Two Riches, Two Hearts, Two Masters

Matthew 6:19-24

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Two Riches – A Comparison

Earthly riches

  • Do not lay up earthly riches. 

1 Timothy 6:6-8 – Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

  • Earthly riches are corruptible (and they corrupt).

1 Timothy 6:9-10 – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows

  • Earthly riches are insecure. 

1 Timothy 6:7 – For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

Psalm 49:16-17 – Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him.

Luke 12:15-21 – And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”  Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Heavenly riches

  • Lay up heavenly riches. 

Matthew 6:19-20 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 19:21 – Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

  • Heavenly riches are incorruptible.

1 Peter 1:3-5 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

  • Heavenly riches are secure. 

Col. 1:3-5 – We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,

Two Hearts – A Caution

A good heart

  • Focuses and sees the truth.

Matthew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

John 8:12 – Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 1:18

  • Focuses on heaven. 

Philippians 3:20-21 – For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Colossians 3:1-2 – If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

A bad heart

  • Cannot focus nor see the truth. 

John 1:5 – And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 3:19 – And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 4:18

  • Focuses on earth. 

Romans 8: 5 – For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Philippians 3:18-19 – For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.

1 John 2:15-16 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world

Two Masters – a Decision

  • Hates or Loves
  • Cleaves or despises

Two Choices

  • Serve God or not serve God
  • Be saved or be lost\
  • Heaven or hell

The First Martyr – Stephen

Chapter 7 of the Book of Acts

When Stephen was brought to trial before the Sanhedrin – the Jewish religious council – his life was hanging in the balance.  Yet, Stephen did not make excuses for his actions nor try to defend himself.  Rather, he used this opportunity to proclaim the mercy and grace of God to the Jewish nation.  In essence, he indicted his accusers.  He told them they were displaying the same spirit of unbelief that their ancestors had done in the past as they resisted the work of God in their nation.  He did this by illustrating God’s hand in the past history of Israel.

Abraham – the founding father of Israel.  To Abraham had been given the call to go to a land which God would show him – and someday give to his descendants.  Stephen shows that from the very beginning of their nation, God was the one in control. 

God (the God of Glory – ho theos tes doxes) – the God who possess and manifests glory.  God of the outward and visible glory.  It is the glory, radiance, brilliance of God’s Person which bursts forth from His Supreme Being.  The idea is that God appeared and revealed His glory to Abraham) appeared to Abraham – while he was still living in Mesopotamia.

God promised him a land – if he would “get out” of his present country and life.  The land was to be one of God’s choosing, not Abraham’s.  The land was to be an inheritance to his descendants.

Today, God has appeared to us while we were yet in sin (Romans 5:6-8; John 3:16), calling us to “get out” of our present country and life (Acts 2:40; 2 Corinthians 6:17-18; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 John 2:15-16). 

Romans 5:6-8 – For when we were still without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 – Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.

God has promised us a special relationship with Him now and a future home in heaven (John 14:19-21; John 15:9-11; John 14:1-4; Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 13:14). 

John 14:19-21 – A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me.  Because I live, you will live also.  At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.  And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.

John 14:1-4 – Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believer also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go t prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know, and the way you know.

Our relationship with God is something we need to pass on to our children as an inheritance Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:1-9; 2 Timothy 2:2).

Ephesians 6:4 – And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and the admonition of the Lord.

Joseph – a type of Christ. 

Joseph was chosen by God, but rejected by his brothers (Genesis 37). 

Joseph suffered for years, but gained ultimate victory. 

God had a plan (Galatians 4:4-5).  Man may try to stop it because of envy, because of rebellion, but God will always work out His plan regardless of what man does to try to stop it. 

Galatians 4:4-5 – But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Moses – the great deliverer.  The time came for God’s people to receive the promise made to Abraham (Genesis 15:1-7; Genesis 15:13-14).  But they had forgotten the promise – it was not the focus of their lives.  They had grown comfortable in Egypt.  God had to act to cause them to want deliverance and then to bring about that deliverance.  They were powerless to make the promise come true. 

Moses was stirred into action by God.  However, he apparently sought to do God’s will his way. 

Moses was originally rejected also. 

Again, it was God who appeared to Moses, it was God who called him to save the people, it was God who sent the miracles and brought Israel out of Egypt. 

Charges Against Israel

The people worshipped false gods rather than the One True God.    God turned away from them (Romans 1:21-28).

The people carried the tabernacle of false gods in their hearts.  Again, God turned away from them (2 Kings 17:5-18). (Molech was the sun god to whom children were often sacrificed.  The idol had the head of an ox and arms that stretched out.  There was a hollow place underneath the arms where a fire was built.  The fire consumed the sacrifices lying in the outstretched arms above.  Molech was the god of the Amorites.  Remphan was a god of the Egyptians, Arabs and Phoenician.  It is thought to have been the worship of the planet Saturn.)

