Truth Matters Newsletters – October 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 10 – It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This – Rev. Robert Liichow
Discernment Ministries International
It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This
By Rev. Robert Liichow
Picture four men sitting around the camp fire, it is night time and one man looks at his three friends and as he opens his beer he says “it doesn’t get any better than this” the other three wags nod their heads in sage agreement. This statement has been echoing around my head for several years now since hearing that commercial and I am stunned by the profound truth uttered by the domestic beer drinker.
As with everything else, the world only got part of the message “right” while missing the deep spiritual lesson beginning to be taught by that statement. Here are the FACTS: For the person who does not know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior (i.e. the person who is not trusting in Christ’s work on the cross alone for their salvation) then this “life” does not get any better for the Christless. The FACT is that this life and all its pleasures and joys (1) are as close to heaven as the sinner will experience. (2)
One of the world’s motto is “eat and drink for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor. 15:32) which ought to be a sobering message to the worldling but they pay little heed to the potentiality of an eternal hell. Since it does not get any better than this, it makes perfect sense to live in the moment with no thought to eternity and to strive to grab all the “gusto” one can out of these fleeting days. At the end of their short lives they grieve over the reality of the dreaded “double yes” — “yes” they are really going to die and “yes” they did not die with the most toys (remember another goal in life is to die with the most toys). Yes my friends, for the lost this is as good as it gets; this is as close to heaven as they will experience.
However, what can we say of the Christian? Like most things, our worldview is the mirror opposite of this worlds (cosmos, this fallen system of things). For the believer in Jesus, this world is as close to hell as we will ever experience. Through the ongoing process of experiential (3) sanctification the Christian begins to rightly view the world and respond to its myriad temptations with increasing victory as they grow in grace.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17
When understood properly all of the shiny sparkling baubles and other material gods the greedy worship become laughable! No matter how much they amass, in the end they leave it to others (Psalm 49:10). All any of us “take” from this life is our deeds. All of the deeds (actions or inactions) fall into two basic categories. Either we are producing works of the flesh (evil works) or works of the spirit (good works).
If any man builds on this foundation using god, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15
Everything in the fallen cosmos is aligned against God and His people, it has always been this way from the beginning. Do not be deceived everything that surrounds us can either be put into three categories (1) the lust of the flesh, (2) the lust of the eyes and (3) the pride of life. Naturally there is a merging and blending of all three that Satan seems to have almost perfected in 6,000 years. The Spirit of Grace makes it abundantly evident through the Apostle John that any of these three arenas which comprise this cosmos is not of the Father period. Those who love this world system DO NOT and CANNOT also love God. Jesus taught us that no man can serve two masters. He will love one and hate the other (see Matthew 6:24). What matters most in a person’s life pinpoints where they are regarding their love for God or the world.
As we mature in our walk of faith we begin to “wear” this world as a very loose garment. This means we properly understand the role of things in our lives. Life becomes focused as we renew our minds in and by the hearing and study of God’s Word (Rom. 10:17, 12:1-3) and we see properly that things are to be used and people loved — NOT the loving of things and using of people! This world’s people are caught up in the attaining of stuff and more bigger, faster, shinier, roomier stuff. Sadly, virtually the entire world views itself through the lens of what they have or do not have, because they believe this is as good as it gets, they spend their lives on a treadmill trying to get the goods the world says they need to have in order to be someone of worth. The Apostle Paul gives us the correct perspective on how to handle stuff:
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Philippians 4:12
Paul knew that godliness with contentment was GREAT GAIN (see 1 Timothy 6:6) whether he had a lot or a little, the Apostle Paul was content knowing that eternity lay before him and that he was in a race for a prize, what he calls “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” in Philippians 3:14.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown (“stuff”); but we an incorruptible (results of fruit of the spirit). I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9:24
Paul knew the seriousness of life, of the reality that every day he was a step closer to the grave and eternity. He understood that time was an un-renewable resource and that we either use it wisely or unwisely. This fact remains: you can never turn back the clock. So while we sojourn through this fallen world we are to in such a manner that we are seen by the world as harmless, blameless, without rebuke (Philippians 2:15). Where they are darkness, because of our new birth into Christ we are now shining as lights in the world, we are now a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14) and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).
