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His Riches to Rags Story & Our Rags to Rices Story

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“HIS RICHES TO RAGS STORY, AND OUR RAGS TO RICHES STORY”

 

(II Corinthians 8:9)

 

            “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

 

 

            In Mark Twain’s captivating book, The Prince and the Pauper, Edward Tudor, the prince of England, discovers that he looks exactly like a London pauper, Tom Canty, whom he accidentally meets on the street one day.  Through a series of remarkable coincidences, the identities of the prince and the pauper are reversed, so that everyone thinks that the pauper is the prince, and that the prince is the pauper.  Tom Canty comes to live in the royal palace, coping with the strange role of royalty, and Edward Tudor goes out to live on the streets, begging and using his wits to keep himself alive.  The story is both humorous and pathetic as each person struggles with his new and strange identity.  Though Edward goes hungry, ragged and filthy in his life on the streets, and though he is mocked when he tries to make others understand who he really is, he still never stops acting like a prince.  By another quirk of circumstance near the end of the book, each of the young men is recognized for who he really is.  Edward is returned to the throne, and because of his association with Edward, Tom also is elevated to a noble position in the realm.  When Edward becomes King, he rules the nation with far more wisdom, compassion and benevolence than he ever would have possessed before.

            There are several interesting parallels between the story of Edward, prince of Wales, who became king of England, and Jesus.  Jesus left His original royal home and lived among the common people.  While He was on earth, He stated who He really was, but most people did not believe Him.  Some even mocked Him as a madman or an impostor.  Finally, in a conspiracy of evil against Him, men ridiculed Him, spat upon Him, beat Him, and then killed Him.  However, in spite of their malice and violence against Him, He was restored to His royal estate.  From His position of royalty, He was then in a position to bestow upon men, even His worst enemies, all the wisdom, the kindness, the love, the grace, and the benevolence that He possesses.

            The Bible text that heads this study tells the riches to rags story of Jesus, and the rags to riches story of every Christian.  And the two are so inseparably connected that, without the story of Jesus’ reduction, man would have had no possibility of elevation.  Let your eyes move slowly over the verse printed above, pondering the rich phrases that occur throughout.  There are at least seven small but full phrases in the verse.  We will build our study around the movements pictured in these phrases.

I.  THE HEAVENLY PLENTY WHICH HE ENJOYED

 

            First, we will consider the heavenly plenty which Jesus enjoyed with His Father before He wrapped His Deity with our humanity and came to earth.  “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich.”  What a wealth of revelation and suggestion is contained in the three words, “He was rich.”  Let me explore them by asking a couple of questions.

            First, when was He rich?  Of course, the only possible answer to the question is that Jesus was rich before He came to the earth.  You see, if you really want to understand Bethlehem, you must go back to a time before Bethlehem.  You must recognize that Jesus’ life did not begin in the manger at Bethlehem, nor in His conception in the womb of the virgin Mary.  In fact, you must recognize that His thirty-three years on earth were only a brief interlude between His existence in “two eternities.”  It is just as great a mistake to begin the story of Jesus with His birth as it is to end it with His death and burial.  Here, we are concerned with His eternal existence before His birth at Bethlehem.  At one time during His ministry, Jesus declared, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.”  At another time, He asked His accusers, “What if you were to see the Son of man ascending where He was before?”  Just before He died on the Cross, Jesus prayed, “And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory I had with You before the world was made” (John 17:5).  Nothing could be clearer than His teaching that He existed eternally with His Father before He came to earth in His incarnation.     

           

            The old Sunday School Times told about an argument that occurred one day between a Christian and a Unitarian concerning the Deity of Christ.  The Unitarian was trying to tell the Christian that the Bible nowhere stated that Jesus Christ had any existence before He came into the world.  The humble believer said that he was quite sure the Scriptures were full of verses on the pre-existence of Christ but he could not at the moment remember where they were found.  As they stood discussing the issue on a train platform, an informed pastor appeared.  He listened as they discussed, then he introduced himself.  “What do you think about the question?” the Unitarian asked.  “One verse should settle the issue,” the preached replied.  “What verse?” asked the skeptic.  “Second Corinthians eight nine,” the preacher answered, and he quoted the verse.  “How does that prove the pre-existence of Jesus Christ?” the Unitarian asked.  The preacher gently asked, “Tell me, when was Jesus rich?  Was He rich when He was born in a stable, or at any time in His earthly life afterwards?”  The preacher’s train had pulled into the station as they were talking.  As he stepped away to board the train, he looked back over his shoulder and asked again, “Tell me, sir, when was Jesus rich?” As I have said, the only possible answer to the question is that Jesus was rich in His pre-existence in Heaven before He came to the earth.  

