“God means every Christian to be effective, to make a difference in the actual records and results of Christian work. God put each of us here to be a power. There is not one of us but is an essential wheel of the machinery and can accomplish all that God calls us to”
“And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that He might know how much every man had gained by trading.”
The magnitude of God’s grace and the abundance of His gifts are evident throughout the New Testament promises. The depth of His unmerited mercy can only be fully appreciated through the medium of walking out those gifts in faithfulness. We see this throughout the Gospels. The Parables of the pounds, the talents, the sower and others, show the variety and the wonder of His gifts AND their corresponding accountability. To each of the recipients of the Pounds in the above Parable the reward of Christ was determined by their “trading” of the thing given. The individual who received one pound without their diligence to the precious gift given were never able to fully appreciate the gift or the giver’s worth. It remained unchanged, undeveloped and unappreciated. For such the Day of the Lord holds no rejoicing. How did Jesus respond to the one who held His precious things lightly?
“Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant… and he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds…”
The great gifts of God require our full attention. They become far more developed and valuable as we are faithful to them. In this Parable (unlike the Parable of the Talents) every individual was given the same initial amount; through their faithfulness and investment the one pound became ten, and to another became five. Yet for the slothful one, the one talent remained one. In the Parable of the Sower the one seed sown in a variety of the soils, produced very different outcomes. The fruitfulness of the seed was determined by the soil, not the seed! The same Pound given produced different results in the lives of each of these individuals. The great eternal question to each of us? What have we done with the precious gifts allotted to us?
We read in the great chapter of Faith in Hebrews 11, the faith of our forefather’s lives and the testimony they have left for us that we might walk in like manner.
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respectunto the recompense of the reward”
The reason Moses forsook Egypt and chose to suffer affliction and reproach was because he had “respect” for the eternal rewards of Christ! He accounted the reproach of Christ to be of more value than Pharaoh’s riches! Men and women who fail to develop the great gifts of God hold a disrespect for His Gifts of Mercy and Grace. The verity of Moses having “respect unto the reward” is a New Testament truth declared in the Book of Hebrews; it is a truth of infinite value for the people of God in this day! We live in a Day when the Gospel preached minimizes or denies the reward and the Judgment Seat of Christ unto His Own! (2 Corinthians 5:10) We have a gospel today which speaks of a salvation regardless of how we live our lives where the faithful and the unfaithful all just go to heaven without any eternal consequences relating to the life they lived. Without the solemn truth of the “fear of the Lord” men and women, who are truly God’s children, see no reason to develop the gifts of Christ in their own lives. Much of the “ministry” in God’s house is satisfied with a people who are undeveloped in their “own” gifts and ministries in God. This false gospel is convenient for the leaders as they maintain their authority with little or no local accountability. It is also convenient for the people as they feel free of their responsibility to God in His purposes for their lives.
“…the priests rule by their own authority; and my people love to have it so”
The result is a poor and impoverished church which lacks power, vitality and the raising up of the Body of Christ through the development of their own ministrations. This arrangement will not alter the accountability of each individual unto God for themselves. His Word is clear and our Day of giving an account of how we lived our lives unto Him remains true and unchangeable.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men”
2 Corinthians 5:10-11
(I do not write these things to be contentious, but because I am compelled to be faithful unto His Word to all who read these things. We want our day of standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ to be a day of joy and great rewards, not of loss and sorrow.)
A gospel which denies our accountability is not only a deceptive lie but a robbery of God’s glory and investment!
“Will a man rob God?” “Yet ye have robbed me” But ye say, ‘Wherein have we robbed thee?’ In tithes and offerings”
The tithes and offerings of the New Testament is for us to give back to God the increase of His gifts to us. If one with a gift of healing, a word of knowledge, a ministry in the Word, or a thousand other ministrations He has lavished on the Body of Christ does not invest that in others, we not only rob ourselves of the reward of Christ but we also rob His Body which is to be built up “by the functioning of every part”! (Ephesians 4:16) If every part is not functioning, the Body of Christ will suffer loss!
