Jan 2, 2011

Looking ahead

Time: An old year is gone, and we enter into a new year. At this time of the year, we should consider some things about time.

Matthew 21:33 ¶ Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

Here is the parable of the landowner and the vineyard. The landowner planted a vineyard, built a wine fat for harvesting the fruit, hedged it in, built a tower for protection and then let it out to the husbandmen.

When it came time to receive the householders portion of the fruit he sent his servants to get it. The husbandmen refused to give the fruit to the servants to return to the householder. Not only did they refuse to pay the rent on the vineyard but they mistreated the servants. Beating, stoning and evening killing them.

Finally, the householder sent his only beloved son. "Surely" he said, "They will respect my son and give to him my share of the fruit". But they took the son and killed him with the intention of taking the vineyard.

Our Lord then put a question to his hearers. What will the householder do to those husbandmen? The religious leaders which he was talking to spoke right up. "He will come and destroy those wicked men, and give it to someone who will give the fruit to the householder."

Our Lord then quoted a OT passage:

40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Then his hearers understood that he was talking about them and sought to lay hands on him but couldn't because of the crowd.

Now, the thing that caught my attention on this parable (sermon actually) was the tremendous span of time which our Lord covered here in just a few verses.

We see from, Matt. 23:34, 35 that the period of time covered by our Lord here in six verses is the period from the murder of Abel to the murder of Christ at Cavalry. This is quite an extensive period, in fact probably about four thousand years. Our Lord spoke of this period of time as though it were only a few days.

We are so used to living in "time" that we find it almost impossible to think in terms of two generations down the road.

Yet, the word of God is not written in terms of one or two generations, but many generations.

Deuteronomy 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

The Lord speaks of four thousand years as though it were a day or two, or maybe a week. Regardless, in Matthew 21, he summed four thousand years of history into one simple illustration, and then drove the illustration right to the heart of the problem (truth here made these men very angry. Truth will do that today. Either make people angry or closer to God).

Another year has passed, and "it" still has not taken place"

We seem to feel that if it doesn't happen within our lifetime it isn't going to take place. Or, worse yet, we feel that if everything is okay in our lifetime, everything will continue to be okay for generations to come, (As Hezekiah did in II Kis. 20:19). Zephaniah 1:12-- and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.

If we can't see something take place within our lifetime we have a very difficult time dedicating ourselves, or our energy and even the finances which God has provided to the task.

Now, I am admitting that I have a problem with this. It is human nature. You will have a problem with this also if you be honest.

However, the enemy can and does get very excited over and totally committed to plans which reach hundreds of years into the future. Carl Marx and Lenin are two good examples although history is full of examples. Men who knew they would not live to see their wicked devices come to pass, yet they invested every moment of their lives, every ounce of strength, every dollar they could scrape together, and others supported (and do support) their efforts which would not bear fruit for many generations. They have (and are) invested absolutely everything so that the future generations could control not only society but the world for evil.

On the other hand, it seems that Christians can see nothing but failure and wasted time, energy and money to invest in the advancement of God's kingdom into society.

Robert E. Lee's words,

"The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope."

We have a difficult time understanding that our investment in the Lord's kingdom now can lead to the enemies overthrow maybe generations yet in the future. On the other hand, the enemy is fully convinced that what he invests today will further his cause many years down the road.

My wife is always after me to think past ourselves and into the generations to come.

New year, and looking ahead:

In I Chronicles we have the record of David's desire to build the temple to Jehovah God. God told him he could not accomplish what he desired to do for the Lord in his lifetime. Rather it would have to be his children which would do it.

David of course, was disappointed, because he had his heart set on doing this great work for God, within his lifetime. But David did not allow this restriction to cause him to lay down and quit.

In I Chron. 28, 29 we have some of the steps which David took to see that the Lord's work continued on. Actually we have quit a contrast between David's attitude here and Hezekiah's attitude in II Ki. 20:19.

 

 

 

Hezekiah's attitude was, "I'm going to die. As long as there is peace in my day, I'm happy. (This seems to be the all too prevalent attitude of our day. This attitude turned God's people over to the king of Babylon.)

David's attitude was, "I'm going to die. I didn't get done for God all I wanted to do so I am making provision for my son (Solomon) to carry on where I must leave off."

David (the man after God's own heart) definitely had his faults. But here we are shown a strength which we need to imitate. David wanted the future generations to serve God and advance His kingdom so he made provision as best as he could for them.

Quickly, we need to look at some of the provisions he made. (This is probably one of the most basic principles that we as well as new Christians must learn. We must learn to look past the effect of our decisions upon us or even our children and to the future generations. How will this decision effect four generations?)