The people had no excuse.  God had given them the tabernacle, great leaders, the temple.  Still they chose the world instead of God.

The people did not understand the temple.  They did not understand that God was not limited to one place (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 6:18; John 4:24).

The present generation of Israelites were rejecting God just as their fathers had done.  They were “stiff-necked” (sklerotracheloi) – hard necked, obstinate, stubborn.  They were “uncircumcised in heart” (aperitmetoi kardiais) – idolaters, false worshippers, ungodly.  They “resisted” – deliberately opposed or rushed against God, actively struggled and fought against God. 

The people persecuted all the prophets – the very ones who predicted the coming of the Messiah  (2 Chronicles 36:14-16).

Acts 7:54-60 (The Amplified Bible) – Now upon hearing these things, they [the Jews] were cut to the heart and infuriated, and they ground their teeth against [Stephen].  But he, full of the Holy Spirit and controlled by Him, gazed into heaven and saw the glory (the splendor and majesty) of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand; and he said, Look! I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at God’s right hand!  But they raised a great shout and put their hands over their ears and rushed together upon him.  Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him, and the witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.  And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit!  And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death]. 

Do I have the faith and courage of Stephen?

Is my testimony so great that I could possibly take some sort of physical torment by unbelievers?

Stephen was totally innocent of wrong doing in his life according to the Scriptures.  Could we fit that category – totally innocent?

Have we ever cried out in a loud voice about the goodness of God?  Is our testimony so great and persuasive that some might stop their ears?

When we are receiving verbal or possibly physical abuse for our stand for the Lord will we have the same forgiveness as Stephen?

Unlike Achan in the Old Testament who deserved punishment for his sin, Stephen did not deserve the treatment he received.  How do we respond to harsh treatment by others?  How do we respond to verbal abuse or criticism concerning our faith?

Behold I Will Make All Things New

Revelation 21:1-7

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”  And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

When we go to be with the Lord on that great day of His return, what a difference for us!!!

  • We have had trials – God will give us victory
  • We have had sickness – God will give us health
  • We have had sorrow – God will give us joy
  • We have had torment – God will give us peace
  • We have had lack – God will give us plenty
  • We have had hate – God will give us love
  • We have had bondage – God will give us liberty

In Christ, on that day – no more death, sorrow, crying, pain.  These are the “former things.”  They are gone, gone, forever gone, forever passed away. God will dwell with us.  What a thought! 

  • God dwelt with the Israelites in the Holy of Holies
  • God came to dwell with us in bodily form through Jesus
  • Now, God will be with us – and we with Him throughout eternity.  Forever and ever.

It is done! 

The Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and the End – He has accomplished all this for us

  • The fountain of the water of life will be given freely.  I will never thirst again.  My desire will be satisfied.
  • He who overcomes shall inherit all things
  • Nothing will be lacking
  • I will have all things – nothing incomplete
  • It’s mine – The King of Kings calls me His son
  • I will be a joint heir with Jesus Christ

What an incentive to overcome the world!!!!

An Invitation From God

Revelation 4:1-2

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”  Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.

  • We were all born in sin.  Because we are the offspring of Adam and Eve, we have sinned.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

  • We are all, unless we have received Christ, potential residents of hell.  There are those who say there is no hell.  There are those who say the only hell is here on earth.  There are those who say that hell is the grave.  When you are dead, you cease to exist.  When you are dead, you are dead.  There are those who say there is no proof of a hell.  They say it is just the religious fanatics that have concocted the idea of hell to somehow control people with their own brand of right and wrong.

But wait!  There is proof of hell.  There is one who died, went to hell and preached, and then returned to earth and testified about it.  I am willing to take His word for it.  How about you?

1 Peter 3:18-19 – For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,  by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison.

  • Hell and heaven are not entrees, like in a cafeteria.  You cannot just go, take a look and decide whether you want to stay or go to the other place.  Hell is a place – a real place.

It is logical, even you and I can figure it out for ourselves.  God is a God of fairness.  It just makes sense.  Would he not prepare a place for those who do not wish to be with Him in heaven.  Hell is there for those who willfully and knowingly wish not to live with God.  God, has prepared this alternative for all those who reject Him.

Most of us live in homes with many different rooms.  Two to three bedrooms, a kitchen, maybe even a family room or den.  If you need all the conveniences of your nice home, you will not like it in hell.  There will be no comforts and room like that.

Consider the heat.  The Bible says it is a place of heat and torment.  That torment will never let up, never diminish.  If you do not tolerate heat too well, do not plan on going to hell.

Even if you could deal with the heat and torment, think of being in a place where God has removed His love?  God’s love is the explanation for our existence.  God’s love is the explanation for our welfare.  It is the love and grace of God that sustains us.  To be shut off for one hour, one day from the love and grace of God – the very thought is intolerable.

