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A Spiritual Check-Up: Treasures on Earth vs. Treasures in Heaven

Matthew 6:19-24 (KJV)

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

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Between Two Trees

Genesis 2:8-17 (KJV)

And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

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The One Time It’s Good to Act Like a Child

Luke 18:15-17 (NASB)

And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

The language of salvation is a foreign language to most. “Sir, are you saved?” Saved from what? Biblical language is a learned language as well. For example, Biblical writers often refer to the kingdom of God. “The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). Daniel writes, “God’s kingdom is an eternal kingdom” (Daniel 4:3). But what is the kingdom of God? A kingdom is a reign or dominion. God’s kingdom is His reign. Those who defy Christ and His authority are not part of the kingdom of God. Those who acknowledge the Lordship of Christ are members of the kingdom of God.

  1. The kingdom of God is received, not achieved.
    The church makes disciples—kingdom citizens—by preaching the gospel, baptizing believers and teaching them all that Christ commanded (Matthew 28:18–20). Nevertheless, the kingdom of God is not something that we make happen. It is fundamentally a gift, something that our Creator gives to His people because of His great love for the world (John 3:16). We do not walk into the kingdom; rather, the kingdom embraces us. Receiving the kingdom of God happens like a child receives.
     
  2. Receiving the kingdom as a child means as a helpless infant.
    Jesus uses the example of a child to illustrate this point. We must receive the kingdom “like a child” (Luke 18:17). Here, the Greek word translated “child” refers to the youngest and most helpless of all. The word is παιδίον, or pedion, from which we get our English word pediatric (e.g. “of a little child”).
    Characteristics of receiving Christ’s dominion as a little child:
    1. With interest in Jesus – If the newborn hears a voice, he turns his head and eyes immediately.
    2. With nearness to Jesus – Dependency need is "the vital, originally infantile needs for mothering, love, affection, shelter, protection, security, food, and warmth”.
    3. With fixation on Jesus – This One Person I know, this One Person I believe, this One alone I desire.
    4. With appreciation for Jesus – Not in words, but in spirit and in attitude. A relaxed state.
    5. With nothing for Jesus – Nothing but who the infant is as a person. Nothing else.
    6. With trust in Jesus – There’s no ultimate trouble – just trust that’s what’s coming is good.
       
  3. Receiving the kingdom as a child means no mess in your life is too great for Him to clean up.
    Augustus Toplady’s hymn “Rock of Ages” includes this line: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” These lyrics wonderfully encapsulate Jesus’ teaching in Luke 18:15-17. We come into the kingdom only by admitting that we have nothing to give, that all we can do is rely on Christ for grace and forgiveness. Once in the kingdom, we continue to admit the same things. We never lose our need to depend wholly on Jesus. This is why this text comes after Jesus teaches us to pray.
     
    Closing Application:
    1. Kingdom citizens are always in a position of trusting the goodness of the King.
    2. Kingdom citizens are always the strongest and most protected when dependence is on the King.
    3. Kingdom citizens want nothing more and nothing less than the King’s presence in their lives.
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The Kiss of Legalism

Luke 15:25-32 (KJV)

Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

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Sin Does Pay

Romans 6:18-23 (KJV)

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlastin glife. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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