1: Of course, it all start's with salvation. Without salvation, there cannot be a godly heritage for our children. On this salvation let us also mention, not only the parents salvation but the children's. If we have some children today who are not saved, why are we taking it so calmly? Why are we not bothering everyone you know who might be someone of prayer to pray for those children? Don't we realize this is our hope for the future?

This also goes for their desire to serve God. If they are indifferent to the cause of God, yet claim to be saved let me offer a suggestion or two. a. 1. If it our indifference which is being reflected? Are we praying for them. Are we doing all you can with words and action to encourage them to serve God faithfully? The world's crowd considers this complete foolishness. In fact, our Lord points out that it is these foolish things (salvation included) which will bring down the wisdom of this world, I Cor. 1:27-31.

But salvation does not solve the problem. This only solves the sin problem. Salvation alone does not counter the devils crowds dedication to bring in wickedness world-wide and overthrow God. Saved parents will not save the generations to come. We know many saved parents whose kids have gone or are going to the devil.

David gives us some more things here which are necessary in order to control the future for God. Things which must be placed into action by faith because at the time they may seem to be foolishness of foolishness. At the time the worlds crowd will probably mock and ridicule those who do these things. There is no doubt that the flesh [old nature within us] with resist these things will all of its might.

2: I Chron. 28:7 repeats a warning and promise which started with Moses and is continued throughout scripture. This is to constant: a consistently toward His commandments. STRONG TO DO HIS COMMANDMENTS. The inconsistent life of the child of God (parent) absolutely destroys the children. The claim to be one thing and a life of another thing. The claim to love God, His word, His people, His work and then not live up to those claims is destructive to the generations to come.

Of course, God knows that we will not consistently live up to what we claim (and made provision, I Jn. 1:9; Prov. 28:13, 14), but our children can tell if we are trying to or not. Sincerely trying and failing is quite different than not trying at all, and the kids can tell the different. To claim to love God, then have an indifferent attitude toward the things of God creates a double-minded child which will be unstable in all his ways, Ja. 1:8.

(Solomon is a good example. David, his dad, claimed to love the law of God with all his heart (Ps. 119), yet David took a woman who was forbidden to him. One of the first acts which Solomon did was to marry a woman who was forbidden to him, the daughter of the king of Egypt.)

3: To pursue this one. The education of our children must be in the terms of God's law. The king was to have a copy of God's law. It was to be read daily. If the child is not trained up in the way he should go in accord with the total law-word of God, they will go the way of the world. In fact, Deut. 4:9 requires the parents to teach the law-word of God nt only to our children, but to our children's children. Anything less will cause the next generation to be lost to the devils crowd.

Notice, it is the parents responsibility to see that this is done. Not the school's or the church's, but both must reinforce the teaching of the parents according to God's law-word or they will go to the devil as a double-minded person. The fault will be in the home.

We must train them to do every area (Agriculture, Science, Music, Art, the trades, Civil Government, Education (etc.), to the glory of God. In this education in the word of God, we also have education in Christ-like attitudes. a. What do we do when things don't go right? Do we have a clam and cool spirit or do we rant and rave in anger? b. Do we fuss and complain about the authority over us? c. Do we look for ways to "cut corners" to save money. Perhaps cheat a little or fail to be truthful? d. What kind of priority do we show when it comes time to make a choice? Do we choose what pleases us or what pleases God?

Far more training takes place in the home than does anywhere else. Here is where the children learn their response to situations. Here is where they learn consistency (or lack of). Here is where they learn love toward God, love toward His word, love toward His work. Here is where they learn their care or concern toward others. Here is where they learn character and discipline.

NOW GOD CAN (AND DOES) CHANGE PEOPLE, BUT IT IS THE EXCEPTION WHEN GOD RAISES A PERSON ABOVE THE CHARACTER WHICH WAS DEVELOPED IN THE HOME.

The home is where respect for authority is learned. The home is where the work ethic is developed. The home is where the children find out if Christianity is real or just a matter of convenience, Ps. 127:1.

4: Another thing we see David doing is encouraging his son, Solomon to walk with the Lord, I Chron. 28:20. With every stroke of David's pen, with his every breath, even his dieing breath, David had one message. The only means of prosperity and success is serving God will all of our heart.

What do we teach our kids with our words and actions? Where do we place our emphasis for our prosperity and/or success? Work, knowledge, education, (Thomas Edison finished only fourth grade. When was the last time we took this into consideration?)

All of these things are no doubt important, but our children can tell which is more important to us. Obeying God's word and pleasing Him for our prosperity and success. Or, following after the world's methods.

Let us point out. Not only our own children but the kids around us. We are being watched especially by the young people of our church. As they make plans for their future they will watch those who are already there. They will watch for how they got there and what they are doing now that they are there.

What do they see as they watch us. a. A person who puts pleasing God first?
b. A person who puts pleasing self first? What kind of children are we raising?

