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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cross Eyed

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Matthew 6:24
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Daily Scripture Reading - Matthew 25

Puritan Catechism
Question #50 - What is required in the fourth commandment?

Answer - The fourth commandment requires the keeping holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his Word, expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself (Lev. 19:30; Deut. 5:12).

Devotional Thoughts
It is often the simplest principles we find in the Scripture that are the most helpful to us in living the Christian life from day to day. These are things that should truly be obvious but we seem to miss them. Whether it is our being busy, our days being so positively full, our being overwhelmed by the stress that surrounds us, or our lack of faith, we seem very prone to miss the simple truths that God has for us.

One of those truths is the principle of stewardship. If we could only learn and if we would only remember that we are nothing more and nothing less than stewards. It is not a matter of stewards over what. We are just stewards. Nothing really belongs to us, but everything we “have” and everything we are is given as a trust - given to us to use as good stewards.

In these verses from Matthew 6 we have seen principles dealing with things from wealth to worry, and in the middle of it all we have seen the importance of having a good eye, an eye that is focused on Christ and on things eternal. As the title of today's devotional notes, we really should be focused upon Christ and His life and work, His sinless life, His substitutionary atoning death on the cross, and His resurrection. Above all of that too there is the matter of His Lordship.

And as we move through these verses we find in the middle that the real lesson here is not about things, it is about us. And it is about Lordship and Mastery. We are stewards of the grace of God. We are stewards of all that He gives us. And we must give an account to Him for the way in which we handle His provisions.

As I mention the term Lordship we need to understand that Jesus is Lord. We do not make Him Lord. Who do we think that we are, as if we could appoint Him to a position of sovereign ownership and control? He IS Lord. The question then is only a matter of stewardship. Are we obedient stewards, or rebellious stewards? He IS Lord. Do we obey Him?

The term Lord means Master. One who is in control. The authority belongs to the Master. The servant, the steward, the slave would never think to dictate to the Master or offer criticism to the Lord. No. Remembering their place they would simply bow to the Master and hope to be able to do His will for His pleasure.

Interestingly then we come to a verse that tells us, "No one can serve two masters." It is another simple principle. We can only serve one master at a time. We will be loyal to that master, and if another master vies for control, for loyalty, or for authority, then we will either love one and hate the other, or we will be loyal to one and forsake the other. There cannot be two masters!

As a side note, it is interesting then that the Church has One Lord, and in modeling His rule He has established that in the home their is one head - the husband. Not two in charge. One. One Lord. One Master. We cannot serve more than one at a time, plainly and simply. And in this context the choices are God or mammon. Mammon is a term for the things of this world, often used to denote money. Did you get that? It is impossible to serve God and anything else, especially the temporary things of this fallen world.

Why is that? Psalm 123:2 tells us:

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He has mercy on us.

We look to our Master. So where are we looking? As we have talked about the eyes, are we looking to others? To self? To sin? Or are we cross eyed? And now we see another simple truth. As we look to see who we serve, we must look at how we think, talk, and live. How do we make decisions? Does the way we live really say that Jesus is our Master and we are His obedient steward? Or are we ruled by the things of this world?

There are those who serve themselves. They think that they are their own lord. As it is put, some believe that they are the master of their own destiny. But then we must look back at previous lessons, where we have learned that we are never in charge. We are never the lord. We are not our own masters. Think about this. Jesus is Lord and so we either serve Him or we rebel against His rule. If we rebel, are we really in charge? Are we? Of course not. We are either slaves of righteousness or we are slaves of sin.

Who or what is in control? Who is the one master we serve? Are we controlled by our lust? By other people? Or by the Holy Spirit? We are learning that either the Spirit is in control, or sin is in control. One truth we must understand is that we are never in control! Self is never in charge, for we are living as a slave of unrighteousness and sin, or we are living as a slave of righteousness and of Christ.

As we live this life of stewardship, are we being good stewards? Are we loyal and loving and faithful to our Master, the Lord Jesus? Are we cross eyed? Because it is only as we fix our eyes firmly upon Him that we can run a good race, finish the course, and find the faith to overcome daily those things that would push us off course.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Heb 12:1-2

We do only have One Master. As faithful stewards then, are we serving Him?

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

The Sunday School Teacher - A Steward by Charles Spurgeon
Seeing the Authority of Jesus by John Stevenson

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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