Sunday, July 15, 2007

Leading a life of a true son of King

The grace and peace of Jesus Christ the Lord unto you brothers.

The title of my message is “Leading a life of true sons of King”. The main passage on which it is based is in
Matthew 17:24-26
24 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?"
25 He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?"

26 When Peter said, "From strangers," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are exempt.
27 However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and me."

In this passage we see Jesus and Peter confronted to paying taxes. This proves us how ordinary was the man. This tax of two drachma has its origins in the law of the pantateuq quoted in Exodus 30:13-16

Exodus 30:13-16
30:13 Everyone who crosses over to those who are numbered 1 is to pay this: a half shekel 2 according to the shekel of the sanctuary 3 (a shekel weighs twenty gerahs). The half shekel is to be an offering 4 to the Lord. 30:14 Everyone who crosses over to those numbered, from twenty years old and up, is to pay an offering to the Lord. 30:15 The rich are not to increase it, 5 and the poor are not to pay less than the half shekel when giving 6 the offering of the Lord, to make atonement 7 for your lives. 30:16 You are to receive the atonement money 8 from the Israelites and give it for the service 9 of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial 10 for the Israelites before the Lord, to make atonement 11 for your lives.”

A shekel is a piece of coin equivalent two four drachmas. Thus a half shakel is two drachma.
I have read this passage many times and used to consider it as one more great miracle of Jesus Christ. In fact it’s a great miracle because Jesus is speaking a word of knowledge given to him by the Holy Spirit.

I used to think that Jesus did it only in order to manifest his glory again, but we noticed this event occurs in chapter 17 of the Gospel of Mathew… so guess how many miracles did he perform before this time: so many….

Since chapter 8 we can see him healing someone from leprosy, then the servant of the centurion, then Peter’s mother-in-law and in the evening of the same day many came to him and he healed them. In the same chapter we see him calming the storm and healing two demon possessed men.

Waou so many miracles in one chapter of the gospel, and it continue the same way until this one.
So I really believe that the value of this text is more than the accounting of another miracle.
So what is it really about? Why is there such a text in the gospel and how can we understand it and apply this teaching in our lives.

The Exodus passage we just read says that this tax was given as a memorial and to make atonement for the lives of the Israelites.

But there before trying to pay the tax Jesus is asking Peter this amazing question “From who do you think the Kings collect duty and taxes?”

And obviously as we can expect Peter reply from the strangers and that’s the truth. Who has ever heard of a son of a King paying taxes?

A son of King doesn’t pay any kind of taxes
- He doesn’t pay rent
- He doesn’t pay water
- He doesn’t pay electricity
- He doesn’t even need to pay food or clothes because all that is provided to him by his servants

So Jesus said “thus we are exempted”.

Jesus is saying to Peter “we are exempted of paying theses taxes because we are the sons of the King who owns them: so we don’t have to pay them”

Jesus is saying this temple is our fathers, thus we don’t have to pay any tax.

A son of King also owns all the richness of the country where his father is reigning. I me quoting that so that we will fully understand what this text means to me today.

And as we acknowledge Jesus to be the truth the life and the path we understand that we are some true sons of King if we abide in his teaching. So knowing that how is it that in our daily life it’s not like we are benefiting from all the richness of our father? Why are we not leading a lavish life? Some of us for sure may be leading such a life but not most of us. The answer to this question is in the same text.

In verse 27 it’s said
27 However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and me."

What an amazing and wonderful scripture: let’s see what it teaches us about our kingship.

1) God doesn’t want us to offend our neighbors (those who are not yet sons of God and those who won’t become it at all). For this reason he uses a special mean to provide Jesus and Peter with the amount of money necessary for them to pay the tax. The coin was one shekel which is four drachma and as the tax is two drachma for everyone this is exactly what was required from them

2) So the same text shows us that God’s provides exactly what we need. It’s highly improbable to get a coin into a fish even if you spend a whole night fishing and catching many fishes. And moreover it is more improbable to get a coin of exactly the money they were expecting. So this is clearly a supernatural manifestation of the way of provision God uses for us.

The question why doesn’t Jesus want them to be offended by not paying taxes. The reason is for sure because offend is a bait of Satan and those people around them when offended by their attitude could become no more receptive to the Gospel.

For example in John 6 a truth claimed by Jesus about his sacrificial nature (the fact that his body was a real food and his blood was a real vine) offended many of his disciples and they stopped following him from this time. Which means also that they were lost?
So we see that offense can scatter people and hinder them from hearing the gospel.
In Mathew 13:24-43 the parable of the sower illustrate this fact to show us that God really cares about the lost ones and give them time to repent. For this same reason he didn’t want them to be scandalized

Just like the Lord delays the harvest of the field which is the world because he does not want that the ryegrass is confused with the good seed, he also wishes that those there are not scandalized so that they will have a chance to hear the gospel.
each time people were scandalized one sees them to move away from God. And this attitude occurs the same way nowaday.

Many of those who are around us are called to know Jesus but God who in His sovereignty has chosen to make us responsible for reaching them by the witnessing of Jesus Christ.

