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Risk and Reward © Image by Ross Cochrane using GetPaint. net

Matthew 19:28-29 – WHAT WILL I GET FOR FOLLOWING JESUS? Part 2 

And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:28-29 NLT). 

Jesus says that … 

2. ETERNAL LIFE WILL ALSO BE A REWARD FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN UP EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW CHRIST 

The Apostles and all followers of Christ who are willing to pay that price know that it is worth the risk, whatever they go through; a hundred times better, even in this life, but the reward of knowing Christ is multiplied beyond this in eternity.  

He’s saying that some followers of Christ may lose possessions and even families through persecution, so the sacrifice is great. The risk is great. The reward in knowing Christ and honoring Him, however, is even greater. The blessings of this earth are precious but always held in the light of seeking first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).  

When we come to Christ, we hand over everything to His rulership. Coming under His authority means everything we have is under new management. 

We know that no matter what happens in this life, we serve a sovereign God, who understands and who is working out His purposes in us and in the world, until Christ returns and this world is made new. Christ is pre-eminent for those who follow Him and life is full (John 10:10), beyond possessions and even relationships. 

The invitation of Christ is to trust in Him and the work He has done on the Cross in paying the price for our sins and then continue to serve Him. The by-product of knowing Christ and living under His rulership is great reward and life everlasting. 

In John 5:22-26 (NLT) Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, those who listen to My message and believe in God who sent Me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” 

John 17:3 says “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth.” 

Pastor Ross 

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Risks and Rewards © Image by Ross Cochrane

Matthew 19:28-29 – WHAT WILL I GET FOR FOLLOWING JESUS? Part 1 

He was a young man, with his life full of potential, blessed with riches, living a good life and gifted with leadership. Yet he went away from Jesus still young, rich, good living and a leader, but sorrowful, … and without eternal life. Jesus says it is impossible for the rich young man to get into heaven without God’s help.  

This gets Peter wondering. The first question that comes to Peter’s mind is “What about us?” So Peter says to Jesus, “We’ve given up everything to follow You. What will we get?” (Matthew 19:27 NLT). 

Jesus answers, “… everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:28-29 NLT). 

  1. THERE WILL BE A HUNDRED-FOLD REWARD ON EARTH FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW CHRIST 

This reward is not specified but obviously superior to any normal reward. From the story of the rich young ruler, it’s obvious that the reward for knowing Christ is not necessarily based on being rich or being influential as a leader in the community or on being young and full of potential or even on living a life based on good values. Relationship with Christ brings reward beyond these outward things of life.  

The rewards or blessings are provided by God for those who follow Christ so that we can live the life for which we were created. We are spiritual millionaires! Why live as spiritual paupers? God’s bank account is limitless, and He has given those who choose to follow Christ direct access. 

What are some of these inward rewards that God gives to those who choose to follow Christ? Here are just a few… 

  1. Peace with God. The barrier I had between God and me is entirely removed and I can experience a relationship with Him. He accepts me and I have real peace on the inside. (John 14:27) 
  2. Sins are forgiven because the penalty for my sins has been paid when Christ died on the Cross and I trusted in His sacrifice for me (Romans 4:25; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24). 
  3. Access to God through prayer (Romans 5:2; Ephesians 2:18; Hebrews 4:16; 10:19–20). 
  4. Becoming part of the family of God, born again (John 3:7; 1 Peter 1:23), a child of God (Romans 8:16; Galatians 3:26, John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 6:18; 1 John 3:2), a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10). 
  5. The resources of God to live my life (2 Peter 1:3). 

2 Peter 1:3 (NLT) says, By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.” 

In Philippians 4:19 (NLT) Paul says, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” 

6. A secure foundation on which my life is being built (1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:4; Ephesians 2:20). 

7. God‘s love for me (Ephesians 2:4; 5:2). 

8. God‘s instruction in the Bible which teaches me how to live and make a difference in life (Titus 2:12) 

2 Timothy 3:16,17 (NLT) says, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 

9. Partnering with God, serving and cooperating with Him in His work, and being His ambassador (1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 5:20; 2 Corinthians 6:4). 

10. The Holy Spirit to guide me. I am born of, baptized with, sealed by, and indwelled by the Holy Spirit (John 3:5–8; Acts 1:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13; John 7:39; Romans 5:5; 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 3:24; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 4:30). 

11. Not to mention the Fruit of the Holy Spirit which God gives to me in order to navigate the world in which He has placed me.  

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) says, “… the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” 

It’s interesting that Mark adds that with all these benefits there will also be persecution of anyone who follows Christ. He mixes reward and persecution in the same sentence. Those who follow Christ are willing to pay the price. Someone said that the word “Faith” is spelled “R.I.S.K.”  

