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Category Archives: #PROSPERITY

THE MARKETING AND EXPLOITATION OF THE CROSS: COMMERCIALIZING CHRISTIANITY

THE MARKETING AND EXPLOITATION OF THE CROSS: COMMERCIALIZING CHRISTIANITY.

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HERETICAL MYLES MUNROE

Myles Munroe Myles Munroe teaches that God needs our permission to work on earth.  He also teaches that angels need our permission as well to do their jobs.For example, he teaches that God sought Abraham for permission to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  In their make believe interaction according to Myles Munroe, God told Abraham, “You got it!  You’re the man!  Once you’re satisfied and give me permission I will act.This is absurd to think that an Almighty and Sovereign God needs our permission to act in His universe!  Think about it my friend, is this not the height of arrogance?  What does the bible have to say about the sovereign plan of God and the vain efforts of man that try to subvert it?And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Daniel 4:35, see also Isaiah 43:3, Psalm 115:3, 135:6.  Whom will you believe, God or Myles Munroe? Benny Hinn made the following endorsements after these incredibly blasphemous statements by Myles Munroe: “Man!  That is absolutely awesome!  Dear God!That’s incredible!  That’s incredible!  Wow!Wow!  Wow!  Wow!This is so amazing!Are you getting blessed like I am, dear Jesus. Myles Munroe: That’s why angel’s need our permission to function.  It says they are here to do our biddingThey can’t even act without our permission, you see.  But, here’s the bigger statement: Even God Himself is illegal on earth.  Why?  Because, He is a spirit and the law He set up by His own mouth was that only spirits with bodies can function on earth legally.”(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 12, 2004) “Why can’t God take care of Pharaoh by Himself?  Why can’t God invade that government and disrupt that process and set them free by Himself?  He is illegal.  So God then has to get the attention of a human first.  Then spend hours, maybe even days trying to convince this one human to work with Him.  Moses came up with every single excuse he could find and gave them.  And Almighty God tolerated him, saying, ‘Look, if you can’t talk, I will speak for you.  If you got problems, I’ll solve them for you.  If you’re afraid, I’ll give you courage.  In other words, whatever you need, please work with meCause I want to do something.  Give me your body.'”(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) So, even though God can do anything, He can only do what you permit Him to do.  If you study the Word of God, you will see why it makes so much sense.  For example, God has done nothing on earth without a human co-operating with Him.  He had to find a human.  When God for example wanted to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah…Go ahead and destroy it!  No!  He [God] was illegal.  He had to find a human to give Him access and ageement to release His powerSo, then God had to negotiate with a man in Abraham.  They argued for a long time!…Abraham figured it out.  Abraham said, ‘Ahh, Haa!  Okay, so I’ll tell you what!  Before I give you permission [Abraham gives God permission!] to touch that city, if I could find 50 men, 40, 30, 10.’  He said, ‘I’m dealing, and God had to deal with a man.’  And he said, ‘If I could only find one.’ God says, ‘You got it!  You’re the man!  Once you’re satisfied and give me permission I will act.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 12, 2004) “When you study Moses or any human that has been successful with God, you will find this dependency God has on humanity. God says, ‘Moses, quickly agree with me.  Because your brother, your nephew is on the way.  We got to get this work doneI need a human to agree.’  As soon as Moses agrees with God, God says, ‘Okay, let’s Go.‘”(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) “Let me define prayer for you in this show. Prayer is man giving God permission or license to interfere in earth’s affairsIn other words, prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 12, 2004) Heaven depends on earth for interference.  If He [God] could just find two people like you [Benny Hinn] and I to agree.  We agree for God to do this thing.  Then God says, ‘Thank you very much for permission!‘  Then He [God] can come.”(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) “Our prayer is a strange experience.  We normally ask God to do things, God is telling us to command Him permission to do it for us.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) God could do nothing on earth, nothing has God ever done on earth without a human giving Him access.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 12, 2004) He [God] could not name those animals because He [God] is illegal.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) “O’ Lord, heal this man.  God says, ‘No! No! No!  Talk to the sickness, I am already healing the guy.  What I need is permission to get the healing on earth.‘”(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) Myles Munroe:  “Jesus was necessary for Christ.Benny Hinn:  “Wait!  Wait!  Wait!  Wait!  Pastor, slow down.  What you mean is.”Myles Munroe: “Jesus made Christ legal on the earth.  Jesus was the body.Benny Hinn:  “Has he always been this deep here?  It’s amazing what he’s saying.  So, So, repeat that.”Myles Munroe:  “Christ is God’s Spirit, that’s why Christ needed a body to come to earth legally.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) Every sick person is already healed.  That’s why you don’t really have to lay hands on a million of people in India to heal them.  You don’t have to, they are already healed.  What God’s problem is, is getting the healing to earth.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) When a human gets healed and becomes well again, God Himself is able to stay here legally longer.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) “Every spirit is trying to find a body.  Can I give you another shocker?  [Benny Hinn: You bet!]  Even the Holy Spirit, because He cannot function here without a body.  That’s why your called the body of Christ.  And it says our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Cause He Himself needs to be legal to function.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) In other words, Moses had to initiate the action for God to produce the product.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) “God says, ‘If my people,’ now if means, ‘I would like to fix this, but I can’t fix this without a human giving me permission.‘”(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) Interfering in earth by God is totally up to usHeaven is waiting on earth to get things done.”(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 13, 2004) “What is faith?  Faith is believing in what you said, that God told you.  In other words, the fight is to keep believing after you said something.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 12, 2004) “That’s why your [Benny Hinn] healing ministry is necessary.  God could heal people by Himself as a spirit with powerBut it’s illegal to do it on earth.  So, He needs a human agency.  What does laying your hands on a human to do with healing?  Well, really nothing.  We touch you you all the time but your sick.  What He’s looking for is permissionThe power to heal is always present, but having permission to heal is held up by humanity and their lack of faith.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 12, 2004) “God made a promise to Satan, I paraphrase again, I believe God said it this way in my spirit.  He said, ‘Satan, you know I can’t come in right now because I’m a spiritAnd if I came in now as a spirit I would violate my Word, break my Word, and I would never be able to be trusted again with my Word.  But, I’ll make a promise, and the promise is: the same woman that you used to destroy my program on earth for humanity.  I’m going to use the same woman and I’m going to put my seed in her womb and she’ll build around me a physical dirt body.  And I will become legal in the earth.  And then legal, I will then come in legally and crush your authority legally.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 12, 2004) Satan himself knew that in order for him to fuction on this earth that he needed a body alsoThat’s why he had to go to the serpent which had a dirt body and negotiated with the serpent to borrow his body for awhile.  And he did, and that’s why God cursed the serpent cause the serpent literally loaned his body to the Adversary, who’s a spirit, in order to do buisness legally with Eve.(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 12, 2004) “It bothered me, I’m sure it bothered you [Benny Hinn] for years as a pastor.  If God is so mighty, powerful, awesome, omnipotent, omniscient, why couldn’t this mighty God who made 500 million planets and galaxies couldn’t stop a skinny little woman from picking the fruit and destroying His whole program?  I mean, God aren’t you powerful?  You could intervene, you can destroy the works of the devil, prevent the woman and save humanity.  But He couldn’t!  Not that He didn’t, He couldn’t!…”(Myles Munroe, “This Is Your Day,” Benny Hinn, July 12, 2004)
 

Driscoll Goes Word of Faith?