            It is very remarkable that throughout the Gospels, when referring to His coming into the world, Jesus never uses the word “born” but once, and that was when He was on trial before Pilate, the Roman governor, who would not have understood any issue concerning His birth and would not have cared if he had understood.  Facing Pilate, Jesus said, “To this end was I born.”  But even then, Jesus was so conscious that the word “born” did not express the whole truth that He added, “and for this cause came I into the world.”  Look at the two statements together: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.”  The two phrases of the statement are not by any means synonymous.  The word “born” expresses the earthly beginning of Jesus; the word “came” indicates that He had a previous existence before He “came.”  He stated it even more definitely when He said, “I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world.”  Furthermore, the verb “was” in our text is a present participle, which means, “being rich.” He was rich throughout His Heavenly pre-existence.

            How was He rich?  In what way was He rich?  Of what did His riches consist?  What constituted His wealth?  What made up His fortune?  Can the inventory of His pre-existent state be itemized?  Any effort to answer those questions sends the researcher on a giant quest through his Bible, and the outcome staggers the imagination.  Though thoughts cascade, words fail in trying to describe the eternal riches of Christ.  So I will only make a few suggestions of His pre-existent riches in the next lines.  However, these suggestions should not be minimized, for each is certainly true.  When the Queen of Sheba finally saw Solomon’s vast riches in person, she said, “The half has never yet been told.”  The same must be said about the riches of Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state.  In what way was He “rich”?  The following “inventory” of His riches is only suggestive, not exhaustive.

            First, He was certainly rich in person.  The writer of the book of Hebrews referred to Him as “being the effulgence of His glory, and the very image of His substance” (Hebrews 1:3) In Colossians 1:19, the Apostle Paul wrote, “It pleased the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell.”  Charles Spurgeon said on this point, “Go back in thought to the glories of the eternity when, as very God of very God, He dwelt in the bosom of the Father.  He was so rich in person that all that He possessed was as nothing to Him.  He was not dependent upon any of the angels He had created, nor did He rely for glory upon any of the works of His hands.  Truly, heaven was His abode; but He could have made ten thousand heavens if He had willed to do so.  He was emphatically rich.  You cannot press into the word ‘rich’ all that Jesus was.”  Paul spoke in Ephesians 3:8 of “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”  His words could be used to describe the riches of Christ’s person in His pre-incarnate glory.

            Second, the pre-existent Christ was certainly rich in place.  He was in Heaven with the Father, enjoying a place and an environment such as only a Holy and Loving God could conceive.  The Biblical description of Heaven which we think of as a part of our future was forever His in the past -- up to the time of His incarnation. 

            Third, the pre-incarnate Christ was certainly rich in position.  Philippians 2:6 says that He was “equal with God.”  In His high priestly prayer which He prayed just before the redeeming events were set in motion, Jesus referred to “the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.”  He shared all of the Father’s eternal glory.  Seated on the throne of the universe, all beings and all things were subject unto Him.  He was rich in position.

            Fourth, He was also rich in possessions.  Though His Person surely excelled His possessions, He was still fabulously rich in possessions.  Everything was His, for He created it.  Colossians 1:16 says, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him.”  The vast riches suggested in that list cannot be measured by us. 

            Fifth, He was rich in power.  He possessed the power of creation, for all things were made by Him.  He possessed the power of cohesion, because “in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).  He possessed the power of control, because all dominions and principalities and powers were subject to Him.  All of God’s power was His. 

