Food For Thought

57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. Lk. 9:57-58

Y’know, I often think about Jesus’s words above, and I cannot imagine a grown man speaking such words in today’s world. Even in church, it would be anathema to speak such words. Had Jesus been in today’s hyper-materialistic church I know exactly what they would tell Him.

“You are lazy! Go work and put something over your head.”

And they would have turned away in disgust, muttering, “Stupid!”

They would do their best to shame Him.

But the Lord was about His Father’s business. He had no time, nor inclination, for the business of this world and the things that pertain to it and the flesh. Actually, Jesus did not speak those words because He needed a house. He was not soliciting for help. A house meant nothing to Jesus.

In Philippians 4:10-13 the Apostle Paul, who had the same heart as Jesus, writes:

“10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

“Not that I speak in respect of want”.

The spiritual men and women of old never lusted for the things of this world. When you are pursuing after spiritual things, you have absolutely no time for the trappings of this world, however ‘necessary’ they might be.

Isn’t a reproach for the church today that a person’s worth would be measured by what he owns material-wise? That a person with a car, a house, who has been to university, who is better dressed and who has all the symbols of this world upon him would be looked upon in church as someone? That’s the real shame – in the Spirit.

Jesus told Martha:

“41 Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Lk. 10:41-42)

We are so careful and troubled about many things: but one thing only is needful: to see into God’s spiritual Kingdom and to live the life of the Spirit.

The good thing about Jesus, of course, was that, try as you might, you could not shame Him. He knew what He was about.

Do you know what you are about in God’s Kingdom? When you think about how unacceptable Jesus’s words are in today’s charismatic church setting, there’s much food for thought there.

The Temporal vs The Eternal

1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Mk. 13:1-2
Jesus was that fast. He could cut out the lights faster than they were lit. This was because Jesus always stayed in the Spirit. When you are in the Spirit, you don’t have the time for the kind of stuff this disciple had.
You would be surprised to learn the things that the church today is getting animated about. Today, it is almost about normal to find people in church getting excited about things in the natural than things in the Spirit. If someone in church, for example, buys a new car or if he builds a new house, or if they graduate with a degree, you will find that hotter news in church than the report of the brother who has stopped beating his wife. People will look up to the man with the brand new car as if he were God. They will walk up to him and congratulate him and tell him all kinds of ridiculous things; but few will hardly take notice of the guy who stood up in church to testify that he recently stopped beating his wife. Much less, certainly, the many brothers and sisters in whose hearts God is quietly working and who are slowly changing for the better.
Actually, there is every kind of non-spiritual nonsense going on in church today. It beats me personally how we can not only bring the spirit of the world into the church, but even go as far as to applaud it. People are “high-fiving” each other over natural merits and accomplishments. In the church today, modernism is taking root against spirituality.
I have lived on both sides of the spiritual divide and I recall there was a time when things were not the way they are today. There was a time, in my lifetime, when nearly all the saved people that I knew of were poor folks. No one even had a bicycle, let alone a car. In those days, saved people were revered strictly for their holiness. They had nothing in the natural to boast about. For that reason, no one made any connection between material prosperity and salvation.
With time, however, progress brought about education and, with education, material prosperity. In the same church that I was in a few decades back, today it is not just bicycles, but motorcycles and cars have filled the church compound. The same people who lived in indescribable hovels have now built respectable homes for themselves. The deep sense of poverty that once pervaded the church has been replaced with an acceptable level of prosperity.
There is nothing wrong with that, of course. But it is the devil’s job to throw a spanner in the works at every opportunity. The sad fact about all this is that the spiritual aspect of the church’s calling is getting buried under by the material viewpoint. Just the other day, someone came from Dar es Salaam and the first thing he told me was how prosperous a certain sister had become. He threw in as many details as he could about all the wealth this dear sister was amassing. There was not the slightest mention about this sister’s spiritual state.
In the same strain, some years back I passed by a brother’s house in a certain town. I arrived late in the evening and, upon realizing I would be leaving early the next morning, the brother hurriedly bundled me into his car and we shot off miles into the countryside just so he could show me a new piece of land he had just bought. It was about 9 p.m. at night and, even with the headlights blazing, I saw only sage brush. The experience left me stunned.
But that is not the worst part. The worst part, as I said, is people bending over backwards to talk of and praise these material achievements as if they were the Spirit. The church looks up to these people as if they had been filled by the Holy Spirit. Today, people – brethren – achieve status in their fellow brethren’s eyes according to the level of their material or other earthly achievements. But a brand new car or a new house is as far apart from the Spirit as night is from day. One is earthly, temporal; the other is heavenly, and eternal.
It is the easiest thing to go downhill rather than uphill. It is the easiest thing for the church to look up to materialism rather than the things of the Spirit. But God couldn’t care less about how well you are getting along materially. God’s business is strictly spiritual. And He is still calling. Jeremiah 6:16 says:
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”
God is talking about asking, or seeking for, the ways of the Spirit. But notice what the next sentence says.
“But they said, We will not walk therein.”
We should not deceive ourselves that we are any different from these people.
[Below: “The good life” does not constitute the spiritual life]