Driscoll Goes Word of Faith?.

 

REJECTING WORLDLY AMBITIONS

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6).

Within every man and woman is a hunger and thirst only God can satisfy. That’s why Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
Sadly, most people search for happiness in the wrong places. The prodigal son in Luke 15 is one example. He turned from God to pursue sinful pleasures, but soon discovered that sin cannot satisfy a hungering soul. That’s when he returned to his father’s house, where he was given a great feast–a picture of salvation.
The rich fool in Luke 12 thought that amassing possessions was the key to happiness, saying to himself, “What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops? . . . This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (vv. 17- 21). Unlike the prodigal son, the rich fool never turned to God in repentance. Consequently he lost everything.
The rich fool is typical of many people today: they ignore Christ and attempt to fill the void with worldly pleasures. Most are oblivious to the eternal peril that awaits them if they don’t repent.
Those who love God shun worldliness, pursue righteousness, and know the satisfaction that comes from pleasing Him. That’s the essence of the Sermon on the Mount: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all [you need] will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Keep that goal uppermost in your mind as you face the challenge of each new day.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Thank God that He satisfies the deepest desires of your heart.
For Further Study:
Read Daniel 4:28-37.
  • What was Nebuchadnezzar’s sin?
  • How did God punish Him?
  • How did Nebuchadnezzar respond after being punished?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

 

HOW TO BECOME A PROSPERITY PREACHER

After the recent expositions about some church leaders, it has become clear that Pastoral work and Christianity as a whole is a huge pillar to Uganda’s economy. Just as a form of encouraging economic development, John K. Abimanyi gives a few guidelines to follow if any one is interested in starting, maintaining and prospering a church

Start from scratch
Do not wait to build a 10,000-seater auditorium to begin a church. The back yard garage at home can do for starters. If you follow the instructions below to the dot, you will upgrade to a palace church in no time.

Prosperity gospel
Above all, make it clear from the start that the only way to get a thing from God is by constant, sincere, and faithful tithing and sowing. The flock should know that God knows exactly how much they earn and will punish them when they give him less than a tenth. Preach about getting rich and prospering.
Do not talk about sin and hell because people do not like being blamed for the slightest sin they commit; rather, they want to listen to the promises of prosperity that God has for them.

Scream
You need a loud, sharp and hoarse voice. 21 century church is not conducted in whispers. Thus, you should be able to scream the lungs out to the masses all sermon long. It shows that you are an authority on what you are preaching. You should also be able to quote a few Bible verses off the cuff without turning the pages of the bible.

Regular concertsOrganise regular music and dance extravaganzas facilitated by dynamic bass boost sound systems. It is the only way to attract this day’s youth to your church. You can also include youth conferences where you talk about sex, abstinence, marriage, and relationships from as many perspectives as you can create.
They love hearing such talk and will never get tired of it. You would also love to have a mass choir, probably run by your wife or daughter, where the boys and girls meet to socialise during the practice. This will keep the youth satisfied and once you have today’s youth, you have tomorrow’s leaders.

Unique personalityHave a unique personality. You ought to have a few vices that you were saved from. Occasionally, remind your church that you were once a murderer, or a thief but you were saved and are now cleansed. The flock will easily associate with you because you have been where they are.
Drive high powered SUVs with personalised plates. You would particularly want to drive a Humvee. This would show that you are a General in God’s army. It helps to spread the word and show how God has blessed you. You do not need to be a good man to be a pastor. Do not let your promiscuity, witchcraft, lust, and theft stop you from serving.

The parking yard
After getting the church venue, gather up a few cars to park around your church on Sunday morning while you conduct your service. People feel secure going to a church that is attended by trendy looking people. All those that do not have cars, and they are really many, will have hope that within three months of attending your church, they will be driving as well.
So let them come and fill your bags with ‘seed.’ Words of caution though, do not pack Toyota Corollas a.k.a. kikumi and Toyota Coronas a.k.a. kibina at your venue because the people may think that your congregation is made up of special hire drivers only.

Gad for God
You need a good English accent. You must be able to pronounce the word ‘God’ as Garrd. That way, you give the congregation the feeling that you are learnt about the white man’s language; and that only builds their confidence in you. You should at no time refer to the Holy Spirit as that; rather, call him Holy Ghost; pronounced hurly gawst.

Testimonies
Hire a few people to give testimony once in while. This will send the message that things are working in your church and keep people anxious and ‘sowing.’ Do not worry about how to get the people to do this sacred job because many Ugandans would love to do such a thing. If they can sell the most private of their body parts for a couple of coins, then they can sell off their conscience for a little more than that.

People who matter
Hang around people who make things happen in your society. It helps to say words like, “while I was with the President the other day…” during your sermon. Your flock will know that they are in secure hands because you even command attention from high people. People like L.C.5 Chairperson, the President and his wife, and many of the kind. With this, you can never go wrong even if you blander with a prophecy or two.

 

