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Keys of the Kingdom - Part 2

Scripture: Luke 14:33, Hebrews 11:24-27, Deuteronomy 34:10-12
Unless we forsake all, we cannot follow Christ. Moses was a Bible character who gave up personal comfort, wealth, and great prestige to follow the Lord.
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In our last broadcast we faced up to the startling fact that the road to Heaven is not a soft, convenient path of personal comfort and pleasure. I'd like to pursue that thought a bit further today in an effort to get a proper balance of understanding on this subject.

It is unquestionably true that Jesus laid it squarely on the line when He said in Luke 14:33, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath he cannot be my disciple."

In our last broadcast we read about the experience of Moses, who was the crowned prince of the mighty nation of Egypt. In one of the most dramatic decisions of history he renounced a kingdom, with its riches and luxury, to suffer reproach and persecution. Here's the whole story in a few verses in Hebrews 11:24-27. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward."

Now friends, let us never deceive ourselves; If we decide to be a Christian let's recognize that there are going to be some difficulties along the way. It's not easy. There are moments of discouragement. There will be heartache, disappointment sometimes with the people of God. Sometimes God's people will do wrong things as the children of Israel did back there, and we'll be disappointed even in the church, just like Moses was with God's church back there, they weren't all that they ought to have been. They made many mistakes. Yes, there are going to be trials if we decide to be one of God's children.

But listen, let's take a second look. Let's realize that forsaking treasure, pleasure and sin, accepting the hardships in the Christian life, is not the whole story Thank God for that! Some people think it is. That's all they talk about, always sorrowful and sad, and they think that they have really made a great sacrifice to live for the Lord.

Well, maybe we have made a lot of sacrifices, but forget the other side of the story. We need to take a second look. We need to turn the coin over and realize that there's something else. That is what it says in verse 26: "Moses had respect to the recompense of reward." Another translation says "He looked to the reward."

Moses realized that on the opposite side of these sacrifices, there was something to be treasured, something worthwhile. He realized that sin isn't an unmingled joy. Sin also has it's troubles and trials, never forget it! Sin is not a bed of roses. "The way of a transgressor is hard", the Bible says. And sin leaves it's remorse, it leaves it's sorrow, it's shame, it's hangover. Those who are following the pathway of sin and drinking at the cup of worldly pleasure are also tasting it's bitterness. Sin has it's regret and more than that, thank God, righteousness has it's bitterness. That's the other side of the coin. There is the recompense of reward, both here on this earth and in the life to come. We need to look twice. We need to take that second look and realize that as the Bible promises, there is "joy unspeakable and full of glory" for the Christian. There is a "peace that passes understanding." There is better health, there is more vigor and vitality. There is a deep satisfaction, a sense of well-being that you just can't find following the pleasure of sin. There is that peace within, when you know you are doing God's will.

Yes, this is the other part of being a Christian. And then, besides that, this life brings some real treasures we could never hope to find if we followed the way of sin.

Think of Moses again. What was his reward? How would you like to have been God's man for that hour? Think what it would have been. To have the thrill in your heart as God tells you, as the leader of His people, to stretch out your rod over the sea and then to watch that sea open up and make a way of dry ground upon which the children of Israel might escape from their enemy! And then once on the other side to have God tell you to stretch your rod out over the sea and watch the sea come back together again and destroy the enemy. Then out in the desert a few days and the crowd is hungry and thirsty and they see palm trees in the distance and get all excited. They are coming to an oasis. There is going to be water. And they rush up to the spring only to find out that the water is bitter and they can't drink it. Then to have God tell you what to do to make it sweet and satisfying. Then they get thirsty again further out into the desert and there is no oasis, even with bitter water! So, God tells you to strike a rock, just a bare old dry rock and out of it pours forth a spring of water to quench the thirst of the multitude!

Yes, it would be a thrill wouldn't it to think of the experience that came to Moses as he put the serpent on the pole so that those who looked might live and be delivered from the fiery serpents of the desert. To be the one whose hands had to be held up in order that Israel's armies might conquer in the valley of Rephidim. If his hands dropped they lost the battle, but if his hands were upheld, then the battle was won. God's man for the hour! What a thrill it must have been!

Then I think of that experience which came to Moses which I suppose was the very pinnacle of his career. It came on top of old Mt. Sinai where Moses took two tables of stone, and imagine it if you can, what it must have been like to reach up through the thick darkness of a cloud with those stones and feel God's hand take hold of the stones, the Creator of the universe! Then after writing on them with his finger, to reach up into the cloud again and feel the hand of God place those stones back in your hands! Oh, I say I don't think that an ecstasy equal to that has come to any other soul on the face of the earth! Then he bowed down in the cleft of the rock to see the glory of the Lord pass before him and be so filled with the glory of God that when he came from the mountain the people could not even look into his face for the shining brightness of his glory and had to ask him to put a veil over his face so that they could talk to him. God's man! Then to be privileged to view the promised land from Pisgah's height.

Then to lay down and die on Mt. Nebo and heaven took care of the funeral arrangements. Deuteronomy 34:6. No other man had such a glorious privilege even in death. Then to be resurrected by a special resurrection, (as we understand Moses was from the book of Jude), taken to heaven by God to be a symbol of those who would raise from their dusty beds in the last great day. "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand and in all the great terror which Moses showed in the sight of all Israel." Deuteronomy 34:10-12.

