Take up your cross...

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Watering the Tulips


“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” - John 16:24

It seems the “gospel” of “health and wealth” has swept in a large portion of modern day Christianity. Followers are convinced that God has afforded them a long healthy life full of monetary and material blessings. But, is this the truth? Is this supposed to be our reason for serving God? We hope to iron out a few of these things today.

First of all, God has surely promised to supply our needs (Philippians 4:19). But, much of the teaching of modern day preachers isn’t talking about needs. They insist that if you have enough faith, God will rain down the material blessings of this world on you. They insist that you should give that you may get back. With all due respect, this sounds a lot like a selfish motive to serve the Lord. One would hope the fact that Jesus died for our sins would be enough motivation to serve Him.

Oftentimes when I’ve been chastised by the promoters of such a system, I ask one simple question – which of the apostles ever had this “health and wealth” that you preach about? All of the apostles, save John, died a martyr’s death. John was boiled in oil (according to history) before he was exiled to Patmos. None of them died wealthy. None of them were loved by the world. They were hated and persecuted just as Jesus said they would be (John 15:20). How can we believe that 2000 years after our Lord walked on the Earth, we would somehow be in a better position than those that sat at His feet and learned from him? There is simply no Biblical reason to believe such.

One of the greatest problems in my mind with such a system is that it encourages covetousness. It encourages people to look at all they want, claim it and believe that they will have it. This is the very definition of covetousness. Yet, the Bible plainly says that covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). So, this system is actually encouraging that which the Bible calls idolatry. We know this cannot be right.

The truth is that none of the New Testament saints ever had such a belief system. None of them followed Christ that they might be blessed in worldly things. If they did, their religion came up short. The only time we see worldly blessings promised in the name of religion is when Satan tempted our Lord (Matthew 4:1-11). Surely, this is not the message we want to be promoting today.

Child of God, don’t serve God for the blessings. Surely, He “daily loads us with benefits” (Psalms 68:19). But, these blessings are spiritual. He may or may not load us with worldly pleasures. Many of God’s children have died a beggar like Lazarus. However, they have awakened in glory as children of the King! In this life, God will supply our needs and care for us. However, our desire should to be rewarded of the life to come!

Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net. “Your app to the Gospel” is available for download in the iTunes app store and the Android market. Download it today.

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