140 QUESTIONS TITHE-TEACHERS SHOULD HONESTLY ANSWER

1.       According to Genesis 14:11-16 were the spoils of war Abram received holy tithes from God’s holy land? Would they have been “holy” tithes in the Law?
Answer: Of course not. There was no holy land yet. They do not fit the description of “holy” tithes under the Law and could not have been used to support the Levites and priests as Levitical tithes.
2.       According to Genesis 14:18-20 and Hebrews 7:4 does the Bible say that Abram freely gave tithes of spoils of war to the priest-king Melchizedek?
Answer: No. Genesis 14:21 suggests that he was obeying the Arab law of the land which required tithes from spoils of war be given to the local king-priests.
3.       According to Numbers 31:21-30 what percentage did the statute of the Law for Israel later require as a tithe from spoils of war?
Answer: One tenth of one per cent (.1%) (One half of one five hundredth): this was only one tenth of what Abram paid to Melchizedek.
4.       Why did Abraham tithe 10% of spoils when the Law later required far less? What controlled his actions?
Answer: The Bible does not say “why”. Recorded tradition found in archaeology suggests it was the required law of the land throughout his world.
5.       From Genesis 14:20-21 could there be another law or Arab tradition involved?   Yes, No, Perhaps. Do some deep research on this.
Answer: This is repetition of previous questions. Research many commentaries for a surprise answer.
6.       Would Abraham’s tithe have been accepted as a holy tithe to enter the Temple?
Answer: Only that which could be purified after passing through fire. And then it could only be used for temple maintenance.  Compare First Samuel 30:20-35.
7.       How often did Abraham tithe?
Answer: The Bible does not record any other instance. Therefore, we really do not know.
8.       Is Abraham an example of tithing personal property and tithing regularly?
Answer: Not at all. If we followed his example, we would only tithes from spoils of war and only once.
9.       Is Abraham’s example of giving 90% to the king of Sodom an example for Christians to follow?
Answer: Not at all. Yet tithe-preaches do not discuss this.
10.     From Genesis 20 and 21 is it possible that Abraham also paid tithes to the Philistine priest-king Abimelech whom he served?
Answer: It is possible if it was required by their law. He obeyed the law of the land.
11.     Referring to Genesis 28:20-22 would Jacob’s tithe from Haran have been accepted as a holy tithe to enter the Temple system?
Answer: It does not fit the description of a holy tithe to be used for normal sustenance of Levites and priests.
12.     Referring to Genesis 28:20-22 should we follow Jacob’s example and only tithe after God has met our conditions?
Answer: No.  Yet this is not discussed by tithe-teachers.
13.     According to Genesis 28:20 was Jacob’s tithe a freewill “vow” or a commandment of God?
Answer: A freewill vow. And there is no record that he kept the vow.
14.     Is Jacob an example of tithing for Christians to follow?
Answer: Not at all.
15.     How common was money, gold, silver, precious stones and shekels in Genesis?
Answer: The word “money” occurs 32 times in Genesis. Check an exhaustive concordance.  
16.     According to Genesis 13:2 and 20:16 did Abraham have a lot of money?
Answer: Yes. It was already an important part of that economy.
17.     Was money essential for routine worship in the sanctuary?   
Answer: Very much. Do your own research on the words “money” and “shekel.”
18.     Is it honest to teach that tithes were only food because money was not common?
Answer: No. It is dishonest and comes with dishonest ulterior motives to change God’s Word.
19.     According to Exodus 19:5-6 was tithing part of God’s “original plan” before the incident of the golden calf?
Answer: No. Tithing is not mentioned in Exodus. While Aaron’s house was intended to be resident priests, every Hebrew from every tribe was to be his/her own priest before God. Levitical priests were not mentioned.
20.     According to Leviticus 25:3-7 no food tithe could be taken every seventh year. Why is this ignored by churches today?
Answer: Churches would have no grounds for collecting tithes every seventh year.
21.     According to Leviticus 25:12-13 no food tithe could be taken every fiftieth year. Why is this ignored by churches today?
Answer: If one followed all of the OT tithing law, tithes could not be requested every 7th and 50th years.
22.     According to Leviticus 27:30, 32 (and 14 other texts), tithes were only food from the land of Israel and herds inside God’s holy land of Israel which God had miraculously increased. Where in the Bible –over 1400 years from Leviticus to Luke — are tithes defined as income or money?
Answer: Nowhere. God’s definition of a holy tithe never changed.
23.     According to Leviticus 27:30, 32 the tithe was the tenth of the total crop and the tenth animal. Since the word “tithe” means “tenth” when did it change to become the “first” in the Bible?
Answer: Nowhere. This is man’s change of God’s Word.
24.     According to Leviticus 27:34 the first tithe was not the “best.” Where in the Bible does the first whole tithe become the “best”?
Answer: Nowhere. Tithe-teachers dishonestly change God’s Word and ask for the first tenth of one’s paycheck.
25.     According to Leviticus 27:34 tithing was part of the Law given only to national Israel as a unique covenant.  When were the Gentiles, (pagans) or Church commanded to tithe in the Bible?
Answer: Nowhere. None qualified as tithe-payers. They were not Hebrews and they did not grow food inside God’s holy land.
26.     Since only farmers and herdsmen living inside Israel produced tithes, where is the principle that says everybody was required to begin their level of giving at 10%?
Answer: Nowhere. It is a tradition of man.
27.     Where does the Bible say that non-food income was tithed and that carpenters (Jesus), fishermen (Peter), tentmakers (Paul) and tradesmen tithed?
Answer: Nowhere.  It is a tradition of man.
28.     Did God command the pagans to tithe?
Answer. Absolutely not.
29.     Would Israel have accepted tithes from the pagans or pagan lands?
Answer: No. And that should also be true today since God never changed the definition of holy tithes.
30.     Although Psalm 24:1 says “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” this was not given as a reason to collect tithes from pagans and from lands outside of Israel. Why is that true?
Answer: Holy tithes were limited to food from God’s holy land of Israel.
31.     Why don’t Christians observe all of the other things called “holy” and “most holy” in Leviticus?
Answer: They say that these do not apply to the Church today because they were fulfilled or ended at Calvary. 
32.     Where in the Bible is the exact wording of the ordinance or statute of tithing?
Answer: Numbers 18.
33.     What is the difference between tithes and first-fruits?  Compare Lev 27:30-35; Num 18:13-18, 20-24; Deut 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37; Prov 3:9.
Answer: Tithes were tenth-fruits from God’s holy land which were brought to the Levitical cities where they were needed for food per Neh 10:37b. Firstfruits were very small token offerings which were brought to the Temple and eaten by the priests on duty. See Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37a.
34.     Where are tithes equated with first-fruits in the Bible?
Answer: Nowhere. This is a tradition of man designed to scare believers into giving their first to God whether or not they had met their family essentials per First Timothy 5:8.
35.     Weren’t first-fruits very small token offerings from the first of the harvest?
Answer: Yes, as previously discussed.
36.     OT Levites who received the first whole tithe were merely servants to the priests and later political workers. How is this principle applied in churches today?
Answer: It is totally ignored.
37.     OT Levites gave the best tenth of their tithe to the priests –only one per cent of the total. How is this principle observed today? See Num 18:25-28.
Answer: It is totally ignored.
38.     OT priests and Levites who received the tithes were not allowed to own or inherit property. Why isn’t this principle observed today (Num 18:20, 23)?
Answer: Modern tithe-teachers ignore every single OT principle concerned with tithing. They only apply their own re-definition.
39.     The OT tithe was never used for mission work to evangelize the pagans. What biblical principle authorizes it for missions today?
Answer: None. This is a tradition of man.
40.     According to Deuteronomy 12 and 14:23-26 a festival tithe was to be eaten in the streets. Why is this tithe principle ignored by churches today?
Answer: Their idea of tithing is not biblical.
41.     According to Deuteronomy 14:26 some festival tithes could be turned into alcoholic strong drinks. Why is this principle ignored by churches today?
Answer: It does not fit into their change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
42.     According to Deuteronomy 26:12-13 every third year a tithe was kept in the homes for the poor.  Why is this principle ignored by churches today?
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
43.     According to Deuteronomy 26:12-13 the Levites were included among the poor, strangers, fatherless and widows. Does this mean that the Levites and priests were to be counted among the poor?
Answer: Yes.  It is highly likely that God expected the Levites to give away much of what they received to the poor at all times.
44.     Where does the Bible say that the poor were required to tithe?
