“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil: for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38
I have noticed a lie creeping into the Church. In all actuality the lie has been here for a long time; it is just becoming more pronounced and prevalent among our ranks. I am making reference to the idea (or rather the paradigm) that once a person becomes a Christian they just continue to exist as they were. They live their lives, they work their jobs, and they’re involved in all their sports [or a hundred other things could go here] that they were before they became a Christian. It’s almost as if there is no real perceived change in their lives.
I was reminded recently by another Christian of 2 Kings 17:33, which says, “They feared the Lord, yet they continued to serve their other gods.” I wonder if the question were asked today, “Do you fear the Lord?”…what the response would be? I’d be willing to bet that most would say they feared the Lord. Yet by their living, and their vices, and habits/addictions, and how they spend their time…they are serving other gods. A god is anything that replaces your love and devotion – your time and commitment – your Godly living with anything else. Do you spend your money on other gods? This could mean many different things to many different people. I’ve met Christians who spend thousands of dollars a year on sports and big-screen TV’s and traveling all over the country to sporting events; but yet won’t give God a dime, let alone any time. They’re serving other gods. The list is endless…bottom line: if anything impedes on your walk of holiness and your time with the Lord – then you are serving another god in that area of your life. And God said that you shall not have any other gods before Him. This commandment has a double meaning: 1) You shall not have anything in your heart that is more important than God, 2) You shall not have those things in His sight that you know would offend Him. He commanded the children of Israel to not keep certain things in their possession or in their tents. Could it really be a coincidence that Peter calls our body a tent? I think not. Get the other gods out of your life. If you don’t do it, then God will just give you over to them. But I can guarantee you this right out of the Bible: you won’t be received unto Him when He comes again. You’ll be left here to serve your other gods. For goodness sakes, is it really that important to you??!! Do those things mean that much to you? We’ll all find out very shortly – quicker than we all think.
What I’m trying to say is that once we become a Christian, everything should change. Our living, our time, our fellowship with other believers…and we should be doing works for the Lord. I am not talking about “works” in the legal sense of the word… where we are trying to earn our way or work our way into God’s good graces. But there are works that the Christian should be involved in. Works of ministering to the poor and the brokenhearted, feeding the hungry, ministering to the prisoners, visiting the orphans, teaching the word of God to the froward, the ignorant, and the new believers.
But the sad truth is that most (95% to be exact) will never do anything for the Lord after becoming a Christian. 95% of American Christians have never led anyone to the Lord, let alone cast out devils, heal the sick, or teach others the word of God. That leaves 5% of American Christians carrying the workload of all the rest. This is not right, and this is not fair. And on top of all that, only a handful are giving of their funds to further the work of the gospel.
People just love to live their lives unto themselves. It is their world, their time, and their money…and how dare someone ask them to contribute of their God-given talents, or their time, or their resources. The truth is that you have been given one talent, or five talents, or ten talents…based upon the following scriptures from Matthew 25:14-30:
For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and entrusted his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each one according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Certain things have been entrusted to you my friend. If you make good money, it is not for yourself. It is so that you can be using it to further the kingdom of God. If you’re not…then you have buried your talent. For those of you who love to teach others (and it seems you were born to do this) and you’re not doing it…then you have buried your talent. For those of you who can minister to the prisoner, but you’re not…then you have buried your talent. For those of you who know you are to be doing your Master’s will and you are not doing it…then you have buried your talent.
Don’t live your life unto yourself any longer. If you do, then the Lord will be saying to you one day, “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew…” Yes, you knew to be doing your Master’s will and you chose to not do it.
Does the scripture not say in Ephesians 2:10, “For we…were created to do good works.” Think about that friend. We were created in Christ Jesus to do something!! Are you doing something with that which the Lord has entrusted you with? You see, Jesus did something when He saw the multitudes that were hungry. First – He saw a need (Matt. 14:14); second – He was moved with compassion (Matt. 14:14); and third – He did something about it (Matt. 14:19).
Do you really have faith? The book of James said that if you did, then there would be works to prove it. He even says that if we have no works, then we are a “vain man.” And the Greek word for “vain” means: empty, devoid of truth, destitute of spiritual wealth, without effect and without a gift , and to no purpose (Taken from the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon #2756). Do any of those synonyms fit your spiritual condition right now? You know what to do to change it. Each man does.
How else are the unbelievers going to glorify God unless they behold your good works? 1 Peter 2:12 says, that “the Gentiles (unbelievers)…may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Are you doing good works that can be observed by the unbelievers? It’s not that we do good works to be seen or recognized by them. But we do them because we really love the Lord and want to please Him and help Him in His work on the earth.
Also in James 2 it talks about our father Abraham. And it says that he was justified by his works, and that his faith worked hand-in-hand with his works, and that his faith was made perfect by his works. Do you want your faith to be perfected? Then get to work…it’s that simple. There is plenty you can do. Do what you can, and when you are faithful with that, then God will add to it, and increase it, and increase you.
If you do not have works, then your faith is dead!! This is what our brother James said in James 2:26. Your faith is dead if you do not have works to go along with it. Jesus commended the seven churches in Revelation chapters two and three for what? Their works!! Nine times alone He commends them for their works. Think of it…nine times to just seven churches. In Revelation 14:13 it says that your works are going to follow you. I’m afraid that many won’t have a long line of anything behind them…except what they built for themselves upon this fleeting and temporary earth. How sad it will be in that fearful day. The word tells us there will be many tears…many tears.
The Lord’s very first teaching given upon the mount in Matthew 5:16 talks about our good works. He goes on to say in Matthew 16:27 that we will be rewarded according to our works. So then this shows us what? Eternal rewards are based upon good works.
Don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not talking about the works of the law mentioned in Romans 9:32, Galatians 2:16 (mentioned 3 times), 3:5, 3:10, Ephesians 2:9, and Hebrews 9:14. These are all verses dealing with man trying to earn his way into God’s good graces by his works…without the cross. Jesus calls this one a “thief and a robber” in John 10:1
Paul told us (God told us actually) “to learn to maintain (keep a consistent lifestyle) good works” (Titus 3:14).
Bottom line guys is this: The only difference between the sheep and the goats mentioned in that same chapter in Matthew 25 (immediately following our narrative on the talents – and can that really be a coincidence?) is what? What they did and did not………………………………………DO. And why didn’t they do something? It’s actually very simple. They loved themselves more than they loved the Lord Jesus or anyone else. They had decided to not love their neighbor as their self. The only thing precious to them was this life and what they could get out of it. They were only concerned for their own, and no one else’s. They walked right on by the man who was beaten and robbed on the road to Jericho and made a conscious decision in their minds and hearts to justify their actions.
Dear reader, if this is you today…may God have mercy on your soul in that great and terrible day. It’s high time we wake up and read in His word exactly what He has commanded us to do. Because “he who knew to do his Master’s will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.” Luke 12:47
One final thought on our opening text from Acts 10:38. Has God anointed you? According to 2 Cor. 1:21 & 1 John 2:27 He has. Then read the last part of the verse again…”for God was with Him.” AND GOD IS WITH YOU!! Go…Go and change the world…Go and make a difference…Go and tell them what He has done for you…don’t look back…let everything else just fall by the wayside…and Go in His might and in His power…Go like the wind. Live for the finish…Believe in the finish…SEE the finish!!