Naboth had a vineyard and he was offered a great price for it by King Ahab. However Naboth refused King Ahab's offer.
1 Kings 21:2 ESV And after this Ahab said to Naboth, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money."
The reason Naboth refused was that it was more than just a vineyard, it was his family's heritage or testimony.
1 Kings 21:3 ESV But Naboth said to Ahab, "The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers."
Ahab was seriously upset that Naboth would not give up his family inheritance. We will find that people want us to do what they do and be in partnership with their activities and sin causing us to sell out our testimony. When we don't they become angry.
1 Kings 21:4 ESV And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.
Naboth was eventually stoned to death because he would not part with his ancestral heritage. (1 Kings 21:13)
ESAU: SELLING OUT
In contrast to Naboth, Esau sold not only his ancestral heritage but his birthright for a bowl of red stew.
Genesis 25:31-34 ESV Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright now." (32) Esau said, "I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?" (33) Jacob said, "Swear to me now." So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. (34) Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Our heritage and birthright as believers are much more than pieces of property or a bowl of soup. Our Christian heritage includes divine revelation through the anointing of the Person of the Holy Spirit. Our heritage is the truth of God's Word, His manifested power, eternal life, and His unconditional love. All that we have in our Christian heritage was purchased by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To preserve and deepen this heritage, we will certainly have to sacrifice things and pleasures of the flesh and not sell out. We may even have to give our lives. It may come to the choice of Naboth of die or be killed.
Unfortunely many have sold out the Lord's awesome presence and power, and enslaved themselves in the world's "culture of death." Many have sold their birthright and heritage for next to nothing. And for many it has been nothing more than a religious activity, or offering intellect, talents, resources, or callings on the temporal altar of lust, fame, and fortune. It could be the altar of man's acceptance, personal satisfaction, entertainment, competition, or pride.
Jesus has paid the price of our heritage with His blood, therefore we do not belong to the world or even to ourselves. We have been purchased by our Lord. The ultimate price has been paid. We don't have a legal right to sell out ourselves to the pleasures of the world.
Joshua 24:16 ESV Then the people answered, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods,
There are Ahabs watching and waiting to bring an offer to us for our vineyards. Are we NOT FOR SALE?
I was born and raised in the small town of 250 people in Augusta Springs, Virginia. We were a poor family and I did not see indoor plumbing in a home until I was 13 years old. Since we had wood stoves my dad, my grandfather and I went to the mountains every Saturday to cut down trees for our wood. I was handling a chainsaw and axe by the age of 8 years old. This taught me to have a strong work ethic.
I have one older brother and 2 younger sisters. We grew up hard and under extreme circumstances. My dad was a hard worker as a carpenter, but he was also addicted to alcohol. Many times our home was like a war zone with fighting and cussing causing me to grow up with a lot of hatred and resentment towards my dad.
Starting at the age of six I started attending a small Methodist church down the road from our house. I was not seeking God, but I wanted a place of peace away from the fighting in our home. From age 6 to 18 I attended three different churches using them as my temporary safe places. I graduated from Buffalo Gap High School in Swoope, Va. in June 6th, 1972 and immediately went into the U.S. Air Force. I no longer attended any church.
I had already been drinking for a couple of years and through the influences of some military guys, I was introduced to a lifestyle of drugs. I found myself with the same excessive addictive behavior as my dad and became what I hated. I had a serious alcohol and drug problem. My life was headed downward quickly. I loved the Air Force and my job, but I could not shake the alcohol and drug addictions.
I was a leader, well liked, and sought after. I look back now and realize that most of my popularity was because I controlled a large portion of the drug market on base and on many occasions, I gave my “so-called” friends free drugs. I felt so empty and so aimless inside. I excelled in everything I did with the military, but nothing satisfied the longing in my heart. The more emotionally distraught I became the more I looked for ways to medicate my pain.
Then it happened. I wasn’t looking for it, but it happened. It was Sept.4th 1974 at 1:00am. I was lying in bed heavy on drugs with my mind going through my life and realizing how empty I felt and how much I needed to find a way to take control of my life. Then out of the blue I felt this overwhelming sense of conviction of the fact that I was a sinner, and if I died, I would go to hell. I suddenly knew that Jesus Christ was God and He was the Savior of mankind. These three things were all I could think about: My condition as a sinner, my judgment of hell and that my only help could be found in Jesus Christ.
