Do You Have a Will?
How many of you have made out a “Will”? Everyone really should have a “Will” so that we’re sure, that whatever we own, will go to the right people. Your “Will” is really your “desire”. Your “Will” is a statement of your desires, concerning what happens to your belongings, when you’re gone. It’s my “will”, or my “desire”, that my money goes here, and my property goes there, and so forth. Most people would usually, gladly accept something that is willed to them. But you can’t be forced to accept anything. You always have the right to refuse to accept what’s been left to you.
Maybe someone would leave you a house, but it might be in such run down condition, and the taxes might be so high on the property, that you just can’t afford to own it, and so you’d have to refuse to accept it. Or maybe someone might leave a niece or nephew, or a grandchild, $20,000. But then they add a condition to the inheritance. They might stipulate that the child has to graduate from college before they can receive the money. Well, maybe that person doesn’t want to go to college. Maybe it’s an older child, who’s found a way to make plenty of money without going to college. Giving up what they have wouldn’t be worth the promise of the $20,000.
Here’s something to think about.. What if some heathen atheist, the black sheep of the family, left you $20,000, but you had to give up your Christianity to receive it? Would it be worth it? I hope you’re saying to yourself; Of course it wouldn’t be worth it. But, what if that heathen atheist, left you 20 million dollars? Now would it be worth it? Or would you have to think about that a while?
“What would it profit a man, if he gained the whole world, and suffered the loss of his own soul? Or what would a man give, in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36 & 37. That’s what Jesus wants to know. What if you HAD the whole world, or even a portion of it? Would you give it up, in exchange for eternal life?
What would it profit a man, if he suffered the loss of his own soul? Some versions of the bible simply say; “..If he loses his own soul”. Other versions say; “..If he forfeits his own soul”. But the true meaning of the word translated “loss” or “forfeit”, actually carries with it the notion of suffering. There is great suffering connected with losing your soul. That’s why the bible says; “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Luke 13:28.
There is NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING in this world, that is worth suffering the loss of your soul.
Now, let’s talk about the idea of a “Will” again. I’ve seen copies of the new testament, that have these words on one of the very first pages; “The Last Will and Testament of Jesus Christ”. I don’t know if you’ve seen that before, but when you hold a copy of the new testament in your hand, you are holding the last “Will” of God.
The words, “Will”, and “testament”, and “covenant”, all really mean the same thing.
god wants to distribute His great wealth, and the new testament tells us how to become one of His heirs. And remember, someone had to die, for this “last Will” to go into effect. Listen to what it says in Hebrews 9, verse 16 & 17; “For where a testament is, there must of necessity, be the death of the testator. For a testament is only valid when men are dead, for it is never in force while the testator lives.”
You get the picture don’t you? Jesus Christ, who Himself is God, is the testator of the new “will” of God. But this “will”, was not in force, until Jesus died. But when Jesus died, then God’s last Will could be executed. In other words, God’s riches could then be “inherited”. Now, how rich is God? God’s pretty wealthy isn’t He? God is the owner of everything!
Here’s a scripture that I like, Psalm 50, verses 10 & 11; “For every beast of the forest is Mine. The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.” In verse 12, it says; “For the world is Mine, and all it contains.”
That’s a lot of stuff that God owns. But you know what? ALL of that, is trivial, compared to what else God owns. God owns eternal life, and all the riches of heaven. Think about that for a minute. Think about the world, and all it contains, and then think about heaven, and all IT contains.
You can picture the world, and even everything in it. You can even picture the universe, and even neighboring universes. But you know what you can’t have a true picture of? Heaven! How can we picture, heaven, and all the wealth that it holds?
Now think about this. Even though God owns the world and everything in it, that’s NOT what he has “willed” to us. Do you know WHY He hasn’t willed that to us? It’s because of what it says in 2 Peter 3, verse 10; “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens (that’s the physical heavens) will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat. and the earth and all it’s works will be burned up.”
God wouldn’t leave you anything that’s going to destroyed! There’s a verse in Mathew chapter 5, where Jesus says; “Blessed are the meek (or, the humble) for they shall inherit the earth.” Mathew 5, verse 5. How should we understand that verse? We know that we won’t literally inherit the physical earth, no Christian ever has. So then, we know that this verse must have a figurative meaning.
When Israel was blessed by God, how did He immediately bless them? He blessed them physically didn’t He? He specifically blessed them with the promised land of Canaan, and with the fruits of the land. Israel literally, “inherited the earth”. Not the whole earth, but they literally inherited their very own portion of the earth, filled with God’s blessings. Exodus 3:17 says it was a land “flowing with milk and honey”. And of course “flowing with milk and honey” is in itself, a metaphor, meaning that in that land, God’s blessings would be abundant.
God told Israel, in Leviticus 25:18 & 19; “You shall observe My statutes, and keep My judgments, so as to carry them out, that you may live securely on the land. Then the land will yield it’s produce, so that you can eat your fill, and live securely on it.”
In essence, that was God’s “will and testament” with Israel. But this “will and testament”, had certain conditions attached to it. The conditions were, “You shall observe My statutes, and keep My judgments.” That’s like saying; You shall keep my commandments. And if you DO keep my commandments, then you’ll receive the inheritance.
Numbers 33, verse 54 says; “And you shall inherit the land by lot, according to your families..” The phrase, “by lot”, doesn’t mean by the roll of the dice, or by chance. It means by “allotment”. God “allotted” some land to this tribe, and some to that tribe, and so on. But as I said; We know that Christians won’t literally inherit the earth, like Israel did.
