Robert Jeffress - Becoming a Special K Christian in a Krispy Kreme World - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". Do you ever find yourself feeling discontent with your spiritual life? You're always looking for the next spiritual high? But when the moment passes, you're once again left unsatisfied and wanting more. Well today, we're going to look at the story of Abraham and Lot for a lesson on the value of pursuing lasting satisfaction, instead of temporary pleasure. My message is titled "Becoming a Special K Christian in a Krispy Kreme World" on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".
Abraham had a greater purpose in life than his immediate gratification. Why was he willing to surrender this land to Lot? First of all, he was concerned about his own family's wellbeing. Notice in verse eight, he says, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, for are we not brothers? Are we not from the same family"? You see, Abraham realized that once they got back to Canaan, the problem with Canaan was it was filled with Canaanites, people who hated God and hated the people of God. And Abraham knew that if these Canaanites sensed that there was strife between Abraham and Lot they would see that as weakness and use that as an opportunity to attack and obliterate God's people.
So Abraham was saying, "For the sake of our family, let's stick together". No, we either hang together or we hang separately. That was the idea. Let there be no strife between you and me. By the way, we would do well to remember that as a church family as well. You know, one of my pet peeves, as a pastor, is members who have a commitment to the church that is about a thimble deep. You know, they're here, they're with you, pastor. We'll stay here, pastor. We're with you all the way, unless we hear a song in the worship service we don't like or you preach a sermon we don't like, or a decision is made that we don't agree with or there's a better show down the street. In that case, we're outta here.
Do you know people like that? They're in churches everywhere. Contrast that to what Paul says should be our devotion to one another in Romans 12:10. He said, "Be devoted to one another, in brotherly love give preference to one another in honor". That word devoted is a word that refers to the natural affection that occurs between brothers and sisters, based on the fact that they are from the same womb. That's what the word brotherly means. Literally in Greek, it means to be from the same womb. The reason we as a church family are to have a rock-solid commitment to one another, and this body, is because we are from the same womb, the womb of Jesus Christ. Because of that, we not only are devoted to one another, we give preference to one another.
Far too many churches are kind of like that mother pig that has all the piglets around it, screaming and squealing, and pushing one another away to get at the milk. And they don't care about anybody's needs except their own. Many churches resemble that. Everybody concerned about himself, not thinking about the other person and what the other person needs. You see, ladies and gentlemen, when you are born, physically, God puts you into a family. You need a family for nurturing, but you also need a family to learn the character lessons that are important for life. In the same way, when you are born again, God places you in a spiritual family, a church. A lot of Christians out there are orphans, they don't have a family. But God wants you to be in a spiritual family, a church, and the reason God places you in a church, is not only so you can receive the nurturing that you need, but so that you can learn what it truly means to put the needs of other people above your own.
Abraham understood that concern. And because of that, he was willing to surrender his rights. He had a greater purpose, but his greater purpose extended beyond the care of his own family. He was concerned about the reputation of God. You see, he realized that if there were strife between him and Lot and they divided, and the Canaanites destroyed their family, not only was their family going to be hurt, but the reputation of God would be ruined, because God had promised to make Abraham the father of a great nation. But if there were no Abraham and no Abraham's family, there would be no Israel. And because Abraham was concerned about something more than his immediate gratification, because he had a concern for the plan and program of God, he was willing to surrender his rights to Lot.
A Special K Christian is one who has a greater purpose than his own gratification. Secondly, the Special K believer possesses a greater faith. He possesses a greater faith. I'm sure that when Abraham made this offer to Lot, to give him first choice of the land, I imagine Lot thought to himself, "Poor old uncle Abraham. He's slipping in his old age. He's getting senile. He would have never made that kind of offer in his younger years. After all, you don't get to be a Middle Eastern Tycoon by being Mr. Nice Guy. Poor Abraham, he's senile, starting to drool a little bit. He doesn't know what he's doing here at all". But the fact is, Abraham knew exactly what he was doing.
See, the reason he was willing to let Lot have the better land is Abraham had learned the lesson the hard way of what happens when you think you have to look out for yourself, instead of allowing God to meet your needs. Turn back to Genesis chapter 12. I told you a few moments ago about Abraham's detour to Egypt. Let's see what happened there, and the lesson that Abraham learned. Remember, in Genesis 12, God said to Abraham, and by the way, Abraham was a senior adult when God said this to him. He said, "Abraham, I'm calling you to be the father of a great nation". And he told him to leave Ur of the Chaldean to go to this land that God would show him. He would make him the father of a multitude of people.