Paul in his understanding of this vital truth exhorted and encouraged the people of God to walk and fulfill the ministry that God had given unto them.
“And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hastreceived in the Lord, that thou fulfil it”
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee…”
1 Timothy 4:14
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God…”
2 Timothy 1:6
We must reject a gospel which presents ministry as something for a privileged few and began to read His Word in the truth and solemnity of its simple declarations.
“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all”
1 Corinthians 12:7
Read the context of this scripture and do not let any teaching, doctrine or cunning words of men deter you from the truth and grace which has been given to “each one” of us!
When we stand before Him, may we each hear:
“Well DONE, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
“For WE must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad”
2 Corinthians 5:10
Contrary to much of the teaching of our day we are to live righteously and to admonish one another to keep His Fire burning in our hearts. If we succumb to the world and its ways we will not desire nor seek out the fellowship of others who will hold us accountable. It is in our hearts knowing that we must all appear before the Judgement seat of Christ whereby we desire the true fellowship in order to grow and walk in righteousness. They who are of the night have no inclination for these things.
The revelation of the life of those who claim to be His is known by the environment and the relationships they choose.
“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed”
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ”
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ”
In this scripture we read the language of one in whom the Cross of Christ was a living reality. This expression is the “the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”. The power of God revealed within the life of an individual is summed up in this one verse. Men and women may fast and pray for this power but the essence of God is expressed through the lives of those who walk in the substance of this truth.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…”
Religious people often pray for things that only obedience can unlock. Prayer is essential to a life in the Spirit; it is through prayer that we find Grace and divine enablement to live the life of obedience. Religion attempts to replace obedience with prayer. The true Christian experience is through prayer we become obedient. When power is lacking in God’s house it is the result of the church embracing a crossless Gospel. The Gospel of the Cross of Christ will bring His Life, His Power, His character and His Glory into this dark world through the medium of a surrendered people.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ”
The measure of all that we do, embrace, declare and allow into our lives is to be measured by this one principle: His Life in us. The decree of God is such that in order to live in one realm we must experience death in the other. We cannot find life in this world and expect to hold on to His Life in the other. We are living in a day of choice. Discipleship is a decision that no one else can make for us. It is a decision of the heart; a decision based upon love. What men love they serve, as Jesus sums up so succinctly in this verse…
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”
It takes very little discernment in our interactions with others to discover what the treasure is in their lives. Out of the abundance of the heart men speak and thereby reveal their primary love.
“So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God”
Spiritual poverty is the result of the choices we make. We are the “epistles” read of all men. The depth and power of God is expressed through “earthen vessels” and as such we must bear the responsibility for the life we express. We have lost sight of our responsibility to show forth His light and life in this world. It is the fruit of a Gospel which has lost sight of God; a gospel that is centered upon people rather than God. Where men absolve themselves of accountability and relegate their walk to words, teaching and statements of faith, Godlessness and unrighteousness become acceptable. It is in such a time that God raises up the Prophetic to “show the (heavenly) house to the (earthly/fallen) house” (Ezekiel 43:10).
“Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities…”
The religion of today wants to be able to love this world, walk and live in the ways of this world and yet take hold of all the things of God. Such things will never be.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”
1 John 2:15
It is through the true fellowship of the Spirit and in the worship of Him where the things of His life become more real to us than the dim things of earth. Wherever His people gather and commune together in the Love of Jesus that men and women are drawn out of this world and into His.
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”
“This dandelion has long ago surrendered its golden petals, and has reached its crowning stage of dying–the delicate seed-globe must break up now–it gives and gives till it has nothing left.”
Art Work by Lilias Trotter (14 July 1853 – 28 August 1928) A Missionary who poured out her life to the call of Christ in Algeria. Her artwork is the expression of her devotion to that Call.