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Carrying The Heavenly Vision

24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.
26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Lk. 7:24-28
Just the other day, a brother and I were walking in the hot midday sun and we got so exhausted that one of us quipped, “Sometimes I wish we had a car to move about with!”
To which the other replied, “True. But that’s hardly a priority.”
“Yes”, agreed the former. “A car is hardly a priority with us.”
One of the incredible graces that God has blessed this brother and I with is to discern what God’s real blessings are. I remember there was a time when I used to pray for every material blessing under the sun. I had a long list of things that I wanted God to give me. While some are needful, yet I now realize that most of the things that I used to desire and pray for so vigorously are absolutely insignificant.
When some believers hear me saying that, they deride me.
“It is because you do not have these things, that’s why you talk that way”, they say.
But I know their accusation is not true. On the contrary, it is what is in my heart that makes me to consider material things unimportant in my life.
There are many blessings in my life which that God has granted me. One of the blessings that this brother and I cherish in our lives is the deep contentment we get from each other’s company. We both realize that the grace of God is upon our lives in this regard. This brother’s company is one of the most amazing and important things in my life. He is as I and often I wonder at the blessing of having such a wonderful brother by my side.
Today’s modern gospels want the believer to believe that the comforts of this world are the most important things in their lives. This leads him to compete with the world for the things and comforts of this world. But we ought to realize that, although we are in the world, our Kingdom is not of this world. We should not become materialistic Christians.
Jesus said, “… Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.” (Lk. 7:25)
These are worldly-minded people, Jesus said. In today’s world, the prosperity gospel has bewitched God’s people.
But the man whom Jesus was about to talk about did not live in kings’ houses.
Now, one the most amazing facts about this account is the fact that Jesus would take such a long time to speak about a man, John the Baptist. This shows us that this man was very important in God’s Kingdom. Jesus Himself said as much.
Jesus began by contrasting John the Baptist with the comfortable lives that earthly kings live. A king’s lifestyle represents the highest standard of living in the land. He lives that kind of life because he holds the ultimate reins of power.
But Jesus went on and told the people that, even though John was so weak in the worldly sense that he appeared like a reed in the wind, yet he represented something which had infinitely much more power and glory than that of earthly kings.
Jesus said, “You went out to see, not a king, but a prophet.”
It is beyond doubt that a prophet is supremely above any king. A prophet is someone who has been sent by God. That in itself sets him far above this world in terms of glory, power and importance, for all earthly kings are subject to God. A prophet carries a message from God. He might be sent to warn, to direct or to comfort, but his message comes directly from God Himself. He is God’s mouthpiece. In spiritual terms, an earthly king in all his glory pales in the face of a prophet of God. The former lacks enduring glory and power, while the latter carries the same in himself.
But, still, Jesus told the crowd, John’s mission was far greater than that of an ordinary prophet. John had a mission that set him apart from other prophets. This is because he came to accomplish the most important task that would ever be accomplished by any man on earth. John was sent to precede and prepare God’s people for the coming of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.
26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
There could never be a more noble duty assigned to man than this!
For this reason, Jesus said, “… Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist”.
Among those that are born of women, including kings, there never had been, and there never would be, a greater prophet than John the Baptist.
But Jesus had not arrived at the end of what He wanted to tell the people who were listening to Him. In saying all this, Jesus was laying a foundation for the ultimate message that He was about to deliver. All this was a preamble to the important message that He had for His listeners. And it was that, finally, He declared it:
“… but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Notice there are two “he”s in this sentence. The last “he” refers to John the Baptist, of course, but who does the first “he” refer to? And it is clear that this person is greater than John the Baptist. Who could this “he” be?
It is us, we who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was telling His listeners that anyone who would believe on Him under the New Covenant would be far greater than John the Baptist.
What an awesome realisation! Jesus indicated that John was of another era, the Old Testament era, whose end he was announcing. The Lord Jesus Christ ushered in the new era of the New Covenant. And the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3 that the New Covenant is far greater than the old one.
Now, if Jesus could contrast, or separate John the Baptist from the world and its comforts, how much more should we be separated from them? Much, much more, I believe.
It is not that we should not have the things of this world; rather, it is that our hearts should never, ever be bound up with these things.
One of the most powerful examples of this in the Bible is Job. Job was one of the most blessed men in his generation. He was extremely rich materially. But Job lost everything, including his children, in just one day. Upon receiving the news of his staggering calamity, however, the Bible says that Job fell down on his face and worshipped God. And the Bible further says:
“21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:21-22)
Clearly, Job’s heart was not on the things that God had blessed him with. Job’s heart was on the heavenly glory; losing, or not having material things was a small sacrifice for him.

