Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Passing on good stuff

Recently I received several sermons that I would like to make available:

The Inheritance of Moses and Esau

“[See to it] that no one is…unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.” (Hebrews 12:16-17)

As Christians, we share in a great inheritance of grace, mercy, peace, and joy, and after this world, eternal life and unending glory. With most worldly inheritances, you do little or nothing to earn it, you are merely born to it. Our Christian inheritance is much the same. We can by no way earn it, it is a gift. We gain this gift only by simply believing that it is there to be had, and by having faith in He who gives it. Faith, not being a matter of head-knowledge, but of heart-knowledge, a true and deep acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Savior. Let us take firm hold of this blessed inheritance, being fully assured without a doubt that it is ours.

There are a couple figures in the Bible that I want to briefly write about their inheritances, namely, Esau and Moses. Both were men with great inheritances promised to them, but what they did with the gifts they were given differs drastically. I will start with Esau. Esau was the grandchild of Abraham; the firstborn son of Isaac, who was the promised child in God’s covenant with Abraham. Thus, all the blessings of God’s covenant with Abraham should have been passed down as an inheritance to Esau. This was not to be, however. As it is written, “Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!’ (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright now.’ Esau said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’ Jacob said, ‘Swear to me now.’ So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:29-41) Because of his carnal, worldly desires, Esau hastily gave up the promise of greater things to come for a single meal.

Moses, much like Esau, was born among God’s chosen people, and thus was an heir to the inheritance of God’s great promises. Unlike Esau, Moses also had a great inheritance among foreigners, being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, and he took a much different stance towards those things that were promised him. “By faith, Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ’s greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:24-27) Now Moses was a man who had gotten his priorities straight. He had tasted and seen the best this world had to offer, and he saw it was all a pale shadow next to the glory of God.

Much like Esau, how many people today reject God’s promises, preferring to partake in the pleasures of this world that do not last and do not satisfy. The scary part of the equation comes with the latter part of Hebrews 12:17, “for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.” Now, our Lord is merciful, forgiving the truly repentant sinner even upon his death bed unto salvation. However, how much blessing did said poor sinner miss out of in this life, and what treasures did he miss the opportunity to lay up in heaven. For the Christian life holds many blessings, even in this world. That is not to say we should expect a life of ease. I recently met a man who had once been a part of the leadership in his church, but now no longer goes to church and was unsure of his beliefs. His reasoning was that bad things kept happening in his life, and such things shouldn’t happen to believers, especially those in leadership. That idea is simply not Biblical. The Bible teaches us to expect tribulation and difficulty, as that is the way of the world. As Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Our inheritance in this life is peace, contentment, and joy, even in the midst of most dire circumstances.

Moses certainly has the example to follow. Money, physical pleasure, worldly acclaim; these things do not fill, only leaving us wanting more, and they surely are no great comfort when the world throws its worst at us. In fact, they are often the quickest to be lost. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

How often do we see, in the media, celebrities driven to the brink of despair. They typically have everything the world has to offer; fame, possessions, influence, and yet we see them die from suicide or drug overdose. Obviously, I do not speak of everyone who spends their time in the limelight. But those who try to fill themselves with continuously more; more money, more fame, more parties, they are the ones heading for a train wreck. The only thing that remains, the only thing that lasts, the only thing that truly fills us, is God’s blessed assurance.

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (I Timothy 6:6-8)

The secret to a happy life lies there in those simple facts. Good or bad, the things of this life are temporary, and are incomparable to the blessings to come. This is our inheritance in Christ, let us all be sure to lay claim to it.


1 comment:

Megan Penner said...

This is very good. Thank you for sharing it.