29 January 2012

The Man Who Thought He Had Everything




Matt 19:16-26

What keeps people so distracted or tied down that they never embrace the cross of forgiveness?

• Is it pride?
• Is it lack of understanding?
• Is it ignorance?
• Is it selfishness?
• Is it unconcerned to future things?
• Is it hatred towards the things of God?

You could say yes to all those things mentioned above! But there is something that God has spoken against since the foundation of this world! Its covetousness which takes part in those things mentioned above! What does that look like? I came across a story that might help answer that question! "There was a man who had a problem with stinging ants....so he laid a small circle of poison around a hill of their home. Thinking the tiny granules of poison were food, the ants began to pick them up and carry them throughout the colony. He returned later to see how well the poison was working. Hundreds of the stinging ants were carrying the poison down into their hill. Then he noticed a hole in the circle of poison. Some of the poison was moving the opposite way—away from the hill. Some smaller, non-stinging ants had found this “food” and were stealing it from their ant neighbours. Thinking they were getting the other ants’ treasure, they unwittingly poisoned themselves.” See the warning of this story is that when we see someone with more than we have, we must beware. The hunger to beg, borrow, or steal our way into what is theirs may poison us spiritually. The bible says that covetousness:

ORIGINATES IN THE HEART OF MAN.......“So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain [covetousness].” Eze 33:31

IT NEVER SATISFIES......“He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.” Eccl 5:10

IT’S A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE WICKED [UNCONVERTED]........“For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD.” Ps 10:3; Prov 21:26 says “he covets greedily all day long...”

IT’S INCONSISTENT FOR BELIEVERS.......“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have....” Heb 13:5

FORBIDDEN BY GOD......"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." Exo 20:17

IT IS HAS NO PLACE IN HEAVEN........“For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Eph 5:5

I begin by saying this because we come to a very important passage of Scripture that tells us a story about a rich young man who had everything....but one thing he lacked [which was salvation] the most important ingredient to a person’s eternal state. It’s an encounter that speaks to my heart, more so today! Why? Because I see who I used to be in this passage of scripture. Jesus engages in a conversation with a sinner who needs salvation! It’s an encounter of a young man who came to him with one question that has massive eternal implications. It’s an encounter of a young man who was going to be faced with the biggest decision of his life. It’s an encounter of a young man who mistakenly thought he was good enough to attain eternal life. It’s an encounter of a young man whose decision would change his life forever. It’s an encounter that comes with a promise but ends in tragedy for this young individual. This passage of scripture is picture or a mirror into the hearts of many people around the world today....possibility some of you....here in this sanctuary today. So I want you to picture yourself in the shoes of this young man asking the same question! And after hearing the answer........What would your response be? So let’s enter this passage with extreme caution and ask the Lord to search our hearts as He speaks to this young man and us this morning.

Look at the opening verse of this encounter! (v16) This young man calls Jesus “Good Teacher” which wasn’t referring to His deity......but he was recognizing Jesus as a good teacher or a possible a prophet or a very righteous man! This young man acknowledged that Jesus spoke and had something that he wanted for himself. So he opens with a question! “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Naturally we would think this is a works base way of salvation question......but the main point of the question is about attaining eternal life! Remember! This was a well educated young man who would have probably been trained to think this way...so this is a legitimate question. See, the truth of the Gospel does require us to do something! Though it’s freely given by His unmerited grace and favour! John 6:28-29 it says “Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." By asking this loaded to the point question.... Jesus was able to reveal the truth of this young man’s heart! How by speaking the Gospel.

So Jesus gives him His answer! (v17) It’s interesting to point here that the Jesus correct him when he say “No one is good but One, that is God.” Jesus isn’t disclaiming His own deity, but rather teaching the young man that all but God are sinners. Apart from God.....Everyone else that has breath is a fallen sinner! “all have fallen short of the glory of God”. But it’s interesting that naturally man or woman think they are good! I did before salvation! If you don’t believe me! Go out and ask someone the question.....”Do you consider yourself to be a good person?” The answer that you receive will more than likely be....Yes I’m a good person! See this young man thought he was a good person.....as do many people today!

So what does Jesus do? He hits him with the only that convicts the sinner! The Law (v18-v19) You might ask yourself the question! Why did Jesus bring him the law? Was Jesus teaching a gospel that is different or contrary to us? Was Jesus teaching that it’s through works that man must inherit eternal life? No! Jesus was speaking directly to the conscience of the natural man! Paul wrote these words! “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Rom 3:20. Jesus wasn’t bringing the Law to show him how to be saved....but to show him that he needed to be saved. We always need to remember! The Law is a mirror that reveals what we were or what we still are...if you’re under the bondage of sin.

Sadly the blindness of this young man reveals his true heart as do many people today! (v20) This young man displays ignorance over his fallen state.....Look what he says to the King of kings.......” I’ve keep them all! What do I lack....what am I missing Jesus?” [Paraphrasing of course]. I’m a good person right!...............so I’m good for Heaven right? Wrong answer! It’s interesting to note that Jesus didn’t say the one commandment that held a tight grip on this young man’s heart and life......“thou shall not .....What? Covet...” Jesus knows this young man’s heart and especially knows that he loves his possessions and material wealth.

