SEVENTH SEAL LIBRARY

God's Truth Not Smooth Words

Looking Back ~~ as Jesus Defines

Looking Back

©copyright 2007 Bonita M Quesinberry, R.C.

A few years ago, TSaS presented a Biblical teaching about looking back over our lives to review the many sins we have committed against our Lord; a lesson promoting humility in His presence as opposed to living in the past; this latter being a deadly place to be in. This tutorial, however, brings forth a different form of looking back based on Christ’s words in Luke 9:62—

Jesus said, “Any person, who has put his or her hand to the plow, then looks back [to the cares of this world], is not fit for the kingdom of God.”

By appropriate definition, to plow is an act of labor spiritually associated with finding lost sheep and, ultimately, the harvest of those sheep when Christ returns in the clouds; which explanation is noted in Luke 10:2. In Luke 9:62 above, however, Christ had just invited a man to follow Him; but the man replied conditionally, “First, let me go and bury my father.” Jesus then instructed, “Let the dead bury their dead.” (Luke 9:59-60)

This looking back to the cares of the world also reflects the teachings in Christ’s Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:3-9,18-23,37-42; specifically the seeds that fell among thorns, weeds as it were, growing in the world along side God’s wheat: the weeds representing the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, of which both choke out the Truth from those people who endured in Christ for only a little while. But, when it became inconvenient to live God’s Truth, they turned back to the worlds little gods.

Proverbs 21:4 reveals one of the purposes of this spiritual plowing in the midst of humanity: “An arrogant expression and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” In short, the wicked plow the world only for its riches, all of the conveniences of “man’s wicked inventions” and the power of money; while I Corinthians 9:10 indicates that we, who labor for Christ, plow with an attitude of hope to separate weeds from the wheat; so we will be partakers of Christ’s hope. As we labour for God and Christ, we are simultaneously discerning the weeds— wolves in sheep’s clothing— from the wheat, those lost sheep we seek to reach during the time allotted for our work.

Going back to Luke 9:62, Christ stated who is not “fit” for God’s kingdom. By definition and in the spiritual sense, “fit” means to have the qualities and qualifications to meet the demands of following Jesus; therefore, if we look back to the cares of the world, as did the man in Luke 9:59, then we are considered unfit to follow Christ: being found unfit results in a sentence of twice dead; which brings us to His statement in Luke 9:60 about letting the “dead bury their dead.”

Anyone who refuses to instantly follow Jesus is considered already dead though still living; therefore, those who are spiritually dead should bury those who are physically dead: for Christ’s work is far too important to take the time away from our task to bury someone who has died only of a flesh body, whether or not the deceased died in Christ; for the body is merely a garment. His work, and ours if we choose to follow Jesus, is a labour to save people from the permanent death of the body’s spirit being within. What more rewarding task can there be than to be instrumental in saving someone from God’s pit of fire and brimstone? Saving just one is to be called great in heaven, another sign of this vital mission’s importance.

The story of Lot’s wife, as told in Genesis c.19, reveals death as the final reward for looking back after having been told not to look back: she turned back to the cares of Sodom and Gomorrah and the life she had left there. Instantly, she was turned into a pillar of salt; which, by the way, very quickly replenishes earth’s soil. She died for disobeying God’s command. Most important, however, is that she died for having more concern for Sodom and Gomorrah than for God wishes. The angels warned that looking back would cause their demise; thus, Lot’s wife had been given fair warning.

This enhances the fact that the cares of this world are temporary; and, anything spiritually deemed temporary is not worth our time and emotion or energy. Matthew 10:37-38 and Luke 16:13 confirm this premise; therein Jesus clearly stating that we cannot cling to the world and simultaneously serve God. In other words, we can do only one or the other: there is no acceptable form of riding the fence, of having one foot in Christ’s field and another in the world’s field. Hence, a new world to come should be our only focus; which means we care more about following Christ and, by the Truth we speak, labouring with God’s Word to save His lost sheep from a fiery pit: ignited by Christ’s quick return.  

