Think In The Forever
Oftentimes, you have to choose between eternal values and material values.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing all right today? Well, of course I always wait for you to answer, I know some of you do. [chuckle] That’s all right with me. You can talk back any time you wish. I’m fine, thank you, nice of you to ask; feeling great, hallelujah. Nice to be alive and serving the Lord. Can you think of anything better? Can you imagine in your wildest flights of fancy anything better than to be alive, happy in the Lord, and in the center of His Will serving Him, knowing that what you do counts for eternity? I’ll tell you, that’s great. Hallelujah.
Beloved, if you’re not sure you’re in the will of God, get in there, will you? It’s very simple- you can find what God’s willed for you simply by getting into His Word and waiting on Him, and being really honest with Him as you pray. The Spirit of God will lead you and will remind you of things that are keeping you from being your best for God. And if you’re in the wrong job, or the wrong set of friends, or the wrong attitude, or whatever it may be, God will guide you and you can know that you’re in the center of God’s Will serving Him. Yes, you can. Oh, the year is still young, and you still have a chance to get straightened around and live the rest of this whole year for God in a very special, wonderful, in the will of God way. I urge you to make work of that.
Well, we’re in 1 Timothy, chapter 6, coming down the stretch now, just about finished with this chapter. And we’re looking at verse 14, where Paul says, “I give thee charge that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in His times He shall show. The blessed and only potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
Now, he says, “Keep this commandment without spot and unrebukable.” You look these words up in your Greek New Testament, and that “without spot” is the word “aspilon,” which means literally “spotless.” And then the word “unrebukable” means “don’t do anything that can be reproached.” Literally, it means nobody can lay a hand on you.
Now, why did he say this? He said, “this commandment,” and that refers back to, “Fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life and have a good witness.” The real essence- we were in this now the last time we got together, you recall? The real essence of the Christian life is living by faith, living by eternal values, and sharing Christ effectively with others. That’s where it’s at.
Now, he says, “That’s the commandment.” That’s what I want you to do, that’s what God wants you to do. “Fight the good fight of faith.” Which means you’re in a battle but you can win as you trust God absolutely. “And lay hold on eternal life.” That means you began at the Cross and received everlasting life, a slice of eternity, you might say, placed within you so that you live now, as Paul says, “Not the old Saul of Tarsus, no longer I, but Christ liveth in me.” Everlasting life is a person living in you, right? So that you got it.
But he says, “Lay hold on this.” That is, let the values of eternity control everyday living. Now, he says, “That’s the commandment.” And he says, “I charge you to keep.” It’s the Greek verb “tereo,” which means “hang onto.” Hang onto this, keep it, obey it. “Without spot and unrebukable.” Now, let me think about that with you just for a moment, may I?
Why did he say, “When you’re thinking now of living by faith, and living by eternal values, and sharing effectively your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Three things there. Why did he say, “Keep it without spot”? Well, it’s pretty obvious that there’s some things that we may say or do that spot and spoil the effectiveness of the believer’s way of life. Living by faith, for example, the minute you begin to depend upon yourself as an ultimate resource instead of upon God, you’ve spoiled the effectiveness of a life by faith. You see that, don’t you?
My mind goes back to a meeting that we had with our dear brother Torrey Johnson and others in his office, in the pastor’s office of Midwest Bible Church back in 1944. And, well it would have been… what I’m talking about would have been on into 1945. We were planning to have a large youth rally in Chicago’s Soldier Field. At that time the capacity, I think, was 90,000, something like that. And it’s an outdoor stadium, obviously, and we were planning all sorts of things: Marching nurses, marching bands, a choir of 5,000, and so on and so on. A great big promotion, it was. And everything was going well, except that the weather, obviously, is uncertain. This was to take place on Memorial Day in May, and so the weather’s uncertain, especially around the Chicago area.
