365: Barbara Thurston
10.24.15 Well last night we talked about if we had to give up anything when we accept Christ. Tonight we are going to talk about what you get when you follow Christ.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Is it really worth it to follow Christ?” Have you ever compared what you get with what those in the world get? You look around and see people devoting their lives to the pleasures of this world. Often they seem to be having a pretty good time. They live well. They have plenty of money. They take nice vacations. They drive new cars. They have all sorts of expensive toys. You look at them and think, “If I were not a Christian, I could have some of those things. I wouldn’t have to give a large portion of my income to the Lord’s work. I would have my weekends free to pursue whatever I wanted to do. Is it really worth it to follow Christ?”
Christ calls His followers to turn from sin and the pursuit of the things of this world. He said, “No one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Luke 14:33). We cannot love the things of the world and God at the same time (1 John 2:15). These verses (and others like them) are not written as options for the super-committed. They are requirements for all who follow Christ. But even those of us who seek to follow Him fully will face times when we wonder, “Am I making a mistake to give up all this to follow Christ?”
Our text records a time when Peter was looking for some reassurance concerning his commitment to Christ. The disciples had just heard Jesus tell the rich young ruler to sell everything, give the money to the poor, and follow Him, and he would have treasures in heaven (18:22). After watching the man walk away sorrowful and hearing Jesus comment on how hard it is for the rich to be saved, Peter chimed in, “Behold, we [emphatic in Greek, meaning we in contrast to him] have left our own homes, and followed You.” Matthew 19:26 records that he also asked, “What then will there be for us?” He was wondering, “What do we get for following Christ? Is it really worth it to make the sacrifices we’re making? Or, are we fools to give up everything to follow Christ?"
Our gracious Lord did not rebuke Peter. He knew that Peter needed some assurance. And, no doubt He knew that all of us who have given up the pursuit of worldly things to follow Him need frequent assurance. Just as the devil tempted Jesus with all the kingdoms of this world, so he repeatedly sets in front of us those who are enjoying this world’s pleasures and says, “Follow me and you can have all this, too!” We need to be reminded that …
To follow Christ, you must forsake all for Him, but you get blessings for time and eternity, along with trials in this life.
What does it mean to forsake all to follow Christ?
For the rich young ruler, his gold had become his god. It was his idol, and he had to let it go in order to trust in Christ for eternal life. The love of the things of this world is an idol for many who profess to know Christ. We like those things. We spend our lives collecting things. We accumulate so much stuff that we have to build bigger barns (we call them garages) to store it in. But in light of eternity, no earthly possession will really matter.
Others cling to other sins: sensuality, immorality, selfish quarrels, bitterness, anger, self-centeredness. Paul lists the deeds of the flesh and then warns, “Those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21). We cannot cling to known sin and claim to be following Christ at the same time. He demands our exclusive commitment.
It means giving God a blank check with my life and letting Him fill in the amount. It means enthroning Christ as the rightful Lord of everything I am and have.
Seeking first His kingdom means committing yourself to whatever God wants you to do with your life. Have you given Him the blank check? Remember, if you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:4). Sometimes He grants your desires; at other times, He changes your desires to match His desires. But, you can trust the loving Father to do what is best when you give yourself fully to His cause.
To follow Christ means to walk daily in fellowship with the gracious Savior who loved me and gave Himself for me. It means to know the living God and to have the joy of using my life for His kingdom. In other words, focus on the joy of knowing Christ and serving Him, not on the so-called sacrifices that you must make.
Walk in daily fellowship with Him, and you hardly think of what you have given up. The pleasures of this world pale in comparison with the pleasure of knowing the Savior. The sacrifices of time, money, and hardship that you encounter in serving Christ are nothing compared with the joy of knowing Him.
The motivation for following Christ should not be just to get the benefits. We follow Him because He is who He claimed to be, the Savior and Messiah. But He graciously reassures us by telling us of the promised benefits.
If you give up anything for Christ, He promises that you will receive many times (Mark 10:30 says 100 times) as much at this time. If I could offer you an investment that is guaranteed to make you 100 percent, you would jump at it! But Jesus offers you an investment that pays 10,000 percent in this life, backed by the bank of heaven! Everyone who forsakes all to follow Christ is grossly overpaid! How can you refuse such an offer?
When you give sacrificially to the Lord’s work, He promises to add to your account all the things that the Gentiles seek (Matt. 6:33). Why don’t we do it? Sometimes, it is because we’re sloppy managers of God’s resources. But often, we’re afraid to give generously because we fear that God won’t take care of us.
Jesus says that in the age to come, we get eternal life. That is far more than living forever. It means living in the presence of God in His glory and with His angels and His saints, with no sin or suffering to mar the experience. I don’t know exactly what heaven will be like, but I believe that God gives us the descriptions of golden streets and the jeweled city and the river of life running through it to say, “Trust Me, it’s far better than you can ever imagine.”
Although there are many blessings in this life when we forsake all to follow Jesus, the real payoff is in eternity. “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19). So how can we know for sure that the eternal rewards will really be there and that they are worth the sacrifices of following Christ now?