Why do I say that! (v21)... Jesus responds with this answer which is the pivotal moment in this whole encounter!  Jesus wasn’t setting terms or a system that this young man needed to find eternal life....but on the contrary He was exposing this young man’s true heart! “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10. Jesus was pointing out that this man was guilty because he loved his wealth and possessions more than Christ. He was blinded by the American dream of wealth, health and prosperity! Now Jesus isn’t saying that wealth is wrong...or having money is wrong! “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Tim 6:10. It’s not wealth that keep people out of Heaven. Abraham was a wealthy man but yet a man of great faith! But when things come first whether its money or possessions in a person’s life...... their wrong and you have failed the test to what it means to truly follow Him. The bible is very specific! "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? “Luke 9:23-25

This is the part that breaks my heart and it’s happening more and more today because we have so much stuff to keep us occupied! Look at (v22). This young man doesn’t even speak or question Jesus’ response to his question. The reason.....he didn’t believe because he loved himself more than Jesus....This was a call to faith and he rejected the free gift of grace that Christ offered. All because he simply didn’t want o give up what was his! “.....For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”

God requires something from each and every one of us! A denial of self and embrace of the Gospel truth found in the riches of Christ! Yes riches! “a treasure in Heaven” which is to called a child of the Living God through His great salvation. Can you picture the expression on Jesus’ face as this young man turned and walk away......it must have been heartbreaking! Think about it....You have a loved one who you care deeply about and they ask you the same question and you give the gospel answer and they in return turn around and walk away into a Christ-less eternity..... How would you feel? It’s so sad that people think what they have is more important than what they could have in Christ! J.I. Packer described the tendency to worship self or other things [gods] "What other gods could we have besides the Lord? Plenty. For Israel there were the Canaanite Baals, those jolly nature gods whose worship was a rampage of gluttony, drunkenness, and ritual prostitution. For us there are still the great gods Sex, Shekels, and Stomach (an unholy trinity constituting one god: self), and the other enslaving trio, Pleasure, Possessions, and Position, whose worship is described as ’The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life’ (1 John 2:16). Football, the Firm, and Family are also gods for some. Indeed the list of other gods is endless, for anything that anyone allows to run their life becomes their god......."

I personally call this spiritual bankrupt-see..... Look at (v23-26) What is Jesus trying to tell us here? Is your stuff [your possessions, job, farm, house, friendships, hobbies, sports, horses] more important to you then Christ? If so, then it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then it is for you to enter Heaven. The reason! You love yourself more and your pleasures..... over Christ. This way of speaking was used, to signify difficulties or impossibilities. Just as its impossible for a camel to go through the eye of the needle It’s also impossible for man to attain salvation by his works or on their own terms. Whatever earthly treasures you have or think you have they are powerless before God. But with God...He is able to change the sinful heart....”God can do what men cannot do” .........Save!

We desperately need Him...not the other way around where He needs us! It’s not what I want and still live the by adding Jesus to the mix. Jesus Christ isn’t some accessory that you add to their wardrobe or a air fresher you hang from your rear view mirror! He is the first and last...the beginning and the end....and we are to worship Him as extremely valuable and worthy of praise for saving a sinner like you and me. We are the ones who stand before Him as broken vessels that need the Potter’s hand to repair the broken pieces. We are the ones who need have ourselves emptied, so that He can fill us with His grace and goodness. We are to come to Him as Jesus spoke about before the young man asked Him the question about eternal life. (v13-v14). We need someone who cares...protects...provides...nurtures...and directs our lives not just for now but for all eternity. This is what the Gospel that Jesus brings to you and me! This is what Jesus was trying to convey this young man who thought he had everything or thought he had it all together! John MacArthur said this......”Our Lord gave this young man a test. He had to make a choice between Christ and his possessions and sin, and he failed the test. No matter what he may have believed, because he was unwilling to forsake all, he could not be a disciple of Christ. Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” Are you willing to forsake everyhting if Christ asked you to? The only way that will ever be possible is by His mercy and grace! So the Sunday question is............Did you pass the test? Because this will determine what you love the most!

22 January 2012

The Church Of The Lost & Found




Col 4:7-18

There‘s a story I came across that hear more than I care to [even more so today]......and I find it hurtful and unkind as a Christian. It’s a story about a guy named Tim, who was really critical about the church and the people who attend it.“Tim was complaining to someone about the Christian church, when suddenly an image flashed in his mind of a bride and a groom on their wedding day. In that mental image He said “I walked up to the groom and said to him, Your bride sure is ugly." Now no one would ever do that because no matter how unattractive I may personally find a bride, to the groom that bride is wonderful, she’s radiant and beautiful. Then Lord spoke to my heart and said, "Tim, every time you criticize my church you’re telling me, that my bride is ugly." We must never do that! The church is amazing institution that God has designed and orchestrated for the past 2000 years! I love the church and I will defend her until my last dying breath! Why? She is worth fighting for! Jesus seemed to think so and this is my passion for the church and it should be yours as well. Remember what Paul wrote! “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” Eph 5:25. It's passages like this that makes me love the church....What's amazing is that the church will always outlive and outlast every other organization on earth......that’s why Jesus said “I will build my church” meaning this will take form in the future after His death burial and resurrection.........and here we are today! As J C Ryle said “Forever let us thank God that the building of the one true Church is laid on the shoulders of One who is mighty. Let us bless God that it does not rest upon man. Let us bless God that it does not depend on missionaries, ministers, or committees. Christ is the almighty Builder. He will carry on His work, though nations and visible Churches do not know their duty. Christ will never fail. That which He has undertaken He will certainly accomplish! See, we have to understand that it’s not the wood or the nails...the concrete foundation that makes the church......it’s each and every one that has been called by His marvellous grace make up the church. So when you look at the person sitting beside you........they are the church if they believed upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what makes the church so unique...it’s made up of different people who were lost at different times and had different circumstances of life. Some grew up in.....

