Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Our Topsy Turvy World



Luke 13:30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.


As we come to the end of another year, I think it is always wise to review the past year to see if there was anything in it that amounted to anything.  We have to pay the bills, maintain the cars, maintain the house, all of which requires doing something productive for which we hope to get paid.  We also need to stay in touch with friends and family and we need to take time to be friends to our friends, family, and neighbors.  So where does that leave us when it comes to our relationship with the Lord?  Matthew 6:33 says that we are to put the interests of the Lord “first” not last.  How many of us can honestly say that we did that this last year?  We might think that we did, but would the Lord think that we did? 


What does our Verse Mean?

This phrase is found a number of places in the Bible. The last shall be first and the first last.  It is found several times in connection with rewards (see Matthew 20:16).  But it is also found here in connection with salvation.  I would like to suggest that Jews who are the “elect” and are special in God’s sight are really “last” when it comes to receiving Him.  Gentiles showed more devotion and faith than the Jews.  Women often showed more devotion than men.  Publicans and sinners were criticized by the Jews and yet they are first in Matthew 21:31.  Children and not adults are first when it comes to faith in the Lord in several places.  Servants are greater than those that they serve.  So obviously this statement that the last shall be first and the first last means that our evaluation of who and what is important is likely different than the Lord’s evaluation.


Where does that Leave Us?

We know that there is a difference between the judgment of the Great White Throne in Revelation 20:11 and the Judgment Seat of Christ as found in 2 Corinthians 5:10.  At the Great White Throne, unbelievers are going to be shown why they are being condemned eternally.  No one is saved there.  The issue of salvation is settled before we die and not after.  The Judgment Seat of Christ is a place where the faithfulness of believers is judged.  No one is condemned to hell there, but works are reviewed for faithfulness to the Lord and are rewarded.  Now I am much like the disciples of the Lord who were jockeying for the greatest positions in the Kingdom (see Mark 9:34). And as I hear teaching on rewards and faithfulness, I suspect many Christians are like me.  They are hoping to be top officials in the Kingdom.  In would be nice to be able to tell others what to do and then have them do it.   But again, servants come before bosses because the last are to be first.  So our competitive spirits will likely land us at the end of the line and not at the front.


But what will the Lord really be Rewarding?

I don’t think the Lord will be rewarding those who forced the unsaved to try to live like Christians before they were told how to become Christians.  I don’t think the Lord will be rewarding those who have turned Christianity into Churchianity that appeals to the flesh. 


I think the Lord will be rewarding true loyalty and devotion to Him.  There will be those like the women who anointed Him with oil.  There will be those like the women who came early in the morning to the tomb.  There will be those who like Mary who spent time with the Lord conversing with Him instead of serving like a woman was expected to do. I suspect the Lord would like to know that when the world criticizes Him and His way of doing things as found in the Bible, that He has friends who defend His right to ask us to do that which makes no sense to the natural man.  If it pleases the Lord, that should be enough for us.  That includes His way of salvation which involves a new birth, and His way of baptism which includes immersion in water after salvation to publicly confess our identification with Him.  That includes men “manning up” and becoming the spiritual leaders in the home and the church.  That includes women wearing head coverings when they are involved in public praying and prophesying.  That involves not having women teach or preach publicly in the church meetings.  That involves distinguishing to the best of our ability between believers and unbelievers when it comes to yoking with them in our spiritual, business and social lives.  We believers are supposed to be influencing unbelievers but often they are influencing us.


Are we the Lord’s Friend?

In 2nd Samuel 15:37, Hushai proved himself to be David’s friend when David was fleeing from Absalom.  He had David’s back.  The title “friend” is really precious.  Most of us don’t have a lot of people that we know will defend us and who will have our backs when others criticize us.  I find that being a friend is really harder than having a friend.  We have a friend in the Lord, now let us make sure that we are the Lord’s friend.  I am confident that will please Him more than anything else we might try to do.  It will make this next year count.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of December 28, 2014

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