Today's encouragement comes from Mark 12:34a, where we read these words:
"Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to [the scribe], 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' "
I wonder how many people with whom we will speak today are "not far from the kingdom of God”? The Holy Spirit starts a work in souls, often long before they are regenerated in Christ. Let all faithful churchmen recognize this fact, and act in accord with it. In other words, some people with whom we are cur-rently doing evangelism—though they are not yet "in" the kingdom (church) of God—may not be far from it.
Clearly, proximity to the kingdom has something to do with doctrinal under-standing (especially of the gospel). But it must also have something to do with human love and patience. Let us be those who encourage others who are "not far" away; and not be those who discourage them.
[Puritan quote of the day: "Grace is necessary for a Christian; others things are but inconveniences.” —Christopher Love, in his sermon, "Uses of Instruc-tion and Trial"]