Then I had a sensation that I was going to die. I never feared death before, but this time it was different. Before when I had faced death, I believed that once you die that was it, it was all over. Now I was facing death and I realized that I was going to spend eternity in hell. I remember getting out of my bed, falling to my knees, and starting to pray. I remember that prayer as though I just prayed it. I said, “God, I am not afraid to die but I don’t want to go to hell. Lord Jesus I believe that You are God and that You died on a cross for me and for my sins. Come into my life and save me and make me a new person. Thank you for forgiving me and for saving me.”
Immediately I knew something was different. I felt such peace and joy flooding my heart. I did not own a Bible, but I knew that I knew that God had just saved me and given me His life and eternal life in heaven. I immediately took my alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs and flushed them all down the commode. I sat on the edge of my bed from 1:00am to 7:00am praising God for saving a wicked man like myself. One of the greatest joys of salvation was the ability to forgive my dad for all the physical and emotional abuse that a violent alcoholic brings into a home.
Then came my first test. My best friend John came to my room at 7:00am to smoke dope. I told him that I no longer did drugs because I had given my life to Jesus Christ and was a changed man. He left the room laughing at me, mocking me and went through the barracks telling everyone not to come to my room to party anymore because I had become a Jesus freak. It was okay to be accepted as an alcohol freak. It was okay to be accepted as a drug freak. But now I was rejected because I was a lover of God or Jesus freak.
At 10:00am two more of my drug friends came to my room. This time it was not for the purpose of getting high. They were seeking truth. They looked at me earnestly and asked, “Charles, what has happened to you?” I told them my testimony of what happened that night. To my surprise they both started crying and said, “We want what you have, how can we be saved?” I was scared to death. I knew what I had done but I did not know how to share it with others.
Suddenly, the Bible verse John 3:16 came to my memory. I had to memorize it when I was 6 years old for a Christmas play in the Methodist church. I had not read it or heard it for 14 years and here it was on the tip of my tongue like I was the one who wrote it.
(John 3:16 ESV) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
When I quoted that Bible verse, they both prayed and received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. We immediately went down town to the book store and all three of us purchased Bibles. We went back on base and went into the Mess Hall and started preaching about Jesus Christ and His love for us. I immediately knew that I was called to preach and Pastor and set out to read everything I could about the Christian life. I stayed in the Air Force for 14 years and had the joy of leading over 800 military GIs to the Lord Jesus Christ and the joy of leading so far over 8,000 souls to our Savior. To God be the glory and my I be found faithful to the end.
Of course you have heard the old motto, "All it takes is one bad apple to spoil the whole bushel"?
Ever notice every time a kid or young adult gets in trouble his/her parents respond with "Yeah, he was a great kid until he got with the wrong crowd"? So if everyone who gets in trouble was influenced by the wrong crowd, who is the wrong crowd and what are their parents saying?
I have never heard a parent say, "my kid WAS the wrong crowd."
When I stand in church and give my testimony I have four points that need to be addressed. In those four points there are some key elements to remember.
1. Keep the testimony 3-6 minutes long. Period.
2. Don't glorify sin or the enemy.
3. Lift up Jesus, it is His work in us. Don't exalt a church or a person, they didn't save us.
4. KISS=Keep it simply simple. Don't use church words that the lost would not know.
The 4 points of a testimony:
#1 My life before I was saved. (Remember element #2 above).
#2 How I realized I needed to be saved.
#3 How and where I received Christ.
#4 My life now that I am saved. (Concentrate mainly on this one)
Now back to bad company: When I give my 4 points in my testimony, on #1 I confess that I was the guy that your parents warned you about. I was the bad crowd. I seemed to look for and found trouble.
Which takes me back to the One bad apple spoils the whole bushel. When my sons were young they did not understand why they could not do what all the other kids in school did. I will not stand before God for all the other kids but I knew that I was answerable to God for my two sons. Therefore I tried to keep them from morally bad influences. If they were going to mess up and sin then let it be totally on them and not influenced by bad kids. Do I have Scriptures for this? I am glad that you asked.
1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV (33) Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals."
Matthew 24:4 ESV And Jesus answered them, "See that no one leads you astray.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.