By Greg Turner
God calls us to be a part of His kingdom. But, to be a part of it we must go through a process which will either transform us into a loyal faithful servant of God or we will turn back to this world like the Israelites turned back to Egypt. They all died in the wilderness because they would not trust in God. There were two people in Israel that did trust in Him and they were given the promises. The same is true for us. Almost all of us have some measure of wealth here in the US when we are called into the kingdom of God. While we think of rich people as only those with millions or billions it just simply is not true that they are the only rich ones. Good paying jobs give us the ability to buy houses, cars, various ‘toys’ such as TVs, gaming systems, club memberships, IPODs and so forth. Those things all can lead to a form of idolatry if we spend too much time with them. Jesus tells us that those who are rich will have a difficult time believing and understanding the kingdom of God.
We see this in Mark:
Mark 10:23-30(NKJV) 23Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”26And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” 27But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”28Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” 29So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.
We see at least two important points here. It is hard for those with riches to enter the kingdom of God and even though Peter and others had good jobs and houses they left all to follow Christ. This is a hard concept for us to believe here in the US. The American dream tells us the opposite! We are to work hard and lift ourselves up to succeed! We should not think it strange when we see corporate greed or extremely wealthy people continue to do anything to acquire more wealth for themselves. That is what we teach at all levels of school.
Jesus taught a different way. Some try to call it communism. Communism is a social system where class structures are supposedly abolished and everything is shared in the community. The kingdom of God is different. God calls us to work for him and to start this process off we are told to sell it all and give to the poor:
Mark 10:21(NKJV) 21Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
And then we are to follow God. This is not communism. Communism would have everyone depend on each other. God wants us to trust in Him – follow Him. We are way too distracted when we have wealth, because we spend time serving things (idols) instead of serving God. By getting rid of the wealth then we have nothing to distract us, nor anything to depend on except God. How naked we become! This keeps us depending on and trusting in God. The following verses show how important trusting in God is.
Trust what God is allowing you to go through:
Psalms 2:12(KJV) 12 Kiss[embrace discipline from] the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
God will feed us if we trust in Him and do good works:
Psalms 4:5(KJV) 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness[good works], and put your trust in the LORD.
Psalms 37:3(KJV) 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
God defends those who trust in Him:
Psalms 5:11(KJV) 11 But let all those that put their trust in thee[God] rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
Yet we may suffer as His servants:
1 Peter 4:16(KJV) 16Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
God does not forget those who trust in Him (although we may not like His timetable):
Psalms 9:10(KJV) 10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
God will save those that trust in Him from those that rise up against them:
Psalms 17:7(KJV) 7 Show thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.
Psalms 18:30(KJV) 30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
Proverbs 29:25(KJV) 25The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Psalms 20:6(KJV) 6 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
Similarly God will give salvation (both physical and spiritual) to those that believe and trust in Him:
Psalms 37:39-40(KJV) 39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. 40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
33As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock[Jesus] of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 10:11(KJV) 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Psalms 34:22(KJV) 22The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
Psalms 25:20(KJV) 20 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.
Psalms 125:1(KJV) 1 They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion[kingdom of God], which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
Isaiah 57:13(KJV) 13When thou criest, let thy companies[idols] deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;
Jesus Christ is to be our rock, defense, fortress, leading and guiding us, our strength, keeping us from or pulling us out of Satan’s traps, but only if we trust in Him and completely commit ourselves to Him:
Psalms 31:1-6(KJV) 1In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. 2Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. 3For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. 4Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. 5Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. 6I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.
Proverbs 30:5(KJV) 5Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Jeremiah 39:18(KJV) 18For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.
Many people will ridicule us and deride us for what we are going through and even be a part of or cause of our tribulation and as Jesus said we may lose lands, family, wives, children, businesses and so forth, but we must maintain that trust in Him and not fear what can be done to our flesh:
Psalms 56:1-4(NKJV) 1Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; Fighting all day he oppresses me.2My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High. 3Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?