            Sixth, He was rich in praise.  He had the rightful adoration of all holy beings in the universe.  When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, His model prayer for them to emulate contains this petition: “Hallowed by Thy (God’s) name—on earth, as it is in heaven.”  All of Heaven ascribes glory to God and His Name without ceasing.  And Jesus was at the very epi-center of this proper praise through all eternity past (the reference to a “past” in eternity is merely an accommodation to our human finiteness).  A sample passage in the Old Testament will reveal this.  In Isaiah 6, the prophet Isaiah was given a vision of Heaven’s work, of Heaven’s worship.  In the vision, God was “high and lifted up,” and those words are apparently regarded as inadequate to describe His elevation.  The seraphim of Heaven, an order of angelic beings, are seen crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to God.  The entire account is replete with suggestions and expressions of the most exalted praise.  This is the praise Jesus received in Heaven before He came to the earth.

            Seventh, He was rich in pleasure.  Several times in the Bible, we read of pleasure experienced within the nature of God.  Psalm 16:11 contains some beautiful and suggestive expressions in defining the environment of God’s Presence in Heaven.  “You will show me the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”  It surely is deliberate when the Holy Spirit mentions a position at God’s “right hand.”  Throughout the Bible, the right hand of God is the position of ascendancy, authority, and productivity.  The Psalmist said that it is also a position of pleasure.  Certainly Jesus would have known that pleasure in its highest measure.

            So Jesus Christ was incalculably, incredibly rich—in person, in place, in position, in possessions, in power, in praise, in pleasure, and surely in many other ways—before He came to earth to redeem us.

II.  THE HUMAN POVERTY WHICH HE EXPERIENCED

           

            Second, we will look at the human poverty which He experienced in coming to the earth and while living among men.  “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor.”  “He became poor.”  The one who was immeasurably rich became unbelievably poor. 

            It must be made totally clear that there were some things in His heavenly riches which He could not entirely give up.  He could not give up the personal sinlessness of His character.  He could not give up the love and compassion of His heart.  He could not strip Himself of His essential Deity.  But He still became poor.  His poverty, in some measure, was the reverse of His riches.

            He became somewhat poor in person. “He emptied Himself,” the Bible says.  Of course, He did not empty Himself of His Deity.  He was still as much the Son of God on earth as He had been in Heaven.  But when He became a man, He voluntarily took upon Himself the limitations and the weaknesses of a human being. 

            He became poor in place.  When “God sent forth His Son” (Galatians 4:4), the word translated “sent forth” is a form of the word, “apostle,” which means to “send away from.”  It was as if God attended Him to the gate of Heaven, and all of Heaven said, “Goodby.  We hope to welcome you back soon.”  Then He left Heaven and came to the earth.  The spiritual, communing Presence of His Father attended Him to the earth and was very near until the Cross, when even His Father “turned His back on His Son” because He was so identified with our sins that God, because of His hatred for sin, could not continue to look upon Him.  He bore the abandonment of God in paying for our sins.  He became poor in place and condition. 

            He became poor in position.  After sitting at His Father’s right hand in the splendor of Heaven, He became a man, and humanity is a very poor thing when set in comparison with Deity.  Then, while on earth He became an apprentice carpenter in the village of Nazareth.  He who had been the Royal Crown Prince of Heaven became a lowly servant on earth. 

            He became poor in possessions.  As a poor human being on earth, He said, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has no place to lay His head.”  Jesus Christ walked the earth as a poor man.  After owning and negotiating all the riches of Heaven He suffered  privation and poverty on earth.   

            He became poor in power.  He voluntarily limited His power in coming to earth.  He became a helpless baby nursing at His mother’s breast, and experiencing all the dependence of a child.  Though He is renowned for the performance of many miracles, not one of them was produced until the Holy Spirit came upon Him at His baptism.  And finally, the One who had created the universe lay lifeless in a tomb, the ultimately picture of powerlessness.          

            He became poor in praise.  Not only did He cease to receive the praise and worship of Heavenly beings, He also received the mockery and slander of wicked men.  He who was cherished by His Father in eternity past was despised by men on earth.  He who had known the adoration of angels in Heaven was crucified between thieves on earth. 

            He became poor in pleasure.  Though He experienced joy on earth, He was definitively called “the man of sorrows” during His time in this world.  “Though He was rich, . . . He became poor.”    

