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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Real Faith Is Expensive

Mark 10:21 (ESV) 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
I have been told that I should never preach on money. It doesn't matter that money is a subject often spoken of in the Bible. They tell me that this will turn people off. They tell me that this preaching will hinder the church growth.

I have one question: "If this is true, why did Jesus bring it up with the Rich, Young Ruler?" After all, wasn't Jesus trying to reach him?

Jesus wasn't after this young man's money. Jesus knew that this young man's money would keep him from ever having a relationship with Christ. It would get in the way of following Jesus.

Jesus could have made this young man happy by never mentioning money. The young man may have given a big donation to Jesus' ministry. However, Jesus didn't need the money nor did He center His ministry on making people happy. In fact, Jesus often said things which caused people to leave Him. He wanted everyone to know that faith in Christ requires a total commitment. Nothing can be held back.

Jesus told the young man to give away his money out of His love for the young man. Love requires the truth. There would never be a walk with Jesus if the young man kept battling his money addiction. Money always cries, "More! More!" when it is an addiction. Everything else takes a back seat to the addiction. Thus, Jesus gave this the same love that parents have had for their children. They have said, "Get rid of your drugs and come let us help you." Help without getting rid of the addiction feeds the addiction. It enables the addiction. Helping someone hurt themselves isn't love.

People want to be told that faith costs nothing but that simply isn't true. Faith costs everything. This is why I tell people not to make God first but make God central to their lives. They think that they can give a certain amount and dole out the rest of everything in smaller amounts. But this is not what Jesus told people. He required that they hate the things that everyone loves in order to follow Him. He told them that it always costs them everything. That means that every penny must go through your relationship with God. So, you give what the Lord leads you to give and you spend the rest of it as He leads you to spend it. Your time is given to God so that He leads you in how you spend your time.

Maybe people don't want to hear that faith is expensive. Maybe they don't want to hear that it will cost them everything.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Gospel is free but it is not cheap. It cost the Father God His Son, for He had to give His Son, Jesus, to be born as a man and to die the cruel and painful death of Crucifixion.  It cost the Son of God, Jesus, for He had to leave His glory in Heaven to come to be born as a helpless babe, and then to undergo persecution, torture, and to die crucified.

We really do not have to cheapen the Gospel message, and try to sell it like the snake oil salesmen.  Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a priceless pearl or jewel, one ought to give up everything for it.  The rich young man who was before the Lord, was not willing to give up his possessions, wealth, for the Kingdom. There is just no way one can love both God and money. The rich young man chose the latter.  In fact, anything that draws away our love for God, can turn out to be an idol, and it can turn out to be an abomination to God. For the rich young man, it was his wealth; for another, it may be his career or his hobby or even his girlfriend.

Jesus said we have to count our cost.  The Gospel is costly, to me. It demands for all of my love, for it calls for me to love God with my all, all of mind, heart, soul and strength. It calls for me to please God every time; and it calls for me to obey Him unreservedly. The Gospel is not at all cheap; it is costly, and it is worth more than anyone can ever afford it.  If till the very end, one has it, it is God's grace. Lord, forgive me for my profaning. Lord, forgive us, a profaning generation.  Oh, how great your love is for us, Lord. May we perceive, may we perceive.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions