Stuff That Matters To God
There are lots of things in the Bible that we tend to gloss over, but are clearly very important to God. I list some here, so that we can at least start to address them. I think the best place to start is the passage that explains why Jesus came. Jesus came so that we might have Life, abundant Life. This is not talking about stuff, he is talking about the transformed life.
MKJV John 10;10 The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly . 11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 But he who is a hireling and not the shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away. And the wolf catches them and scatters the sheep. 13 The hireling flees, because he is a hireling and does not care for the sheep.
Jesus came that we ‘might have life, and … have it more abundantly’ I don’t think it is a coincidence that we immediately hear about the distinction between Jesus’ example of a good Shepard and the warnings about hired hands. We need to understand about these hired hands if we are going to have any chance of living this abundant transformed life. The Good Shepherd, The Wolf, Or The Leopard Are You In Christ’s Sheepfold?
What matters new creation;
NLT Gal 2;13 And even those who advocate circumcision don’t keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples. 14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation . 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.
Those being transformed into a new creation are the new people of God. The people who are letting God lead, who are allowing the Holy Spirit to change the way they think, who are living by the Spirit’s power, these are the new people of God.
Don’t Seek Comfort
AMP Matt 16;25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done.
We are asked to give up our comfort in this life in service and submission to God, keeping our eyes on our real home in heaven.
AMP Luke 6;24 But woe to (alas for) you who are rich (abounding in material resources), for you already are receiving your consolation (the solace and sense of strengthening and cheer that come from prosperity) and have taken and enjoyed your comfort in full [having nothing left to be awarded you]. 25 Woe to (alas for) you who are full now (completely filled, luxuriously gorged and satiated), for you shall hunger and suffer want! Woe to (alas for) you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep and wail!
This so easily can be us. We abound in material resources. We usually have that sense of cheer that comes from prosperity. We enjoy our comfort, but hopefully we don’t fall into the next category, those having nothing left to be awarded you. Hopefully we are giving to the poor(building treasure in heaven), humbly serving others, following the Holy Spirit and using our spiritual gifts to support the flock, and carrying our cross –s eeking and carrying out the specific assignment that God gives each one of us. We are to turn from our comfort here [Matt 16:25 above], and forfeit our lives in service to the Kingdom [not sit on our butts enjoying our riches]. That is why the warning to the rich about threading the camel thru the eye of a needle.
AMP Matt 19;23 And Jesus said to His disciples, Truly I say to you, it will be difficult for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of heaven.
Road to life;
AMP Matt 7; 12 So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets. 13 Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. 14 But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.
NLT 1 John 5;12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. 13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
Trying to resolve the last two passages is challenging. I think we are to conclude, that there are two roads of travel for those thinking they believe in Christ. There is the wide worldly road and the narrow spiritual road. Those relying on head knowledge of a spiritual being are stuck on a dead end road. We need to develop spiritual sight. Seeing Straight, Seeing With Spiritual Eyes The Bible is clear that we can never know God through human worldly wisdom.
NLT 1 Cor 1;19 As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” 20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom , he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.
God makes the wisdom of the world look foolish and saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom. We are even told that wise sounding preaching is useless – Biblical Sermons
Living by the Spirit’s Power
NLT Gal 5;16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
May we all turn from our sinful selfish desires, following the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives, becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus, finding his narrow Gate, turning from the riches and comfort of this world boasting only about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.