Doorway Into Glory

12/30/2006

speech bubble representing person 5 talkingWe have many members in the church. We have almost 200 members. Fifty families, I think, and neighbors who know each other well. We have the past to consider and relationships to consider. What is the best move for a start so that we will be able to follow the direction of the Lord regarding us?

speech bubble representing person 4 talkingIf I were in your place, the thing I would want to start with is very simple. That is, I would want to make sure that I, personally, was taking responsibility to nurture and care for and be with the people who are close to me, as often as possible. It’s possible to turn all the things we’ve talked about into an idea or another program and try to build something that looks like Acts 2:42.

But really, it’s about me and you personally paying a price to care about our neighbors. It’s about caring about the people next to you and your own children and the children of other brothers and sisters. It starts there very simply, and if we all do that then the end result will be something that will make Jesus smile.

speech bubble representing person 3 talkingYou should know that there are people who look at the cost of Acts 2:42-47 and they see the commitment to Jesus that’s required, and they try to make excuses about why it doesn’t apply. They don’t want to believe it. They don’t want to read it. They don’t want to think about it. They want to say, “Oh, that was just a cultural thing. They just did that because there were so many Jews visiting in Jerusalem, and when they became Christians, they didn’t have anything else to do—they didn’t have any place to live or many possessions. So they had to share because there were so many of them.”

Truthfully, it’s just the Sermon on the Mount being lived out. It’s just the teachings of Jesus being obeyed. Anyone who tries to tell you, “That’s just cultural, so you can ignore Acts 2:42-47. It doesn’t mean anything and has nothing to do with us.” The person who says that really can’t be trusted. They want to rip a page out of the Bible and throw it away because the cost is too high. They want the Pearl but they don’t want to pay the price of giving everything. So they scratch verses out of the Bible in order to protect themselves because they’re selfish, afraid and lazy. People who claim to be true Christians won’t look at the commands of God and try to find ways to get out of them.

You’ve all read Psalm 119 where it says, “God, I LOVE Your commands! I LOVE Your decrees! I LOVE all of Your statutes. I wake up in the morning thinking of all of your commands.” Now that’s a disciple of Jesus. They want to know more of what God is calling them to because they know the more they move into God’s Will, the more He pours out His blessings, His Life and His Love. Commands are not a burdensome and heavy weight that we carry around. The teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the Scriptures are an opportunity to love God more, and to know Him better. They help us to be free from the cares of this world so that we can explore the depth of the riches of Jesus.

The Scriptures are not a bondage or a prison for us. They are a doorway into the Glory of God. They’re exciting! Psalm 119 says that the things that seem like a burden to selfish people are a doorway into the heavenly realm to explore all that is in Jesus. “In My Father’s House there are many rooms. Come! Explore the rooms, and explore the Riches with Me.” He wants to invite us into deeper places in His heart and mind. He knows that the things of this world that we won’t leave behind, and the things that we won’t repent of are weighing us down.

It’s as if you have weights in your belt and pockets and clothing. You have heavy lead weights, and when you try to jump high you can’t because there’s too much weight. God’s commands are, “Get rid of this and this, and then you can jump and fly with Me.” So, many people look at Acts 2:42-47 and say, “Oh, that’s bondage. That was just their culture. That doesn’t apply. I don’t like that. Forget that.” But the truth is, the more we explore Jesus’ ways, the more free we become. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).

I’m not afraid of the truth, because I want to get rid of the things that hold me back and keep me from being able to fly and jump high. I want to jump as high as I can jump. I have to get rid of the cares and worries of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. I have to get rid of the things that hold me down. And that’s a privilege. As it says in Psalm 119, I love the privilege of learning the ways of God and embracing them. I’m not afraid of them, I want them. I love the Light. I want my deeds to be exposed so that I can be free of the bondage of this world’s system and the weight of the world.

So, when you look at verses like those in Acts (and there are many others), you will always find people in the religious world who want to scratch them out and try to get you to question, ignore and walk away from the truth of them. That’s a choice we all have to make. For me, I want to know everything I can know, and obey everything I can obey because that frees me to have more intimacy with Jesus. That’s not a bondage to me. If someone loves the world, then the commands of God will be a burden to them. If someone loves God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, the commands are not a burden, but a Joy.

“My yoke is easy, My burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). It is so very freeing.

 

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