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Exclusive Yes Elusive No
by Rick Stephenson
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Have you ever wanted to be a part of an exclusive club? You know the kind that offers entrance to members only and turns away the rift raft at the door. Perhaps they have a secret hand shake or a mysterious symbol that only those who are a part of the group know. After all itís only natural for us to want to belong. We all crave and desire to be accepted. We all strive to achieve some higher plane than where we currently exist.

Some individuals with the means and the currency to afford it have tried to satisfy this longing with elite memberships to some of the worldís swankest places. They have vied for position or struggled for power to prove their worth. However, the kind of exclusivity that Iím addressing isnít won with power plays; it isnít purchased with surplus discretionary income. It isnít even offered to only the crŤme de le crŤme of society. This kind of exclusiveness is offered to everyone.

Oh, I can hear it now, you say but then how can it be exclusive if everyone has access? Well let me explain. The word exclusive simply means selective, excluding many from participation or consideration, focused or targeted on one thing. Well what in the world is it you ask?

To tell you the truth itís not of this world and perhaps thatís why it might be hard to understand. You see, this exclusiveness is a paradox to most. A paradox is something absurd or contradictory and what could be more contradictory than an exclusiveness that is not elusive, in other words that is available to all.

The answer is heaven. Yes thatís correct, heaven is exclusive. We are told in scripture that it is only available to those who please God. In fact, hereís a scripture to prove that not everyone will gain access:

ďEnter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.Ē (Matthew 7:13-14 KJV)

Kind of sad isnít it that not everyone will be allowed in, but alas thatís the reality. Even sadder is this scripture:

ďNot every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Ē (Matthew 7:21-23 KJV)

What this tells me is that even some of those who profess to be followers of Christ and know of His power and how to exercise that power in their lives may not even make it. Itís kind of scary stuff and itís the stuff that most preachers donít want to address nowadays because most people want to be comforted with soft words that indicate everyone will make it to heaven. In other words they want to be told that what they do with their lives is not all that bad and that they donít have to change, that they can still sin and make it past the pearly gates.

That is not the truth though and I must tell you so out of love for you. But, there is hope. This exclusiveness is not elusive. There is no need to panic yet, there is an opportunity given to everyone to make it in, itís just going to take one thing; obedience. Yep thatís it obedience, but to what you inquire? Itís found in the same verses we just reviewed; in the will of the Father.

What is the Fatherís (the Creatorís, the Masterís, the Higher Powerís etcÖ) will? That is where the non elusiveness comes in. He has told us His will by giving us His written word. It has lasted thousands of years and it is the best selling book of all time. It is translated in hundreds of languages; it is discussed in numerous books, radio programs and television shows and it is studied in small groups, large gatherings and on an individual basis. It is the Bible.

So why is there such a gap between the non elusiveness of the word of God (itís out there, itís available and it changes us) and the exclusiveness of heaven. In other words why wonít more individuals make it? The answer is simple if you compare the two words there is only a slight difference between the word Exclusive and Elusive. Did you notice it? Itís only an X C and it stands for the Cross of Christ. Thatís the secret message, thatís the groupís symbol.

Itís the cross of Christ that brings the word of God alive to our hearts that motivates our desire to be obedient to the Fatherís will. But itís also the cross of Christ that turns others away and causes them to be offended. They donít comprehend how the God of all Creation would drape himself in a robe of flesh and live among us only to suffer and die for our transgressions. They canít seem to submit to the simplest requirement offered to us all; to only acknowledge their need for a Savior and so they refuse, thereby they exclude themselves from the presence of God.

ďFor the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.Ē (1-Corinthians 1:18 KJV)

ďFor God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.Ē (John 3:16-18 KJV)

ďAnd being made perfect, he (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;Ē (Hebrews 5:9 KJV)

Do you get it? We can easily see the importance of Christ and His Cross in helping us believe but that belief should motivate us to respond and obey His word. When we do we have been granted access to the most exclusive place not on earth but in the world beyond. In the meantime while we still reside on this earth, we are encouraged to tell others about this great opportunity. Hence we can be exclusive yes, but elusive no.

I would encourage you today to find out more about God and His will for your life by reading His word. Donít just accept Him into your heart (thatís a great place to start) but also ask Him how you can obey His will.

God Bless Ė Rick



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