5: Another extremely important principle here with David and his son. One which we do not hear preached or taught. Although I have mentioned it a few times. This is the matter of inheritance. As we read, I Chron. chps. 28 and 29 something really stands out which we just do not like to consider. David passed this wealth on to his son, Solomon. Not so Solomon could go do his thing. The purpose of that wealth was to build or advance the kingdom of God, 29:2.

With this in mind let's look at a principle here. The Biblical word for a will or testament is blessing. An inheritance is exactly that, a blessing. For a parent to pass a blessing (inheritance) on to an unbelieving child, or an indifferent child, or a rebellious child is to bless evil. To cut of such a child is to curse that child's actions. We put our money where our mouth is.

No doubt, it God's people would quit giving or leaving their wealth to those who are either indifferent to or are against God's work, a lot of that foolishness would stop. When we give that property or those finances to that child who is cold or indifferent to God, we are blessing their indifference. When we finance those who are in opposition to the cause of Christ we become partakers in their opposition. "But," you say, "They are not against Christ. I'll admit that they are not doing anything to promote what we believe, but they aren't doing anything to hinder us either."

Matt. 12:30, He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Can we support (or justify) those who are against Christ? Can we support those who are scattering abroad in opposition to Him? These are strong words from our Lord but he makes it very clear. If a person is not seeking to advance the cause of Christ, they are against the cause of Christ.

Whatever property or wealth which God might allow us to accumulate He has allowed for only one purpose, to advance his cause. When people who claim to love God leave that wealth to those outside of the kingdom of God they are paying for the overthrow of the cause of Christ. They are paying for the scattering (destruction) of Him.

[Let me add. It isn't really the heathen, God hating, Christ-rejecting crowd that is destroying society. If there is any truth which stands out in the OT prophets it is that judgment came because of the indifference of God's people. When we leave our wealth to those who are indifferent to the cause of Christ we are helping support the very ones who are bringing God's judgment upon this nation we love.]

"But I love that child [relative or person who is to receive our inheritance, blessing] as much as life itself," Matt. 11:34-39. Again, our Lord spoke to those very clearly. That personal tie cannot be what makes the decision for us, Matt. 10:34-39, etc.. The word of God alone determines how we are to act, respond, and use our finances.

Isn't it strange how a parent will admit that a child is not all they should be (none of us are) and that they wish that child would show more of an interest in the things of God. The parent will even criticize the child for not having a concern for advancing the cause of Christ. The parent will admit the child is misusing even squandering their money on the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. Yet even with this knowledge they will leave them the finances which God has given for His cause. The parent will give the money to the child to support them in their rebellion against God and support their pursuit of pleasure.

We are talking about raising many godly generations. With the inheritance,that parent stopped the cause of Christ in their families. Isn't it amazing how, when it comes to our children, most of us are as blind as anyone can be. "But my child is a good child." Of course, they are. Yet we cannot overlook their spiritual temperature when we leave our inheritance. WHEN WE GIVE OUR FINANCES TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN SEEKING FIRST HIS KINGDOM, WE ARE FINANCING ITS OVERTHROW.

Along this line. We see the bumper sticker once in awhile that says, "I AM SPENDING MY CHILDRENS INHERITANCE." Let us say this about that. Our goal should be like David. He laid up his wealth to support the following generations so they could fulfill their responsibility to build the kingdom of God.

God has not given and will not give us prosperity to consume it upon our own lusts. We will have to give an account for that consumption to God. His blessings come as we use what he has provided for his glory in accordance with his Word. Blessings upon us and upon society.

Also, let us reason together for a moment. I would suppose one of the greatest dangers in Christianity today is the lose of reality. The reality of CAUSE and EFFECT. Folks no longer connect the two, but they cannot be separated. We must try to instill in our children (no matter how old) the law of cause and effect. If they are going to pursue their own lusts, they must learn that there is an effect. There is a price to pay for pursuing our own thing.

What incentive is there if they can pursue their own lusts and still be supported in that pursuit by their parents? There is no incentive to turn from their wickedness.

"Well, how about the prodigal son?" IF we would try to teach anymore from that than what our Lord died". If we would try to teach anymore from that than what our Lord did, we will be in trouble. He gave that story to teach forgiveness. When a person has a repentant spirit: let us not add to it. "But I don't have any heirs who are interested in the cause of Christ." Then the scriptural principle would be to rewrite our will and leave the property or finances within the kingdom of God: to someone or some place where you know that wealth will be used for the cause of Christ. Anything less is to pay for the destruction of the kingdom of God by supporting those who are not seeking first His kingdom.

We are living in a country and enjoying the freedoms which some men stood on 300 years ago as they did everything in terms of the many generations to come according to God's law. I'll be gone, therefore, I will not be responsible for how the inheritance I leave will be used," will not hold water with the Lord.