“For man also knoweth not his time”
The great deception of life is the blindness of its own mortality. The foolish man declares tomorrow I will do this or that; in truth we have only today to walk uprightly and to treat others with the wisdom and kindness of God. We only have today to hear His voice and to live our lives to please Him. The Psalmist declares…
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”
The wise man who walks in the fear of the Lord knows the importance of each day. Those with an understanding of “the Holy” know that each day presents opportunities of faith and accountability unto Him who sees the very intent of a man’s heart. Our days are not to be spent foolishly or without regard to Him unto whom we must give an account. In reality the journey of man is brief and filled with foolishness but those who “number their days” make a concerted effort to apply wisdom.
Men who fear the Lord seek out fellowship with others who know of this wisdom. They gather for no other reason than to worship Him who alone is worthy; to speak and exhort one another to live each day to the doing of His Will.
“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name”
This is the fruit of those who have tasted and touched the Holiness of God. Sadly many allow each day to pass without the application of His Truth and His Will. God speaks daily to one who has ears to hear and a heart to obey.
“Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice Harden not your heart”
Hebrews 3:7, 3:15. 4:7
“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself,
neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes”
This is a word to God’s people. This is a word concerning today. Somehow we have to come to think that being born again is like a “get out of jail free” card; that we no longer have responsibility or accountability for how we live our daily lives. The context of this scripture is one that should cause us to radically consider our ways and our concept of what it means to be a Christian.
“But and if that servant say in his heart,My lord delayeth his coming;and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens,and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;The lord of that servant will comein a day when he looketh not for him,and at an hour when he is not aware,and will cut him in sunder,and will appoint himhis portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will,and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not,and did commit things worthy of stripes,shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more”
From these very words we can clearly see that HE REQUIRES MORE of His people than of the world. The more we know of HIS Kingdom the more shall be required of us. Greater understanding brings greater accountability. Rather than being puffed up with knowledge we need to be sober and filled with fear and trembling as we walk before Him. The “fear of the Lord is the beginning (chief part) of wisdom”. Men who do not fear Him do not know Him. Men who seek and desire preeminent places of standing, who seek recognition and favor from others, know not God. It is a day to walk lowly and humbly before our God. It is a day to prepare ourselves for the fury of that which is about to break forth in our land.
The Greek word used here for “prepare”* is the same Greek word translated in the Gospels when speaking of John the Baptist’s ministration as a fore runner to prepare the way of the Lord. It is a warning to us that we are to be prepared. In the Greek it is an active verb which means it is incumbent upon us to be ACTIVE in the fulfilling of this word. The judgment comes to those who do not PREPARE themselves and they who know and do not are in greater judgment than those who knew not. Let us take heed to this. Let us know that our boldness in the day of Judgment is determined by our likeness to Him.
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness
in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world”
How we are in this world determines our day of Judgment. The Day of preparation is all about the heart. It is about right motives and intentions; for it is the PURE IN HEART who shall SEE GOD. Our greatest need in this hour is to SEE HIM for that is the only hope we have of becoming like HIM (2 Corinthians 3:18). Malachi prophesying of our day speaks of Him coming to His people as a refiner’s fire…
“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers ‘soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…”
The DAY of HIS appearing is unfolding before our eyes. The distress of nations is upon us. Fear is beginning to grip men’s hearts. The very foundations of society are being removed and men do not know where to put their trust. It is for this Day that the scriptures warn us to be a people who ARE preparing ourselves and are warning those around us as to the day and the hour in which we are living. It is not the Day for business as usual. This is no time for routine Sunday sermons and fireless prayer meetings; casual Biblical discussions that do not bring conviction, the fear of the Lord and a stirring of the heart unto love and devotion to Jesus.
Many will say in that day “Lord, Lord…” to which Jesus will respond “I never knew you…”
May God stir our hearts afresh to be vigilant and sober that we be not overtaken by the slumber and apathy of this hour.