[Below: The brother I love and myself]

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Having A Heavenly Vision

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:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Mat. 6:19-21

Is it not truly amazing that with so few words one would become the greatest investment advisor both in heaven and on the earth. But that was exactly what our Lord Jesus accomplished here. In just one sentence, the Lord provided the single most important piece of advice for anyone who wants to arrive at true riches. You will never, ever find any sounder investment advice than the words that Jesus spoke here.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Master of everything, even in bringing out in the briefest and clearest summary the most important and complex aspects of our lives!

The word that I love most in this scripture is “yourself”. That is a word we should meditate over and over. In other words, just as we love to gain in this world, we could equally gain in heaven! But is that truly possible? Yes; but to do that, I need to hate myself first.

Now, people who hate others are normally bitter at heart. But did you know you can hate with joy? But the only hating that you can do with joy is when you hate yourself for the sake of God’s Kingdom. That is a spiritual experience that can only come about when we have been born again by God’s Spirit.

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

I can attest to the fact that the truly joyous moments that I have experienced in my life are when I found myself giving, not receiving. There is a certain joy attached to receiving, a gross and spiritually oppressive kind of satisfaction. But there is another kind of joy, a joy that is spiritually liberating, which we can only find when we give away our lives for the sake of the gospel.

Notice the scripture talks of not laying up “for yourselves treasures upon earth”.

What does that mean? Jesus could have been saying many things here, but here we will consider specifically money and material wealth. The Bible tells us not to lay up for ourselves these things upon the earth.

Now, if you love the world, you will bring up every argument to counter Jesus’ words. But if God has touched you and in your heart you love Him, you will rejoice at Jesus’ words.

I have heard people say, “Y’know, you don’t have to be stupid to be saved”. They say, “Don’t live as if you are not in this world!” They tell you things like how you ought to save money so you can build a house. They tell you that you shouldn’t live in a rented house all your life.

Well, if there was one person they should be telling this, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus began His earthly life on the wrong foot right from birth. His mother even had no place to give birth to Jesus, and He had to be born in a manger. A manger! Try to imagine that.

You would think God would correct this anomaly and give the most powerful Man his due place on earth. But we read that even when Jesus was at the height of His ministry, He did not have a place to even lay His head! Our Lord lived a truly poor life.

And how about the worldly-eccentric man, John the Baptist? John might have appeared eccentric by his odd lifestyle, but I can assure you that apart from Jesus Christ, in his lifetime John was spiritually the sanest person alive. This man lived in the desert his entire life, and he fed on locusts and wild honey – but God was with him!