Luke 20:35-36 clearly states that those found fit to carry on Christ’s work will inherit a new earth, where they will be considered equal to heaven’s angels and will never die again; for they will have new bodies that cannot be defiled. Another sign of being deemed fit, cited in II Thessalonians 1:4-5, is noted by the persecutions and troubles we endure for Christ’s sake, as well as our work by faith with power. Revelation 3:4 reassures those found fit that they are worthy of the kingdom; thus, dressed in garments of white, they are promised they will walk with Christ.

I Timothy 5:18 declares labourers for Jesus as worthy of His reward. What did God promise Christ? Having agreed to die for man’s past sins, God promised Messiah that He would rule a restored earth; a place where no evil, no illnesses and diseases, no death and no pain will exist. Therefore, this also will be our reward for following Christ. Likewise, those who refuse to follow Jesus are found worthy of death, noted in Revelation 16:6.

There are so many ways in which we might be clinging to the world, looking back as it were, and not even realize we are looking back instead of pushing Christ’s plow forward and through His wheat field. How many ways of looking back do you find in your life? Let us view a few possibilities not noted in the above text:

1. A person professes Christ yet continues to look back upon a childhood fraught with abuse, using that same abuse to justify his or her own unacceptable behaviour. To look back is to remain a victim of abuse, therefore consistently rendered incapable of looking forward in order to plow Christ’s wheat field. Those who continually look back to injustices done to them are, in effect, looking to the world to correct those wrongs instead of, in faith, knowing that God will avenge us at the appropriate time. Faith is to let go of the past and to move forward in God’s Word, so that we will be avenged!

2. One might complain about our nation’s government or the wars in which it might be engaged or global warming caused by man’s indifference to the care of this planet. This is to look away from Christ’s plow. Faith knows that nothing transpires in any government and no wars begin or end without God’s absolute control and for His greater purpose. This is to focus on the ills of the world instead of labouring with God’s Truth to save Christ’s lost sheep. We cannot cure the world’s ills; only God can and, ultimately, will do that. The only thing we can do is, hopefully, save a few from God’s fire of destruction.

3. Some might spend an inordinate amount of time grieving over the death of a loved one, which is to cling to the world, to a person; their behaviour reflecting a greater love for the person than for Jesus. Faith knows that our loved ones did not die; they merely sleep until Christ calls out their names when He comes in the clouds. Faith misses the deceased but continues to push Christ’s plow.

4. A person hears God’s Truth from one pushing Christ’s plow and, perhaps, he or she even acknowledges the soundness of those teachings; but, he or she continues to abide in  “man’s commandments and traditions” while excusing his or her lack of obedience. This is a person clinging to the world instead of embracing God and only God. He or she looked back to the convenience of the world, the comfort of their denominational choice, instead of grasping Christ’s plow to speak those same Truths to every ear that will hear. He or she is deemed unworthy, unfit. It is up to each individual, without exception, to search out God’s Word; and, while there are some laborers who have put God’s Truth out there in the form of books or on the Internet or both, the choice to obey is personal and cannot be made by the plowman. We make choices for only self. As Jesus said, “Pray for more labourers.”

5. To choose money instead of Christ’s plow is to cling to the world. For instance, a mission God has for a person requires that he or she give up a very lucrative job as well as his or her home and other worldly things. Those who accept the plow give up these things readily, knowing their basic needs will be met through God; yet, the unworthy will look back to those things as evidence of his or her success in the world: reminiscent of the rich man in Matthew 19:16-24, whom Jesus acknowledged had obeyed God’s law, but he walked away from Christ when He then told him he had yet one thing still to do: sell all that he had and give it to the poor and follow Christ. This was a man who lacked the qualities and qualifications to meet the demands of following Christ, thus unfit for God’s kingdom. 

As Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt, so in essence do all those who refuse to take Christ’s plow into their hands; thereby forsaking the permanent world to come in favor of this defiled earth’s temporary glitter. As noted in Sabbath Lesson of 27 January 2007, “A World Without End,” all these will lie dead from one end of earth to the other end; neither mourned nor buried, thus ultimately replenishing earth of what was taken from her to create then sustain them. These are those who, when they heard God’s Truth and were invited to take Christ’s plow, were salted with God’s Truth. But, in refusing to fully work His plow, they lost their flavour, their ability to season others with Truth. So in the end, they will be returned to earth and will never exist again.

Matthew 5:13 refers to the labourers, those who take Christ’s plow, as being the “salt of the earth” and those who refuse the plow are described as having “lost their flavor and henceforth are good for nothing, except to be walked upon by the feet of men.” This latter statement refers to God’s declaration that, in the new earth, His people will walk upon the ashes of the wicked.

Christ continues in Matthew 5:17-19, wherein He defines the salt as God’s light of Truth, which is God’s Law, according to the Psalm. Those who readily take up Christ’s plow do as Christ did: they both live and teach ALL of God’s Law, this latter also causing them to be called great in heaven while at the same time persecution and tribulations come upon them as a sign of their kingdom worthiness; noted above in a previous paragraph and further clarified in Mark 9:49-50 and Luke 14:33-35.

Colossians 4:6 directs Christ’s plowmen to always speak with grace seasoned with salt; which is to speak of God’s grace in offering salvation, though mankind is unworthy, accompanied with God’s Truth. In doing so, we are assured that we always will know how to answer every question mankind might have; this is not to say that mankind will necessarily believe the answers. It only seems difficult to speak God’s Truth when we are not living His Truth, which is to turn from the plow back to the world. It is difficult to speak God’s Truth only when we care more about what others think of us than we do about what God thinks of us, which is again to look back from the plow.

Has your salt lost flavour? Will you metaphorically become Lot’s wife when Christ returns? Have you failed to fully embrace Christ’s plow, thereby never looking back? Has the world’s little gods become your little gods?

If your answer is yes to any one or each of those questions, you can choose to repent, change your position, and enhance your flavour. You can choose to refuse to look back, to become fully seasoned, consistently pushing Christ’s plow forward as we prepare for Christ’s return for the harvest of His small flocks. Time is short, very short.

~~~~~~~~~~~

“Truth Gathering,” an exhaustive AKJV Topical Bible of all critical-to-salvation subjects every Christian should have as a companion to their Bible: available by order from any local or online bookstore; Amazon.com offers lowest pricing.

~~ end Sabbath Lesson of 03/03/07

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6 March 2007 - Posted by | Bible, Bible Related Articles, Bible Study, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Church, Faith, God, Grace, Jehovah, Jesus, Love, Redemption, Religion, Salvation, Self Help, Spiritual, Spiritual Study, Ten Commandments, Theology, Truth, World

2 Comments »

  1. Oh, thank YOU, Cumby, for the encouragement!

    I have not yet moved. I’m supposed to be out by the end of April or, at the lastest, June. At the moment I am on several waiting lists for subsidized housing for seniors; so, it is currently a waiting game.

    I have, however, gotten virtually everything packed, save only the few things I need to exist until the actual moving day. It is difficult to find affordable housing when one lives on a small SS benefit, so subsidized is the only way to go. Unfortunately, most have long waiting lists. The Trustee for the property has even said that, if push comes to shove, he would rent a place for me, but I do not want that burden on him.

    God has always covered me and I’ve no reason to believe He would not continue to do so. One thing God has impressed upon me time and again is that His perfect timing never fails. 🙂

    Much love in Christ,
    BonnieQ

    Comment by bonnieq | 8 March 2007 | Reply

  2. Thanks for sharing this important teaching, BonnieQ.

    I hope your move went well.

    Comment by cumby | 8 March 2007 | Reply


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