Living for Christ And Keeping His Work

Introduction

    PAUL wrote, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14. In Romans, we are told that “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. The natural or carnal mind cannot discern or understand the things of the Spirit of God. That which is of the Spirit must be spiritually, not carnally, discerned. Thus, it is extremely important that the reader of God’s Word first pray for the help and guidance of the Spirit before reading the Scriptures. He must pray for spiritual discernment. Only then will the truth be perceived, for it is the Spirit-not man-who guides one into all truth (Jn. 16:13). May the reader first pray for spiritual discernment and the guidance of God’s Spirit into all truth before beginning the study!

    Another matter that must be addressed before beginning the study is the usage of both New and Old Testament scripture. Some consider the Old Testament to be obsolete, or unworthy for substantiating doctrine and belief. But Paul tells us, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16. Paul did not say that “most” scripture was given by the inspiration of God; neither did he say that “most” were “profitable” for doctrine, instruction, etc. Instead, we read that “all” scripture is inspired of God. “All” scripture has been given for spiritual growth. In Romans Paul wrote, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4. Every scripture contained in the Old Testament, as well as the New, is for “our learning.” And we further read, “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior.” 2 Peter 3:2. At the time when Peter and Paul had been “inspired” to write these words, the New Testament did not yet exist! They were specifically speaking in regards to the Old Testament. Therefore, to say that the scriptures of the Old Testament are no longer worthy for application is contrary to Biblical teaching, for the New Testament directs us to the Old Testament!

    Lastly, it must be said that the child of God and follower of Christ is not to rely and depend on himself to perform or achieve the things God’s Word instructs. We must not rely and depend on our own abilities or strength. The result of our efforts will only be disappointment and failure. This is because we can do “nothing” without the Savior (Jn. 15:5). Man can do nothing good on his own. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23. (See also Rom. 7:18; Mat. 12:34). We learn that it is God “which worketh in” us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. And in Hebrews, we read something similar: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20, 21. How does God help us to do what is “well-pleasing” in His sight? How does He work in us “to will” and “do” His “good pleasure”? “Through Jesus Christ”! We cannot do anything that is “well-pleasing” to our Heavenly Father without Jesus Christ His Son. It is only by Jesus Christ that we can bear the “fruits of righteousness” (Jn. 15:4; Phil. 1:11). It is only by Jesus Christ that we can have “wisdom”, “righteousness”, “sanctification” and “redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). The good that has been done in the child of God-from the very beginning-is because of the Father working in him through Jesus, His only begotten Son (Phil. 1:6). Are we now to take over this work? “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3. As God the Father has started this good work in us, it is He who will “perform”, or finish, it!
    As we study the Scriptures, remember that it is God and His Son who will help us to do what is asked of us. May every child of God and follower of Christ choose to do what the scriptures say, but look to God and Christ for the accomplishment!

Not Walking in Darkness

    IN the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of John, we read these enlightening words of Jesus: “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” verse 35. There is a great lesson contained in this verse; a lesson that will greatly aid the child of God in all matters of his life. But to properly understand, we must read on, for the key to unlocking its meaning is found in John chapter 8, verse 12: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” What is that great and important lesson? Simply this: Only by following Jesus does one not walk in darkness. Too often is the position of leading occupied by the follower of Christ, when his rightful place is that of following. It is the Savior who must ever be the One leading, guiding and directing the lives of His people, and every decision made therein. Darkness is the inevitable result of light’s absence. Thus, it is only into darkness that man walks when the guidance of the “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (Jn. 1:9), is not sought and followed. This truth was long ago recorded by the prophet Jeremiah: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23. Solomon also understood this, for he wrote, “Man’s goings are of the Lord, how can a man then understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24. Again he said, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:21.
    When sheep are without the guidance of a shepherd they soon become lost and in harms’ way. It is no different with the sheep of the true Shepherd. “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:25. The sheep that had once been going astray would again become misguided should he choose to lead himself instead of following the Shepherd. The best guidance man may contrive will only lead him into complete darkness, where he “knoweth not whither he goeth”. Truly, it is a “fool” who “walketh in darkness” (Eccl. 2:14).  
    But it is not only Christ we are to seek for guidance. The guidance of both Christ and the Father is what one must seek. God said, “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts.” Isaiah 65:2. When an individual is attempting to perform anything that is the result of his “own thoughts”, he is walking in a way that is “not good”. We must not be like those of Isaiah 30:1: “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin.” David said, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:24. It’s easy for individuals to rely on the knowledge and wisdom they believe they have when it comes to making decisions. But this is not to be done. On the contrary, we are advised to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eye: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7. Why shouldn’t we “acknowledge” (consider, regard) God “in all our ways”? He is our Father and it is He who is “great in counsel” (Jer. 32:19). It is His counsel that is “excellent”! (Isa. 28:19) Before the making of any decision, even those that are small and trivial, the counsel of God is to be sought. And when it is given, we must heed. “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart…” Psalm 95:7, 8. Isaiah’s question of so long ago is one that should be asked today: “Should not a people seek unto their God?” Isaiah 8:19.

