Tag Archive | Christian

Biblical View of Money & Giving – MacArthur

John MacArthur has several resources on money and giving. hmkjr shared these in a comment. If you follow the links you can read the document, download the audio or even purchase a CD for the audio. I included just a few paragraphs to whet your appetite.

Biblical View of Money – 4 part series

The Biblical View of Money, Part 1

Let’s talk about the morality of money. Money in itself is not good or bad. It’s not righteous or evil. It is neutral. But money is a measure of morality. It definitely is. When we talk about money we’re talking about life, we really are. Money is so central to our everyday living. As a medium of exchange it defines how we live. I can take your checkbook, if you write checks, and I can go through the register of your checks for a period of time and I can discern your priorities. I can see where your money goes and where your money goes is where your heart is. That’s obvious.

The Biblical View of Money, Part 2

Now those of you who don’t use checks but use a credit card, I can look at the accounting for your credit card on the monthly statement and I can pretty well discern where your heart is, where you put your money demonstrates your morality. Money in itself is amoral, but money also is a barometer, it is a measure by which I can know what I need to know about the priorities of your life.

Some people say money corrupts. Well there are corrupt people and certainly money is a way in which they manifest their corruption. But there are also people with money who are not corrupt and money is a way in which they manifest their righteousness. And there are corrupt people who have no money, and there are people who have no money and are godly people. Money doesn’t necessarily corrupt, it just shows up more visibly the corruption of the heart that possesses it. You take a corrupt person, give him a lot of money and he’ll be able to spread his corruption further. It’s not money that is the problem, it’s the heart that is the problem, but money measures that out.

… It might surprise you to know that Jesus said more about money than anybody else in the Bible, and He said more about money than any other single subject. Money is an index to a person’s character. It is a measure. It is a manifestation of the heart. And I cannot fully survey everything that Jesus said about money obviously, but briefly I’d like to put you in touch with the most important things that He said which help us to understand the importance of money and how it is, that index, or that measure of our character, of our spiritual life. We are, as I said, going to hopefully build a house with the principles of Christian giving, but we need a foundation and the foundation includes these blocks of understanding money and what the Bible has to say about it. …

The Biblical View of Money, Part 3

…So you have your houses and your herds and your flocks and your silver and your gold…the issue is, when your heart becomes proud…verse 14…and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, that’s the issue. “He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water. He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers didn’t know that He might humble you and that He might test you to do good for you in the end.” That’s always His heart.

The Biblical View of Money, Part 4

Otherwise, if you forget God…you’re going to say, “My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.” God doesn’t want you poor. God is happy to spread the wealth as long as you know who gave it to you, as long as you thank Him and praise Him and honor Him and glorify Him. And in the delighting and the joy of it comes obedience. And as long as you’re willing to share it generously. Verse 18, “You shall remember the Lord your God, it is He who is giving you power to make wealth that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers as it is this day, and it shall come about that if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today, you shall surely perish like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish because you wouldn’t listen to the voice of the Lord your God.”

And again we’re right back to the same principle, wealth, possessions, money becomes an index of your spiritual character. Doesn’t it? If you have a right approach to it, delighting in it, thanking God for it, God is pleased…God is pleased….

… You work for the Lord. I mean, you do your work as unto Him. That is a very great motivation. People often ask me in my own life, you know, “What sustains you? What keeps you going?” And the answer is that I work for the Lord, everything I do is evaluated by Him. Everything I do is service rendered to Him. And that’s true of any job. I don’t care whether you’re a pastor or whether you’re pumping gas or whether you’re selling insurance or whether you’re a lawyer or a doctor or a school teacher, or you work in a factory or a shop, whatever it is, you do it to the Lord. And that becomes the elevating motivation. Work, that’s God’s first and primary way in which we are to gain the wealth that He has put in this world.

