Loss And Gain: Matthew 19:27-30

“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
-Jim Elliot (martyred in 1956 at the age of 29 by the Auca Indians of Ecuador.)

 

Since the days of Christ, the believer has been challenged to reconcile the seemingly-opposing positions of total condemnation of sin and God’s merciful forgiveness through Christ. The exchange between our Lord and the apostles in the back end of Matthew demonstrates this as well.

In Matthew 19, Jesus has just finished speaking with The Rich Young Ruler about which commands to keep in order to attain eternal life. The Ruler challenges Jesus that he had indeed kept the commandments, but then the Lord points out that one section of the law which the Ruler failed in.

Did he fail due to ignorance? No, for the Ruler was very sad when Jesus told him to sell all he had and give to the poor. Is it not so with us as well? Doesn’t the Lord also shine light on our secret sins and pet transgressions, the ones we’re inclined to brush over, or neglect to bring to his attention in our prayers?

Also, at the time, the concept of works-based righteousness was not only widely accepted, but great for the rich. More money? More works you can do! Buy your way into the kingdom, and make sure everyone knows how much you’re doing.

But Jesus turned this all on its head. As the ruler is departing, he says:

“Verily I say unto you: That a rich man shall hardly enter the kingdom of heaven. And *again* I say unto you: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God .” (Mt 19:23-24Mt 19:23-24
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23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  

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This shook out a basic belief that all of the apostles had believed as truth for most of their lives: That those spending money on the purposes of the temple (or synagogue or church or mission field… you know who fits this description in your own fellowships, brothers and sisters….) aren’t impressing God with their works. (cf Matthew 7:22Matthew 7:22
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22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  

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The apostles were shaken at this new revelation and rightfully asked:
“Who then can be saved?” (v25) 

If it’s not from works, and not from riches or tithes or charity, where then can salvation be found?

Jesus looked at them and condemned works for all time in saying:

”With men this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.” (v26.) 

Enter our man Peter, the headstrong apostle who is never shy about speaking out. Peter says to Jesus: “Hey, we’re about as broke as it gets here. How about us?”

“Then answered Peter and said unto him, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; 

what shall we have therefore?” “ (v27)

Jesus answers not just Peter but all of the apostles.

“And Jesus said unto them “Verily I say unto you that ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel .” (v28)

** special note here: This appears to be a particular promise to the apostles directly. Believers in Christ will judge the angels, not the tribes of Israel . (cf 1 Cor 6:31 Cor 6:3
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3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  

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**

Jesus continues:

”…and every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (v29)

This promise of v29 is applicable to all believers with Christ’s inclusion of the words “every one.”

Does this mean that if you go and sell your house, and give the proceeds to the local church, that you may now just sit back and wait for God to drop a hundred houses in your lap? That would be foolish, and is also not sound doctrine. Why won’t that work?

Because ”Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23Romans 14:23
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23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. doubteth: or, discerneth and putteth a difference between meats damned: or, condemned, or liable to punishment  

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 God knows the difference and is not fooled. “Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume upon your lusts.” (James 4:3James 4:3
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3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. lusts: or, pleasures  

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Sacrifices are for God, not man! It must be for His Name’s sake. Not just to be a Christian, but to be one who takes his Name, in the entire marital sense. You have joined His family, He is your husband and Lord, your possessions are now His – of Him and from Him. You have nothing to do with it. If you’re not of that mindframe, you’re not ready yet. Your offerings will be wasted!

And finally, a prophecy in verse 30:

”But many that are first shall be last, and the last first.” 

Does this mean the Lord may perhaps judge our deeds and award our treasures (as told of in 2 Cor 5:102 Cor 5:10
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10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  

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) in reverse order? That the most recent of those bought by Him closest to His return shall be first to see and speak with him – and that He works his way through the ages until at last He reaches his apostles, smiling with love and joy at the works which they did in his Name at the first? A pleasing thought – especially if we are allowed to be present to cheer for our fallen fathers in Christ as they too receive crowns to throw at His feet.

We’re here 70 years, people. After that, we meet our Maker.

Will we meet Him at the Great White Throne for the Second Death of Revelation 20:14Revelation 20:14
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14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  

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? God forbid!

Will we meet Jesus at the bima judgment of 2 Cor 5:102 Cor 5:10
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10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  

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and yet come away empty, saved “as by (read: out of a) fire” (2 Cor 3:152 Cor 3:15
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15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.  

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)? 

Will we meet Jesus and be given one of the rewards from the first three chapters in Revelation?

The tree of life? (Rev 2:7Rev 2:7
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7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.  

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The crown of life?  (Rev 2:10Rev 2:10
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10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  

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Hidden manna and a white stone with a new name? (Rev 2:17Rev 2:17
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17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.  

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Rulership over the nations (with a rod of iron) and the morning star? (Rev 2:26Rev 2:26
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26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:  

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White raiment, one’s name in the book of Life, and Christ confessing your name before the Father and His angels? (Rev 3:5Rev 3:5
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5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  

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permanent home in the temple of God, with a new name from God, the name of New Jerusalem, and the new name from Christ? (Rev 3:12Rev 3:12
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12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.  

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and to the worst most backslidden sinners of His church, you are not beyond His reach! He gives you the Sop, His best promise:

The overcomer will sit with Christ Himself in His throne, the very throne of the Father (Rev 3:21Rev 3:21
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21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  

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Satan wanted to be “like the most High (Is 14:14Is 14:14
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14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  

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).” 

Christians get to sit – not stand, not just bow and worship, but SIT – with the Son on the throne of that same Most High Father. We get to sit in the very presence of the God of Israel. On His throne.

What thing on this earth could ever convince you that that same Lord would fail to provide for your every need?