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Summary: The difference between investing -- eternal or temporary rewards. Which will you pursue?

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October 21, 2001

What does it take to make a good investment? Inside information aside, the more conservative advisor might say, "Get started, work hard at it, and avoid chasing rabbits." That¡¦s good advice.

An immigrant came to this country with little more than the clothes on his back. Using the above formula he built a thriving business selling vegetables and fruits from a street cart. Expanding, he built a sizable empire, raising his young family in comfort.

One of the sons graduated from college with a degree in accounting. He wanted to enter the family business and help Dad. When he arrived for his first day on the job, he asked to see the inventory sheets and the account books. "Don¡¦t got ¡¦em," said Dad. "Where are they?" countered Junior. "They ain¡¦t." "You mean you don¡¦t keep an inventory or accounting records?" asked the incredulously shocked graduate. "Nope."

"Then how do you keep track of your stock and raw materials? How do you know where you stand? What is your profit and loss picture?" asked the son.

"Son," answered the father, "You want to know how I do accounting? When I arrived here by boat I only owned the pants I was wearing. I have managed to buy and pay for a six-bedroom house, with a car in each of three garages, feed, clothe and send you and your brothers and sister to the finest schools, build a nestegg of three hundred thousand bucks in the bank.

I guess my method of accounting is to add all that up, subtract your foolish questions, and the pants I started with, and the rest is pure profit!"

The apostle Paul knew a good deal, and he knew his job was to convey that good "eternal" investment to the community at Thessalonica.

In writing to these people he loved Paul reminded them of three areas of eternal investment that were effectively working in their lives:

Investment #1 Salvation

AND WE ALSO THANK GOD CONTINUALLY BECAUSE, WHEN YOU RECEIVED THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH YOU HEARD FROM US, YOU ACCEPTED IT NOT AS THE WORD OF MEN, BUT AS IT ACTUALLY IS, THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH IS AT WORK IN YOU WHO BELIEVE." [NIV](2.13)

YOU MUST START SOMEWHERE

Paul had come to Europe to bring the gospel message of Jesus. He shared with people this good news that Christ had died for our sins, and He wasn¡¦t the God of the dead, but had risen again, and was victorious over the grave.

And we can be forgiven. These people had heard this news, and RECEIVED it. To receive carries the meaning of "taking up with the hand." If you want to receive the salvation God offers, you simply take the gift as it is offered. How do you do that?

A LEAP OF FAITH

Those who "believe" are those who:

...in their hearts, have seen the difference between good and evil.

...they have also recognized that although they would rather choose good in all circumstances, there are times they choose to do wrong. That is the sin nature.

...the leap of faith is taking Jesus at His word; that, confessing this sin, and asking Christ to forgive and save, He will! And He does!

ONCE STARTED THERE¡¦S NO STOPPING

When God makes a promise He keeps it. The Thessalonian believers had accepted what Paul had preached as the Word of God. They had received it by faith, confessing their sin, and been saved. Paul now wrote to them and said, "That word is still working in you."

Paul knew, and so did the church, of changed lives. Christ was effectively changing lives in that fellowship, and good things were being done because of the change.

How does He do that in my life and yours? I¡¦m not certain...but He does. Jesus knows just what is needed in my life, and by His word He is changing me, and circumstances to make me what I really need to be.

A small factory had to shut-down because one of the vital pieces of machinery broke. The company mechanic couldn¡¦t get it running, so they called an expert. The man looked over the machine for a few minutes and took a hammer and tapped it, and it began running as it should.

He submitted a bill for $1,500, and the owner hit the roof. "Five minutes work for that much?" he bellowed. He demanded an itemized bill, which he got; it read:

FOR TAPPING MACHINE --------------$ 10.

FOR KNOWING WHERE TO TAP --------- 1,490.

When it comes to the "human machine" Jesus knows what needs to be tapped. The best eternal investment you could make today (if you haven¡¦t already) is to be saved.

You should start investing eternally somewhere. Start by accepting God¡¦s free offer of salvation.

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