Thursday, July 17, 2014

Parable of the Lamp, part 10:

So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him." (Luke 8:18 NASB)

"For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. (Matthew 25:29 NASB)

The focus verse is again from the Parable of the Lamp as found in Luke and the companion verse from the Parable of the Talents in Matthew. They both deal with the subject of stewardship, and now we come to the part of the verse most of us would rather avoid. 

"and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him"

This is a difficult verse, but it was spoken by Christ Himself on more than one occasion, indicating it's importance, and we do well to take heed. The Greek echō is the word translated as both "have" and "has". The sense here is of possessing something in our hand, of holding or wearing it. The word translated as "thinks" is dokeō, and conveys the idea of supposing a thing to be true or assuming it. The word translated as "taken away" is airō, and means to remove. It is used in Matthew to indicate the ripping away of a piece of unshrunk cloth used to patch an old fabric. When it is washed, the patch shrinks and tears away. 

What does all this mean? Dear ones, hear this clearly. It is an important word we must not misunderstand. 

There are those of us in the church who think we have what we do not. Because we have been "raised in the church" or spent quite a bit of time attending services, perhaps even giving tithes and doing good deeds, we have a tendency to think we are "in", just as many of the Pharisees did. What we need to understand is that attending church no more makes us a disciple of Christ than swimming in the ocean makes us a dolphin. Proximity does not confer position, and church membership does not convey discipleship. 

It is obedience because of love for Christ that makes us a disciple, and it is not a "pick and choose" obedience. When we receive teaching from our Lord, we are accountable to obey it. The good news is we have a Lord who loves us and whose plans for us are for good and not evil. Obedience is freeing and absolutely worth the effort. 

For those who rely on proximity rather than relationship, assuming that the form of religion they have practiced will suffice when they enter eternity, there is hard, painful news. Jesus promises that one day our suppositions will be stripped away and we will see ourselves as God sees us. 

Selah. Pause and consider. 

That is so important that it bears repeating. 

Jesus promises that one day our suppositions will be stripped away and we will see ourselves as God sees us. 

We do well to ask God to reveal our hearts now. Is what we are relying on for eternity merely a form of religion, or do we have an authentic relationship with Jesus? Our eternal destination depends upon the answer to that one question. 

Today, pray that we and our loved ones will  evaluate our relationship with Christ, allow God to strip away that which is based on presumption, and move us to the relationship Jesus died to give. 
Link to last night's post is here:
Our terrorist prayer focus this week is Ibrahim al Asiri, one of the most creative and dangerous bomb makers in the world. He is sworn to destruction of believers in general and the US specifically. Pray that his terrorist efforts would be thwarted, that a miraculous conversion would occur, and that his fervor for the cause of Christ would exceed his fervor for destruction.
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