And so Abraham obeys God. And when we get to verse 10 of Genesis chapter 12, they arrive in the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. The only problem was there was no milk and there was no honey. Look at verse 10 of Genesis 12. When they arrived there, they were confronted with a problem, there was a famine in the land. The rains that were supposed to come in the latter part of the year failed to materialize. No water in the land, it was parched. And because of that, it was an agricultural society, that meant no food for Abraham and his family. God had miraculously uprooted them and moved them to Canaan, and now they faced an important question, could the same God who brought them to this new place be trusted to sustain them in this new place?
Some of you are facing that same question right now. Some of you here, some of you watching on television, God has uprooted you and he's brought you to a new city, to a new church, to a new job, perhaps to a new family situation. You know it was God who brought you to this point, but now you're facing a crisis, things aren't the way that you thought they were going to be. And the question you're facing right now is this, can the same God who brought me to this place be trusted to sustain me in this place? Abraham around at his situation. He said, "I can't trust God. If it's going to be, it's up to me. I've gotta do something. I can't let my family starve to death". And so he uproots his family, in Genesis chapter 12, and he moves them to Egypt. Because in Egypt there was plenty of water, plenty of land, plenty of food.
Now understand, Abraham had the best motivation for doing this, he wanted to care for his family. He surveyed the situation and saw that it was a desperate situation. Nothing wrong with looking at your circumstances. The problem Abraham made was, in all of his calculation, he failed to put God in the equation. Never once do we find him, in Genesis 12, asking God for guidance, asking for God's supernatural assistance. Mark it down, whenever you make a decision without consulting with God, you're going to make a big mistake. Abraham made a big mistake. You read in Genesis chapter 12, his experience in Egypt ended in disaster and disgrace.
And so, when we come to chapter 13:1, we see Abraham coming back from Egypt to Canaan, dragging his tail between his legs. See, he had learned his lesson. He had learned what happens whenever you try to watch out for yourself, instead of trusting in God. And so now, in Genesis 13, he's faced with this situation. He says, "Lot, you go ahead and take the better land". Well, Abraham, what if the land you had, that smaller piece of land, what if it dries up? What if you're not able to support yourself or your family? I'm sure Abraham thought about that.
But, you know, he concluded this, he said, "What's the worst thing that could happen to me if I let Lot have the better piece of land? The worst thing that could happen to me would be that I would lose my life. But if I lose my life, guess what? God loses his reputation. Because God's the one who made these promises to me. God's the one who promised to make me the father of a great nation, and if this Israel that he's promised to make me the father of, if it's a stillborn, if it's obliterated before it gets off ground, God is going to be a laughing stock among the heathen". So, he says to God, "God, you know what? You're responsible. You're responsible for taking care of me". And Abraham made that real estate transaction and he slept soundly that night.
Folks, you know what the greatest cause of worry in our life is? Somebody said, "Worry is assuming responsibility that God never intended you to have". You look at the basis of all worry in life, it comes down to you our taking responsibility for concerns that really only God can shoulder, things that he's responsible for. For example, we know parents, we are responsible for teaching our children what it means to fear God. We're responsible for bringing them up in the admonition and the instruction of the Lord. But parents, you are not responsible for the choices your children make. You're not responsible. They have to make their own choices. We're responsible to teach them. But you know what parents do? We all do it, we just get all concerned and worried. Well, what if they do this? Or what if they do this? That is not our concern. We're to pray for them. They're responsible. But whenever we make their choices our responsibility, we're taking on a responsibility God never intended us to have, and we're weighed down with worry.
See, the Special K Christian has a greater faith. He believes that ultimately God will do what he has promised to do. Thirdly, the Special K Christian, besides having a greater purpose and a greater faith, he is looking for a greater reward. The Special K Christian looks for the greater reward. You know, investment advisors tell us that we ought to decide what we're going to invest in dependent upon our time horizon, our investment time horizon. For example, I mean, if you're a year away from retirement, what should you do with your assets? You shouldn't, you know, put it into the stock market, because in a year's time the stock market could go whoever knows which way.
