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A Life God Rewards (9)

December 31st, 2009
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Scripture of the Day: 2Corinthians 4:5

 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.(NIV)

 A servant does not demand a reward. It is his duty to serve. That’s what a servant does.

Jesus gave the following parable about being a servant in Luke 17:1-10:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.

“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ “

This is a rather startling statement by Jesus. When you listen carefully to what he is saying here, you sense that we will not be in a position to be arguing about bonuses from God when we realize how righteous his teachings are. Rewards will not be flowing because God owes us anything. We sense that if we are rewarded it will be because of his generosity.

To even do everything we are told to do is really impossible for us. That’s why we all must confess how small is our faith and share with the disciples “Please increase our faith”.

This gives us a balancing context to discuss the subject of rewards.

Message for the Day

A Life God Rewards (8)

December 30th, 2009
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Scripture of the Day: 2Corinthians 4:3-4

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.(NIV)

JMF: So where does that leave the common person?

 JM: The common person, whether he or she knows it or not, belongs to the great I AM of the Trinity of the Redeemer/Creator. That’s who we belong to.

 JMF: And belonging means what?

 JM: He made us, he made us for himself, he not only made us to breathe air, but he made us to worship him. And when we are worshiping not him, we’re having trouble.

The great Liar doesn’t want mankind to know this. He wants us to continue living in our false ideas about God. That somehow we have to appease him, to earn his blessings, to never be sure of his motives toward us.

Can you see the great reward for all who are not veiled – a reward that surpasses all understanding is to see “The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

This is the consequence of the gospel. The light of the gospel is the glory of Christ who is the image of God — there is nothing greater to receive in this life and the life to come.

So any discussion about rewards must be in this context.

Message for the Day

A Life God Rewards (7)

December 29th, 2009
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Scripture of the Day: 2 Corinthians 4:2

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (NIV)

We are not using clever tactics:  clever psychological manipulations, targeting our audience through their fears or vulnerabilities. We are not into a numbers game or trying to get a following so people can sponsor our bigger and better ambitions thus gaining more and power and respectability.

We are not trying to impress people. The Bible is not a tool to use with selected passages to create an effect. We are not using the Bible as some manual to become rich.

 Paul was a messenger of the good news — it is God’s truth, not Paul’s.

And that truth is about what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. It is about what he continues to do in us in Jesus Christ.

So the focus isn’t on Paul. And Paul did not see himself earning great rewards because of all the people he drew into the church. And yet we will find there is a reward for being a faithful servant.

We are privileged to actually bring good news.

In an interview between John McKenna (JM) and J. Michael Feazell (JMF):

 JMF: To me that speaks to evangelism a lot because we – I think we often get the idea that evangelism abides with us; it depends on us. And it seems like the gospel, in reality does indeed motivate us to evangelize with all the vigor we can muster and yet at the same time to rest in our vigorous evangelism with the confidence that it really doesn’t depend on us. God will be who he will be and he loves people more than we can and he will reach them…

 JMF: And when we see people as being loved by God rather than as enemies,

 JM: We see the truth.

 JM: That’s the truth, that’s the truth of his love for all of us, enemies or not.

So while we are motivated to share this good news, it is not about us. It is really about God’s love for people even when they are enemies. He gives the increase. It is to his glory.

Not our efforts in evangelism.

Message for the Day