God does not accept false worship. You know, the kind of worship where you are watching the clock and waiting for it to strike high noon. Just as he was upset with the Israelites about performing sacrifices only for tradition’s sake, He doesn’t like halfhearted worship. He wants our full attention and He deserves it. God inhabits the praises of His people. But not that shallow stuff. 3 songs, prayer, collection, sermon, prayer and we are good for the week. Not so, my brothers and sisters. God has something to say to us, give Him your time and your full attention. He is looking at your heart. Have you falsely accused? Have you caused someone else to have to carry a part of your load? Have you encouraged anyone today? Have you given any charitable donations or worked in a local ministry to feed or clothe the poor and needy? If not, then God does not consider that you have worshiped Him properly. Humble yourself before the Lord and ask Him to show you where he needs you to work in His kingdom. Practice this and you will look forward to meeting with the Lord anytime, anywhere. Then the joy of your salvation will be restored.
Jesus temporarily gave up all of His glory in heaven for one reason. That reason was to come to earth, be born as a human, live a perfect, sinless life so that He would be sacrificed for our sins. Some of the people then, just as now, never understood that. They were always trying to find fault with the things He did. Jesus associated with and ate with sinners. We must follow that example if we are to bring others to Christ. Do we actively “seek” those who are lost or do we try to avoid situations where the Holy Spirit might nudge us to speak to sinners about Jesus and where they will spend eternity? Do we hide behind the claim that we have not been called to be preachers or missionaries? When we pray asking God to send workers into the fields of harvest, do we exclude ourselves as being one of those who are subject to the call? If we do, then are our prayers really sincere? Since Jesus gave up everything to redeem us, what are we willing to give up to follow in His footsteps? Is our attitude one of “save me and leave me alone” or “save me and use me to grow Your Kingdom here on earth and in eternity”? To those that use the talents they have to expand the Kingdom, more is given, to those that refuse to use their talents to expand the Kingdom, what they have is taken away.
The rich man who had refused to comfort Lazarus was sent to Hades (the place of the dead). From there, he was allowed to look into Paradise where he saw Lazarus sitting with Abraham. Realizing how wrong he had been in not showing mercy to Lazarus when they both lived on earth, he began to beg for mercy. “Just allow Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and bring it to me”. But Abraham reminded the rich man that he had had ample opportunity to help others with his riches while he lived on the earth. The rich man realizes that the reason he has ended up in this place of torment is because he refused to accept Jesus and his teachings. Since there is now no hope for him, he remembers his brothers and asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to witness to them.. Abraham tells the rich man that it wouldn’t make any difference, if his brothers won’t believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe just because someone returned from the dead. We find this statement proved to be true over and over since so many refused to believe when Jesus was raised from the dead. Even now, with all the proof we have of His Resurrection, there are those who still refuse to believe. Since we don’t know who those believe are, we still must witness to everyone that God puts in our lives. When we don’t share the Gospel with those around us who desparately need it, we are as guilty of withholding our riches from them as the rich man was in withholding his riches from Lazarus. Our part is to share the Gospel with everyone, God takes care of the results.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings,so also you share in our comfort. — 2 Cor. 1:3-7 NIV
Everything that we have belongs to God. Whatever He has given to us is to be shared with those around us. The things with which God has blessed us should be held very loosely in our hands. They are to be used to bless others and further the work of the Kingdom here on earth. The early church understood and practiced this principle of giving and receiving. There are many verses that teach us to give to the poor, widows and orphans. We must open ourselves up to be channels of blessings. This is also true in Spiritual things as well as natural. In the Spiritual area, we don’t do quite as well in giving or receiving. God has given us the Comforter to comfort us in all situations and we need to learn to share that message with a hurting world. But, we also need to learn to accept that comfort when it is offered to us. Every one of us needs help in some area of our lives whether we want to admit it or not. As long as we deny it, the pain and the chaos will not go away. None of us can fix ourselves, even though, satan would love for us to believe that we can. Reach out and touch someone was a Biblical principle long before it was a commercial.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. — Eccles. 4:9-12 NIV