—Treasure Beyond Measure


The other day a co-worker of mine said something that set me to thinking. He said that he didn't believe that things were worse now than in the past. He said that there have always been people like Adolph Hitler and that there has always been those that would commit genocide and such. He said that there weren't ever any "Good old days." When he said this I knew in my heart that he was wrong, but in what way I couldn't at the time say.

Daniel 8:23-25

In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. (NIV84)

This passage is talking about the beast, but notice carefully the word "rebels" in verse twenty-three. This word "rebels" is talking about people. The beast will come when these rebels have become completely wicked. Things are getting worse; my co-worker was wrong. But, let us look a little deeper.

Matthew 24:10-14

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (NIV84)

Jesus spoke these words concerning the time just before the time of the beast. And again we see the increase of wickedness, and now we see that the love of most will grow cold.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (NIV84)

So, we have three witnesses and they each agree that things are worse now than in the past. But how are they worse? In just what way? This is what I was pondering.

I would like to pause a moment and define sin. Sin is anything that draws you away from God. It is really as simple as that. Something can be sinful for you, but strangely not necessarily for me.

We can now conclude that our society's ways result in furthering man's separation from God. This trend will continue right up to the end of the Age. This is a global situation.

People have a tendency to think that they are okay and that the problem is with the other guy, or the other nation, or the other denomination, or the other religion. After giving this matter some considerable thought, I believe that the problem is with everyone, (at least almost everyone.) Now, you my dear reader, I want you to consider my words with an open heart and mind. I don't ask you to believe me, just to consider the possibility that I might be right. If you, in some way, see that my words do apply to you then you can rejoice in the fact that God has revealed this knowledge to you, so that you can change.

Faith Toward God

The biggest problem that I can see in our society is faithlessness and unfaithfulness. At first I am not going to talk about faith toward God. I am talking about unfaithfulness in general.

A hundred years ago when a couple entered into the bond of marriage it was for life. I am not saying that there weren't divorces, there were. What I am saying is that when they entered into marriage it was with the intention of staying married. For a great many people this is not the case today. What demonstrates this fact better than a Prenuptial Agreement? Also, no one even blinks an eye when they hear of an unmarried couple living together.

A union of a man and a woman is a holy union, but without faith there is no holiness. Such a faithless union is self-centered, not God-centered.

Now, you might think that it's no big deal what two consenting adults do. But in God's eyes it is a big deal. It is of the utmost importance. Do you know what the whole purpose of your being here on the earth is? The one reason why God made the universe?

Ecclesiastes 12:13

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (NIV84)

Fear God and keep his commandments

Fear God and keep his commandments. That's it. If you do not develop a faithful relationship with God then you lose the game of life. It doesn't matter of you obtain a trillion dollars. It doesn't matter if you're beautiful and famous. Nothing matters apart from your faithful relationship with the Father through his Son Jesus Christ. God made the universe and if you don't play by his rules you lose. You might not like this idea, but that doesn't change the facts. I should think that at least you would want to know what you are dealing with so that you can make an informed decision concerning the matter. So I am telling you like it is. Your relationship with God is the only thing that matters in your life--period. To die separated from God is to be forever separated from God. To sleep the sleep of physical death, but having a relationship with the Almighty, is to live in heaven with the God of Wonders and Beauty. You choose--choose wisely.

Develop a Faithful Relationship with God

Now this fact must be understood by you, and believed, or nothing in the Bible will make sense to you.

Matthew 16:26

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (NIV84)

Your Faithfulness

It is very important to understand and truly believe that the only important thing in this world is your relationship with God. There is a war being waged for your soul. The world has many distractions that if you look at them can entice you away from God. And one of the biggest is sex and loneliness. Sex without faith is a deadly poison. It is just as bad for you as heroin or cocaine. Why? you might be wondering. It is your faithfulness in your physical relationship that makes possible the relationship that is by faith with God. Faith is faith. If you are unfaithful in the world you are unfaithful toward God.

It is the Faith that is Holy in Marriage

In a marriage it is the faith that is holy and not the sex.

Matthew 19:9-12

I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

10 The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."

11 Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." (NIV84)

Here Jesus told us that the best state that a man or woman can be in is for that person to be unmarried. He also told us that not everyone can handle it, so we can understand that a person does not sin by marrying, but is nonetheless in a more holy state when not married. Now understand that Jesus is talking about virgins. It is understood in all Scripture that people don't sleep around and remain holy. It is a sin to sleep with anyone that is not your spouse.

1 Corinthians 7:1-2, 6-7

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. ...

6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. (NIV84)

Again, Paul is saying that the best state for a man or woman is that of a single virgin. Paul is telling us that marriage and sex are given to us as a concession.

Leviticus 15:18

When a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. (NIV84)

Under the Law the sexual act rendered one unclean. Clearly the holiest of states is abstinence.

Revelation 14:3-4

And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (NIV84)

God must be the focus of your life

These 144,000 sons of Israel are holy and pure. Notice that they did not defile themselves with women. This means that they are virgins. This passage clearly shows that the holiest state of a man, (and a woman), is to be a virgin.

