February 28, 2023
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I once had a very exciting night at Chicago's very busy O'Hare Airport. Just as I was getting ready to leave, they informed us that the radar in the tower had suddenly gone down. Do you know what that means? That means the flight controllers have no way to do anything mechanically to get your plane in or out, so they had to shut O'Hare down to one runway and limit themselves to visual landings. Well, needless to say, many of us didn't go anywhere that night, and I was frustrated because I couldn't get out of the airport.
But then I thought about the people above me who couldn't land! As I went outside I saw all these lights; the lights of planes that were circling the airport in what seemed like endless holding patterns. Many of them actually ended up diverted to other destinations that night. You can imagine how frustrated they were. They're almost home, they're in sight of Chicago, they're not on the ground. They're almost, but they're not in - maybe like you.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "So Close to Heaven - But Not In."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Mark 12 where Jesus met a man who was almost home. "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked of him, 'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?' 'The most important one,' answered Jesus, is this: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 'Well said, Teacher,' the man replied. 'You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him.'"
And then the man went on to express his understanding that to know God was much more than religion; it was a relationship. This man is right on target. But then Jesus spoke these very sobering words to a man who had all the right answers. He said, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." Interesting words: "not far" but not in. Like those people at O'Hare Airport, in sight of the airport, in sight of home, but they haven't landed yet.
I remember there was this Air Florida flight years ago that almost cleared the bridge in Washington D.C. during take-off, and they crashed into the Potomac River with the loss of several lives. They almost made it. Almost. That night might just describe where Jesus sees you regarding knowing Him. You are not far from Him, but you're not in. And you're in danger if you think that close is good enough.
It could be that you could end up 18 inches from heaven; that's the distance from your head to your heart. You know the facts, you respect Jesus, you even love Him perhaps, and you know how to fit into the Christian world. But it's in your head; it's not in your heart. You've never really given yourself to Jesus Christ. He knows it and you know it. You know all about Him, but you don't know Him - 18 inches away. God sees you circling the airport, putting off landing.
Please, don't play with the possibility of crashing forever because you've circled but you've never landed. "Seek the Lord," the Bible says, "while He may be found." You're almost home. He's within sight, but you do have to land. You have to consciously give the rest of your life to Jesus Christ and consciously put all of your trust in the One who died for your sins, and tell Him you're doing that. He's the One who bought you with His blood, and with His life.
I would love to help you make it the rest of the way home. Just come to our website, and we'll help you land. That website is ANewStory.com. You're not far, but you're not in. Come home today.