Sunday, June 27, 2010

NARROW GATE ACCESS DEMANDS

NARROW GATE ACCESS DEMANDS
A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing


“Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Luke 12:15

            Oh, brothers, when Jesus delivers a warning, He means it.  One of our chief downfalls among God’s people is greed, and here, Jesus gives us clear warning about this sin, and clear examples of what to do and not to do.
          In Luke 12, Jesus teaches us the new values we will have in the Kingdom of God, and demands that we live by them.  These new values are upside down from the way we’ve been living.  The world tells us to chase after food, clothing, and shelter—to pursue possessions—and that ‘God helps those who help themselves’. 
          Jesus says we shouldn’t worry about these things, but we should pursue the Kingdom of God and He will give us those Himself.
          The world says we should amass investments, including land, houses, bank accounts, retirement funds, vehicles, household goods, business assets, and all else we can get our hands on, to assure our security.
          Jesus says we should sell our possessions and give to the poor, providing ourselves purses that hold heavenly treasure.  He tells us that those who trust in earthly possessions are fools.
          Unfortunately, many of us who claim Christ in today’s modern world have ignored Jesus, and view these passages of Scripture as naïve.  We disobey.  We dismiss our Lord.  We pursue these things with the world—worrying, stewing, spending our time in anxiousness—believing not what Jesus said, but what the world says, that ‘God helps those who help themselves.’
          The sad thing is this:  Jesus expects and demands that every disciple leave behind his worldly pursuits, and pursue the Kingdom of God first.  Jesus expects and demands that we sell our excess, which is much, and leave ourselves in simplicity, living by faith, walking in the grace and knowledge of Christ, rather than the dogged pursuit of worldly security.
          Jesus actually means it when He says to give what we have to the poor!  He actually means it when He says don’t worry about what you’ll eat or drink!
          You see, these are Narrow Gate demands.  You can’t even begin the journey with Christ if you are burdened down by the worries and cares of this world.  When you come to Jesus, He demands you drop your burdens, and pick up His yoke, which is the cross, a burden which is easy and light because He empowers us by His Spirit to carry it.  How can you bear His cross, die to self, empty yourself of your non-Kingdom pursuits, if you are chasing after these worldly things?
          The answer is simple: You cannot.  So these demands by our Lord are entry demands into the Christ-life.  If we don’t obey these simplest of entry demands, we can’t enter the Narrow Gate that brings us into the Christ-life.
          That is why so many of us struggle with burdens, wonder where the power of Christ is in our lives, wonder why the actualities of the ‘Christian life’ are so much less than the promises.  Because we are not even on the road with Christ.  He is waiting for us to obey at the beginning so we can go on with Him.
          I have read and heard these truths my entire life, yet myself have often ignored and treated them as if they are children’s fantasies, and have seen others do the same. 
          Yet obedience to these Words are the Way, and the only Way, we will enter the Kingdom of God.
          Why do we think Jesus spoke them to His disciples as a warning?  Watch out, brothers, or we will be left out of the Kingdom of God because of disobedience to these simple Words! 

2 comments:

  1. There is a song that says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace".

    I believe that the way to get rid of a worldly focus is not in selling one's possessions, but in transforming one's heart. We must draw near to God, and He will draw near to us. When we see the beauty of the LORD, and his goodness, we shall be like Israel being bidden by Joseph to come dwell in the land of Goshen: Because we know our God, we will gladly leave behind all things.

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  2. First of all, as the Bible teaches, people want their ears tickled while embracing “Self” rather than understanding (and being taught) that our ‘Self’, our flesh is evil and must be nailed to the cross in exchange for His life. That is why we have so many popular preachers who make a lot of money teaching and preaching about improving “Self” and getting your best life now rather than overcoming your ‘Self’.

    Here lies the key problem…
    In other words, these preachers suggest that THIS is home and you want all that you can get out of this life because God loves you and wants you to be happy. (So, if you’ve married the wrong woman/man…)

    Once I preached at a large campground and trailer park. I asked the Lord what to share and He told me to think about life and camping as this was obviously very suitable for the setting.
    Later I taught our young kids at home the following one-liner: “Life is like camping and then we go home.” (I want our kids to grow up with this fundamental truth as it paves the way for a right perspective on life here on earth.)
    I explained that sometimes, while camping, it rains; and sometimes it’s sunny, just like in life when things are tough or we are blessed with joyful events.
    But no matter what, IT”S ALL ONLY TEMPORARY… and then we go home!

    I personally know this truth very well as I am the youngest of 3 siblings. My brother died when he was only 27, leaving a very young son and wife behind. My sister died at the age of 29 from cancer. She had 2 young children and a husband.
    Sometimes I feel like shouting to people the question, “what are you looking for in this world, don’t you know that your earthly life is but a breath in the light of eternity? Who can guarantee that you will still be here next year? WHAT ARE YOU LIVING FOR? Where is your treasure, really?”

    Does anyone challenge people in that regard, or are most preachers trying to make people feel good?
    With the help of self-motivated and self-appointed (rather than God-motivated and God-appointed leaders), people are trying to create their heaven here on earth, while viewing God as a vending machine where we throw in a quick prayer and out comes the blessing.

    As long as Christians add a little bit of Jesus to their busy lifestyles, and as long as they view the Holy Spirit as a mere tool to be used to create a good feeling and a better life here on earth, they will blindly walk in deception.

    The hymn writer understood that when someone is absolutely sold out to Jesus and Spirit filled…
    “…the things of this world grow strangely dim…”

    …or as King David said: ” I am a stranger in the earth.”

    Only when we have a right perspective on life, and only if the MAIN focus is Jesus, will we become free from the desires of the flesh and the world; free to absolutely trust Him while walking by faith alone. This then is true freedom!

    Blessings, and All 4 Jesus!
    Mario

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