Do you value the Kingdom of God? Are you prepared to pay the price now? Can you make that type of commitment? Can you show that your commitment is genuine?
Now today's message is: Buy of me gold tried in the fire. It is a statement right out of Revelation 3:18. Jesus, in talking to the Laodicean church, He makes this statement to them.
Now, let me just say at the outset where we are going with this. The last two times that I spoke to you since the Feast we discussed the idea of moving forward from here. How would one do that? The first two sermons I've given were on prayer. Of course that is where you have to start. You have to start with prayer and though Dino didn't mention that — if you are going to move on, move forward, move off-centre as it were from where we are, we are going to grow, we are going to develop. This is what God wants us to do. He wants us to become more like Him. It talks about Christ being formed within us. Peter said that we should grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We should also allow or let the mind of Christ be in us, and so the whole concept of growing personally ourselves, growing to become what He wants us to be, is throughout the Bible especially in the New Testament where when He calls people, then He does expect certain things from them and there is a very, very important principle that I want to bring out in relation to that.
This is a part of the same series. We are going to continue to talk about this. I've got another one next week in relation to this that follows on very closely to this one here, but I want to focus on, today, the idea contained in the one statement: Buy of Me gold tried in the fire, from Revelation 3:18. Now He says this to the church which is the Laodicean church. This is the seventh or the last church of the seven churches you find in Revelation 2 and 3 and Jesus gives personal messages to each one of them.
Now what we suspect, because everyone is copied — I thought that is a very interesting way of putting it. It is like e-mails today. All the other churches were copied, weren't they? Whenever He spoke to the Ephesian church the other six were also copied - like you should take note of what I said to them too, just for your reference because let's say it would apply to all of you, and likewise whenever He wrote to the Laodiceans the other six churches were also copied. So they got a copy of the same
e-mail, if I can put it that way, for them to take reference to what was said here too. But each message, however, is specific and has some lessons in each one so that is why I suspect they were all copied.
I want to focus on this one idea and this, today's sermon, is going to contain one idea. It is going to contain one point and one point only. We will develop it further next week but I think you could see where it will eventually lead. Let's start.
Revelation 3:18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be
rich; and white garments, — that is to buy also white garments; that is implied — that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
It says a number of things here but as I said, we are going to focus in on that one point but herein lies an important principle that is so important that it bears a sermon. Indeed, if you consider this, what we are going to talk about today, it can be life changing. I hope it is for you. So He says to them: Buy from Him gold tried or refined in the fire. Let's consider this; what would He mean by this? Why did He say that to them and just the way that He did?
Now we may focus on the idea of gold. Gold of itself tried in the fire — and we understand that gold as it is in the furnace or in a type of refining pot as it were, under extreme heat the impurities tend to rise to the top. They are skimmed off; the pure gold or the gold without the impurities rather, is then poured into various moulds and you have a little signet of gold. Now we would tend to think of it in that way — gold that is been refined in the fire. Now the idea of gold tried in the fire, we would imagine, has to do with being prepared to endure trial and we would identify that idea of gold tried in the fire with Peter's statement where he talks about this in 1 Peter 1:6-7 where we do have a definition of gold tested by fire and what is He really saying here. What does this mean?
1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials. So he is speaking of trials here.
V.7 — that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, — and similar the way gold is — may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
So the genuiness of one's faith then is tested. The genuiness. How else would God know how genuine something is unless it is indeed tested, and so too gold. It is purified by fire. However gold will perish. He indicates that and there are other scriptures that talk about how invaluable gold really is though valuable in the sense in some ways in our temporal world today but there is the testing or the genuiness of our faith. Once it is tested and purified, is what lasts and it is found to the praise and honour and glory when Jesus Christ reveals Himself. That is when He appears; when He comes to this earth.
So here He is giving advice to a church for them to do something and that is the way this reads, in verse 18 (Rev.3). He is giving counsel or advice to a church. It is something that He expects this church to do and very interestingly He is not going to take the initiative to do this Himself. Now that is what makes it so interesting because this is something of a departure in the way that He deals with some of the other churches. To this church He says there is something that you've got to do. Now I find that most intriguing especially with regard to the particular issue here. He says you have to do this yourself. Now the background of the statement is this: You go back to verse 15.
