How are we to be what we are meant to be? A preacher, a teacher, a deacon, a church secretary, a witness, one of the board of trustees, the list goes on. It does not matter the size of the local church body that we may be affiliated with. It boils down to:
A faithful fruit tree will bring forth faithful followers.
How do we live?
By being a faithful Servant.
Church Hymnal, page 162, Living By Faith:
I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything
And all of my worries are vain.
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.
We are also to live justly, to live holy, to live upright, to be transformed, and to be renewed.
We are to be Situated in the Lord.
We are to be Saturated in the Word.
We are to be Separated from the World.
We can be Sanctified by God.
The unfaithful will not get the same rewards as the faithful. We are not to strive for rewards but for the love of the Lord.
How do we work?
By Searching for souls.
Are we are losing the battle for souls? We can see that the world has so much more to offer today than ever before. We have failed in evangelism, we have failed God, and we have failed the souls that are out there. We do more for the church building, the music programs, and our church functions may have increased, but the winning of souls has decreased. We have been too busy making the church look like the world and pleasing to the world, instead of training disciples to go out into the world. Those who preach the Gospel, those who teach the Gospel, those who witness the Gospel, and any other believer should live the Gospel.
There should be a difference between church growth and growing the church. It is not about filling the church house but emptying hell and filling heaven with souls. The only people that do not know that there are souls out there searching for something are those who are not out there searching for souls. Have we ever wondered why some churches are so popular? Because they go out to where the souls are. They do not just sit in their comfort zone waiting on people to show up.
How do we die?
By being a good Soldier.
Where are all the good spiritual soldiers? Have they all retired, or did they all die in battle? What does the military do? They train to fight. There is a war out there. A spiritual war. There should never be a war within the church.
God did not call us to be a CEO, (Chief Executive Officers) of the church but Combat Effect Officers…spiritual workers. It is not about the pay, the position, the prestige, the perks, or the promotions. It is about our sacrifice, our servanthood, our soldiering, and soul winning. Where are our battle scars?
We have been chosen to reach the lost.
Who bids for our soul?
The Devil promises fame, fortune, wealth, and praise, but only delivers sin and sorrow. Jesus is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, forgiveness, patience, and everlasting life. Who will come and go with me? I am bound for the promised land.
Church Hymnal, page 397, Who Is That Knocking?
Who is that calling for me to come, Come and be saved from sin?
Who is that knocking at my heart’s door, Wanting to be let in?
Who is that knocking, calling, seeking, Who is that troub’ling my soul?
Surely tis Jesus, asking, pleading, Wanting to make me whole.
What if God did to us what this man did to another?
This passage of Scripture responds to Peter's inquiry concerning how often he ought to pardon a brother (or sister) who sins against him. Jesus explains with an illustration concerning the servant and a king. The king excuses the man's tremendous, unpayable obligation. However, the servant will not pardon the more modest debt owed to him by another and has that man tossed behind bars. The king is enraged and asks the servant for what good reason he did not show similar leniency that he had been given. The king has the man imprisoned until he pays everything. Jesus says that God the Father will do likewise to the individuals who do not pardon their brothers.
The rabbis instructed that individuals ought to pardon the individuals who irritate them multiple times. Peter, attempting to be particularly liberal, inquired as to whether seven times (the "perfect" number) was sufficient to excuse somebody. Yet, Jesus replied, "Until seventy times seven" (the number of time everlasting), implying that we ought not monitor how frequently we pardon somebody. We ought to consistently pardon the individuals who are truly contrite and sincere, regardless of how frequently they inquire for forgiveness.
In Biblical times, significant repercussions awaited the individuals who could not pay off their obligations, their debts. The person loaning the money could hold onto the borrower who could not repay him and enforce him or his family to work until the debt was paid. The debt holder could likewise be tossed into jail, or his family could be sold into subjugation (slavery) to assist in paying off the debt. It was trusted that the borrower, while in jail, would auction his landholdings or that family members would pay the debt. If not, the borrower would stay in jail forever.
Jesus and Forgiveness:
Forgiveness in General:
Status of Sins:
Since God has excused every one of our wrongdoings, he has forgiven every sin that we have or will commit, we ought not retain absolution from others. That means we should forgive others. Acknowledging how totally Christ has excused us should deliver a free and liberal demeanor of pardoning towards others. At the point when we do not forgive others, we are setting ourselves outside or above Christ's law of law, as if we are better than that. We are not.
