“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the sea
and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore.. and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away.
That is the way it will be at the end of the world
Matthew 13:47-49 NLT
Have you ever wondered why some people who were growing so well in their Christian life suddenly fade away, never attend church, and live like they have never known Christ? Jesus tells us the Kingdom of Heaven is like that when we are on earth. It is like a huge dragnet that pulls in fish of every kind. Some people are drawn by God’s love and genuinely repent. Others come to Christ for selfish reasons and never truly turn from their old life. The Kingdom of God is therefore always a mixture of “believers”.
Whose job is it to sort them out? Is it the pastor’s job? No, because no pastor can truly know the heart of every member. Every pastor is called to love and warn as well as to shepherd the people. It is not his job not to judge. You see, we are each personally responsible for our assurance of salvation. For in the last day, the angels will sort out from the dragnet, those who truly belong to Him and those who do not!
What does the parable teach us? Firstly, the church is not perfect; it always consist of a mixture of true believers and half-believers. So, don’t be upset when you see faults. Secondly, take God’s warning seriously; don’t assume your salvation is sure. Make sure! Thirdly, don’t judge, but love everyone whether regular members or backsliders. Let God be the judge on the final day. Finally, don’t be discouraged. If others stop following Christ, remember the dragnet will always pull in all kinds of fish. Only make sure you are a “good” fish till the very end.
Philip Lyn 医生牧师