Secondly, the Scripture also extols saving. Not only working but saving. That is a legitimate means of securing resources for us in the future. We are to get involved in saving. Proverbs 21:20, an I’m going to go through a lot of verses in Proverbs, this morning, just kind of scooping up everything. It says in that verse, “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise. But a foolish man swallows it up.” A foolish man consumes everything he gets. A wise person sets it aside, precious treasure and oil set aside. A wise man lays aside some of his treasure, some of his oil for the unexpected, for the future, for the down time. The fool uses it all up, just lives at the max level. He receives so much, consumes so much. In fact, one translation of that verse is good, it says, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” That’s foolish, that’s absolutely foolish. You need to set some aside for the future. …

Biblical Model for Giving – 4 part series

A Biblical Model for Giving, Part 1

…In fact, every Christian should be eager, anxious, thrilled about the opportunity to give at the offering if based only on two statements that Jesus made. …

Let me give you just those two statements. Statement number one is recorded in Luke 6:38. Jesus said this, “Give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over they will pour into your lap for by your standard of measure it will be measured to you.” …But there’s a second verse that we would add to it and that is Acts 20:35. It says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” …

In other words, what you give away brings you a greater blessing than what you receive. That should be enough. That should be enough to make us line up to give. Do you want to be most blessed? Than give. Do you want to receive pressed down, shaken together, and running over so that your lap is filled? Then give. Those two monumental promises of blessing and generosity from God who is the source of everything, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, who has the power to get you wealth, who gives you all that you have, those promises from God should make us sacrificially generous.

Proverbs 19:17, “He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord.” You want to know something about the Lord? He repays all His debts. And He will repay him for his good deed. Every time you give to someone in need, God repays you. In chapter 21 verse 13 of Proverbs, “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.” You’ll shut heaven’s blessing off if you shut off your generosity.

A Biblical Model for Giving, Part 2

…I really believe that the little loaf of bread that God puts in the hand of every believer is Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” We have nothing to fear for tomorrow. The promise of God…He will meet every need. That has tremendous implications on how we give. We are not alone in securing our future. Yes we want to be wise. Yes we want to plan. Yes if possible we want to save. Yes we want to be good stewards of what God has provided for us and lay away something for the future as we’ve learned in our study. But at the same time we can do that in complete confidence that if God were to come to us and ask us to take what we had planned for the future and invest it in His Kingdom, He would replace it. We can go to sleep every night of our life with that little loaf of bread, “My God shall supply all your needs because that is His promise.” And that is a promise that takes away anxiety and removes fear….

People say, “I’d give more if I had more.” I don’t believe that. Giving is not a matter of what you have, it’s a function of the heart. Devout believers don’t need more, they don’t wait for more, they give from their poverty like the widow Jesus saw who gave everything, two mites. In Luke 16:10 Jesus said it this way, “He that is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much. He that is unrighteous in the least is unrighteous in the much also.” It is not an issue of how much you have, that has nothing to do with it, it is an issue of the heart. If you are faithful you are faithful. If you believe faithful, meaning if you believe God, trust God. If you hold in your hand the little loaf of bread of Philippians 4:19, that’s enough to sustain your future and you have no problem yielding up what God puts upon your heart to give. How much you have is not the issue, generosity is a heart issue that gives no matter how little.

A Biblical Model for Giving, Part 3

…So what we find then in verse 3 is that giving is proportionate, giving is sacrificial, and giving is voluntary. Very, very important issues. And the understanding of those three out of the eight elements of their giving leads me to a bit of a digression this morning that is absolutely crucial if we’re to understand this whole matter of giving because whenever you talk about giving in a Christian context, there are always people who are going to say, “Well I thought we were supposed to give ten percent,” right? I mean, that’s the sort of traditional Christian percentage. We talk about tithing, the word “tithe” is a word that means a tenth. The Greek equivalent of tithe is dekate(?) which means a tenth part, it’s a mathematical word. The Hebrew equivalent is maasrah, it means a tenth, it too is a mathematical word. And Christians through the years have just felt…Well, we’re supposed to give ten percent. The Jews gave ten percent. Abraham gave ten percent. Jacob gave ten percent. So we’re supposed to give ten percent. That’s God’s abiding standard.

