Asset or Liability

Philippians 3.8 observes all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

What do we consider assets?

I supposed context determines that answer. If speaking to our insurance agent then it would be most of our physical property. If talking to our doctor who just told us we had terminal cancer it would probably be our family.

When would the answer be God?

On our death bed? For most of us that is probably how we view our spiritual lives: somewhere in the background but not particularly relevant to our daily lives.

This was not the Apostle Paul’s perspective nor was it for Jesus and neither was it for any of the great saints whether recorded or not recorded in the Bible.

Those who have sacrificed most for God have always considered God their greatest asset.

These people live from the perspective of eternal reward. They ask themselves what will pay dividends one million years from now rather than just in twenty years from now.

God will reward for all eternity that which is eternal. The only two things He mentions as eternal are the souls of people and His word.

How can we see God as a greater asset in our life?

First, by getting to know Him better. He is not our greatest asses because He is not our first love.

Second, by doing more for Him. The more we invest of our time, talent and treasure on the things that matter most to God the more we will seek eternal return on investment.

It was Jesus Who said where our treasure is there will our hearts be also – treasure first then our heart.

What will it take for us to consider everything in our lives compared to Christ a liability because He is such a beloved asset?

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Working for God

John 17.4 declares I glorified You on earth by completing the work You gave me to do. Men glorify themselves through their work.

Sin takes away from our true nature and true focus which is God and His will and glory on earth as it is in heaven, instead we emphasize man and his will and glory on the earth. This explains why men work so hard to create a name for themselves and determine their worth by how successful in the world of work they have become.

Jesus, Who never sinned, never lost His focus, neither did He place His will and glory over that of the glory and will of the Father, instead He lived always as a servant of God: the very life Christians are to follow.

Doing God’s work requires we become God’s servants. All of our time, talent and treasure is to be placed at God’s disposal for God’s use.

No longer are Christians to live selfish lives defining themselves by what they have or what they do but by how much they have done and how much they have sacrificed for the glory of God and the expansion of His kingdom upon the earth.

Doing God’s work will include doing what Jesus did, and that which He spent the most time doing was making disciples.

Jesus invested in twelve men eleven of whom would be the heralds of the Church. So too Christians have been commanded to make disciples to ensure the next generation has men equipped and committed to expanding the church of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

In addition Jesus taught and did good works among thousands.

At every opportunity, as much as we can, the Christian should use his talents and treasure to influence men to Christ until God’s will of every person being saved is accomplished.

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Peace

John 16.33 promises in Me you may have peace. In this world you have trouble.

Everyone wants peace; peace of mind, peace at heart and peace with their fellow man.

This desire for peace creates an unrealistic optimism that it can be achieved on earth.

This explains why we demand our rights, we demand justice, and we demand tolerance: we make numerous demands in order to achieve peace.

Unfortunately we never obtain peace this way despite how loud we yell, how many laws we pass or how severe our punishment upon those who don’t seem to cooperate with our peaceful efforts.

This is because we deny two realities when we attempt to demand peace in the world.

First is no peace can exist until peace with God through Jesus Christ is achieved.

As long as people stay unreconciled to God they will remain irreconcilable with one another.

Jesus says peace with God is had only through Him. Until we make peace with God though Jesus Christ we have no ability to make peace with anyone else for we have not yet made peace even within ourselves.

We find our peace when we have found peace with God.

Second, until every person is reconciled to God and at peace with Him man will continue to be at war with man.

Our human nature is selfish, self-centered and corrupt; it does not do the things it should by nature because it cannot.

Therefore people will never be fully at peace with other people until each person is born again with the peace of God that transforms our lives from darkness to light.

Jesus told us in this world we would not have peace but in this world we can have peace with God and thus begin to have peace with other human beings.

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Being Fruitful

John 15.2 promises God takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in Me.

The Protestant proclamation of salvation by grace alone and not by works, while true, has become salvation by grace alone; no works necessary.

Jesus warns in one of His most famous teachings that unless good fruit is produced by His people those people will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

This is true not because the works are measured for getting into heaven but because the works are measured for proving heaven was in the person.