Let me tell you, you can live in a hole, literally, all your life, and enter heaven triumphantly. Do you want God to be with you? Just have a heavenly vision. Seeing into God’s Kingdom will make you the richest man spiritually because God will be with you.

Neither Jesus nor John the Baptist lived a materially expensive life to prove that God was with them. Nor did the apostles of Jesus Christ. But they saw with a deep clarity into God’s spiritual Kingdom.

There are also dangers associated with setting our hearts on the things of this world. Robbers could come in and take our property. I raise chickens at my home and someone came and suggested that I should buy a dog to protect my chickens. I told him no. I told him God is well able to protect my chickens. If He ever allows them to get stolen, He will do so for a reason. Another reason I will not be buying a dog, I told my friend,  is because I do not want my heart to be set on those chickens.

The reason Jesus, John and the early church did not lay up treasures here on earth was because they saw into God’s Kingdom, and what they saw there made them to despise the glitter of this world. The things we crow about, these people despised. Jesus even had one seamless shirt-cum-coat. You would need to know how people in his day dressed in order to appreciate how poor our Lord truly was! There are people who do not like the idea that Jesus be portrayed as a poor man. But Jesus was a poor man. You do not even need to guess it. The Bible itself states that Jesus was poor (2 Cor. 8:9).

Let me end by giving you some good investment advice. In fact, this is the best advice you will ever get, and especially if you have large sums of money. And I am giving it to you free of charge.

My advice is: If you have money, do not put it in the bank. Put it in the church. Put it into God’s work. This is where it will truly pay. If you can invest your money into the bank to put into God’s Kingdom, well and good. Only, do not invest it for yourself. The only place “yourself” is waiting to gain is in God’s spiritual Kingdom, not here on earth.

Give away your money and property to the poor. There are many poor people, and some are even our brothers and sisters in Christ. Do not lend, but give. The Bible says,

“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days” (Eccl. 11:1).

That speaks of a generous heart. One day, in heaven, you will reap a wonderful harvest.

Giving away our lives in this manner is one of the really big ways that we plan for heaven. Planning for heaven is the best investment plan. Plan for heaven, not earth. Invest in God’s spiritual Kingdom, not this earthly one.

Indeed the Apostle Paul urges us to handle this worldly life with the tips of your fingers. In 1 Timothy 6:8 he says:

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:8).

That’s truly incredible, coming from this great man of God. Do you think Paul did not know of other things? Do you think he did not know of chariots and horses? Do you think Paul was not aware of money, and of gold and silver? He knew, of course, but he wouldn’t mention them. He wanted to show us that when it comes to this world, we should only desire the bare necessities. Desiring anything beyond that can only be of the flesh!

This is hard for many believers to accept, but it is the truth. A rather hard truth, but the truth nonetheless. As believers we should be aware that the flesh is very much alive and that it will always picket against us taking the narrow way. But we have to, for the gospel’s sake.

“Leavin’ On My Mind”

17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Phil. 3:17-21

The most important thing that I want us to consider in portion of scripture is Paul’s attitude towards the gospel of Jesus Christ contrasted with preachers in his day whom we would equate with today’s prosperity-gospel preachers. The latter were men whose motive in the gospel was material fulfillment. Even in our modern times, the truth is that what is called ‘church’ under the prosperity gospel – and it increasingly consists of a large portion of the Body of Christ – is not Christ’s church at all, but it is simply that some hungry, wrongly-motivated individuals have taken it upon themselves to trouble and mislead God’s people (Gal. 1:7).

These kinds of preachers preach a gospel that has absolutely no relation with the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and in real life there are many tragic stories in people’s lives that are directly connected with the activities of these preachers.

Any gospel that minds “earthly things” is a low-life, spiritually abhorrent gospel. It is a ‘gospel’ that has been brought in by men who simply want to fill their bellies!

The Apostle Paul was so grieved in his spirit by the bearers of this materialistic gospel that he wept.

Paul knew these people were dangerous, because they purposely avoided the cross of Jesus Christ, and they taught God’s people to do so. These people were enemies of the cross of Christ!

