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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?"

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 9, Chapter 3

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

Chapter Illustration

Back to Chapter 2
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,

Luke 18:7-8 "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?"

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 Christians 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,

Matthew 6:19-21 "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."

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, Matthews 6:33 "But seek continually first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." 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 comfortablely 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,

1 Corinthians 4:9-13 "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."

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

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 "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.

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 eath 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,

2 Corinthians 5:4, 8 "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."

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,

2 Corinthians 5:9-11 "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."

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.

Acts 20:24 "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."

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 wrote,

Acts 20:33-35 "I have coveted no oneís silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ĎIt is more blessed to give than to receive.í"

Paul wrote in another passage,

1 Corinthians 9:14-18 "So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the Gospel to get their living from the Gospel. But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things that it may be done so in my case, for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. For if I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That when I preach the Gospel, I may offer the Gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the Gospel."

Paul tells us that what he did he did as an example for us to do. He wrote in 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9,

"For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyoneís bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example."

In essence he was saying, "Hey! Iím nobody special. If you live your life for Jesus by working and using your own resources for the Gospel, you will be blessed and have a reward like mine in heaven also." Because Paul used his life, free time and resources for the Gospel he could say, "Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men." Within the sphere of Paulís life he could honestly say that all men who touched his life heard the message of the Gospel so that if they ended up in hell, it was not his fault. Paul tells us he lived this way as an example for you and me.

What is Godís ideal will for you and me? It is to labor with our own hands and then use these resources to preach the Gospel to men so that they may be saved. Godís will for our lives is not purchasing expensive cars and million dollar homes. This in no way glorifies God. Why? Because there is something wrong with owning things? No. Because when you invest your resources in this life, you tell your brethren and the world there is no heaven and eternity that will last forever that is of greater value to invest in than this temporary life that will be burned up with fire. You tell your brethren and the world that you do not have faith at all.

Matthew 13:44-46 "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it."

If you choose to store up treasures here, you may be saved and get into heaven, so as by fire as Paul tells us, but that is all you will do. You will be in heaven, but you will be poor and your privileges in eternity will be limited. But Jesus says something more astounding in this passage. He tells us that if we give ourselves to Him and let him use us to bring His kingdom on the earth as it is in heaven, not only will we have treasure and privileges in heaven, but they will last into eternity. In heaven there is no stock market crashes. In heaven you are not rich and have plenty for a season and then circumstances take it away like on earth. Our treasures in heaven are forever and do not rust and cannot be taken away by men.

If you are putting your trust in this passing life, Jesus says that you are being a fool. Luke 12:20 "But God said to him, ĎYou fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?í" You are being a fool because this life is temporary and will not last. You are a fool for a second reason: you may be saved and get to heaven, but when you get there you will not have anything because you stored up your treasures on earth and Jesus says that treasure will not only not last but will be burned up with fire. The Apostle Paul wrote,

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each manís work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each manís work. If any manís work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any manís work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire."

Paul tells us plainly you can suffer loss in heaven!

What does God the Father advise us to do? The Apostle John tells us in 1 John 2:15-17,

"Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever."

John tells us in this passage that if you are making the world and the things of the world your focus, you do not love God. You do not love Jesus. The Apostle Paul tells us that you are an enemy of the cross of Christ. Brothers and sisters there is no middle road. You cannot be a friend of the world and a friend of God. James the brother of Jesus tells us James 4:4 "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

What are these writers of the Bible telling us? Are they saying that if God blesses you with a good paying job and gives you the power to make riches that you are his enemy? Of course not. But if you become rich by compromising in your walk with God, by stepping on your brother, by not speaking up against injustice, the murdering of innocent children, by never bringing up the fact to your fellow employees that you are a Christian and that they need Jesus to be saved, by not speaking up and defending those who are being treated unjustly whether in the Church or about a fellow employee who is fired for being accused falsely, then Godís Word states that you are His enemy. If your things, your relationship with your spouse, your relatives, your Church, is more important than justice and the salvation of men, Jesus says you are His enemy. If you use your riches to buy expensive homes and cars and suits and travel rather than to invest in and further the Kingdom of God, then God says that you are His enemy. Jesus said Matthew 12:50 "For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother."

The reason Jesus told the rich man to go and sell all he had and give to the poor was not because having things in themselves is evil, but because Jesus knew that the things this man had would hold him back and keep him from saying yes to the Holy Spirit in service or witness of the Gospel to others when saying yes might mean the loss of any of these things. This was why when John the Baptist was asked by those who came to him what repenting meant he said Luke 3:11 "Let him who has two tunics share with him who has none; and let him who has food do likewise." The more you own, the more afraid you are of losing those things. The fear of losing things will cause you to say no to God when He comes to you through the Holy Spirit. For this reason John the Baptist admonishes us to live a simple life style, to have only what you need, nothing more. Why? If you have nothing to lose then there will not be any reason for you to not say yes to God because you have nothing to lose. But you do have everything to gain forever in heaven.

Brothers and sisters, when Jesus created us He gave us a free will. He gave us the freedom to choose to put Him and His Kingdom first or this life first. He wonít force you to serve Him. He will not force you to love and put him first above all else, but only those who do will have treasures in heaven. Those who do not, do not deceive yourselves. Love is not a feeling. To love Jesus and to serve Him and let Him use you to reach out to others is a decision of the will, it is not a feeling.

It is so easy to serve Jesus in America. The worst you can suffer is the rejection of men. In Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, China, and other nations, to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord means certain death. it means

entering the Kingdom of God by force, because to do so means total destruction to your earthly life. It means losing your all.

In 2003 I corresponded with a woman in Pakistan who is a born again Christian who chose Jesus over Islam. Because she did her family ostracized her. People in the streets who know her throw stones at her and men rape her sanctioned by the authorities of Islam. Finally, the elders of the city gave her fourteen days to leave the city or they would kill her. She told me she would never deny Jesus and she wants to use whatever time she has on earth to bring the Gospel to as many people as possible.

Right now in America to preach the Gospel means possibly the loss of a job, the rejection of a spouse, financial hardship. Compared to what this woman is enduring, American Christians have no excuse for not taking two hours out of their busy weeks to reach out aggressively and share their faith with others.

Am I promising you will not be rejected? That Satan will not attack your finances? That he may not try to get to you through your spouse, and if he cannot he may not push your spouse to reject and divorce you? Am I promising you, you will not have hardships? Paul wrote, Acts 14:22 "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." 2 Timothy 3:12 "And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." No, I cannot promise you that you will not suffer

these things in this life by the Devil and by the world as well as by the Church. What I can promise you is that Jesus will be very pleased with you and you will have treasures and reward in heaven that will last not for a few years on earth, but for eternity in heaven; and those treasures and reward are more real and more permanent than anything this earth has to offer you.

When Jesus comes back, will he find faith on the earth? When you make your focus in life storing up the treasures of earth, you are saying to Jesus, "Jesus, I do not have faith that if I give up this world for service to You and to the reaching out to the lost, hurting and scattered that You will give me greater reward in heaven that will last throughout eternity, than I can accumulate right now on this earth." You are saying to God and to the world, "This life is all there is. I better grab what I can now and make the best of it." You are showing that you have no faith at all. Luke 12:21 "So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

John 6:27 "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him God the Father has set His seal."

Jesus needs you to reach out to the lost the hurting and the scattered. There isnít anything more important in this life than this. NOTHING!

Study Questions
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Section 9 Chapters

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