Jesus came doing good the Scriptures teach, culminating in the sacrifice of His life for the sins of the world.

Jesus describes Himself as a servant, and servants do the will of their master, Who in Jesus’ case is the Father God. In the case of Jesus’ followers, also called servants, the Master is Jesus Whose will is to be done daily at the expense of our own personal agenda by taking-up our cross daily, denying ourselves and obeying the clear directives of Jesus.

Just as Jesus did not do His will but the will of His Father so too Christians are not to focus on their wants and desires but upon the will of God being done for the glory of God.

What is the will of God?

That every person come to know Jesus as Savior and surrender to Him as Lord which is why He commands His people to become laborers in His ripe harvest field by going into all the world and making disciples.

We must stop measuring our lives by our income, recreation and possessions but rather by the return of our investment of time, talent and treasure toward the winning of people to Jesus and their development into perfect obedience to His will.

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The importance of Scripture

John 12.48 promises the word I have spoken will judge you at the last day.

While Jesus was teaching, the people questioned Him for they had heard something different from what He was telling them (12.34), yet Jesus insisted it was His words that would be the standard on judgment day. If Jesus is God as He claimed to be then His words must be considered true but if He is not God then neither is He a good man for He deceived many and His words should be ignored.

Believing that Jesus is God, the Savior of the world and the Judge of all humanity, why do we ignore His words relying instead upon what we have heard about Him?

The final exam God will give to us is no secret; all the answers are in the book so that we might pass the test. Yet most Christians struggle to spend any time reading the Bible.

Christians should be reading the Scriptures as much as possible so that they can know their God and obey His commands.

Certainly God will consider us without excuse for failing to live in obedience to Him when we were given His clear teaching to follow.

Why do we give the outcome of our eternal destiny to others instead of owning the responsibility to know God for ourselves?

God’s Word is clear and we have been blessed with the capacity to study God’s word for ourselves – something most of humanity throughout history never had the privilege to do. To whom much has been given much will be required taught the Lord Jesus, and we have been given very much.

We have no excuse beyond our selfishness and laziness for not taking a few minutes per day to read the Scriptures so that we can know deeply our God and obey His commands.

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Becoming Holy

Ephesians 1.4 commands we be holy and unblemished in His sight. God is holy, perfect and pure – if He were anything else could He really be God?

Since God desires to live with people even as He now lives in people, His will is that we become like He is: holy in character and conduct.

God modeled this life for us when He lived with us in Jesus. Jesus is holy and Jesus was holy, perfectly obeying His Father on earth just as He is obeyed in heaven.

As disciples of Jesus, Christians are to purse holy living in conformity to the will of God.

How then do we align ourselves with the will of God that we might become holy as He is holy? Jesus taught us by word and deed how we must live.

First we must become diligent students of the Scriptures.

It is the Scripture that teaches us everything we need to know about the character and will of God for our lives. It is these Scriptures that Jesus lived not departing from the least of His commands recorded in them.

We are not prone to holiness by birth, we must be born again to become spiritually alive then we must feed our spiritual nature with the word of God until it becomes our primary food as it was for Jesus.

But knowing God and His will is not the same as doing God’s will. Satan knows God and His will but intentionally disobeys Him.

We must be doers of God’s word if we are to truly prove our allegiance to God.

Jesus came doing the will of His Father not just learning and talking about it.

Holiness is active not passive, it is the bringing of God’s kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.

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Measuring our Faith

Galatians 6.15 states the only thing that matters is a new creation.

Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia addresses the concern of what a person must do in order to gain heaven.

Paul taught that people need only repent and follow Jesus, placing Him as their Savior, Lord and God over their lives.

The evidence of such a commitment was a new character and disposition described as fruit of the Spirit with a new focus upon the expansion of God’s Kingdom on earth through loving, serving and sharing with others the person of Jesus Christ.

But to some this was not enough for getting into heaven, rather they wanted to add the legal requirements from the law God had given to Israel through Moses. Paul argued that men had never been able to keep that law and so God abandoned that requirement after He Himself fulfilled the law in Jesus then offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for all those who failed to obey the law.