But Paul had been taught by Christ that the cross is the only gospel that can perfect men in the Spirit (2 Cor. 12;9).

But God is extremely patient and it appears as if He gives these false preachers all the rope they need. But the Apostle Paul warns that, one day, the Lord will deal severely with them. Their “end is destruction” (v.19).

Paul, on the other hand, did not preach a worldly gospel, nor did he live a material life. When it came to the material life, Paul rolled with the times. Sometimes he was full, other times he had nothing. And if he was in really dire straits, he could always rely on his friends, the brethren from Philippi (Phil. 4:15-18).

Paul states the gospel that he preached in verses 20-21:

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Paul’s gospel focused on God’s heavenly Kingdom. Paul himself lived a life that was fully in preparation to living the eternal life with Jesus Christ. It was a life of self-denial, of the denial of the world and its ways and attractions.

And so the apostle wept. He wept for the church because he saw people who took advantage of God’s patience to preach a gospel that drew God’s people away from the heavenly vision to an earthly one. Paul, the man who was given the mandate to perfect Christ’s bride through the cross of Christ found himself at war with people who were bound enemies of this very cross!

Now, surprisingly, and pleasantly so, Paul says there were people in the Philippian church who obeyed exactly the same example of life that he lived and preached. There were people in the church at Philippi who followed the example of Paul!

And Paul tells the church: “Mark these people”.

In other words, “Set your goal to be as them; follow after them”.

These were men and women who took up their cross daily and followed Christ, with their sights set, not on the fleetings material things of this world, but on heaven.

This is God’s cry for the modern church: that we may catch a revelation of heaven through the gospel of the cross.

[Is leavin’ on our minds? Jessy Dixon]

“Absent From The Lord” – Part 2

6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Cor. 5:6-8

Notice, clearly, that the Bible states that when we are “at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord”.

One day, many years ago, a brother and I were walking in the hot, punishing Musoma sun when I made the unfortunate remark that I wished we had a car or even a motor-cycle. The brother kept walking for a minute and then he said, “Y’know, pastor, nowadays we are too soft on ourselves. The early church never even thought of such things.”

I winced at the brother’s words. But on closer reflection, I realized how truly “absent from the Lord” I was. Somehow I was reminded that cars and motor-cycles have nothing to do with the Kingdom to which we have been called, for it is a spiritual Kingdom!

Indeed, when we reflect on the lives of the early disciples of Jesus Christ we find they were men and women who despised their own lives and the material trappings of this earthly life (Heb. 10:32-39). The apostles themselves lived lives that were materially far below even those of the common pauper (1 Cor. 4:9). And yet with all the wealth that was daily being laid at their feet, the early apostles could have lived like kings! (Acts 4:34-37) Which points to perhaps the most surprising fact about these early believers – that this was a choice on their part. It was not forced upon them by anyone. But these Godly men and women knew they were engaged in a war with their flesh and they therefore deliberately chose to cut themselves from this worldly life. They purposed to take up their cross and crucify the flesh in every possible way.

It was not that this scorning of the material life was in itself sufficient to make them spiritual, but they knew it was a necessary part of the road that they were called upon to take.

We reflect on men like the Apostle Paul, who one time commanded his team to go ahead by ship while he himself purposed to walk the long distance by foot (Acts 20:13).

Much more, of course, could be spoken of our Lord Jesus Christ who preached to the crowds from a borrowed fishing boat, and without even the aid of a public address system. And yet this Man, being the Son of God, could have stunned His peers as He flew from one ministry point to another in a post-modern superjet.

Moreover, nearly all Jesus’s journeys were made on foot. Can you imagine that! This was a Man who could walk on water; but on account of crucifying the flesh, Jesus planted His feet firmly on the ground and walked the Judean roads. At one point as He was passing through Samaria, Jesus was so exhausted from fasting and the long walk that He sat by a well to relax and ask for a drink of water. It was there that He met the Samaritan woman, and a beautiful story unfolded.

Space would not suffice to write about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; of Joseph, of Ruth, of Esther, of David, Daniel and the many other Godly men and women who in so many different ways were willing to lose this world that they might gain God’s riches in the Spirit. We see clearly that our spiritual fathers utterly despised the things of this world and this earthly life. They were seeking after a spiritual heritage. They were seeking to be “present with the Lord”.

