20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Well…it is 2018, a new year, a new beginning. 2017 has been a good year…for the Fil-am Church, and also as an individual. Sure, we all had our share of good times…and not so good times. We’ve all gone through some sins that we wished we never did. Went through some trials that tried our faith. Let’s face it, we have faced challenges, trials, made some mistakes along the way, but they all came with a fruitful lesson. We learn from all of them. Which will make us stronger, and wiser to face any future events.
It would be good to evaluate what our desires are for the year. What are the priorities that we have or will establish for ourselves in this new year?
Priority has as its root the word, prior. It is that which comes before anything else, or is ahead of anything else. It takes precedence. As John MacArthur says, “It is then what is supreme, what is essential, what is foundational, what is preeminent, what is antecedent to everything that follows. So, when you talk about priority, you're really saying what in my life comes before anything else? What is before anything else and everything else?
Therefore, the question remains what am I going to make as the focus or priority of my life? Christ told us in Matthew 6:33 to “... seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness...” Will our priorities be eternal or based on the temporary things of this world?
At times, we tend to focus on the wrong things. Especially when thing are going well in life. We tend to push God aside, and turn only to Him when we need to.
Jesus tells us that we cannot have a divided allegiance. This just doesn’t work. Christ points this out saying in scripture… “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer Live, but Christ lives in me”. Which brings us to the topic of this message, “The Lord Jesus Is My Master”.
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
After saying this, Christ, then, addresses the result of placing the material as the priority of one’s life instead of Christ. And not just material stuff, sin can also be your master.
16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
So… it is clear, that we can be slaves to whatever holds us captive. Material things, money, hobbies, lifestyle, sin, all of these can be our master. Distraction is the nemesis of focus. We are constantly tempted to pull away from a consistent focus on Christ. As a result, we often find ourselves being tossed to and fro by the concerns of life.
When our focus is taken off Christ, we move Christ off the throne of our hearts and make idols of things we desire and ultimately make idols of ourselves. We need to realize that the heart is bent on keeping the focus on self and what we want or desire rather than Christ or His will. We find ourselves placing our trust in self and what we want rather than in Christ and what He wants. Remember what Jesus said, “if you love Me, keep my commands”. (John 14:15)
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other...”
The world has a single eye with only one focus. They give it everything they got. They run after it. The focus of most people is, make as much money as you can, enjoy life as much as you can. Keep as much as you can for yourself. Please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with saving money for a rainy day, as they say. But that cannot be the main focus in life.
For example, I read this from a devotional, a testimony from Frank Sinatra’s daughter…
Tina, recalls her father’s unceasing drive to succeed and make money even when his health was at risk. He refused to stop giving concerts. ‘I’ve just got to earn more money’ he said. His performances sad to say were becoming more and more uneven. At one show he forgot the lyrics to “Second-Time Around”, a ballad he had sung a thousand times. His adoring audience finished it for him. He wanted to retire at the top of his game and I always thought he would know when this time came but pushing eighty, he lost track of when it was time to quit. After seeing one too many of these fiascos, I told him ‘Pa you can stop now, you don’t have to stay on the road.’ With a stricken expression on his face he said ‘no, I’ve got to earn more money.’
These are lusts of the flesh, and are all sin! Anything that takes the focus foo Christ is sin. These things are your master! So…who should it be? The lusts of the flesh, which can only bring a temporary fulfillment. Or, Jesus…Whom will be with you now and forever?
The believer is to have a single eye; but the focus is to be a heavenly focus not an earthly…
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Remember the do not worry verses? “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, drink, clothes, where you will live”. God has already promised to provide all these things, and His only command is to seek His kingdom first!!! Put Jesus First. He will take care of the rest. We can only find contentment and the “peace that passes understanding” when we turn from our own desires, denying self, to seeking that which God desires in our lives. That means to trust God with everything in our lives. PUT JESUS FIRST!!!
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
Remember what I said earlier? At times we tend to push Jesus aside when things are going well, and turn only to Him when we need to. “Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ No matter what your need is, God knows. And He will answer in His own way and in His own time. Therefore, focus on Him. “The Lord Jesus Is My Master”.
We just really need to tune our head, clear our mindset that our God is knows all things. He is in control of all things. There may be times in this coming year, when faced with difficulties or struggles, you and I might be tempted to focus our thoughts too much on our circumstances. When that happens, there is a tendency to become bitter or to begin questioning God.
Keep in mind 2017 is done. We had a whole year of life lessons learned from the Lord that we can use to be equipped for 2018. Eyes fixed on Jesus last year, we made it this far. Eyes fixed on Jesus still, from this day on to eternity.
There are no accidents with God. Tony Evans tells this story. (Pastor/writer) “Our God is sovereign”. That means there’s no such thing as luck. Anything that happens to you, good or bad, must pass through His fingers first. There are no accidents with God. I like the story of the cowboy who applied for health insurance. The agent routinely asked him, ‘Have you ever had any accidents?’ The cowboy replied, ‘Well no, I’ve not had any accidents. I was bitten by a rattlesnake once, and a horse did kick me in the ribs. That laid me up for a while, but I haven’t had any accidents.’ The agent said, ‘Wait a minute. I’m confused. A rattlesnake bit you, and a horse kicked you, Weren’t those accidents?’ ‘No, they did that on purpose.”
We do not expect to understand fully the purpose for our trials until our Lord calls us home to be with Him. But we do know that He loves us too much to harm us, and that He is far more concerned with our welfare than we are. God's choices are always right.
“The more you focus on yourself, the more distracted you will be from the proper path. The more you know Him and commune with Him, the more the Spirit will make you like Him. The more you are like Him, the better you will understand His utter sufficiency for all of life’s difficulties. And that is the only way to know real satisfaction.” - John MacArthur
There are practical steps on how we can keep our fixed on Jesus.
One…Know that He is your Master, your Lord, Your Savior. If you have come to that reality, if you have accepted that in your heart, then you will never focus on anything else.
Two…Commit to reading Gods words daily. Having a good prayer life is a good way to talk to God. But that will only be you speaking. By reading Gods words, you will actually hear Him speak.
2 Peter 1:3-4
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
In the Bible alone, God has given us all things that are necessary for the proper understanding of who God is, who we are, how God has acted in the past, and what God expects from us, here and now.
Third…know the power of sin, and the temptations around you and keep yourselves from falling into that trap. It’s a hard battle, I know. But one that can be defeated.
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Paul encourages us to imagine that we actually bring our bodies to God each day. Lay them on the altar before His presence, and ask Him to use this “sacrifice” for His glory. You see…God does not ask us to sin less, but to depend on His Spirit to be transformed into the people who loves to please God through willing obedience.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Commit your life to Jesus and allow Him to rearrange your priorities. “God is a jealous God, Who’s name is jealous”. Jesus…CANNOT, be second in the believers life.
Pastor Richard Santos
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