Joint Heirs With Christ
Matthew 12:50 “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
We are not just heirs, we are joint-heirs with Christ. It would be wonderful to inherit any amount of God’s glory and power. But, the idea that we share equally with the one who has inherited everything God is and has is beyond comprehension. This is an awesome blessing, but it also places a tremendous responsibility on us.
In the same way in which a check made out to two people cannot be cashed without the endorsement of both parties, so our joint-heirship with Jesus cannot be taken advantage of without our cooperation. Unaware of this, many Christians are just trusting that the Lord will produce the benefits of salvation for them. They are acutely aware that they can do nothing without Him, but don’t realize that He will do nothing without us, Ephesians 3:20.
The idea that God will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, PERIOD, is not true. He has power, but it is the use of His ability combined with the power that works in us. “No power working in us” means no power of God will come through us. The exceeding greatness of His power that is to us-ward who believe is power that is not external, but is internal, within the believer. It is working according to the faith that we exercise in the indwelling Savior. It was this principle that Paul was stating when he declared, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The way we place our endorsement on the check is to believe what God promised in His Word and act on it as if it were true. IT IS! Jesus has already signed His name to every promise in the Word. We aren’t waiting for Him. He is waiting for us.
His Chosen Treasures
Matthew 13:44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”
The interpretation of this parable is this: the field is the world, the man buying the treasure is God, the treasure is the true believers in Christ. The price that was paid was the very life of Jesus on the cross. Jesus saw, through His foreknowledge, a remnant of people who would receive Him as Lord, and “for the joy that was set before him,” He endured the cross, Hebrews 12:2, and purchased us unto Himself with His own blood, Acts 20:28. He purchased the whole world, but not everyone will receive what He did. Therefore, the Church is hidden (scattered among the world) today.
Father God had the plan of salvation worked out before He even created the world. Most of us would not have created the world and mankind if we had known the heartache and terrible sacrifice this act would cost. But God is not man. In His judgment (which is the correct judgment) the prize was worth the cost.
God knows in advance those who will accept His offer of salvation. The Scriptures teach that we (believers) were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4. That’s how infinite God’s ability is. We were chosen in Christ before the world began. We are holy and without blame because God sees us through Christ. It was predetermined that we would be God’s children. We have been accepted by God. The Father would no more reject us than He would reject Jesus, because we are accepted by the Father through Christ. We are redeemed and forgiven. We are truly blessed!
His Love Is Our Light
Mark 4:21 “And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?”
Just as a candle or lamp is not to be hid, but rather displayed so that everyone can benefit from its light, so a Christian must let his light so shine before men that they might see his good works and glorify his Father which is in heaven. God has ordained us to go and bring forth fruit, John 15:16. The great commission of the Church is to reach the world.
The early Christians experienced the love of Christ in an intimate and life-transforming way. This motivated them to reach their known world with the Gospel of Christ more than any other generation of Christians has since. They didn’t have the benefits of our modern technology, but they did have the benefit of being full of the love of Christ. Experiencing the love of Christ causes us to be filled with the fullness of God, Ephesians 3:19, and makes us a witness that the world cannot resist, John 13:35.
Today, much of the emphasis of the Church is placed on techniques of evangelism or spiritual warfare. We motivate people to witness through feelings of guilt or punishment if they don’t. Much of our evangelism has become as dead and non-productive as the efforts of the cults whose people knock on doors and argue others into their way of thinking. The Church today needs a revival of our personal relationship with the Lord. When we can truly say with Paul that the love of Christ constrains us, then we will impact our world for the Lord, too. We can’t give away what we don’t possess. We need to personally know the love of Christ in an experiential way before we try to share it with others. Let Him love you, and let His love flow through you to others. The world is hungry for love, real love.
Worldly Cares Are Thorns
Luke 8:14 “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”
This third type of ground is characteristic of a large part of the Body of Christ today. These are people who have received God’s Word, committed themselves to it to the degree that they are able to remain faithful in persecution, but because of being occupied with the affairs of this life, the Word sown in their heart is choked and no fruit is produced. Just as weeds in a garden will steal all of the nutrients and starve the plant, so the pleasures of this life, if we allow them to dominate our thinking, will stop the fruit that the Word would have produced.
Throughout history, the Church has always grown in size and strength during persecution. This is because during persecution we get our priorities straight. We realize our life is in Jesus, John 14:6, and not in things, Luke12:15, and we focus all of our attention on the Lord. However, prosperity has been far more damaging to the Body of Christ for the exact reason stated here in this verse. God wants to bless His children with things, Psalm 35:27; Matthew 6:33, but a preoccupation with these things will choke God’s Word and make it unfruitful. If we would follow God’s formula for prosperity found in Matthew 6:19-34, we would have the Word bringing forth fruit and we’d enjoy the physical blessings of this life, too.
Notice Jesus said that no fruit was brought to perfection. This type of person will exhibit some fruit, but it will always be small and far short of what it should be. Do you feel frustrated because you are just getting by and are not really experiencing the abundant life that Jesus came to give? John 10:10 Examine your lifestyle and see if the cares of this life, deceitfulness of riches, or pleasures of this life could be choking God’s Word.
Understanding God’s Word
Luke 8:12 “Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
The first type of person Jesus describes is someone who doesn’t understand God’s Word, Matthew 13:19. Before God’s Word can penetrate your heart, you have to understand (not comprehend) what it’s saying. If the Word isn’t understood, then it will be like seed scattered on top of hard-packed ground (the wayside). The birds will eat the seed and there will be no fruit.