The Work of Christ

    IT must be true then, that the work or occupation of our lives is to be that which Christ and our Father have guided us to, rather it being something of our own choosing. To this, the Word of God has much to say. Indeed, the light that guides the feet and illuminates the path of the child of God (Ps. 119:105) clearly reveals the kind of work or employment he is to have while living on this earth. Let us begin our search for these scriptures in the Gospel of John. After Jesus had spoken with the Samaritan woman at the well, his disciples came to him and urged Him to eat, for they had gone into the city to buy bread. He told them, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.” John 4:32. The disciples wondered at this reply, thinking that maybe He had already been given something to eat. But the true meaning of these words was not discerned, and Christ clarifies Himself in verse 34: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” It was by doing the will and work of His Father that the Savior was spiritually nourished and strengthened. Let us continue: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” John 6:38. “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” John 5:36. “I must work the works of him that sent me.” John 9:4. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:4. The message is consistent: Christ was only concerned about the will and work of the Father. This is what He sought to fulfill and finish. But is this important for the follower of Christ to know? It most definitely is! Why? Because “he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 1 John 2:6. The only path taken by the child of God should be that which Christ has trodden. He is to live in a manner that is following Christ’s steps, not the world’s. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21. So then, as Christ came into this world only to accomplish the will and work of the Father, it is to be that which His followers also seek to accomplish. This should be our only goal; this should be the work we strive to fulfill, not our own work or the work of our choosing.   
    But Christ plainly tells us that He has given us a work to do. “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.” Mark 13:34. Is the work Christ gives different from the work the Father gives us? By no means! Christ and His Father are one (Jn. 10:30). They are in perfect harmony. Thus, we are to fulfill the will and work of Christ; we are to accomplish His work with our lives, for in doing so, we accomplish the will and work of the Father!
    Now some may consider it unappealing to labor and work for Christ. They assume that a work of their own choosing would better please them-selves. But this concept is contrary to the words of Christ. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. What does it mean to take Christ’s “yoke”? A yoke is a harness used to join two horses, oxen or cows for a task that requires the pulling of a plow, carriage, etc. Thus, a yoke represents labor or work. It represents service. To take the yoke of Christ means to serve Him. But whom was Christ bidding to take His yoke? Those who “labour and are heavy laden”! Obviously He was not speaking to those who served Him, for why would He ask them to take His yoke if they had already done so? Strong’s Concordance defines “laden” as: (figuratively) to overburden with ceremony (or spiritual anxiety). So then, Christ is speaking to those who are spiritually overburdened and anxious. This, again, would not be addressed to those serving Him, for His yoke is “easy” and “light” and gives rest to the soul, which is spiritual rest. Therefore, it is those who labor for anything else but Christ that “labour and are heavy laden”. Peace, rest and contentment will never truly be found, regardless of what is worked for. “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” Ecclesiastes 5:10. To these weary souls does Christ say, “Take My yoke, and serve Me”. Only by serving Christ-not self-may the soul truly be at rest.
    But what makes Christ’s yoke “easy” and His burden “light”? Let us again ponder that word “yoke”. As previously stated, a yoke is used to join two together. It is Christ who becomes joined to us for carrying out His work! This is why His yoke is easy and light! He empowers us to accomplish the task given us. He gives us His strength, which is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), to perform and fulfill His work. God the Father gives “power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” Isaiah 40:29. This strength lies in His Son (1 Cor. 8:6).
    Another scripture to consider is 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” “Glory” means: honor, praise, worship (Strong’s Concordance, #1391). If we are working for self, or performing the work we choose, is this “glorifying” God our Father? If we are laboring and working for the purpose of material gain or to accumulate money, can we say that we are “glorifying” our Father in Heaven in our labors? Jesus said that life does not consist in having material abundance (Lk. 12:15). He also said that we cannot serve God and mammon, which is money (Mt. 6:24). Surely, it is only by laboring, working and toiling for Christ and the Father that we bring them glory in our labors.

