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What do these things have in common? Toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, fishing line, chewing gum and crayons? The answer is Cows. Yes, today every part of the cow can be used for many things like these everyday products.
Even cow dung has value to some. If you have cows or know a farmer with cows you can collect dried cow patties and sell them on line for over a dollar a pound.
People can cash in the value of cows and even cow patties and use that money for their own selfish interest or for Gods glory.
In our text for today, we will find out what is and what is not considered valuable to the Apostle Paul.
In Acts 20 this is part of what Paul said to the elders from Ephesus who came to see him off from Miletus on his journey to Jerusalem.
Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
First, what held no value to Paul?
His own life… his time, his looks and even his health… these were not considered valuable for himself.
And of course what held value for Paul was the Lord Jesus and his mission to share the Gospel.
How do we know his words were not a lie? We know that for the Gospel he was beaten, stoned, left for dead, put in prison… he suffered in hunger, nakedness, cold… snake bitten… shipwrecked… and more. He put himself at risk over and over for the Gospels sake.
Paul uses the word "precious". In the book and movie: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. There is a powerful ring of dark magic forged in the fires of wickedness that pulls on the souls of those who bear it the way a persons sweet secret sin might. It promises power and the fulfillment of desire. Those who carry it begin to catch themselves calling it “precious" and at first and it shocks them into seeing what they are becoming but before long it’s glory begins changing their heart and even their physical appearance.
Did you know that based on what we call precious we can know our future to some extent?
The reason is because the things we ascribe value to transform us.
How do we treat the things that are precious to us? We look at them... we think about them and we want to get closer to them, we dwell on them... and they change us.
What are some things that you give value to?
Take pornography and lust for example. Many scientist's believe that consistently looking at images with excitable desire can cause people to form new sinues and pathways in the brain that can only be satisfied by those things... namely porn. And then more and more is needed to keep complacent. What is our future if we follow this path? Porn has brought a horrible future to millions. Socially unstable relationships in almost every way. Broken marriages and families. Being a bad example for children leading them in a similar path. A life of mistreating woman. Child molestation… Prison...
How about shopping? Is that your treasure? Many people treat their own depression by shopping. Shopping give them a high and they need more and more to stay satisfied. Compulsive shopping creates money problems, bankruptcy, divorce and homelessness. Even prison as people must steal to satisfy this obsession.
Have you ever seen a movie where a man is kissing a beautiful girl but then he is given eyes to see and she is a horrific rotten corpse? That's similar to how our treasured sin deceives us. We take on the characteristics of the things we call precious and beautiful even when they are filthy sinful monsters posing as the things that can give us satisfaction.
If what we call precious is a harbinger of our future then what do you see as yours? A hobbit that has changed into a monster inside and out or someone transformed by the glory of God?
In our text Paul also said: Acts 20:24 ...if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Unlike the Blues Brothers, Paul actually was on a mission from God and as Christians so are we.
This mission of the Gospel of Gods grace is sharing how Jesus willingly laid down his life to pay the wages of our sins on the Cross that we might receive his righteousness and good standing with God.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus then overcame death and rose up from the grave. He will be beside us on Judgment day to defend us saying we have his righteousness because Jesus paid our debt. We will be given glorified bodies that are no longer under the curse of sin and death.
And even now we have the same power of God at work in us that raised up Jesus. This power of God is always accessible to us that sin might be overcome in our own daily lives here on earth. Again there is no need for sin to have dominion over us. We no longer call sin precious and let it transform our future because we love Jesus more than everything.
So what will your future look like? What do you look at and delight in? What is precious to you? We are being transformed as we look at our greatest treasure.
2nd Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
by Robin Aylor