Sunday, November 21, 2010

NARROW GATE ACCESS DEMANDS

NARROW GATE ACCESS DEMANDS
A. Brother

“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! 

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