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I was reading Revelation 21 though, and something else jumped out at me in verses 6b to 8:
To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.The word that stuck out to me is "cowardly." That's the first thing Jesus says is what will keep you from heaven in this verse. I've been thinking a lot about courage lately, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I watched Braveheart for the first time a couple weeks ago. It seems to be a recurring theme in a lot of the media I've been consuming lately. I also watched Drive last night (which I don't recommend for a lot of reasons), and there were a couple characters that were highlighted for their cowardice, which is obviously in stark contrast to Ryan Gosling's selfless courage.
It's obvious that humans don't respect cowardly people. But it's not just that they don't like them; it's a deeper lack of respect that sets them apart, making them even lower than human in some eyes.
Self-preservation at the expense of others is how you "win" in life, right? That's how you survive the evolution of a dog-eat-dog world. But when these characters are contrasted to men and women of courage, who count their life as nothing but a tool to do what's right - the self-preservationists fall meekly in their shadows.
This is my favorite verse in the bible right now - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 - "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love." Isn't that great? Strength and love together makes for a great man - a "warrior poet" as William Wallace would have said.
I've never noticed this before, but this verse in 1 Corinthians is sandwiched between mention of Timothy, Apollos and the "household of Stephanas." Timothy is presented as doing God's work in a situation where fear needs to be guarded against. The household of Stephanas as described as having "devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people." Apollos, however, is mentioned as unwilling to venture to Corinth.
I did a little research and tradition states that Apollos became upset at a schism in the Corinthian church, of which Paul remedies in this letter. Apparently some time later Apollos returned to the church after the schism was healed. Could it be that Apollos was not acting in courage, and is here contrasted to men that were? It's hard to say because there doesn't seem to be a lot of information about it, but it's something to think about...
Here are some notes from the sermon:
- Because Jesus had lived in Heaven before on Earth, everything He saw, lived, expressed, spoke, etc...was framed within the context of eternity.
- He lived from Heaven to Earth. We live from Earth to Heaven
- Revelation 21 - A New Heaven and Earth
- Matthew 6:19 - 21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- Jesus uses some extreme metaphors here - moth, rust, thieves
- Earthly things don't last
- Jesus isn't necessarily anti-possessions, but he is talking about the heart behind it
- Our attitude needs to be the exact opposite of the norm
- "No moth, no rust, no thieves" -- the exact opposite
- Jesus is asking, "how do you think about your stuff?"
- Does your thought process towards things, mirror your thought process towards your spouse? God?
- Is your thought process framed with Heaven?
- Revelation 21 should change the way we view things on Earth
- Gold is asphalt, pearls are drywall
- All of the things on earth that are "glorious," pale in comparison to the glory of God in Heaven
- Make your money transparent = use it to glorify God
- Money is not an end, it's a means
- Don't be afraid of it, use it, because God is the Great Treasure
- Don't be afraid to talk about money, everyone else is. Jesus did often.
- Jesus comes as the greatest economist and investment strategist ever
- He says shift your investments to Heaven
- Jesus sets us free from the anxiety and fear of money -- having it or not having it
- You cannot lose with this perspective