Revelation 3:15 He says: "I know your works, that you are neither cold not hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
V.16 — So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
V.17 — Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked —
V.18 Therefore (is implied) I (now) counsel you, — I am advising you to do something here.
Now, neither cold nor hot — how would we understand that? That is neither cold about the truth; not cold about the truth or the gospel or Christ or God. It is not that the person doesn't have any care about these matters — He does. However, on the other hand they are not fervent either. They are not genuine, zealous, and the message of Christ and His purpose would be, in the case of the person who is hot or described as hot, foremost in a person's life, would it not be? We would certainly describe it in that way. So I think we can safely define what He means by: you are neither cold nor hot. He says they are lukewarm.
What He is saying: You know the truth and you are convinced of the truth but in action you have works that are suspect. Your works are rather inconsistent, intermittent; your works are suspect as to your commitment; they are not commensurate with the knowledge that you have, indeed that you claim to have and indeed that you do have. They do have knowledge and I don't think He would necessarily question that. He is questioning something else here.
He is questioning their works. That is what He is getting at. He says you do have knowledge and they are saying they are rich in that way. They have knowledge. They will probably also say they have understanding; they would have talent; indeed they would have a certain amount of background; they would be living in a time where the resources to do works were perhaps all there and indeed possible. However He says, your actions belie what you say you know and what you are.
Now you and I know this: That if a person was in a court of law and the person said one thing but his actions were known to have been something else, which would be believed? It is a persons actions not his words. Always the actions are believed not the persons words. So when He says: I know your works. That is what He is looking at. So Jesus Christ knows a persons works and to the point where He says: It makes Me sick — let me put it in the vernacular here, and He says therefore they cannot become a part of the body in a way that He envisions, the way He wants them to become a part of the body.
Whenever you eat something it rolls around in your stomach. It doesn't go anywhere, it sort of sits there and makes you sicker and sicker and nobody wants to throw up do they, until it just happens and then you do feel so much better. That is the way He says these people are. You can't be assimilated into His body and become a part of His own body and He says: I won't have it. I won't accept this. So He says: because you say I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing and you really don't understand you are wretched, miserable and poor so now I am counselling you to do something here: To buy of Me gold, tried in the fire.
Now let me tell you what He doesn't say. He doesn't say: I will wake you up with a trial. He doesn't say that and because of your trial you will then acquire the refined gold that has been tried. Your faith will then become perfected. He doesn't say that. That is not the point He makes. Now that could happen. Let me show you, as I alluded to before, some of the churches where He allows their faith to be tried. He allows it or He even brings it on them in some respects.
Revelation 2:9 This is the church in Smyrna. He says: "I know your works, tribulation, (He says) and poverty (but you are rich): - and that is interesting and it kind of ties in - that they were not rich in a physical sense but He says you really are. You really are rich. In other words: You have the main thing; you know what is important; you are rich; you are rich in what is valuable in the eyes of God - and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
V.10 — Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Here we have now a church which Jesus Christ is about to permit tribulation and persecution to come upon so that they would be tested. It says so that they could be faithful. Where? Until death, He says. Wow, this is interesting. It is just something that appears He makes a decision and that is what He does.
I want you to notice in chapter 2, verse 24 now the second example here. This is to the Thyatira church.
Revelation 2:24 "Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.
They were going to be tried and now He says: Now okay, but however let Me just say at this point I will put on you no other burden. So Christ does seem to have a way of chastising some of the churches or trying to purify them through trial. Now of course those are the decisions that He makes.
However, to the Laodiceans it is very interesting what He says. He advises them to buy of Me, that is Christ, gold tried in the fire and herein is their salvation really, that they take His advice to do this. Note again, this is not something that Christ does to them. He
is saying: Here is a problem. I am describing to you this problem. You rectify it. Very interesting, isn't it? You take care of this. What might He be saying? He might be saying: Since you have so much knowledge, you are rich, let's see you do what you are supposed to do. Let's see some real works. You are rich. You have the ability, the resources, the means, the talent; you are rich so I counsel you to do this thing. Perhaps that is what is behind the statement.