And that doesn’t fit into here. There’s no ten percent in chapters 8 and 9. There’s no ten percent with regard to the Macedonians. They gave what they could give. They gave sacrificially what they could give. And they gave voluntarily, that is they chose whatever amount they could give and desired to give and gave it. There is no prescription of ten percent here whatsoever. And that leads us to the issue of why do Christians today think they need to give ten percent? Where does that come from? And I want to answer that. It comes basically from a misunderstanding of the Old Testament. And I feel obligated to make that misunderstanding clear to you and then set it right….

A Biblical Model for Giving, Part 4

…Now let’s ask the question for this morning initially, is the New Testament pattern of giving the same? Answer…yes. In the New Testament again you have reiterated two kinds of giving, two ways in which we give our wealth. The first is to pay our taxes and the second is to give to God. In fact, the New Testament is explicit and exact in comparison with the Old Testament. There is no difference at all. Teaching on both of these kinds of giving…required and free will is clear in the New Testament.

Now let me say at this point just by way of a footnote. I know that this is new to some of you who perhaps were raised in a church or been in a church where they hammered on tithing and they said that the way Christians are to give is to give ten percent because that’s the way the Jews give. I know that that is something that is taught commonly. That is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible does not teach the Jews gave ten percent. As I pointed out it teaches that they gave about 25 percent. It was not their giving to God, it was their payment to the theocracy, to the government. It had to be brought into the temple treasury and not to bring it was to rob God, according to Malachi 3:8, of His due tithes and offerings. That was taxation. I know that that is perhaps new to some of you but that is clearly what the Scripture teaches. It’s what I’ve taught for many, many, many years, we just haven’t been able to cover it recently. But it is clearly what the Scripture teaches as you saw last time. …


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Debt

While talking about tithing, the question of debt and its relationship to tithing has been discussed.

First of all there seems to be at least two different types of debt. There is the typical debt of mortgage and car loans and then there are the more personal types of debt. What I mean by personal debt is the $500 loan from “Uncle Joe” for car repairs. Credit card debt falls somewhere in the middle. Sorta like a line with mortgage at one end and personal loans at the other. Everything else falls in the middle somewhere.

The least damaging type of debt is the home loan because that is a set amount with hopefully a set amount of interest and a set schedule for paying it back. Now there are really bad home loans like those with adjustable interest rates or 100% loans, with no money down, or even worse the loans that are for more than the value of the home. Typically a home loan has yielded a home to live in and an investment, although today’s home market is such that there is often a loss instead of an increase in value. But if you look at the real numbers for what you are paying for that $100,000 home at 7% interest you are actually paying $240,000 for a $100,000 home, plus many more expenses like mortgage insurance, etc. So while the debt is damaging to the individual owner it is not damaging to another in the sense that another person is suffering by loaning the money. Lots of businesses thrive, or at least did, off home mortgages.

The most damaging loans are the smaller personal loans to friends, family and small businesses. These often do not charge interest and the loaning individual does not benefit from the interaction and may actually be suffering for it. Loans like this between family and friends can often ruin relationships especially if the borrower does not pay them back in a timely manner. Small business loans are the type of thing where say “Fido” is hit by a car and breaks a leg requiring surgery. Maybe you can’t pay the vet the full price but make arraignments to pay $150 a month with or without interest. What happens here is the Vet is out the money for the surgery and is having to wait to recoup expenses. People often see no problem with defaulting on this type of loan, so the small business suffers.

Here are some atypical verses that are worth considering when thinking about debt and giving. These are just random.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. ESV

While this does discuss money, who would ever admit to serving money? But even the typical home loan can become our master. A home loan requires a substantial amount of money to be paid out monthly no matter what happens. So having a home loan can force an individual to stay in a particular job although they feel called to a new one or to a particular ministry. Having a home loan can also keep individuals from travel for missions. In a real sense, home loans do become our master and they rule what we can and cannot do.

