Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Values

If a string with a knot in it were stretched from earth to the most distant star, the size of the knot would represent the length of  our time on this earth in contrast with eternity. We live in the realm of time for a few short years. Eternity stretches ahead in Heaven or Hell.  Are you prepared for Heaven? Have you put your trust in Christ?  

Are you living for temporal (time) values  or for eternal values.  All of us have values.  Our values are revealed by the choices we make: by  how we spend  our time and money, by the friends we choose and the spouse we eventually marry. Our values also determine the church we attend and our involvement in that church, as well as the school we choose for our family. 

These choices we make will have eternal consequences.  Whether we are the most popular student, or the most brilliant, or the best athlete, or voted the most likely to succeed; will in the light of eternity not really matter. What will matter will be our relationship with God and our desire to live for His glory. 

For King Solomon money was no object.  He tried everything life had to offer: including the search for knowledge, the pursuit of  fun, wine, women. homes, gardens, orchards, and fabulous treasures he gathered from all over the known world. No doubt, he was a billionaire by today’s standards.  As he neared old age, he concluded that his life had been vain and empty, a total waste. How sad!  Solomon had started out so well in humble dependence on God; but he blew it all by living for temporal values and ignoring God’s will for his life. 

Jesus asks us a penetrating question recorded in  Mark 8:36  “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

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June 4, 2006 Posted by | Eternity | Comments Off on Values

Justification

Salvation has three tenses: past, present and future. II Corinthians 1:10 outlines these three tenses. “Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver us, in whom we trust He will yet deliver us.”

In this and the following articles on salvation we will emphasize these three tenses as we consider the three major doctrines of salvation: Justification, Sanctification and Glorification.

First, consider Justification. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is the best place to find a clear explanation of justification.. The theme of Romans is the Righteousness of God.

Our Desperate Need of God’s Righteousness
In Romans 1:18 through 3:20 we have the first truth that needs to be understood and that is our desperate need of God’s righteousness. Without it, no one can live in God’s presence. The problem is that no one is good enough or righteous enough to live in God’s presence in Heaven. We are all born sinners, hopeless and helpless to do right. Romans 5:6,12-19, 3:23 Ephesians 2:12. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He demands in Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” If that does not strike despair and hopelessness to your heart, I don’t know what will. We desperately need God’s righteousness.

God Counts Us Righteous
The second section of Romans deals with how God counts us righteous and fit for Heaven through His gracious act of justification. That’s the theme of Romans 3:21 through 5:21 Justification is God’s gracious work of counting me righteous through the merits of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who died and rose again to pay the full penalty of all my sins. When I put my faith in Christ, God puts His righteousness to my account and makes me fit for Heaven. I do not go to Heaven because I am good enough or because I live a righteous life. No one lives the Christian life perfectly. I go to Heaven because Jesus is my righteousness. I Corinthians 1:30 Philippians 3:7-9

As a wealthy man deposits a million dollars in the account of a poor man and makes him rich, so God deposits Jesus’ righteousness to my account and makes me fit to dwell in His presence. II Corinthians 5:21 makes it so clear, Read the verse and let’s go through it together. “He (God) hath made Him, (Jesus) to be sin for us ( He bore my sins on the cross even though He was totally sinless) that we (sinners) might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus). If you are still unsure of your salvation, I urge you to keep reading this verse and ask God to open your spiritual eyesight to understand it. When you understand it and receive Jesus as your only righteousness, you will be born again and fit to dwell with God in Heaven. It’s not a difficult verse to understand. As a nine year old boy I was confronted with this truth and put my faith in Christ. My life was changed from that moment on.

Do you see it, Friend? When I admit I am a sinner and understand I am deserving of Hell and I turn to Jesus to save me; He takes my sins and gives me His righteousness as a free gift.. Isn’t that good news!!! That is why it is called The Gospel. That is the meaning of Justification. When I see myself as a sinner and deserving of Hell and cry to God for His mercy and put my faith in Jesus who died and rose again for my sins; God takes my sins and puts them to Jesus’ account. He takes the perfect righteousness of Jesus and put it to my account, making me fit to live with Him in Heaven. When Jesus died on the cross it became dark and God the Father turned His back on His Son. Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” God gave Him no answer nor comfort.. He totally forsook Him in His death for our sins for, you see, He was bearing the sins of the world. Thank God that because of His great sacrifice for me, I am now a child of God through faith in Christ as my own personal Saviour from sin. As His child I have been brought into fellowship with God and will dwell forever in His presence.

If you see yourself as a sinner, will you right now bow before God and admit to Him that you are a sinner and unworthy of being in His presence and that you are helpless to save yourself? Will you look by faith to Jesus who died on the cross some 2000 years ago and rose again the third day to be your Saviour? Will you ask Him to be your Saviour? He will save you now. Romans 10:9-11 He will justify you from all your sins and count you as righteous as Christ Himself. The perfection demanded in Matthew 5:48 is the righteousness of Christ Himself, imputed to your account.

