Wealth and the Kingdom of God

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Matthew 19:23-24

These are the words of our Lord: Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. In recent years, on the contrary, a doctrine has been extended that seeks to disprove what is written in Matthew 19:23-24. Under the premise that we are children of the King of kings, the owner of gold and silver, we are preached that we are called to be prospered in the material. It is also preached that who is poor is because he lives in sin.

If Jesus Christ said that it is very difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, we need to pay close attention to His words. They can bring us a different preaching than that; but I do not believe that any pastor, priest, apostle, prophet or whatever he calls himself can know more about God and His plans than the Son of God Himself. I do not know who you’re going to believe, but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve decided to believe Christ. I see in His words that riches may well be an obstacle to enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

Could you ask me then, are those who preach about prosperity wrong? So that you do not point out to me that I am judging you, let the very word of God judge you. Luke 16:13 says thus, No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. In the same way that a bigamous cannot love his two wives at the same time, so does the servant of two masters.

Therefore, if we serve God and His Kingdom, we must preach to Him, give prominence to Him, not put up prosperity and presenting God only as a facilitator of our desires. Our worship of God cannot be based on what will make us rich but who He is. Luke 6:45 says, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. If we speak more of wealth than of God, our heart is with money.

And if the abundance of our heart is wealth, then our love is for money not for God. And if we say that we serve God while our heart is with money, it is obvious that this is the master we esteem, which indicates that we despise God. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:9-10, But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Let us not fall into the temptation to enrich ourselves. Let us leave aside the foolish and harmful lusts that plunge us into destruction and perdition. The love of money is the beginning of all evils, the most harmful consequence being the exclusion of the Kingdom of God. Let us not stray from true faith by following worldly doctrines disguised as Christians. God bless you.

Obedience Opens the Doors of Heaven

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Mateo 7:21

If we analyze what Matthew 7:21 says, one can say that there are people who call upon the name of Jesus and have no place in heaven. So many would say it would be impossible for most attain salvation. The truth is that the kingdom of God is not won with “good works” we do; or being part of a particular church; or to be a servant of God, call pastor, priest, or minister. All that opens the gates of heaven to do the will of God, that is, obey Him.

Many religious leaders have devised complex formulas that supposedly lead to heaven. Many of the religious rules are not ideas of God but rely on human philosophies. Unfortunately, as people take into account what their religious leader teaches that they do not seek Scripture to check that what they hear is according to the Word of God. And it is almost certain that some of these people refer to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and claims to be following Him. However, if your religious tradition contradicts what is written in the Bible, even in a single point, that religion does not conform to the will of our Heavenly Father. Therefore, who continue to practice these traditions is at risk of not enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s not my own idea; it’s what the Lord Himself said in Matthew 7:21.

God’s will is that no man or woman perish but receive salvation. Our Lord says in Matthew 18:14:  Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Therefore, our goal each day should be to do the will of our Father to ensure the salvation of every man or woman who gets in our way. Jesus reiterates in John 6:39:  This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

Therefore, if we do God’s will and not our own, we must align our thoughts to achieve His goals before our own. And it’s clear that the will of God expressed in His Word is the salvation of all. So, let us try with all our strength every day to share with someone the good news of salvation. That’s a daily goal for each of those who have received eternal life by grace.

Romans 10:14-15 says: How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”  We should be diligent in sharing with others the salvific message of Jesus Christ, that, as John 3:16 says, believe in Him should not lose and achieve eternal life. That is the will of our loving Heavenly Father. God bless you.

Dwelling Place in Heaven

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

John 14:1-3

When someone goes on a journey to a place other than his or her own, it is good to know that he or she will find safe lodging there. When our Lord Jesus was with His disciples, before returning to His Father’s side, He promised them that He would prepare a place for them. That promise of the Lord is not limited to His twelve closest disciples, or the 70 who He sent in pairs or those in the Upper Room at Pentecost, the promise is extended to each of those who have received Him.

In mid-2001, for certain life circumstances, I had to leave everything in Puerto Rico, where I lived and go elsewhere. One of my former teachers of Chemical Engineering received me at his home in San Antonio, Texas. It was nice to have a place where I received in this life change that I was obliged to take. I did not stay all the time at that house; but I am grateful to have been received at that home time enough until I could assert myself in my new place of residence.

Someday all will leave this world. Where do we go when life and our breath are completely gone? The answer to this question could be objective or subjective. The subjective response will depend on our belief system. So some will respond we will reincarnate; or we will go to a place of purification before the final destination; or we will be resurrected and live on Earth; or simply all ended with the death because there is nothing outside of what we know.