So what does it mean then to: buy of Me gold tried in the fire? Well, first of all, we have to get the real picture that they really weren't rich. So if He would say that to us we ought to get the idea—well, we might think we are but we are not, but that is kind of the idea behind it. You really don't understand it; you are not really rich; you are only saying you are; this is only an opinion that you have of yourself otherwise if you don't understand that you're not really rich you won't be in the market for the gold that He is asking you to buy from Him. You think you are okay. So you don't need this.
What would be the gold that you could buy? Now in the previous definition it is the trying of your faith, so by inference then, the trying of your faith is not something that you would choose for yourself. Nobody chooses that for your self. Nobody is going to hold their hand up and say Lord, I really need a trial because my faith needs to be tried. Has anybody ever done that? I don't think so. I wouldn't do it because God will certainly take us up on it. Perhaps He wouldn't. He may be very merciful and kind of ignore the statement but I think it would be born out of an idea in our minds that we are really okay, you know. I can handle any trial. Like, I said, I don't know that people normally say that. These churches are not saying that—the Smyrna and the Thyatira church. What was happening is Jesus makes the decision. He sees fit in His wisdom that He is going to try them in order to bring them to the point of commitment and faith and whatever else He really wants to bring them to for His own purposes and His own reasons. Now He alone knows that and we don't question that.
But He is saying this: that this is something you should choose. How so? What do we mean by this? One gets the distinct impression that the Laodicean church is complacent —neither hot nor cold. They were neither hot nor cold. I would call that complacent, wouldn't you? In other words, they are okay where they are. Christ is not telling them, as I said before, that He is going to do something to them to get themselves out of it. He is saying to them: You are the ones; you have to have a self-realization of where you are; where you should be to do this. You have already made a spiritual assessment about it and I am advising you that you are mistaken about your spiritual assessment and since you are making such good spiritual assessments you ought to make another assessment and you ought to take the initiative to do something about it since you have everything. So this said, there is something a little bit more behind this statement here.
So this is the chance that you have, He is telling them. You can do something about this and this is their salvation for them to do something about it. Now He does say this: If you don't. I am coming quickly, He says. Repent therefore and be zealous. He says that to them but He does so with counsel first. He says:
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love,—and He does love this church, that is why He is saying it to them—I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. But not before He counsels and advises.
Here we have a very important principle. He has given us a mind to be able to understand His will and His purpose and He would expect us then to take His counsel and to be able to do something about it. In this case He does, and He says if not then there is chastisement; there is a rebuke. Therefore, because that is what follows, that is the next step—to be zealous and repent.
So we have a great principle here that is so often overlooked and so often misinterpreted by people who are into the Christian faith, if I can put it that way, and it is the simple matter here: You can take the initiative yourself. You can do this. You can take the initiative yourself. Now you can stay where you are or you can take measures to move off-centre. You have some choices. You can do this. You can make some decisions in this respect. You can stay where you are and not go anywhere, not move, not change, not move toward the Kingdom of God as we are called to do, or you can take measures to move off-centre. So in one sense He is saying: Since you know so much you ought to be able to be doing something about it and He is expecting them to do something about it and He is right. He is right in how He assesses this.
So if you have been assessed by the great Assessor and found to be what you thought, what would you do? That knowledge of itself should be enough to make us want to start questioning some things and say: I've got to do something. Now I am not into how one would know that. Well, there are a number of means by which God can reveal things to us and He begins to show us and teach us as to where we are. We ought to seek that. But let me just say: What would you do? With the knowledge that we have - let me make this point: With the knowledge that we have we should know! How can I say that? I think of all the church eras, what has transpired prior to this time, with the knowledge that we have, the experience that we have, we should know. After all that is what we are claiming, aren't we? I mean, I've heard this all the time ever since 1995 that we know and they didn't, and we were right. Therefore, where would that lead us? Now the question is: what do you do with what you know? He is not questioning what you know or you don't know. He is questioning what you do, and that is one's works.