“Prepare ye the Way of the Lord”
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it”
1. To make ready, prepare
2. To make the necessary preparations,
get everything ready
Drawn from the oriental custom of sending on
before Kings on their journeys persons to level the roads and make them passable (Isaiah 40:3-4)
To prepare the minds of men to give the Messiah a fit reception and secure his blessings. BLB Greek Lexicon
“…show forth his salvation from day to day”
The Hebrew word used here for show means to declare, preach, bear tidings and to show forth a message. The truth of God’s salvation, His purpose and His Presence in our hearts should be one of showing forth what He has done in our lives and a telling of that to the world around us. To whatever measure we have tasted and seen of His goodness there should be a demonstration of it in our lives. Who we are should validate what we declare. The evidence of the one should give weight to the things we say. Our daily responses with family and friends, our business dealings, our interactions with co-workers and even with the guy who cuts you off in traffic should be something that shows his salvation!
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”
1 PETER 3:15
The loss of impact in this world brought about by religious words from lives that are out of sync with His message is tragic. The purpose of His dealings in our lives is to make the one the verity of the other. We need to be declaring Him in the world around us, we need to be bolder in our testimony of Him to this world, but let us also have a greater awareness of the accountability of our actions and words. We are exhorted in the book of James…
“So speak ye, and so do as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty…”
We need to be reminded that we are accountable to the judge of all men for the words we speak and the actions we take. The message we bear is HIM. Let us seek that continual work of His transformation in our lives that we may show as well as tell.
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world”
1 JOHN 4:17
“Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!.”
I CORINTHIANS 9:16
The ministration of the Gospel is not for a select few; it is the awesome responsibility of every one of His people. Each one of us is CALLED to a unique and specific ministration of HIS LIFE. The Good News of HIS LIFE IS the Gospel. It is most perplexing that we have relegated the preaching of the Gospel to a select few when in reality each of us may be the only Bible that some people are going to see and hear. It is a DAY to live and preach the Gospel to all of those that are around us; to those who are walking in darkness and to those who are walking in the light! We see our brothers and sisters struggling in sin and defeat; they also need the GOOD NEWS that there IS an answer to their struggles! We need to see that the reality of the LIFE of Christ IS the answer for the world. We need to be bearing within our hearts the eternal flame of HIS CRY for all men.
“For thou shalt be his witness unto ALL men of what thou hast seen and heard”
The criterion of our witness to others is based on what WE have seen and heard! I am not responsible to preach or declare what someone else has seen or heard. My responsibility is to DECLARE WHAT I HAVE SEEN AND HEARD! The question to each of us now is, WHAT HAVE WE SEE AND HEARD? Men who see little have little to show in their lives of our great God. Men who hear little have little to declare of the goodness and majesty of our God.
We live in a day of information overload; a day in which knowledge has increased. Unfortunately, this knowledge has produced little in the Christian Church in North America of a clear and powerful expression of the risen Christ. Too few have burning within their hearts the passion to EXPRESS HIS LIFE in this world. Too many are content to sit in faithless inactivity as it relates to the ministration of HIS LIFE in this world. The apathy of “if God wants it done He will do it” is the statement of a heart that has not touched the core of God’s heart. If “God so loved the world that HE sent HIS SON” will HE not also send you and me? If Paul cried out “Woe is unto me… if I preach not the Gospel” how can we be excused from our own responsibility? In the midst of all the religious activity around us, where is the burden in the lives of individuals to become an expression of HIS GLORY? Where is the sense of HIS CALL upon our lives? Where is the inescapable desire within our hearts for a life in HIM that completely transcends our present reality? Men who have no vision of God will have no sense of the purpose of the life that God has called them unto. We are to be HIS WITNESSES unto ALL men. We are to BE HIS EXPRESSION of all that HE is to ALL MEN! What that expression in each of us is dependent upon what we “have seen and heard” individually. The lack of a burden to reveal HIM, the absence of a cry within each of us to reveal our portion of HIM in the earth, is an all too common sign of the condition of the Day in which we live.