Keeping Christ’s Work

    WHAT else does Christ say regarding His work? “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.” Revelation 2:26. According to Strong’s Concordance, “keepeth” (#5083) means: to guard by keeping the eye upon; to fulfill a command; maintain; hold fast, etc. The Savior tells us that we must keep the eye upon, fulfill, maintain and hold fast the work that He has given to do; and we must keep it “unto the end”! The same zeal and dedication that Christ had towards the work of His Father should exist towards fulfilling the work of Christ. This is because we are to “follow His steps”, and “walk even as He walked”. Instead of their own work, God’s children should strive to complete the work Christ gives them to do, just as Christ sought to fulfill not His own work, but the work assigned Him.  
    “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58. This scripture needs to be carefully perceived. Paul informs us that the labor in the Lord is “not in vain”. Thus, any kind of work other than the “work of the Lord” is done in vain! This will be recognized when the words of Christ in Matthew 10:39 and John 12:25 are considered. He says that a life lived for self instead of Him will result in loss, not gain, of life. If a man is working and laboring for self he is obviously living for self. Therefore, working for self instead of Christ is truly work done in vain because he who works for self is in truth living for self, and the result of living for self is loss of life.
    In 2 Peter 3:10, we read something similar: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” This scripture reveals that all the works and labor of man will be “burned up”! It is only in maintaining the work of Christ that a man’s work will not be consumed, for our “labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
    What was Paul’s exhortation to all? That we be “steadfast”, “un-movable” and “always abounding in the work of the Lord”!

The World

    BUT let us consider how our Lord lived fulfilling and accomplishing the will and work of the Father. What was His manner of living while on earth? Was He involved with the affairs of this life? Did He submit to worldly lusts? This is very important for us to know, for we are to “follow his steps”. The reader needs only but a few scriptures for the answer to be undoubtedly clear: “And he [Jesus] said unto them [the Pharisees], Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” John 8:23. If Christ was not of this world, those who have chosen Him-who are to “follow his steps”-are not to be of it either. And to this our Lord agrees because He says, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14. Speaking to His disciples Christ said, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:19. Our Lord has “chosen” His followers to be “out of the world”. In the epistle of James, chapter 1, we read that God’s children are to be “unspotted” from the world. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” verse 27. The word “unspotted” means: unblemished (physically or morally), without spot (#784, Strong’s Concordance). This was taken from #4695, which is: to stain or soil (literally or figuratively); defile, spot (Ibid). Why is it important to remain unspotted from the world? So that we may inherit the world to come! “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:13, 14. If God’s children desire to inherit the world to come, they must keep themselves unspotted from the world that is now, and “be diligent” in doing so! The only begotten Son of God left His Father’s side to come and die a terrible death that He might fulfill the will of His Father. What was this divine will? Paul says that it was Christ “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” Galatians 1:4. God’s will was to “deliver” mankind “from” the world, and His dear Son was willing to give all to accomplish it. Should Christ’s followers then join themselves to the world? Should they conform themselves to that “evil world” which their Savior suffered so terribly to “deliver” them from? The people of God are not to be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2). Instead we read, “For whom he [God] did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…” Romans 8:29. The child of God has been predestined to the conformity of Christ! (See also Jas. 4:4 and 1 Jn. 2:15-17.)

The Narrow Way

    CHRIST instructs to “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13, 14. Being the example, the Savior demonstrated how to tread that narrow way by the life He lived. That life consisted of nothing else but to fulfill the will and work of His Father, while abandoning the world and cares of this life. But living according to the life of the Savior is certainly not popular. Not “many” have chosen to follow His example. Nevertheless, Christ’s followers are not to go the way of “many”. Christ’s followers are not to conform to the practices of the majority or to that which is popular. They must follow the instruction of their Lord, which is “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24. Christ’s way, therefore, is the narrow way. Obeying His teaching and instruction “leadeth” one “unto life”. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” John 8:51. Anything that is not according to the ways of God and teaching of His Son is the broad way. The broad way is the way of “many”. The way of “many” may seem or appear to be pleasurable; it may seem to be amusing; but it is the way that “leadeth to destruction”; and those who travel it are greatly fooled! Solomon said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12. Those who consider themselves followers of Christ must follow Christ-not the practices and customs of the majority! The only begotten Son of God “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14.

Living For?

    “AND that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15. When an individual is living his life “keeping” the work of his Savior, is he living for himself or for Christ? He that is living to fulfill the work of Christ is living for Christ. Most, however, are living for themselves, and Christ warns about this: “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:39. Again Christ says, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12:25. Not only does Christ say that our life will be lost if we live for ourselves, but He also says that if we are not willing to live for Him, we cannot be His disciple! “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26. But the child of God is not only to live for their Savior. He is also to live for the “will of God”. “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1, 2. Concerning the will of God has Christ also given a warning; that is, a warning for not doing the Father’s will: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. This is similar to what we read in 1 John 2:17: “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
    “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” James 4:13-15.