Let's talk about the idea of buying. He says: to buy from Me gold refined in the fire. I said that today I am going to make one point. That is it. One point and one point only. Next week we are going to talk about what one should do.
Isaiah 55:1 You will find similar language with similar ideas. "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
When you buy something like this it is not something that you can buy with money. It is impossible. It is not a price in a normal sense or a financial monetary price.
V.2 — Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
V.3 — Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.
So I think it is very obvious that we are not talking about something that you can actually buy with money but it is something that you have to buy anyway and you have to buy it in a different sense. Before we go on and talk about this and I will show you in other parts of the Bible where this is. I want to just simply go down to verse 6.
V.6 — Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.
This does have to do with that and as I said it is not my purpose to get into the ramifications of how one seeks the Lord and calls upon Him while He is near. It does imply this: That there is a time, there is a moment, there is an opportunity when you can call upon the Lord while He is near. He gives you opportunity. It is a different opportunity than perhaps someone else. You can't compare yourself with anybody else but if you read that and you understand this then you should do this.
V.7 — Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
It implies here that someone is making a decision, a conscious decision. First of all: Seek the Lord; to call upon Him; begin to forsake your way; turn to God, return to Him; be considerate of what He says. This is part of another subject that we are going to be talking about. However, what we do see here is the initiative of an individual who understands that he needs to have something. Everyone who thirsts, it says. A person who doesn't realize that he needs very much is not going to be purchasing the truth. He is not going to be purchasing or buying the gold tried in the fire. He doesn't need it. This person has to realize what he needs. He thirsts. So he says you've come to the waters. You are not going to buy this with money but let me tell you something, you are going to buy it. What He is saying is that there is a price.
Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.
How would one buy the truth? One says: Well, I always thought truth is free. Perhaps wisdom is something God gives. He does say that. Indeed He does say that. Now it
is free in the sense that it is out there. Is there something you have to do? Is there more to it than simply I'll sit around and wait for God to provide all of this for us? I think that is the idea behind the word: buy. Indeed, there is a price.
Proverbs 17:16 Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, since he has no heart for it?
Now we begin to get the idea that there is a little bit more to the attaining of wisdom than simply saying, Lord give me wisdom. Oh, that is a principle, all right. One should ask for wisdom but you should also ask the question: How would God give wisdom? He does tend to give wisdom in a way that it will stick and it is not just simply our minds are opened up and it is just poured into it.
I had a fifth grade teacher and a sixth grade teacher—I am sure they collaborated because they both said the same thing. They said: We are not here to open up the top of your head and pour knowledge into it. They really ragged us on that. They said: You better get in and start digging and they kept telling us this is what we had to do. Now those were the teachers forty-seven, forty-eight years ago that I knew. I don't know if they do that today. I suppose they say something similar.
There is a purchase price of wisdom but the fool comes as it says, with a purchase price in his hand but he does not have the heart for it. It gives you an indication of what they are talking about here as to how you are going to acquire wisdom. It is not, let's say, a physical price that you are going to pay. Oh, but you are going to pay. You are going to have the heart for it. That is the purchase price. It is not a matter of simply doing. Well, I am just going to do the right thing. Sometimes you have to do the hard thing and you have to continue. The Bible speaks in terms of persevering, does it not, over and over again. Let me put it this way: Every time that you are going to move yourself off-centre, that is yourself as an innard object that is not moving, it takes a lot more energy to start to move it than it does to keep it moving once it's moving. It is a law of physics, by the way.
Now, let us assess a bit of where we are: That was the condition of the Laodicean church. They were at a certain point; They were an innard object; There was no energy there. I think He implies that. He says you are not moving; you are not doing anything. He says your works are neither hot nor cold. What do you want to do with this? If you are going to move off-centre it is going to take a greater expenditure of energy. There is going to be a price that has to be paid. What are you willing to do to move it and to get it going and to keep it going? There is a price for that.