We need to take the funds provided by God for the cause of Christ out of the hands of those who are indifferent to Christ.

There are many things we could mention here.

6: There is the necessity of seeing that there is a godly civil government for our children and then training them to keep it godly, Hosea chp. 8. 7: There is the absolute necessity of speaking out and standing against evil and wickedness and teaching our children the necessity of speaking out and how to do it. This speaking out against the evil of society in the terms of God's law-word is required. John the Baptist did this and it cost him his head. (See Deut. 22:1-4; Prov. 24:10-12; Ezek. 3 and 33; Ps. 50:18.) Hosea 5:11 and Jer. 15:4 speaks of God's judgment against His people who would not stand against the evils around them. They failed to use God's word to expose evil.

There are several more area which we won't pursue because of time. In conclusion we need to see the principle involved.

1: The anti-christ crowd is totally committed to their goal of overthrowing God and His word. Their goal is a long term goal. Started on this side of the flood by Nimrod at Babal. 2: They will dedicate all of their heart, soul, mind and strength to this goal, as well as their (and our's) children and all of their wealth. Nothing will stop them, or discourage them from their goal to overthrow God. They know that they will not see success in their life-time but they press on by faith. Their commitment to free society (their children) from the confines of Christianity (God's word) is total. They have set everything that money can buy into action and by faith they believe that one day they will succeed. Succeed in freeing society (through the children) from the bands and cords of God's law (Ps. 2). To them this will be paradise on earth.

We as Christians should be at least as dedicated in seeing that the bands and cords of God's law remain in effect. We know that these bands and cords represent freedom and life. Freedom to do right and protection of life. With the lose of the foundation of God's laws in society, our children's children will not be safe on the streets.

I watched "Larry King Live" on CNN concerning the "worm" in the computers. One of his guests made this point. It is absolutely impossible to prevent this from taking place again apart from a policeman on every computer terminal. It must be a moral training. They have taught a "a-moral" education and now the results are starting to come to pass.

They will lose the freedom to follow God and good as they feel God would have them to do will be gone; the freedom to raise their children as the word of God demands will be gone as it is already in a large portion of the world.

Worse of all, the indifference toward God and the cause of Christ which we permit in our lives and in the lives of the following generations will bring the judgment of God. To the wicked who want to pursue wickedness. His laws are restraints and death.

This warfare for the future is fought by faith. The wicked have faith that breaking the bands will result in paradise. They are investing all into this warfare. The righteous must fight the war by faith also. We must have faith that God's law represents God's requirements on mankind. As His laws are obeyed, the fruit is given to the householder. We must be dedicated to our faith or face the results. (Truth or consequences. Either the truth applied for the future or face the consequences.)

The warfare is for the future. This is why the socialist fight so hard for the upcoming generation through day-care centers and educational facilities of all kinds. We must have a God oriented vision of the future. We must work for future generations who will love the law of God (Ps. 119) and rejoice in keeping it.

The devils crowd is winning this war because they are willing to invest everything in their desire to control the future. They have no problem putting plans into operation which may take hundreds of years to fulfill. God's people must also learn to plan with hundreds of years (many generations) in mind. If we don't, it will all be turned over to the world and the anti-christ by default and we and our following generations will pay the price.

God's people have an extremely difficult time seeing the need to set very long term goals into action (Lack of savings shows this). We have a very difficult time seeing the need to make a sacrifice now that will not see results for maybe 3 or 4 generations.

We have great problems seeing how such long term goals could possible work out. It seems so foolish. We have lost the faith of Heb. 11, these all died not having obtained the promise. Our faith in the future which once made Christianity so powerful has been destroyed.

It must be renewed. [Debt has done its dirty work. Debt destroys that faith. "I want it now, pay later." Rather than the scriptural way, "I'll plan now for what I want to see accomplished later." What has happened to our faith in the future?

The promise that was for Solomon and is for us, is found in I Chron. 28:7. Moreover, I will establish his kingdom forever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day.

We need to ask God to give us a Biblical view of the future; to reset our sights and priorities; to enable us to see past our lifetime and even our childrens lifetime. We must rethink our outlook and have it changed to, "How can I apply the principles of God's word so it will benefit my great-great grandchildren? What can I set in motion which, with God's blessings can influence many generations for Christ and advance his kingdom?

It will take a supernatural work to overcome years of short-sightness, but God's grace will supply the needed glasses if we are willing to confront our failure.

3: God's people must realize that they are responsible for the funds which God has provided for them. They are to be good stewards. This responsibility does not stop at death but plans are to be made to see that God's funds will continue within his godly cause. The inheritance MUST GO GODLY CAUSES, whether to the godly children or godly institutions. We are only stewards.