Every person has the opportunity to weigh up the risks and rewards of faith, just like the rich young ruler, but the invitation of God is always for us to give our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him.  

There is a cost in following Christ, but the inward rewards and resources He provides while we are on this earth more than compensate, because they enable us to live the life for which we were created  

Pastor Ross 

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The Earth weighed in the balance © by Ross Cochrane using Blender

Matthew 19:27-29 – WHAT ON EARTH IS JESUS TALKING ABOUT – Part 4

My grandson looked at the image above and when I asked him what he thought it was about, he said, “Jesus is better than the world”. That’s exactly what it is about and about judgment.

The rich young ruler refused to follow Christ. Jesus says it is impossible for a rich man to get into heaven without God’s help. Here was a young man, with his life full of potential, blessed with riches, living a good life and gifted with leadership going away sorrowful, rich and without eternal life because he would rather follow the pursuits of the world.

The first question that comes to Peter’s mind is “What about us?” So Peter says to Jesus, “We’ve given up everything to follow You. What will we get?” (Matthew 19:27 NLT).

I guarantee he didn’t expect the answer he received.

“Yes,” Jesus replies, “and I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon His glorious throne, you who have been My followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 

And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:28-29 NLT).

WHAT ON EARTH IS JESUS TALKING ABOUT?

Let’s continue to break this down.

  1. THE WORLD WILL BE MADE NEW (see Part 2)
  2. CHRIST WILL SIT UPON HIS THRONE

Throne speaks of Rulership and particularly Judgment. Is this the Great White Throne mentioned in Revelation? It appears to be a throne of judgment.

Matthew 25:31-33 takes up the same language and indicates a future time by saying “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in His presence, and He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at His right hand and the goats at His left.

Christ is coming again, but this time to judge the world.

  1. ISRAEL WILL BE A DISTINCT, TRIBAL NATION

Interesting. Israel exists today but not the 12 tribes. Neither did they exist at the time this statement was made. They had been dispersed throughout the nations, lost in the ocean of humanity across the face of the earth. So, will this happen in the future? Does this take place on earth? Is this talking of the Jewish remnant of scattered tribes all over the world who will somehow be united?

The message of this passage is not about Israel as such but about reward for following Christ and judgment for not following Him. Jesus doesn’t explain the details.

Some scholars have supposed that Jesus is talking about the Church, i.e. those who have believed in Christ, judging unbelievers rather than Israel.

Jesus puts His words together carefully. Somehow, I can’t help thinking that God is not finished with Israel yet.

  1. THE APOSTLES WILL HAVE A DISTINCT ROLE IN SHARING WITH CHRIST IN HIS RULERSHIP AND JUDGMENT OF THE 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL

But hang on! There are no longer 12 Apostles. Is Paul included or Matthias? (Acts 1:12-26). Hopefully not Judas! Is Jesus describing rulership roles in heaven somehow? Isn’t Christ the only one qualified to rule and judge? In what way do they judge the tribes – for their unbelief?

One thing is certain, the Apostles will have positions of honor and authority as a reward for the sacrifice they made to be obedient and follow Christ. Jesus doesn’t explain the details, but 1 Corinthians 6 indicates that all believers will have a similar role.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3 says, “Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? … Don’t you realize that we will judge angels?”

Jesus came to save the world, but that’s because when He returns to the earth, He will come as a judge.

John 3:13-18 (NLT) says, “… everyone who believes in Him (Jesus) will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” 

The takeaway truth in Matthew 19:28-29 is that in knowing Christ there is great reward but not knowing Christ brings great loss. The Bible is clear about both. The Love of God offers Salvation from judgment. The Justice of God demands that you either trust in Christ to pay the price for your sin or pay the price of justice. 

The invitation of Matthew 19 is for every one of us to recognize our need for Christ and that we are unable to navigate this world or the next without Him.

Pastor Ross

 

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Wave of Judgment © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Matthew 19:29 – WHAT ON EARTH IS JESUS TALKING ABOUT? Part 3

He called out to the others, urging them to catch the wave. “I can see the beach. We can maneuver away from the rocks. They were all experienced surfers. Even without surfboards, they could ride the wave in. They would survive.

The wave came, powerful and relentless. He knew that he would drown unless he could harness the energy of that wave and ride it all the way into shore, traveling in trim across its face, interacting with its power in order to be saved.

They were all too tired, weary from being in the water too long but now they were moving away from the clear line of sand. This would be their only chance. They must take it while there was still opportunity.