Matthew 25:9 Once again, you have this re-occurring language in the Bible. The parable of the Ten Virgins—five foolish, five wise, and here was the situation where the midnight cry was heard; the bridegroom comes and the five foolish understood they didn't have oil in their lamps. And so they ask the wise for oil.
Matthew 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'
Notice how it is put here. You might say, well that is just a parable and that is all. No, it means something by this. There is something in this when He talks about it because there are too many other scriptures that describe it in this way as we have said.
V.10 — And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
Now we have the nature of buying here that you can't all of a sudden do in a moment. You can't do this in a few days. You can't all of a sudden say: Wow! The return of Christ is imminent; it is going to happen; it is going to come and all of a sudden you are going to rush around; you are going to try to get yourself ready; you are going to do what it takes to get ready. He says: This is not going to work. You have to be doing something all along and that has to do with buying. You go to those who sell and you buy. He says to buy the truth and don't sell it. Don't get rid of it. Don't lose it, is what He is saying. But to buy it, be prepared to pay the price and you do this over a period of time and so He is using a business principle.
Anybody knows that a business is not built in a day or a week or a month or even a year but it takes several years of doing the same thing over and over again, starting with what you've got. You might be able to invest in a certain product; then you sell that product and you make a profit on it. Then you take a few profits and you invest it in that product or even other products for that matter and then you sell that and you make a profit on that and you re-invest and you keep on going. It is a continual thing that keeps on going all along, of course. You do that over a period of time until at the end—Why, look what you have here. You have a lamp in which you have oil. That is what the parable of the ten virgins is about, and you have done this, you have done these transactions over a period of time and you have built, you have accumulated and now you have in the end—your lamp is actually burning.
Now here are those whose lamps were about to go out and they thought they could go and somehow gain all of this in a very short moment of time. It doesn't work this way. We are talking about something that has to be built over a period of time and there is a price that has to be paid. We say: Doesn't God just give it to you? I think that's a problem here. You see, there is a great principle here that there are some things that God expects you to do. There are some things only He can do and will do, however there have to be decisions made by you.
There has to be a thought process where you understand what you can do and then there have to be actions; there have to be works; you have to do something as a result of what you have been given. Oh yes, there are only certain things that can be given. You have to be given a calling; you have to be forgiven or justified; you have to be made right in the sight of God; you can have a relationship with Him. He has to do that. There is nothing you can do. He has to do that. He has to provide that. There is nothing that you can personally can do of and by yourself to put yourself in that kind of position. It is impossible. God has to do that.
Now once He does that there is something you have to do. What are you going to do with that? How much do you value what He has given to you? We stand in the grace of God. So what does that mean? Well, Paul nails that over and over again in the book of Romans that we have been studying here in the past few months in that now you have to consider doing something. You have to consider what it is He wants you to do. You have to, in fact, make that kind of a commitment. The great principle here is that there are some things that God expects you to do as a result of what you know and what you have been personally given, granted, as a free gift - and it was. It is a free gift. Justification was free—freely given and a price was paid but you didn't pay it. It was paid for you and you have been placed in a wonderful position. Now what does one do?
Let me refer—I am going to cover a couple of more principles here—father Abraham. See Abraham was called. He was living in Ur of the Chaldeans and God tells him, Genesis 12, get up; get out of this land; go the place that I will tell you to go and I will give to you. I will make a great nation out of you and you will be a blessing to all peoples. And so he does that. God calls him; he believes God; it is accounted to him for righteousness. What is the first thing he does when he comes to the land? He builds an altar and calls on the name of the Lord—Genesis 12, right in the same chapter. So then he says: I better seek the Lord while He may be found. He has called me—now I am going to call upon Him. That's the way it works.
So you have a famine in the land; He goes to Egypt; God is with him; he comes back out to exactly the same place, exactly to the altar that he had before, the same place. He builds another one and what does he do? There he calls on the name of the Lord. Now we have Abraham beginning to participate in the process of now seeking God, learning about God, establishing a relationship with God to where God then—Oh, yes indeed, tests his faith—works with him and He carries on and fulfills His promise. No question about that. He does all of that but you have now Abraham, once he has been called, once he has been accounted righteous, now, he calls on the name of the Lord. That's what we read in Isaiah.