Isaiah 48:11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. ESV

His Name (see For The Sake Of The Lord’s Name) is Holy and the Lord does not desire for His Name to be profaned by unbelievers or believers. I know it is not always true but when I was working often we would have a pastor of a church need services and they would point out that they were a pastor and didn’t make much money, blah…blah (insert sob story). Then they would ask to make payments instead of paying in full. This happened so much that my boss would actually say, “That preachers were the worst about sticking him with the bills and failing to pay.” This is so sad that his experience was like that. What do you think the Lord feels when His followers are profaning His name by having a reputation of not paying their bills?

Matthew 22:21 … Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” ESV

Does a person’s tithe or offering have to be in tangible dollar form? If a person is in debt and has committed to paying off the debt, cannot something different than money be given to the church and to ministries? Labor of our hands or even the wisdom from our education can be even more valuable than money. How about designing and maintaining the church website? Helping caregivers with household repairs? Preparing meals for the sick? Landscaping? Painting? Does giving have to be monetary for it to be a blessing to others and blessed by the Lord?

Job 41:11 Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. ESV

Romans 11:34-35
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
ESV

If our giving is in expectation of financial gain, we have the wrong attitude. That isn’t to say that the Lord will not necessarily prosper those who give, but if that is the reason we give then we are no different from the “prosperity gospel” preachers and their “seeds of blessings.”

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ESV

1 Timothy 5:16 If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are really widows. ESV

Being called worse than an unbeliever is really bad! This verse is critical of those who allow family to suffer and live off the church’s welfare role. Does this not seem to imply that the Lord would rather us as individuals help our family above and beyond the paying for the new carpet in the sanctuary? What about helping the single mom in your family? The elderly parent struggling to pay for medicine?

Matthew 5:23-24
23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
ESV

This verse is very interesting in relation to debt and giving. Seems to almost say that the Lord doesn’t want your gifts, sacrifices, or offerings if your brother is offended. Would your brother be offended if you owed him $500 and hadn’t bothered to pay it back? Who is our brother?

Mark 12:41-44
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.
43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.
44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
ESV

The widow gave all she had. That is a little more than 10%! But that isn’t all. The servant was rebuked for not earning interest on what he was given. See Matthew 25:14-30. Matthew 25:27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. ESV

So what if instead of earning interest we are paying interest?

~ Ecclesiastes 5:5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. ESV

~ Psalms 37:21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; ESV

~ Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. ESV


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Tithing / Giving and Debt?

During the last two days discussion on tithing and obedience, Gradually Becoming Obedient? and Gradually Becoming Obedient? Working Toward Perfection, the matter of debt and giving has been mentioned. See hmkjr’s comment.

This brings up an interesting dilemma. Whether or not you think tithing is for the NT church, should tithing or giving be done by those in debt?

Since the average church does not discourage or discuss debt with its members, they also do not discuss the matter of giving when in debt.

As Julius pointed out George Mueller would not accept money from a man that he knew was in debt. That got me to wondering what other pastor’s had taught about the issue of debt and giving.

But so far I have found very little information concerning debt and tithing or giving. The general information has been continue tithing (for those that considered it commanded) while working to get out of debt.

Another side issue of the matter of debt and tithing/giving is what about the church that encourages debt for buildings?


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Gradually Becoming Obedient? Working Toward Perfection

Yesterday I posted a quote from a bulletin and asked some questions about it.

Some people who are not tithing wonder if they can “work their way up to a tithe” by increasing their giving some each year until they reach 10%. This question is not addressed in the Bible because tithing is an act of obedience, and you cannot be partially obedient or work your way into obedience. There is no other issue of obedience in which we would suggest that we would gradually become obedient.

hmkjr’s comment was that the amount of a tithe or even the term tithe as a command was not to be found in the New Testament.

Celeste’s comment agreed with Hmkjr’s but also added that since everything we have belongs to Christ, we should be willing to give what the Lord leads us to. Sometimes even to uncomfortable levels.