• Christian homes
• None Christian homes
• Broken homes
• Happy homes
• Poor homes
• Rich homes
• Loving homes
• Unloving homes
• Abusive homes
• Non-Abusive homes

Some of us have grown up in an environment where we were.....

• Raised by grandparents
• Dropped out of school
• Lived on the streets
• Involved in drugs and alcohol
• Stealing and reckless living
• Pornography and pre-marital relations
• Violence

We all come from different walks of life....but the things we all have in common......no matter where you’re from is that we are all...

• Wretched sinners!
• Depraved human beings!
• Lost and without a hope and a prayer!
• Unable to save ourselves!

But! The beauty of that is the unfailing love of Jesus Christ, found in the Gospel. Rom 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Spurgeon said “The church is not perfect, but woe to the man who finds pleasure in pointing out her imperfections. Christ loved his church, and let us do the same. I have no doubt that the Lord can see more fault in his church than I can; and I have equal confidence that he sees no fault at all. Because he covers her faults with his own love—that love which covers a multitude of sins; and he removes all her defilement with that precious blood which washes away all the transgressions of his people.”

That’s exactly what we are! A group of lost people who desperately need to found like the missing sock that comes out of the drier....Two went in and only one comes out! Jesus has from the beginning of the church age until now has never stopped looking for lost people. In Luke 15 Jesus tells a simple story of what that looks like....He says “.. what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? The church is full of these kinds of stories! That’s what makes the church so unique! The church is full of people who were lost but now they’re found by His wonderful grace. As Paul said “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Rom 7:24-25. We come to closing part of Paul’s letter as he gives his final strokes of the pen by reminding the church that.....God has put different people in your lives and into the church for the purpose of our joy as we grow into the image of the Son. The church is filled with saved sinners!......The church is filled with people like you and me! See! The church is a special place with special people!........

1. THE CHURCH IS FILLED WITH FAITHFUL SERVANTS AND MINSTERS OF THE WORD OF GOD (V7)

Tychicus is a prime example of this......he willing travelled with Paul to show his servants heart. He willing went despite the fact they would or might take him away from family, friends and personal pleasures in life. This what the church is filled with....a group of people who are concerned and are willing to give or serve at any cost, even it leads to imprisonment or death! Listen to what John wrote in his first epistle.....which is a prime example of a servant’s heart. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 1 John 3:16. Selflessly seeking the interest of others over yourself and while doing this they seek nothing in return! That’s what the church is filled with!

2. THE CHURCH IS FILLED WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN FOR THEIR SINFUL PASTS (V9)

Onesimus was a prime example of a man who was forgiven.....which is what the Gospel is truly about saving sinners who have sinned. A runaway slaves who was lost but now is found...as Paul says “is one of you” What does that mean? He is born again by the grace mercy found in the Gospel. Paul describes him as a “faithful and beloved brother” In his letter to Philemon [which is where the Colosse church resides]....he says this about Onesimus! Philemon v10-v16 “I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother--especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” That’s what the church is filled with people who have been forgiven for their past, present and future sins.....A church that embraces forgiven sinners with open arms no matter what he or she has done in the past!

3. THE CHURCH IS FILLED WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE SYMPATHETIC HEARTS FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST (V10)

Aristarchus was a man who has given up his own freedom to minister to Paul’s needs. Ministering to one another! We don’t do studies and meeting for our health! We do it so that we can grow together! Ministering to the needs of those who need inside the church. Whether it’s done through the avenues of prayer or just simply giving a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear! The Lord’s work in the church would never be done if it wasn’t for others who took the time to get involved by ministering to the needs of others. Remember what Paul wrote to the church at Philippi? “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil 2:4. This is what the church is filled with! Willing to humbly bear the hardships with other in order that they may encourage or help the church in any way.

4. THE CHURCH IS FILLED WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE SURPRISING FUTURES (V10)

John Mark the very one who Paul had a problem with during his first missionary journey...which I’m sure spread throughout the land! Paul wanted them to know that the problem that he had with this man of God was already hashed out between him and John Mark. Paul said that he was counted as worthy for the ministry! And he wanted the church to know this! Even in the other letter that Tychicus was returning with [which was the letter to Philemon] Paul said.....“Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. Philemon v23-v24. In Paul’s last letter to Timothy he said these words about John Mark! “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.” 2 Tim 4:11. This is the many stories you find in the church....the unlikely people that you never thought would amount to anything are the most useful people in the church. It’s that person outside the church who says “I can’t believe the difference I see in him or her....I never saw that coming.” The church is filled with people just like that! We were created to do great things for the Kingdom of God here in Moosehorn! Whether it’s helping out in Sunday school classroom to speaking to unreached people of the North!.......The church is filled with surprises all He asks us is to be ready! As Isaiah said “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." Isa 6:8. If God can take a sinner like Paul a murderer of the Gospel and transform his life for the good of the Gospel.......Then there is hope for each and every one of us here in this chapel! The future of the church is filled with surprises.

5. THE CHURCH IS FILLED WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE A STRONG COMMITMENT TO THE PEOPLE INSIDE. (V11)

Jesus who is called Justus appear only in this passage of scripture as being a great comfort and encouragement to Paul. Justus was willing to take a stand alongside Paul for Jesus Christ no matter what the cost. There is nothing more comforting to see come along side one another in the church. Whether it’s through prayer....friendship.....our a listening ear! The church is filled with kinds of people and this is something that makes me love the church more each and every day....Hearing of the love for one another through commitment is a powerful thing and foundation in the church. What does kind of commitment look like? “taking up cross and never looking back” Standing with the church through the good times and the bad! It’s not retreating and fleeing to the mountains to find shelter. Standing strong under the supervision of His sustaining grace in times of struggles and circumstance. Commitment goes all the way to the end! I’m committed to this church and the people around me!