Let's notice a few other places here: First of all 2 Timothy 1, verse 6. Paul tells Timothy this:
2 Timothy 1:6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
V.7 — For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Now there is something that is given in the first instance: A gift of God that was given to him by the laying on of the hands. Now he says this: You stir it up. Was there something Timothy had to do here? Oh yes. For the purpose of the sermon today the operative word here is "You". You stir it up. How might one do that? Well, I think as I've said, the first thing would be you better turn to God. You've got to seek Him and that's why I gave the two sermons on prayer before this one. So at least this is the first thing that you do. You begin to learn to go to Him and you begin to seek Him—it is one of the ways. We will explore other ways in time.
So if you wanted to get things moving in your life, what would you do? You want to move it off-centre. You say: I want to grow. You would say: I want to change my life; I don't want to stay where I am at; I don't want to be the same person; I don't want to keep thinking the same kind of thing, having the same mind-set; I want to move; I want to change; I want to be more like Christ. What would you do? Do you have a heart for it? Are you willing to do the work? Are you willing to pay the price?
Now like I said, there is this idea that you are not saved by works. We understand that. You're not, but this idea however leads people to—do what?—let Jesus do it all. We turn things over to God, we say. We sit back and we wait for it to happen. You've heard the term: Let go and let God. I've heard that around the place too. Now look, I am not saying there is not a place for some of this. There is a time for it but this is not the rule. It is not a comprehensive rule that seems to be applied through everything that happens.
There are some things that God has to do but the point I am making is this: Whenever He tells the Laodiceans: You buy of Me gold tried in the fire, He is saying this: You need to do something. You need to see the need and you need to take the initiative. You cannot sit back and wait for things to happen as if we stick around long enough and we stay strong on loving God, believing in God or just be in a part of a godly community, some things will rub off. Well, some things will rub off. You can come here and you can attend Church; you become part of a godly community and some things will rub off; there will be some changes. That's not what we are talking about here. We are talking about now, paying the price; to move; to move off-centre; to move to a different level.
It is always harder. I think all of us understand this. If you are in any kind of a project or any kind of a business where there is a certain growth involved here, it seems like things start off, things tend to kind of happen, don't they? They come up to a certain point, now things have to be made to happen after that. You've experienced this. I have experienced this. We are going to move beyond this level. Now you are going to have to make it
happen. Now it is more difficult. The more you move up the harder it gets. Why would that be? Well, I'm going to let you think about that one for a while but I will tell you that it just simply doesn't happen by itself.
You are in the position where you have to do something yourself; where things have to move off-centre; they have to move up to the next level. At some point all of you made a decision. You've made some decisions here. You've had to decide that the Kingdom of God was the greatest thing that you ever learnt about and that you were now being offered an opportunity at this time to be a part of what God is doing. You are being offered this; you learn this; you had to decide at some point, all of us had to decide: I am going to keep the Sabbath. You had to decide: I am going to keep God's Holy Days. You had to decide to begin to conform to the way God says to worship Him.
You had to make these kinds of decisions once you had the knowledge. You had to make a decision to change the direction of your life. You had to make these kinds of decisions. That is something that God does not do for you. You might say: Well, I was led to it. That's fine, you are led to it but God does not make decisions for you. He will never make a decision. You have a mind; you have the capacity; you have the ability. God created us in His image which means we have the capacity and the ability to choose to make those choices. Once we make those choices then God has something to work with but if we never make the choice God has nothing to work with.
It is a very important point here and you might say: You are going to give a whole sermon on that? Yes, I am. That is the sermon. You have to make the decision. You have to show the initiative. You have to say: I will buy the gold tried in the fire. What does this mean? What will it take? Well, you don't know everything about that but you still have to make that kind of decision. Whenever you made these decisions initially God didn't do this for you; you had to do this yourself. Whenever you buy into something — I want to put it that way — or buy something, you ask the question: Can I pay the price? There is a price for what we expect to attain.
