16. Read about the acts of king Manasseh of Judah and list his deeds under the proper headings in the columns

Manasseh's Good DeedsManasseh's Bad Deeds
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What did you notice? Not one good thing was written about him. Yet, I believe that this chapter, remarkably shows GodÕs great mercy. God allowed Manasseh to reign as king for 55 years. God is slow to anger and longsuffering. Not only that, if you read further (2 Chronicles 33:11-13), you will read of GodÕs great mercy and the way we must bring our needs before the Lord. ÒAnd when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the Lord God of his fathers, and prayed unto himÉÓ (ThatÕs what Manasseh did before God.) This is what God did for Manasseh: ÒAnd he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.Ó And the result was that: ÒThen Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.Ó

I like to compare this story to the ÒParable of the Two SonsÓ (see Luke 15:11-32)

God graciously pardons even the greatest sinners. ThereÕs a true story about a minister, Rev. Hector McPhail, which I heard in a sermon by Rev. Ian Murray. Here it is, with minor changes.

A Scottish highland minister who lived last century, Rev. Hector McPhail, had a long and powerful ministry in his parish. He was greatly blessed by God. The Holy Spirit used his ministry to bring many sinners to faith in Jesus Christ.

Then he began to grow old, so old and weak that he could no longer preach. He became very sick and had to lie in bed where he would soon die. As sometimes happens, Satan accused him and tempted him to think he was too sinful to be accepted and forgiven by God. The sick, frail, godly, old minister became very sad. He no longer felt sure that he was a child of God.

His good wife sent for all the elders of the church, and all the elders came to speak to the minister. They read to him from scripture, talked to him, and prayed with him. It didnÕt help; he still felt forsaken of God. The devil, the great tempter, still persuaded him that he was an unconverted man who had preached the Gospel, but had never really belonged to Christ. Then, the leading ministers of the church came to visit him. Still Hector McPhail felt unconverted.

Then, one night this godly minister had a dream. He dreamed that he was at the very gates of heaven. It seemed to him that he was looking at a very long road stretching out a great distance. As he looked down the road, he saw approaching him a large crowd of white-robed people, with palms in their hands. He heard music becoming louder, as the crowd shouted and sang great hosannas and hallelujahs. What a large crowd! And a voice whispered in his ear and said, ÒHector, do you know who these are?Ó Hector looked at them confused and said, ÒNo, I donÕt know them. Who are they?Ó And the voice said, ÒHector, these are the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the godly of that time,Ó As they marched up to the gates, the gate swung open and they went marching in.

Then the voice said, ÒHector, will you not go in with them?Ó

ÒWho me?Ó replied Hector, Ògo in with Abraham, father of the faithful! Oh no! I couldnÕt go in with Abraham or these great godly people!Ó

Then, down the road, marched another crowd of people. The voice asked Hector, ÒDo you know who these are, Hector? These are Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the prophets.Ó The voice asked, ÒWill you go in with them?Ó

ÒOh no!Ó he replied. ÒI couldnÕt go in with Isaiah and Jeremiah. I was never like them.Ó

Another crowd passed by, singing and praising God with palms in their hands. They were the apostles. Then another crowd passed Hector: the martyrs of the early church. Then another band came: the martyrs of Scotland.

Rev. Mc.Phail couldnÕt enter heaven with any of them. Finally there came a crowd of people he had known in his lifetime. Still, he could not join them.

Then the gates closed and it seemed as if heaven was locked forever. Then way in the distance, Hector saw a lonely figure. No music, no palms, no hallelujahs, no hosannas, just one bent figure walking with two canes, coming slowly down the road, all twisted and bent out of shape. Slowly, this man hobbled on. There were deep marks in his face and hands. He approached the gates of heaven. The gates opened for him, and limping and halting, the lonely man began to enter.

As Hector watched, the voice spoke to him once more, and said, ÒHector, do you know who that is?Ó

ÒNo, I donÕt know who that is,Ó he replied.

The voice said, ÒHector, that is Manasseh. Will you go in with Manasseh?Ó

ÒYes!Ó he exclaimed, Òif Manasseh can go into the glory of God, so can Hector McPhail!Ó

Then Rev. McPhail woke up and called his wife to get the elders of the church. He told them, ÒHector McPhail is saved by the grace of the same God who saved Manasseh. Manasseh could go in and therefore old Hector McPhail can go in; I thank God that I can go in.Ó

Will you go in too, like Manasseh, through faith in Jesus, the Saviour of sinners?

May God bless His Word to you today.

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