The Bottom Line by Jimmy Tucker
When I was in high school I decided it would be cool to fill a huge glass jar with pennies; I eventually filled it full. I also started saving change out of my pocket and dropping it into another container. When I took these coins to the bank, it made a substantial deposit. There may have been some collectible coins in those jars, but I wasn’t interested enough to examine all of them in the hope of finding one that was valuable. However, a real coin collector would have looked diligently. Although I’m not interested in coins, I am interested in something more valuable — the “pearl of great value.” Matthew 13:45-46 NLT: “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”
The “pearl of great value” is the message of the gospel of salvation. When an interested person hears the gospel and realizes its great value, he immediately takes God up on His offer. God offers eternal life to those who believe in His only begotten Son and follow His teaching. Christ Jesus teaches us to repent of our sins and turn to God. There’s two sides to a coin, and in the message of the gospel there’s two commands in one. Jesus said, “You will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God” (Luke 13:3 NLT). There’s no turning to God without repentance. You can’t have one without the other because they’re like the two sides of a coin.
Repenting of sins is not a politically-correct sermon topic these days. A pastor is constantly under pressure to not offend people. But we have a mandate to preach the gospel message which includes repentance. People don’t like to hear that they need to repent of their sins and turn to God. Believers who practice sin may be socially acceptable, but God says they will not inherit God’s Kingdom. “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people — none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9,10 NLT).
Repentance is turning away from sin and living for God with all your heart. “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you” (Matthew 15:19,20 NLT). Those who think they can repeat the “sinner’s prayer” and be ready for heaven, but continue to live for themselves and enjoy the pleasures of sin, are deceived.
Jesus came as God’s remedy for sin and to make forgiveness possible to all who believe in Him. Those who believe in and know Him will follow His teaching. The fallen sinful nature is to be replaced with His divine love nature. “The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith” (1 Timothy 1:5 NLT). Are you interested in eternal life? Then consider your two choices: eternal life in heaven or eternal death in hell. Don’t procrastinate in making your decision, because if you wait too long you’re choosing hell by default.
The Bottom Line: What would you do with a valuable coin? Store it in a jar until you die, or cash it in for what it’s worth?
Pastor Jimmy Tucker
Diamond Community Church
2591 Jayhawk Road
Fort Scott, KS
Worship 10:45 a.m.