“What’s the Bottom Line?”

by Pastor Tim Burt

Eccles. 12:14 Here is my final conclusion: (THE BOTTOM LINE) Fear God and obey His commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”

Have you ever worked with an employee whom you are afraid to talk to or ask a question because you know if you do, the answer will be fifteen minutes long before they even take their first breath. Some people just don’t know how to make a long story short. Some just don’t know how to get to “the bottom line.” “The bottom line” has definitely become a phrase of this decade. It’s the phrase of determination or desperation to cut to the chase or to get to the point. In this fast pace and busy world, people often want to get to the bottom line. There is a time and place for both – the entire story –details included, and the bottom line. It’s good when people can figure out the right time for each.

The Bible has a “bottom line” set of verses in the book of Ecclesiastes. It reads like this:

Eccles. 12:11-14 “A wise teacher’s words spur students to action and emphasize important truths. The collected sayings of the wise are like guidance from a shepherd. But, my child, be warned: There is no end of books written to hold opinions ready to be expressed. Studying them can go on forever and become very exhausting! Here is my final conclusion: (THE BOTTOM LINE) Fear God and obey His commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”

The bottom line is to “Fear God and obey His commands.” We’ve been told that this is our duty and our bottom line. We have been told that one day, everything we do – in secret or in public will be measured and judged by God good or bad.

Our sins our forgiven and washed away by the blood of Jesus. They won’t condemn us. But everything we do in this life will be measured in terms of right heart motivation and reward at the believer’s judgment – the judgment seat of Christ. That is where all we do will be judged. We see this in 1 Cor. 3:11-15 (NLT) “For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.”

When we are united with Jesus, we won’t feel fear or condemnation. We’ll experience joy unspeakable. But our lives (not the sin – but the good we’ve done) will be judged and rewarded and those rewards will carry into our eternity with the Lord. How will that work out? We don’t know but it’s important to God and His plan or He would not have revealed it to us. We are told that God is a “Rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.” (That includes serving Him and His plans and purposes.)

So the bottom line is fear or reverence God and obey His ways. This is our duty. As a Christian, do you think you are doing that? Do you think you are reverencing the Lord and obeying His ways? In Colossians Chapter 3, the Apostle Paul had given us the bottom line for living a moral and godly life that we are helped and strengthened to live by the Holy Spirit within us – and that we are rewarded for.

Col. 3:5-16 (NLT) “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us.”

Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use His words to teach and counsel each other.”

The bottom line starts with a reverence for God that fills your heart and dominates any peer pressure of this world around us. Then we are strengthened and taught to learn to walk in His ways. This country and world needs Christians that know walk out the Lord’s bottom line.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved

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