Now, I have been laying the foundation to explain the following. Your holiness is of vital importance. God must be the focus of your life. If God is not the focus of your life then you do not belong to him. God wants you to devote yourself to him. He wants you to be holy and pure; just like the 144,000 above. But, he has given you permission to marry, if you feel that you must, but understand that this is a concession, and understand that it is your faithfulness and love that make the union holy. God has allowed you to marry, but this makes you responsible, that is, you must not break the bond of faith.

Now I understand, and so does the Lord, that it takes two to make a marriage work. But, my friend, you, if you call yourself a believer, must not be the one that breaks the faith. You must not treat your marriage lightly.

Devotion to God; Reverence for God

Life is not a matter of self-gratification. It is not about the other person doing it for you. It is about you doing it for him or her. It is about your devotion to God. Out of your reverence for God you live as a faithful person--faithful to God and to others. Now if you have done everything in faith and love toward your spouse, and yet your spouse is not pleased to live with you, then your spouse is demonstrating the fact that they are an unbeliever (regardless of what he or she says), and God will allow you to let them go and you will remain holy in God's eyes. I am not giving you a loophole. God knows your heart. He knows if you have been faithful and loving. If you treat your spouse in such a way as to drive him or her away, God will know this and hold you accountable.

I am telling you my friend that marriage is for life. This is why the disciples said to Jesus in the passage above, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." They understood that Jesus was telling them the same thing that I am saying here. If you enter a relationship of faith you must not break that faith.

There is something else about our society that is worse now than in the past. This concept of "Did you get it in writing?" My friend, if you agree to something or say that you will do it, then you must. I don't care if it's in writing or not. A man or woman of faith is faithful. God is not pleased if you look for loopholes in your agreement. God is not interested in the letter of the law, but in the spirit of the law, that is, he is interested in what you intended.

Psalm 15:1-5

A psalm of David.

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?

2 He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart 3 and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, 4 who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, 5 who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things will never be shaken. (NIV84)

Faithful to God

It is very important that you understand that the above passage is written for you. Don't be saying that it's from the Old Testament and therefore can be ignored. This passage is talking about a person that is faithful to God and to man.

Our society likes to put on that it is better than the past. All of the politically correct renaming of things gives the appearance of improvement, but in reality that is just a surface thing.

Now I want to talk about faithfulness toward God. This faithfulness is very subtle. People get caught up in worldly things and don't think a thing about it. My friend, if you are one of God's children, then you must look to God for everything. He is your King. He is your Healer. He is your Supplier. He is your Sustainer.

Philippians 3:17-21

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (NIV84)

Our Citizenship is in Heaven

Notice that, if you are one of God's, then your citizenship is in heaven. Do you believe this? If you believe that your citizenship is in heaven then why are you concerned about the government of your host nation? The laws and regulations are of no concern to you. Oh you must obey them, but it is not up to you to concern yourself with making them. Are you looking for your government to meet your needs, or are you looking to God?

2 Corinthians 5:20

We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. (NIV84)

Look to God for Everything

It is not just Paul that is Christ's ambassador. Any one of his brothers or sisters is an ambassador. As an ambassador it is not fitting that you should involve yourself in worldly affairs. It is a matter of faithfulness that you look to your Father for everything. Don't look to the world to supply your needs. Don't try to fix the world. The world cannot be fixed. Everything that is written is going to come to pass. If you are involved with the world, then when the world goes down, (and it will certainly go down), then you will go down with it.

Revelation 18:4-5

Then I heard another voice from heaven say:

"Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; 5 for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. (NIV84)

Capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, etc. are all worldly things. If you have faith in any of them you are guilty of spiritual adultery. God, your Father, is the one you must love and obey. If you are faithful to your spiritual Husband then you will look to him only.

Representative Republic, Democracy, or Dictator forms of government are not your concern, if you are faithful toward God. "A politically active Christian" is an oxymoron. There can be no such thing. Brothers and sisters of mine, do not concern yourself with government. Don't protest things that you think are unfair. Don't try to fix the world. It is not your affair. Your Father will take care of you and he will take care of the world.

John 15:18-19

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (NIV84)


1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (NIV84)

Do you see what this is saying? Do not love the world or anything in the world. And what does it say about the one that does love the world? If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Faithfulness toward God means that you do not look to the world for anything. Your life is not about this world, but the next. If you have your eyes on what is to come then you will deny yourself of worldly pleasures, knowing that your faith is not in vain.

My friends, churchgoers and non-churchgoers look virtually identical. Can you tell the churchgoers from the non-churchgoers? In some cases it is pretty easy to tell, but not in most cases. This should not be the case. The children of God should look very different from the children of the fallen one. The reason that the churchgoers don't look much different than the non-churchgoers is because they are not being faithful toward God. They are as concerned about politics and the world in general as the people of the world are. They have their faith in the world and in worldly things.

God's children should have their eyes on the Lord only. The world is passing away. Heaven is forever.


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