The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles."
Acts 13: 44-46
My question was this, how did the unbelieving, Gospel reviling Jews "judge [them]selves unworthy of eternal life?" And, subsequently, can people today be guilty of judging themselves unworthy of eternal life? What does it mean to declare yourself not worthy?
The first image that came to mind (I'm sad to say) was of Wayne & Garth bowing down to their rock star gods. How I go from a study of the early church to Wayne's World, I have no idea. Thankfully, I moved on from this thought & found this explanation by Pastor MacArthur that was really helpful. Here's how he explains it:
If I take you to the Louvre in France and show you the Mona Lisa and you look at the Mona Lisa and say, "Oh, that's lousy art." I say, "My friend, the Mona Lisa is not on trial; you are. That's already been judged to be a masterpiece. You're a crummy art critic." The point is you pronounced your own sentence. You're not fit to judge art. If I take to hear one of the great masterpiece symphonies and we hear one of the great orchestras of the world play one of the greatest symphonies ever written and the music is just sweeping and moving and powerful and it's all over with and you say, "It's all right but I'll take James Brown," I'll say to you, "Listen, friend. That music's not on trial; you are. If you can't read that as glorious music, you don't know what music is. If you make a criticism of music that has been adjudged by time and men to be a masterpiece then the music's not on trial; you are." And let me say this: Jesus isn't on trial anymore either. We know who He is. But you are on trial and by what you do to and with Jesus Christ, you declare judgment on yourself. You pronounce your own sentence. (emphasis added)Read the entire John MacArthur sermon.
So I ask you, in the words of Christ Himself in Matthew 22:42, "What do you think about the Christ?" Or to speak in the king's english, "What think ye of Christ?" That, says John Newton, is the test.