I had several thoughts upon reading this quote.

1) Tithing – See tithing is not something that is reiterated in the New Testament although giving is encouraged throughout the New Testament. Many times Paul encourages the churches to gather a collection for others before he comes. But there is one overriding point to the giving the heart!

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. ESV

I love the Greek word for cheerful! Hilaros think hilarious. That is how eagerly we should be giving to the Lord and to His Ministries. Do you give hilariously?

But in this same passage are warnings to not be giving unwillingly or under compulsion.

2 Corinthians 9:5-7
5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
. ESV

Look at the words used:

Willing verses exaction,

Made up his mind verses compulsion,

Cheerful verses reluctantly,

The word for exaction is ‎pleonexia which can mean fraud or extortion. Many times churches will encourage others to give almost to the point of extortion or compelling members that they must give in order to be blessed, for example, Prosperity Gospel type churches. However, the Lord is clear that He loves a cheerful giver not one that feels forced to give.

A sermon we heard Sunday and dora also pointed out Hebrews 7. Hebrews 7 mentions tithing but my understanding of Hebrews 7 is that the tithe is in relation to the Priesthood. In other words, a greater than Aaron or Levi is here, a priest in the type of Melchizedek. Then Chapter 8 of Hebrews tells us that there is a better covenant than the old covenant.

Hebrews 8:6-7
6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
ESV

In the new Covenant, a tithe is not reiterated. But the cheerful (hilarious) giving is encouraged.

2) 10% – I find the focus on a percentage strange in this case. See it is as if 10% was the only option. Is 10% the only option? Now I’m not going to go into where the 10% figure comes from because most will have a general idea about the 10%.

But if 10% is the requirement as this implies can a person not ever be obedient without giving 10%? What if they want to give more than 20%?

hmkjr’s second comment yesterday points out an interesting dilemma many people find themselves in.

What happens when your debt has gotten out of control? Is it ever acceptable to use the money that you would have tithed to pay off debt? See debt can be a form of stealing from others and there is many verses that show that when we are in debt we are slaves to our lenders.

Proverbs 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. ESV

God desires of us to not be slaves to sin, the world or our debt. So can paying to get out of slavery be an acceptable use of the money that would be tithed?

3) Obedience – But here is my biggest concern. Terry noticed this issue as it applies to other areas of our lives. It is with this portion of the quote:

“… you cannot be partially obedient or work your way into obedience. There is no other issue of obedience in which we would suggest that we would gradually become obedient.”

Read that twice.

You cannot be partially obedient?

Work your way into obedience?

Gradually become obedient?

While granted this is taking about tithing and with a set amount – 10%. But it does bring up the question of other obedience. Is there really “no other issue in which we would suggest that we would gradually become obedient”?

If not we are all doomed. See I don’t know about you but I have never been perfectly obedient in my life. Although I strive daily to become more and more obedient, I haven’t achieved perfection. Will I ever? Not here on earth. While it is good to encourage obedience, even perfect obedience, dare we not at least encourage a gradual change to obedience?

What growing and maturing Christian

has not found that the closer to perfect obedience they get,

the farther away they find themselves?

When I think I have a small portion of my life under control and think that I’m not disobeying in this particular area, the Lord is sure to show me that I am wrong and my vision of obedience is nothing like His vision of obedience for me.

Now granted there are some areas of our lives that when we become a Believer we should immediately turn away from. Things that come to my mind are drunkenness, violence, sexual immorality, stealing and blaspheming the Lord’s name. But even though we should turn and flee these sins, thankfully our Lord is a Lord of grace and mercy and if we were to stumble He will lovingly forgive us when we repent.

Yet there are many areas of a Believer’s life that while the change maybe dramatic especially if they became a Christian while an adult, they still would not be perfectly obedient. Terry mentioned some of these areas in her comment. Others that come to my mind are patience, our speech, controlling our temper, putting others before ourselves, sharing the gospel with others and praying without ceasing. While the ideal is to do all these things perfectly, who has?