Go now to the next link, Sanctification, and learn what God has started to do in your life if you are a believer and what He is going to continue to do until you arrive in Heaven.

June 4, 2006 Posted by | Salvation | Comments Off on Justification

Witness

A witness is simply one who passes on to others what he has seen, heard,  known, learned  or experienced. It is important that we be accurate and honest when we witness.  In a court room we swear to tell the truth.  

When Christ returned to Heaven after His crucifixion and resurrection,  He commanded His followers to be His witnesses.  Our faithfulness in carrying out His orders  is a life and death matter.  People will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. In Ezekiel 3:18-19  God warns us to be faithful witnesses.  The one to whom you witness may reject the message, but at least you have been faithful and fulfilled your responsibility. 

If you are helped and blessed by the Hidden Treasures at this web site, will you share our web site address with others?  As you can see we have covered a large variety of topics and others will be added, the Lord willing.

Thank you and God bless you as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission at home and around the world

and thank you for your prayers for us. Would you pray with us that God will use this web site to reach the hearts of many for  Jesus Christ?

In Christ's Fellowship,

Pastor Mal Bicker

June 4, 2006 Posted by | Evangelism | Comments Off on Witness

Fools: An Intelligent Fool

Recorded in Luke 12:16-21 is a story Jesus told about a wealthy, successful, intelligent farmer whom God called a fool.   

It all began with two men who were fussing over their inheritance.  One asked Jesus to settle the issue, but Jesus refused.  Instead He spoke out against covetousness and materialism and used the story of the rich fool to illustrate His message.  

The crops did well.  The barns were full. Grain still stood in the fields waiting to be reaped.  The farmer had no more storage room.  He decided to pull down the barns and build larger ones.  

In the midst of his planning, God intervened, addressing this farmer as a fool and warning him he would die that night.  Why did God call this enterprising farmer a fool?  Certainly it was not for his good qualities. 

HIS GOOD QUALITIES 

This farmer was industrious.  Ground does not produce a bountiful harvest without lots of  work.   He had carefully cultivated  his land for this harvest.  He was certainly not lazy.  He had a work ethic; something we should cultivate in our children by requiring them to do their chores faithfully.  Let them learn the value of  a dollar by working for their allowance. 

This farmer was intelligent.  He looked ahead and saw he had a storage problem.  He used his brain God had given him and solved his problem by  planning to build new larger barns. 

It’s not enough to have a good job and earn lots of money.  Lots of people do that and spend it as quickly as they earn it.  That is not wise. 

But to spend more than we are earn is financial suicide. Such a person is living as a fool.  He is facing financial ruin from which he may never recover. The same applies to nations that spend themselves into obscene debt.  

Although poverty of spirit is a godly quality we should desire,  financial poverty is not a virtue.  There is nothing spiritual about being lazy or handling our financial affairs so sloppily that we live in poverty all of our lives.  There is nothing unspiritual about spending frugally  and investing wisely and building  financial security. 

Avoid draining your money away in high interest payments by living beyond your means with your credit cards.  Credit cards are NOT a source of money!  They are a source of DEBT!  

This farmer was ambitious.  Ambition is a double-edged sword.  Ambition to do your best and  get ahead can be good or bad.   It is good if our ambition is to live for God’s glory alone.  It is sinful if we are living only for our own glory,  pleasure and fame. 

We expect our missionaries to live sacrificially, using their assets and strength for God’s glory.  We Christians at home should be living just as sacrificially and using our money to further the cause of Christ.  The purpose of wealth for the Christian should be to use it for God’s glory;  not just 10% of it, but all of it.  One day you and I will give an account to Christ for the way we used or abused our resources and energy.  Remember,  it’s not really your money.  It’s God’s!  You and I are simply stewards of it.  Make sure you have His approval for the money you spend. 

This farmer was respectable  Respect does not come with riotous living.  He was no doubt an upstanding, respected  man in his community.  But Jesus called him  A FOOL! 

WHY DID JESUS CALL HIM A FOOL? 

He was proud and considered himself a “self- made” man.  He was totally self-centered.   Listen to him speak. “What shall I do?” “This will I do”   “I will pull down my barns”. “I will say to my soul take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry”  He saw all his possessions as his own. 

Contrast the Psalmist in Psalm 116:12-19 which begins,  “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits to me?  

He neglected his soul.  He was a classic materialist.  Somehow he thought that his soul’s needs could be satisfied by taking care of his body’s needs.  Money spent on ourselves can only buy things that rust, burn up, get moth eaten, get stolen, decay and perish. Money  invested for God’s glory brings eternal rewards. 

That night he left all his wealth behind for he knew not whom.  Some would think he was a big thinker.  Actually he was a small thinker.   He considered only this life and his material needs and totally ignored eternity and his eternal soul. 

Jesus asks us, “For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?  Mark 8:36 

If we put anything or anyone before God, we are idolaters.  If we ignore God and his will for our lives, we are practical atheists.

June 4, 2006 Posted by | Fools | Comments Off on Fools: An Intelligent Fool