6. THE CHURCH IS FILLED WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE A PASSION FOR THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL (V12)

Epaphras who was the founder of this church passions where for the church to mature in understanding to God’s truth. Labouring for the church through the word and prayer.....this is what the church is filled with. This is my passion and the responsibility of the church...we must always be passionate when it comes to the scriptures and the prayer for the saints....This is God’s breathed out words to you and me! And we need to handle it with joy and care every single day. Why? For the reason Paul mentions here in this letter! (v12) “that you may stand perfect and complete [satisfied] in all the will of God.” Obedience to God’s word is the only way the church will ever grow! That’s what the church is filled with devoted slaves to the Master serving the church with a passion for truth.

7. THE CHURCH IS FILLED WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIFFERENT TALENTS TO SERVE THE LOCAL BODY (V14A)

Luke who was a gifted physician who had a wonderful talent to help those that ill and need treatment. We may not have doctors here but we have different people in the church who care for the needs of others...for example!Taking someone else’s wretched little sinner and teach them about the love of Jesus. Walking on the streets ministering to people as they pass by with the Gospel. Faithful prayer warrior who pray for the pastor and the body of the local church. People who clean up after others to make the church a clean and safe environment. People with musical talent to help the worship of those who can’t sing or know the song. People who greet others by welcoming them into the church. People behind the scenes that work diligently so that everything runs like well oiled machine....serving others! This is what the church is filled with different people with different talents to use for the purpose of the church....which in returns glorifies God for His goodness for bringing us together .

The church is a beautiful thing to be identified with! Never be ashamed of the church. Why? Because Christ has established it with His blood and sustains it with His sovereign grace. And if your ashamed of the church..... then you’re ashamed of Jesus who loves the church and gave himself up for her. So my Sunday question goes as follows........Do you love the local church? Because the church is filled with.....

• Imperfect people
• Full of misfits
• They are filled with fallen people
• Broken over sin
• Concerned about their eternal state
• Lost but found in the beautiful embrace of the Gospel!

Can you love a church like this? Because I do, so does Paul and most of all Jesus does! Let me close with this final statement! Spurgeon said “The elect church is the favourite of heaven, the treasure of Christ, the crown of His head, the bracelet of His arm, the breastplate of His heart, the very centre and core of His love.” Embrace the church with a Christ like love and give Christ the glory in it!

19 January 2012

From The Heart The Mouth Speaks (Part 2)




Col 4:2-6

The bible has a lot to say about the speech of the redeemed and unredeemed mouth! The unredeemed mouth is characterized by.......

• Evil “.....But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.” [Prov 15:28]
• Sexual immorality [Prov 5:3]
• Deceit “Their tongue is an arrow shot out; It speaks deceit....” [Jer 9:8]
• Curses “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression...” [Ps 10:7]
• Lies “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,...” [Prov 12:22]
• Destruction [Prov 11:11]
• Vanity [2 Peter 2:18]
• Flattery “......a flattering mouth works ruin.” [Prov 26:28]
• Foolishness “.....the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” [Prov 15:2]
• Carelessness “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,” [Matt 12:36]
• False doctrine “.........devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,” [ 2Tim 4:1]
• Evil plots “The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him” [Ps 37:12]
• Gossip “A talebearer [means gossiper] reveals secrets...” [Prov 11:13]
• Hatred “An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like a burning fire.” [Prov 16:27]
• Too many words “A fool also multiplies words......” [Eccl 10:14]

On the other hand the redeemed mouth is characterized by.......

• Confession of sin “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]
• Confession of Christ “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [Rom 10:9-10]
• Edifying speech “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” [Eph 4:29]
• Praising God “.....let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips....” [Heb 13:16]
• Blessing our enemies “not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing...” [1 Peter 3:9]
• Kindness “......on her tongue is the law of kindness.” [Prov 31:26]
• Graciously “.....And sweetness of the lips increases learning.” [Prov 16:21]
• Proclaim the Gospel “And they were preaching the gospel there.” [Acts 14:7]

Our speech will always determine what’s truly in our heart! How we speak to others will determine how much we truly love Jesus Christ.....How we speak to others will determine how much we truly love the Gospel. How we speak to others will determine how much we truly love the local church. Why do I say that? Remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees’ “.....For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” [Matt 12:34-3]. One of the toughest muscles in the human body to control is the tongue! James spoke very clearly about the dangers of the tongue in his letter. This is something we Christians need to get right, on a daily basis! Why? The world is watching you to see if this Christianity is real or not! They’re watching you to see if you preach what you sow. Think about it.......your neighbour, employer, co-workers, peers, unsaved family...the community is watching everything you and I do!

I think a great example of how we are to act in this fallen and broken world is characterized in this portion of scripture! This is for you and I....and the church desperately need to apply these truths to their lives today. Right now! To be perfectly honest the world see’s the church as nothing more than a group of hypocrites meeting together on Sunday to hide from the reality that they live and act no differently than their unsaved neighbour or friend on a day by day basis. So we have this letter! Paul addresses the church about the importance of genuine character in the life of the believer. Paul knows this isn’t going to be easy but we are commanded by God as His ambassadors to speak in such a way that we glorify Christ at all times. What do I mean by that? If you are truly born again, people will see a visible difference from your old nature to new nature. Paul comes to a very important aspect of the new nature. Look what he writes in [v5-v6] This is how the new nature is supposed to speak! This is how you and I is to behave in a fallen world under the bondage of darkness. Let’s look at what Paul tells us first in this portion of scripture!

