A. The point is simply this: each of us have been given abilities and gifts that we are to use for the glory of the Lord, for the blessing of souls, and in His service. If we use what has been supplied by His grace, there will be increase, Paul desired for the believers at Philippi, when he wrote concerning “fruit that may abound to your account” (Philippians 4:17).
In a parable in Matthew the Lord said, “Thou oughtest therefore to have put My money to the exchangers, and then at My coming I should have received Mine own with usury” (Matthew 25:27). In Luke He says, “Wherefore then gavest not thou My money into the bank, that at My coming I might have required Mine own with usury?” (Luke 19:23). Note that the one who did not trade, or put his money to the “exchangers,” or as Luke says, the “bank” was only a professor and was cast into “outer darkness” (Matthew 25:30). However, the principle applies to all. As believers we will be held accountable at the judgment seat of Christ. Have we been faithful?
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
There are many religions in the world, but Christianity outshines them all. That is because Christianity is more than a religion; Christianity is a person.
The heart and center of Christianity is the person of Christ, the Son of God, who is living at the right hand of God in heaven. The Bible declares, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive, for evermore” (Revelation 1:18). The Lord Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).
This person is also with us, as He promised His own in resurrection, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).
He is the great “I am.” Indeed, He is personally the heart and essence of Christianity. No wonder the Apostle Paul, having turned from mere religion to Christianity, could say, “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).
On a plane today from Toronto, Canada to Port of Spain, Trinidad, I noticed that it was a full flight—no empty seats! It made me think of how there will be no empty seats when the Lord comes to give the shout and call His own redeemed ones to be with Himself in the Father’s House. In fact, the Bible tells us of that future time, “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting” (Revelation 4:4). While I realize the number 24 is figurative, yet it is nice to think that there are the same number of seats as there are elders sitting on them. In other words, there will be no empty seats in heaven.
With our heavenly seat reserved we look forward to that day when we will leave this earth in exchange for the joy of the Lord’s presence and the blessedness of sitting down in His company forever.
Now I have another flight to catch before my travels are done for the day, but when we take our seats around the Lord Jesus, our traveling days will be over…and I personally can’t wait!
Sometimes I hear people say, “Life is a drag.” I suppose by that they mean life is boring—nothing exciting is happening. Maybe they mean life had become a burden—they feel dragged down or discouraged. Whatever the context of the statement, there’s a motto I know that has a relevant and timely message:
IF YOUR CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A DRAG,
WORLDLY WEIGHTS ARE PROBABLY TO BLAME!
The Bible exhorts us, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). No athlete competing in a competition is going to carry extra weight with them. Why then do we as Christians allow ourselves to be weighed down with the things of this world, while running the Christian race? Let’s put those things aside so that we are free to live for Christ with a good conscience and a pure heart.
“Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father” (John 10:17-18).
The Lord Jesus gave His life in a way that no one else ever could. As a divine person, the Son of God, He voluntarily gave up His life in obedience to His Father. What a sacrifice, and what love, first to God His Father and secondly to you and me.
Collectively, as the church of God, we rejoice in the fact that, “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:2). Individually, we can say with the Apostle Paul, “the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
At the end of the three hours of darkness, having taken the punishment for sin, we read, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46).
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1).
“And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
All over the country, rivers are named for different reasons. The Snake River in Nebraska was so named because of its twists and turns looking like a serpent as it winds through the sandhills. Then there is the Osage River in Missouri so named for a tribe of Indians that lived along its banks in the early days of United States history. The Red River that divides Texas from Oklahoma is so named because of the red clay soil that colors the water.
In the Bible there is a river, so named because of its life-giving ability. It is the River of Life, and it is what John saw in his vision of the heavenly City. It will satisfy the spiritual thirst of souls for all eternity. Will you be part of that future scene that John describes? You will be, only if you have drunk from the river of life for salvation, now in this life.
When I was a young person, computers were about the size of a classroom, and involved laboriously feeding information into them through computer punch-cards. Back then there was an expression Garbage in—garbage out, (GIGO). In other words, computers will unquestioningly process unintended, even nonsensical, input data (“garbage in”) and produce undesired, often nonsensical output data (“garbage out”).
There is an application of this in our Christian life. The Lord made several statements on the subject, and here are just a couple:
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).
“Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:18-19).
Let’s be careful what we take in…what we watch…what we read…what we hear…etc.
“Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science” (Daniel 1:4).
In 1929, Edwin Hubble made one of the most astounding and important discoveries of modern science in the field of astronomy. He determined through his studies and calculations that the universe was expanding. This discovery helped to answer many questions and solve many enigmas that had, up until that time, plagued the great minds of science.
True science will never contradict the Bible, and this is certainly true in regard to Hubble’s discovery. Centuries before, the prophet Isaiah recorded the same fact. “It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in” (Isaiah 40:22).
What an amazing and all-powerful, creator God we have. And yet, wonder, of wonders, He loves us so much, and is interested in every detail of our lives.
Are you a contented Christian? Paul told Timothy, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). He also said of himself, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).
In Hebrews we read, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.” The verse then goes on to give a reason, or perhaps we should say the reason, why we should be content, even though outward circumstances may not always be what we would like. “For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). With the promise of the Lord being always with us, this should be enough to satisfy the soul in spite of unpleasant circumstances and even in the absence of the necessities of life. How many believers are content and happy today, not because they have an abundance of worldly goods, or even their freedom; not because they are free from pain and suffering, but because they have a sense in their souls of the Lord’s presence with them.