Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Image (left side): Decorative urn with title for the book of Acts in Codex Alexandrinus.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
The Vision (9.12.13): Living with Boldness for Christ
In last Sunday’s sermon Fear not, little flock from Luke 12:32-40, I suggested that in this passage Jesus
offered three challenges to his disciples:(1) live with assurance; (2) live with boldness; and (3) live with
expectant readiness.Here are some of my
notes on the challenge to live with boldness (from vv. 33-34):
begins, “Sell that ye have and give alms” (v. 33a).The command here is much like that which
Jesus will give to the rich young ruler when he asks Jesus what he needs to do
to inherit eternal life:
Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto
him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto
the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in
heaven: and come, follow me.
you might recall that Luke records the man went away “very sorrowful, for he
was very rich” (18:23).
Luke 12:33, however, Jesus offers this as a command for all his disciples.Is this to be taken literally?Are we in sin if we hang onto any possessions
at all?Are Christians to be homeless
and wandering vagabonds who have given all they have to the poor?
read a bit further I think you will see that while Jesus is speaking
metaphorically here (he does not expect every Christian to sell all his
possessions at all times) he is also saying concretely to his disciples that
they are not to make an idol of their possessions.They are not to be like the rich fool,
building bigger barns, and planning to take their ease, to eat, drink, and be
merry with not a thought of thankfulness to God and stewardship of all they
fact that he is speaking metaphorically becomes clear in the continuation:“provide yourselves bags [ballantion, purse of container] which
wax not old….” (v. 33). Now, I have
found that it often makes sense to buy something of good quality that will last
a long time, rather than to buy something of cheap quality that will only last
a short time.When I got back from
Hungary in 1992 I bought a leather belt that I still wear.I’ve used it for 20 years (though admittedly I’ve
had to let it out a bit over the years) and just the other day one of the
threads on it began to break.Still, it
lasted 20 years.But Jesus speaks here
of a purse that will never wear out.Obviously, he is not speaking about a material object.He is saying: Do not invest your main interest and vigor and
strength in the attainment and retention of merely material things.Give these things away and dedicate them to
the service of your neighbor.Invest in
that which will not wear out.
further describes it as “a treasure [thesauros,
treasure box, storeroom; the root for the English word “thesaurus” which is a
treasury of words] in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth,
neither moth corrupteth” (v. 33b).
sometimes hear someone warn that we should not be so heavenly minded that we
are no earthly good.But here Jesus says
we should not be so earthly minded as to be no heavenly good.
remember the very first trip I ever took out of the country just after my freshman
year in college.It was a mission trip
to Haiti with a group of Christian men.Just
the week before we arrived the missionaries we were working with had their home
broken into and many cherished possessions stolen.I’ll never forget what this humble and godly
missionary said: “but I have a treasure
in heaven that no thief can break through and steal.”
cinches his point in v. 34:“for where
your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”The questions you must ask yourself are these:
To what end am I living? Am I living with boldness for Christ? Is he the treasure I pursue above all and for which
I would gladly cast away all?