Buying gold! An encouraging word from Barry Raeburn, world Evangelist
Hi Mike, a few years ago in India, I was traveling by taxi from one speaking engagement to another. The taxi driver was complaining about how poor he was; and to be honest with you in material terms, he really was. I asked him if he was a Christian, he told me he was. To encourage him I said “If you have Jesus in your heart, you are wealthier than you will ever know. If you have Jesus in your heart, you have everything you will ever need!” In Revelation 3:18 Jesus says “I counsel you to buy from me gold, refined in the fire, so you can become rich.” Today I want to talk to you about what it means to buy gold from Jesus.
I think it’s important at the outset to make it clear that I don’t want to undermine the vital truth that as we walk in obedience to God, we can expect His blessing in every area of our lives, even material blessing. I do however, want to spend some time focusing on what true riches are. Let me bring some context for the above passage about buying gold from Jesus, Revelation 3:15-18:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are luke-warm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness and salve to put on your eyes so you can see.”
These are strong words from Jesus, but they highlight the seriousness with which He takes things when our love for material things becomes an idol in our lives. These things can begin to grip our hearts, taking the place that belongs to Him alone. Jesus says “You say I am rich” He is challenging this worldly mindset in the lives of the believers in the Laodicean Church. In effect, He is saying, “You have no concept of what being truly rich is.”
True riches are found by seeking first the Kingdom of God. True riches are found when we make the decision to store up treasure in heaven, investing in the eternal Kingdom of God. True wealth is found when we spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus. True riches come when we live a life of obedience to God, flowing from a deep love for Him.
And in this passage, He talks about buying gold refined in the fire. Psalm 105:17 says “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” Another translation renders it “The word of the Lord tested Joseph.”
The Hebrew word for tested is tsaraph (tsaw-raf’) which means “to fuse (metal), i.e. refine — cast, (re-)fine (-er), founder, goldsmith, melt, pure, purge away, try.” Before God could fulfill the word of the Lord in Joseph’s life, his character had to match his calling. His character and faith had to be like gold refined in the fire. God is always at work to make us more like Jesus.
Character that looks like Jesus, that does whatever it takes to obey God is like gold refined in the fire. The type of faith in Jesus, that continues to obey and follow Him no matter how hard things get is like gold refined in the fire. When we live our lives this way, we develop a precious like faith. (2 Peter 1:1) A life and faith that is filled with true wealth.
Jim Elliot, the missionary who was martyred as he was reaching out to Huaorani people of Ecuador, said “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim gave his life reaching people for Jesus, because He understood what true wealth was. He invested his very life to buy gold from Jesus.
When Peter came to the gate beautiful, He said to the crippled man, “I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6) Peter had true silver and gold. True wealth solves the real problems of humanity! Peter could have gone and bought this man some crutches but instead he connected him by faith with the unlimited wealth and power of the Cross.
Peter was full of the love and power of Jesus; and that power reached into the very heart of this man’s poverty and infirmity, releasing freedom, health and life! Being full of the love and power of Jesus is true wealth. Money can’t buy a miracle from God, but if you have the true wealth of the Kingdom, you can be a carrier and conductor of the wealth of heaven; of God’s miracle working power.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)
It’s as we make the decision to live our lives for Jesus and give our lives in surrender, that we buy gold. When we choose to live for ourselves, we may gain material wealth, but we can become spiritually bankrupt; and this is one of the great problems and temptations for those who live in the western world. We can become too focused on things that ultimately don’t satisfy in this life, and this serves to draw us away from our love for Jesus.
Today, I want to encourage you to buy gold from Jesus! Gold that money cannot buy. Luke 5:16 tells us “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” He understood the value of spending time with God, buying gold. He was modeling this kind of life for us. Wherever He went He solved the real problems of humanity and God wants us to be those who carry this same unlimited wealth and treasure of the Kingdom within us. (2 Corinthians 4:7) He wants us to be agents of change and transformation.
I want to encourage you today to invest yourself into God’s unshakable kingdom. To seek first His Kingdom and as you do, God will take care of everything else. God wants you to be rich, with true riches. To be fully invested in those things that will make an eternal difference. Maybe you’re a little tired and discouraged from following Jesus, I want to encourage you to hang in there and never give up. Remember as you continue to be faithful, as you continue to pay the price to follow Him, you are storing up treasure in heaven, you are buying gold!