            We can clearly see the extreme poverty to which Jesus came on earth by examining one tiny episode that occurred near the time of His birth.  It was necessary for Mary and Joseph to present their baby boy in the temple in Jerusalem, because He was their firstborn.  Exodus 13:2 says, “Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me” (also see Luke 2:23).  Luke 2:24 says that Mary and Joseph came to Jerusalem “to offer a sacrifice according to what has been said in the Law of the Lord, ‘A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”  This sacrifice was part of the purification rite after a birth.  Leviticus 12:6-8 prescribes that a one-year-old lamb was to be brought to the priest for a burnt offering.  However, if the couple simply could not afford to purchase such a lamb, two turtledoves or two young pigeons could be substituted for the lamb.  Mary and Joseph were among the poverty-stricken who could not afford to purchase a lamb for sacrifice, and instead bought two pigeons or two turtledoves for one-tenth the price.  It was into such humble circumstances that our blessed Lord was born!  Remember our text, “He became poor.” 

            The impoverished circumstances of His birth were only the forerunner of a life of poverty.  During His time on earth, Jesus owned nothing of what we would call material wealth.  He had to borrow a place in which to be born, a house in which to sleep, a boat from which to preach, a donkey on which to ride, a room in which to eat His last supper, a cross to die on, and a tomb in which to be buried.  And while He was here, His only pocketbook was the mouth of a fish!

                     “The fox of the field finds rest, And the bird of the air has its nest

                                                                     In the shade of the forest tree,

                       But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,

                                                                     In the desert of Galilee.”

            And when He came to die, He was evaluated at thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave, the lowest estimate of human life.  He became poor, indeed!

            Some years ago, I read the life story of Father Damien, the priest who went to the “Leper Island,” the island of Molokai in Hawaii, to serve the lepers who were isolated in a colony there.  Lepers were banished to this island to die, and to die in miserable wretchedness.  With no motive but compassion, Damien went to Molokai.  He was not himself a leper, but he voluntarily cut himself off from civilization and his former comfort, and was willing to share the lot of the lepers so that he might minister to them, living with them, finally dying with them, and being buried with them.  After twelve years of remarkable ministry with them, he contracted leprosy himself and died as one of them.  What a small but powerful reflection of the humiliation and sacrifice of Jesus Christ!  Though the lepers could communicate their disease and their death to their benefactor, he could not save them.  But Jesus came to heal us of our wretched and deadly disease of sin, and to give us the victory of His Risen Life.  In order to do that, He “became sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21).  When the Transaction at the Tree was completed, He was buried in another man’s tomb.  And then, He arose from the dead to deliver His riches to us.  But we are getting ahead; that’s the rest of the story.

III.  THE HAPPY PROVISION WHICH HE EXTENDS TO US

 

            Third, this verse reveals the happy provision which He extends to us because of the exchange  He made.  He gave up the riches of Heaven and became poor on earth, “in order that you, through His poverty, might be rich.”  “That you might be rich.” 

            Note that the same word is used for Jesus before He came to earth, “rich,” that is now used for every born-again believer, “rich.”  Question:  does the word “rich”, applied to the saints in the last part of the verse, mean the same thing as the word “rich” which is applied to the Savior in the first part of the verse?  The answer you give to that question will reveal how big your salvation is.  If you say “no,” you have a small, reduced, limited, provincial salvation, and your life will also be small, reduced, limited, provincial—a petty salvation produces petty souls.  A small provision produces small people.     

            Someone said, “The rich are not always Godly, but the Godly are always rich.”  How true!  Listen to these New Testament statements: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels”; we are recipients of “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”; we are “rich in faith”; and though we “have nothing, we possess all things.”  Read the New Testament and you will see that first-century Christians were joyfully aware of the enrichment of life that Jesus Christ had brought them.  “All things are yours,” Paul wrote to the Corinthians (even the poorest). 

