STUDY ON TREASURE N°3
This teaching is the 3rd part in a series of eight. Please read the other seven parts.
What is our pride, what is our crowning glory? Is it when we get a diploma with the highest level of distinction, or is it when the Lord approves of us? There are many people who still find their pleasure in things that should no longer represent anything for them. If you long only for the rapture, it will be easier for you to know if your treasure is really Christ. If your burning desire is to spend eternity with the Lord, the Lord will grant you the desire of your heart.
When you consider what awaits you in heaven, obedience comes more easily. The Bible tells us in 1Corinthians 2:9 "However, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." This simply means that everything that surrounds us is really vanity. And when Christ delivers us from this life of vanity, we live only for that treasure. And as our brother told us earlier, we no longer look at the difficulties we have on the way, but we look at the Promised Land instead. Because we will surely face many difficulties. But if every time you make a mountain out of a molehill, if difficulties for you are each time an insurmountable obstacle, if you complain every time, it is a proof that you are still living for earthly things. Because when we live for Christ, we do not complain. Difficulties, we will certainly face them, trials and tribulations too, but when it is for the Lord that we live, we know how to overcome them. This does not mean that it is not painful, no, but we accept with joy all that our Father chose to give us for our balance, for our stability.
But if you complain every time, if your life is a life of complaint, if you cannot rejoice in God's presence, it is an undeniable proof that you actually live for earth. And therefore, since you cannot have your treasures, you are not capable of blooming. But if your treasure is Christ, even if you do not have earthly things, even if you do not have an "absolute bliss" on earth, you will be happy. We put absolute bliss in quotation marks because on earth, there is really no perfect happiness, no absolute bliss. When your treasure is Christ, you are happy even if you do not possess earthly things; because nothing on earth brings joy like the things on high. When our treasure is really the Lord, we know how to get there.
Report of the fourth group
This topic is a very interesting topic: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. At first, we said to ourselves that before knowing the Lord, the world gave us some notions of the picture of treasures. And as we said it a short while ago, we should move this treasure when we discover the Scripture. The definition of treasure, the brothers have already given it to us earlier. Matthew 13:44-46 "44The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." The Lord gives us a glimpse of the kingdom of God, and our attitude towards all that we have and what He offers us.
Another element that we noted down is in Philippians 3:7-9 "7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." The apostle Paul tells us that these things became rubbish for him, since he knew the Lord.
Luke 10:27 "He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself." When we come to the Lord, we do not know who He really is. The whole Bible gives us the opportunity to discover Him, in order to love Him. And this relationship is built by faith. Because God is the Creator, we see His creatures, but Him we do not see. And we must love all that He is and all that He has done for us through faith, so that He becomes our treasure.
How does a person know where his treasure is? We chose Mark 10:17-27 "17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-- except God alone. 19You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.'" 20"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." 21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" 24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" 27Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Based on this text, a sister said that when one is attached to great wealth, it is the beginning of bonds. And when someone comes to the Lord late, after having worked a whole life to have all this great wealth and all that makes his balance, to get loose from it the same day, we saw that it is practically impossible. It is through love that he discovers in the Lord that all those things that he hardly gets loose from, will gradually release him. NB: Some corrections have been made to this point. Please read them in the comments of this report.
We did a study on how to examine oneself and we tried to identify the bonds which still hold a tight grip on us, that is, for us Children of God, what comes as treasure before that of the Lord. For me, what comes at first before God? This is actually a question that everyone should ask himself. What are the things you cannot do without? What are the things you cannot stop doing? We will come back to a verse that has already been quoted 2Peter 2:19. "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him." As our brother said earlier, you can become a slave to your wealth. The term slavery implies that a slave needs a special grace to be freed.
Therefore, how does someone examine himself? We asked ourselves what our major cause for concern every day is, in our thoughts, in our worries, in all our interests. And again, examples have been mentioned, work, children, family, all those things that really take our time and that are our main concerns. What binds us, and which we are not ready to get rid of? We sing that there is a time to have and a time to lose. But sometimes when we lose things, we become very unhappy. Another question that we asked ourselves is this: Will the love you have for God be affected if God takes away all these things you care about? When we read the book of Job, we can put ourselves in his shoes. Despite all that Job went through, he kept the love he had for his Lord. The Bible says that he was blameless and upright. Even after having lost everything, he remained blameless and upright. He denied the day of his birth, but remained blameless and upright. He had a great love for the Lord.
Ezekiel 24:16-22 "16Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. 17Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners." 18So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded. 19Then the people asked me, "Won't you tell us what these things have to do with us?" 20So I said to them, "The word of the Lord came to me: 21Say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary - the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. The sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. 22And you will do as I have done. You will not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners." Job 2:9-10 "9His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" 10He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said." Luke 14:26-27 "26If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."