The safest thing to do is to put it in a low risk environment, put it in the bank, put it under your mattress. The interest rates about the same in both, you know? It doesn't matter. I mean, that's a low risk investment, putting it in the bank. You're not going to make any money. You're not going to lose any money either. But if your investment horizon is five years, or you're 10 years away from retirement or 20 years or 30 years, you can afford to take greater risks. In the short term, you may take some losses, but in the long term, you'll gain more by taking those risks.
A Special K Christian is one who is looking for a pay off, not immediately, but in the longterm. And that was true for Abraham. Why was Abraham willing to take a short-term loss in this real estate transaction? Why was he willing to allow Lot to have the better hand? Here's why, because Abraham's investment time horizon was not a year, or 10 years or 30 years. His investment time horizon was eternity. And because he had that eternal mindset, he was willing to take short-term losses. Not because he enjoyed losses, but he believed there was going to be a payoff in the end. That's what you see in Hebrews 11:10. In talking about Abraham, the writer says, "For Abraham was looking for a city which has a foundation whose architect and builder is God". He was looking to heaven. He was looking to the ultimate payoff.
You know, that eternal time horizon, it was really the only explanation for why Abraham did what he did in his life. Why was he willing to experiences the losses that he did throughout his life? I mean, for example, why would he be willing to leave everything and everyone familiar to him in Ur of the Chaldean to go to this land that God had promised to show him? Talk about taking a risk. He was taking a big risk. Or why is it that he was willing to believe God's promise that he would be the father of a great nation, when all physical evidence was to the contrary? Or why would Abraham be willing to offer his son, Isaac, the son whom he loved as a sacrifice, a burnt sacrifice on an altar? Why would he endure that kind of loss? Is because his investment horizon wasn't next year or the next decade, it was eternity.
You know, the fact is, one thing all of these heroes of the faith in Hebrews chapter 11 had in common was this, they all believed in that eternal investment horizon, and they died without ever receiving the ultimate payoff. You realize that? Everyone listed in Hebrews chapter 11, they died without receiving the promise that they were looking for. Look at Hebrews 11:13 and 16, "All of these died in faith without receiving the promises, but having seen them and welcomed them from a distance and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is the heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them".
Abraham died without ever receiving the payoff, but still he died, Genesis 25:8 says, satisfied with life. How could that be? How could he be satisfied if he hadn't received the payoff yet? Because he knew the payoff was in heaven. He was looking for that city whose architect, whose founder is God. And that's really what the difference is between a Krispy Kreme Christian and a Special K Christian. If you want to boil it down in this statement, here it is, for a Krispy Kreme Christian, it's all about this life. It's all about this life, what I can get now, what I can experience now, it's all about this life. But for a Special K Christian, the focus of their life is using this life to prepare for the next life. The Krispy Kreme Christian has a very narrow, a limited time horizon, it's now. The Special K Christian has eternity as his focus.
Now, in one of the churches I used to pastor, there was a young woman, she was 37 years old. She was married, she had two small children, and she was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Now I remember, at her request, some of the leaders went over to her home and we prayed for her. We laid hands on her, prayed for supernatural healing. God did not answer that request. I remember one of the last times I saw her, I went to hospice to visit with her and her husband. She was asleep. So I stood outside and visited with the husband. I will never forget what he said to me. Knowing he was about to lose his wife, be left with two small children, this is what he said to me. He said, "Pastor, I hate the cancer, but I love what the cancer has done for our family and for our faith. It's drawn us closer to one another and it's drawn us closer to God".
You know, only a person with an eternal time horizon can say something like that. A year of unanswered questions, a year of unanswered prayers had led this husband to realize God is much more interested in what happens in us than what happens to us. See, the fact is, he could change your circumstances right now in an instant, if he wanted to. Think about what circumstance you're facing right now that God couldn't change in an instance if he wanted to., your finances, your health, a relationship. The fact is, our circumstances are momentary. They can change from moment to moment. But the work of the Holy Spirit in us, in molding us into an image of Christ, that is a work that lasts a lifetime. The Special K Christian is the Christian who realizes it's really not about us, it's about God in us. And that realization is the beginning point, ladies and gentlemen, for every one of us who wants to experience more of the Holy Spirit's power.