Looking for solitude was a significant need for Jesus (Matthew 14:13). He made room in his bustling timetable to be separated from everyone else and be with the Father. Investing energy with God in petition and prayer supports an imperative relationship and prepares us to address life's difficulties and battles. We need to foster the control of investing energy alone with God. It will assist us with developing spiritually and becoming increasingly more like Christ.
Spending time alone with God is necessary.
How many of us while dating our spouses, or future spouses, had that longing in our hearts to be with our loved ones?
How is our communication time with God? In Exodus 19, Moses went up to Mt Sinai to talk to God. In Mark 1:35, Jesus went out in early morning.
In Luke 9:28, Jesus took three men to have a prayer meeting. In Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, and Luke 22:39-46, the Scriptures tell us about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus spent time alone with God the Father in prayer, and many others in the Bible spent time alone with God. We need to take time to get away, get apart, get alone, and put aside all distractions so we can hear every word God has for us. Granted He may not have the Word we are expecting, but it is our duty to listen.
There is an old song that says, “Take time for Jesus, He always takes time for you… When the Lord is looking through the Book of Life and your name He cannot find, what if He said I meant to write it there, but I really didn’t have the time.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is more significant than all else we can have, and an individual should be willing to forsake any pretense of everything to get it. The one who found the fortune in the field coincidentally found it unintentionally, however, he knew its worth when he discovered it. The merchant was genuinely looking for the best pearl, and when he found it, he sold all that he had to buy it.
Why did the man sell all he had to buy the field? It was common in this time to shroud cash or different effects in the ground. Banks, as we consider them today, essentially did not exist. Political unrest and poverty made everybody defenseless against having their assets taken or taken by people with great influence. It would have been more normal at that point, contrasted with now, for a reserve of assets to be left in the ground since the past proprietor passed on without telling anybody they were there. Jesus utilizes this plan to depict the kingdom of heaven.
By rights, such incidentally found fortune would belong to the proprietor of the land. Nearby laws and customs imply that since that fortune stayed covered, it was viewed as a component of the field. On the off chance that it was removed from the ground, it was the property of whoever claimed the land. All in all, the fortune could essentially be taken, that would be burglary. Notwithstanding, if the field's proprietor sold the land, he would likewise be selling any covered resources, anything buried. The new proprietor would be lawfully allowed to uncover and take such fortune. The fact is not enumerating property law. Christ's message is that the kingdom of heaven merits exchanging for everything an individual claims, to come into "ownership" of it.
This illustration probably sparked the minds of Jesus' audience members, since it pictures surprising favorable luck. This one highlights a vendor looking for fine pearls. In biblical times, divers would chase pearls in the sea waters that encompassed the middle east. All that pearls could be sold for tremendous amounts of cash. This is not vastly different from how huge, unadulterated gemstones, like precious stones, can merit stunning measures of money in our current time.
The merchant discovers one pearl of colossal worth. He perceives that the pearl is worth more than all the other things he possesses consolidated. He offers everything to acquire this remarkable thing. Once more, Jesus is saying that the kingdom of heaven merits the expense of all that we have in this life. The pearl vendor is not parting with his assets for reasons unknown; indeed, he is expanding his wealth. Selling all that he has might appear to be extremist, yet it bodes well given what he gains as a tradeoff.
Jesus instructed in a prior chapter that "he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 10:39). This and the past story effectively express that idea. It merits the expense of our whole lives to be part of the kingdom of heaven. The worth of what we acquire for eternity is far greater than what we can gain in a short natural life.
How much is it to find/follow Christ?
Mark 1:18 – And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
Mark 10:28 - Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
Counting the cost.
1. Our social status.
2. Our money.
3. Our time.
4. Maybe our career.
5. Our family/friends.
6. Our life.
7. Do we leave the past and devote ourselves to the future?
The rich young man was not willing to give.
These were two short and related anecdotes about the value of the kingdom of heaven. The first portrays a fortune buried in a field. The one who discovers it readily offers everything to purchase the field, so he can procure the fortune. Similarly, a merchant exchanges all his abundance of trade for a pearl of tremendous value when he discovers it. The two stories show that incorporation in the kingdom of heaven merits any measure of penance. Whatever is lost chasing the kingdom of heaven is a little cost to pay, considering the value of what is acquired.
Did not God do that for us? Christ’s death freed us from sin but obliged us to service. Our bodies and our lives belong to God, and we must not violate his standards for living. What are we willing to give for the fortune that God has provided for us?
