Sunday, January 20, 2019

Lay up treasures in heaven!

What is meant by the words of Christ, "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal"? Shall we lay up gold there though the streets are said to have been paved with gold? Shall we equate the currency of heaven with earthly treasures? How then shall heaven be of greater value than earth? What is more valuable than the blood of Christ? What greater treasures are there than God Himself and all that He is and has? What did the priceless blood of Christ purchase? What treasure ought we to lay up? Souls and the good works which flow from a heart sanctified by the grace of God NO DOUBT!

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Do we love what God loves? If so, do we love what God loves the way that He loved through Christ who is the brightness of such love and the perfect expression of it? Is our value system one with Christ's? Is there any opposition or distance between our value system and God's in thought or application?

The thoughts and ways of God are higher than ours as the heavens are above the Earth. However, the thought, mind, Word or Logos of God descended years ago to seed us earthen vessels that we may yield the fruit which is in accord with His holy will. This Seed is the promised Seed: Christ.

The love of God requires faith. Without faith, such love will appear unsound, unjust, unfair, unreasonable, overbearing, heavy and hard. For it is through faith that we receive this love in all of its inner workings and that the branches of its understanding outwardly flourishes and prospers through our lives. For to love those who love us is common to all; but to love those who do not only not return love, but instead return our love with hatred is quite another: to turn the other cheek until death ensues, to forsake the vain pleasures of this life to afford to help as many as possible, to be faithful to your spouse regardless of their choices, to be hated unjustly for simply living the teachings of Christ as Jesus and His apostles lived them is scary to many, yet this is the ONLY RATIONAL CONCLUSION TO THE NEW CREATURE WHO HAS THE MIND OF CHRIST.

For the first few centuries of Christianity, the love of God in the early church seemed scary. For it was, as it were, multitudes possessed of a strange spirit as soon as they believed. Pagans were instantly converted and transformed by the power of God through faith. Their reasoning, perspective, habits, pursuits, vision, hopes, dreams, goals, desires were all transformed in little time. Whether rich or poor, all used what they had to provide for other believers and even unbelievers. Many parted with all of their wealth and gave it to others to distribute. Racists experienced a love without borders. They went from a manifold purpose of life to a singular; they only lived for and devoted themselves to WHAT WAS WRITTEN UPON THEIR HEARTS! Unity was not as difficult to attain; for they experienced a common salvation through a common faith in their common Head.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Is your heart one with God's? Is your heart where God's heart is? Does your treasure on earth witness against your Christian confession? What does it testify of those who lay up for themselves SOME treasure in heaven but not all? A little here and a little there; a little hot and a little cold; to ignorantly do this is one thing, but to voluntarily prefer the vanity of this life to the blessedness of the Promise cannot be reconciled with the mind of Christ.

Now laying up treasure on earth is not laying up what is useful to the kingdom of God and for real personal necessities. It is laying up for OURSELVES those things along with many others. Each needs to be honest and examine the sincerity of their love for God and where their heart is in reality.

Consider jewelry: If Christ commanded His followers to lay not treasures on earth, but to lay up treasure in heaven how can one buy jewelry? Jewelry is dead. It has no life, no eternal soul. It is never hungry, thirsty, lonely, sick, lost or needy and yet, hundreds of thousands of men and women invest in jewelry! A gold necklace or helping the poor? Jesus would never do both! Both would mean that part of His heart, soul, mind and strength is invested in lifeless ornaments and not in the living God! Both would mean five souls may be ministered unto while other five suffer on account of His gold necklace. Jesus didn't die for your gold necklace. The value of your gold necklace is but dung when compared to the priceless value of the living souls of men for whom Christ shed His precious blood. It is impossible to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength when part of it is placed around your neck, fingers, toes, wrists, ears, noses, hair, and other various places.

As Christians, we do not only teach PRINCIPLES, but we should also teach the APPLICATION of the principles in word and deed. For what good is the principle, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself", if one believes they are correctly applying that principle while using their time and resources to go skydiving, parasailing, on a Caribbean cruise for fun, golfing, while purchasing needless and useless decorations, knick knacks, collectibles, hobbies, and worthless entertainments? The whole WORLD agrees with the above principle. What is important however, DOES THE CHRIST AGREE WITH YOUR APPLICATION? Is there not a cause more worthy of our time and resources, or are we so selfish and blinded by our pride that we cannot see the spiritually lost, those suffering from thirst, nakedness, and hunger? DEAR FRIENDS CHRIST WAS NOT CRUCIFIED SO YOU CAN ENJOY THE WORLD. THE CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED THAT YOU MIGHT BE DEAD TO THE WORLD. For all that is in the world: the lusts of flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world (1 John 2:15-17).
All resistance and reluctance to obeying the will of God ought to have been destroyed when the Roman scourge, crown of thorns and the cross destroyed the body of Christ. Our desires for sin should have died when Christ died. For the nails which fastened Him to cross fastened our sins with Him, so that when He died the power of sin within us, through faith, died with Him. If one has truly experienced the love and grace of the Christ who loved them so completely, such a one could never be satisfied with a partial obedience. For the heart of the new creature has no joy, peace or contentment apart from full and final surrender to God; it is ever longing and laboring to fully please the One who made them whole. Therefore, to refuse any wish of their Savior would then be their own undoing of the "completeness" which came through Him.

So, how do we get from "I have to obey" to "I want to obey"? From duty to desire? I still crave the things I ought to have long ago parted with! Our "has to obey" was crucified with Christ. Through His sacrifice, our, "has to obey" has been transformed into we WANT TO FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS! We with the Psalmist ought to say, "For great is Thy mercy towards me; Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell" (Psalm 86).

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160