Sunday July 5, 2020
to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them… they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. [Declaration of Independence]
Writing a Constitution that was designed to protect these rights, and adhering to it as best we could, made us the most prosperous nation by far in the history of nations. Granted, this land has been blessed with the greatest amount of natural resources in the world, but without freedom and free markets, it would not have come close to what it was.
Yet, as history shows us, and also certain current events, the lust for power in some can successfully remove freedom from the masses and move the wealth from the middle-class to the few elite. Earthly freedoms, power, and wealth are very variable.
If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
The riches of God’s glory to man do not change.
to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The riches of His glory:
EPH 1:18 - we are to know it.
EPH 3:16 - it is to give strength to our inner man.
ROM 9:26 - we were prepared beforehand by God to know it.
PHI 4:19 - we are to give of it to others.
COL 1:27 - it is Christ who is in you.
Having a permanent inheritance, to the magnitude of the riches of God’s glory, empowers us and gives us the confidence to be exceedingly gracious to others. Giving is not going to diminish our inheritance, but to the contrary, it will open our eyes to more of it.
Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
“shall supply” - pleroo = shall fill up. They filled Paul’s need, God will, from the riches of His glory, fill theirs. Being gracious, sacrifice can be painful, but it will never put us in dire need.
Our trust in God, our faith in our immoveable inheritance, will give us the power to be gracious givers and that with great joy. Hence, our God and Father receives all the glory.
"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
To the measure you give, to that measure you will possess. “For the measure you measure it shall be measured again to you.” (literal)
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Being a gracious giver has tremendous reward - living content in God’s life and free from the slavery and worry of materialism.
The believer in this age is not a member of the earth though he lives in it. He is a member of heaven, made alive, risen up, and seated with Christ in the heavenlies, and that for all of us together.
God has bestowed upon us His glorious wealth, and so instead of vanity and smoke, we possess the reality of life, and with that, the reward of being filled with love, joy, and peace.
The doctrine of reward, a manifestation of the riches of God’s glory, has been perverted but we should not shrink from it. It is true that the good works of a Christian cannot be the foundation of his salvation. They proceed from the grace of God; at times they are mixed with hesitation and are clunky; at their best they are feeble compared to the works of Christ, yet they are precious in the sight of God. As a father witnessing his son adopt his instruction at a young age, the son might awkwardly do what he was taught, but the father delights in his choice to do it; to heed instruction and wisdom (Proverbs). Our works are the precious fruits of our faith and love of God and our understanding of our call to love all mankind. The Father delights in them. When a believing man is found devoting to God what he is and has, doing so freely and lovingly, that is a blessed thing. God sets value on it. It is profit to your account. It is accepted as fruit which the man brings, as the offering which he yields.
The reward is an increased capacity for the glory of God, which God will fill in the way He sees fit for you.
It has God’s perfect combination of material and immaterial blessing, of which the maturing believer would delight and not frown upon it due to personal desire: “I wanted more of this and not so much of that, and none of the other.” It is the sweet-spot that God desires for your life, that is, for today. The immaterial blessing will never change, but the material will.
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
At the Last Supper:
And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing. 24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' 26 "But not so with you, but let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.
Your inheritance cannot fade or diminish. You don’t have to be like a Benefactor or ruler, but a servant, for your kingdom is not of this world. How free is that? It is the greatest freedom. All results, whatever they may be, and some of them will be suffering to you, are all in the hands of the true King.
And then Jesus displays this very attitude:
"For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
He was not for a moment fearful or concerned about His earthly prowess or wealth or standing. His kingdom was not here.
The future standing of the disciples in God’s kingdom was secure.
"And you are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. [“do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”]