Archive for the ‘Giving Our All’ Category

OFFER OF THE KINGDOM pt II – A Radical Decision

April 2, 2009

Now turn to Luke 13 and we will begin reading at verse 22.

And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

“Strive to enter by the narrow door.” You know how another text reads, “Wide is the door, broad is the way” (see Matthew 7:13). “Strive to enter by the narrow door.”

We began this section in Luke chapter 16 where it says, “Many are trying to force entry.” And you know the text in Matthew 11:12 that says, “The violent take it by force.”

It’s a radical decision and may require radical measures to carry out the decision. That word translated “strive” in verse 24 is also translated “agonize.” It literally is a word that is used in competition where the athlete is straining so much that he is sweating profusely. It is going to take some effort to enter by this door. It is a decision that is radical. I’m not speaking of performance, I’m saying that it’s gong to take some strain, some sweat just to make the decision to turn our backs on our own self-reign, our own self-will. And many want to enter by that door and will not because they will not make the radical decision to put Christ in His proper place and allow the reign to take over by way of their surrendering their reign, and allowing His will to come in place of their will. It requires a radical, radical decision and a costly one too.

Go to Matthew chapter 19.

This, once again, is the story of the rich young ruler that begins in verse 16.

And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

And you know what the young man’s answer is; he has done that since youth.

The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?”

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?”

And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”

We covered this parable from the Gospel of John and we saw that the issue with this man was with the selling of his possessions. But Jesus was not giving us a new law about getting rid of all of our goods. He was really saying, “Do I have the right to be Lord?”

Turning our back on self-reign, and self-will makes available to our Lord everything that we are and everything that we have been entrusted with; and that is a costly decision. It is a decision that must be resolute, firm, with perseverance, radical, extreme from the world’s eyes, extreme from the eyes of most even in the church. And it will be costly because from the very beginning you’ve said goodbye. It doesn’t mean get rid of it. It just means that He now reigns over it: families, farms, children, possessions. But there is a promise with it. There is a life to come promise, and there is a present promise too. A promise of more children than you can count, more possessions than you could ever own of your own; houses a hundred fold. He’s promised us houses a hundred fold as our own should he require our home. I’m telling you, it is far better to live out of His purse than our own.

Patti and I have counted beyond a hundred, places where we could go to live were He to require our home. And I’ve had several people who have attended our seminars come up to me and say, “Add ours.” And it works that way. But it is a resolute, radical, costly decision to surrender our reign and our will.

O Lord, I am asking that the ones reading this book make a conscious effort that they intend to face this decision to repent of their reign if it has not yet been done, and to repent of their will and in surrender, repentance and faith, accepting your offer to reign in their stead. Lord, I am believing that from among these will come a people that requires of their neighbors and of the church at large a supernatural explanation for their lives. Give us the courage to make the necessary decisions in surrender because You have made it possible. Lord, we give you thanks and praise Your Holy name. Amen.

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DEFINING KINGDOM – The Real Issue

January 23, 2009

The question really gets back to the issue of the reign. Does Jesus have a right to say to you and me, “Sell all that you have, give the money to the poor and come follow me?” There might be some agreement, but I’m also feeling, you know, do you really want to answer that? That’s the question.

The question is not, has Jesus said we are all to get rid of all that we have, sell it and give the proceeds to the poor and come follow Him. That’s not the issue. The issue is, does He have a right to say that? Because, you know, He does say, “No one can be my disciple who does not say good bye to all his own possessions (see Luke 14:33). We’ve talked about that, I think, at least we’ve hinted about it in the introduction. He does say, “You can’t be a disciple of Mine, you can’t come under My reign unless you say good bye to all your own possessions.” Now, He doesn’t say throw them away. He doesn’t say sell them and give the money to the poor. He just says, “Say good bye.”

I may be old but I can remember dating. And I can remember standing on Patti Barmore’s front porch and saying good bye and an hour later still being there. Good bye does not necessarily mean going right now. Usually it was when the light was switched on from the inside. That settled the issue. Then I had to decide, does Patti’s mother have a right to end the evening, and I decided that she did.

The issue is, Jesus is saying to this rich young ruler, “Do I have a right to reign over your life? You’re asking me about salvation and entering the kingdom, about God’s life that was promised in the Garden. I’ll tell you how you can have it. Just let Me die for you and cover your sins.”

