Topic: Faith And Works
Series: Tom And Jerry
Episode: Heavenly Puss
Lesson PDF link: 66.pdf
What do you think are the qualifications to go to Heaven?
Some people think that it is ethics (meaning to do the right thing), some people say humility, some people say that you can buy your way into Heaven, some people might intentionally try to make a death bed confession and try to get in that way, some people don't care and some people think that they don't want to go there and would rather go to Hell; at least these people are honest with their opinions, but we need to remember why we were created to begin with -- to serve God.
We will see a Tom And Jerry cartoon called Heavenly Puss and we will break down some of the things that this cartoon talks about when it comes to getting to go to Heaven.
As you can see, Tom had a bad dream about how Heaven is and how to get there. What's right and wrong with Tom's ideas?
The Wrong: 1: Forgiveness Comes At A Price.
At least part of Tom believes that forgiveness is necessary, but if this dream is correct about how Tom thinks when he is awake, he is in some dangerous territory. Why?
Forgiveness can't be bought, it's given. Tom was asking Jerry to forgive him in exchange for gifts instead of being really remorseful and repentant. When this failed, Tom would even forge Jerry's name. How often is this done nowadays? The answer is probably more than what we think.
Let's look at Acts 8: 9-25.
Act 8:9 Now in that city there was a man named Simon. He was practicing occult arts and thrilling the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great.
Act 8:10 Everyone from the least to the greatest paid close attention to him, saying, "This is what we call the great power of God!"
Act 8:11 They paid careful attention to him because he had thrilled them for a long time with his occult performances.
Act 8:12 But when Philip proclaimed the good news about the kingdom of God and about the name of Jesus the Messiah, men and women believed and were baptized.
Act 8:13 Even Simon believed, and after he was baptized he became devoted to Philip. He was amazed to see the signs and great miracles that were happening.
Act 8:14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaritans had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
Act 8:15 They went down and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit.
Act 8:16 Before this he had not come on any of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 8:17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Act 8:18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money
Act 8:19 and said, "Give me this power too, so that when I lay my hands on someone, he will receive the Holy Spirit."
Act 8:20 But Peter told him, "May your money perish with you because you thought you could obtain God's free gift with money!
Act 8:21 You have no part or share in what we're saying, because your heart isn't right with God.
Act 8:22 So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your heart's intent may be forgiven you.
Act 8:23 For I see that you're being poisoned by bitterness and you're a prisoner of wickedness!"
Act 8:24 Simon answered, "Both of you pray to the Lord for me that none of the things you have said will happen to me."
Act 8:25 After they had given their testimony and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, continuing to proclaim the good news in many Samaritan villages.
Personally, I don't know if Simon the Sorcerer was truly repentant, but he was asking that they intercede so that he wouldn't be condemned. Intercession is very important because this helps people with their spiritual journey when they are not in The Way; this also helps in other forms of sickness too. Simon wanted salvation and at least at the time, needed this to give him clarity on how properly to attain salvation. No matter what we have, it's never enough without faith in Jesus Christ.
During the scene with St. Peter Cat, every other cat that comes is confident in their salvation but Tom.
Cowardice is not rewarded, it's condemned.
Let's look at Romans 8: 1-17, 1 John 4 and Revelation 21: 1-8
Rom 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in union with the Messiah Jesus.
Rom 8:2 For the Spirit's law of life in the Messiah Jesus has set me free from the Law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3 For what the Law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did. By sending his own Son in the form of humanity, he condemned sin by being incarnate,
Rom 8:4 so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to human nature but according to the Spirit.
Rom 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 To focus our minds on the human nature leads to death, but to focus our minds on the Spirit leads to life and peace.
Rom 8:7 That is why the mind that focuses on human nature is hostile toward God. It refuses to submit to the authority of God's Law because it is powerless to do so. Rom 8:8 Indeed, those who are under the control of human nature cannot please God.
Rom 8:9 You, however, are not under the control of the human nature but under the control of the Spirit, since God's Spirit lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of the Messiah, he does not belong to him.
Rom 8:10 But if the Messiah is in you, your bodies are dead due to sin, but the spirit is alive due to righteousness.
Rom 8:11 And if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then the one who raised the Messiah from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive by his Spirit who lives in you.
Heirs with Christ
Rom 8:12 Consequently, brothers, we are not— with respect to human nature, that is—under an obligation to live according to human nature.
Rom 8:13 For if you live according to human nature, you are going to die, but if by the Spirit you continually put to death the activities of the body, you will live.
Rom 8:14 For all who are led by God's Spirit are God's children.
Rom 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery that leads you into fear again. Instead, you have received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
Rom 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
Rom 8:17 Now if we are children, we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with the Messiah—if, in fact, we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
1Jn 4:1 Dear friends, stop believing every spirit. Instead, test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1Jn 4:2 This is how you can recognize God's Spirit: Every spirit who acknowledges that Jesus the Messiah has become human—and remains so— is from God.