A yoke is a hefty wooden piece of gear that fits over the shoulders of an ox or a team of oxen. It is appended to a piece of hardware the oxen are to pull. A "heavy laden" creature has a major burden to pull. A “heavy laden” individual might be troubled with (1) sin, (2) religious leaders with extravagant demands (Matthew 23:4; Acts 15:10), (3) abuse and oppression, and (4) exhaustion in the quest for God. People experience some type of burden each day. Burdens can even come from our work, family, finances, physical ailments; the list goes on and on.
Jesus liberates individuals from these weights. This rest that Jesus promises is healing, love, and harmony with God, not the elimination of all exertion and effort. A relationship with God changes trivial work into spiritual efficiency, productivity, reason, and purpose.
What are we to do about our burdens?
Tell Jesus your burden:
Find time to pray. Jesus went out…and prayed.
Sometimes it is more important to pray alone. Jesus went up into a mountain apart to pray.
God hears everyone. The Lord will hear when we call unto Him.
Be sincere (intense) in prayer. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man.
Give Him your burden:
Move our focus from the burden to the burden bearer:
Try not to worry.
Keeping our focus on Christ. Ananias & Sapphira. Their sin was lying to God and God’s people.
Having the right attitude. The Israelite’s lack of faith caused more wondering. They would not stop the focus on their fear.
Change focus from ourselves to worshiping God. Asaph cried to God during distress. He pleaded that he needed help, but then he changed his focus from himself, “I”, to that of worshipping God (verses 13-20).
Some burdens we must bear, but Christ will send help.
The body of Christ, the church, works and functions better when the children of God cooperate for benefit of all.
The strong should help the weak. For one day the strong may become the weak and will need help. This may not mean in physical strength but in spiritual strength.
In this passage of Scripture, Jesus teaches about fruit in people’s lives.
False prophets were recurrent in Old Testament times. They forecasted just what the king and the local people wanted to hear, asserting that it was God's message. False teachers are similarly as frequent today. Jesus says to be careful with those whose words sound religious but who are inspired by popularity, power, or prestige. We can tell who they are on the grounds that in their instructing they limit Christ and laud themselves.
So, if a tree is known for its fruit, how do you know one piece of fruit from the other? We are taught from an early age what each fruit looks like, how it tastes, how it smells, and what it is used for. When you consider fruit, you are likely to consider something sweet and delicious to eat. Apples, berries, and oranges are all fruits. In any case, researchers consider fruit a piece of a plant that contains seeds. The fruit probably will not be sweet. Indeed, it probably will not be edible by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, it is a fruit.
Fruit is generally delicate and succulent, however not always. Some of the time it is covered by a hard, defensive shell. Consider a watermelon, for example. It is delicate and delicious within; however, the outside is intense. Some fruit may be bitter, and some fruit may be sour.
Some of the fruit characteristics could be considered characteristics of a Christian. Does the Christian have a fruitful appearance? If so, that Christian may be spiritual on the inside; or the Christian may be spiritually barren?
We ought to assess the teachers' words by analyzing their lives. Similarly, as trees are predictable in the sort of fruit they produce, good teachers reliably show appropriate conduct and high moral fiber (character) as they endeavor to experience the certainties and truths of the Scripture. This does not mean we ought to have witch hunts, toss out Sunday teachers, ministers, and other people who are not exactly great, or less than perfect. None of us mere humans are perfect. All of us are liable to sin, and we should show the very kindness and mercy to others that we need for ourselves. When Jesus discusses degenerate and corrupt trees, he implies teachers who are intentionally teaching false doctrine. We should look at the teachers’ thought processes, their motives, which way they are taking, and the outcomes they are looking for.
Real fruit verses fake fruit. Fake fruit looks good, but it has no substance. How do we know good fruit? By the actions, the words, the ministry, and the lifestyle. You can clean a car but if the spark plug is not correct, the car will not work. We are not to judge but to examine life.
People watch us every day. Does God get the glory or do we?
When the fruit has been plucked from a tree, it begins to die. The fruit must stay connected to the tree so that it can get its nutrients from the tree. As such, we must be connected to Christ, if we are not, we slowly begin to die spiritually. If the tree is not growing, it is not productive, therefore it is not bearing fruit. If the tree is not productive and produces fruit, then the tree is not growing.
We must stay prayed up and studied up or we will grow cold and indifferent to God’s Word. If not, our spiritual fruit will begin to rot as natural fruit lying on the ground or on the countertop. Has anyone seen a banana going bad, or any piece of fruit for that matter? That piece of fruit is dying. It is decaying.
Is our Christian life like a piece of fruit that is going bad?
People worry about things throughout their life which can cause some physical issues. To worry causes stress. To worry is bad for the heart, it is bad for blood pressure, it is bad for blood sugar, and it is bad for the stomach.
