Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroys, and where thieves break in and steal. But store 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 your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Matthew chapters five through seven contain Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount. Right in the middle of this sermon we find these words: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This is the big question from the Sermon on the Mount: Where is my heart? This is an important question, one that we should all ponder with grave seriousness. This is especially true considering the times in which we live and the events of the past few weeks.
The Bible teaches that the heart is the control center for life. The writer of Proverbs says that a person’s life is really a reflection of his or her heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” What a graphic picture—everything in life flows from the heart. Therefore, the heart must be guarded lest it be distracted by the cares of this world. So, where is your heart? The Bible gives us a fairly simple formula for discerning the location of the heart. That formula can be summed up in the statement: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). This is the Word of the Lord!
I am afraid, that with the recent economic struggles and downturns, many believers are discovering their heart is on Wall Street rather than “seated with Christ in the heavenly places” (Eph. 2:6). But how does one discern the location of the heart? One way is by looking at your checkbook. The other is by gauging your reaction to recent economic events. By looking at your checkbook I mean do you make a consistent practice of giving God the first-fruits from your finances—that is, are you more concerned for the work of the Lord than you are with wealth? By gauging your reaction to recent economic events I mean is your reaction to all these things one of confident assurance in the sovereignty and provision of God or are you worried sick about how much money you may be losing or how you are going to pay your bills, and house and feed your family—things about which Jesus said, “the Gentiles eagerly seek” (Matt. 6:32a). By using the word Gentiles, Jesus was speaking about those who do not know nor belong to God. But for those of us who are His children, He says this: “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matt. 6:32b). His point is simple: just trust Him! That’s what it’s all about anyway—trusting God (see Heb. 11). I have watched my portfolio lose quite a bit of money over the past few weeks. But my confidence in God has remained at an all time high. Why? Because my treasure in not on Wall Street. My treasure is in heaven. And it is my prayer that your treasure will be there as well. The prosperity preachers would have us believe it’s all about wealth. However, God would have us believe it’s all about treasuring Christ rather than treasuring wealth: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“In the first year of Darius…ruler over the Babylonian kingdom-in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years” (Daniel 9:1-2). Is the Bible really God’s word? After all, there are numerous books in existence today that claim to be the word of God. Therefore, what’s so unique about the Bible? Why has it been the all-time best seller in all of history? The answer is simple—because it is exactly what it claims to be—the word of the Living God. It is the word of God to the exclusion of all other writings that claim to be such. These excluded writings would include the Book of Mormon, the Koran, the Hindu Vedras, the writings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the sayings of Confucius or Buddha, just to name a few. One of the primary reasons we know all these other writings are not God’s word is because they cannot prove themselves to be such. The Bible on the other hand has authenticated itself to be of divine inspiration—the very word of God. It has done this through its prophecies. Prophecy makes up at least one-third of the Bible. No other book that forms the basis of a religion contains prophecy. So whereas it would take a foolish, misguided and blind faith to believe in all these other writings, one’s faith in the Bible as God’s word is rooted in sound, historical fact.
There are many prophecies in the Bible. One scholar has indicated there are over one thousand prophecies in the Bible about half of which have already been literally fulfilled. Some of these prophecies are Messianic in nature—they speak of the person and work of Jesus Christ. There are more than 300 of these Messianic prophecies about His First Coming. Some of them appear more than once so if we gather them together, counting them only once we end up with 108 prophecies that are separate and unique. All 108 were fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ—a mathematical impossibility when one considers the probability of one person fulfilling them all. One of these prophecies tells us Jesus will be born in “Bethlehem Ephrathah” (Micah 5:2). That prophecy was given more than 700 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Often overlooked is the precision of this prophecy. It does not simply tell us Jesus will be born in Bethlehem. It says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah.” When Micah wrote this prophecy there were two Bethlehems in Israel—one in the north near the Sea of Galilee, and the other in the south near Jerusalem, in the area known as Ephrathah. How’s that for prophetic accuracy and precision?
Another amazing prophecy—one I believe to be amazing beyond compare and the greatest of all prophecies—can be found in Daniel 9 where Daniel wrote that the Messiah would present Himself publically as the Messiah of Israel on a certain day. This certain day would fall 173,880 days after a certain decree was issued to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:25). This decree was issued by Artaxerxes on March 5, 445 B.C. 173,880 days later, on April 6, 32 A.D., Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messiah of Israel (Luke 19:28-44). There are many other prophecies found in the Bible that verify the Bible is indeed the word of God. These include prophecies about the regatherinng of the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:11-12) which began in the 20th Century and continues to this day; the re-establishment of the nation of Israel (Isaiah 66:7-8; Ezekiel 37:21-22) which occurred on May 14, 1948; all the nations of the world coming together against Israel over the issue of the control of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:1-3) which is occurring before our very eyes on the evening news! All these prophecies the Bible says would take place in the last days, right before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
As a Christian, I find the fulfillment of these prophecies very exciting and encouraging. When most people, many of whom claim to followers of Christ, are expressing fear over the things that are coming upon the world today, I am encouraged. I am encouraged because things are happening just as the Bible predicted—proof positive that the Bible, and only the Bible, is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant word of God. All geo-political trends and events in nature indicate that Jesus will return for His Church at any moment. So for believers, we need not fear. We should be ready for His soon return while telling others how to be saved. For unbelievers, the situation is grim. God’s judgment will soon fall upon this world and all those who have rejected Christ will find themselves in a predicament that could have been avoided—in fact it can be avoided—by placing your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
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