If the Lord would allow us to lead our royal life in a scandalous way the enemy the sower of the ryegrass would be able to easily divert them from God by the mean of the scandal. The same way Satan accused Job to lead an integrity life because of the full blessings of God granted to him, the same way Satan would accuse us in their heart because of the scandal. Whatever this thing which scandalize them is.

So it is because God want to reach those who don’t know him through our testimony that he makes us enter into our blessings without causing scandals around us. This shoul encourage us and raise up our understanding of the way we should behave

Let us clearly understand that God won’t deprive us from our blessings and their fullness, he simply wants us to receive them without scandalizing people around us.

In the text we have read today the way Jesus and Peter receive it is through a fish. But it takes Peter to obey also the voice of the Lord in a faithful manner to see it happens. So if we are faithful in obedience to his command then will we see his blessings flowing in our life in various providential ways? Because he is so faithful and he is master of time and circumstances. Our circumstances are maybe very difficult but the circumstantial solution He will provide for you will feet the issue. Amen

Because of that let us be patient when we are facing trials. Because the aim God had it is that we exert our royalty on this ground. To have this wire stature of king it is advisable that we pass by such tests without which our character will not be forged, without which we do not arrive at the level of maturity God is expecting us to reach.

Revelations 5:9-10
And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

This is the aim of our father and these are the roles he wants us to play. And he wants us to obey his without opposing him by reasoning but obeying faithfully. And after some time of trials he will completely restore us. If Peter didn’t obey Jesus faithfully this miracle wouldn’t occur for sure. God prefers obedience to sacrifice as we can read in the book of Samuel.

Thus we have insurance of his support when we obey him. We also lack nothing while we are doing his work because he says that the worker deserves his salary. So let’s get more and more involved in working for the advance of his kingdom.

1 Jean 1 declares « see of which love the Father loved us so that we are called children of God».
So from this point we can ask ourselves
« What is the work God is calling me to do? »
“Am I obeying the Lord’s voice ? Am I doing what he is asking?”
« How can I obey his commands? »

What work is God calling me to do ?
Brothers and sisters if God didn’t want us for a special purpose on this earth He would have raptured us the day we get saved. When we give our lives to Him he cleanses us and washes us from all our sins. Thus this is an ideal time to rapture us and not to let us here unless there is a special purpose for that

Is not God able to rapture us the day we get saved? Yet he is powerfully able to do it and he has already demonstrated that through Henoch who has been raptured after testifying the perversity of his generation. He also raptured Elisha after he finished his works and after finding him a successor. After Jesus accomplished everything he was raptured also. So why not us?
This purpose is present in God’s call for our lives and in our involvement to be witnesses of Jesus Christ.

So it’s time for us to fully realize who we are in Christ, who we are in the sight of God Almighty

Jean 1
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,
8 who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God.

So we can see from this text that we are born from God. This also means that our real origin is not our earthly birthday but another far time in the ancient days when God conceives us through the counseling of his sovereign will.

This is necessarily done in the ancient time as we can account it for a work of God, but the Bible declares that on the 7th day he took rest of all his works, and somewhere in the letters it is acknowledged that all the works of God were finished before this 7th day: thus our conception also was already finished this day.

This means that we are some spirit beings with the same nature as Jesus Christ. That’s why the Bible declare him the firstborn of all God’s sons.

And about Jesus Psalm 2 : 7 says
will proclaim the decree of the LORD, who said to me, "You are my son; today I am your father.

Jeremiah 1 :5 also quotes this

3 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you

We are in the same condition as the prophet Jeremiah because God knew us while we weren’t formed in the womb he already knew us, and he already define what purpose he wanted us for on this earth. So let’s trust Him in his mightiness and faithfulness and let’s give him a full access to our life so that he will achieve his aim in our lives.

This aim is similar to the king of activities Jesus did on earth (Witnessing to the truth and building up the church). God conceives us from all eternity but he chose an appointed time to sow us in the field of the earth so that we may be a good seed for the ground. So he put us in time and space by the same kind of choice he made to introduce Christ in this world to do the same kind of works as Christ.

In John 14:12 Jesus declares
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

So we see clearly that we have the same origin as Jesus as well as the same purpose on this earth: this is mostly to manifest the Glory of God through the Son Jesus Chris. To be his witness in Jerusalemen and Samaria in all Judea and to the extremity of the world.

And while we will be doing that Chris will continuously keep his promise to do whatever we ask in his name, because God will be glorified through that as we are staying aligned on the direction defined by the Father

So let’s rise up our faith to see God moving in a powerful way in our lives. The Bible declares that God pay attention to accomplish his Word

The Lord send his orders on earth and his Word run quickly and also in Jeremiah 1
5 The word of the LORD came to me with the question: What do you see, Jeremiah?

"I see a branch of the watching-tree," I replied.
Then the LORD said to me: Well have you seen, for I am watching to fulfill my word.