The wave rose above him. In perfect harmony with its rise and rhythm, He positioned himself to gain the lift and forward movement to skim across its face. He could feel the embrace of the water beginning to drag him forward and then he was racing in towards the beach.

Gripped by its sheer, enormous power he was now funneling through the water, just avoiding a wipeout by maneuvering in harmony for greater speed.

Resting on the surface of sheer force, he felt the fingers of fluid motion driving him forward in a delicately balanced roller coaster ride up and down the wave, cruising in to the shore.

He looked back for the others but none of them had followed his lead and he knew that the very wave that could have saved them had instead judged their reluctance to move by swamping them beneath the depths of the ocean. They had fought to get to the surface again but their opportunity was lost.

Jesus says, “Ride the wave with Me.” The rich young ruler refused to follow Christ. Jesus says it is impossible for a rich man to get into heaven without God’s help. Here was a young man, with his life full of potential, blessed with riches, living a good life and gifted with leadership going away sorrowful, rich and without eternal life, swamped by the very wave that could have saved him.

The world is drowning. The last wave is coming, but there is only one wave left before we go under. To refuse to ride it in to the shore and be saved is to be judged by the same wave that could save us. It’s inevitable.

John 3:35-36 (NLT) says “… anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”

Pastor Ross

 

 

 

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What on earth? © Image created by Ross Cochrane on Blender and GetPaint.net

Matthew 19:24-29 – WHAT ON EARTH IS JESUS TALKING ABOUT? Part 2

The rich young ruler refused to follow Christ. Jesus said it was impossible for a rich man to get into heaven without God’s help.

Peter must have thought, Well, if it is impossible for this young man, blessed with riches, living a good life and gifted with leadership to receive eternal life then what about us?” So Peter says to Jesus, “We’ve given up everything to follow You. What will we get?” (Matthew 19:27 NLT).

“Yes,” Jesus replies, “and I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon His glorious throne, you who have been My followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 

And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:28-29 NLT).

But what on earth is He talking about? 

So let’s break this down one step at a time.

  1. THE WORLD WILL BE MADE NEW

Is this a reference to how history changed dramatically after the death of Christ and because of the influence of the early Church the gospel spread, or is this a totally new creation of the world in a future time, a new heaven, and earth?

The death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ had a huge impact on the world. It set the renewing process in motion starting with the renewing of the lives of those who believed in Christ and, according to Jesus, will one day culminate in the renewing of the world into a new heaven and earth.

Isaiah 65:17 says,  Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.”

It’s all part of a continuum and Jesus outlines the unfolding of history up until the end times. We haven’t seen the full implications of the renewal yet. When Jesus answers a question, He doesn’t mess around but notice that His answer is an overview of the plans of God for the world.

When Peter is talking to the crowds in Acts 3:19-21, he says Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His holy prophets.” Peter once again gives an overview. Changed lives … changed earth.

2 Peter 3:11-13 says Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, He will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.”

Revelation 21:1-5 says Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God, Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” The culmination of the renewal process.

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” What I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 

And then there is Romans 8:18-23 which says, Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time...”

Christ invites you to be a part of the renewal of the end times. This renewal comes from knowing Christ. Every time someone gives their life to Christ they are included in the renewal plans of God which will inevitably culminate in an entire renewal of the planet itself. The invitation of Matthew 19 is to choose to be included in that plan.

Pastor Ross

 

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What on earth…? © Image by Ross Cochrane using Blender and GetPaint.net

Matthew 19:27-29 – WHAT ON EARTH IS JESUS TALKING ABOUT? Part 1

It’s interesting that one of the questions that come to our minds when we give our lives to Christ is WIIFM? (What’s in it for me?). What compensation will I receive for my sacrifice of everything? Like you can invest in sacrifice. Like following Jesus isn’t fulfillment enough.

In Matthew 19:27 the rich young ruler has just walked away with sorrow in his heart, unwilling to forsake his riches to follow Christ. Jesus tells His disciples how impossible it can be for a rich person to receive eternal life and come under the authority of God.

Peter must have thought, Well, if it is impossible for this young man, with his life ahead of him, blessed with riches, living a good life, and gifted leader to receive eternal life then what about us?” So Peter says to Jesus, “We’ve given up everything to follow You. What will we get?” (Matthew 19:27 NLT). Apparently, even for Peter, following Christ is not return enough?

One thing is always sure about Peter. He doesn’t worry too much about appropriateness. Caution and tact aren’t obvious character traits in Peter.

Is Peter being mercenary or just wanting assurance about whether he and his fellow disciples will have eternal life? Is that why Jesus holds back from rebuking Peter directly for having selfish motives?