HIS return is predicated on the preaching of the Gospel…
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the end come”
“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God”
These words describe the human condition. There are none with understanding or desire to seek after God. NONE. Whether it is Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, religious or non-religious, this is man’s standing before God. God’s issue with men is not because they do not understand, nor seek HIM, HIS issue is…
“…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”
II THESSALONIANS 2:10
To individually have a LOVE (agape’) for truth one must first receive it. Living truth is a two-edged sword that cuts even to the place of “the thoughts and intents of our hearts.” Since this love of truth is freely offered and given on the basis of Faith, we must conclude that we in and of ourselves have nothing to offer God. He has concluded ALL in unbelief! Where is boasting; it is negated. In terms of understanding or seeking God anything within us that lends itself to the pursuit of these things is completely apart from our innate abilities or personal value. God is NO respecter of persons (Jew or Gentile, slave or free, rich or poor….); HE gives freely to all who ask.
Now we are brought into the sphere of our awesome RESPONSIBILITY. Since this wondrous gift has been (past tense) given to us on the basis of Grace we now must face the responsibility of WHAT WE HAVE DONE AND HOW WE HAVE HANDLED THIS priceless gift!
“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come…And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading…”
Luke 19:12 – 27
We are free from any responsibility to work up a “love for truth” or a desire to seek HIM from our own carnal resources! We are, however, completely responsible for the care and diligence that we exert toward those things which HE HAS GIVEN. Anything within my life that desires HIS WAY, HIS TRUTH and HIS LIFE is a result of HIS GRACIOUS GIFT and if I do not yield myself to that call in my life I am without excuse! Every little impression that I feel from my heart toward HIM is HIS CALL to me to see more of HIM, to be transformed BY the seeing of HIM, and to sense a deeper hold on my life than I knew before. This is the RESPONSE by the faith of the Son of God within each heart. Failure to respond to HIS LOVING CALL will result in a life that is cold, indifferent and lukewarm in its pursuit of God. We seek HIM to the degree that we LOVE HIM. Love is ever deepened by relationship. If I were to not talk with my wife or not share things with her our relationship would never deepen and the relevance of her in my life would be minimized. So is it with God. The full value of the gift is realized by my diligence to the development and enlargement of it. In this parable everyone was entrusted with the exact same gift. The fruitfulness of each man was based upon their response to what was given.
IT IS AN IMMUTABLE TRUTH THAT WE SHALL ALL GIVE AN ACCOUNT FOR THE PRICELESS GIFT THAT HAS BEEN PLACED IN OUR TRUST
Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like…
“The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof”
MATTHEW 13:31 – 32
This love for truth that was sown into our hearts is to grow from SEED TO TREE. It is to grow from something that is small and insignificant to something that is large and strong in which others may come and find rest upon the branches of its life within us. From SEED to TREE is a description of the KINGDOM OF GOD! Men are always looking for some great event, some “moment” in time when the heavens will suddenly open and everything is changed. But without the quiet, consistent and determined effort on our part to GROW in the daily affairs of life we will not be ready in that day to give an account of how we lived our life.
SEED TO TREE
SEED TO TREE CHILD TO MAN IS THE PURPOSE OF GOD IN HIS GRACIOUS PLAN
SEED TO TREE STRENGTH TO STRENGTH GLORY TO GLORY AND FAITH TO FAITH
A LIFE EVER PROGRESSING NEW GLORIES TO SEE MAY YOUR LIFE EVER DRAW ME TO NEW PLACES IN THEE
“Things great have small beginnings. Every downpour is just a raindrop; every fire is just a spark; every harvest is just a seed; every journey is just a step because without that step there will be no journey; without that raindrop there can be no shower; without that seed there can be no harvest.”