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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

our excursion to paynesville, ky

this morning, i was given the opportunity to preach in a church where a friend of mine is the pastor. it is called first baptist paynesville. don't ask me where it is. i just know that it is near the border of Indiana and close to the Ohio River. anyway. i preached on matthew 13.44-46. this is a text near and dear to my heart because i want to treasure Christ with all that i am. i am convinced that the kingdom of God is advanced the same way it is entered--treasuring Christ. It says that Jesus is better than what life can offer now and what death can take later. Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking . . .treasure Jesus? Why not money, sex, power, fame? I mean, he was born in a feeding trough, a homeless man, a Nazarene for crying out loud ("can anything good come out of Nazareth?), rejected by men, ridiculed by others, despised by many, and abandoned by all, including the God the Father at the cross (eloi, eloi lama sabathani). Charged of committing the most heinous cimes of treason and blasphemy, it eminently appeared that his mission was a waste. SO THE SURFACE SAYS. Yet, what cannot be seen is beneath surface, where the human eye cannot see. Like the treasure dug deep within the ground, the Treasure of the Christian faith is seen only with spiritual eyes. "The natural person does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand it, for they are spiritually appraised." As the song goes, "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, I want to see you." Unless the Spirit of God opens our eyes to see the glory of Christ we will remain blinded by the god of this world in our minds so that we would not be able to see the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. This image we must see. This image we much savor, in savoring Him there is eternal satisfaction and pleasure forevermore. YET THE WORLD IS BLIND. They treasure the things of the world, for it is all they see. How will they treasure Christ in whom is infinite worth and surpassing value? How are to be exceptinally desirous for the King whose kingdom is unshakable and eternal? I tell you, today's mere nominalism won't cut it. We are advertisements for the kingdom of Christ, and if our life was one billboard, what would it say? If Christ was not risen, would our lives have an distinguishable difference? Or would it be life as usual? You enter the kingdom treasuring Christ, not merely "accepting Jesus" or "nailing it down". You don't enter forced but rather overwelmed by the grace of God. Having been ravished by the Treasure, the enveloping satisfaction overrides and overcomes all sacrifices, so that with sheer joy "goods and kindreds can go, this mortal life also." Why? Because His kingdom is forever. JESUS IS LIFE. Not a way of life. Not a slice of life. Not a compartment of life, but life. For Paul, nothing he did or was made since apart from the resurrection of Christ. And so it should be with us. We of all men too should be most pitied if Christ is not risen. Having forsaken all and freely sold "all that we had", we hold no reserves, have no plan B, and bank our entire lives on the worth of spending our lives for the advancement of the kingdom of God. THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. So our prayer comes and the pursuit continues. SEEK FIRST the kingdom of God . . . As Hosea said, "Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;" or as Paul says "I pres on toward the upward goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Alright, I am getting carried away. I could go on, but you get the point. Those who don't treasure Christ will sell out (and they do have a sell out point). For Judas, it was 30 shekels of silver; for the rich young ruler, it was to "sell all that you have" and distribute it to the poor; for the enemies of the cross of Christ, is was embracing the cross, their tool of executionary tool. But for those who treaure Christ, they are sold out. Consider the 3 Hebrew boys, the fisherman who left their nets, father, and boat to follow Christ, Mary who spent all she had to anoint Jesus feet, the widow who gave all she had, Moses who considered the "reproaches of Christ of greater value than all the riches of Egpyt", etc. Lines have been drawn. Either you treasure him or you don't. And when God's people treaure Christ, the world will know and wonder, and the worship of the redeemed will be a fragrance that will draw many to treasure Christ as well. So for this I hope and pray, even now, that in my life, the aroma of Christ may arise and arouse others to see what their eyes cannot see and savor Him who is the Bread of Life that satisfies. O taste and see that the Lord is good!

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