            How do we estimate the “all things” that are ours?  The riches He brings to us are exactly parallel to His pre-incarnate riches, and the exact reversal of the poverty He experienced during His incarnation.  That is, because of His poverty of person, we are now made rich in person.  We are now sons of God.  We are now kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:5-6), and much more.  Then, because of His poverty of place, we are now rich in place.  Jesus Himself said, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be, also.”  Because of His poverty of position, we are now  rich in position.  His exalted position is now ours (see Ephesians 2:4-6).  Also, because of His poverty of possessions, we are now rich in possessions.  “He has given us richly all things to enjoy” (I Timothy 6:17).  “All things are yours” (I Corinthians 3:21).  Then, because of His poverty of power, we are rich in power.  The blessed power of the Holy Spirit—power for character development, power for Christ-likeness, power of illumination, power of transformation, power of communication, power for winning others to Christ, power to live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit—this power is ours in Christ.  Then, because of His poverty of praise, we are rich in praise.  As incredible as it may seem, I Corinthians 4:5, referring to Christians at the judgment seat of Christ, says, “Then shall every man have praise of God.”  Finally, because of His poverty of pleasure we  are rich in pleasure.  The Psalmist said, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).  No matter how much pleasure, gratification and satisfaction of any kind a man outside of Christ may find, he cannot possibly approximate the pleasure a Spirit-filled man finds in walking with Jesus and serving Him.  Verily, we who know Christ and walk in the Spirit are “rich.” 

            Remember that it was Jesus’ spiritual riches-to-rags exchange that allows you to make a spiritual rags-to-riches exchange.  The Son of God became a man, and a poor man, in order that we, being men, and poor men, might become sons of God, and rich.  If you are familiar with the treasures defined by such terms as “redemption,” “regeneration,” “reconciliation,” “justification,” “adoption,” “sanctification,” “comfort,” “peace,” “the earnest of our inheritance,” etc., etc., etc., . . . . . . . . . ., then you know a bit of how rich we are in Christ.  All because He became poor for our sakes!  You see, we get glory out of His shame, strength out of His weakness, wealth through His poverty, and Life through His Death.  And if we realize what spiritual poverty in us was over-matched by His riches, then we know how blessed we are.  Of course, we are not made rich by Jesus in temporal things, but in eternal things; not in perishable things, but in permanent things.  We are rich in blessings that are more valuable than all other things combined. 

            Let me share two illustrations which will help us see this exchange and its results.  One day some years ago, a poor woman boarded a bus in downtown London, England.  Every seat on the bus was taken, so the woman started to reach for the overhead strap to brace herself as she stood in the aisle of the bus throughout the ride.  However, a young man seated near the front of the bus saw her, stood to his feet, and beckoned her to sit down in the seat which he had occupied.  She gratefully accepted his offer, remaining seated throughout the ride.  When the young man exited the bus, a nearby passenger said to the lady, “Do you know who that was?”  She answered, “No; should I know who it was?”  “My dear,” came the answer, “that was Prince Charles!  What an honor! You just exchanged places with Prince Charles!”  The lady was overwhelmed.  She began to tell her story proudly everywhere.  “Prince Charles stood in my place, in order that I might sit in his seat!”  Dear Christian, is not our position more overwhelming, and should not our testimony and our praise be more prolific?  “Jesus Christ, the Prince of Glory, stood in my place, in order that I might sit in His seat!”  Our testimony about Him should be clear, and our praise for Him should be abundant.

            A Christian soul-winner had just led a man to Christ in a bus depot as they both waited for the same bus.  Later, the veteran Christian and the joyful new-born Christian boarded the bus together.  The bus driver saw the radiant face of the new Christian.  He exclaimed, “Boy, do you look happy!  You look as if you have just inherited a fortune.”  The veteran Christian said, “My friend, that’s a perfect description of what has  happened.  His Elder Brother died a long time ago, and he has just discovered that He left him a fortune!”

            A great Christian teacher once said that the difference between a sermon and a lecture is that a sermon is addressed to individuals.  Then let me turn this study into a sermon.  The truth of our text has a searchingly personal quality.  Has Jesus Christ enriched you so that through His poverty you have become rich?  Have His eternal riches been transferred to your account?  Are you daily drawing on them? 

            Unless you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, Lord and Friend, unless you possess the unsearchable riches that He graciously and eagerly supplies, you are poor indeed.  The birth of Jesus is not only an event which happened in the past at a certain time and place.  It is also a personal experience available to sinners like you and me which is capable of unlimited repetition.  And when it occurs in you, it becomes the release of His extravagant fortune into your life.