1Jn 4:3 But every spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist. You have heard that he is coming, and now he is already in the world.
1Jn 4:4 Little children, you belong to God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1Jn 4:5 These people belong to the world. That is why they speak from the world's perspective, and the world listens to them.
1Jn 4:6 We belong to God. The person who knows God listens to us. Whoever does not belong to God does not listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.
God Is Love
1Jn 4:7 Dear friends, let us continually love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God.
1Jn 4:8 The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1Jn 4:9 This is how God's love was revealed among us: God sent his unique Son into the world so that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10 This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1Jn 4:11 Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love one another.
1Jn 4:12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jn 4:13 This is how we know that we abide in him and he in us: he has given us his Spirit.
1Jn 4:14 We have seen for ourselves and can testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
1Jn 4:15 God abides in the one who acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, and he abides in God.
1Jn 4:16 We have come to know and rely on the love that God has for us. God is love, and the person who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1Jn 4:17 This is how love has been perfected among us: we will have confidence on the day of judgment because, during our time in this world, we are just like him.
1Jn 4:18 There is no fear where love exists. Rather, perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves punishment, and the person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love.
1Jn 4:19 We love because God first loved us.
1Jn 4:20 Whoever says, "I love God," but hates his brother is a liar. The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love the God whom he has not seen.
1Jn 4:21 And this is the commandment that we have from him: the person who loves God must also love his brother.
Rev 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and the sea was gone.
Rev 21:2 I also saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, "See, the tent of God is among humans! He will make his home with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God.
Rev 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won't be death anymore. There won't be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared."
Rev 21:5 The one sitting on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new!" He said, "Write this: 'These words are trustworthy and true.'"
Rev 21:6 Then he told me, "It has happened! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give a drink from the spring of the water of life to the one who is thirsty.
Rev 21:7 The person who conquers will inherit these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.
Rev 21:8 But people who are cowardly, unfaithful, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will find themselves in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death."
3: Lack Of Humility And Faith
Let's look at Matthew 18: 1-6.
Mat 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom from heaven?"
Mat 18:2 Calling a little child forward, he had him stand among them.
Mat 18:3 Then he said, "I tell you with certainty, unless you change and become like little children, you will never get into the kingdom from heaven.
Mat 18:4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom from heaven,
Mat 18:5 and whoever receives a little child like this in my name receives me."
Mat 18:6 "If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a large millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned at the bottom of the sea.
Tom's dream comes with another stark warning; remember, Tom in his dream thought buying forgiveness or faking it were good ideas. These things show a lack of humility that makes things seemingly impossible for Jerry to stomach, although Jerry never did see the forgery, but God does and St. Peter Cat stopped him. We have to remember to be truly contrite.
4: Just Ethics
Let's look at Ephesians 2: 1-10 and James 2:
Eph 2:1 You used to be dead because of your offenses and sins,
Eph 2:2 that you once practiced as you lived according to the ways of this present world and according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now active in those who are disobedient.
Eph 2:3 Indeed, all of us once behaved like them in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of our flesh and senses. By nature we were destined for wrath, just like everyone else.
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love for us
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead because of our offenses, made us alive together with the Messiah (by grace you have been saved),
Eph 2:6 raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenly realm in the Messiah Jesus,
Eph 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might display the limitless riches of his grace that comes to us through his kindness in the Messiah Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by such grace you have been saved through faith. This does not come from you; it is the gift of God
Eph 2:9 and not the result of actions, to put a stop to all boasting.
Eph 2:10 For we are God's masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to perform good actions that God prepared long ago to be our way of life.
Faith Without Works Is Dead
Jas 2:14 What good does it do, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but does not prove it with actions? This kind of faith cannot save him, can it?
Jas 2:15 Suppose a brother or sister does not have any clothes or daily food
Jas 2:16 and one of you tells them, "Go in peace! Stay warm and eat heartily." If you do not provide for their bodily needs, what good does it do?
Jas 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead.
Jas 2:18 But someone may say, "You have faith, and I have actions." Show me your faith without any actions, and I will show you my faith by my actions.
Jas 2:19 You believe that there is one God. That's fine! Even the demons believe that and tremble with fear.
Jas 2:20 Do you want proof, you foolish person, that faith without actions is worthless?
Jas 2:21 Our ancestor Abraham was justified by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar, wasn't he?
Jas 2:22 You see that his faith worked together with what he did, and by his actions his faith was made complete.
Jas 2:23 And so the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." And so he was called God's friend.
Jas 2:24 You observe that a person is justified through actions and not through faith alone.
Jas 2:25 Likewise, Rahab the prostitute was justified through actions when she welcomed the messengers and sent them away on a different road, wasn't she?
Jas 2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is also dead.
Faith in Christ, grace given by Christ and humility, rather than arrogance will win the day. We cannot attain God's choice of salvation for us by just being good as some people assume.
1: Forgiveness Comes With A Premium.
Let's look at Matthew 6: 5-15 and 18: 21-35.