Answer: Nowhere, unless they were landowners or herdsmen living inside Israel.
45.     Many OT Levites who received the first whole tithe were political servants of the king (1 Chronicles 23 to 26). Why is that principle ignored today?
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
46.     In the OT the first and best tithe went to the king. Why is that principle ignored today (1 Sam 8:14-17)?
Answer: We are not under a theocracy. Under Roman rule the first tithe went to Rome and often even the second tithe of fruits.
47.     Where did the Levites and priests live most of the time? See Joshua 20-21, Numbers 35 and First Chronicles 6.
Answer: Far away from Jerusalem in their Levitical cities. At first there were 48. Judah had 13 originally but may have expanded them later.
48.     How often did the Levites and priests serve in the Temple?  See 1 Chron 28:13, 21; 2 Chron 8:14; 23:8; 31:2, 15-19 35: 4, 5, 10; Neh 11:30: 12:24; Luke 1:5-9.
Answer: At a minimum of once every 24 weeks in a rotation (cycle). They spent the other 23 week either raising tithed animals or learning trades necessary for temple maintenance.
49.     ***Since 98% of the Levites and priests were not working in the temple most of the time, why would God tell the people in Malachi 3:10 to bring all of the tithe to the Temple when 98% of it was needed for food elsewhere?
Answer: He did not. The “you” of Malachi 3:10 only makes sense if it only refers to the priests. The typical interpretation of Malachi 3:10 contrasts with Nehemiah 10:37b and common sense.
50.     What covenant was the curse of tithing part of?   See Neh 10:29; Deu 28:12, 21-22; Gal 3:10-13.
Answer: Only the Old Covenant.  God is today dealing with His Church in terms of the New Covenant (Heb 8:8-13).
51.     According to Nehemiah 13:5-10 who was guilty of stealing the Levites’ portion of the tithe?
Answer: The priests.
52.     ***According to Nehemiah 10:37b where were the people commanded to take the tithes?  Why? Why is this text ignored today?
Answer: (1) To the Levitical cities. (2) That is where 98% of those who needed it for food lived most of the time. (3) Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
53.     According to Nehemiah 10:38 where were the priests located when they received the tithes? Why is this text ignored today?
Answer: In the Levitical cities. Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
54.     According to Malachi 1:6-14 who was guilty of stealing vows of tithes?
Answer: The priests from 1:6.
55.     Who was cursed in Malachi 1:14?
Answer: The priests. They were not commanded to tithe, but they were expected to give generous vow offerings from the tenth of the tithe which they received from the Levites. Num 18:21-28.
56.     Who was cursed 3 times in Malachi 2:2?
Answer: The priests.
57.     Who is questioning God in Malachi 2:17?
Answer: The priests from 2:13-17.
58.     To whom is God replying in Malachi 3:1-5?
Answer: The priests from 2:1-10, 13-17.
59.     Are the priests also “sons of Jacob” in Malachi 3:6-7?
Answer: Of course. They text does not have to refer to all sons of Jacob.
60.     Cannot Malachi 3:8 be referring to the priests stealing a third time?
Answer: It makes sense that God has not changed from cursing the priests.
61.     “Curse” refers to the priests four times in 1:14 and 2:2. Is it possible that God is still cursing the priests in 3:9 instead of suddenly having pity on them?
Answer: Common sense says yes.  God has not suddenly changed to feeling sorrow for priests. The “you” of 1:6 and 2:1 has never changed away from the priests.
62.     Does the pronoun “you” refer to the priests from Malachi 1:6 to 3:5?
Answer: If it has not clearly changed, then it must.
63.     Is there concrete evidence that God has changed his address from the priests to the people in Malachi 3:6-7?
Answer: Not in the context.
64.     Has God changed from cursing the priests to having pity on them in Malachi 3:8-10?
Answer: This would be illogical.
65.     Since “you” has thus far referred to the priests and since Nehemiah 10:37 proves that the people brought their tithes to the Levitical cities, then is it reasonable to conclude that “you” in Malachi 3:10 also refers to the priests of Nehemiah 10:38?
Answer: Yes.
66.     Again according to Nehemiah 10:37 where was most of the tithe needed and stored?
Answer: In the Levitical cities.
67.     According to Nehemiah 13:5-10 how large was the storeroom in the Temple?
Answer: If it was made from combining two rooms, the largest would be about 10 ft by 20 ft. Compare 1 Kings 6:6 for room size.
68.     Could the Temple have physically held all of the tithe of the nation in Solomon’s time or Nehemiah’s time?
Answer: Absolutely not.
69.     Is it possible that the Temple “storehouse” idea has been misunderstood?
Answer: Yes. Levites and priests living far away from the Temple would have to travel long distances for food. And the early church had no legal buildings for almost 300 years after Calvary.
70.     In Second Chronicles 31:15-19, why did King Hezekiah choose to relocate the tithes from rotting heaps in the streets of Jerusalem to the Levitical cities?
Answer: After consulting with Levites and priests, they realized that it was the logical thing to do. The temple storerooms only supplied food for the Levites and priests who ministered in the temple on weekly rotations.
71.     The “outlaw” early church met in secret in catacombs and graveyards for over 200 years after Calvary. They had no building to call “storehouses.” Why does the modern church use the term “storehouse tithing”?
Answer: It is dishonest and wants ignorant believers to think that they must bring the first ten per cent of their paycheck to the church.
72.     The OT Temple has been replaced, not by a building (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19), but the body of individual believers. Why does the modern church ignore this and teach that tithes should be brought to the church building as a replacement of the Temple?
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
73.     Matthew 5:19-48 refers to all 600+ commandments of the Law. Why is 5:17-18 used only to argue that tithing is still valid? The text is self-destructive for that argument.
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs. The text must be interpreted to teach that we are either under all of the law or none of it.
74.     Did Jesus (a carpenter), Peter (a fisherman) and Paul (a tentmaker) qualify as tithe-payers under the Law?
Answer: No. They were neither landowners nor herdsmen inside Israel. That which the produced was from their own increase and not from God’s miracle.
75.     How do you explain Matthew 5:19 “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”?
Answer: It means that you cannot keep tithing while discarding most of the law. A consistent principle of interpretation is needed.
76.     Does not Matthew 5:19 obligate one to keep all 600+ commandments of the Law?
Answer: In its context, yes.
77.     According to Matthew 12:1-2 Jesus and his disciples gleaned food on the Sabbath Day. Were they accused of not tithing?  Why?
Answer: No. Because by allowing them to glean, the law recognized them as poor. It also proves that the poor were not expected to tithe from gleanings.
78.     According to Mark 12:42-44 a widow gave at the Temple. Was she tithing or giving a freewill offering?
Answer: She was giving a freewill offering of money. Money was never a tithed item.
79.     Since Paul’s tents came from pagan lands, did his income from selling tents qualify as tithe-able income under the Law?
Answer: Absolutely not.
80.     According to Matthew 23:2 who were the recognized interpreters of the Law?
Answer: The scribes and Pharisees.
81.     According to Matthew 23:2-3 why did Jesus tell his Jewish disciples to obey the scribes and Pharisees?
Answer: They were the current recognized authorities who sat in Moses seat to interpret the law.
82.     According to Matthew 23:3-4 did the addition of herbs and spices change the tithing law into a burden?
Answer: Yes. Counting small seeds would be a great burden.
83.     Did the Law command tithes from garden spices and herbs?
Answer: The tithing law did not include those items.
84.     Why did Jesus tell His Jewish disciples to tithe garden spices and herbs?
Answer: They were partially responsible for allowing the scribes and Pharisees to sit in Moses seat.
85.     In Matthew 8:4 why did Jesus command the Jews he healed to show themselves to the priests?
Answer: The Law was still in full effect before Calvary.
86.     Why did Jesus NOT command the Gentiles he healed to show themselves to the priests?
Answer: They were not under the Law.
87.     Did Jesus tell his Gentile disciples to tithe to the Temple system?
Answer: No. It would not have been allowed. It was illegal.
88.     To whom does the word “you” refer in Matthew 23:23?
Answer: The scribes and Pharisees.
89.     What three words in Matthew 23:23 describe its context?
Answer: “of the law”
90.     Is Matthew 23:23 an Old Covenant command or a New Covenant command?
Answer: Old Covenant before Calvary.
91.     Why did Jesus tell the rich young ruler and Zaccheus to give their money to the poor instead of the Temple as tithes?
Answer: Their wealth must not have been in land and animals inside Israel. Jesus was not breaking the law which required tithing.
92.     Do pastors today allow visiting evangelists to tell their congregation to “sell all that you have and give it to the poor”?
Answer: Of course not. They do not tell their congregations to do this either. Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