This can be very hard to take when living through it though. Sometimes what we go through is not just for us and is another reason to trust what God is doing. We sometimes have to wait for God’s deliverance and His direction of our path (“established my goings”) and then many will see God deliver us and learn to fear and trust in Him:
Psalms 40:1-3(KJV) 1I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Keep trusting and calling out to God when you are overwhelmed:
Psalms 61:1-4(KJV) 1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock[Jesus] that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. 4I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah
Psalms 62:7-8(KJV) 7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah
God will eventually take down all your enemies, even though they may have very complex or clever traps for you, if you trust in Him, and then, you will become an example to others:
Psalms 64:6-10(KJV) 6 They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search[put great effort in creating their traps]: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep[very complex well thought out traps]. 7 But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. 8 So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. 9 And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. 10 The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.
Draw near to God when you have put all your trust in Him and you will be able to teach of God’s ways:
Psalms 73:28(KJV) 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
Proverbs 3:5-6(KJV) 5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Those that are not near God and trusting in Him will engage in strife:
Proverbs 28:25(KJV) 25He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat[prosper].
If you are constantly engaging in strife then that can be a sign that you are not near God. God will strengthen us in the day of trouble if He knows us. This requires a relationship which must be developed. This is why He wants us to get rid of our riches or anything else that might take our time away from our relationship with Him:
Nahum 1:7(KJV) 7The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
The following is talking about true Christians, not just those that say they are of Christ, but rather those that live and show it by their works:
Zephaniah 3:12-13(KJV) 12I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people[the meek and humble of the New Testament], and they shall trust in the name of the LORD[same as belief in the New Testament]. 13The remnant[true Christians] of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed[of God’s true word] and lie down[with God], and none shall make them afraid [because they relate and trust in God].
God will trust us with His wealth if we were faithful in the works of this world:
Luke 16:11(KJV) If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
God will continue to give us more and more works and develop us and grow us to newer levels of spiritual growth as our trust in Him grows. Eventually, we will learn to trust God with our lives as Paul did. Paul had to trust God on his missions, otherwise, he could have easily died as we see here:
2 Corinthians 1:8-10(NKJV) 8For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, …
Wow! Are we ready to trust in God to the point where, as we work for Him, we could die if He lets us? This is what is required of us and unfortunately many if not most of you either do not believe these words or are not willing to do them. Jesus plainly said:
Matthew 13:3-9(NIV) 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9He who has ears, let him hear.” …18“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
We must not gloss over this! Most of those who hear the word of God turn back to Egypt – that is they turn back to living the way they always have in this world. They give up. Those who do not produce fruit in the kingdom of God will wither up and die and be pruned from the Vine! Jesus said this plainly:
John 15:1-8(NKJV) 1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
As it said in Psalms 73 “draw near to me” so also Jesus says we must “abide in” Him to be able to do His works. If you are not near your boss at work and have no or little communication with him then how can you know what he wants you to do? How can you do his will? This is why we must sell all that we have and then follow Christ. Leave your old job behind so that you can do the new! Building that trust is so important for without it He will not trust us with His goods and without that trust in Him we will not survive and we will turn back to Egypt just as the Israelites did. We will be cut off from the vine! We see that in Hebrews:
Hebrews 3:6-19(NKJV) 6but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. 7Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice,8Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,9Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.10Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ 11So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’” 12Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 16For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
They simply did not believe in God – they did not trust Him. The formula for us is that we must not harden our hearts (be ready to repent – turn toward God) when we hear His voice and draw near Him and then because we believe (trust) in Him we will follow Him and we will know His ways. We must not allow sin to overcome us and cause us to give up (2 Peter 2:20). Otherwise, we will die in the wilderness of this world which we saw in Matthew 13. And we saw in many other scriptures above there will be trials and tests and as we will see in part 2 of this message we will not enter into the kingdom of God without much tribulation, trials, persecution, and suffering!
In His name,
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