The Tree of Death
Dear Brothers and Friends
There are two kingdoms in conflict. God’s kingdom and the world’s kingdom.
The underlying philosophy of the world’s kingdom is humanism—given the right circumstances man can solve his problems without God. And underlying this is the belief that man is basically good.
Whereas God says the basic problem is that God is righteous and man has become hopelessly corrupt at his core.
The conflict between these two kingdoms is easily seen in the Ten Commandments.
Thou shalt not lie—the world lies to gain advantage. Look at politics, look at the breaking of mortgage agreements simply in many cases because it doesn’t benefit the borrower. What about you, have you ever told a lie to gain what you thought was an advantage.
Thou shalt not steal—stealing of time and money from God, our families, our employers and others to spend on what benefits us.
Thou shalt not commit adultery—The Bible defines any sex outside of marriage as adultery. The world promotes every kind of sex except that within the legitimate marriage between a man and woman. Again what brings me pleasure is most important.
Thou shalt not murder—Jesus defines anger at someone as murdering them in your heart. Yet how often do we think nothing of becoming angry at those close to us who love us.
Thou shalt honor your father and mother—the world represents parents and authority as clueless as to the needs of the younger generation and thus to be ignored and disobeyed.
Thou shalt not covet—yet the world teaches us to desire what we do not have by telling us that others have it and we should have it too.
Do not use the Lord’s name in vain—yet how often have you done this. Hollywood and TV shows make a point of teaching this by example.
Do not have any idols before God—anything in our lives that we have to take the place of God is an idol. How does the world teach you to spend your time? Computer games? Entertainment?
Has God changed your heart? How do you spend your time, your money, your energy? The answer to this question will tell you what you value most in life. Unless God is the center of your life you are in sin (Matthew 22:37-38). “The wages of sin is death…” The breaking of any one of the Ten Commandment is eternal death. “…but the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23).
My sheep listen to my voice (John 10:27). Here we see the call of Jesus to His sheep. This calling is pure grace, none of us has any merit to deserve being called by Christ (Eph. 2:8, 9). But what does He call us to? The answer is in the second part of the verse. We are called to follow Christ (John 10:27b, see Eph. 2:10).
To follow Christ is to be called to discipleship. If there is no discipleship there is no following Christ. If we don’t follow Christ we are not His; we have not heard His call (vs. 26 of John 10). If we truly believe we are going to act on that belief. This is why Jesus says the Kingdom of God is forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.
Yes the call is pure grace, but the following of Christ which follows directly from the call will cost you everything (Luke 9:23-25, 10:21, 12:8, 14:26-35; Matt. 7:21-23, 10:38, 16:24-26; Mark 8:34-37), because God is calling you to leave the kingdom of this world which is perishing, and live for God’s kingdom which is forcefully advancing by the power of God in opposition to the world. “Repent (turn from sin) and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). “Come follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Look at the response in verse 18. Let this be your response to the gospel of Jesus.