Mark 16:15

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"

The Rich Young Ruler, the Christian, and Riches (Mark 10:17-27)

Our question today is, “Who is rich?” First, a person may be rich in worldly possessions and like the rich young ruler may trust in his riches. It is not necessarily wrong to be rich, but it is when we become as attached to our riches as was this young ruler in Mark 10. After the interview with this man, Jesus stated to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23). The word “hard” comes from a word which means “with great difficulty.” After He stated further this difficulty in verses 24-25, the disciples thought that few, if any, could be saved. A “rich” man can be saved, but not if he continues in his devotion and trust in his riches.
Paul wrote on this important subject in I 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.” Paul seems to have in mind here a person who is determined to be rich no matter what he must do to obtain it. They intend to be rich and they exert themselves to that end. Again, we point out that there is no sin in the simple fact that one is rich. Joseph of Arimathea was a rich disciple; yet he is never referred to in any unfavorable light (Matt. 27:57-60; Mark 15:43-47; John 19:38). In fact, Luke calls him a “good and just man” (Luke 23:50-51). Paul told Timothy: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (I Tim. 6:17). So it is not a question of how rich a man may be, but how did he obtain it and what use is he making of it?
A person may have the “rich attitude.” Perhaps the rich young ruler who “went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:22), was guilty of this. The priest and Levite, who passed by without helping in the parable of the good Samaritan, were guilty of this attitude. They acted as if they were saying, “What is mine is mine, and I intend to keep it.” The successful farmer in Luke 12 had this same attitude. He used almost a dozen personal pronouns in describing what he intended to do with his bountiful harvest.
Paul warns that “the love of money” is where sin enters, and not the mere possession of it (I Tim. 6:10). All three of those cited in the previous paragraph could have shared their wealth by helping those in need, and there would have been no sin. A man may have the love of money and yet never become rich because he is not a financial success; but the eager desire is there and that is what ultimately leads to sin. On the other hand, a man might possess large amounts of money without having the love of it in the unfavorable sense used in this verse.
As far as the Christian is concerned, there is at least one way in which he is charged to be “rich.” Paul wrote, “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (I Tim. 6:18-19). All are to be rich in service according to our ability. The five-talent and two-talent men illustrate this (Matt. 25:15). If we refuse to use our ability, we are displaying the “rich attitude” of the priest and Levite. Do you serve when called upon? All of us should have a “rich attitude” toward God. The poor widow of Mark 12:42-44 certainly had this attitude. The churches of Macedonia had this attitude; they were in “deep poverty” yet gave more than expected to the Lord (II Cor. 8). If we are rich in service and rich in our attitude toward God, then we will be rich in spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3).

Paul M. Wilmoth

I Am a Disciple of Jesus Christ

“I am a disciple of Jesus Christ! I am part of a fellowship of the unashamed. The die is cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I won’t back down, slow down, let up, back away, or be stilled. My past is redeemed; my presence makes sense; my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, lame vision, mundane talking, stingy giving and dwarf goals. I no longer have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, rewarded. I live in the present, walk by faith, learn by patience, live by prayer, and labor by power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few. My Guide is reliable. My mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of my enemies, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the name of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ! I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me, for my colors are clear, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.”
This is one of several versions of this article and the author is unknown. A “disciple” is “a follower or student of a teacher” (
New Oxford American Dictionary). A disciple is “a learner, indicating thought accompanied by endeavour; hence it denotes one who follows one’s teaching” (W. E. Vine: Thus, to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ, one must study His teachings and follow them.)
In the New Testament there are a number of terms used to identify and describe the followers of Jesus Christ; “disciple” is one of them. We are also designated as “Christians” (Acts 11:26), and “saints” (I Cor. 1:2). Jude addressed the Christians he wrote to as “the sanctified, preserved and called” (Jude 1). John spoke of us as “sons of God” in I John 3:1-2.
But no matter which term we address, as Christians, as disciples, as sons of God, as those who have been sanctified (saints), as those who have been called, more is expected of us. When we identify ourselves after this manner, God has a right to expect more out of us; so do our friends, our families, and yes, even our enemies.
The life of a disciple is described in a variety of ways also. It is pictured as a race (Heb. 12:1-2), a walk (I John 1:7), a fight (I Tim. 6:12), a pressing toward the mark (Phil. 3:14), and even as a wrestling match (Eph. 6:12). We must “run with patience” (Heb. 12), “not as uncertainly” (I Cor. 9:26); we are to “walk in the light” (I John 1:7), “walk by faith” (II Cor. 5:7), and “walk as He walked (I John 2:6). We are to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Tim. 2:3), and “fight, not as one that beateth the air” (I Cor. 9:26).
Examine these passages carefully; read the first paragraph again. Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Paul M. Wilmoth

Consequences of Conversion (3)

