How Many Cups Of Water?

[The original title to this post was: “A Heavenly Reward”]

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Mat. 10:42

Today I have four stories to narrate and they are all related. They all point to the same moral.

The first story involves the biggest mansion (actually, the only one-storied mansion) in my town.

It belongs to the bishop of the largest Pentecostal denomination in our region.

End of story.

The second story is about another bishop of that same denomination who resides in a neighboring district. His mansion, which happens to be the biggest personally-owned building in his town, is currently under construction. But this story stretches out a bit. The bishop also owns two vehicles, both 6-cylinder SUVs. Actually, one is a Range Rover.

This minister’s church, however, is heavily tasked to contribute to the construction of his big mansion. The church also takes care of the running of the bishop’s two cars. Every parishioner has been allocated a large portion of money to contribute, and the deacons have been instructed to enforce it.

A friend of mine who used to worship in this minister’s church once asked him why he needed to build such a big house. The man replied, “Our God is a big God. We should be able to enjoy the big life because all things belong to God.”

When he asked him why he had to task God’s people to pay for his house instead of receiving directly from God, the minister replied, “God has put them there to serve me. That is how they will receive their reward, while I receive mine by preaching to them.”

At about the same time, a friend of mine from the U.S. sent me a video clip of a church that had rioted against the pastor during a church service because they were asked to tithe 1,000 U.S. dollars each. (The tithe goes directly to the pastor.)

Those who could not afford the 1,000 dollars were coolly asked to give not less than 300 dollars.

And yet this pastor drives a Rolls Royce, he owns a number of mansions, and he has satellite churches from which he “reaps” tons of cash every Sunday. But the community that he “serves” is dirt poor and there are families who cannot afford a decent meal.

Finally, the “sheep” had woken up to the fact that they were being pimped and they decided to do something about it.

The Bible does not say we pay back evil for evil, nor that we should riot in church. But these people did not know any better, so they rioted.

The last story is about our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus talked about a reward. He did not say that we would receive a reward by building a mansion for ourselves or by driving the most expensive cars in His name. Jesus, however, said that we would be rewarded by giving a cup of cold water to one of God’s servants (children).

Imagine that. Not even warmed water, but cold. A cup of cold water is worth nothing. And yet, the littlest thing we could do for God’s Kingdom and for His children will get us an eternal reward in heaven.

“And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

We can serve God’s people with the littlest thing we have and expect a reward; or we can serve ourselves by pampering our flesh, for which the Lord made no promise.

I am trying to calculate how many cups of water this American preacher could get from selling his Rolls Royce. According to our Lord Jesus Christ, each cup of water that this man would give to a saint has a reward in heaven. Now do your maths and tell me what kind of reward this preacher would have in heaven. But he is wasting it away on self.

Jesus said,

“19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Mat. 6:19-20)

Self (the love for this world) is the saint’s biggest enemy. That is why God gives us the revelation of the cross, to the end that we might crucify the flesh and move on and serve God in the Spirit, where there is a reward. The revelation of “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” gives us a spiritual vision and we lose sight of the pleasures and glories of this world.

[“But we preach Christ crucified… Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Cor. 1:23-24]

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The Cross Our Strength.

My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor. 12:9

The earth’s magnetic north is described as “the direction a compass needle always points”. Man has his magnetic north, which is the flesh. That is a fact, lest we boast. Man’s desires, aspirations and actions all gravitate towards self, the flesh. That is why when Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6).Those are our original parents, and that’s quite a statement the Bible is making there!

Many aspects of our ‘self’ nature are so well-hidden we are not aware of them. We see only the surface of things. We see the good deeds we do. Sometimes we do such remarkable deeds that we are tempted to believe in the ‘goodness’ of man.

But nothing we do can fool God. God knows what is in the heart of man, and the fact is, we are rotten to the core. The Bible in Romans 3 provides us with our ‘charge sheet’, as it were, and in verse19 it concludes that the entire world is “guilty before God”!

We dare not boast. On the contrary, we can thank God for His grace in giving us a Savior, Jesus Christ His Son. He alone was the sacrifice considered worthy enough by God to take away our sins.

The flesh does not go away just because we are saved. The ‘magnetic north’ instinct hounds us to our deathbed, and woe to the man who thinks he is so spiritual as to ignore that fact. We are not called to ignore it but to defeat it. True, God does a lot for us at salvation; but, just as a father would help a child to cross a street then let go his hand, God also calls us to responsibility in the Kingdom. And by allowing us to carry the Cross God gives us the privilege of being a part of the winning team, of which He is the Captain! What an honor!

Losing our lives is the challenge. The call of God in our lives is to partake of Christ’s victory by participating in His death. That is the heart of the message of the Cross. That is what the Apostles talked about in their epistles. God and the Apostles knew that if we are victorious over the flesh, no other enemy can defeat us. The Apostle Peter says: “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” 1 Pet. 3:13. He is talking about spiritual victory.

The charismatic gospel that is prevalent in the Church today will never deal with the flesh. Actually it is a gospel of ‘me’. Recently I saw an advertisement that said simply, ‘You. First.’ How apt!

 Miracles and healings, though a work of the Spirit, can never bring a man to spiritual maturity. God intended something else to bring the Church to maturity. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:22-24, “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

Spiritual maturity is what God wants the Church to arrive at. He is looking for sons and daughters, not spiritual babes. That certainly makes sense, doesn’t it?

You might notice that the Corinthian church had all the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in their midst, but the Apostle Paul still referred to them as spiritual babes.

The Apostle Peter raised Tabitha from the dead, but still Paul chided him for his immature behavior.

It is the revelation of the Cross of Christ only that can deal with the carnal nature of man. That was why Paul would preach no other gospel other than “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). And when he says he would boast in nothing else apart from that Cross “by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14) there is nothing of false humility with Paul there. Rather, he is testifying to a real work in his heart. Paul knew where the power of the gospel lay:  it was in the Cross working in his life! What Paul means by ‘weaknesses’ in 2 Cor. 12:9 are the sufferings of Christ through which he would partake of the power of God.

That is why the Church today needs a spiritual understanding, or a revelation of the Cross of Christ.  And that is why in our day we can thank God for men like Miki Hardy, in whom the Lord has invested such a revelation.

Anyone who has the chance to hear the preaching of the gospel that addresses their flesh should be grateful to God for that grace and privilege. In the midst of the many gospels being preached today, and where the flesh is either not dealt with or is even celebrated, it is truly a grace from God to hear the one gospel that confronts head-on this most indefatigable of God’s enemies.

I thank God that I do not only write this blog or preach, but that I am a partaker of the most important aspect of our calling, which is to carry my Cross and follow after Christ!