This cosmos is not our home, we are indeed strangers and pilgrims in a hostile land. Peter calls God’s elect “strangers in the world” ( 1 Peter 1:1) and by God’s grace we should all be striving to experience daily the reality of being “in the world, but not of it.” All of Christ’s ministers should be able to say with the Apostle Paul:
Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. 2 Corinthians 1:12
My dear friends in Christ, rest assured that it does get so much better than the very zenith of fulfillment the world offers. What God has provided for us as His children is as vast as eternity is long and deeper than the bottomless pit.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2
But now they desire a better country, that is , an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16
There is both a city and a specific place (not a literal mansion) in that city prepared for each one of us. Frankly, I would much rather live for that city and that place than strive to attain great wealth, status or fame in this life. I like the way the author of Hebrews put it when he states “of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:28) referring to those who lived in caves, imprisoned and were destitute and many martyred.
Too many Christians are wasting their precious time striving after things which do not ultimately satisfy. This is evident by the huge popularity of certain SINisters and the non-Gospel message they proclaim. None of these leaders nor their followers understand really what this life is all about. It is not about living in gated communities, driving a Rolls Royce, owning a private jet, having tens of thousands follow your every word. A truly satisfying life is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. True meaning comes from using your gifts and talents to expand the Kingdom of God within your calling in life.
Contentment comes when we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Naturally the false teachers and blind guides claim this is how they got so wealthy, they sought the kingdom “first.” (4) Of what does His kingdom consist? Simply this —
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” (1 Corinthians 4:20).
Although the effects of God’s kingdom can and should be experienced now in this life, what comprises this kingdom is physically intangible. God’s kingdom does not consist of material things (what we eat or drink) but of the spiritual graces of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit given by God through Christ Jesus. Jesus simply stated to Pilate, knowing He faced death that “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Since the servant is not greater than his Master (John 13:`16) It would behoove us to consider this world from our Lord’s perspective — Jesus goes on to say “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17)
Take some time to examine your life. Are you striving to get more stuff at the detriment of what truly is of value? Are you one of those people who sits back at ease and says it doesn’t get any better than this? Or is your soul righteously vexed at the sin and degradation around you (2 Peter 2:8) as was Lot? Or are you at ease in Zion, satisfied with your station in life and walk with God? I am not your judge, but I know that I catch myself at times becoming hardened to the sin and iniquity that abounds around me. The world is very seductive and if we let our spiritual guard down we too easily find ourselves entangled in worldly affairs which is why Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.” My goal in life is simply this—to please my Lord Jesus Christ, The Lion of Judah and King Supreme and then at the end of this life to hear from His lips “well done thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21) as I step into life fully realized!
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9 ♦
Copyright ©2010 Robert S. Liichow
1. When this life is over the ungodly will sadly learn that all the “joy” and fulfillment they experienced in life came via the common grace of God and was not a result of their own abilities or talents (all of which came from God).
2. Ok, ok for those “sticklers” and I am one of them, the sinner will get a glimpse into heaven when he/she stands at the Great White Throne and faces justice meted out by the hands of an angry God. It seems that the unbeliever will see some of heaven as the last thing they see before being cast into hell.
3. Experiential as opposed to positional. We are holy and righteous in Christ, but our “experience” of what Christ won for us through His death, burial, and resurrection will develop in us as fruit ripens on a healthy tree.
4. Actually they built their own kingdoms based on the lust of men’s appetites and the pleasing of these peoples itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3). They got wealthy via huge mailing lists, cronyism, lies and unfulfilled promises.