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1 Corinthians 9:11
"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship With Jesus
The Key To Effective Ministry

Section 11, Chapter 3

"When the Son of Man Comes
Will He Find Faith on the Earth?"

Chapter Illustration

Page 1 of 2 Pages
Study Questions

In Luke chapter 18 Jesus talks about the importance of persisting in prayer about our needs. He shares how an unrighteous judge finally gave a woman justice, not because he was a just judge, but because she was wearing him out because of her persistence. This was the response of an unjust judge.

Why was Jesus telling this parable? He was pointing out to his audience that if an unrighteous judge will give justice, what do you think God will do who does care and is just? Jesus went on to say,

"Now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:7-8).

What I want to focus on is Jesusí statement, "However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" For years this statement puzzled me. What kind of faith was Jesus talking about? The passage is directed to Godís people, so we know this is not talking about saving faith. Jesus is talking to believers, but what an astounding statement! Jesus is clearly telling us that when he comes back for his people he will not be able to find faith among them.

But what is this faith Jesus is talking about? The answer is simple. It can be answered in the form of a question. When Jesus comes back, will he find a church that is putting its trust in Jesus and His Word? Or will he find a church that has compromised and is relying on the world system to meet its needs and fulfill its desires.

Why donít Christians get involved in Aggressive Evangelism? Many Laymen do not get involved because of the fear of the rejection of man. The lack of faith Jesus is talking about in this passage is motivated by fear also, but a different kind of fear. This fear is not a fear of man, but rather a lack of trust that Jesus really cares about us individually and will take care of us and our needs if we will walk with him and let Him have His way in our lives, that we do have a future. The sad problem is that most Christians do not have faith in Jesus. They are more concerned about making sure they do not lose what they have on this earth than to let Jesus have his way in their lives and invest in the Kingdom of God.

To have faith in Jesus means to make a willful decision to believe that Jesus loves you and will provide you with what you need, though not necessarily what you want. Jesus put it this way, he said,

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt 6:19-21).

Why donít the majority of Christians get involved in aggressively reaching out to the lost, hurting and scattered? Because they have no faith in Godís goodness. Because they do not their focus is not the kingdom of God and His righteousness, but storing up treasures on earth that will not carry on into heaven.

But what does Jesus say in this passage? First, treasures on earth will pass away. They are temporary and will not stay in eternity. But he says something more astounding: First, heaven is a real place. it is not a mystical place. It is more real than this earth. Not only is it real, but there are treasures there, but not just treasures, but treasures that will not pass away, that cannot be taken away by thieves because there are no thieves in heaven. But Jesus is also saying something very sobering. Heaven is forever. Our life on this earth is only temporary. This life will pass away. Your life in heaven will last for eternity.

Jesus tells us in this passage that what we do now on this earth in this probationary life will determine what kind of life we will have in eternity. This is what Jesus meant when he said, "But seek continually first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt 6:33). But he did not mean only in this life, He meant it primarily in the life to come.

Someone might say at this point, "But didnít Jesus say that those who would follow and serve Him would receive one- hundred times as much: brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, farms, etcetera? Yes, Jesus said this, but He could not have meant it primarily in this life. How do I know this? Whenever someone throws this passage at me, usually out of the context of the Bible and usually as an excuse for greed and chasing after the world rather than Jesusí will and kingdom, I simply ask them the question, "Show me one Apostle who became rich and lived comfortably and luxuriously in this life and I will end my argument." Not one of the people that He was speaking to directly about this, His Apostles, had anything in this life. The Apostle Paul wrote about His and the other Apostlesí lives on this earth,

"For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christís sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. (1 Cor 4:9-13).

Paul then, in a later passage, goes on to talk about his own life in service to Jesus,

"I... in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was ship wrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren. I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for the churches. (2 Cor 11:23-28).

Not only did the Apostles suffer the loss of all things in this life, but eleven of the twelve Apostles died a martyrs death. How the Apostles died: Peter was crucified up side down. Andrew, James, Philip, Simon and Bartholamue were crucified. Matthew and James died by the sword. James, the brother of Jesus, was stoned. Thomas was speared through. Thadius was killed by arrows. The Apostle John was exiled to the Island Patmos, cut off from civilization and life where he died destitute as an old man. It was there that Jesus took him up to heaven to write the Book of Revelation. Where is the hundred times as much plus brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and property that Jesus talked about? It was awaiting them in heaven to be theirs forever.

Paul confirms that he was not looking for treasures here on earth but in heaven in 2 Corinthians 5. In this chapter he talks about how temporary this life is, that this present temple we live in, our bodies are temporary and will be torn down. But he goes on to say that the hope of the Christian is that God has a house for him that he will live in, in heaven that will last to eternity through the resurrection. Because Paul realizes how temporary this life is, he wrote about his temporary existence in the body on earth,

"For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened.... we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." (2 Cor 5:4, 8).

Paul, knowing how temporary this life is and how important our life to come is and our needing to prepare for it goes on to say,

"Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men." (2 Cor 5:9-11).

Paul tells us several things in this passage,

  1. One, this life is temporary, but heaven is forever so heaven is where we need to store our treasures. For this reason Paul strives not after the world, but to be pleasing to God in the body.

  2. Second, Paul tells us he seeks to be pleasing and fruitful to God in the body because Christians will be judged and rewarded in heaven depending on their walk and service to God.

  3. Finally, because God will reward us based on our allowing Him to use us to share the Good News of the Gospel with others, he states that he uses his life and free time to persuade men in the message of the Gospel.

Concerning His earthly life, Paul states, recorded in Acts,

"But I make no account nor hold my soul as precious to myself, so that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the Gospel of the grace of God."  (Acts 20:24)

Paul really believed that heaven was a real place that was forever, but he also believed that this life was only temporary and would not last. For this reason he said, But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself... Paul was investing in the bank in heaven knowing that when he got there he would have a hundred fold return that would last forever. How did Paul invest in the bank in heaven? By giving his life and time to the preaching of the Gospel.

Someone comes along at this point and states, "Ya, but Paul was called to this work." It is true that Paul was called to this work, but Paul also tells us that he did not live off of the ministry. Paul tells us that he worked for a living. He writes,

Study Questions
Continued on page 2
Bibliography & Notes
Section 11 Chapters

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