Mark 4:15 and Luke 8:12, make it clear that these birds represent Satan, and Mark says the devil comes immediately to steal away the Word. Satan did not have direct access to the Word in any of the other heart-types which Jesus described. Satan cannot steal the Word from us if we will hide it in our hearts, Psalm 119:11. This first type of person simply heard the Word but didn’t receive it. He never applied it to his life, so he lost it.
Notice that Luke links belief and salvation with the Word being sown in our hearts in the same way as Romans 10:14-17. If there is no Word, there cannot be any belief or salvation, 1 Peter 1:23. We must preach the Word – not just morality or social issues.
Luke’s use of the word “saved” could include, but is not necessarily limited to, forgiveness of sins. Salvation includes much more than forgiveness of sins. This verse could describe a person who didn’t receive the Word and, therefore, was eternally damned. It could also be describing a Christian who simply doesn’t receive the Word in a certain area of his life and therefore doesn’t experience the victory that Jesus provided for him. Are you experiencing His victory in your life?
The Power Of God’s Word
Luke 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”
It is through the reading of the Word and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that Christ in His fullness is known. What a privilege it is today to have God’s Word in our own language. Six hundred years ago there was no English translation of the whole Bible. Thanks to the efforts of John Wycliffe (1384) and William Tyndale (1523), today we are able to read and understand the writings of the apostles for ourselves. Men gave their lives to bring us God’s Word. We should take advantage of this wonderful privilege.
The piece of armor known as the “sword of the Spirit” is the only piece of armor that has the ability to cut, wound, and hurt our enemy, the devil. It’s not the Bible lying on your coffee table that makes the enemy flee, but it is the Word of God hidden in your heart, activated by the power of the Holy Spirit, and spoken in an appropriate situation. It’s similar to what is spoken when Jesus said in John 6:63, that “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” The Word by itself doesn’t make us free. It is the Word we know and speak that will deliver us, John 8:32.
Why is the Word so effective? It’s because it is the WORD of God. It has authority, because it is indeed the WORD of God. God’s Word supersedes all authority of the church, of reason, of intellect, and even of Satan himself.
It is the Holy Spirit that wields this Word as it is spoken in faith. Speaking God’s Word in faith brings the Holy Spirit into action. In Luke 4, when Jesus was tempted of the devil for forty days, it was the Word of God, that Jesus used to defeat the enemy in the time of His temptation. Jesus constantly met His temptation by quoting from God’s Word as He repeatedly stated the phrase, “It is written.” Likewise, the Christian soldier must avail himself of God’s Word by placing it in his heart, so that the Holy Spirit may bring it forth at the appropriate time to accomplish a complete and total victory. It’s yours!
Matthew 12:37 “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
God created the heavens and the earth and everything that is in the earth by His words, Hebrews 11:3. The whole creation was made by, and responds to, words. Our words, when spoken in faith, release either life or death, Proverbs 18:21, and will affect people, things, and circumstances. We can release the power that is in faith by our words.
Every word counts. There is no such things as an “idle” word which will not work for us or against us. Our words can be our most powerful weapon against the devil, or they can become a snare of the devil, Proverbs 6:2. Faith-filled words can move mountains.
The faith that made Jesus marvel was a faith in the authority of the spoken word, Matthew 8:8, 10. We are to believe in the power of our words. If we begin to speak words in faith that line up with God’s Word, then we will have the positive results that follow. But if we continue to speak words of doubt, we will eventually believe them and have the negative things that these words produce. Death or life are in the power of every word we speak.
Faith is released by speaking words. Jesus encouraged us to speak to mountains or to whatever our problem might be. Most people speak to God about their problem, but few follow Jesus’ instructions and speak directly to the “mountain.” God has put certain things under our authority and we must exercise it. When a problem stands in our way, we must speak to the problem and command it to get out of our way in the name of Jesus. Speak God’s Word today. His Words will produce life.
Singleness Of Heart
Matthew 12:35 “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
Our spirit is definitely a part of our heart, but as seen in 1 Peter 3:4, it is only a part. Sin, iniquity, unbelief, etc., come from the heart but not the born-again spirit. Hebrews 4:12 suggests that spirit and soul are both part of the heart; hence, the scriptures admonish us to believe with all our heart, Acts 8:37, have singleness of heart, Colossians 3:22, and tell us our hearts can have two minds or ways of thinking, James 4:8.
Even Christians still struggle with things like pride and foolishness which Jesus said came out of our heart. It’s certain that our born again spirit is not the source of these sins. The heart encompasses more than our spirit.
The English word “soul” comes from the Greek word “psuche,” translated “heart, life, mind, and soul.” The mind is the principle and leading part of the soul, followed by the will and emotions. We could also describe the soul as being the hidden part of all existing beings or what most people would call the personality. The soul is the center of the feelings and emotions, appetites and desires, as well as sense perception and consciousness. The soul may also speak of the totality of a person – his total being or self, a person, and the hidden man or inward man. The soul and the body do not get born again. It is the spirit of man that becomes totally new at salvation. So, although every believer receives the same miraculous spiritual rebirth, the visible results of that inward change will vary from person to person according to how much he renews his mind. The term “heart” can include all of the inner man – spirit, soul, or any portion thereof. The peace of God will keep your heart at rest in Christ Jesus. Let Him.