“walk in wisdom towards those who are outside redeeming the time” [v5] What does that look like? It’s properly evaluating circumstances and making godly decisions. Remember what the Proverb says? “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” [Prov 1:7]. It’s having a reverence and awe of His mighty power! The world outside at large doesn’t fear the Lord and sadly many so-called Christians don’t fear the Lord any more then the outside world does. That’s why our lives are to exemplify our Saviour Jesus Christ. If that means we have to give up personal pleasure over serving the Kingdom with your life here then so be it. We are to walk worthy of His calling out in our lives. Why? The outside world [which is referring to unsaved people] is watching you. If the outside world can see through your hypocrisy...the only thing this does is bring animosity and resentment to the truth of the Gospel. See! We know and have attained something that they desperately need........God’s saving grace found in Jesus Christ. They need to see the power of God working in our lives...which is done though our lives. 

As John MacArthur said in his commentary “What Believers are gives credibility to what they say.” What John is saying is that! Believers are to exhibit a carefully planned, consistent Christian life to those outside the church [the body of Christ]. How? By“redeeming the time” Seriously, what are we here for? As John Piper said “to collect sea shells and play shuffle board when we get old.....No, he said.” This life we live is not about you and me and what we can get out of it. It’s all about the making the Gospel known to all generations...training men and women to do the work of the ministry. Everyone us have been called into ministry whether you like it or not! And the one thing each and everyone are called to is the proclamation of the Gospel. Jesus said in [Act 1:8] “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

We have [ALL] been given a mandate by our Master and that is to use the time we have by redeeming it for Him and His Gospel. Moses prayed this prayer about life! “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” [Ps 90:12]. Paul wrote......”the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” [Rom 13:11-12]

What is our purpose of existence? To glorify God with our lives...how by displaying and telling the world about His great love found in Jesus Christ! Opportunity is passing and we need to make the best us of our time to those outside! But we also need to be extremely careful. Look what Paul writes next! “let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt,” [v6]. There are two key elements that must happen in order for us to redeem this time wisely to those outside.

1. May your speech always be done with “grace” This means to speak whatever is..... Wholesome, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complementary, gentle, truthful, loving and thoughtful. Remember what Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus? “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” [Eph 4:26]. This is to be our daily speech no buts or excuses! Why? This is what the new nature looks like!

2. May your speech always be “Seasoned with salt” It’s not only to be gracious but also have an effect on people. Salt can sting if rubbed into a wound and it also can prevent corruption. This is how we are to speak to those outside the church walls with truth and love. A prime example of what salt looks like is an interview I read with Tim Tebow. Jake Plummer who was the former quarterback had this to say about Tim Tebow "I think he's a winner and I respect that about him," Plummer told 910-AM. "I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ, then I think I'll like him a little better. I don't hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff." Tim’s response to Jake’s comment compared his relationship with Jesus to marriage. "If you're married and you have a wife and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife 'I love her' the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity? That's how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ."

We are to speak in a manner that isn’t rude or hurtful.....even when the world may speak poorly of you and me! This doesn’t give us the freedom to speak as the world speaks! “seasoned with salt” Jesus said "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” [Matt 5:11-16]

This is what the Christian life is supposed to look like! We are to follow the example of a Tim Tebow and speak with grace and salt! Why? The answer is found in the following sentence! [v6b] “that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Does this statement sound familiar? Where have we heard this before? Look back to [v3-v4]. Our speech is everything when it comes to the Gospel! Our speech is everything when it comes to the transforming work of the Gospel. You are no longer the same! The old man has been crucified and the new man is transformed into the image of the Son. “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” [Rom 6:6]. Remember what else Paul wrote....“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” [2 Cor 4:16]

Our lives are under the microscope of this world and they desperately need to hear what we have to say! The Gospel must go forth and our desire should always be for people to hear the blessed truth of the Gospel. But in order for them to be receptive we need to demonstrate in and through our lives....By how we live, speak and act to the same circumstances of life as a person that is on the outside. We must know how to say the right thing at the right time as the Apostle Peter said.....“.....always being prepared to make a defense [an apologetic answer defending your faith] to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” [1 Peter 3:15]. In order for someone to ask you....it needs to lived out in your life because He has transformed you and you are no longer the same.....that will be evident.....And when that is evident they will ask!

So my question to you would be.......Has anybody asked you lately for the hope that lies within you? If not! There is a good possibility that you are not displaying the characteristics that Paul has mentioned here in this text.

How do we change so that people will ask? Pull Jesus out of your pocket and wear Him on your chest for the whole world to see. When you are doing that...... your speech will change and your mouth will speak the truth in love. Seasoned with salt flowing like a river of grace to a lost world that desperately needs Jesus Christ. But it begins here and now! Walk...live...proclaim the love of Christ by using every breath that He gives you for His glory! Redeeming the time because time is running out! As David Platt said “we are plan A, and there is no plan B.” And he also went on to say “The message of biblical Christianity is not ‘God loves me, period,’ as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of biblical Christianity is ‘God loves me so that I might make him—his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness—known among all nations.’ Now God is the object of our faith, and Christianity centers around him. We are not the end of the gospel; God is.” David Platt. So let’s get out there and redeem the time wisely for Him and His precious Gospel.....Keeping in mind by asking the same thing David requested in his prayer... “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” [Ps 141:3]. May we live to bring Him glory by impacting this world with the Gospel that saves to the uttermost.