YOU CAN INVEST IN SACRIFICE

In fact, Jesus says you can invest in sacrifice.

“Yes,” Jesus replies, “and I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon His glorious throne, you who have been My followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 

And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:28-29 NLT).

Wow! That was unexpected! But what kind of reward is this? Strange kind of reply. 12 disciples, 12 thrones, 12 tribes. How are the Apostles judges over the 12 tribes of Israel? Are the tribes going to be re-established? Is this a metaphorical picture or is Jesus being sarcastic or exaggerating to get a point across and if He is, what is He trying to say? Is this a future prophecy?

WHAT ON EARTH IS JESUS TALKING ABOUT?

What about the hundred times in return? In what way? The apostles would experience persecution and execution. How is this a hundred times as much return for the sacrifice they have made? Sure, eternal life afterward is more return than anyone could hope for, but what is Jesus getting at?

Some commentaries suggest that all this judging of the 12 tribes on 12 thrones happened with the early Church with the Apostles judging Israel by the inclusion of the Gentiles and ushering in the understanding of the New Covenant. Others suggest this is somehow linked to the writing of the New Testament. How they arrive at this, I don’t know. It seems to me if Jesus meant all that, He would have said it.

BUT WHAT DID HE MEAN?

I’m left with more questions than answers with this reply of Jesus. Perhaps you are too. So in the next few blogs I am on a quest to discover what on earth Jesus is talking about? I invite you to come with me. 

Pastor Ross

 

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Under New Management © Image created with Blender and Paint.net by Ross Cochrane

Matthew 19:24-26 – WHAT DO I GIVE UP TO FOLLOW CHRIST?

Jesus tells the rich young ruler, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 NLT). 

All his possessions? Is Jesus trying to say that the idea of treasure in heaven rather than riches on earth gives me a greater perspective concerning my money? How do I define rich?

The reward of following Him is invaluable so I don’t want to get this wrong.

In Matthew 19:24 (NLT) Jesus makes an outrageous statement. He says “I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”  

So, it is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven! The rich young ruler was not willing to choose between riches and following Christ. He was a good living man but eternal riches weren’t as appealing as the earthly kind.

So, no-one who follows Christ can be rich, according to Jesus? 

In Matthew 19:25, 26 (NLT) The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 

Why are the disciples astounded? Apparently, they presume that riches equate with the blessings of God and therefore it would be easier, in their way of thinking, for a rich man to be saved. A good living person like the rich young ruler seems like the perfect candidate for salvation.

Jesus looks at them intently and says, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26 NLT).

Finally, there’s hope for you who are rich! Jesus says it’s impossible for a rich man to be saved, but adds that with God, everything is possible. He deals with human impossibilities. It doesn’t depend on us but upon Him.

Riches should speak of possibility but they are often a liability, depending on whether you submit your life to Christ or not. Those who are in the Kingdom of God ie those who have come under the authority of Christ as King of kings, see the possibility for using riches for the purposes of God for every aspect of life. Those who are not in the Kingdom of God ie who have not come under the authority of Christ, can be consumed by the love of money for more selfish pursuits and sometimes damaging purposes, devoid of the wisdom and direction of God.

Do I have to give away everything to the poor in order to follow Christ? 

No. But when I submit everything I have to His rulership, I am willing to do all He desires with whatever there is in my life for His purposes. What He asks of me may be quite different to what He asks of you.

Coming to Christ means recognising that you have nothing to offer God. You come to him without merit. Despite outward riches and even a good life, our sin has left us destitute. We come to God with empty hands to be saved by grace.

So, the invitation of Matthew 19:24-26 is to do with the Kingdom of God, i.e. It is an invitation to come under the authority of Christ as King of kings and obey His commands concerning your riches, status, abilities and talents, gifting, experience, heart motivations, personality etc. That’s the point! That’s the invitation.  Everything I possess and all that I am is Under New Management.

Submission of everything in our lives to Christ (coming under His Kingdom authority) leaves us in a place where we can receive the grace of God and be saved. Boasting in any way that somehow we had something to do with it is not an option. It comes from Christ alone. It is based on what He has done on the Cross, not on what we bring to the table. 

What do I give up to follow Christ? Everything. It is in giving up our trust in ourselves and instead, submitting ourselves to Christ that we find the truest riches and live life to the full. 

Pastor Ross

 

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Eye of the Needle © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Matthew 19:23-26 – KHALID, THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE, AND THE CAMELEER

“What if I am too late and the Cameleer will not see me?” Khalij the camel said absently to himself as he increased his pace. Sweat was beginning to seep through his hairy white hide but he still looked splendidly dressed for the journey and he knew he would be presentable for entrance into the city.