There’s a saying around the Windy City, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes, it’ll change.” So, we were meeting one day in the Pastor’s Office there and someone said, “Well, now, we’ve got a great deal at stake in this meeting. A good many thousands of dollars and all of that. And if it rains, we’ll just get washed out. Don’t you think we ought to have rain insurance?” Now, you know you can get insurance like that. It’s costly, but you can get it. And so, the subject was being discussed back and forth, “Should we have rain insurance?” Well, some thought we should. The answer came from a businessman, a man named Ernie, Bill Ernie; now with the Lord. A dear man, very practical, a fine businessman, very sharp, very hardheaded, actually, once he took a position on a business matter that was it; and a great brother.
An answer, however, came from him that you would hardly expect. The businessman spoke up and said, “Fellas, we’re supposed to be trusting the Lord, aren’t we? Haven’t we been praying for good weather?” “Yes,” we said, “We have.” “Well,” he said, “If we’re praying for good weather on Memorial Day and trusting the Lord, what do we need with rain insurance?” [chuckle] The answer came from a businessman, hardheaded but warmhearted, who knew the value of living by faith. Oh, I might tell you that that Memorial Day in 1945, it rained everywhere around Chicago, Illinois within a radius of 50 miles. It was raining in Milwaukee. It was raining out just beyond Elgin. It was raining over in Gary, but in Chicago, at Soldier Field, there was enough sunshine all day long to give you a pretty good sunburn and we had a great meeting that night. It was a little long. [chuckle] It got over, I think, about 11:15, something like that.
A businessman came into the office of Youth for Christ a day or so later and said, “Torrey, there was just one thing wrong with that meeting.” [chuckle] And our Brother Johnson said, “What was that?” He said, “It was too short.” He said, “After two hours, I was numb. I could’ve stood all night.” [chuckle] It was a long meeting, but a great one. “We’re trusting the Lord, aren’t we? What do we need with rain insurance?” said Bill Ernie. Now, I’m not against insurance and I’m not against proper preparation, you know that. You can’t just operate, as we say, out of your hip pocket and leave everything to chance and then blame it on trusting God. No way will that work.
But, when it comes right down to it, he said, “Don’t let anything spoil this matter of your life by faith. Fight the good fight of faith.” You don’t win the battle by smarts, you don’t win the battle by finagling, you don’t win the battle by politicking, you don’t win any kind of a spiritual battle with physical forces. “Our warfare is not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Mighty through God. Fight the good fight of faith. Believe God.”
Well, how does that affect you? I don’t know. I know that in every life there are areas where you’re trying somehow to work things out, trying somehow to see the burden lifted, the problem solved, circumstances changed. And I think I may be talking to someone this minute who has tried so hard within yourself to make a difference in the situation and it hasn’t worked. Could I recommend that you remember this is a battle of faith? We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Take the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand. Yes, beloved, don’t let anything spoil the relationship of absolute trust in God. Keep this commandment without spot.
Now, what else? He says don’t let anything-I’m still on that word “spotless-” he says, “Don’t let anything spoil the setup of eternal values in your life.” How easy it is to be swayed by values other than eternal matters, isn’t it? If I took this job, somebody is saying, I would be making $10,000 a year more and I’d have a better pension plan and the perks are great. Of course, I’d have to be away from home all the time, and I wouldn’t be able to teach my Sunday school class any longer and I wouldn’t be able to work with the men’s brotherhood and I wouldn’t be able to go to the jail meetings, but I’d be making 10 grand more and setting myself up for a better retirement. Does that sound familiar to somebody? Well, I’m sure it must, because it happens every day.
And oftentimes you have to choose between eternal values and material values. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal,” Jesus said. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal.” Treasures in Heaven, eternal values, decisions based on what is going to be important a million years from now; that must be guarded at all costs. You wanna reevaluate your life and your decisions on that basis? What will be important a million years from now? Or, if you wanna just be a little more practical about it, 100 years from now, because you’ll sure be gone by then. The Latins say, “No hay enfermedad ni mal que 100 aÃ±os no se curan.”
You know that? There is no illness or evil that 100 years will not cure. [chuckle] Well, what will be important, 100 years from now when you’re in the Presence of God and eternity has dawned upon your soul and things really are what they are, not what they seemed? What will be important then is what you’d better live for now. Ah, we go on with this verse the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, help us to live for eternity, in Jesus’ name I ask this, amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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