The objective response does not depend on human philosophies but what God says about it. The Bible is very clear about this and it says that there are only two possible places which are described accurately in the history of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16: 19-31). One of those places is tantalizing while the other is peace and comfort. This place is the home of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, where He advanced before us to prepare a place for everyone who has believed in Him.

The heavenly dwelling should be the goal of all. I do not think anyone has a desire to spend eternity in a place of torment. And definitely, whether or not you believe that there is something beyond after death, the reality is that something does exist and there are only two available destinations. And although we did not win the million-star hotel in heaven for what we do, the fact is that depending on our decision in life we will have or not a place booked in our behalf.

Believing in Jesus Christ, repenting of our sins and acknowledging His Lordship over our life is the decision to allow us to enjoy eternal life. Let us not miss the opportunity to secure the heavenly dwelling. Today is the perfect day to make our reservation there because we do not know whether we will have tomorrow. God bless you.

Heavenly Citizenship

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Philippians 3:20-21

Throughout history there has always been a dominant citizenship in the world. As a nation occupying world supremacy, being a citizen of that nation gives a prestigious place and enables you to move easily across borders of those countries influenced by the power or metropolis. However, there has never been a more important citizenship than heavenly and that should be the ultimate desire of every human being.

One afternoon in late August 1996 I received my certificate of naturalization as a citizen of the United States. I was not alone as they were about 400 people born in many countries of the world and of different races and languages, united under the banner of the Stars and Stripes. We all felt much honored to become part of the most powerful nation on Earth, to choose the authorities of this country and traveling with its passport.

But more important than becoming a US citizen, was having acquired almost 6 years later an eternal citizenship. In mid May 2002 I can say I received my “certificate” of heavenly citizenship. You might ask me: “Tell me, Tony, how can you be so sure that you are a citizen of heaven?” I understand your concern, my friend who listen to me or read this message. The answer is in the very Word of God.

In Luke 10:20 Jesus says: Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. If our names are written in heaven is because we are heavenly citizens. In the same way that the countries of the world have registered their citizens in their national registers, God keeps a record of every human being who has “sworn flag” into His Kingdom.

Just like when a person acquires a new earthly citizenship to become a citizen of the Kingdom of God, it is necessary to make important decisions. It is understood that acquiring a new citizenship can lead us to waive the previous one. Similarly, if we are citizens of this world and we want to become citizens of heaven, we must give up the things that the world represents to put in place the things of heaven.

Therefore, the heavenly citizenship is acquired when we give up our life of sin and swear allegiance to Jesus Christ, who died for our sins on the cross of Calvary. This loyalty means that now He becomes the Lord of our lives. If you have not made this decision, I invite you to get right with God; you renounce sin, become to Jesus Christ and receive your new citizenship. God bless you.

The Kingdom of God

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

This verse, in their 19 words, reveals the heart of God and what He expects us to do every day. What is to seek? Seeking is going out of our comfort zone and take action, go and meet with God, is to search His Word to know His thoughts and His will, it is actively engaged in finding the truth. First means we have to do before anything else. This word indicates where to start, what should be our priority. It also shows the focus point from where the goals, objectives and purposes.

Many have heard of the Kingdom of God, but do we really know its meaning? The Word says that the Kingdom of God is like a planted seed that sprouts, grows and produces fruit ready to be harvested. That seed can be as small as a mustard seed, but can grow large enough to surpass everything else and shelter us in it. The Kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. However, as Paul puts it, the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink. Therefore, the Kingdom of God cannot be tangible and visible as an earthly kingdom, but its spiritual extension is as immense as God Himself.

Becoming part of the Kingdom of God requires us to certain requirements. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus indicates how difficult it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God because he or she puts more confidence in money than in God. As Jesus himself says, we cannot serve two masters and we have to choose between serving God and serving mammon. If money is more important to a person than to serve God, obviously that person will have difficulty in allowing God to rule his or her life. In Luke 6:20, Jesus clearly states that the Kingdom of God is for the poor. The reason is obvious: the poor are totally dependent on God, completely subject to His will because they know they can do nothing on their own strength. Many wealthy people, however, might even think they do not need God because they feel powerful enough for their wealth.

Another requirement to enter the Kingdom of God is being away from sin. Jesus rebukes us hard about it even to sort us to draw an eye if our sight becomes a tool for sin. Paul lists a list of practitioners of sin who cannot inherit the Kingdom of God unjust, immoral, idolaters, adulterers, effeminates, thieves, homosexuals, covetous, drunkards, revilers and swindlers.

To stay away from sin, we need to be born again of water and the Spirit. Jesus tells us that this condition is necessary to see the Kingdom of God. To be born again must receive Jesus Christ into our hearts and then also receive the Holy Spirit. But before being recipients of such holiness, we need to repent and renounce sin forever, never look at our past. God bless you.