Was this the city and the Cameleer he was searching for? “Perhaps I am close”. Surely soon he would find rest. He felt the heavy load of the grain and valuable wares in his saddlebags as he ascended towards the city and Khalij knew he must arrive before sunset or the gates would be closed. Time was running out.

Passing many poor souls along the way who were also on a quest for entrance into the city, Khalij noticed they had scarce resources of food or water to continue their journey. A shabby, dirty looking donkey and lama approached him and begged him for food and water but he ignored their noisy requests. There was always someone who wanted his wares and although he had more than enough, he needed to hurry on. Not today. Best not to get involved.

On reaching the final approach to the gate, tired from the pace he had been keeping, Khalij saw another camel coming his way. His backpacks also were full and the colorful, intricately designed mat on his back laced with gold and indigo indicated he was of high station.

By this time he could see that the gate had been closed, and so Khalij greeted the camel and asked, “Where you not able to enter the city, brother camel?” The young camel looked down at the ground and continued on his way without a word. It was a little disconcerting to see the sadness in his eyes as he retreated down the road.

Khalij reached the locked gate and bellowed up to the walls but no-one came. Noticing a small hole in the huge gate, he looked through and was surprised to see a Cameleer approaching. Was this the Cameleer he had longed to find? “Cameleer”, he said, “I have come to see You. I have heard so much of Your city. What must I do to enter in?”

“What makes you think you are good enough to gain entrance to this holy city”, said The Cameleer.

“I assure you”, Khalij said confidently, “Since my childhood, I have been recognized as a leader among camels. As an albino camel, in all the lands where camels roam, I am considered rare and highly revered. I am dressed in the finest attire and bring with me valuable trade and items for sale.”

“But I detect that in your voice that there is still something missing from your life that brings you on your quest”, said the Cameleer.

“Yes, I am told that Your city will give me the answers concerning my destiny,” said Khalij, not giving away too much. Was this the Cameleer?

“To gain entrance you will need to come through this small door I have constructed just for you.” said the Cameleer. “You will need to follow my instructions carefully and it will be the most humbling experience of your life, but the choice is yours”.

Khalij looked as the Cameleer opened a small door. He had not noticed that this door was constructed within the larger gate.

“With all respect, I fear I shall not get through such a small door as this”, he said.

“The door was designed just for you, Khalij. I have been waiting for you. Come.”

When the Cameleer called him by name, there was something so compelling in the His voice that tentatively, Khalij began to move towards the doorway. He could see that he would need to bow down and then crawl through on his knees but the space was impossibly small; the eye of a needle. What if he were to get stuck half-way?

Bowing his head and crawling part way, he was prevented from making any further progress by his saddlebags.

Khalij said, “I cannot possibly get through without first setting down my saddlebags and then I fear my wares may be stolen by those behind me.”

“You have no need of saddlebags in My City, Khalij,” said the Cameleer. “Give your wares to the poor and come, follow Me. You will find rest and all the provisions you need for your soul.”

It was then that Khalij understood the sadness in the eyes of the rich young camel he had passed on the way. Such emptiness after so long a journey. He had gone away with riches but not rest for his soul.

Khalij thought for some time, trying to assess what would be the biggest decision of his life. He had come so far and he sensed that his quest was coming to a close. Must he also lose all for which he had worked for?

Within the deepest part of his being, he felt that somehow he could trust the Cameleer. With surprising relief, he threw off his saddlebags and began distributing his wares to the poor and hungry who gathered at the gate.

Then he faced the doorway. Once again he bowed his head and got to his knees, crawling towards the small opening. And then halfway through it happened. Suddenly he was stuck! He began to panic. Bellowing and twisting his neck, he tried to kick but his legs were pinned. In an ungainly stumbling crawl, he tried to back out and found, to his relief, it was easy. He must get out!

Khalij was almost out of the confined space that had trapped him when the Cameleer spoke softly and looked into Khalij’s eyes.“Khalij, come. Follow Me. This doorway was made for you. If you keep your eyes on Me and listen to My voice then you will enter the eternal city. I can open closed doors and make what you consider to be an impossibly small space an entrance. But the choice is yours.”

But this would take a miracle, Khalij thought. Gazing up at the Cameleer, Khalij was infused with what he could only call an irrational confidence and trust in the Cameleer. For some unknown reason, he decided to try once again. He inched his way, carefully listening to each instruction given by the Cameleer.