Serving Christ
and the Father

    THE Scriptures direct us to live for the Father and His Son in yet another way. “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.”  1 Corinthians 7:22. Christ’s followers should be serving Christ, not self. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14. Christ has redeemed us from sin and given eternal life by shedding His precious and cleansing blood. What else does that precious and cleansing blood do? It enables us to serve the Father! Thus, Christ suffered a terrible death so that we might serve the Father! It was John who wrote: “Jesus Christ” “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5, 6. It was John also who wrote that the four beasts and twenty four elders, after falling “down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps”, “sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:8-10. What does a priest do? A priest serves his God! The time is past for us to be serving ourselves. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” Romans 12:10, 11. Just as those who live for Christ will have eternal life, so also the one who serves God instead of himself will have everlasting life. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:22. In the previous chapter, we learned that it is not good to live for self because the result is loss of life. Yet this is the true result, contrary to what the natural mind expects-for it thinks it would be better to live for itself than for Christ. It is the same with serving God. The natural mind thinks it would be better to serve itself rather than God. But this, again, is contrary to the truth. Listen to the words of the prophet Samuel: “And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain…only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:20, 21, 24. Why should we not do anything but that which is in the service of God? Why should we not serve ourselves? Is it because we would find some pleasure and great enjoyment, and God desires to keep it from us? No; quite on the contrary! The only reason is because our hearts would go after “vain things”, things that “cannot profit” or “deliver”. And if there is a lack of motivation to serve the Father and Christ instead of self, let him consider the great and wonderful things that both have done for him!
    “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…” Matthew 6:24. It is impossible to serve two masters. It is impossible to serve self and Christ. If one is serving self, he cannot possibly serve Christ also. He must choose either one or the other. James called himself “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Jas. 1:1). May the child of God choose to be the same!

The Incorruptible Crown

    ALL the toil and labor of man is done for one of two crowns or rewards. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26. The “corruptible crown” is that which most strive to obtain. Christ says, “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.” Matthew 6:19, 20. Again He says, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you…” John 6:27. And the writer of Ecclesiastes informs us that all that man may obtain during this lifetime shall in the days to come be forgotten (Eccl. 2:16). Indeed, man’s goal, prize and treasure for which he long toils will last no longer than this life which James calls a “vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jas. 4:14). (See Eccl. 2:4-11).
    God asks, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Isaiah 55:2. It is only in our Heavenly Father and His Son that man may “eat that which is good”; or he will be working for that which is “not bread”! It is only in our Heavenly Father and His Son that man’s soul may “delight itself in fatness [abundance]”; or he will “labour for that which satisfieth not”! Man has been lovingly cautioned and warned. He has been clearly shown where the eternal and incorruptible riches lie. Will he heed? Will he follow the instruction of the Father and Son “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”? (Col. 2:3) Jeremiah said, “…Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord…so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.” Jeremiah 38:20. “And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me.” Jeremiah 16:12. We must not be “proud” but “hear” and “give ear” to whatever “the Lord hath spoken” (Jer. 13:15).
    The people of the world live and work for self. The only result of this will be a “corruptible crown”. But the follower of Christ is to live for Him and the Father and keep their work. This will yield nothing but an “incorruptible crown.” The people of the world seek to procure a reward in this lifetime. But the follower of Christ is to seek obtaining his reward at the return of Christ. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:4. Let it not be forgotten that he who labors and toils for self is doing so for a reward that will shortly fade away. The follower of Christ is to seek that which “fadeth not away”. And instead of striving for something temporal, the children of God should be “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:19.

Striving Lawfully

    “NOW he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.” 1 Corinthians 3:8. Christ says, “…I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:23. Again He says, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. We must not be fooled. The reward we receive will be according to the labor and work we perform. One must not think that he can labor, toil and live for self and be rewarded as a faithful servant (or follower) of Christ. Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7, 8. Paul did not live in any manner or according to self. He lived for Christ and kept His work (Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 4:11; 1 Cor. 3:6-9; Phil. 2:25-30). Thus, he was going to receive the “crown of righteousness”. We, too, must live the way our Savior has shown us to live, and do what our Savior has told us to do if we are to receive the crown. Paul wrote regarding a soldier of Christ, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:4, 5. As in any kind of race, game etc., the contestants must follow the established rules; they cannot decide and follow rules of their own and still be eligible for the prize. The follower and soldier of Christ, too, must “strive lawfully” if he is to receive the “crown”. He must follow and obey whatever Christ has set forth; and by His teachings and manner of life on earth, the “rules” for the “crown of glory” have certainly been made known! 
    Christ said, in praying to the Father, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” John 17:18. From what has been studied, we should have some understanding as to how Christ was sent and came into the world. This is how the Savior desires us to live in this world. May we truly live for Christ and the Father, and keep unto the end the work they have given us to do! “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37, 38.


Rev. 22:14

Revelation Messengers

P O Box 473

Fertile, MN 56540