Keep God FirstBro. David Chancellor
10/13/2002 11:00 AM
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
At first glance, this would seem to go against family values. While we promote family values, Christ was showing us a quality of humanity that we should consider. This quality can be to our detriment. When we stand before God, we want to stand worthy of the Savior who died for us. There is suffering, pain, and difficulty that goes with a cross. Jesus had come to set a variance between good and evil. People around us want to be loved first. If we love others more than we love God, this is a problem. If we would be worthy of him, we need to love him first. Theres a struggle that develops: who will be first? Christ didnt mean that we would fight at home. There will be a battle, though, when those we care about want to come before God. First place should be reserved for God. If the point of view of those that we care about doesnt agree with God, his point-of-view needs to be first. Christ has to be first. Hes first, or he isnt there. Hes worthy of making this demand. He earned this place. Recognize the forces that will try to pull you aside from Christ. This doesnt mean that we have nothing to do with others. Just keep Christ first. When we face these challenges, we can renew our consecration to Christ. Realize this is true for others, too. Dont demand to be first, either. This creates a struggle for others if you do. Dont allow anyone to take the place of God, even yourself. As people would try to pull on you, stay set on Christ. We may have to set aside those that would ask to be first instead of Christ. It doesnt mean that we dont love them or care about them. We just cant allow them to pull us in a direction that is contrary to the will of God. Keep God first, whatever may come. The Bible sometimes gives us challenges befriend sinners without letting them take Gods place or pull you away from God. This is where the challenge lies. Dont sell out Christ to gain their friendship. You cant have a two-faced relationship with Christ. First place is reserved for God. Others may ask for this place, but we cant afford to let them have it.
And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.
This shows how humanity operates. Her heart wasnt with Samson. If someone would pull you away from God, they dont have your best interests in mind. They may say, How can you say you love me, and then not do what I want. Delilah was trying to get Samson to betray what had been his standing with God all his life. If you step aside from God, youll also have been vexed to death. Samson turned loose of his source of strength. Dont betray your relationship with God. Humanity doesnt like to hear that theyll be second. Be faithful to God and keep him first. Is there a Delilah at work in your life? If someone would come between you and God, theyre no more your friend than Delilah was Samsons friend. Whatever the pull may be, you cant allow it to come between you and God. Keep God first every day. He needs to be the center of our lives. Things will try to compete with our love for Christ.
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
God tested Abraham. When God speaks, know who is talking. Would you do as God says? Your love for God will be tested. Some of your struggles may take some time. You dont want to hurt your fellowman, but Christ must be first. When there is a choice to be made between others and God, the choice has to be already made. God needs to see if he is still first. You can love others, but God has to be first. Theres an order in which things have to be.
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
If the preacher doesnt give it to you straight, dont listen to him. These are hard words for a preacher to say. Some might speak to you in the name of God, that will test your love for God. Heresy isnt just being wrong. Its that men desire to pull away others after themselves. When we encourage others to follow me, if we go wrong, well be caught in the boat of heresy. God called us to follow Christ, not others. There will be those who will be false. Keep Christ first. If there would be a line drawn, be on Christs side. You love for God will be tested. Keep a strong grip on God.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Paul included himself in this. He wasnt speaking of holding to traditions, but of that which had made a change in their lives. If someone tried to take Gods place, they were to go on without him, and hold on to Christ. Our walk with God must be close and personal. We need a consecration and dedication to Christ that is unshakable. Dont be a source of trial. Dont try to get between someone and God. It wont help either of you if you do. Dont be a foe. Strengthen your brothers love for God. Draw closer to God and let his love fill your soul. Hell help you love your fellowman more than you could if you didnt have him. Others should always be second. It doesnt mean that theyre unloved, but that you love God more. This is whats needed in order to serve God.