93.     Why do not pastors today command their church members to tithe garden spices as Jesus commanded in Matthew 23:23?
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs. They have no consistent hermeneutic.
94.     According to Luke 22:20 when did the Old Covenant end and the New Covenant begin?
Answer: The Old Covenant ended and the New Covenant began when Jesus shed His blood at Calvary.
95.     According to Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35 did God command the disciples to share communally or did they make a freewill choice?
Answer: There is no record that Cod commanded this. It is very possible that it was done in anticipation of Christ’s imminent return.
96.     According to Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35 were the disciples tithing to church leaders or sharing everything equally?
Answer: This is not an example of tithing. It is an example of sacrificial freewill giving at the extreme. It should not be preached as an example of tithing because everybody shared equally.
97.     According to Acts 2:46 did the early church withdraw itself from worship in the Temple?
Answer: Not at all. Evidence is that they continued supporting the Temple. If they had stopped financially supporting the Temple, they would not have been allowed to use it.
98.     According to Acts 15:10 did Peter argue against putting the yoke of the law on Gentile Christians?
Answer: Most definitely.
99.     According to Acts 15:19-20 did James agree with Peter?
Answer: Most definitely. Yet most pastors today place their churches under the law of tithing while rejecting most of the law as irrelevant.
100.   According to Acts 20:29-35 was Paul self supporting most of the time?
Answer: Yes. He even boasted about it.
101.   According to Acts 20:35 did Paul expect church elders to follow his example?
Answer: Yes, but it was not a command.
102.   According to Acts 20:35 whom did Jesus tell to work and give to the weak?
Answer: Church elders. This has been reversed by the modern church.
103.   According to Acts 21:20 were the Christian Jews in Jerusalem still “zealous of the law”?
Answer: Yes, and this was 30 years after Calvary. The compromise of Acts 15 split the church and still required Jewish Christians to obey all of the Old Covenant Law.
104.   According to Acts 21:20 is it logical to conclude that the Christian Jews in Jerusalem were still paying tithes to the Temple system?
Answer: Yes, otherwise they would not be “zealous of the law.” The Law required payment of tithes to the Levites and priests and not to gospel workers.
105.   According to 1 Corinthians 9:7-14 did the vocations of soldier, herdsman, farmer, mill-grinder, temple worker and gospel worker each operate under different principles of support?
Answer: Yes. Each had its own principle.
106.   Comparing 1 Cor 9:13 with Numbers 18 and Leviticus, were temple workers supported from tithes, offerings, vows, freewill gifts, portions of sacrifices and many other sources?
Answer: Yes. Far more than tithing. Levites only received the tithe while priests had many sources of income other than a tenth of the tithe.
107.   Comparing 1 Cor 9:13 with Numbers 18 and Leviticus, was tithing the only “thing of the temple”?
Answer: Of course not, but this fact is ignored.
108.   Referring to 1 Cor 9:14 does even so (“in the same way”) command gospel workers to be supported by every means of support used for temple workers?
Answer: Of course not. The argument used by tithe-teachers is self-defeating. It proves too much.
109.   Referring to 1 Cor 9:14 does “even so” command gospel workers to be supported by ‘gospel principles’ of grace and faith “in the same manner” as the previous six vocations had been supports by their own principles?
Answer: Yes. The principle refers to all vocations mentioned in verses 7 to 14.
110.   Referring to 1 Cor 9:14 is it dishonest to teach that 9:13 only referred to tithing? Does not the text teach too much and destroy the tithing argument?
Answer: It is very dishonest. Paul knew that holy tithes were only for Levites and priests and could not come from Gentiles lands. Again, the text is self-defeating for tithe-teachers. It proves too much.
111.   According to 1 Cor 9:12, 15-19 did Paul accept tithes as a salary?
Answer: Absolutely not. He usually did not even accept freewill offerings. As a highly educated rabbi, Paul had been taught that teaching God’s Word for pay was not the manner of rabbis.
112.   Comparing 1 Cor 9:14 with 9:12, 15-19 if Jesus commanded tithing to support gospel workers, was not Paul disobeying that command?
Answer: Yes, but this fact is ignored by tithe-teachers.
113.   According to 2 Cor 3:10, how much glory does the OT have in comparison to the New Covenant? 
Answer: Zero glory.
114.   Where is tithing repeated to the Church in New Covenant terms of grace and faith?
Answer: Nowhere. And neither are gospel workers required to forfeit land inheritance rights and obey any of the tithing statute of Numbers 18.
115.   According to 1 Peter 2:9-10 has the OT priesthood been replaced by church leaders or by every believer?
Answer: By every believer. And this should have enormous implications against New Covenant tithing.
116.   Referring to 1 Peter 2:9-10, how does the “priesthood of believers” affect tithing?
Answer: Believers do not tithe to themselves, plus Old Covenant priests were never commanded to tithe.
117.   Were non-Levite OT prophets supported by tithes?
Answer: Absolutely not. They were either self-supported or received freewill offerings.
118.   Were OT and NT Jewish synagogue rabbis supported by tithes?
Answer: No. Never. And this should be important. The synagogue system using rabbis did not replace tithing to the Temple.
119.   Are NT pastors and elders supported similar to OT priests or prophets and rabbis?
Answer: The comparison is better to OT prophets and rabbis.
120.   Is First Timothy 5:1-20 a discussion of discipline or pastoral salary?
Answer: Discipline.
121.   According to First Timothy 5:8 are family essential needs more important than church support?
Answer: Definitely.
122.   How can First Timothy 5:8 be true if the first 10% of income must be given to the church?
Answer: Both cannot be true for the Church.
123.   Does “double honor” in First Timothy 5:17 refer to “double caution in discipline” or “double salary”?
Answer: The context is discipline.
124.   According to First Timothy 6:6-11 should gospel workers expect to be better off financially than most?
Answer: No.
125.   According to Hebrews 7:5, did the Law give the priests authority to receive tithes?
Answer: Yes.
126a. Were the OT priests also kings?
Answer: Not the HOLY Hebrew priests defined by the Law.
126b.  What does Hebrews 7:8 refer to?
Answer: The priests who were still literally receiving tithes before A.D.70.
127.   According to Hebrews 7:11 and Psalm 110:4 was the Messiah to be a priest-king?
Answer: Yes.
128.   According to Hebrews 7:11-12 did the prophecy that the Messiah would be a priest-king necessitate a change in the law?
Answer: Yes.
129.   According to Hebrews, chapters 5 to 7, was OT Melchizedek qualified to be a priest under the Law?
Answer: No.
130.   According to Hebrews 7:13-17 was Jesus qualified to be a priest under the Law?
Answer: No.
131.   According to Hebrews 7:18 how was the Law which also commanded tithing in 7:5 “changed” in 7:12?
Answer: It was disannulled, or abolished. It ended. It was not carried over into the New Covenant.
132.   According to Hebrews 7:12, 18, why was the Law which also commanded tithing to support the Levitical priesthood “annulled” or “set aside”?
Answer: It was weak and not profitable. It had been replaced with better New Covenant principles of sacrificial giving.
133.   According to Hebrews 7:16-28 was the king-priesthood of Messiah to be based on eternal moral principles?
Answer: Yes and those include sacrificial freewill giving which are written in the heart and conscience.
134.   Tithing existed in most nations long before Abraham’s time and those nations also practiced idolatry, child sacrifices and temple prostitution. Does the fact that tithing existed before the Law make it an eternal moral principle?
Answer: No. The HOLY tithe was only given later by special revelation to Old Covenant Israel.
135.   According to the entire book of Leviticus, how can tithing be retained as  a “holy” principle and almost everything else called “holy” and “most holy” in Leviticus be discarded?
Answer: By using poor principles of interpretation.
136.   According to Hebrews 8:6-13 Christ’s “more excellent ministry” replaced the Old Covenant on stones and paper with the New Covenant in the heart. Does a new-creation Christian know in the heart that he/she must give a ten per cent tithe to support the church?
Answer: No.
137.   According to Second Corinthians 8 and 9, does a new-creation Christian know instinctively to give: freely, sacrificially, generously, joyfully, not of commandment, regularly and motivated love for God and love for lost souls?
Answer: Yes. It is part of the new creation with the indwelling Holy Spirit.
138.   According to Second Corinthians 8:12-15, what is the “equality” principle of giving?
Answer: Many give much more than 10% while some cannot give that much. Yet both give sacrificially.  The giving equals out.
139.   According to Second Corinthians 3:10-18 which principle of giving has the blessing of the Holy Spirit?
Answer: Post Calvary New Covenant Holy Spirit blessed giving (and every other doctrine).
140.   Should most affluent Christians lower their standard of living in order to give more to promote the gospel?
Answer: Yes.

 

OVERCOMING MATERIALISM ~ 1 TIMOTHY 6 : 17 – 19 ~

If you are rich, this sermon is for you.
There aren’t many sermons directed at rich people, but this one is. My text is a word from the Apostle Paul to the rich Christians in the church at Ephesus. The first phrase of verse 17 makes it very clear: “Command those who are rich in this present world.” There are certain obvious implications of this statement that we should think about. First, some people will be richer than others. This fact is one that we all accept as part of reality but it may surprise you to discover that it is also mentioned in the Bible. Some people have lots of money. That’s a fact of life. And God has something to say to those people.
But who are the rich? Certainly it’s not you or me. If someone came up out of the blue and asked, “Are you rich?” what would you say? Most of us would stammer a bit and then we would deny being rich. But we would be wrong. All of us are rich, and I am not speaking about “spiritual riches” or our “riches in Christ,” as true as that is. I am speaking of old-fashioned riches, money in the bank, greenbacks, material wealth. All of us are rich. As I write these words, I am conscious that this sermon will go out around the world, but even so I am directing my remarks to the people of my own congregation in Oak Park. We’re rich. Who are we kidding? Compared with the people of Haiti, we’re incredibly wealthy. Compared with the people of Nigeria, Sudan, Bangladesh, or Thailand, we’re loaded. But that statement is true of Americans generally.

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If you own your home, you’re rich.
If you own your car, you’re rich.
If you have enough food to eat, you’re rich.
If you have extra clothes in your closet, you’re rich.
If you’ve got enough money to go out to eat occasionally, you’re rich.
That includes all of us. And even though there are some people at Calvary who have very little, those people still have far more in terms of creature comforts than most people around the world.
So this is a sermon by a rich pastor to his rich congregation.
And I should add that it’s not a sermon where the message is, “It’s a sin to be rich” or “You need to get rid of all your money and become poor.” That’s another sermon (by another pastor, I should add). It’s not what our text says. The issue is not how much money you have, it’s what you do with what God has given you.
As we think about this, let’s consider three popular money myths:
Myth #1: Having more things equals more happiness.
Myth #2: Having more things equals more importance.
Myth #3: Having more things equals more security.
Happiness, importance, security. Money can do lots of things but it can’t buy happiness, it can’t make you more important, and it can’t guarantee your earthly security. That last point is critical when you consider the dangerous world in which we live. There is no lasting security anywhere in the world today. In an age of terrorism, there is no front line because we’re all living on the front lines now. Even those who serve the Lord can’t be sure of what tomorrow may bring. That fact came home to us with great force this week.
Bonnie Witherall
So what do you think? You’re 31-years-old, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. You and your husband feel called of God to minister to Muslim women in Lebanon. So you join a ministry working in a refugee camp. Yes, it’s dangerous, you knew that going in, but your heart is set on caring for those women. One morning you hear a knock on the door. When you answer it, you see a man with a gun. Seconds later you are dead, shot three times in the head. Murdered by some fanatic who hates what you stand for. That’s what happened to Bonnie Witherall last week. She was gunned down while working at a missionary clinic in southern Lebanon. Her sister summed up Bonnie’s life this way: “She believed in her heart that God wanted her in that place, doing whatever he called her to do and that was basically to share her life with people. It was hard for her to walk by people who were suffering.”
There is no absolute protection from suffering in this world. Money can’t buy happiness and it can’t guarantee you a long life or good health. We are fools if we think otherwise.
Wealth is not necessarily an impediment to our walk with God. History is filled with examples of rich Christians who used their wealth wisely and brought great benefit to the world. And there is scarcely a church or ministry anywhere that has not benefited from the large gifts of wealthy believers. But if money is not an impediment, it is definitely a test. The way you spend your money tells the truth about your values. Show me how you spend your money and I’ll know the truth about what you really believe. You can come to church and dance in the aisles if you want to, but that doesn’t mean as much as how you spend your money. Not long ago a noted Christian leader told me, “Follow the money.” He’s right. If you want to know the truth, follow the money. That’s an almost infallible rule of life. Money talks, and the story it tells reveals the truth about your walk with God.
Money is not evil; it’s the love of money that gets us into trouble. A few verses before our text for today, Paul says it this way: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (I Timothy 6:10). When I read that, I say to myself, “I don’t love money,” but then I read the phrase “eager for money,” and I’m stopped in my tracks. I’m like the man who said, “If money were a woman, I wouldn’t say we were in love, but we’re definitely dating heavily.” I understand that. The odd thing is, money in the end can’t satisfy. I’ve never heard a man on his deathbed say, “Thank God for my money.” Dying men give thanks for family and friends, but a dying man doesn’t have time to worry about money. As Billy Graham says, “I’ve never seen a Brinks truck following a hearse.” When Alexander the Great died, he gave instructions that he was to be buried with his hands outside his shroud so that everyone would know that he took nothing with him. Sometimes we ask about the departed, “How much did he leave?” The answer is always the same: “All of it.”
First Timothy 6:17-19 offers three specific commands for us to consider. The first one involves our heart. The heart always comes first, the money comes later.

I. Examine Your Heart

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (I Timothy 6:17). There are five important truths we should glean from this verse. First, some people will be rich. In particular, some Christians will be richer than others. Some will have more, others less. This means it is not a sin to be rich per se. It’s how you made your money and what you do with it that matters. Second, money has a peculiar power to make us feel insulated from the problems of life. Money makes us feel invincible. I heard a man say that while driving home from the airport, he realized that he was speeding because he was in a hurry. He said to himself, “I should slow down.” But then he said, “Why bother? I can pay the fine if I get a ticket.” I suppose all of us have had thoughts like that at one time or another. That’s the sort of arrogance Paul is warning against. We’ve all known rich people who were arrogant in the way they treated others. Money has a way of making you feel set apart so that what happens to others will never happen to you. Third, wealth truly is uncertain. You can be rich today and broke tomorrow. I wonder how many of us lost money in the stock market over the last two years? We rode that high-tech rocket all the way to the top and most of us rode it back down to the bottom. In some cases, people lost 30% or 40% or 50% or more of their investment income. People who planned to retire at age 50 will now have to work until they are 125. But that’s the nature of wealth. Just when you think you’ve got it made, your money takes wings and flies away. Fourth, putting your hope in God is a choice we all must make. It means (among other things) that you consciously decide each day that you will not trust in your money to get you through life. Perhaps it means saying, “Lord, today I trust you completely with all that I am and all that I have. I take you at your Word and no matter what happens to me, I believe in advance that you are working out your plan in my life.”
Fifth, God gives us everything we need at any given moment. That’s a startling statement if you think about it. And it’s especially appropriate on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Do we truly believe that we have everything we need at this moment in the material realm of life? If we believe in God, the answer must be yes because if we truly needed anything else, God would have already given it to us. And the fact that we don’t have everything we might wish for simply means that in the eyes of God, it’s not something we truly need. God does not withhold good things from his children. “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11 NASB). “If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11 NLT). I realize as I write these words that someone may read them who is living every day with a serious illness or a debilitating physical handicap. How can we speak of God’s goodness in situations like that? Perhaps the only possible answer is to ask in return, How can we not speak of God’s goodness in those situations? The Apostle Paul added a helpful insight when he remarked that in every situation he had “learned” to be content (Philippians 4:11). I find great comfort in that because it means on one hand that it is possible to be content no matter where I might find myself. It also means that contentment does not come easily in every circumstance but must be learned over time as we discover God’s grace in the most unlikely places. So I think we can say—indeed, I think we must say—that at every moment along the way, God gives us whatever we need for that particular moment. And if we truly need something else tomorrow that we don’t have today, we can rest assured that somehow, someway, at some point in time, our Heavenly Father will see to it that what we need will be given to us.
In the larger context this means that generosity depends on good theology. We will be generous precisely to the extent that we have a proper view of God and his involvement in our daily life. If we separate God from life, then we’ll feel obligated to hoard our wealth because we’re in charge of everything. But if we understand that he is the Lord of all of life, including the tiniest details, then we are free from the need to trust in our wealth. We can give it away, knowing that we’ll have everything we need when we really need it. A proper view of God leads to a generous view of life, which is why giving (in the broadest sense) ought to be as natural for the Christian as breathing.

II. Consider Your Actions

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (I Timothy 6:18). Once you have looked at your heart (and in particular what you believe as the foundation for everything you do), then it’s time to consider your actions. Three things are mentioned in this verse: Doing good, being rich in good deeds, and a generous spirit that gladly shares with others. All three are really one and the same thing. Or you could say that doing good is general, being rich in good deeds is more specific, and being generous and willing to share is a pointed application. Note that these commands rise beyond the level of what you do with your money. They touch the deeper issue of how you spend your time. This is a word we need to hear because for many people, time has become more important than money. Time has become so precious to many of us that we would rather give $100 to a charity if we can avoid going to a banquet. Or we will write a check as a way to avoid getting personally involved. We have Day-Timers and calendars and Palm Pilots and all sorts of electronic gizmos to help us save time and manage life effectively. As a result, we are in danger of losing any personal contact with a hurting world. The answer to that is found in this verse: Be generous in the way you spend your time. Get involved with others. Go face to face with a couple in crisis. Spend an extra ten minutes talking to a friend who is searching for the Lord. Think of ways you can make a difference in a child’s life this week. Are you bothered by too many interruptions during the day? Perhaps those interruptions are sent by the Lord to keep you from making your job the focus of your life. What a difference it would make if we thought of each interruption as being sent by the Lord. How would you respond if Jesus wanted to interrupt your life today? Would you have time to talk to him? Would you put him on hold? Would you say, “Sorry, Lord, I love you but I’m tied up right now?” If we could take that perspective regarding all our “ordinary” interruptions, it would drain the irritation we feel when “our” plans are interrupted by someone else. Didn’t Jesus say something about visiting him in prison, giving him clothes to wear, and giving him food to eat? See Matthew 25:31-45 and ponder the implications of his words.

III. Enjoy Your Reward

“In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (I Timothy 6:19). Here’s a promise for all of us to embrace, but it has special relevance to the rich. You might call this Jesus’ Investment Advice. First, generous living leads to an enhanced life in heaven. When we dare to take these words seriously, we are laying a foundation for the future that will last for all eternity. To “lay up treasure” means to live in such a way now that our future experience in heaven is enriched. We all understand the concept of investing for the future. Probably most of the people reading this sermon have made some plans for the future. You’re saving for college or for a new car or for a new home or you are putting money into a pension plan or a retirement fund. If you are planning for your retirement, that means the money you invest now won’t be yours to enjoy until many years in the future. But you do it now so that when your retirement comes, there will be sufficient funds available so you can do whatever you want to do. The same is true in our Christian life. As we live a generous life toward others, we are making payments into our heavenly retirement account. But this verse is not just about the distant future, it also promises “life that is truly life.” True life. Real life. Abundant life. Life that goes beyond mere existence. Life as God intended it to be. Paul means that generous Christians discover a quality of life that stingy Christians never know. Those who dare to become generous givers end up enjoying life on a level that those who hoard their wealth never experience.
The happiest people on earth are those who have learned the joy of generous living. They give and give and give. They give their time, their money, their advice, their counsel, their talents and their commitment. They are not content to be spectators while life rushes by. They get off the bench and get into the game. And they truly enjoy giving to others. They have learned the secret that you can’t out-give God. As my friend Howard Harvey likes to say, “I shovel it out and God shovels it in. And God’s got a bigger shovel than I do.” Maxey Jarman was a wealthy Christian businessman who during his lifetime gave away millions of dollars to Christian causes around the world. At one point he suffered an enormous financial reversal and lost everything. A friend asked him if he regretted having given so much away. “Oh no,” he replied, “I only lost what I kept for myself.”
What we keep, we lose because we won’t live forever. What we give away, we keep because the benefits of giving last for eternity.
Miss Eva
The year was 1939 or 1940 and a young woman came to Chicago to study at Moody Bible Institute. While she was a student, she began attending a small church in suburban Oak Park. Back then it was called Madison Street Bible Church, today it is called Calvary Memorial Church. She attended this congregation and taught Sunday School during her Moody years. When she graduated in 1945, she felt called by God to become a missionary in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, working with the Scripture Memory Mountain Mission. Then and now, the Appalachian region was one of the poorest regions in America. It was not an easy place for a single woman to serve the Lord. Before she left Chicago, someone gave her a car, an old jalopy with so many holes in the roof that she had to use an umbrella inside the car when it rained. One of our Sunday School classes pledged $20 per month for her support. Armed with the old car, the $20 per month pledge and her faith in God, she moved to the mountains of Kentucky to begin her ministry. Back then the road system was primitive, which meant that sometimes she and her co-workers had to ride horses up into the mountains to teach children the Word of God. In 1951 she and a co-worker were asked to consider going to a remote community called Rock Fork where there was no church and no organized Christian work. She and her co-worker agreed to go. Eventually they got a vacation Bible school started that continued for a number of years. Later they managed to start a small Sunday School that met in a home. It attracted a handful of children along with a few adults. Some years later they began holding worship services on an occasional basis. They didn’t do it every Sunday and they never formally organized as a church. But eventually they erected a church building made from a doublewide mobile home on a tiny piece of property. By the 1990s they were holding services there and calling themselves the Rock Fork Bible Fellowship. If they didn’t have a preacher scheduled, Miss Eva told me they would often play one of my sermon tapes and use it as the message of the morning.
I should pause and add that Miss Eva (which is how the Kentucky folks refer to her) has been serving as a missionary for 57 years and our church has supported her all that time.
After 50 Years—A Church is Born
During a week of ministry a few years ago at Camp Nathanael (owned by the mission agency), Miss Eva asked if I would stay over and preach at Rock Fork. I recall that we had about 45 people in attendance that morning and I preached my heart out, we had a wonderful time, and I also remember that when I stood on the platform, my head nearly brushed against the ceiling. Later we had dinner on the grounds, which was wonderful because those country folks really know how to prepare a meal. Last July I was preaching again at Camp Nathanael when Miss Eva said she wanted to show us the new church building at Rock Fork. So Marlene and I and Miss Eva and Donnie Sloan drove way out in the country (we were already in the country but this was about ten miles further east) to see the partly-finished building. Even though there was much work to be done, I could tell it was going to be beautiful. Miss Eva’s eyes sparkled with joy as she told us the story of how she and her co-worker had started the first vacation Bible school a half-century earlier. And now, at last, after so many years and so many prayers, a church was about to be born. When she asked if I would come back and preach for the dedication of the new building, I told her I would be glad to do it. Then she said that she knew she wouldn’t live a lot longer and she had asked the Lord to let her live long enough to see the new church building dedicated and the church formally organized. “I’ve got more friends in heaven than I do on earth but I want to stay here a little while longer if the Lord will let me,” she said. That’s when I realized that this church building represented the culmination of her life’s work, the result of 50 years of labor to bring the Word of the Lord to a small Kentucky settlement.
We dedicated the new building on Saturday, November 23. Because I had an engagement I had to attend in Oak Park, I couldn’t leave until 10:30 p.m. on Friday night. With the help of two of my sons, Nick and Mark, we drove through the night, arriving in southeastern Kentucky about 8:00 a.m. Saturday. We ate breakfast, showered, changed clothes, and then headed for the dedication service, which started at 11:00 a.m. I would estimate that 60-70 people attended the two-hour service. Joy and tears mingled together as the people reflected on God’s faithfulness. An attendance board reported that the Sunday before the attendance had been 41, the week before that 27, and that the weekly offering had been $190. Speaker after speaker told stories of how God answered prayer over the years. And of course we had dinner on the grounds and ate like kings. Then my boys and I got in the car and headed back home. We traveled 1,000 miles in 22 hours, including six hours we spent at the church—now called Rock Fork Bible Church.
I tell that story for two reasons. First, because Calvary has been supporting Miss Eva’s ministry for 57 years. We rejoice with her in this significant accomplishment. Second, because this story allows us to reflect on the values of the kingdom of God. Some people may wonder about the 50 years spent and a church with only 40 or 50 people attending. But God’s economy is quite different from ours. The One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills is not impressed by numbers. The Lord of the universe is not more glorified by 10,000 than by 50. He can deliver by much or by little. A thousand years is but a day in his sight. If you asked Miss Eva, “Was it worth it?” she would certainly say, “It was worth it and I would gladly do it again.” She invested her life in building God’s kingdom and the results are in full view for all to see.
The Richest People I Know
As I ponder the matter, I realize that the richest people I’ve met recently are the good folks at Rock Fork Bible Church. And the richest person I’ve met recently is Miss Eva Lodgaard. Personally I hope she’s around for many more years, but when the Lord takes her home, I know the words she will hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” She gave herself completely to the people of southeastern Kentucky. In a ministry that now stretches into its seventh decade, she has been rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share with others. There is laid up for her a firm foundation for the future. Heaven will be bright for her. And she has discovered the life that is truly life.
Now the challenge is to you and to me. We are so rich—and I mean that literally. We have been given so much. Compared to the rest of the world, we’re at the top of the heap. I do not think we need to feel guilty about that, but we ought to feel a sense of profound obligation. God never wastes his blessings and he doesn’t pour them out so that we can use them on ourselves. Blessings are meant to be shared. Money is for giving away. Material wealth is given so that we can bless others as God has blessed us.
If you are in the grip of materialism, what do you do? The oldest answer is the best. The best way to break the stranglehold of money is to give it away. That’s right. Just give it away. If your bicycle has been a snare to you, give it away. If that new boat is a problem, give it away. If your clothes have become an obsession, give all the new stuff away. If your home has become an idol, give it away. That’s right. Just give it away. If you worry too much about your investments, start giving that money away to the Lord’s work. Find some worthy cause and invest in it. Find a need and meet it. Find a hurt and heal it. Take your nickels and your dimes and then take your hundred-dollar bills and invest them for Christ and his kingdom. It doesn’t need to be something big and flashy. And the world doesn’t need to know what you’ve done. As you give to help others, you will help yourself, and in the process the stranglehold of money will be broken in your heart. That’s a win-win solution. Help others, help yourself. Bless others and you will be blessed along the way.
One of these days we will all stand before the Lord. The danger we face is that we will hear the Lord say, “You fool! You spent your life building a fortune but were not generous toward the Lord or his people.” (See Luke 12:13-21.) The Lord will not ask how much money we had at the end of our life and he won’t ask what rate of return we got from our mutual fund investments. But he will certainly ask, “What did you do with what I gave you? Did you use it all for your own enjoyment? Or did you use your money for the sake of my kingdom?”
What you keep for yourself, you eventually lose. What you give away, you gain eternally. So may God cause us—the richest people in the world—to become generous givers and so enter into the blessing that comes to those who aren’t afraid to take God at his Word. Amen.