Serving God is in one respect like any other investment in life. Some gain, some loss. But Jesus has assured us that when we are giving up here to be followers of Christ, we will gain far more than we lose. In fact, as Jesus said it, when we lose we GAIN.
Let’s read it from Luke’s gospel.
Luke 9:23–24 23Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
Of course we think of the GAIN in terms of ETERNITY. But there are immediate benefits too, as Jesus told Peter. You remember the question Peter asked. And Jesus answered.
Matthew 19:27–29 27Then Peter … said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” 28So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, … 29everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
A hundredfold now. What is included in that hundredfold bundle? Let’s think about 4 different freedoms.
1- Freedom from WANT
2- Freedom from WORRY
3- Freedom from STRIFE
4- Freedom from FEAR
What underlies each of these freedoms we get now?
1- FREEDOM from WANT
The Result: CONTENTMENT.
Where is the promise?
Psalm 37:25 25I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.
David said it again:
Psalm 34:9–10 9Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. 10The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
A “want” is a scarcity of something vital, not a whim or notion.
The promise is that there will be no serious NEED, nothing vital lacking to those who belong to God. Does this seem selfish when there is so much deep need in the world? Remember this is God’s promise, part of the incentive He offers.
As always there are limiting conditions. What are they?
The promise is to those who 1) “fear the Lord,” and those who 2) “seek the Lord.”
Being free from WANT, Paul said he had learned to be CONTENT.
Philippians 4:11–12 11Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Paul said it yet again:
Philippians 4:19 19And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
He will supply “all your need”—this does not mean that we do not work and economize. We must do our part. We can’t ask God to do what He has given us the resources and ability to do for ourselves. But He will supply where we cannot.
The 100fold blessing is freedom from WANT, and the result will be: CONTENTMENT.
1 Timothy 6:6–8 6Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
Paul certainly knew the secret of contentment.
Now a second freedom that comes with the 100fold:
2- FREEDOM from WORRY.
The Result: REST
People all over are worried – what about tomorrow? What will there be with covid-19, and their finances, their children and their plans for them?
If we are seeking and serving God, if our heart is set on His Kingdom, we have no reason to worry. Jesus put it in simplest terms:
Matthew 6:31 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Not that we should live carelessly or without thought for our future needs, but “take no anxious thought.” Let us read the whole passage:
Matthew 6:31–33 31“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
No need to be anxious and worried if we are seeking first the Kingdom of God and righteousness. God knows our this-world needs.
The RESULT will be REST instead of endless striving for more and more of this world. We don’t need more pleasure, more money, more position, more goals in this world. If our goal is the Kingdom, we don’t have these perceived “needs” that give most people their meaning in life. Paul’s goal was different. As he said,
Philippians 3:13–14 13…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul had the goals of this world “in a bag,” so to speak when Christ called him. He had attained, and at an early age. But he left it all behind for the far GREATER goal Christ set before Him. He said:
Philippians 3:11 11if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
The resurrection of the dead – future life – something his Jewish achievements could not give him.
Then, a third freedom in the 100fold:
3- FREEDOM from STRIFE
The Result: PEACE
Here is the key to working together happily and in a Christ-like spirit: letting go the old “ego” we all come with.
Philippians 2:3 3Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
It was everyone’s problem, then and now. Paul said it again to the Galatians:
Galatians 5:25–26 25If we live in the [Christ-like] Spirit, let us also walk in the [Christ-like] Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
How different the spirit of Christ from our natural instinct to boost ourselves!
Think about it: What do we have anyway that is not God’s? Paul said it well:
1 Corinthians 4:7 7For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
Holding onto our ego makes us prone to strife, contention, bitterness, envy, jealousy – don’t they go together? And all take down the INSIDE PEACE we could enjoy.
Christ-like living is FREEDOM from STRIFE. Freedom to use what God has given us in His cause and for His glory.
No need to feel “above” anyone because of what we might have achieved or attained in this world.
No need to compare with anyone else because we are only using what GOD gave us. Who gets the credit for what we do? It doesn’t matter because it is all God’s anyway.
No need to put ourselves up or anyone else down, because God will make out the payroll when the time is right.
As Paul said,
Romans 12:3 3For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
This leaves no room for strife or contention, or any feeling of “I’m telling YOU what you ought to do.”
No need for anything but love and kindness and understanding.
And then, what PEACE!
Then there is a fourth freedom in the 100fold bundle now:
4- FREEDOM from FEAR
The Result: Expectant HOPE
Our world is filled with fear: fear of the pandemic, fear of war, fear of the political situation, fear of the world picture, fear of the unknown.
Can we really let all that fear go? Can we really live FREE from FEAR?
The answer is YES! because we know, absolutely KNOW that GOD our Great Almighty CREATOR is in control. The problems are too big for us—or any man or agent of man—to handle. And God is working steadily to bring HEAVEN to EARTH, and setup the KINGDOM He has planned. When the time is right, it WILL come as He has promised.
The KINGDOM is the subject of His WORD from GENESIS to REVELATION!! It is all about preparing PEOPLE for that Kingdom!
Yes, that KINGDOM will be! It was His plan from the beginning. Hear again God’s prophet:
Isaiah 45:17–18 17But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. 18For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, He created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.
Daniel 7:27 27Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’
This is the HOPE that sustains us, expectant HOPE in place of fear, HOPE that keeps us looking forward to the REALITY that will soon be here, when The Lord’s Prayer will be fulfilled:
Matthew 6:10 10Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
So we have four freedoms to enjoy in the 100fold bundle, until… until we see and, if faithful, will be privileged to experience the full glory of ETERNAL LIFE in Christ’s heavenly kingdom on earth!