Ah, dear friend, Moses has had a tremendous experience and a wonderful reward for making the choice he made. But, that's not the end of the story. These old mummified Pharaohs of Egypt are all still in existence today. They are stored in the mummy room at the Cairo Museum. I was fortunate enough to be able to go into that room. It was a real privilege to see those mummies and to take their pictures. To look into the face of the very mummy that took Moses' place. To look into the face of the mummy that defied Moses as God's man, during the plagues. It was an experience I'll never forget.

One of those mummys was shipped over to England. It was in the British Museum for some while and it had to be shipped to Germany for an exhibit there. They got it all ready to ship, they fixed it all very carefully in a box and padded it so that it wouldn't be harmed and took it down to the wharf to ship it across the English Channel.

They couldn't decide how to identify the box, and according to British shipping law there had to be marked on the bill of landing a certain category on a printed check list. It had to be marked within one of those general categories or it couldn't be shipped. That was the policy! And the box with the mummy was delayed for several days because they couldn't decide how to ship it. There was no category there for an ‘Egyptian Mummy'. There were places for nails, hardware, textiles, lumber, paint and all kinds of things, but no place for mummies. The dockworkers would not accept it until it was marked with some general category. Finally, they had a committee meeting and decided to mark it the nearest category to what it was, Dried Fish! So, they shipped that old mummy across the English Channel marked "Dried Fish". Yes, Moses might have been a famous mummy like that! But he was in heaven with God.

Ah, you say, "Sure, Moses made a wonderful choice, he chose the right thing and I would make the same ... ," now just a minute. Would you really?

Well, you say, "Sure if I'd been in Moses place I would have made the same choice. If you'd been in Moses place you would have had it even more difficult than you have it now to make the same kind of choice. Because you see, we look back on it, but Moses didn't know how it was going to turn out! Moses knew only that he was leaving the power and wealth, the pleasures and treasures of Egypt. That's all he knew. He knew only that he was accepting a place with God's people as a slave, a servant despised, hated, trials, heartaches, that's all he knew. He couldn't see the end from the beginning. No wonder the Bible says, and I want you to notice it: "By faith Moses when he was grown up refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter". He made that decision not because he knew what would come, not because he understood how his life would be lived, or the reward he would have. He made that choice, by faith. He made it because he believed God. He believed that God loved him. He believed that God's way was best. He made the choice by faith. He accepted it because he was willing to trust God with his life, not knowing the end from the beginning. Like Abraham who went out of Ur of the Chaldees not knowing where he was going, the Bible ways, but he obeyed God by faith. Faith is the first key of the kingdom.

Friend, let me just say this today; that if any soul ever gets into the kingdom of God it will be because he is willing to walk that pathway by faith. "Without faith it is impossible to please him," the Bible says. We walk not by sight, but we walk by faith and if we ever decide to love, serve and obey God, it will be because we do it believing in Him, not because we know what tomorrow will bring, not because we know we won't lose our job or that it will be easy for us, or our friends and family will approve. We must be willing, if need be, to sacrifice all for the Lord Jesus. But we must also believe that God has our best interest at heart, that he loves us, that it will be well with our soul if we make that choice. It's a choice of faith and faith alone. If you or I walk through the pearly gates of glory it will be because we believe God and were willing to cast our all upon Him, entrust our life into His hands.

Now second, notice what it says in verse 25: "Choosing rather ... ." This is the word that somehow I wish I could burn in letters of fire upon your consciousness, that it might never be forgotten. "By faith Moses chose ... ." That is the key word in this whole story. By faith Moses made a choice. He believed God. He weighed the consequences, he looked at both sides of the whole thing and then Moses chose, he decided, he accepted, he resolved and purposed the direction of his life, he stepped over on God's side. These two words of destiny are the "Keys to the Kingdom": I choose, by faith. Faith must trust in God and lead us to choose the way to life. O, how many souls are going to go down into perdition, into absolute damnation because they simply drifted, they never made a choice, they never decided to go all the way with God. Dear friend of mine, you will never go through God's gate to heaven unless you make a choice, unless you decide, unless you purpose in your heart which way you are going to go. You can't drift or coast into heaven. You can drift down the way that leads to damnation, that's the broad way that leads to destruction. But if we get into God's kingdom, we've got to turn our faces, like the Bible says, "as a flint for the kingdom of God." We must be willing to give all to the Savior, we've got to say ‘I will, I choose!' The spineless, flabby, willynilly attitude of so many souls today who say: "Well, I know what's right, , I don't know, I just can't seem to make up my mind."

Bless your heart, if you can't make up your mind, Satan will make it up for you! We can go to hell by default, but you will never get to heaven that way. If we get to heaven it will be because we weighed the consequences, we believed in God and by faith we chose to serve Him, to obey Him, to walk His way, to join with His remnant people, to stand on the side of right. We must act.

God has put a king on the throne of your heart, it is your will, your choice, your right to purpose for your own soul for time and for eternity. And even God will not violate the sacred trust that He has given to you. Even God, as much as he loves you and would like to see you saved, will not force you to choose the right way, nor push you, to plead with you, to beseech you to go the right way, but you must decide, nobody else can. Therein lies the secret of eternal life, if you will. The Bible says, "Whosoever will may come", but you must will, you must choose. It's the only way into the kingdom of God.

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