You can trust the truthfulness of Jesus’ promises because of His authority. He says, “Truly I say to you” (18:29). When Jesus says anything, it’s true; but when He says, “Truly I say to you,” you know for sure that it’s true! Either you have to call Jesus deceived or a deceiver, or what He promised about the blessings for those who follow Him is true.
You can trust the truthfulness of Jesus’ promises because of the prophetic Word. Although evil men put Him to death and they are responsible for their great sin, they were only fulfilling “all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man” (18:31; see Acts 2:23; 4:27-28). God’s Word predicted Jesus’ death in detail centuries before it happened (see Psalm 22; Isaiah 53). Jesus’ own predictions of His death were exactly fulfilled. The certainty of God’s prophetic Word assures us that history will culminate exactly as He predicts and that heaven will be all that He has promised.
You can trust the truthfulness of Jesus’ promises because of His resurrection. He arose on the third day, just as He predicted He would. As a result, the confused and fearful disciples were transformed into confident, bold witnesses, willing to give their very lives for the gospel.
Do they rely on themselves and their possessions or do they trust God? Do we have one foot in the world, just in case, or are we willing to forsake everything to follow Jesus? When we do, we get both blessings and trials in this life, but we will have the joy of eternal life with Him in the age to come. You’ll never regret forsaking everything else to follow Jesus!
Wow sorry for the long blog tonight but I was into this study and I found a lot of information to share with you. As you can see we get way more when we follow Christ then we give up to follow Christ. So I ask you isn't it worth following Christ?
Lord I think You for coming into my life and saving my soul. I think You for sacrificing Your Son for me so that I may live. Lord please show me the things You want me to do for You. Lord please be with my facebook family and friends and know I love You. I ask these things in Jesus Name Amen.
10.23.15 Do you have to give up anything when you accept Christ? I don't know about anyone else but it's not even a question about having to give up anything it's about wanting to give up stuff that is not God pleasing. I remember a few years ago I use to cuss but I was never like some people I hear now days but I decided one day I didn't want to hear that stuff coming out of my mouth. I prayed for God to take it away from me and I can't remember the last time a cuss word has come out of my mouth. I'm not saying I'm perfect but I'm a work in progress.
Jesus gave up everything including his life so that you and I wouldn’t have to. He doesn’t make us give up anything. He merely offers us a new abundant life while we’re alive and the after life to come.
He only asks that we recognize we are lost and wayward and needing a Savior. He only asks that we lay down the pride of our selfishness that says, “We don’t need God.”
So far you have been trusting in yourself, and look where you’re at. Trust in Jesus, he will not let you down.
So just remember it's not a question of giving up something, it's a desire to follow Christ.
Lord I come to You thinking You for saving my soul. I long to please You and I think You for taking away my bad mouth years ago. Lord please be with my facebook family and friends and know I love You. I ask these things in Jesus Name Amen.
10.21.15 Things we can do to please God
^HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Belief in God and believing He will do what He says He will do—as a prerequisite for pleasing God. When we believe in God and believe what He says, we will also be pleasing to Him.
^BE SPIRITUALLY MINDED.
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).
The Bible contrasts two mind-sets: the normal, human one (the fleshly, carnal mind) and the one led by the Spirit of God (the spiritual mind, verse 9). Thus having the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and leading us is another prerequisite for pleasing God.
“The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy” (Psalm 147:11).
The Bible tells us to fear God, not because it is good for Him, but because it is good for us to accurately recognize that He is more powerful than anything else. Acknowledging this shows our deep respect for Him.
^STUDY AND FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST'S EXAMPLE.
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5).
During a vision of the future Kingdom of God known as the transfiguration, God impressed on Peter, James and John the preeminence of Jesus Christ. Jesus truly was the Son of God, and there is no one who has pleased God more! We should all hear Him and follow His example.
Jesus said He always did “those things that please Him” (John 8:29), so we should study the four Gospels to learn how we, too, can please God.
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).
God doesn’t command us to obey just because it is good for Him, but because it is good for us (Deuteronomy 10:13). His laws and commands are beneficial; and as a result of obeying Him, we grow in godly, righteous character—we become more like Him!
^DO GOD'S WILL.
“[May God] make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:21).
God’s desires, His commands and His plans are expressed throughout the Bible. In fact, the Bible was given to us to show us His will and to help us in a sense read His mind. Studying the Bible, meditating on it and praying about it are keys to gaining deeper understanding of His will.
God’s will for us goes beyond just knowing what He wants. It involves doing “every good work”—working at maturing spiritually and becoming more like God (Matthew 5:48).
Jesus Christ set the ultimate example of doing God’s will when He faced the terrible scourging and crucifixion for our sins, yet prayed, “Nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). He was willing to give Himself totally to show His love and to do His Father’s will.
^GIVE THE SACRIFICE GOD WANTS.
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
No matter how much we give God, we can never come close to scratching the surface of what He has done for us—much less what He wants to do for us. In this life He offers awesome benefits, such as:
“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
And in the future, He has an incredible gift in store for His faithful flock:
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Lord I come to You wanting to please You and You alone. Like I've said over and over I know I fail You but I ask that You forgive me. Lord please be with my facebook family and friends and know I love You. I ask these things in Jesus Name Amen.