Pastoral Thoughts...

  Blowing Your Mind!

The 1st Peter Wake-up Call

 C.S. Lewis wrote, “…every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.”

Today I want to set aside the progression toward a twisted, perverted, hellish creature. I want to focus on the progress of a Christian toward spiritual maturity. From the time you are born again until the time you physically die, you have an awesome opportunity to cooperate with the development of your soul. The day you die, you will have arrived at a certain capacity for the glory of God. Every Christian will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ that each one may receive according to what he has done (2 Cor. 5:10). Your assigned place in the kingdom will be based on what you have done and what you have become during this life. Many Christians have the mistaken idea that we will all receive the same. If that were so, there would be no need for a Judgment Seat of Christ. 1 Cor. 3:17 talks about some Christians being saved like a man coming through a burning house and being saved but everything he has is in ashes behind him.xv Compare that to Peter’s statement to those who give diligence to make their calling and election sure. 2 Peter 1:11, “for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”xvi

When the Judgment Seat of Christ is all said and done, our specific assignments in the kingdom of heaven will vary. Certainly the amount of authority God entrusts to Christians in the life to come will differ.

Look with me at Luke 19:11-27.

“Therefore He said: ‘A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas , and said to them, 'Do business till I come.' 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'

15 "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.'xvii 17 And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' 18 And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' 19 Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'

20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' 22 And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'

24 "And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25(But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.'" (Last verse refers to citizens who hated him—not the servants).

So one servant was granted authority over ten cities, another over five cities, and one received essentially no authority. The capacity to rule was different for each of the servants. Would you give authority over a city to a two-year old? No wise person would do that. It would be unfair to the whole city. The level of maturity (what we have become) arrived at when we appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ determines what God can safely trust us with in His eternal kingdom. It is “whosoever will” from beginning to end. We will not all be a bunch of clones, exactly the same in our development. A three-month old infant and a sixteen-year old son are equally loved, equally part of the family—but their capacity for responsibility is vastly different. One can drive a car; the other has virtually no capacity for leadership.

Why am I sharing this information? Because the first thing we need in order to realize a desired end-result is what? Knowledge. This knowledge helps Christians decide how much time and energy they want to invest in pursuing God and how much they wants to invest in pursuing the things of this temporal world. If my diligence toward the kingdom of God makes no difference in my end result, then why invest there? I’ll turn my energy toward making more money and having more fun. On the other hand, if every choice I make is slowly shaping me into the creature I will be for eternity, then some serious investment there might be wise.

What if I have (as a Christian) invested my time and energy into having a cool car, maintaining the most immaculate lawn, being the most physically fit, getting the most education and the best job, fully remodeling my kitchen—then the day I die, my soul is underdeveloped as a creature of limited capacity for God? What have I done? I have exchanged something that will last forever for a few fleeting moments of vanity and comfort. It’s not a good way to invest my life.

Knowledge is the first element of reaching a desired end. Christian, can you see the difference between a life invested in the process God has designed for your preparation verses a life invested in the desires of the body and the things of this world. If you don’t see that, you won’t have the motivation to make the kingdom of God priority in your life. Preachers can lecture you Sunday after Sunday on reading your Bible and praying and serving and all these good things. You may even say amen during the message. But if in the back of your mind is the deception that Jesus saved me—all I have to do is bid my time here on earth—in the end it really doesn’t matter whether I did that stuff or not—then you probably won’t do it no matter how many sermons you hear telling you to do it. What I am trying to communicate from the Bible is that the development of your soul is not just a duty you ought to do—it is supremely in your best interest to do it—even as a Christian your eternal destiny is at stake—not whether you will go to heaven or hell—but what you will be in heaven forever.

That’s why Peter calls us to active participation in the process. 2 Peter 1:5-7 “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” Giving all diligence means it’s the priority on your time and energy.


 

 

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Pastor

Rev. Russell E. Hobbs
Email: rhobbs@dejazzd.com

 

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