In this final installment about the consequences of conversion I want to mention one more consequence that is vital to the Christian life.
Conversion requires fraternal changes in our lives. Fraternal pertains to a family, a brotherhood. One of the most wonderful blessings we have is to be a part of God’s family. John informs us, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (I John 3:1-3 NKJV). This requires that we develop the proper love and respect for our brethren in Christ.
We must cultivate a love and regard for all members of the family we have been made a part of. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” (Col. 3:12). When we hear someone unjustly criticizing our brothers and sisters, we should quickly come to their defense, and say, “That is my brother/sister you are talking about.”
James gave some needed instruction about treatment of brethren: “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge” (James 4:11). He also added, “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned” (James 5:9 NKJV). Note, the ASV and YLT has, “murmur not against one another, brethren.” The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “grumble” to mean, “complain or protest about something in a bad-tempered but typically muted way.” Murmuring is also usually done in an under-handed way. Does that ring a bell in your life?
Not only are we to be careful what we say about our brethren, we also must be forgiving: “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:13). Of course this does not mean we forgive sins that are not repented of (God doesn’t do that) but we must stand willing and ready to forgive at all times. Brother Malcolm Hill used to say that Christians should make it as easy as possible for the erring to come home. I say, “Amen.”
The words of the song, “God’s Family” express it beautifully: “We're part of the family That's been born again; Part of the family Whose love knows no end; For Jesus has saved us And made us His own; Now we're part of the family That's on its way home. And sometimes we laugh together; Sometimes we cry; Sometimes we share together Heartaches and sighs; Sometimes we dream together Of how it will be. When we all get to heaven God's family.”

Paul M. Wilmoth

Consequences of Conversion (2)

We are continuing our study of the consequences of conversion from Colossians 3:1-4. Previously we showed that biblical conversion requires serving a new Master, having a new mindset and new motivation. Being converted requires doctrinal changes so that we are completely in line with the scope of the Bible. It requires us to leave Old Testament shadows and accept New Testament teaching. Thus we must leave behind all extra-biblical teachings of men.
Conversion also requires moral changes. This is especially true in our sexual ethics or practices. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them” (Col. 3:5-7). The world we live in appears to completely disregard the teaching of sexual ethics. They live as they wish, openly in sinful conduct, open fornication, and completely ignore the instruction of the one who will call us into account at the judgment (John 12:48). Modesty and morality seem like ancient words to many in our world.
When we are truly and correctly converted to Christ, we will even change our monetary ethics. We will look at material things a lot differently. The last part of verse 5 mentions “covetousness, which is idolatry.” We live in a prosperous world. But the Christian, instead of trying to hoard up riches, considers his ability to help those in need (Eph. 4:28; Gal. 6:10). We do this because we know that our Lord taught, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Another important consideration is that Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Being converted requires changes in our heart and speech. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col. 3:8-9). Again, the speech of our people on television, in public, and almost everywhere else is many times nasty, filled with expletives, cursing God and man, etc. In the words of James on the subject of the misuse of the tongue, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 4:10). Paul taught the same thing also in Ephesians 4:22-32. It is simply required that one “put off the old man of sin, and put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” And Jesus had earlier taught the importance of our hearts being right (Matt. 12:34).
Have you been genuinely converted by truth and to truth? If not, you need to do it now, because you are still not right with God.

Paul M. Wilmoth

Consequences of Conversion

Conversion means “to change one’s beliefs.” When talking about biblical conversion we are talking about changing one’s thoughts and ways to make them correspond with God and His thoughts and ways (Isa. 55:8-9). The power to convert is found in God’s Word. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
So what are the consequences of conversion? Colossians 3:1-4 is a good place to start. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
When converted we have a new Master. That new Master is Christ, the “One Lord” of Ephesians 4:5. We have a new mindset. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the Earth.” And, we have new motivation: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
Conversion makes a difference. This will require doctrinal changes. It may require putting aside what you have been taught by parents, friends, and beloved teachers. In order to be right in this conversion process, one must put aside all the doctrines of men, and accept only the body of truth “once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). This is the “One Faith” of Ephesians 4:5. This is the reason all believers can be “one as thou art Father in Me, and I in You,” as Jesus prayed in sight of the cross (John 17:20-21). By doing this we can “all speak the same thing and be of the same mind and judgment, and have no divisions among us” as Paul demands in I Corinthians 1:10. There simply is no other way to do that.
Being biblically converted requires leaving Old Testament shadows (Col. 2:16-17). The Old Testament contains types—the New Testament antitypes. The Old Testament had shadows; the New Testament has substance. The Old Testament was “taken out of the way and nailed to the Cross” (Col. 2:14). The New Testament remains as our guide today (John 17:17; 8:32; 12:48). Also study carefully Hebrews 10:9-10.
Being converted means that we will have to leave behind all extra biblical things, such as mysticism (Col. 2:18). Extra biblical means going beyond the scope of the Bible. Circle the word “not” in this passage. We must leave behind “chimney-corner” scriptures; this means conventional religion (Col. 2:20-22). Popular religious teachings are widely received today, but they are from the doctrines of men. For instance, the “sinner’s prayer” is widely taught, believed and accepted, but there is not one word said about it in the Bible. Conversion means all such doctrines of men must be cast aside and require authority from God’s Word for everything we do (Col. 3:17).

Paul M. Wilmoth