The Great Question
A dedicated teacher decided to change how he would grade the college class he taught. The teacher wanted to separate the students who really wanted to learn the material from this class, and give them a good grade. From those who just wanted to learn enough to pass his test so they could get credits for their degree, without really learning anything.
So the teacher designed a test which the students who were listening to him could easily pass; while the students who were here just for credits would not pass. The teacher would give only one test, which could be given at any time. The grade from this one test would alone determine whether a student would pass or fail this class. This would force the students to regularly come to his class prepared to take this test.
The students who wanted to learn enjoyed this class, kept up with the lectures and assignments, so they were always prepared for the test. But many other students believed they could have fun, party, and enjoy themselves; because the test would not be given until most of the material had been covered towards the end of the class semester. Then they could study hard; cram day and night so they would know enough to pass the test.
When the class was about two/thirds completed, as the students entered the classroom, the teacher handed out the dreaded test to his students. The teacher told the class the test contained five pages of questions, which required essay answers. The instructions were at the top of the test, and they should read all the directions before starting the test. No one was to ask him any more questions, there was to be no more talking, and everyone was to begin the test when they received it.
There was a deep sigh from the class for most were surprised to get this test now. Some were upset at themselves for not being more prepared, and quite a few had choice words to say about the teacher. Many quickly began going down the questions, writing the answers or jotting down quick notes as they tried to recall the answers to the questions. The room was soon quiet as the students began working. One could feel the tension, almost see the smoke coming out of the unprepared minds, which were being blown away as they tried to figure out the answers.
Then an oddity began to appear. While some students were struggling on the first page, others began turning their tests in and leaving the classroom. Had a fraternity, sorority, dorm hall, or other group gotten hold of the test and passed the answers out to their friends? If so they were sure a stupid lot. Finishing that quickly would surely tip off the teacher that they had been cheating. They should wait and turn their tests in at the end with everyone so no one would suspect them. Then towards the end of the allotted time for the test another strange occurrence began to happen. Some students were frantically trying to erase answers, while some others had just thrown their papers up in the air and walked out.
All the students finally understood what was going on when they read the last question on the test. It said, “The instructions at the beginning of the test told you to read all of the questions before answering any of the questions.
To pass this test you must merely print your name on the top of the front page and then hand in this test. For if you answer this last question correctly, you would also have been able to answer all the other questions on this test; because you have listened to me and followed my directions.
Do not answer any of the other questions on this test except this last one. If you have written down any answers, notes, or other marks on your paper except for your printed name, you have failed this course. For you have never opened your mind to learn what I wanted to teach you. You were to busy trying to do things your own way.
Just like these students we all have one test to pass, before we depart our life here on this earth. And we do not know when we will have to take this test, for we do not know when we will die, or when Jesus will come back for us if we still are alive. This test will have but one simple question, yet this question alone shows whether we are children of God, heirs of Heaven. Or children of this world, of satan; and Hell is awaiting all who continue to reject our God. Do we love our God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves?
*And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" So he answered and said, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.' "And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." Lk 10:25-28 NKJV+
Children of God are always prepared, always know the correct answer. Because the moment we give up our will, accept the will of our Heavenly Father, He gives us the Spirit who pours the love of God into our hearts. The Spirit guarantees the perfect answer will always remain in our hearts, and all who love the Lord will receive eternal life. Those who do not know our God, who have not accepted Jesus, are walking a fine line. They can neither comprehend the love of God, the love we have for Him, nor are they capable of having this passion for our God in their hearts.
*and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Ro 5:5 NASB+
*Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2Co 1:21-22 NIV+
*Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Ja 1:12 NKJV+
When we love Jesus we will obey what He has taught and asked us to do. We will do to the best of our abilities everything our Savior has instructed us to do. We will read and follow the teachings and commands in God’s Word. We will love others as ourselves, tell the good news of Christ to all, and gladly help the needy as we would want to be helped.
*Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. Jn 14:23-24 NKJV+
When we love our God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves, we have completed all other laws.
*Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matt 22:37-40 NIV+
Love is the greatest relationship we can have with our God.
*And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1Co 13:13 NKJV+
Love is the goal believers strive to attain.
*But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1Ti 1:5 NASB+
Love makes our faith acceptable to our God.
*If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1Co 13:2 NIV+
Love shows our faith, measures our faith.
*For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6 NIV+
This message continues with The Great Question Epilogue
Copyright 2007, amended 2012, 2017 by Ron Borkey
+ NIV Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
+ NASB "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
+ NKJV "Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."