  • There are souls in hell. 

Luke 16:19-31 – There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.  But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.  And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’  But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.  And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’  “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house,  for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’  Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’  And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’  But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

The rich man could remember when he was here on earth.  He could feel the flames.  He was so alive that he was praying in hell.  Prayers prayed in hell are prayers prayed too late.  Prayers prayed in hell are just like the prayers that are prayed here on earth when we know we have sin in our life, but do not care to change.

You may be in comfort and convenience here on earth.  Your job or your retirement may be secure.  Your financial situation may be good.  But if death should strike you down, would you lift your eyes in hell?

You may say, “I’m ok.  I’m a pretty good person.”  Your own goodness is not what keeps you out of hell.  There is only one thing that keeps you out of hell and that is accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and lord.

Mark 16:16 – He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

When you pray, it is not ceremony, not just repeating pious words.  It is praying heartfelt, sincere words to a loving God who is standing with open arms and ready to forgive.  It is meaning what you say, not just today, but tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.  It is remaining faithful to the words of your prayer.

John 3:16-18 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believe in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

If you go to hell, you are in the home of the fallen angels.  Your neighbors will be demons.  Sinners will be your companions.  Think of Hitler, Stalin and all the evil men in the past.  No such thing as comfort there.  Nothing but malice, envy, strife, violence, weeping and grinding of teeth.  We sing songs bout heaven, but there will be no singing in hell.  There will be nothing to rejoice about.  No getting right with God in hell.  It will be too late. 

  • Jesus will judge the nations.

Matthew 25:31-46 – When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’  “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  • Jesus invites you

John 6:37 – All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

  • Have you made your reservation?
  • Have you sent your RSVP note in?
  • Have you told Him, “Yes, I want to be with You – in heaven?

Serving for God’s Glory

1 Peter 4:7-11

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.  And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”  Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

 

Romans 13:11-14 – And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

That phrase from Peter, ”The end of all things is at hand…” and the other phrase from Romans “knowing the time,” simply refers to Christ’s return.  His return is nearer at hand than what we realize.  Oh, I know we have all heard that many times.  But it’s true. 

Satan has lulled the church world into a stupor, into an almost unconscious state where many are going through the motions, what the scripture calls “a falling away” and are only in a state of religiosity.  One of the ways Satan has deluded our minds about Christ’s return is keeping us occupied with other things. 

 Christ Jesus is returning and He is coming with His archangel, Michael, blaring a trumpet loud and clear.  Those who are in the grave, the dead in Christ, your loved ones and mine, all will hear that trumpet blast.  They shall rise from their grave, their mortal bodies that were racked with pain and sickness and lay undisturbed for months or years will suddenly come to life in a jolt more powerful than any electrical current.   They will burst through that concrete vault and that casket that is closed and secured tightly plus six feet of earth more powerful than any bullet train or atom bomb.  They then will burst through the atmosphere to meet Him in the air and continue on through the pearly gates into that abode promised for those who are His. 

At the same time those who are alive and in Christ will be caught up to meet them in the air.  I do not know how much of a time lapse between these two events but according to scripture I believe it is immediate.  In other words when the graves are bursting open for our loved ones, who have died, and may be even yet in the funeral home or hospital will be gone and those in Christ will be gone as well.  And we all know where they will have gone. 

In other words, those still living will not have time to ponder their fate if they are in a state of sin and will not have time to make ready.  His coming will be instantaneous and the ones who are not ready will not have a clue at that particular moment.  Some of man’s imagination pictures toppled tombstones, disturbed grave sites, cars and planes careening off the road driverless, doctors missing suddenly while in the middle of surgery, people talking in conversation and all at once one of the parties are gone.  Just as those who witnessed the flood in Noah’s day, there will be an almost immediate recognition around the world that something has happened, but many will be without a clue.

Right now, about one billion people around the world call themselves Christian.  How many of them will, in fact, be ready for lift off, is anyone’s guess.  But, Christ knows their name, because their names are in the book.  Is your name in the book, that is, The Lamb’s book of Life or is your name in the other book…the one who has the recorded names and deeds of all those who are not ready and who according to the Word must give an account?

That second phrase in Romans, chapter eleven, simply tells us to WAKE UP.  Are you spiritually awake?  Are you aware of any area in your life that might give you a hesitation of whether or not you will be ready or not?  The Bible tells us we have approximately 70 years of life on this earth.  Some of you have already passed that number.  But think of it, on a time line, 70 years is but a blip compared to the approximate 6000 years this earth has been inhabited since Adam and Eve were created. 

What is your eternal destiny?  Where you will spend eternity?  He that has an ear, let him or her hear?  What is the Spirit saying to you?  Is there an area of your life that does not measure up to what God requires?  It is not about the church or your friends or family.  It is about you.