Paul summarizes his teaching in this letter by challenging the Galatians to look at the fruit of their faith to see if there were any signs that they were true disciples of Jesus.

This evidence would be found in a new nature with a new focus – one that reflected the character and will of God rather than the character and self-centered living of the uncommitted man. This too should be how we measure both our own faith and those who likewise claim to be followers of Jesus.

The goal of our faith is conformity into the image of Jesus until we are totally like Him in thought, word and deed.

To this end we are to pray, work and exhort one another, proving our own salvation.

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Being a Christian

John 8.31 promises if you continue to follow My teaching you are really My disciples.

Many think being a Christian is a one-time event with a weekly meeting thrown-in for confirmation.

We usually equate being a Christian with having prayed a prayer at a certain point in our life. Some go so far as to believe that if a person can’t identify that specific date then they probably aren’t Christians at all.

Jesus, God in human form, Who alone Judges humanity’s destiny of heaven or hell, defined His people as disciples – those who continue to learn and obey His teachings.

While there may be a specific date at which we began to follow Jesus, the real question is whether today we are following Jesus by seeking His instruction and implementing His commands through our life.

Those who truly obey God and have children will be constantly teaching them about Jesus so that their having a specific time when they began their journey will be exceedingly difficult to identify.

The question really isn’t when did you begin but are you now following Jesus?

This of course is the more difficult question to answer for obeying Jesus everyday is much different than saying a prayer to Him on one day.

Jesus became the Savior because every day He obeyed God and on one day that obedience cost Him His life.

So too one day we surrender our lives to having Jesus Lord over us then every day we obey Him by first seeking to know His teaching from the bible then implementing that teaching into our daily encounters.

Those who do these things can truly say they are Jesus disciples and so on their way to heaven.

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God Pleasers

Galatians 1.10 observes if I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.

As Jesus taught, people cannot love money and love God, so Paul taught we cannot be both man pleasers and God pleasers.

We were created by God for God to please God.

When sin entered the world and man no longer inherently sought to please God that original inclination to please God became misaligned to instead please men.

This is why we have such a compelling desire to want people to accept us.

It explains why our children are so concerned about fitting-in with their peer group. But because men are sinful the pleasure of men will not be the pleasure of God in most instances.

Men desire first place, fame, recognition, honor and prestige. All of these things belong first to God and are the duty of men to give to God.

This explains why so little is done for the glory of God but so much is done to honor ourselves. We spend the bulk of our time and treasure on building our own kingdom rather than giving away these things for the building of the kingdom of God.

Christians are to be servants of God as Paul indicated to the Christians in Galatia.

Far too many Christians seek God to become their servant giving them what they ask and doing for them the things they want. God is not Santa Claus whose existence is for distributing gifts to men.

God is a holy and glorious King Who demands allegiance and seeks workers who will build His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

One day God will hold every person accountable and will reward each person based upon how they lived their lives whether to please men or to please God.

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True Religion

John 4.22 observes you people worship what you do not know.

When God lived with us as a man, the Lord Jesus, He had no problem telling someone their religion was wrong.

One of God’s objectives in living with us was to reveal to us the true nature and will of God.

God takes offense at the many religions for nearly all of them distort His true image and character. Since people were made by God for God all people from all time have worshiped something but only a few have worshiped God for Who He truly is in the way He requires.

Those who truly know God are to help others do the same so that God is honored among all people. Were a thousand pages written about us from a thousand different authors we too would want to ensure people know the truth and would not be deceived by the imaginations of some.

So too God wants the truth of His Person made known and the misinformation about Him stopped.

God has revealed Himself to specific people during specific times and has had recorded these occurrences so that all people everywhere could know with certainty Who God is and what God requires from us so that we are without excuse when we face Him again following our passing from this life into the next.

There really is only one true religion because there really is only one true God.

The God recorded in the Bible and promoted through the Christian religion is obviously true when scrutinized objectively. The other religions when analyzed thoughtfully are obviously false for the god they portray looks and acts more like men than God.

God has come to us and revealed Himself to us in Jesus; if we would live lives pleasing to God we must obey Him.

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