09 January 2012

Christianity vs. Every Other Religion

Truth......Ravi Zacharias



This is the Gospel truth! SDG

From The Heart The Mouth Speaks (Part1)




Col 4:2-4

Does prayer play an important part in your life? Before you answer that question listen to what some of the late great preachers had to say about the importance of prayer. Charles Spurgeon said! “We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His Word, He intended to be evident in our lives. If He has said much about prayer, it is because He knows we have much need of it. Did not our Saviour say that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” and did he not imply, by that form of expression, that, if they did not pray, they would be sure to faint? Prayer has become as essential to me as the heaving of my lungs, and the beating of my pulse.” The late great reformer John Owen said this “The faithful soul, pouring out without ceasing those prayers which are supplied to us by God’s Spirit in gracious provision for our infirmities, enjoys communion with God Himself as he shares in the understandings of the things of the gospel. By practice in prayer, he increases daily in fellowship with his Lord while his soul within him testifies to the extent of its progress, while assurance of saving knowledge waxes stronger daily. Such a soul – such a gospel student – is gradually admitted in the secrets of God’s covenant, plighted to the saints in Christ Jesus, while all the time it is growing more and more into the image of Him who is our Head and is Lord of all.” Augustine said “He that loveth little prayeth little, he that loveth much prayeth much.” Think about these questions as well. Does prayer play an important role in your life? How much of your time is spent in prayer personally and corporately? Do you have the same passion as these men did: Spurgeon, Owen and Augustine?

The reason I say all this is because Paul shifts gears again! By turning his attention to the body of Christ as a whole [individual Christian’s among the congregation]. He’s not speaking directly to the family anymore! He is addressing this section to local body of sinners saved by sovereign grace. He's shift gears by turning their attention to the importance of.............PRAYER! If you read the epistles of Paul you will see a repetitive plea to the church over and over again! When it comes to the matter of prayer. The importance of the Christian life is to be saturated in prayer! Look at what Paul writes in (v2-v4). There are four key elements we are to apply in order to have a proper prayer life!

1. A life that is devoted to prayer.
2. A life that is observant when it comes to prayer.
3. A life that is thankful that they are able to pray.
4. A life that is seeking the throne on behalf of the body of Christ.

1. (v2) “continue steadfast in prayer”

"Steadfast" literally means to “devote oneself” it’s a compound word that means “to be steadfast” or a life that “endures”. It’s persevering in your prayer life! A life that is devoted to this one thing.....prayer! Look at how Paul starts the sentence! He gives the command of prayer with an active verb “continue”. This literally could read “to be courageously persistent” or “to hold fast and never let go”. This isn’t just referring to verbalizing everything....it’s an action of God conscience! It's realizing that we are His chosen people and He is our Master and we aim everyday to please Him by having fellowship and communion with Him through the avenue of prayer.
So we continue each and every day with a passion for prayer because we are always thinking about Him [a God consciousness]. It also gives the call to be persistent [not pushy, selfish demands] but a continuing devotion to God in the matter of prayer! What does that look like? The Parable of the widow and the judge (Luke 18:1-8)
“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'" ......." It’s being persistent, yet accepting God’s answer when it finally comes. This is what a person looks like when they are devoted to a great concern!
When we come to God with persistence it’s as one old man said......“When a farmer prays for a corn crop, God expects him to say ‘AMEN’ with a hoe.”. This is what the early church did! It says in Acts 1:14 “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer...”. Prayer is one of the major pillars or foundations of the local church. Acts 2:42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”See, a devotion to prayer is to be a Christian who is extremely grateful for saving their wretched souls. Sadly though the church has lost its love or reverence when it comes to the matter of prayer! John MacArthur said “Much of the contemporary church has lost its reverence for God. He is viewed as a sort of cosmic automatic teller machine. If we punch in the right code, He is obligated to deliver what we want. The Lord might as well ask the twentieth- century church what He asked the rebellious priests of Malachi’s day: "A son honours his father and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts....” Mal 1:6. We must always be conscience to His presence at all moments! He deserves and desires our devotion to be driven to and for Him.....

2. (v2) “being watchful”

"Watchful" means staying awake [keeping alert] and not falling asleep during prayer. It’s a constant spiritual alertness! Again a prime example can be found in the Gospel of Matthew “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matt 26:40-41. See, it’s not just about staying awake but also having an awareness of things going on around you! When we are deeply concerned and devoted to something we are always alert to the issue or situation at hand. John Piper said “What does this mean? You pray often and you pray regularly. Prayer is not infrequent and prayer is not hit and miss. Being "devoted to" prayer means that you are not haphazard and you are not forgetful. It means you take steps to see that it is part of your regular life, the same way eating and sleeping are.” This is how we are to be at all times! Prayer is apart of the Christian life. Keeping alert means that you work against distractions and hindrances.

3. (v2) “thanksgiving”

“Thanksgiving” this is referring to the spirit in which the prayers should be offered. It’s an acknowledgment of gratitude for what we [you] have already received. This is the 5th time Paul has mentioned gratitude in this epistle! The other 4 times are found in.... Col 1:12 [in salvation] “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Col 2:6 [in your sanctification] “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,” Col 3:15 [in fellowship with Christ and His church] “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Col 3:17 [in opportunity to serve] “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”. There is so much a believer can be thankful for! I’m I right? If you can’t answer that question....look back to your past year! Didn’t God see you through it? If that’s not enough! Look back to when He purchased your wretched soul from the slave market of sin and destruction! A thankful heart is a remembering heart of what we’ve been saved from! Take Joshua for example! Found in the writings of Joshua Chapter 4 when they placed the 12 stones at the shore line of the Jordan....The stones as a symbol for them to remember God’s sovereign grace as He helped cross on dry ground.....the grace that He displayed for the Israelites as they fled Egypt when they crossed the Red Sea. The Bible says “And he said to the people of Israel, "When your children ask their fathers in times to come, 'What do these stones mean?' then you shall let your children know, 'Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever."” Joshua 4:21-24. So likewise, we are to recall the stones of remembrance in our lives and give thanks in our communication with God. Paul is telling us that we are to pray with a God conscience that is persistent with thanksgiving at all times.

4. (v3-v4) “pray also for us”

"us" Nothing is more important than for Christians praying for other Christians. Whether it’s someone going through a crisis or a simple prayer of strength in times of struggle. Nothing is more encouraging then to hear someone is praying for you! Let’s be honest [were Christians right?] don’t you find it comforting when people are praying for you? Paul seems to think so! That's why he sought the church for this request. Why? So that he could proclaim the Gospel more clearly to the lost people around him...which were mostly Roman guards? The very thing that got Paul put into prison was the one thing he was requesting for the church to pray about the truth of the gospel. We see this throughout Paul’s letters.... 2Cor 1:11; Phil 1:19; 2Thess 3:1; Philemon 1:22 to name a few. Paul’s request with the church was for the purpose of the Gospel, so that he would have the right words to say to those who were still in bondage to Satan.  See we need to understand that Paul knew the importance of prayer as an individual.... but he also knew the power of prayer in numbers [the body of Christ]. Think about this truth! Before you answer a question, give advice, or make a decision! It should always be saturated in prayer and seeking the body of Christ to do the same on your behalf. For the simple reason found in (v4) “that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak”. So often we don’t do that! We think we have it all together and we don’t need anybodies help! That’s a lie from the pit of Hell......Paul was a man who knew his limitations and strength! That’s why sought the church for their prayers!...There is power in prayer! As it says in James letter.....“....the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 4:16

Prayer is a powerful tool in the hands of a Christian......especially when they’re devoted, alert with a God conscience and have a heart filled with thanksgiving praying for one another in the body of Christ. So it's time we [the church] woke up from our sleep and do what Jesus commanded His disciples to do....PRAY! Let me close with this final statement made by J C Ryle “Let us pray more, and let us pray more earnestly. Let those who never prayed begin to pray. Let those who have prayed pray better.” CAN YOU SAY A HEARTY AMEN TO THAT STATEMENT?

02 January 2012

We Are All Slaves Of The Master




Col 3:22-25; 4:1

As we continue looking at the family we see that slaves despite the negetive connotation stuck to the word slave, were apart of the family! But before we look at this passage to the family, we need to understand somethings about slavery! First thing we need to understand  is that its something that has been around for centuries! It goes as far back when Joseph was sold by his brothers to the slave market. During the Greco-Roman era slavery was part of the social structure; it was so common it was never questioned by anyone. Slavery was a part of all ages, gender even ethnical background. One fifth of the empire’s population were slaves, totalling as many as twelve million slaves at the outset of the first century AD. Aristotle said “slaves as things, or living tools.” The bible in no way condone this way of negative behaviour!Sin and man have distorted this way of living! Throughout the Old Testament we see that slaves were taken care of by their master. A slave never had to fear or worry about his or hers next meal.....clothing.....shelter! Though they might face challenging times of abuse..... its nothing in comparison to wickedness of men after the 1st and 2nd centuries. It was so bad there was one man who couldn’t keep silent no more! One of the biggest influences to see the elimination of slavery was William Wilberforce. William, was also urged by his close friend, Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, to make the issue his own, and was also given support by reformed Evangelical John Newton who played a major role in the conversion of young Wilberforce. The Slave Trade Act was passed by the British Parliament on 25 March 1807, making the slave trade illegal throughout the British Empire, Wilberforce also campaigned for abolition of slavery in the British Empire, which he lived to see in the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. After the 1807 act abolishing the slave trade was passed, these campaigners switched to encouraging other countries to follow suit, notably France and the British colonies. Between 1808 and 1860, the British West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard. Slavery has played a major role around the globe from the Middle East to the Shores of North American. But again, the accounts in the Bible found in the Old Testament and especially in the New Testament were to help first century believers understand our position and what was expected of us under the blanket of Christianity! This truth about slavery applies to you and me today [even though this wicked act has been abolished in many countries]

The apostle Paul uses a word that we would classify as negative, to show [help us to understand] how we are to behave in this present society as slaves today! A slave is someone is who is visibly different; because they belonged to someone....they were somebody’s property! The Christian life is very much the same! The world should be able to identify that we are not masters of our own domain; but that we are subject to a higher authority and power of God. Time and time again we see Christians being described as slaves of Christ or slaves in general which comes from the original Greek word “doulos”. This word is used over 250 times in the original manuscripts. Where most modern English translations going back as early as the KJV 1611 substitute the word “slave” for “servants” this is because of........the stigma or negative connotation attached to the word “slave” in our present society! There's a huge difference between the word slave and servant. A servant can quit at any time, but a slave is under the complete authority of the master. As John MacArthur said in his book [Slave] “to be a Christian was to be a slave”. Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John said “Bind up your loose robes and serve as God’s slaves in reverential fear and truth.” The Shepherd of Hermas wrote this in his second century letter “there are many [wicked deeds] from which the slave of God must refrain.” Why? Because we are slaves but in a good way! And we can learn a great deal in how to be good slaves from this portion of Paul’s letter. As children of God saved by His grace we are purchased from the slave market and He [Jesus] is our master.