Unfortunately, it is not so today. Clearly, we in this generation are certainly more “at home in the body” – and “absent from the Lord”. We are a “rights” people. We have so many rights! And we love the soft, comfortable fleshly life.

But this only takes us far from the Lord. Our only recourse to being “present with the Lord” is to crucify our flesh.

[Below: From the surrounding hills, one gets a beautiful view of Lake Victoria and Musoma Town down below]

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The Priorities Of Life – Part 2

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 Jn. 2:15-17

My last deposition in this 2-part series deals with the born-again believer’s attitude towards materialism. Actually, that is a contradiction. Christianity and materialism do not go together. Let me put it as clearly as I can right up front: WE HAVE NOTHING TO LIVE FOR IN THIS WORLD.

Everything that is in this world has to do with the lust of the flesh. That is why the Word of God says that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof”.

I believe it is an affront of the highest order for a portion of the church to believe that Jesus left His abode in heaven and came to endure all that He endured in this world so that we might live a comfortable material life here on earth as “King’s Kids”. It is like saying that He died so that we might keep up with the Joneses!

That is atrocious, to say the least. God has not called us to such a race. As far as I can see in the Bible, the only promise that God gives to His children concerning this material world is that He will meet our basic needs. God’s attitude with regard to our life here on earth is best captured in the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Tim. 6:8). I wonder how we can add anything to that.

But Christians today are not just adding to God’s Word; they are actually contesting scripture!

I recently overheard a preacher of a mega-church in our city say over the radio, “The life of Lazarus (the poor beggar who lived on the crumbs which fell from his rich neighbor’s table) is not a model of the life that we have been called to live as children of God. His life is a disgrace! It is a cursed life. We are blessed. We are supposed to live the high life!”

In fact, her sermon was all about Lazarus and she literally ripped him apart. My heart fainted as I thought of all those unfortunate, deprived Christians listening to her on their small FM radios. They must have been devastated.

There are many “spirits” at work today, and this preacher certainly was talking under the influence of one (or probably a ‘legion’) of them; but I happen to know she was not talking under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

No doubt when she talked about Lazarus’ life, this poor preacher was referring to his natural life. She utterly failed to see Lazarus’ rich spiritual life. (Of course, it is not written down but from Jesus’ words you can gather that Lazarus was a God-fearing man.) She just saw Lazarus the sore-infested beggar, and she despised him. She did not see the Lazarus who lived a life that pleased God in the Spirit.

And, by the way, who said that begging is a sin? I don’t see that in the Bible. I will tell you what sin is in this setting. Pride and arrogance are.

The ‘prosperity’ gospel has been planted into the church by the enemy and it has received a large following because it is a close companion to the flesh, which grabs at it the way a drowning man grasps at a piece of straw. Many people, for a lack of a revelation of the true gospel of Jesus Christ that says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mat. 16:24) rush into the arms of such preachers. They are unaware that there is the true gospel, the revelation of the cross in our lives where we can gladly crucify the flesh and all its worldly lusts.

I personally know of dear, beloved brethren whose hearts are, unfortunately, very much on money. They are set on “making money”. One brother called me and said, “I am in the U.S. to seek after the mighty dollar!” I loved his candour.

I love these brethren, and I am not judging them. But it is also true that, with the gospel, you cannot have your cake and eat it.

We are spiritual. Whatever our lot in life, we must single-mindedly seek after only one thing. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21). Our hearts need to be where our treasure is, which is God’s spiritual Kingdom. We need to seek after spiritual things. Our lives need to be alive to the will of God.

Paul sums it up well in Colossians 3:1-4, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

For this to happen, we need to hear the right gospel, the gospel of the revelation of the cross. We cannot just swallow anything and hope that we will become spiritual. Becoming a spiritual person requires the keenest attention to that narrow road that Jesus talked about; and when we hear the right gospel, that road becomes clearer and clearer in our hearts.

We are not called to seek after this earthly life. Far from it, the Bible says about this world and its lusts, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof”.