To worry also causes spiritual issues. It consumes our thoughts, and it prevents spiritual productivity. Worrying shows a lack of faith, it decreases our ability to trust God, and it can lead to treating others in a wrong way.
In verses 26-28:
God watches over the animals and plants, and He can provide even more for us:
Turn worries into prayers:
In prayer and with thanks, give it to God.
In verse 30:
We see the statement “O ye of little faith.” Christians too often go to the altar with a problem but get up still holding onto the problem, as if the problem were attached to us with a bungee cord.
In verse 33:
To “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” signifies for us to go to him first for help, to fill our contemplations with his desires, to take his character for our example, and to serve and submit to him in all things. What is truly generally essential to us? Various individuals, articles, objectives, and different cravings all compete against each other for priority in our lives. Any of these can rapidly knock God out of the lead position on the off chance that we do not effectively decide to put him ahead of all comers in each aspect of our life.
In verse 34:
Anticipating tomorrow is time well spent; agonizing over tomorrow is time squandered. At times it is hard to differentiate. Cautious preparing, or planning, is thinking ahead about objectives, schedules, and steps, and confiding in God's direction. At the point when progressed admirably, planning can help mitigate stress. The Worrier, conversely, is devoured by dread and thinks that it is hard to confide in God. The Worrier allows his or her plans to meddle with their relationship with God. Try not to let stresses over tomorrow influence our relationship with God today.
Pray more and worry less, God will answer in His time. Do our duty while we wait upon the Lord.
What is a treasury? Funds or revenue of an organization or corporation, a collection of highly prized items, a place where the funds are stored. So, in the natural world, money gathers interest in various types of bank accounts. What bank do we use? What bank holds our accounts? What is our incentive to make any deposits into those accounts?
In verses 19-21:
What we treasure in our hearts will show in our values. What we put in is what we get out. Laying up treasures in heaven is not restricted to giving or tithing, but at the same time is cultivated by all demonstrations of compliance to God.
We have all known about individuals who have won great amount of money and afterward lost everything. Maybe they won the lottery, got a huge settlement, or something like that. Indeed, even the normal individual can spend a legacy, or a check, with lightning speed and have little to show for it. Try not to invest our energy pursuing momentary natural fortunes. All things being equal, we should store up treasures in heaven, for such fortunes will never be lost.
Money seen as an end in itself rapidly traps us and cuts us off from both God and the poor. The way to utilize money carefully is to perceive the amount we can use for God's motivations, not the amount we can aggregate for ourselves. Does God's love contact our wallets? Does our money let us loose to help other people? Assuming this is the case, we are putting away enduring fortunes (treasures) in heaven. On the off chance that our monetary objectives and assets upset us from giving, cherishing others, or serving, sell what we should to bring our life into viewpoint. In other words, if a possession keeps us or hinders us from serving God, then we need to remove that hindrance.
On the off chance that we put our money into our business, our contemplations will focus on making the business beneficial. If we put it in others, we will become concerned about their welfare. Where do we put our time, our money, and our energy? What are our thoughts on most of the time? How might we change the way we utilize our assets to mirror the values of God's Kingdom?
At the point when Jesus told this youngster that he would “be perfect” if he gave all that he had to poor people, he was not talking in the fleeting, human sense. Jesus was disclosing how to be “justified,” made entire, or made complete in the sight of God. Our hearts are on God more than on ourselves.
Should all believers sell all that they own? No. We are mindful to focus on our own needs and our families’ necessities so as not to be a weighted burden to other people. However, we should be able to give up anything if God requests that we do as such. This sort of mentality permits nothing to separate us and God and holds us back from utilizing our undeniable abundance childishly. Christ did not advise any one of his followers to sell their possessions. If that thought brings us some type of comfort, then we might be excessively connected to, or too attached, to what ‘things’ we have.
In verses 22-24:
Spiritual vision is our ability to see plainly what God wants us to do and to see the world from his perspective. Be that as it may, this profound knowledge can be effectively blurred. Self-serving wants, interests, and objectives block that vision. Serving God is the most ideal approach to reestablish it. A “solitary” eye is one that is fixed on God.
Jesus says we can have just one master. We live in a materialistic culture where numerous individuals serve money. They burn through for their entire lives gathering and putting it away, just to pass on and abandon it. Their longing for cash and what it can purchase far exceeds their obligation to God and spiritual matters. Whatever we store up, we will invest quite a bit of time and energy considering and thinking about it. Try not to fall into the materialistic snare, on the grounds that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Can we sincerely say that God, and not money and possessions, is our Master? One test is to ask which one possesses a greater amount of our time, our thoughts, and our endeavors.