            I began this study with an illustration from children’s literature.  Let me close it with another illustration from another classic of children’s literature.  If you have not read Little Lord Fauntleroy, by all means, do so, and then read it with your children.  It is the story of a young Englishman, Captain Cedric Errol, who fell in love with an American woman, marrying her and moving to America.  His wealthy father, the Earl of Dorincourt, promptly disinherited him.  In America, Captain Errol and his wife built a very modest life for themselves.  In America, they had their first and only child, Cedric, Jr.  Sadly, Captain Errol died young, leaving his wife and young Cedric to face life together, in poverty. 

            However, one day the family lawyer for the Earl of Dorincourt arrived on the Errol doorstep in America.  The lawyer, Mr. Havisham, informed Cedric and his mother that the Earl of Dorincourt’s two oldest sons, the heirs of the Earl’s fortune, had both died, leaving only young Cedric to inherit the family fortune.  Cedric, as the only surviving grandchild of the Earl, is now the sole heir to the great wealth and power of the earldom.  Cedric, who is now Lord Fauntleroy, is escorted to England that he might eventually accept the family fortune and assume his responsibility as Earl of Dorincourt.   

            When Mr. Havisham, the Earl’s representative, meets with young Cedric, he sees that the new Lord Fauntleroy “had not the least idea of the sort of thing he was to see when he reached England, or the sort of home that waited for him there.”  So he attempted to help Cedric and his mother understand some of the privileges that would accompany his position as Lord Fauntleroy.  Cedric is given advance money on his new fortune before he leaves America, and he uses some of his inheritance to help the poor people in his life whom he loves.  Aware of their poverty because he has experienced poverty himself, he reaches out with great compassion and lovingly ministers to the many needs around him. 

            However, though Cedric is allowed to use a portion of his grandfather’s vast wealth as he pleases in America, the full extent of his privileges and possessions as Lord Fauntleroy must wait until he is living in England with his grandfather.  While in America, Cedric gets only a small taste of his grandfather’s wealth (an “earnest”), but in England, he will see in full what it means to be Lord Fauntleroy.

            Little Lord Fauntleroy, written in 1886 by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is the powerful and moving story of how a young American boy’s life is turned upside down when he becomes the sole heir of a vast fortune in England.  The book holds some very important illustrative clues as to how we, as Christians, should live our lives.  It tells of a journey from rags to riches that parallels the pilgrimage of every Christian. 

            We, too, have received a representative from a royal court (the Holy Spirit), Who has come to present the claims of Heaven’s Crown Prince and to offer the wealth of Heaven’s Treasury to us as His heirs.  Yes, as Christians we are now the heirs to God’s vast fortune, and we have all the rights and privileges that go with being His heirs.  We are not longer persons of dishonor, but persons of honor.  We are no longer powerless, but powerful in Him.  Regardless of how bleak and hopeless our past may have seemed, we have an incredibly bright, incredibly rich, future.  And great advance deposits, the “earnest” of our coming full inheritance, have been given to us as we still live in this alien world.  Similar to the situation of Lord Fauntleroy when he was still in America, we are not home yet.  Thus, we are unable to fully exercise or enjoy all of our privileges as royal heirs.  We are like Cedric still living in America—we still live on earth.  But just as Cedric went to England to receive his full inheritance and all of its privileges, we are bound for Heaven, our actual and eternal home.  While we are still here, we look forward to the day when we reach Heaven and obtain our full inheritance in our eternal home, and in the Presence of the Crown Prince of the Realm and His Wonderful Father (and ours!).  Meanwhile, as we live here and prepare for there, we (like Cedric) are to disperse the wealth of our inheritance to others around who are as poor as we were before we trusted the Crown Prince and received our inheritance.

            Dear Christian, our Wonderful Father and His Glorious Son have sent us a personal Representative from the Royal Court of Heaven— to bring us to royal birth, to teach us of our full inheritance in the Father’s Forever Family, to teach us how to accept the “earnest of the inheritance now,” and to tell us how to use it to bless others as we journey toward Our Father’s Homeland.  This Representative is another portion of our inheritance.  Should we not maximize this Representative and Teacher, the Holy Spirit, and “cash in” on our riches in Christ?

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