Inch by inch, he began to realize that it was as if this doorway was made only for him. It also occurred to him that the Cameleer was completely filling the Cameleer-sized place in his heart. It was a strange thought. “I am found in Him and He is alive in me”. Only in submitting himself to the Cameleer could progress be made. It would remind him constantly in the endless days ahead of what it meant to follow the Camelier.

“Your name was Khalij, meaning Gulf,” said the Cameleer, “because your wealth and status created a gulf between you and your relationship with Me. Now you shall be called Khalid, meaning Eternal,” said the Cameleer. “This name was always intended for you for I knew that one day you would come to Me, not without great difficulty, to find the eternal city and the door to eternal life.”

So Matthew 19:24 says “I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 

Pastor Ross

Related Articles

https://sharinginthelord.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/gods-my-best/

Key to the Kingdom.png

Key to the Kingdom domain © by Ross Cochrane

Matthew 19:23 –TRUST RELATIONSHIPS AND KINGDOM.OF.HEAVEN.COM?

In computer terms entering the Kingdom of Heaven is like creating a one-way, outgoing, external trust relationship with another domain.

This new trust relationship will not function until the Administrator for the reciprocal domain uses His credentials to create the incoming side of the trust. God has the administrative credentials for heaven’s domain and the authority to give us entrance into His domain. He has created an incoming side of the trust relationship. It is up to us to respond.

A one-way, outgoing, external trust relationship will allow resources in God’s domain to be accessed by our domain. For example, if God is the administrator of Kingdom.of.Heaven.com and He has resources in that domain of eternal life that you would like to access as an active user (or in the case of followers of Christ, active givers) then you must come under His authority and directions.

  • On the Direction of Trust page, click One-way Jesus: outgoing, and then click Next.
  • Keep following the Kingdom.of.heaven.com domain commands where God allows access.

What does God require to enter His domain?

Matthew 19:23 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

What is the domain of the Kingdom.of.Heaven.com?

We mistakenly think of the Kingdom of Heaven as exclusively talking about the cyberspace domain of heaven when we crash. But a Kingdom does not only refer to a place. It also refers to the domain of the rulership of the King. The Kingdom of Heaven refers to God’s authority to rule, right now, over our lives. We live righteously and Heaven’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. We can “enter into” that kingdom domain now and make use of all its resources by coming under the authority of Christ as King.

Colossians 1:12-14 (NLT) says “For He (Jesus) has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” Paul isn’t suggesting that we all die physically in this process. Not straight away. We come under the authority of the King of kings in our lives, His Kingdom reign and rulership, here and now. The kingdom is among us, now.

Romans 14:17-18 (NLT) says, among other things, “For the Kingdom of God is … living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God…”

The invitation of Christ to the rich young ruler is not only talking about the place called Kingdom.of.heaven.com. Heaven’s domain is merely an extension of Christ’s authority of perfect rulership. It is for those who are willing to come under the rule and reign of Christ in their lives. It is an acknowledgment that He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Christ’s rulership will continue on beyond our physical lives. The eternal kingdom is the realm or domain of the rule and reign of God in a perfect universe for all eternity, (cyberspace to the max) and for us, it starts the moment we come under the authority of Christ and give our lives to Him. Not only Jews but Gentiles. In Matthew 8:11 (NLT) Jesus says, “And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will … feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

So Matthew 19:24 says “I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 

Why so difficult for a rich person to enter into Kingdom.of.Heaven.com?

In Matthew 6:21 (NLT) Jesus answers that question by saying, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

Judas knew the power of riches to sway the wavering heart. It all has to do with the Kingdom of Heaven. He was not willing to come under the authority of Christ.

This imports fresh understanding into what Jesus invites us to do in Matthew 6:33 (NLT), “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He (God) will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).

Pastor Ross

Old Shed

Down to the barn in the old rusty ute

Image © by Ross Cochrane

AN AUSSIE OUTBACK NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 KJV)

G’day! (Hi)

It’s great to have you mob (crowd) here today. Being an Aussie (Australian) I thought you might like to hear my Aussie Outback version of a Night before Christmas.

You’ll hear a bit of Aussie Lingo here this arvo (Australian language here this afternoon).

So let’s get a bushmen’s barbie going here (outback barbecue), with a Billy boiling on the campfire (Can for making tea) 

You’ll hear a bit of Aussie Lingo (Australian language).  

I want to tell you a story around the campfire about the Nativity. Imagine what it would have been like if Jesus was born in outback Australia.  

Jesus, of course, was born in Bethlehem, not in the Never-Never (Outback Australia) 

So our story is a bit of a furphy (a made up story) but only concerning the place, not the actual events. The events are all dinki-di from the Bible (The real story of these events are found in the Bible and are all true). 