Well, he was going to do that for the rich young ruler. But the issue is first and foremost, “Will you give Me the reign?” And that’s the issue in each of our lives. Does He have a right as Lord to reign over all that we are and all that He has entrusted unto us? And unless that issue is settled, we’ll not enter the realm where we can reign in life over all that is. But as soon as we do, we’ll soar like eagles. We are transformed into the realm, out on the water; however you want to say it. But it requires His reign.

END

The Pearl of Great Price –

December 2, 2008

            One last text. Go to Matthew chapter 13.  Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God here. It is a powerful chapter. There are a number of keys in this chapter. In verse 45 Jesus is speaking:

 

   “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

 

            Now, it has been taught, and I have taught too that we are the pearls and Jesus sold all that He had and gave up His entire life to purchase the pearl. I want to suggest to you that you are not the pearl, nor, am I. The kingdom is the pearl.

            Have you ever been collectors of things; stamp collectors, coin collectors, match box collectors, baseball card collectors, and things like that? I’ve collected too. I remember that for a time I collected a particular kind of coin. You know, once you get to collecting, you are always looking for that coin that is worth more than you’ve got but you hope that when you do find it you can buy it for a bargain. I was always looking for the best coin that I could afford to add to my collection.

 

            But, here’s this pearl merchant and since he made his living trading pearls, he really knew pearls and their value. He is at a flea market and he’s come across a pearl that is at a stall of someone who may not know what its worth. He’s rummaging through some things and here in this old, cracked and chipped cup is this lone pearl. And he picks that pearl up and he’s looking at it and it comes to him, “I’ve never seen a pearl like this. This pearl is worth more, a thousand times more than all I possess.”

            And he’s looking at that old man behind the table and he’s thinking, “I wonder if he knows how much this is worth? He must not know it’s worth anything. It’s out here and so available.”

And so he says off handedly and just for curiosity’s sake as if he’s really not at all interested in the pearl, “How much is this worth?”

            And the fellow behind the table says, “How much do you have?”

            Ahh! Oh, he may just have an idea that this pearl is worth a bit. But, the merchant thinks about it and begins to realize that if he doesn’t pick this up quick, somebody who might know value of pearls is going to come along and pay the price and might be able to pay more than he’s got.

And so he thinks, “I’d better start with what I’ve got.”

So the merchant says to the old man, “Well, I have an idea of what this is worth and I’ve got about $32,000 in the bank and I’ll give it all to you.”

            And he jumps in his heart because he knows he’s got a pearl that is worth a thousand times the $32,000 he’s got in the bank. He’s just got a bargain.

            Then the merchant says, “That should leave me just enough to get home on.”

            “What do you mean?” says the old man.

            “Well, I’ve got $10.50 in my pocket.”

            Well then, that’ll be $32,010.50.”

            “Are you going to dicker over $10.50?”

            “Yep!”

            “Well, I guess I’ll have to find another way to get gas for the car.”

            “Oh, you’ve got a car?”

            “Well, yes…”

            “It’s going to cost the car too.”

            “But, how am I going to get home?”

            “You’ve got a home? Then it’s going to cost $32,010.50, your car and your home.”

            “Well, I guess we can live in a tent.”

            “You’ve got a tent?”

            “You can have it all. I guess my wife and kids. . . . “

            “You’ve got a wife and children?”

 

            The kingdom of God is like a pearl merchant who upon finding a pearl of great price, sells all that he has, all that he has, all that he has.

            This gospel of the kingdom which is the power of God unto the promise that all of us have been hungering for is going to cost us our all.

            And, you have the witness of the Spirit that it is worth more than all you have. I want to challenge you to come after this pearl. Its worth a thousand times more, ten thousand times more, all than you’ll ever see. It’s worth is so far beyond what you can even imagine. Its worth makes all the gold in these billions of galaxies of our universe pale. But it’s going to cost you your all.

 

            Well the merchant considers it, knows it is worth it and says, “Okay.”

            Then the old man says, “Actually, I’ve got so much, I really just need someone to manage it for me. So, you keep it. I’ll entrust it to you. But remember, it’s mine. And if I have a need of it, you’ll know whose it is.”

 

            And that is what our Lord has done. He’s not made us destitute, and He’s not pushed us out into the cold. He’s just asking for it all. He’s not satisfied with a tithe. A tithe has been our way out. All is the way in, entering into this salvation, this eternal life, this kingdom.