Luke 14, verse 16. Let's notice here — I think we've got just a couple more points here I want to make in the words of Christ—A few final scriptures in the book of Luke. I think we can demonstrate this in this passage here:
Luke 14:16 Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,
V.17 — and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.'
V.18 — But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.'
V.19 — And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I
ask you to have me excused.'
V.20 — Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' Some
might think that is a pretty good excuse but there is a little bit more to it than that, of course.
V.21 — So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.'
V.22 — And the servant said, — it is very interesting. Here are people who don't have anything. He said: let's invite these people. 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.'
V.23 — Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
V.24 — For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.'"
He says there is a price. Of course you can come. Here is the invitation that is going out to people to have a part in the Kingdom of God and they don't understand what it means. He has just given a very simple example here how people do not see the value in it and will place other values instead — what kind of a price are we talking about here? I think He just simply gives a few indications here but then He goes on:
V.25 — Now great multitudes went with Him. It is very interesting how this follows right on to that — that story of the parable that He gives. And He turned and said to them,
V.26 — "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
V.27 — And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
So if a person is going to be a disciple of Christ and you're not able to pay the price — that is what He is saying here; He said you can't be my disciple. Oh, there is a price. It is not money, it is not riches. There is a price that has to paid. Now I am not saying that is going to happen to everybody and it doesn't. However, He is making a principle here. He says: If you put anything in front of this you are not willing to pay the price. This is the price. Make no mistake about it. This is the price. There is a cost to this and you can't pay for it with money. You can't buy yourself in. It doesn't work that way but there is a price. Let's notice what He says:
V.28 — For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit does first and count the cost, — count the cost. He says there is a cost. — whether he has enough to finish it —
V.29 - lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
V.30 — saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
V.31 — Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
V.32 — Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
V.33 — So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
I don't know what He might require of you, require of me. In some cases they did — they did have to give it all up to be His disciple. Now that was the price. There is a price for what you buy. So what is the price? What did He tell the rich young ruler? He told the rich young ruler — He said now when you came to Me, you asked for eternal life. He said: Keep the commandments.
No problem. I've always done that. I am in a situation where I can do that; I can keep going.
He said: Be My disciple. Give up everything; go sell everything you've got and come back and follow Me. Give it to the poor.
Well, he went away very sorrowful. If you are going to be offered that, there is a price for that too. It didn't mean that there would not be more. Peter sitting there and hearing all of it—because he went away very sorrowful—and Peter says: Well, Lord, we have given everything up. We walked away from it all. What shall we have? Jesus said: That is a good question, a very valid question, so let me tell you what you will have and He named what he will have. You will have lands; you'll have mothers and fathers and this and that in this life and in the next life, eternal life. You are going to have all of this. There was a value to this and the Kingdom of God but you better be prepared to pay the price. You have to be able to do it now. Can you do it now? Can you make that type of commitment? Can you show that your commitment is genuine? Can you do this?
Sometimes, in this person's case, the price was quite high, extraordinarily high, but He was offering him something—the same thing Peter, John, James and Andrew, all of them —He said: This is what you've got. This is yours. You can have that too. He said come on right now. Be a part of the group; be a part of the twelve; you're in; you're in now; just do it. He was looking for a decision. There is a price.
It is different for everybody. Now if you are going to buy gold tried in the fire there is a price. There is something you have to do to move it up to the next level. There is always a sacrifice. There was always something more. Perhaps pain is involved to some extent or another—indeed there is. Next time we will talk about that. We will talk about what is expected. It is not something that wears you out; it is not something that wears you down; it is something that is in the realm of possibility for every person. I want to go down that road.
This is not what we are talking about here but if a person is going to move off-centre there are some things you have to do. There are certain priorities; there are some things that you are going to have to show that are very important in your life. You are going to have to do that. You are going to have to demonstrate that and things begin to change for you in a good way, in a very positive way. But He is initially saying this to the Laodicean church: Buy of Me gold tried in the fire. You do this. You take the initiative; you make the decision.
So that is the point today; the one point; the only point and I think in time we will be able to fill in the rest and I think you already have a pretty good idea yourself but I want to clarify this today as much a possible on this one very simple and single point. Thank you.