Jesus stood out brilliant qualities from natural qualities when He clarified that our first unwaveringness ought to be to those things that don't blur, can't be taken or spent, and never wear out. We ought not to be entranced with our assets in case they have us. This implies we may need to do some scaling back if our assets are getting excessively imperative to us. Jesus is requiring a choice that permits us to live cheerily with whatever we have in light of the fact that we have picked what is everlasting and enduring.
What is salt used for and what is it good for?
To treat or to prepare for use, to give more flavor.
Spiritual saltiness - Do not blend in.
You add salt to enhance the flavor of food. We are the salt that God uses to lead hungry people to food. But if we are not 'salty' enough we are of no-good use. We have become worthless. If we begin to become unsalted, then we need to get back in the Word. If a person has an injury or an illness, it may require intravenous (IV) fluids of sodium chloride to aid in his recovery. If Christians suffer a similar spiritual ordeal, they may need a spiritual IV.
To clean from imperfection.
Salt is used to clean from imperfections. Just as medical professionals use normal saline (salt water) to clean out a wound, we are to be that salt to the world. We cannot clean the world, but the world should see Christ in us which leads to cleaning. It will and does sting, but it is necessary. Sometimes we Christians need a little cleaning to remove the impurities that we have allowed to come into our lives. In some cases, salt is added to water to make it able to drink.
To reserve for special use, to save from harm.
Salt is used to preserve for special use, or to save from harm. Preserves are good on a nice hot buttered biscuit, especially homemade preserves. Have you ever opened up a jar and found that wax ring on the top? That was placed there to preserve the fruit. With that thought in mind, Christ puts that salt or wax around us to preserve us for special use, to reach the world. Unfortunately, some Christians 'wax' is a little thin and the preserves do not last.
Meat that is hung in a smokehouse has a layer of salt on it as a preservative. It acts as a barrier. God always places that barrier of saltiness around us to preserve us now and for future service. However, like the meat in a smokehouse, that barrier can wear thin if we do not continually apply the salt (keep in the Word).
To provoke displeasure and impatience.
Put salt in a wound and what happens? Salty Christians always sing, worship & praise the Lord wherever they are or regardless of circumstances. Salty Christians study the Word, and they witness. Sinners do not like that; it irritates their lifestyle. That means the Holy Spirit is convicting their hearts.
Some churches and Christians have lost their saltiness, they sooth rather than irritate. Their saltiness has become watered down. They have turned the church into a social club, a place for people to network. Instead of winning souls, Christians have become politically correct. Christians have set aside their differences from the world (their Christian life) and they do not want to offend anyone or hurt anyone's feelings. They want to get together and do good work, show how good they are, and increase their social standing.
Types of salt:
Salt may come in different forms, but it is still salt.
What does it mean to be “good for nothing?” Of little worth or useless.
If I am not doing good, then I must be doing wrong, I must be counterproductive. If I am not drawing people to Christ, I must be pushing them away. If I am not showing them the right way, then I must be showing them the wrong way.
How will we stand before God with nothing to show for our salvation? We do not work for our salvation. It is a free gift from God, but we must work after receiving the gift.
Has our spiritual saltiness gotten wet?
Look at what they did when they were called. Did they ask permission from anyone to go and why did they go?
Jesus had told Peter and Andrew to quit their fishing business and become “fishers of men,” to help other people discover God. Jesus was calling them from their earthly trade to a spiritual trade. How many of us have heard the call and have answered? If we all were to do what Christ taught and spread the Gospel to others, the Holy Spirit would draw people around us to Christ, like a fisherman maneuvers fish into his boat. James, his brother John, Peter, and Andrew were the first Jesus had called to work with Him.
These men were motivated to leave their jobs and follow Jesus when they heard His call. They didn’t make excuses. They were altogether persuaded, that following Jesus would change their lives perpetually. So, they immediately left and followed Him. Jesus calls every one of us to follow Him. We should resemble the disciples, when Jesus calls us to service, and do it without a moment’s delay. Those who follow Christ will have to abandon all to follow Him.
So, what type of fisherman are we and what type of fish are we fishing for?
Types of Fishing:
Types of Fish:
Have we examined our boat and our tackle box? Are we using the right line, bait, etc?
Have we become “Keepers of Aquariums?” are we swiping fish from other fishbowls and not reaching out for lost souls?
Are souls not being saved because our nets are torn?
We may have the ability to “fish,” but the key is our willingness to serve in whatever capacity God calls us to do.