Bible Ballistics: Vol. 9 No.16 The Many Or The Few???
Many believers have spent this weekend celebrating the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, yet it seems that many have their focus on the wrong things. Many today are more focused on bunnies, baskets, eggs and bright spring colors, and not The Risen Lord Jesus Christ. While there is nothing inherently wrong with bunnies, baskets or eggs, there is something totally wrong when Jesus and the great work of atonement that He accomplished at Calvary, is diminished for the sake of a popular message that will appeal to the masses and make the “church” fun, rather than a place where the conviction of the Holy Spirit works through the preaching of the “life-changing” message of Jesus, the Only Way, The Way of the Cross!
“Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way,
and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.” John 14:6
Jesus didn’t say that He was “a” way, He didn’t even say that He would “show us” the way! Jesus –“I am the way”! The “I am” declaring His deity; “the way” proclaiming that HE would be the atoning sacrifice for all who come to Him in repentance and faith. Jesus also didn’t say that He would simply ‘tell” the truth, but that HE is “the truth”; not One who simply “grants” life, but The One who is “the life”! He is the only way to God, and only God could love us enough to give us life in HIS “only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16b)
We celebrate The One who gained victory over sin, death and hell through His blood and His resurrection from the dead! We must consider not only what He has done, but also what it will cost us to follow HIM. While many say “Lord, Lord”, what does that really look like?
It’s not the popular message of just talk about Him, use His name for your own benefit, do good “churchy” works to impress God; nor is it self-sacrifice that impresses the world. It begins with the recognition that Jesus paid a price that we couldn’t pay, He died to relieve a debt that we couldn’t meet. Let’s see what Jesus said about this issue Himself.
“And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master,
I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
20 And Jesus saith unto him,
The foxes have holes,
and the birds of the air have nests;
but the Son of man
hath not where to lay his head.
21 And another of his disciples said unto him,
Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
22 But Jesus said unto him,
and let the dead bury their dead.
23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26 And he saith unto them,
Why are ye fearful,
O ye of little faith?
Then he arose,
and rebuked the winds and the sea;
and there was a great calm.
27 But the men marvelled,
What manner of man is this,
that even the winds
and the sea obey him!” Matthew 8:19-27
Jesus tells us that we don’t follow Him in/for prosperity, we follow Him in ‘selflessness’! He told those who sought to follow Him, that in His earthly life He had no possessions, and that those who choose to follow Him, must be willing to forsake all to join Him; we are to consider the cost.
“ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-33
Without getting into the deep intricacies of this passage, suffice it to say, Jesus is telling us that there is a cost to being His child and disciple. What cost have you tried to pay for your salvation? Only faith is required to come to Him, but real faith will be seen in the “crucified life”! Are we serving Jesus or self? Are we serving heaven or the world? Are we known by our worldliness or our godliness? Godliness doesn’t save, but the saved will reflect godliness as the ‘fruit’ of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
“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
21 For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye:
if therefore thine eye be single,
thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil,
thy whole body shall be full of darkness.
If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness,
how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters:
for either he will hate the one,
and love the other;
or else he will hold to the one,
and despise the other.
Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:19-24
Where is your treasure? Is your focus on eggs, baskets and bunnies? Is your focus on prosperity, wealth, success, popularity, power, ease, or influence? Have you decided to follow Jesus, no matter what the cost, or are you going your own way? There is a consequence to every choice. God has given every person the right and privilege to choose, but choose wisely, there is a test at the end—a consequence.
If we choose to follow Jesus, the presence and work of God in our lives will be evident. Yes, we all stumble and fail sometimes, but the work of God’s Spirit will be evident in our walk and life choices. When God is in us, His presence will be evident within us by our actions. (See James 2:18-26)
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born,
not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:12-14
And being “born” of God enables us to grow in His Word by His Spirit. We can come to understand the difference between the “work of the flesh” and the “work of the Spirit” in our lives, so that we can follow Him “Where Ever He Leads”!
“This I say then,
Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil
the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit,
ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
and such like:
of the which I tell you before,
as I have also told you in time past,
that they which do such things
shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is
against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s
have crucified the flesh
with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory,
provoking one another,
envying one another.” Galatians 5:16-26
My simple call to us today is that we examine ourselves, to see if we are walking “in the Spirit” or “in the flesh”? It is a question that requires an answer—and answer that only you and God know. Are you following Jesus or are you following the world? Is your life marked by the “works of the flesh” or the “fruit of the Spirit”? May we each examine our heart before God, and rejoice in the “Victory In Jesus” that the Resurrection delivered! Will you follow Him to life? Or will you follow the “broad way” to destruction? Two roads, but only One leads to “life”! Will you be part of the “many” or the “few”? It’s your choice.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14