Luke 18:19-33 (Amp) says, (re: the rich young ruler) Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me [essentially and perfectly morally] Good? No one is [essentially and perfectly morally] good except God only. You know the commandments: Do not kill, do not steal, do not witness falsely, honor your father and mother, “ (Exodus 20:12-16, Deuteronomy 5:16-20). “And he replied, “All these I have kept from my youth.” And when Jesus heard it, He said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell everything that you have and ‘divide [the money] among the poor, and you will have [rich] treasure in heaven; and come back [and] follow Me [become My disciple, join My party, and accompany Me].” But when he heard this, he became distressed and very sorrowful, for he was rich-exceedingly so.”
Keeping the law is never enough. Jesus shows the rich young ruler, are we willing to surrender our will to the Lord Jesus Christ and do what HE wants is the test here. We can not enter the gates of heaven based on our WORKS. It is only on the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ. He paid the price in full. And we are bought and paid for with His blood shed on the cross. Our lives are not our own. It is not wrong to have things, but there is a point where the things have you. And if the things have you, you will not be able to obey the Lord if He says, drop everything and go to China.
Are we really willing to leave everything of this world and follow Him? Many of us are being tested right now on this very issue. What is important to us to maintain an affluent lifestyle, or to do what He wants? To do what He wants without remuneration, or to become fat and rich, and famous?
To idolize ministry is also sin. The love of money is the root of ALL EVIL.
We are to be in the world, we say, but not of it. But how many of us can say it has nothing in us. How many of the decisions we make, are based on money? How many people have our programs drawn, or how much revenue has our program brought in? Are we counting? Because David counted Israel, and thousands died because of it.
What is our motivation for ministry? Should it not be to build the kingdom of GOD, not the kingdom of SELF?
Jesus came to set the captives free. He is much more concerned with what we do to obey HIM, than how much WE accomplish in our own will. Every time we go out evangelizing, do we measure our success on how many people took tracts without throwing them away, or how many we led to the Lord, or are we focusing on doing what He says in PRAYER to do, and obeying it, no matter what happens?
Jesus, observing him, said, ” How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye than [for] a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” And those who heard it , said, “Then who can be saved?”
Disciples understood the issue He was addressing. They realized the essence of what he was teaching had to do with holding on to the things of this world. And Jesus says “How difficult it is for those with wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!”
I’ve heard lots of sermons on the camel gate, etc. etc. etc., but I do not believe the
rationalization for extravagant living, when you are called to following Him.
If we are to follow Him, we are to act, walk, and talk like Him. Now this is not a having money versus no money issue. I believe God gives wealth to those HE CAN ENTRUST with it. He does not give it to GREEDY, self-seeking men. Satan does, and God allows the deluded to fall into a trap. We are not to seek after money.
We are to seek after GOD first and He will provide our every need not our every whim
and want, although He is so kind, He often does that as well to show His love for us. God has His Joseph’s in place for what HE wants in bringing HIS LOVE to the world in these end times. But the real test is, If he took it all away tomorrow would we still love him?
PAUL said, I have learned to be content in all situations, in abundance and in want. We CAN live with a lot less than we are used to. And considering the conditions of our national debt, we had better learn to do without all the fluff, and to live SIMPLY.
The poor know what it is to be in want, and can still be happy. Can we? That is the acid test. Can we do without our Gucci’s, our Mazzaroti’s etc.? We in the church have so lost touch with the poor even in our own congregations. How many times have we considered
the single moms and the widows when we want to go out to eat? Do we take them? I know people who do consider them and it is such a blessing.
But I have known many MORE in other churches I’ve frequented who don’t ever consider those who have less. This is illustrated fully in the requirements for attending big church conferences. Very few have availability for the poor to attend. They have this attitude of
“well if God wants them to come He will make a way “, but will WE MAKE THE WAY?
Jesus did not charge for His teaching the fundamentals of the faith. Most of the poor I work with could NEVER spend their money on the CD’s and tapes we take for granted. And many only give lip service to giving away free books or tapes. YET the poor are the most in need of them. 90% of apartment dwellers one source has said, go to church!
Many I know, don’t even have a car, yet many of us resent going out of our way to take people. We’ll do it, but under constraint because it interferes with our plans. We all need more patience. And we live in America where even the poor are rich compared to third world countries like our neighbors south of us.
Then, Jesus says, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” [Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:17]. That is, even the rich can be converted , and even the lowliest soul can realize the wealth that is in salvation through Christ Jesus. And they can be purged of clinging to this world. We are only strangers here.
And Peter said, “See, we have left our own [things-home, family, and business] and have followed You. ” And He said, ” I say to you truly, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God who will not receive in return many times more in this world and, in the coming age, eternal life.”
When Jesus says hard things we often want to attribute symbolism to them to justify our patterns of worldliness. But this is simple enough in language. If He calls, and we follow without looking behind, like Lot’s wife, we will truly be blessed and rich in HIM.
God gives us grace for the things He asks us to do. And we can always ask for GRACE to help in time of need.Jesus then focuses them on the coming COST for Him, to demonstrate the fleeting importance of this world compared to eternity. It says in scripture He has put eternity in our hearts. We can ask for this because it will give us a different perspective. We are NOT our own but we tend to cling to thinking we are in our flesh.
Then taking the Twelve [apostles] aside, He said to them, “Listen! We are Going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written about the Son of Man through and by the prophets will be fulfilled,” [Isaiah 53:1-12]. “For He will be handed over to the Gentiles and will be made sport of and scoffed and jeered at and insulted and spit upon,” [Isaiah 50:6].
They will flog Him and kill Him; and on the third day He will rise again, [Psalm 16:10].
But they understood nothing of these things; His words were a mystery and hidden from them, and they did not comprehend what He was telling them. Even those closest to Him did not understand what He was saying. It was hidden from them till the road to Emmaus experience. Again, Jesus is trying to get us to the place of FAITH. This is a wonderful place with eternity as a focus, and Christ as a focus. HE IS TRUTH.
HE IS LOVE. HE IS POWER. HE IS OUR RESOURCE for anything we need. OPEN our eyes FATHER!
GIVE us eternity in our hearts, that we might count the cost of discipleship and the power YOU want to pour into us and through us. God has already promised us through 2 Corinthians 8:9, that He took our poverty on the cross, so that we might be rich.
Prosperity is not dependent on how much is in our bank account, or even how much we tithe. It is a heart issue. Rather what is in our SOUL bank account? Is there FAITH? Is there LOVE? IS there PATIENCE? GOODNESS? SELF-CONTROL? PEACE?
If there are these then we are truly rich indeed and will make it through the coming days, money or not. Remember the woman who fed Elijah! Remember the loaves and fishes!
Open the eyes Abba!
|by: PRISCILLA VAN SUTPHIN of Upstream Ministries, California www.upstreamca.org & www.blogtalkradio.com/Upstream
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