Being a witness of Jesus Christ is not a specific call to some belivers but it’s a general call to all Christians, it’s our duty and it shall be done everytime and everywhere. Witnessing to Jesus should cover the whole time and space. We use to sing these words of the Bible
“Your glory will fill the earth like the water the sea”.
We are here to sow a good seed of the truth on the earth every time and everywhere: this is the ultimate goal for which we are here. This is also the reason why the Lord allows us to enter our blessings without causing scandals otherwise there is a risk that the testimony we sowed in the heart of those who are around us may be uprooted.
So witnessing is a global call but what is particular to each of us is the way we are going to fullfill it and the way we are going to participate to the body of Christ.
Brothers and sisters, are we still working to this testimony in our daily lives ? God is not asking us to convert people as conversion depends only on the sovereignty of God, but our responsibility is to be some faithful witnesses of Christ, which means to practice what we preach.
Are we getting involved in the works of the heavenly kingdom or are we only busy for the works of men? If we truly desire to serve him then we can’t lack things to do in the church because there are so many needs there. But it will requires from all of us a personal step forward to serve Christ through his body.
Everyone in the body of Christ has a special role to play. He is gifted with some unique combination of talent so that will be able to participate in a unique way to the body of Christ and for the advance of the Lord’s kingdom.
If we behave this way then the Lord will realy delights in us as he acknowledges the person who keeps his commands to be the one who realy loves him.
But if we are lethargic and drowsing or lazy, let us fear the right anger of Holy and True God, God of Justice who did not save his own son in order to establish his Glory through Justice.
If we think that getting involved in the work of the kingdom is not so serious or maybe less important than other things or that we can’t do anything let us remember the man who had received only one talent and which buried it in the ground instead of putting it in bank.
Let’s consider also these words of Christ in Luke.
Luke 12
And the Lord replied, "Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute (the) food allowance at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' 9 and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant's master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
That servant who knew his master's will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master's will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

Brothers and sisters it’s time to make a bold step and to make a difference for the advance of the kingdom of our master. We all know our talents we don’t need anybody to tell us them and he also knows them because he is the donator.
Its talents are unjust and unmerited richnesses which we have but who are for us an occasion to make us friends who will accomodate us in the eternal gate vaults when we have suddenly missed these unjustified richnesses. (This is from the scripture Luke 16: 1- )
There are so much needs in the body of Christ so much works God has prepared from all eternity to be done only by you brother and sister and he is expecting you to cease to look at your difficult circumstances and to begin to look at you so numerous blessings and to stay patient and faithfull enough to experiment the other blessings. Because our life here is experimentation by faith of all the blessing God already grant us: this is our priviledge as a true son of king.
We can get involved in various activities like worship service or ushering or prayer services and so.

Are there any difficulties which are binding us and hindering us from working for the Lord? Is it some financial issues, job issues our family issues? Whatever it is God has the answer. And in the midst of all these issues Christ is still saying “Seek the kingdom of God first and all those things shall be added onto you”. He is asking us to react to our difficult circumstances like true sons of the King and to remember that God want to use everything to mature and empower us for his use. Each trial we overcome let us strengthened. Thus let us remember that We have a royal authority to exert on our difficulties
As sons of King our rank deserve an authority and we can exert it through prayer. Our position in heaven is not like our position on earth. Remember that the apostles of Chris we fishermen, tax collector and people who were not much considered on this earth. But these guys will judge the nations with Jesus and their seats are some thrones and God used them so powerfully. Paul experienced why He was able to use weak people
2 Corinthians 10
because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated,
3 a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times
4 I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
5 but he said to me, 6 "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

We are to experience similar life as the apostles if we decide to obey Him faithfully and to behave in conformity with this faith.
So let’s go in the heavenly places and claim with authority our victory through Christ over our circumstances and wait patiently to see in the visible realm what is already gained in the invisible realm.

Brothers and sisters while I am finishing this message I would like to ask those who are here and don’t know the Lord but are willing to get saved and to experiment being born from all eternity and from the will of God and to see concretely what that means to be a true son of a King, I would like you to raise your hand symbolically for the Lord as a confession to Him of your desire to be saved.
I would like also to call the brothers and sisters who already know the Lord and they are striving against a sin in their life whatever it is. To prepare their hearts to receive forgiveness from the Lord. The Bible declares that If we sin, we have a lawyer and a defender near the Father
Jesus Christ the righteous.
But the Bible also declares that those who loves the Lord do not practice sin. Which means they are not living in sin and they are not committing a periodic sin. So if someone is fitting this case I ask him to really repent to change his heart and give every part of his life to Jesus. Because living continuously in sin is a proof that this person has not known the Lord and he may for sure fall under a divine condamnation
There is a key for those who want to stand firmly and overcome sin and this key if « A genuine love of God in our hearts and the knowledge of his Word ».
In Romans 6: 9 – 11

We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as (being) dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.
A dead man won’t react to anything, anykind of pressure and any problem won’t affect him. He is the most resistant person to trials because no trial can affect Him.
Think of yourselves as living for God in Christ Jesus.
Someone living in Christ will lead a holy life first because Christ as lived without sin in a complete holiness. Then he will do the same works as Christ and even greater if he obey his commands

Let’s pray.