But in Mathew 5, verse 5, while Jesus is delivering “the sermon on the mount”, He uses a phrase that’s very well-known to them.. “..They shall inherit the earth”. But Jesus uses that phrase metaphorically, to mean.. “They shall inherit the blessings of God”.
“Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the blessings of God, which shall flow unto them like milk and honey.” If we will clothe ourselves with the humility that it takes, to observe God’s statutes, and keep His judgments”, then we will inherit blessings so great, that we can’t even imagine the extent.
The last will and testament of Jesus Christ, is very much like the previous will and testament, governing Israel’s inheritance. God is ready and willing to disperse His limitless riches upon us, but it’s conditional. God says; “You shall observe My statutes, and keep My judgments.” It says in Hebrews 5, verse 9, speaking of Jesus; “He became the author of salvation (that’s the inheritance) to all those who obey Him.”
And God isn’t asking us to obey a bunch of weird things. He isn’t asking for anything too difficult. One time a Jewish man, an expert in the law, asked Jesus; “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 10, verse 25. And Jesus said, in verse 26; “What is written in the law? How does it read to you?
And the man answered in verse 27; “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might; And your neighbor as thyself.” And that man was entirely correct. Those are the conditions, to inheriting eternal life. The conditions are.. “love”, that’s all. Is that too difficult?
It’s God’s will, that we must learn to love, so that we can inherit eternal life. Listen to the words of the apostle John, in 1 John 4, verses 7 thru 11;
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves, is born of God, and knows God. The one who does not love, does not know God, for God is love.”
“By this, the love of God was manifested in us; That God has sent His only begotten Son, into the world, so that we might live through Him. In THIS is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Listen please.. You can not live a life, all to yourself, and still be a Christian, because you can’t manifest love, all by yourself. God’s love was manifested in US, by the giving of Jesus Christ. How is your love manifested? Is it manifested by keeping to yourself, and not getting involved? No, it can’t be, because the only way for your love to be manifested at all, is for you to GIVE your love, to someone else. To manifest something, is to make it clear and visible. To manifest something, is to demonstrate, and display it.
That’s why Romans 5, verse 8 says; “But God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Verse 10 says; “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be SAVED by His life.”
We were reconciled by His death, but we’re SAVED by His life! That’s the demonstration of love! He gave His life to save us. Sometimes we barely have enough time to demonstrate our love for our own brothers and sisters. But God had time for us, even when we we’re sinners. And He demonstrated it.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” When I said that sometimes, we barely have time to love our brothers and sisters, I didn’t mean that we don’t love one another. We DO love one another, and we do demonstrate it. YOU demonstrate it. I just want to encourage us all to love even more, because that’s what God wants us to do. And our love for one another, and for God Himself, is one of the conditions, that we must meet, in order for us to receive our inheritance.
Since it’s so critical for us to learn to love, and since it’s a condition that MUST be met, I just want to take a few minutes to remind us of what this love really is. God doesn’t require us to love one another, and then leave us in the dark as to what that means. And so God details what it means, in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. In the first three verses of the chapter, God reminds again of just how important this thing called “love” is.
Here’s what He says in verse 1; “If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong, or a clanging cymbal.” In other words, even if you could miraculously speak in tongues, even the “tongues” of angels, it won’t save you. It wouldn’t give you an inheritance.
Verse 2; “And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains (that’s a lot of faith!) but do not have love, I am nothing!” You can have all that, but without love, it amounts to nothing.
Verse 3; “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned (in other words, if I sacrifice my body) but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” Isn’t that incredible? You can sacrifice all your possessions, and even sacrifice your body, but if you don’t demonstrate love in your heart, there’s no profit.. No inheritance.
Love is pretty important isn’t it? Now, here’s what love is, and what love isn’t..
Verses 4 thru 7; “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous. Love does not brag, and is not arrogant, it does not act unbecomingly. It does not seek it’s own (in other words, if you have love, you won’t demand your own way) Love is not provoked, does not take into account, a wrong suffered.. (has someone ever done something wrong to you? Love allows you to forgive)
Love.. “Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things..” Now there’s an interesting little word.. “bear”. You’d know what I meant if I said; I can’t bear it anymore”, right? But listen to the origin of the word “bear”. It means.. “to cover up, or to conceal”. Properly, it means.. “to place under a covering”.
As it’s used here in this verse, it means.. “to endure because we’re shielded, by the Lord’s protection”. In other words, one facet of love, is that we willingly, and quietly, bear up under all situations, because God’s love, covers us and protects us, and sees us through. I think that’s a wonderful thought. And it’s not just a thought, it’s God’s word!
Listen to the rest of verse 7; “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Everything mentioned here in this verse, works together, not separately. If we truly love, we will bear up under all things, because we trust in the protection of God. And we trust in His protection, because we believe all things that His word tells us. And because we believe, and because we trust, we therefore hope for all things that God has promised to give us. And with our hope fixed on our eternal inheritance, we are able to endure all that this life sets before us.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” And verse 8 says; “Love never fails..” And I’ll end this lesson with that thought.. “Love never fails”.
And that’s also the perfect thought to begin your week with. Let’s begin our week, with the thought, and with the determination, that our love will never fail, and that we’ll demonstrate it, every day.
Jesus said, in John 14, verse 15; “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
That means you’ll hear His word and continually believe His word, and DO what His word says. You’ll continually repent of your sins, confessing your faith in Him. And then, after being baptized once, for the forgiveness of your sins, you’ll remain faithful unto death. Then the inheritance will be yours. An eternal inheritance, that you can’t even imagine the extent of.