Last year, Janet and I started watching a new series on television entitled, “The Blacklist.” It stars James Spader, among others, and he became one of my favorite actors several years ago when he and William Shatner played opposite each other as partners in a short lived but excellent series, “Boston Legal.” In that particular program, Spader played an off the wall attorney who wore expensive suits, enjoyed the finer things in life and had a strange sense of humor. I tried to not like him, but I soon found myself really looking forward to the weekly program and I especially enjoyed the interactions with Shatner, who played the part of senior partner Denny Crane. I was sadly disappointed when the program ran its course and went off the air.
Then, out of the blue, “The Backlist” started and I have enjoyed it as much, if not more, than I enjoyed “Boston Legal.” Blacklist is about a highly trained operative, played by Spader, who helps the FBI target and catch people who are plotting devious and deadly schemes on targeted individuals including Spader himself who plays the part of Raymond Reddington. The title of the show comes from the premise that each week’s program starts with a criminal operation that is somehow tied to Reddington’s past and we generally find out the connection to Spader as the episode unfolds.
In many ways it is a thought provoking and rather well done thriller type of program. Both Janet and I look forward to watching it each week. And while there is a no question about Reddington’s checkered past, he tries to help the FBI solve these crimes – even though it is for his own benefit. I got to thinking about the title of the series and how nobody in their right mind would want to be on the Blacklist.
And you know what? That’s the way it is in real life as well. Did you know that God has a Book of Life and if your name isn’t in it, you are banished to eternal separation from God? Yes, that’s true. For those of us who are believers, our names appear in the Book of Life. But those who deny the existence of God are found lacking when their names are looked up and are absent from this most important book.
Our verse for this evening recounts the passage that highlights what happens to those who are not listed in the book. From John’s Revelation 20:15, ‘If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” And we all know where the lake of fire is, don’t we? You don’t want that kind of eternal fate, believe me… So it is critically important that you make sure you are right with God and that you believe with all your heart that eternal life with God is the free gift of salvation.
My encouragement this evening is that you can’t earn your way into heaven. None of us is worthy of that. But you can make sure that you “believe” and then you are assured of eternal communion with the Lord. My prayer is that you will do everything possible to make sure that your name, and the names of the ones you love, will be remembered by God and that you won’t end up on the Blacklist. That would be a horrible way to spend eternity. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…