So that is my question about this portion of the quote:

“… you cannot be partially obedient or work your way into obedience. There is no other issue of obedience in which we would suggest that we would gradually become obedient.”

While it is good to encourage obedience, and perfect obedience at that, can we not also encourage a gradual move toward more and more obedience?

This is where I find the differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. In the Old Covenant the Jews had check lists of things they should do. There was a definite amount to tithe, there were ceremonies that must be performed and there were rules to obey. They could honestly like the rich young ruler feel that they had done it all and perfectly.

However, when Jesus walked here on Earth He spent much of His time showing that the Jewish understand of perfect obedience was flawed.

They could say I have not committed adultery, thinking they were perfect in that area, yet Jesus pointed out their imperfect obedience.

Matthew 5:27-28
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
ESV

They could say they tithed, right down to the spices in the cabinet, yet Jesus could point out they had misused their money, time and efforts.

Luke 11:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. ESV

They could give large sums to God, yet Jesus pointed out that they were dishonoring their parents in the process.

Mark 7:10-13
10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) —
12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
ESV

So my understanding with tithing and obedience is that once you put a line or point as the final goal we have misunderstood the whole point of the New Covenant. Once we say that 10% is the amount we should return to the Lord, we have gotten back to the Jewish legalistic system. There is more to cheerful giving than a 10% amount it is the heart. Once we say if I don’t raise my voice once during the day at the children, I have achieved patience, we have missed the boat because there is more to patience than just that. Now that doesn’t mean we cannot set goals for ourselves but if we are ever content with our personal, manmade goals we have failed.

It truly is matter of the heart.



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Gradually Becoming Obedient?

A church that we are familiar with had this in their bulletin in a discussion about tithing:

Some people who are not tithing wonder if they can “work their way up to a tithe” by increasing their giving some each year until they reach 10%. This question is not addressed in the Bible because tithing is an act of obedience, and you cannot be partially obedient or work your way into obedience. There is no other issue of obedience in which we would suggest that we would gradually become obedient.

What is your reaction to a statement like that?

Think about this in relation to things other than tithes.

Is this an accurate statement?

What does the Bible say about obedience?



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Armored Sheep

My husband has been teaching on Ephesians 6:10-17.

Ephesians 6:10-17
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
ESV

During the discussion we talked about how we need to put on the Armor of God, not in case Satan will attack, but because Satan will attack. During an attack is the wrong time to be trying to put on the Armor of God. We must put it on ahead of time because otherwise we are defenseless sheep.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. ESV

So you sheep have you put on the whole armor of God?

Belt of Truth

Breastplate of Righteousness

Shoes for your feet the Gospel of Peace

Shield of Faith

Helmet of Salvation

Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God

If so then you can stand against the wiles and schemes of the Devil and his fiery darts.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. ESV

Ephesians 6:16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; ESV


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Centrality of the Home in the Evangelism

The Centrality of the Home in the Evangelism
and Discipleship of the Next Generation
by Voddie Baucham

Ephesians 6:1-4
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),
3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
ESV

Transcript of Centrality of the Home in the Evangelism and Discipleship (pdf)


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Training Your Children by Albert Martin

Julius Mickel left a comment on “My Kids Would Drive Me Crazy – Lack of Discipline” and provided a link to a series of sermons done by Albert Martin on Child Training.

Training Your Children by Albert Martin, this series includes 40 audio sermons on child training. I haven’t had a chance to listen to all of these yet (At my current rate it will take a month of Sundays!) but I have been encouraged by other sermons of Albert Martin.

A few of the sermons are also available on SermonAudio.

There are several more on SermonAudio at The Training of your Children.

Thank You Julius.


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The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown’s New Book & Freemasonry

Dan Brown is the author of the Da Vinci Code that was so popular a few years ago. His newest book is called The Lost Symbol. With the Da Vinci Code Dan Brown misrepresented the Bible and Jesus throughout his book. While claiming the Da Vinci Code is fiction, the down right lies about Jesus have been accepted as fact by many who would rather believe a fictitious story than the Bible.