Mat 6:5 "And whenever you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they will be seen by people. I tell you with certainty, they have their full reward!
Mat 6:6 But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees from the hidden place will reward you.
Mat 6:7 "When you are praying, don't say meaningless things like the gentiles do, because they think they will be heard by being so wordy.
Mat 6:8 Don't be like them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Mat 6:9 Therefore, this is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
Mat 6:10 May your kingdom come. May your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11 Give us today our daily bread,
Mat 6:12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
Mat 6:13 And never bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'
Mat 6:14 Because if you forgive people their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Mat 6:15 But if you do not forgive people their offenses, your Father will not forgive your offenses."
Mat 18:21 Then Peter came up and asked him, "Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? Seven times?"
Mat 18:22 Jesus told him, "I tell you, not just seven times, but 77 times!
Mat 18:23 "That is why the kingdom from heaven may be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
Mat 18:24 When he had begun to settle the accounts, a person who owed him 10,000 talents was brought to him.
Mat 18:25 Because he couldn't pay, his master ordered him, his wife, his children, and everything that he owned to be sold so that payment could be made.
Mat 18:26 Then the servant fell down and bowed low before him, saying, 'Be patient with me, and I will repay you everything!'
Mat 18:27 The master of that servant had compassion and released him, canceling his debt.
Mat 18:28 "But when that servant went away, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, seized him by the throat, and said, 'Pay what you owe!'
Mat 18:29 Then his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, 'Be patient with me and I will repay you!'
Mat 18:30 But he refused and went and had him thrown into prison until he could repay the debt.
Mat 18:31 "When his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were very disturbed and went and reported to their master everything that had occurred.
Mat 18:32 Then his master sent for him and told him, 'You evil servant! I canceled that entire debt for you because you begged me.
Mat 18:33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?'
Mat 18:34 In anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he could repay the entire debt.
Mat 18:35 This is how my heavenly Father will treat each one of you unless you forgive your brother from your hearts."
There is a promise when it comes to forgiveness, that is forgiveness is forever and it's ongoing; when I say this, I mean that once forgiveness is given, a reset button is pushed, also forgiveness must happen as many times as needed for everything to be as it should and must be. In 1 John 4 (which we looked at earlier), it says that Jesus already bought our forgiveness and is a gift. If we hold back this forgiveness, we deny a gift that God needs us to have. Jesus is the only source of life. Lack of forgiveness means a denial of life itself -- truly scary. Jerry is unforgiving in this dream chiefly because Tom tries to buy it instead of asking for it. This doesn't mean that Jerry should have this lack of forgiveness, as he would be in as bad of a heap of trouble as Tom would be here. In fact, without forgiveness Tom, like any of us are bound by what we do.
2: Bulldog Devil
Let's look at John 8: 44 and 1 Peter 5: 6-11
Joh 8:44 You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and has never stood for truth, since there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
1Pe 5:6 Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you.
1Pe 5:7 Throw all your worry on him, because he cares for you.
1Pe 5:8 Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
1Pe 5:9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.
1Pe 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you by the Messiah Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, establish you, strengthen you, and support you.
1Pe 5:11 Power belongs to him forever and ever! Amen.
This is interesting because this part of the cartoon is right on the money. The Devil will attempt to get us to give up what we are trying to do in Christ and for God's kingdom and for what?! The Devil wants us to think that we aren't worth God trying to take the time to save us, when that's why Jesus came to begin with, therefore sending us into a faithless mushy mindset. This in turn gives us a high chance of being cowardly toward God instead of coming in faith to Him.
The Devil may also try to get us to panic and be desperate so we might try for a quick fix like buying someone off or to bargain with God instead of building relationships; remember that the Devil is the tempter and he is a liar. This is the true reasoning why Tom would be in big trouble (the quick unrepentant fix). Tom's dream could be a warning against the quick fix. Remember, the quick fix can easily get you into a fix.
What have we learned? Let's look at John 3: 13-21
Joh 3:13 "No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
Joh 3:14 J ust as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
Joh 3:15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
For God So Loved the World
Joh 3:16 "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son so that everyone who believes in him might not be lost but have eternal life.
Joh 3:17 Because God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God's unique Son.
Joh 3:19 And this is the basis for judgment: The light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light because their actions were evil.
Joh 3:20 Everyone who practices wickedness hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his actions may not be exposed.
Joh 3:21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may become evident that his actions have God's approval."
We need to remember the reason for the Christmas season; Jesus came to earth to be a shining example and, might I add the only example of what true kingdom life is like. All we have are symbols and other poorer examples of this life we seek. We need to have faith in Jesus, after this, the problems of life seem smaller because we aren't doing things in our own power. Jesus intercedes for us so our salvation is secure. We don't want to allow the Devil to make us see only false images. When children are really young, they generally follow whoever leads them even if it's a trap. This makes our job as children of God even easier when we realize there is no trap and we will be safe in Jesus' hands even if we die physically in the world's traps.