A Successful Walk with GodBro. David Chancellor
8/4/2002 6:00 PM
If we would be successful in our walk with God, there can be no reservations; he must come first.
And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go to bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of heaven.
There were those who were willing to follow Christ, but later had other interests. This might seem like something reasonable to do (telling those at home 'goodbye'). Yet, Jesus speaks and says, No man that puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. If we have something that comes ahead of God, we will fail. Other things have to be put aside. People who "want to have a good time" first, want to put a lot of trouble in first. They would go to the depths, and consequently have great suffering and problems in life. We need to relinquish everything to be second to God. He won't ask us to do anything that is grievous. He's asking us to put him first. You'll never succeed in your approach to Christ unless you make him first. Lot's wife was stopped on the road to deliverance because she looked back. It was her destruction. There is a danger in holding on to something else and trying to serve God.
This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go on before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
Stephen speaks to them of Moses, telling them the words of God, and how the Israelites had turned back in their hearts to Egypt. They were concerned that Moses had deserted them. As people reject God, something happens in the heart. It will show up in the actions, but it begins in the heart. The turning back of the Israelites was to take up the Egyptian way. We have to make a choice between God's way and some other way. When people come to God, there is ground to cover before they get there. It is more than just "finding religion". Seek God with all your heart, and leave everything else behind. Things no longer come before God. Let God be the center your life is built around.
Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hat increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.
Israel had come to the promised land, but they had not been faithful. "Israel is an empty vine." Christ, also, uses the image of a vine. Bringing forth fruit unto yourself is not good enough. God doesn't find pleasure in those that do this. We should bring forth fruit unto God. We should be focused on God. He would have us to seek him, not the blessings. The blessings will follow. People need to seek after God. The people of Israel kept the forms, but they also had their groves and their idols. God wasn't pleased with their divided hearts. God must be first. He won't settle for anything less. He wants 100%.
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
No servant can serve two masters. Two bosses are too many. It becomes difficult to please both. When it comes to your soul, looking back will hinder the work you do ahead. You will have trouble serving God if you're looking the other way. Material success must be sacrificed - it can't be what helps you to make the decision of whether or not you will serve God. Will the "wonderful job offer" fit in with your service to God? Look at the choices to see if they will compromise your walk with God. Will it hinder, or will it help? What is the choice that is best for your soul? Make a choice: God, or other things. Look to see if the decision will affect your walk with God. Everything else must be put aside. God knows when you reach this point. Those that seek God this way find a good life. When you don't serve God, life is worse.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
This speaks of the patriarchs. Abraham was looking for a country, but he didn't see the promise fulfilled before he died. "But they were persuaded of them and embraced them" We need to get hold of the promises of God with all we have. These moved as God led. In our relationship to this world, we just need a "tent" in the sense that we are ready to go somewhere else if we are supposed to. This life is temporary. It is a "rent house." We'll leave this body behind. We can have a mansion over there. We don't want to get too attached to the rent house and miss out on the mansion. We're seeking a heavenly country. There will be opportunity to go back if we are looking for it, yet, we when are serving God, we aren't looking for an opportunity to go back. The best thing we can do is to burn the bridges. We don't want an opportunity to return. We don't want to pave the way back to a life of sin. We don't want to take any opportunity to turn back on God. There's no need for a "just in case." Serving God will work out. Reserving anything in that way paves the way back to sin. There's no room for dual citizenship. You can't be part of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world simultaneously. To have citizenship in one, you must renounce it in the other. It is a wonderful thing when you turn to God with all your heart, because then he claims and accepts you. A half-hearted effort won't make it. We should want God before anything else. All other things need to be kept in their place - God first, and then others. God can say, if you keep him first, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased." A life lived with God first will be pure and holy. How is my life in the eyes of God? Is it acceptable to him? Sell out to God with everything you have.