Then we studied the examples of people who turned away from God for the riches of the world, that the Lord considers as useless. Numbers 22:12-20. Balaam strove for wealth and greed. His god was his stomach. He was incapable of obeying the Lord with all his heart like Abraham, Job and others did. He loved human praise more than praise from God, and that is exactly what many people do today. The Lord tells us that if anyone comes to Him and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - yes, even their own life - such a person cannot be His disciple. To please God we must be enemies of greed. "12But God said to Balaam, Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed. 13The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s officials, Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you. 14So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, Balaam refused to come with us. 15Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 16They came to Balaam and said: This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, 17because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me. 18But Balaam answered them, Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me. 20That night God came to Balaam and said, since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you."
We also read Genesis 22:1-12 that has already been quoted. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son to God. We saw his obedience, his love for God. He knew how to demonstrate to his God that he loved Him before anything else. And that nothing took the place of God in his life.
As exhortation, we propose to you this hymn taken from Matthew 6:33 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Conclusion: "Remember Lot's wife!" We conclude with this chorus. All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.
As the brother spoke earlier about change, during our study, we asked ourselves the question to know why it is difficult for a man to put his treasure in Christ, or simply to change. We noticed in fact, that man is not likely to accept changes. Everything that looks like a change for man disturbs his mind, frightens him, and put him under stress; which means that it costs him something. Salvation has no price, but has a cost. The Lord does not ask us any properties or money, but we must get ourselves involved. We took the example of the world, great changes and great revolutions that happened in the world, always happened through fights, bloodshed. It means that there are always forces for change and forces against change. And often forces against change always dominate whatever the change one wants to make.
And concerning mankind, forces against changes, it is what describes Galatians 5:16-21 "16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."
One tells us about flesh. So it is the flesh which is the main force against change. As the brother said earlier, it is not easy to build oneself, to have given oneself an education, to have lived in an education, in a culture, to have built houses, to have got possessions and everything one managed to amass, and then one day, God comes and tells us: "Go, sell your possessions, then come, follow me.", it is not that easy. So the flesh hat its desires but one should depart from them, and all this is by the grace of God. NB: Please read in the comments of this report the corrections that have been made to this point.
I would like to read the passage of Luke 14:26, 27, 33 "26If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. ... 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." We also saw the example of Joseph who, out of love for his God, chose to go to jail rather than fall into the trap that Potiphar's wife set for him. And always to define the term treasure, there is this passage we read in Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." We realized that treasure is a god, something that someone loves with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, something in which one puts his all. As conclusion, we understood that treasure is really a god. So it is up to everyone to choose clearly who he wants to serve: either the living God, or the dead gods.
Report of the fifth group
We started by dividing our work into three parts, the definition, the examination or the means to recognize the different treasures, and what we have to do to move our treasure if it is misplaced? We defined treasure as something which takes holds of our heart, which is the subject of our thoughts, which takes most of our time. And we can really see on what our heart is based every time when we do our things. Do we take our greatest pleasure in God? Or is it in worldly things that we take our pleasure? And we saw two types of treasure: Treasure according to the earth and treasure according to heavens.
Concerning the treasure according to heavenly things, we took Matthew 13:44-46 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." We noted three very important aspects in this passage: The notion of the great value, of something that is hidden, of something that one must find. It is clear that when we speak of great value, we speak of eternal life. To really understand this notion of eternal life, we took the passage of 1Corinthians 2:9 "However, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."
This verse explains what God has truly prepared for all those who really love Him. Things that no eye has seen, no ear has heard. This is really what the Lord has prepared for those who love Him. So this gives us the courage and all the motivation to be able to work on the earth, despite the trials, difficulties and pains that one can face. This is how treasure is defined. Again, we stress on the fact of understanding the concept of treasure for us Christians, that is, the things of Heaven.
We also saw some subtle elements which may be treasures for men. We noted down among others greed, that is, the love of money; we see it in the case of the false prophet Balaam and the rich young man. We also pointed out the fact that sometimes people give the impression that they are doing things very well, whereas they do not do it with a heart fully devoted to God. They do not do it in order to be able to have a reward on high, a treasure with the Lord. To illustrate this point more clearly, we considered the case of Lot's wife, that of Ananias and Sapphira. We also noted idolatry in the case of Eli and his sons. We must not have in our lives something that we value more than God.
As another point, we mentioned the anxieties of life. We will see this in Luke 21:34 "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap." This passage makes us have more fear and be on our guard. It helps us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, as the Bible tells us in Philippians 2:12 "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling."
There is another aspect that a brother mentioned, the things we do easily, the things we enjoy doing. For example, when one calls us to eat, there are people who get up with ease to do it. It should be the same with the things of God. We see it in Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Is the Lord really our delight, or is it the things of the earth that are our delights? If you act promptly and joyfully only when it comes to doing your own things, know that your treasure is elsewhere. It is not in God yet.
We also noted lust in general. We saw it in the case of Gehazi in 2Kings 5:20-22 "Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, "My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him." So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. "Is everything all right?" he asked. "Everything is all right," Gehazi answered. "My master sent me to say, 'Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.'"
Grace be with you all who have Jesus Christ as Master!
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