I won’t earbash you no more (I won’t talk a lot), so lets shakealeg (Let’s get on with it).  

Down to the barn in the old rusty ute

Old Australian Barn © By Ross Cochrane

AN AUSSIE OUTBACK NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

© by Ross Cochrane

‘Twas the night before Christmas; There wasn’t a sound.

Not a possum was stirring in Bethlehem’s town.

The inn keeper’s table had tucker and beer.

But out in the stable, Mary’s baby was near;

 

If it happened in outback Australia today

On a homestead up North, and so far away

With Goannas and Emus and red dirt and dust

Where cars and machin’ry are covered in rust

Where crocodiles snap and deadly snakes hiss

I’ve got a feeling it might look like this…

 

On a hot Christmas Eve, we’d be safe in our beds,

While dreams of pavlova dance round in our heads;

Mum in her nightie, and dad in his shorts,

Would have just settled down to watch TV sports,

 

As the Kangaroos gather out on the plain

And a Kookaburra laughs in the gum tree again

The red dog stops barking. The sky’s pink and blue

We can hear distant sounds of a didgeridoo

 

Then up in the night’s sky a star shines so bright;

Loud voices of praise wake us up with a fright.

We run to the screen door, peek cautiously out,

Sneek onto the deck, to find what it’s about.

 

Guess what had woken us up from our snooze,

But a whole host of angels declaring good news.

And one of them standing above a gum tree,

Said the Saviour was born and told us where He would be.

 

Now, I’m telling the truth. It’s all dinki-di.

Those heavenly angels filled up the sky.

One looked at us kids, his wings were like flames,

And he spoke to us all and called out our names.

Now, Davo, Now Bazza, Now, Kylie and Shane!

On Maggie! On Shazza! On, Stevo and Wayne!

Go to the kitchen, grab a quick drink,

Scoot down to the barn and see what you think!’

 

So down to the barn in the old rusty ute

With hearts full of wonder,  all of us scoot,

We park by a gum tree and jump to the ground,

Then in through the window, we all look around.

 

There were drovers and shearers, a man with a beard.

And his wife had a baby whom the workmen revered;

They wore singlets and shorts, because of the heat.

They took off their hats and bowed at His feet

 

The baby awoke and His eyes simply Shone!

Born of a virgin, God’s only Son!

Three Swagmen arrived from far east of the station

They’d been searching all day for the King of Salvation

 

A swag full of prezzies they flung from their backs,

And with everyone looking they undid their packs.

They spoke not a word, but bent down on one knee,

And presented their goodies and gifts. There were three…

 

One brought gold nuggets, a gift for a king

And one brought Him Frankincense, a strange gift to bring

And then there was Myrrh from the last one to come,

When he saw us he winked and he held up his thumb;

 

Then the angels appeared clear out of the blue;

Flung out their wings and prepared to shoot through.

They bellowed out loud as they swooped past the gates –

‘Merry Christmas to all, and good-on-ya, mates!’

Highway in the desert 2

Outback Australia

AUSSIE OUTBACK CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

 

HEAVEN – God’s Station and Homestead 

I want to take a moment now with my interpreter to spruke on about God’s Station and Homestead in the sky for a while before we say Hooroo. (I want to talk about heaven before we go).  

Heaven is not just a place way out beyond the black stump (Heaven is not a place which is far away).  

Heaven is not bullamanka (Heaven is not an Imaginary place somewhere beyond the back of Bourke). 

It’s God’s Homestead and station for us (It’s God’s home for us) 

It’s God’s Chrissie gift (It’s God’s Christmas present) 

So let me ask you 2 questions 

First of all – Are you sure that when you carkit that you are going to go and live in God’s Homestead? (Are you sure that when you pass away, when you die, you will be with God in heaven?) Tick this over! (Think about this for a moment) 

Secondly – If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you onto My station?” what would you say? (If God asked Why should I let you into My Heaven, what would you say?) 

Gardening!

Hard Yakka

AUSSIE BATTLER – Hard Yakka won’t cut it 

You might say, “Well, I’ve been an Aussie Battler all my life (I’ve been a hard trier or struggler all my life). I’ve done some hard yakka (I’ve worked hard). I lived a pretty good life. That should count for something.” 

The Bible says, “Getting on to God’s station (into heaven) is a gift, not something you do hard yakka for (heaven is a gift. It is not earned or deserved. No amount of personal effort, good works or religious deeds can earn a place in heaven) 

It’s no use having tickets on yourself (It’s not something you can boast or brag about). It doesn’t depend on you. It is a gift.  