We are slaves of Christ and Paul defines what a slave of Christ looks like! Look at (v22) “obey in all things your masters” [referring to both enjoyable and distasteful duties] according to the flesh. Paul wrote to Timothy to remind the church . “Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled [blasphemed].” 1 Tim 6:1. Not with “eyeservice, as men pleasers” This is only external service seeking the praises from men! Basically working only when the boss is around! Work breaks extend until the boss returns. Eye service results in half done jobs.....The room is swept, but the dirt is swept under the carpet. This way of living gives a false impression and its wrong! You can say the same about coming to church or the Christian life.You come to church in your Sunday bests and acting all Christian- like around people but live like the Devil when nobody is watching. That is a dangerous way to live your life....because it’s nothing but religion! The bible says.....“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Gal 6:7. This not how it’s suppose to be! Our service is to be done with a heart of adoration to God because He see’s all things. We are to Obey in all things with all sincerity as unto the Lord. This literally can be translated “a singleness of heart” which is an undivided mind, a simple intention of doing right, without looking any farther. Our undivided mind is to be focused on Christ alone.....the One who gets the pre-immense in our lives. In Eph 6:5-6 Paul said “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,” Even when you’re being mistreated......we are to do all things with a sincerity of heart. Have you ever been disciplined at work or chewed out by your boss? In 1 Peter 2:18 it says “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.” Why? We serve a holy God who sees all things! And He is not ignorant to your present circumstance. I can do all things...handle all things through Christ who strengthens me!

It’s a Christian life that’s not self seeking or looking for gratification...but desiring to please the one who enlisted him or her into the body of Christ. (v23) “do it heartily unto the Lord” Heartily means putting your entire inner man into the effort! Giving your 110 percent! Not by mere force and necessity, grudgingly, and with murmurings, but from the heart, and with good will, having a true, real, and hearty affection for their master We are to labour from the heart “whatever you do, do it [work at it]” As Paul said the Romans “Do not be slothful [lazy, slow, idle] in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Rom 12:11. We are to work from the soul! Everything we do is to be for His glory. If you clean washrooms or a CEO of company do it unto the Lord. If you teach or drive school bus do it unto the Lord. If you Farm, collect honey and whatever else; do as unto the Lord. If you’re wife, husband, mother or father obey the instruction given to you and live out your roles heartily as unto the Lord. If you’re a young person here obey your parents by living out your life as unto the Lord. If you are born again by the mercy that flows through the Gospel of Jesus Christ do everything with passion and zeal as unto the Lord. Do all things unto Him [the true Christian life] and not seeking to please men [which is being religious]. The opposite of this is the Pharisee’s in the temple when Jesus confronted them in their religion. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matt 23:25-28.  See! The word of God is very clear about how we are to live under the Master “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.” 2 Cor 5:9 “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.” Rom 14:8. “but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 1 Thess 2:4. He has entrusted us with the truth of His precious word and we are to do all things whole heartily unto Him. The Christian life is to display the characteristics of Christ to a world that is under the weight and bondage of sin.

Working hard at our tasks from the heart brings glory to God. Why are we to do this? The simple answer can in (v24). We “know” by our heart adoration though obedience to our master that we will receive our reward or inheritance.What does that reward or inheritance look like? Go back to the beginning of chapter 3! It's a life that will forever look into the eyes of our master the one that saved and removed us from the slave market of death and eternal destruction. God knows what those who have gone through so much in this earth and He hasn’t forgotten what their reward is.

Paul, reminds us though that God is omnipotent and omniscient by what he writes next (v25) We always need to understand that God deals with obedience and disobedience without impartiality! God knows the heart of man and where it’s true desire lies. The parable of the Talents is a prime example of a God who shows no favourites, but desires obedience. In  Matt 25:14-30 there were three slaves.....and they were given a certain amount of talents...while the master was gone for a period of time. A talent was a measure of weight, not a specific coin, for example: a talent of gold was more valuable than a talent of silver. Two of the slaves applied themselves diligently with their natural gifts as service unto the Lord. They both doubled the amount of money that they had received while the master was gone. And the Lord rewards the first two with this truth......'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' Matt 25:21; 23. The third person did nothing and hid his talent in the ground. The master came back and said these words........”You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matt 25:27-30. This parable is very clear! The Master represents Jesus Christ. His prolonged absence pictures the time between Christ’s ascension and His second coming. The three slaves are professing believers who have been entrusted, as stewards, with various resources, abilities, blessings and opportunities and one day everyone will all have to give an account for that stewardship. The first two slaves represent true believers by what we read in this parable.The third slave represents a person who claims to be a Christian but in reality serves himself..............lazy and slothful. This slaves response is that he has no desire or love for the master [Jesus Christ].

Paul tells us that everything we do is to be done out of adoration to the master our Lord Jesus Christ. For what he has done on the cross! By breaking the chains that held us in bondage to sin and Satan. We serve a might King [Master] who demands our complete obedience and allegiance to Him! Why? Because we are His slaves and He is our Master. The Christian home....the workplace.....the local church.....the Christian life are to be places where we live as stewards of Heaven. Why? Because our Master is seated on the Throne in all His glory and we are His representation until He comes back again! As the Hebrew writer so eloquently put it.....“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,” Heb 12:28. The Sunday question is.......How are you representing the King in your Life? Which one of the slaves are you in the parable that Jesus told to His disciples? Who truly is your master.... right Now?