Now Dan Brown’s newest book is due out. The fictional book The Lost Symbol is based in Washington, D.C. and involves the search for a masonic pyramid and a hidden code. While in the Da Vinci Code Catholics and Jesus are portrayed in a negative light, the newest book portrays Freemasonry in a more positive light.

Anything that encourages Freemasonry is dangerous. Many people may not even be familiar with Freemasonry (Masons, Masonic Lodges, Masonic Temples, etc.) but it is deeply ingrained here in the southern US. The Order of the Eastern Star is the women’s portion of Freemasonry. There are Freemasons that are upstanding members in many of the local churches and there are also pastors of churches that are members. This is something I grew up knowing about and never did really understand. I had an uncle who was a deacon of a SBC church and yet he was a Freemason. He would not discuss it. He also had a Freemason Funeral upon his death. So I have seen the Freemasons bizarre practices in person.

Even Dan Brown himself thinks the book will encourage others to check out the Masons: “I think there will be an enormous number of people who will be interested in the Masons after this book (comes out).”

Brown goes out of his way in “The Lost Symbol” to present the lodge as essentially benign and misunderstood. Masons are praised for their religious tolerance and their elaborate rituals are seen as no more unusual than those of formal religions. The plot centers in part on an “unfair” anti-Masonic video that “conspiracy theorists would feed on … like sharks,” Langdon says.

Freemasons await Dan Brown novel `The Lost Symbol’

(link no longer works)

Ex Masons For Jesus is a website that is dedicated to revealing the false teachings of Freemasons. Here is some information from their site.

How can you quickly know that the foundational teachings of Freemasonry are false?

Freemasonry requires its members to believe in the existence of a Supreme Being and also to believe that there is only One God. Freemasonry refers to its god as the Great Architect of the Universe. It teaches that all men, of all the various religions, worship the one God, simply using a variety of different names. It is on that basis that Masons may be Hindus, Moslems, Buddhists, or men who profess to follow Jesus. Freemasonry requires a belief in the existence of A Supreme Being, but does not define that being. …

… Freemasonry teaches that there is one God and men of all religions worship that one God using a variety of different names. In a Masonic Lodge, all join in corporate prayer to the Great Architect of the Universe, (GAOTU). …

… While we were Masons, we sometimes were asked questions about Freemasonry by other church members who were not Masons. Because we had taken an oath to ever conceal and never reveal the secret teaching of Freemasonry, under the penalty of having our throats cut from ear to ear, we were reluctant to respond truthfully. We beg the forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in Christ for the less than honest answers we provided while we were Masons. Since we have repented (embraced God’s viewpoint on the issue) we have been released from the oaths. (Lev 5:4-6.) We came to realize that God did not want us to take the oaths to begin with. (Matthew 5:33-37 & James 5:12) As Christians who walk in the light of Jesus Christ, we are now willing to respond truthfully to the questions we continue to be asked. …

Notice these statements from Masons in the following articles.

Freemasons await Dan Brown novel `The Lost Symbol’ (link no longer works)

… “The emphasis on secrecy is something that disturbs people,” says Joseph Crociata, a burly, deep-voiced man who is a trial attorney by profession but otherwise a Junior Grand Warden at the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the District of Columbia. …

… “I have enormous respect for the Masons,” Brown told The Associated Press during a recent interview. “In the most fundamental terms, with different cultures killing each other over whose version of God is correct, here is a worldwide organization that essentially says, `We don’t care what you call God, or what you think about God, only that you believe in a god and let’s all stand together as brothers and look in the same direction.’…

Freemasons hail Dan Brown’s latest novel as “good fun” (link no longer works)

Levenston said modern Freemasons are not as secretive as their predecessors, but said secret handshakes and special words are still used to help identify members as “men of trust.”

“The secret handshakes certainly do still exist, but we don’t roll up one trouser leg any longer. In the old days it was seen as a symbol of humility not for anything else,” Levenston said.


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