We don’t have to pay a brass razoo for it. (We don’t have to pay anything for it. It’s a gift... ..And you are absolutely right – Romans 6:23 in the Bible says the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Ephesians 2:8,9 says For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast) 

Hey! Don’t get carried away. You’re just the interpreter, remember? 

(Sorry. But tell me WHY is it that no one can earn their way to Heaven?) 

 

SIN – Making a big Blue with God 

Because . . . All of us cobbers have made a serious blue when it comes to obeying God. And so the wheels fell off. (All of us have sinned, got it wrong, missed the mark with God, and that’s where it all went wrong in terms of our relationship with God).  

Were all like a mob of sheep that have strayed into the back paddock (Because of our sin, we are all far away from God). 

Crickey! (This is serious!) We’ve got Buckley’s of getting ourselves out of the spot where in. (There is no way we can save ourselves- No chance at all. There’s just no way to get to heaven because we’ve blown it, big time). It’s not a matter of saying “She’ll be right, mate” because we are not right with God. (We can’t ignore it. We are not right with God). 

However, in spite of us making a big blue with God (in spite of our sins and mistakes) God wasn’t up a gumtree about this (God wasn’t in a quandary about what must be done.) 

 

GOD – True Blue 

God doesn’t get Aggro at us, only with our sin (He doesn’t get Aggressive or angry at us, only our rebellious ways). 

God wants to give us a fair crack of the whip! (God wants to give us a Fair go!) He is loving, but He is also just. 

God is true-blue and fair-dinkum about judging our sin (God is Pure and honest and keeps His promises about judging our sin) 

But He is also ridgy-didge about loving us (God genuinely loves us. Jeremiah 31;3 says “I have loved you with an everlasting love”) 

God was keen as mustard to find a way to save us and Jesus was just what the doctor ordered. (God was Enthusiastic about saving us and solved our problem for us by sending Jesus.) 

one-way3

CHRIST – God’s Chrissie gift 

Without Jesus, we’ve got Buckleys (Without Christ we have no hope, no chance of being saved). 

God lobbed in on the earth as an ankle biter, born of the virgin Mary (God became a child, born of a virgin). And that’s Christmas, right?  

But there’s more to it than that. 

He was a normal bloke except that He lived a perfect life and died for us mob in order to pay a very exe price for us making a blue (He was a normal person who lived a perfect life and died on a Cross and paid an expensive price for our sins)  

And He died to purchase a station and homestead for us in Heaven (He died to purchase a place we can call home in heaven).  

That’s His Chrissie present! (That’s His Christmas gift to you). 

Jesus died for us and now being mates with God is a goer (Jesus enables friendship with God to be a reality).

The thing about Jesus is that He will never bail you up (Jesus will never force you to accept His gift of eternal life).

You have the choice to give it a burl or knockback Christ’s offer. (You have a choice to believe in Christ or refuse what He is offering you).

 

Boomerangs, Mirrors and Glass Houses

FAITH – Avergoyamug 

But you would be a dipstick if you didn’t at least consider faith this arvo (It would be foolish not to at least consider having faith in Christ this afternoon). 

Faith is like a boomerang. It will turn your life around and bring you back to God. It’s like Chucking a Uey (It’s like making a U-turn back towards God) 

So take a Captain Cook and give it a Burl (So have a look for yourself and give it a try). 

Faith puts us in a good Possie for a homestead in heaven. (Faith puts us in an advantageous position to receive eternal life). 

You may think what I am saying is a bit iffy (Perhaps you’re a bit doubtful, questioning what I am saying).  

But what I am trying to say is avagoyermug (What I am trying to say is “take the risk of faith and give it a try – the Bible says “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” Acts 16:31). 

So let’s have a chinwag with God (Let’s talk to God. Let’s pray) 

IN THE QUIET MOMENTS WHEN ARGUMENTS NO LONGER MATTER

Prayer © by Ross Cochrane.

SINNERS PRAYER – Chin Wag with God 

If this has made sense to you (the Strine and this message about why Jesus came) then this is a great opportunity at Christmas time to pray this prayer.  

“Dear God, thank you for loving me and sending your Son to die on the Cross for my sins. I know I’m a sinner, and I cannot save myself, so I ask for Your forgiveness.
Lord Jesus, I want to trust You as my Saviour and follow You as Lord, from this day forward.  Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” 

 If you have decided to give faith in Christ a go, then Bewdie, Grouse, ripper (If you respond to Christ then Very good, well done, unreal, great, fantastic). Don’t forget to tell me about it. 

So all that’s left to say is hooroo and have Micky-Mouse Christmas and Good on ya mates! (So goodbye and have an excellent Christmas and God’s richest blessings on you, my friends).