Good morning: In thinking about judgment day, have you wondered about these words of Jesus: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven...Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”? (Matt. 7:21-23). What’s missing? If someone says they believe in Jesus, talk about Him, and do things in His name, why would Jesus not recognize them as His followers and welcome them to heaven? And if that is the case, what confidence can we have when we stand before Him? There is one critical, absolutely essential thing needed in preparation for meeting the Lord. It is what God sent John the Baptist to announce. That one vital piece is repentance. John preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 3:2). It didn’t matter whether his hearers were respected Pharisees, rabbis, or “sinners and tax collectors,” the message was the same: Repent! Turn away from your sin and pride in self. Turn to the Lord in sorrow, and trust in Him for mercy and forgiveness. Look to the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. Are we ready for Jesus’ coming? These pre-Christmas days are the time to prepare, not just by decorating the tree and humming carols, but by some serious introspection in light of what God says about our spiritual condition. To truly appreciate a Savior, we need to see how great our need is. Look in the mirror of the Ten Commandments and apply them to your life this past week. Confess with David in Ps. 38:4: “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” Then remember John’s call, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” The kingdom is Jesus’ gracious rule in the hearts of those who look to Him for forgiveness. His coming brings the comfort the Lord announced through Isaiah. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’S hand double for all her sins” (Is. 40:1-2). Where there is repentance, nothing is missing. Our sins have been paid for and we are clothed with the spotless robe of Jesus’ righteousness. May the Lord work repentance in us today as we serve Him in love and look forward to His coming. In His name, Pastor Services tomorrow are at the usual 8:00 and 10:30 times. The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in both services. Christmas Eve rehearsal for the children begins at 9:15 a.m. Adult Bible class will meet in the multi-purpose room. Remember the caroling and chili supper! We’ll meet at church at 4 p.m. for a brief warmup before heading out to carol at two senior centers in Franklin. We’ll be back at church for chili about 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome!