Proverbs 1:5 Analyzing the Chinese word, ‘Hear.’ 「聽」 Introduction Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” A wise man will listen to the scriptures and OBtain counsel. The Chinese language is unique, interesting, and very complex. Also, within their own culture, the Chinese language has a written testimony of the mind of God. The Chinese language is an ideographic language. It uses lines, called, ‘strokes,’ and, every individual word, is called a, ‘character.’ And, within every ‘character’ are other ‘characters.’ Finally, every line within the word has to written in proper sequence. I did not make up the sequence of this message; a Chinese dictionary made the sequence. The ‘character,’ or word, listen in the Chinese is comprised of six different Chinese words put together to form one word: the word listen or to hear. Let us breakdown the word, ‘Listen’ in Chinese and see what the Bible says. Also, we will list these words in the standard sequence that the Chinese use in writing their language. First Chinese Word - Ear 耳 Proverbs 20:12, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.” God created our ears for us to have the ability to hear words. To God words are important as they reveal what a person has in its heart. We need to be careful what we say and what we hear. God gave us two ears and one mouth so we will listen more than we speak. Proverbs 28:9, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” God gave us the Law in order for us to understand His holiness, His righteousness, His will, and our need for a Saviour. The Law is contained within the Old Testament. When a person, whether saved or lost, does not want to hear the Law than even his prayer is an abomination. As one studies the Old Testament Law he realizes that he comes far short of the righteousness of God and realizes that the Lord Jesus truly fulfilled the Law of God. The more we learn the Law the more we appreciate the grace of the Lord Jesus. Second Chinese Word - King 王 “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2 God rules the affairs of this earth from His throne in heaven. God is in full control and He knows exactly what He is doing and why He allows all events to happen. Revelation 19:16, "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” One day, hopefully soon, the Lord Jesus is coming back to this earth to rule and reign for 1000 years in His Millennial Kingdom. The first time that the Lord Jesus came was to suffer the penalty of our sins as a sacrificial Lamb. The next time that He comes to the earth, not in the clouds, will be as King over the earth. Third Chinese Word - Cross 十 The Lord Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary for us. He took our sins and died in our place. God will not allow sin into heaven. Nor can a sinner atone for his own sins using any form of works or religious ceremony, God will only accept a perfect, or sinless, sacrifice for our sin. The Lord Jesus is sinless. Therefore, He was able to be qualified as our sacrifice for sin. Apart from the Lord Jesus, no other man is sinless. The Lord Jesus became sin for us that we might be saved. 2 Corinthians 5:21 declares, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The gospel is the death, burial and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we believe the gospel, in our heart, then we can be saved. Fourth Chinese word - Blood. 血 God plainly said in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh and atonement for the soul.” God requires a blood sacrifice in order to save the souls of mankind from an eternity in hell. The blood sacrifices in the Old Testament were never intended to justify the sinner. The sacrificial Law was instituted by God to show mankind the need for a sacrifice for sins and the coming suffering Messiah that could atone for their sins as a sacrificial Lamb. Isaiah chapter 53. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 The Lord Jesus was the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross He shed His blood for our sins. The Lord Jesus became our blood sacrifice for the salvation of our souls. The scriptures are very clear that only the blood of Christ shed on the cross can make an atonement, or redeem, our souls. Hebrews 9:11 and 12 state, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once unto the Holy place, having OBtained eternal redemption for us.” The blood of animals, and any other man made sacrifice, cannot OBtain our salvation. Only the blood of Christ, shed on the cross of Calvary, can save our souls. We need to hear what God says about the blood of Christ. It is very important. Fifth Chinese Word - One. 一 In Acts 4:10 - 12 Peter lets us know that, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way any person can be saved. Belief in the name of Muhammad, the Pope, Joseph Smith, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, or some other man, cannot save the soul. The Lord Jesus said Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” All religious attempts to OBtain salvation through good works, earning merit, ceremonies, striving to keep the Law, or some other religious belief, will fail to save a soul from an eternity in hell. Except through the Lord Jesus, there is no other way into heaven. The Sixth Chinese Word - Heart 心 The things that we believe in our hearts are those things that are dear unto us. We love with our hearts. What we believe in our hearts will guide our actions and create our character. The same thing is true with salvation. A heart belief is necessary in order to have salvation. A lot of people know about the Lord Jesus with their head, but they do not know Him with their heart. Salvation is a heart belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said this to the Romans, “That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9 and 10 When a person truly believes with their hearts that Christ died for their sins, and that He was buried and rose again the third day, then that person can be saved. Paul said further, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans10:13. If you are not saved through the Lord Jesus, than why not right now ask Him in sincere prayer to save your soul and give you eternal life in heaven. Conclusion In Luke 9:37 God, speaking audibly from heaven, said, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” The Lord Jesus is the beloved Son of God and we should hear, and follow, Him. The Lord Jesus spoke of those things that God told Him to say. The Lord Jesus said in John 12:49 and 50, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” A wise man will listen to the Lord Jesus speak in order to learn the will of God.
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Luke 9:51, "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he staedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem." The Lord Jesus was determined to proceed to Jerusalem to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus did not let the affairs of this life, the Parisees of the religious world, the issues of His day, and the clamour of the world deter Him from the will of God in His life.
Proverbs 4:25-27, "Let thine eyes look straight on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil."
The way of salvation is narrrow and straight and the way of proper service to God is also staright and narrow. We should not let the religious hypoctites of this world, the babbling of the Charismatics, the corruption of the new versions of the Bible, the defection of the Calvinists from the truth, and the emerging church dictate how we serve the Lord. We need to reject and ignore them and follow Christ.
The will, methods, and doctrines of the scriptures, the AV 1611, is our guide. Let us not falter in these last days from following Christ on the narrow path of service.
What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?
We are saved by the Blood of Christ, forgiven of our sin, and eternally secured with Him. But what does it mean to be a Follower of Christ?
1Co_4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1Co_11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Eph_5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Php_3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
1Th_1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
1Th_2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
Heb_6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
1Pe_3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
To follow Christ is to keep all, and to practice all those things which Christ taught. The first time the phrase “Follow Me” is used in the New Testament, is when Jesus saw Peter and Andrew caster their nets, and Christ said follow me and I will make you fishers of men. The first time Christ called, it was to ask that those that would follow, that they would learn to spread the Gospel of Christ. The first mention was witnessing, Christ’s 1st point in being a follower is learning how to preach the Word of God.
The second point is in Matthew 8:19-23
And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
The Lord is instructing his followers to leave those things that would distract you from walking with Christ. The Lord was not being insensitive to this man, but was trying to help him understand that the things and cares of this world are not as important as keeping yourself on the path of the service of the Lord. As He said “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”. The Lord wants us to learn to not care for ourselves, He promised that He would take care of us, that He would provide our every need. So why would we need to take it upon ourselves? Taking the load from the Lords shoulders and placing it on our own.
The third point is in Mat 16:24-27 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
What does it mean to deny ourselves? It is again, to not care for any of the pleasures and luxuries of this life. Like He said to Peter and Andrew, to follow Him and leave behind their cares. They were fishermen, and Christ asked them to leave their livelihood and take up a new vocation as a fisher of men, a preacher of the word. Here the Lord is asking now to deny even the finer things of this life. To fully trust in God is to completely let go of everything that would take your mind off of what Christ would be trying to teach you. “or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” what in this world could possibly be more important than the salvation of someones soul? What could you possibly have in your life that would take the place of the Gospel of Christ?
To leave the cares of this world the Lord doesn’t want us to be as Monks in Monasteries, for we would have to leave this world all together to escape the sin and temptations. The Lord only asks that we would be mindful, and keep ourselves in subjection to His Word.
1 Corin 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Always abounding, that’s being always mindful, praying without ceasing. Inviting the Lord into every aspect of your life, asking Him to bless and guide you in your daily work. Being a follower is more than just accepting a belief, but living it. Zealousness, fervency, and devotion in living out its principles is a must. Knowing to do what is necessary and neglecting it, not only harms your own spiritual life, but will rOB you of a chance for Christ to work with and help you in the physical life. God won’t force you to serve Him, He isn’t going to grab your hand and pull you along the path. But He will wait, He will stand by offering assistance and wait until we have had enough in trying to figure things out on our own, and finally acknowledge Him and ask for His hand.
Denying yourself can be, and may just be the hardest of the instructions that Christ has given us. But God did say in 1 Corin 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
The Lord promised that anything that you would be tested by would not be anything more than you could handle. It may seem an impossible task to leave behind your life, but Christ promised that all you must do is ask of Him and He will give you the ability to overcome.
Phil 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
There are many other instructions and teachings that Christ gave. But if these main points are followed, the others will naturally come. You have to want to follow, to want to overcome this life for the Lord to give you the victory. He is no going to make you change, but He is going to prick your conscience and try to get your attention.
Serving the Lord must be with the whole self. Just going through the motions and “tipping your hat to God”, or in any way treating Christianity as just a religion and not a faith, is not being a follower of Christ. Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
God does not want religious rOBots, He wants true disciples, those who WANT to follow and OBey His instructions. Those who would be willing to give up everything to serve Him, if He so called. Being a follower of Christ is more than appearance, it is a sincere full bodied and full life decision. You would be willing to accept any calling, any challenge that the Lord presented you with.
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The first mention in Psalms is the Lord asking that we leave off the way of the world and follow Him. To not think of the way you want to do things, but to constantly think of, to meditate on the teachings of God. But not only to think on, but that it would be something that we would be delighted in OBeying. It is a heart issue, the Lord wants excited followers, He wants, and would like his children to be joyful in the instructions He lays out for us.
The Word of God would be something that would fill you with joy. That it would be something that you just could not get enough of. The Way of the Lord is not a hard or laborious path as it says in Mat 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
To follow the path of Christ is to denounce your own self and desires, and to have absolute trust in Him. To follow the fruits of Christ Gal 5:22-25 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The Lord is not ordering us here, but is asking that we would follow these things, that we would be willing to put aside ourselves. These are the things that the Lord asks us to meditate on and strive to become.
The Lord laid out some instructions for us in Eph 5:1-20 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disOBedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Meditate on these things, strive to follow His teachings. Ask for His help and He will give it.
Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
The above should be a sOBering thought for all who read it. It should be a challenge for all to "think before you speak," and to "look before you leap."
One group teaches that there is not a verse in the entire Bible where God commands Gentile Converts to faith in Christ to tithe their money.
Another group teaches that God's Word commands Gentile Converts to give a tithe of money to the Church.
One of the two groups is making and loving a lie. Both can't be right
This sOBering thought should cause all peoples on both sides of the fence to be as the Bereans of the first century AD, who searched the Scriptures "to see if it was so." Our teachings and beliefs should be in perfect harmony with God's Holy Word. If not, our teachings and beliefs should change. God's Word is truth and abides for ever.
Matthew 7:21 (KJV) 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 7:22 (KJV) 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Matthew 7:23 (KJV) 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.” Matthew 12:21
The above statement made by Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees is often taken out of its context and used by pastors and laymen alike, in an attempt to prove that God requires tithe of money from the Church member today.
But, when read in context with the entire discourse, and rightly dividing the Word of Truth, it is easy to see that Jesus was not endorsing a monetary tithe at all. Nor was He saying to give money to God at all.
Matthew 22:15-22 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
The Pharisees asked Jesus a question concerning tribute paid to Caesar. Jesus’ profound reply is overlooked by many today.
The image and superscription on the tribute money was that of the ruling government… Caesar’s. In our modern language, we would say it thusly, “Pay the government the taxes they require. The money is theirs.”
Jesus also said that the Pharisees were to give to God that which was God’s. Was He speaking of money? Not at all.
In the very first chapter of the Bible, we are told that man was created in God’s image. So, the question arises, “Whose image and superscription is on man?”
That’s right… God’s image. God’s superscription. Romans 12:1-2 tell us that we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God, holy and acceptable unto Him.
“Render unto God that which is God’s.”
In Matthew 22:15-22, Jesus was not telling the Pharisees to tithe money. He was telling themselves to yield their own selves to the LORD. And Paul echoed that admonition in his epistle to the Romans thirty years later.
God’s image is on us. May we all be fully yielded to His service.
Suppose you are a young adult male who works for a company that has a CEO and a superintendent over you.
One day, the CEO tells you that you are no longer to come to work on Tuesdays; that only females are allowed to work that day.
Later that day, the superintendent calls you into his office and tells you you are expected to work for four hours every Tuesday.
Who do you OBey? Would you not go to the CEO to get the confusion straightened out?
Well, look at God as the CEO and the pastor as the Superintendent. God's Word says that His tithe is to go to Jerusalem. He gives no other location that it must go. He also says it is to be agricultural in nature. He gives no other options.
The pastor says, "Tithe to the Church where you are fed," and "Tithe money."
Uh-oh... conflict of interest. LOL
So what do we do? We go to God for the answer. We ought to OBey God rather than men. So if we are going to tithe. it's best to do it in the manner that God prescribed, is it not? Otherwise, it is not OBedience to God, it is OBedience to man who is teaching something contradictory to what God says.
Thankfully, God does not hold us to the Law of the tithe. In Romans 7 we are told that if the saved go to the house of the Law, it is an act of adultery. Let us strive to be faithful to Christ and not be guilty of going to the house of the Law while married to the One who was raised from the dead. RWR
Three elderly gentlemen are sitting on a park bench.
#1: It's windy today.
#2: No, today is Thursday.
#3: So am I. Let's go get a drink from that fountain.
#1: I don't want to sing on the mountain.
#2: What did you say was sinful sounding?
The three men in the illustration enjoyed each others company that windy day. Yet because they were not listening carefully to one another's words, their words were lost with each other.
So it is with many people today.
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
What is it we have heard? That the tithe was for the children of Israel.
Leviticus 27:34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.
The command to tithe was not given to Gentiles. So many have allowed themselves to be deceived that God expects them to tithe due to a hearing prOBlem.
Mark 8:18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?
Because of hearing prOBlems, the saints have let the things they have heard slip.
The Word of God reveals the tithe was agricultural.
Leviticus 27:30-33 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
Mark 8:18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?
Because of hearing prOBlems, the saints have let the things they have heard slip.
Revelation 2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
Mark 8:18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?
Because of hearing prOBlems, the saints have let the things they have heard slip.
God said the tithes were agricultural, but because of hearing prOBlems people attempt to tithe money.
God said the tithes were for the children of Israel, but because of hearing prOBlems, Gentile Converts were easily deceived into believing that God expects them to tithe.
God said the tithes were to be eaten by Levites, widows, orphans, foreigners in Israel, the tither and his family. But because of hearing prOBlems, Gentile Converts believe that they are to give tithe in the form of money to a Church at the detriment of caring for self and others.
So many in the Church today have a great hearing prOBlem. And because of their hearing prOBlem, they do not understand what God says when He speaks to them in His Word concerning what He said tithes were.
Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
So many today, because the will not hear the Word of the Lord, because they will not study the Word of the Lord, because they will not search the Scriptures to see if what their pastors have told them is so, will one day find that they will not be able to hear the Word of the Lord at all. God will allow the Word to be taken away from them. And all they will have left is memories.
Are you memorizing the Word of God? David said, "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." Commit yourself to the studying of the Word. Commit yourself to searching the Scriptures. If you don't learn it, when it is taken away, what will you have left?
So many today try to quote verses, such as, "He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." Yet, the majority, though believing they know what that verse says, so often misquote it. "He that spareth the rod spoils the child" is often the quote that is given.
How much more of the Bible do they misquote? A misquote is not the Word of God, my friends. It is the result of one who does not hear God's Word. Just as the words that the three elderly gentlemen were speaking were fruitless due to their hearing prOBlems, God's Word is fruitless to the one who will not hear.
Many today, in their zeal to defend the doctrine of a monetary tithe requirement, will cite 1 Corinthians 16:2, saying that the word “prospered” is speaking of “proportion,” or “percentage.” It is not.
1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
The word “prospered” is translated from the Greek word “euodoo”, which means, “to help on the road, i.e. (passively) succeed in reaching; figuratively, to succeed in business affairs:–(have a) prosper(-ous journey).”
euodoo was never translated as proportion in the Bible. The word used by the Greeks for “proportion” was the word “analogia”. Found only in one verse of the New Testament.
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Back to 1 Corinthians 16:2. That verse was not speaking of proportion or percentage. It was speaking of prosperity. As God had made them prosperous in life, Paul encouraged the saints at Corinth to help the poor saints in Jerusalem. But percentage was never mentioned. God leaves the amount given up to the giver…
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
“Purposeth”– “proaireomai”– “to choose for oneself.”
Not only was Paul not speaking of percentage or proportion, Paul also was not speaking of tithes. Rather, he was speaking of a collection (Grk. logia) for the saints at Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 16:1-4 Now concerning the collection (logia) for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings (logia) when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
The Greek word for “collection” was the word “logia.” Again, nothing to do with tithes. Had Paul been speaking of tithes, he would have used the word “apodekatoo.” Paul did not use the Greek for “tithes” in any of his epistles. The collection in 1 Corinthians 16 was to be freely given (not of coercion) to ease burdened saints in Jerusalem.
The Proper Teaching of Malachi 3:7-11
The proper teaching from Malachi 3:7-11 should be that tithing was an ordinance given to national Israel, not to the Church.
The proper teaching from Malachi 3:7-11 should be that Malachi was referring to a tithe of crops and livestock... not money.
The proper teaching from Malachi 3:7-11 should be that the curse associated with not tithing was locusts and withholding of rain... not loss of jOB, loss of money, ill health, automotive repairs, etc..
The proper teaching from Malachi 3:7-11 should be that the blessings associated with tithing was rain from heaven and withholding the locust from eating the crops... bringing about a bountiful harvest... not more money, better jOB, good health, close-knit family, etc..
The proper teaching from Malachi 3:7-11 is that it was written to Israel, not to the Church. The Church was not rOBbing God... the Priests of Israel were.
Monetary tithe requirement teachers clearly distort the proper teaching of Malachi 3, turning the rebuke and exhortation into something that God never said. The monetary tithe requirement doctrine is in improper doctrine and has no place in the post-cross Church.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Pastors need to allow the light to shine upon Scripture as they study it. Take off the blinders of religion and tradition, and let the mind of Christ interpret the Scripture. If they do, God will reveal to them that which He has revealed to many concerning the tithes of the Mosaic/Levitic Law.
“And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” (v. 2)
This seems to be the reason that Jonah did not want to go in the first place! He wanted Nineveh to fry! He, no doubt, was a bit of a “Pharisee” at least in spirit, and his self righteousness demanded attention from God. Jonah knew that there was a chance that Nineveh would repent, and suffer no harsh judgment for their evil ways, and he did not want that to happen. He definitely did not have the heart of a soul-conscience believer. Yet, how often do we hear of something in the news and wish God’s severest judgment on them? A heinous crime brings out the devil in us, it seems, and we relish in the judgment of God upon those involved. Why do we not weep for their souls? I, unfortunately, ask this of myself most of all! Though some seem so wicked and heartless, they are still a living soul, and need to be saved. That is the answer to the prOBlems of society, getting wicked men saved and doing right. It is not in legislation; it is not in the penal system, but in changing them from within, which only Jesus can do. In Nineveh we see the hope of the Gospel and the hope of the soul-winner, that the entire city would be saved.
God truly is gracious and full of mercy, but we forget that it is given to us too, as well as those very wicked men and women we would condemn. Read our text verse, and know a little more about the nature of God. He is very kind; gracious; slow to anger, and merciful. He is an Almighty, loving God, and loves the souls of the wicked in the same way that he loved us while we were yet in our sin. Our God loves sinners, rather, He loves to redeem them! God used an illustration to teach Jonah that if it were him in Nineveh, he would be happy about the warning, and about God changing His mind too. Jonah seems to care more about himself, and a silly old gourd, than he did about a multitude of souls in hell. Shame on him, and on us who know better when we find ourselves emulating Jonah in our attitudes.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. (v. 5)
Jonah was sent with a particular message to a particular people. One must be careful to always speak that which the Lord gives them, nothing less, and nothing more. Remember, it was the Word that Jonah preached that brought repentance, and not the man himself, or his delivery. We put too much stock in methods!
The Lord cautioned him to preach the “preaching that I bid thee” (v.2) and Jonah was careful to say exactly that. We do not know all that God told him, but he did tell them that they would be destroyed shortly, in forty days. It was a message of doom. The Bible says that the people of Nineveh “believed God” and repented. Folks, men always were saved by faith. Their faith led them to repentance. Look at how they prayed “mightily unto God” and turned from their wicked ways, (2 Chron. 7:14), and found mercy in the eyes of the Lord: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. (v. 8) These folks were serious in their repentance! Not only did they pray, but they also fasted. Now I am not sure how potent a forced fast is with the Lord, but He seems to have honored the faith of the people each time a public fast was proclaimed.
True fasting seems to contain a certain element of sorrow. Always when we see a people fasting in the Bible, it is not for wisdom, or financial needs, but for sorrow of heart. It is the sorrowful heart that compels a compassionate God to move on our behalf. Nineveh was definitely sorrowful to think that they would all be destroyed in forty days, but they were also afraid. Great fear compels great fasting, and prayer unto our Great God. Any time we read about “sackcloth” the theme is great sorrow. In foreign countries when the king was sorrowful, the entire country was to be sorrowful; when he fasted, the people fasted, whether they understood the prOBlem or not. Though I do no like to compare the preacher to the king, when he proclaims a fast, we all need to participate. He is our leader in spiritual things.
“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.” (2:7)
Too often it takes tragedy in our lives before we will “remember the Lord” and call upon Him in prayer. Nonetheless, God hears the prayer of the desperate. Jonah said he prayed “out of the belly of hell” and God heard Him, He will hear us when we think we are in the belly of hell too.
I am reminded of my year in Viet Nam. Many men, in the face of death or danger, call upon the Lord, and find deliverance. Often though they, soon forget the fear and the desperation they once knew, and revert back to their “old selves” when the situation is resolved. Many “fox-hole professions” have wound up being idle words, spoken out of a fearful heart. The desperation does not make dedication, but God will often honor the cry of the desolate. He did it with Israel many times! They cried out of bondage and rigorous servitude, and God sent a deliverer! Oh why can’t we “remember the Lord” when things are going well too? Jonah ran from the Lord, but he knew how to get right and what to do about it, and God did honor his prayer. Jonah “cried” out of the belly of the whale.
When was the last time you cried unto the Lord, and wept bitterly for the soul of another? Or when did you last cry about a great need, one that was so desperate that you could do nothing but wail? This is the prayer that shakes Heavens foundation, and moves God to action on our behalf. Was there ever a time that you felt like Jonah must have felt in chapter two, when “the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.” Jonah decided that he would pay what he had vowed, and would sacrifice and be thankful unto the Lord.
I hope your commitment is not soon forgotten friend, lest you too end up in the bottom of the mountains, or in the belly of a whale!
“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (v. 17)
It looks as if Jonah had a “whale” of a prOBlem! First let us clear the air about something; Men say that a whale’s throat is not big enough to swallow a man, but my God is big enough to make it happen! Furthermore, if anyone takes issue with this, let him take issue with Christ, who said “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mt 12:40). Even Jesus says it was a whale! Whether it was a whale, or simply a large fish, is not the key issue here, it is actually irrelevant to the story, but the Truth must always prevail for Truth’s sake.
More importantly though, we need to keep one thought in mind as we read through these pages, and that is that Jonah had a rotten attitude all the way through, and God used him anyhow! This is somewhat amazing to me. It tells me there is still hope for me! There is also a sign here for us, a picture of Christ’s death and resurrection, which He Himself alludes to in the aforementioned verse.
This is a beautiful picture of a resurrected Savior coming to a lost and dying world, but the type stops there! Jonah’s attitude was horrific! He did not rejoice when Nineveh repented, but wanted to see God’s wrath spewed upon them! He complained all the while about going; about the heat, and then about the gourd! The amazing thing is that God used him in spite of his attitude! We hear that God will not use a dirty vessel, but He did it here! God can use ANY vessel to promote His kingdom and glorify His name. I do not recommend, nor condone backsliding, it just isn’t healthy spiritually or physically, but if and when you do, God can still use you for His glory! Don’t put yourself on the shelf if you have fallen under a bad attitude, and think that God can no longer use you. He can use anyone that will go. Yes, someone has said “God’s grace is greater than all my sin” and I believe it is; another has said “God will not go against our will, but He’ll sure make us willing to go!” and that is what happened with Jonah.
Don’t wait until God makes you willing, go now, and save yourself a multitude of troubles.
Something to think about…
Pastors who use Malachi 3:8-10 want to make you feel like a “God rOBber” because you fail to tithe your money to the Church you attend.
When they preach on Abram, do they tell you he was a “God rOBber” too? If not, perhaps they should.
After all, Abram tithed the spoils of war to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20) but did not tithe his own money (Genesis 13:2) If not tithing one’s money means one is a “God-rOBber”, then surely Abram was also a “God-rOBber” by that definition. Likewise, the Israelites were "God rOBber's" since they also were guilty of not tithing their money.
Why is it wrong for us today to not tithe our money, but perfectly acceptable for Abram to not tithe his? or for the Israelites to not tithe theirs?
Explain this one further please?
Many teach that repentance is simply changing one's mind about who God is.
I contend that it is turning from sin, as is evident in this passage from Revelation:
]20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Notce it does not say, 'change her mind about who God is.' Yet many teach it is a change of mind about who God is.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (v. 6)
I thank God that He gave the New Testament church a special promise; that he would never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13: 5 c), which is an indirect quote from Joshua 1: 5. Our God is “there” for us all the time. The first part of this is still true today, (of course) we are destroyed for lack of knowledge. We do not hear enough “truth” and when we do, we do no believe it easily. We need to be convinced. God’s Word is truth, from the beginning to the end; it is true all the way through, word by word in the King James Bible, so that that Book is all we need of truth. Yet, God’s people die because of a lack of knowing it. Sure, we all die anyway, but there are several promises in the Bible for longevity and God cannot lie or trick us by deceit, if only we would believe His Word, the people of God would not, and could not be destroyed. To have the Lord reject us would lead to very dire consequences, and we would be “of all men, most miserable”.
As the Lord withdrew Himself from Israel at times, He has promised never to do so with us. Heb. 13 :5, the latter part, tells us so, and we can believe it, and rest assured that it is so. What a joy to know that He will never leave us for a moment, nor forsake us altogether; we can walk in the assurance of His eternal presence.
In Israel, God withdrew Himself from them for the purpose of judgment; He removed His blessings from them. They were disOBedient to His Word, and He had to turn from them, just as they had from Him, but, thank God today for Jesus, He is the King of grace unto us. Grace allows God to remain with us, for Jesus’ sake, and continue to abide in us, in spite of our foolishness. He does not condone our sin, nor accept it in any way, but He allows us to continue in Him, and He in us. He no longer needs to judge us, that has been taken care of at Calvary, but now He is there to comfort; to guide; to bless us in a multitude of ways, for Jesus’ sake, and only for Jesus’ sake. It is not because of us, but because of Jesus that He does so; we would do well to remember that. Take comfort in the fact the our Lord will never, ever leave us, no, not for a second, but mostly, thank God that he will never abandon us altogether and leave us to perish in the pits of hell forever. I shudder to think of what life might be like if He ever decided to leave us, and turn His back on our sin and grief. Thank God mightily for the King of grace, Jesus Christ, by whom is the promise given unto us.
Fellowship Baptist Church
Senior Pastor R. Rubino
2929 West 20th Street (718)-372-5022
"Christian Homosexual LOBby!" Saved To Be Lawless? Part 3
1) True marriage in the Bible is always defined as a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Only a Satanic Theologian could distort this plain Biblical truth. (1Peter 3:1-7)
2) True Christians are always exhorted to flee "lawlessness" in their lives. Children of God will always sin, but never defend it. We are to repent when we commit evil acts, not redefine them into righteous acts. (1Peter 3:8-13)
3) Christians are to fight to extend the Kingdom of our God. Like faithful soldiers involved in any battle we will suffer injury. (1Peter 3:14-18)
4) Jesus Christ truly is King of the Universe and all of creation will bow before him. We as Christians pray for people to bow as servants of the King, and not as vanquished enemies. (1Peter 3: 19-22)
Watch Full Sermon on Youtube at http://youtu.be/QmA_8Evfc3E
“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (v. 5)
To use a naval term, let us be "even keeled" or steadfast in all endeavors. This is a restraint of passions and indulgences of appetites; it is to control rage, and extinguish anger. Moderation is the "middle of the road", so to speak, and not drastic swings to the right or left. It is no extreme or excess in any direction or practice. When we allow others to anger us, we are not practicing moderation. If we are not angry all the time, we should not get angry any time! This is a very hard thing to practice, but the Word never changes, only circumstances change. When we react to circumstances, we are no longer acting on the Word of God. So, why should we do this? Because "the Lord is at hand."
The Lord demands an evenness in our person, a moderation of temper and appetites. Overindulgence most always leads to trouble in some respect, as well as extreme swings in attitudes and moods. If I find myself in adverse circumstances, and perhaps someone strikes me, am I still to remain moderate in temper? Is retaliation justified at such times? Let me ask, in answer to that, does the Bible change with each situation? No. It still says, every time we read it, “Let your moderation be known unto all men…” even if the situation is not a pleasant one. This does not mean that I have have attained to this height yet, please don’t get me wrong. I have struck out at adversity, and, no doubt, I will again, but know when I do it I am not doing what the Bible says to do. My point is, we too often allow the circumstances in life to dictate our actions, and ignore, at times, the Word and principles of God. We then become a child of circumstance, and at the whim of every evil that comes along. A great man once said that “if you anger a man, you have conquered him already”, or something to that effect, and I see that it is a true statement.
Let’s endeavor to be of moderate temper, at least, and that alone will be quite an improvement for most of us; and, along the way, let us also be moderate in our actions, and appetites, and we will have accomplished a great deal toward godliness.
Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. Genesis 19:20
Lot has just been delivered from the total destruction of sin city (Sodom).
(Bunny trail) What a picture of our salvation, and also (unfortunately) of many Christians. Lot is living in a lost and sin filled world, fully content to allow the alcohol, legalized gambling, homosexual marriage, just so long as his boat isn’t rocked. His mantra? “Hey. I’m a good person, I don’t do those things, I go to church, Hey…I’m a BAPTIST!”. Then a missionary shows up at his door and he begins to realize the sin he is in, and God brings him out of that sin and leads him to a mountaintop retreat. But Lot is not content with the direction he is being led. He can’t entirely leave his sin behind (back on topic).
I find it interesting that the words “is it not a little one” are in parentheses as if added as an afterthought. Isn’t that how sin is? Okay, Lord! I won’t be part of that big sin anymore, but surely this little one over here won’t hurt anything. “Is it not a little one?” Just one beer? Just one website? Just one lottery ticket? Isn’t that how sin always starts? How many of you know of anyone who upon taking their first drink said I’m going to be an alcoholic! No, the typical statement made is, “I can handle it”. After all, is it not a little one?
As the spiritual head of his household his attitude was well received by his family. He already left several of his children behind to the total destruction of sin, and now he turns away from the righteous path set before him to backslide a little: just a little one. Before he knows it his wife emulates his backsliding and turns back too. Except she turns just a little more, and she is turned into a pillar of salt, but if the salt has lost his savour…. Sin has now cost Lot another family member.
Lot and his daughters arrive in their new sin city of Zoar, but he soon realizes that in his saved condition he is not comfortable living in this sin. He begins to fear for his life and decides he had best take the road less travelled and heads for the mountains of God. But his backsliding has left its seed of corruption in the hearts of his daughters, and they sin against their father and his God. From this spring the nations of Moab and Ammon and all the trouble that they brought against the nation Israel.
This is how sin always begins: with a little one. Satan would be a fool to try to overcome a strongly held biblical/moral standard in one stroke. He is content to chip away one peace at a time. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Just a little one. We see in the story of Lot that just a little sin by one or a few can (and often does) snowball into an avalanche of sin. If you doubt that, just look at the moral state of our nation.
Mt 13 The Sower
“But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (20,21)
We have the parable of the sower in this passage. Here, the peculiar phrase “Yet he hath not root in himself” seems to throw the focus of the passage in a different direction. Note that this guy received the Word with joy, but it did not produce fruit in him. One wonders why. We can glean a few things from these few verses that will help us to see why this might be. First, in v. 19, we see that this guy did not understand the Word as he received it; he had the seed in his heart, but not in his head. The sowing is not enough in the heart, but one needs it in the head too. Then, in v. 21, we see the guy that has it in his head, but not in his heart; exactly the opposite of the man in v. 19. In verse 22, we see the guy that neither has it in his head, (understanding) nor in his heart (Believing), but is a carnal, lost man, and in v.23, the man that has it in his head and in his heart.
This “ground” is the heart of man that is either so hard and brittle that nothing good can grow from it, or so soft that nothing will take root in it either. Just as some types of trees grow better in sand, and some in clay, few grow in the hard, brittle dirt, a dry seabed, or a barren wasteland. The soil must be worked in all cases, and made conducive to the tree. This is why some seeds of faith take root, and others wither away, the condition of the soil. Both often have water (the Word) and sun (the Son, which “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”), but the soil has not been prepared. It is barren ground. Yes, the water of the Word is the same for both; the sun (Son) is shining on them both, but the one takes hold of the words of life, while the other wilts and dies for lack of root. He that hath not “root in himself” is that one of which we speak negatively, the dying one. He has the seed, he has the will to receive it, but it has not rooted itself in him, he has not allowed it to, he is hard hearted, as well as hard headed! He does not have it within himself, but endures for awhile in his own power. Oh, I am afraid we see many of this type in the church today, as well as the others. Take heed to the Word, and allow the Seed to root itself in you, and grow in the garden of faith that you might be fruitful and productive in the Lord and unto others. Remember, the Bible commands us to be kind, and tenderhearted…which is to tenderize our soil for the growth of the seed.
“A sower went forth to sow…” He did his jOB--he merely strewed the seed in all directions.
He did not look for the most fertile soil;
He did not consider the stony ground;
He did not examine the seed before he spread it,
He merely sowed.
The sower did not worry about some of the seed falling by the wayside;
He did not spend time chasing the fowl away that came to devour the seed.
He merely sowed the seed.
He allowed the Lord to determine the effect.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11)
In each illustration, the seed had an effect. (vs. 4-8)
God’s Word will produce!
If man’s heart (soil) has been prepared, it produces good;
If his heart has been hardened, it produces unbelief, and he does evil;
But the planted seed will produce some sort of result; it will not return void.
“All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. “ (Eccl. 3:20)
“Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?” (Eccl. 6: 6)
Both of these verses teach us an important truth, that death is the same for all men. The “great ones” that we exalt in sports today, those who have given their lives and hearts to the game, even they will ultimately end up in the same place as the sluggard and the slouch. Though they may spend hours away from their families, and sacrifice many meals and much quality time with friends and loved ones, they will have the same end as those who did not sacrifice any of these things. It is all vanity.
Though many enjoy fame and fortune for a time, and give their “all” for success in business or in sports, or whatever they wish to excel in, they all end in the same grave, and all turn to mere dust. Greatness only lasts for awhile when it is OBtained by worldly means. Riches give us a little respect here on earth, and often gain the envy of others, but what are they when death comes our way? Can you see the futility of these things? Do you see the irony of it? Solomon did. He knew it was all “vanity and vexation of the spirit.” It almost seems unfair that those who excel so much, who give their entire lives to success, should end up the same as those who did nothing, but that is the way it is when we build our hope on the things of this world and not on Christ. Though many of these athletes or millionaires, or even soldiers are thought of as “heroes” they die the same as the pauper and the coward. No matter what contribution they made to society, or what they had achieved, they build their houses on sand, and it does not stand against the storm. They live in a house of paper, and the foundation is as unstable as the waves of the sea. The only thing that really matters is whether they know Christ as their Savior or not.
The saint who dies in Christ is assured of a happy “forever”. His end is not as futile as theirs, he has treasure untold, and CAN take it with him. Our “heroes” ought to be men and women of God that spiritually “move mountains” in the Lord’s work, and make a real difference in the lives of others. They do not have to all be preachers, but faithful servants unto whom the Lord will say “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” Any one of us can hear those words from the lips of our Savior; then we will be “heroes” indeed. Let’s make our “heroes” those who seek the Lord with the same tenacity that the sports figures, politicians, and all those others seek after their goal, and we will share in the fame and glory of God and men.
“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (2:25)
“And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (3:10)
In this chapter, and in the last verse of the previous chapter, we see the main reason for clothing. Did you ever wonder why you wear what you wear? Clothing is basically to cover our shame (nakedness). In verse 7 of chapter 3, we see that they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves, because they were naked. They did not know what it meant to be naked before this, and had no shame because of their innocence. Even after the Lord confronted them, they needed to cover their shame, and He provided the skin of the animal, the innocent one, to cover their shame. We see in this a picture of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. He too died to cover our shame, and in Him we are made whole again, and OBtain eternal life. The point I would like to make is that our clothing need not be ostentatious, but simple, as long as it covers us. Anything more than covering our nakedness is pride. Do we need to be adorned with the nicest apparel? Do we need diamond-studded outfits to cover our shame? Of course not. Something much more simple will do. Of course women need to dress modestly, as in Titus 2:9, but even this seems to be speaking of avoiding the showy, attention drawing, and pride building clothing that we often like to wear. It is linked to “gold or pearls, or costly array”, and speaks of dressing “humbly” as much as decently. To “feel good about ourselves” is the worlds’ desire, and ought not to be our desire when it comes to dressing. This thinking is based on pride, which is the bane of all good men and women in every generation. Back to our verses: the shame did not come until the knowledge came. They were not ashamed until after “their eyes were opened” and they became “as gods, knowing good and evil” (3:5).
It is the knowledge then that brought the fear. The knowledge of what? Of good and evil: of the ability to discern between the two. This remains the crux of the matter. When we seek out the flashy, sexy, or showy type apparel, we are merely feeding our ego. This may be hard to swallow, but it is true, nonetheless. We like to offer excuses at to why we dress the way we do, we even try to make it “spiritual”, but the bottom line is pride. For our own satisfaction we want to “look nice”, when we ought to be concerned with covering ourselves. I must be fair, and say that we dress for warmth too, but that is not all the time, and even that should fit the guidelines of “modesty” and humility. Did not our Savior dress “humbly” He deserved spectacular a rOBe of purple, but wore a simple rOBe of white. Folks, be sure your pride shows in the way you dress, and in your appearance in this world; yes, others can see it, even if you will not. It’s for men and women alike.
(Note: The word “modest” in Titus 2:9 means both in a moral aspect, and in a humble aspect. Here is the Dictionary definition of “modest: “
1. Properly, restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful; as a modest youth; a modest man.
2. Not bold or forward; as a modest maid. The word may be thus used without reference to chastity.
3. Not loose; not lewd.
Crumbs from the Master’s Table
“And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.” (v. 28)
This verse has been very precious to me. Here is where these devotions were born; where they have their “roots”. Originally, I had written down many thoughts under the title “Crumbs from the Master’s table” and finally refined them into devotionals. The “Bread of life” is made up of crumbs. Every loaf of bread is made of millions of crumbs, lumped together to make a loaf. Each crumb has its significance, and though the master has the loaf, the crumbs are important to the dogs. Do not ignore the crumbs. The dogs have never eaten so good! As the Word of God contains much food for the weary soul, and the Master’s table is full of good things, let us glean a few crumbs as they fall our way. Personally, I believe it is this same Bread, and the many crumbs of it, that Jesus refers to in His model prayer in Matthew 6, where He says “Give us this day our daily bread”. I do not think He refers to literal bread, but to a “touch from God” so to speak. You see, we are to trust Him for bread, and not ask for it. Nowhere in Scripture is it commanded of us to ask for our basic needs, they have already been promised, and provided, we need only to trust God for them. Let us find these crumbs, as jewels of treasure, precious, and in this case, delicious.
This woman had faith, and was rewarded accordingly because she realized the importance of crumbs. I think of crumbs as “leftovers” as we see in the feeding of the five thousand where they disciples gathered twelve baskets full of them. (Mt. 14:20). These “fragments” were made of big crumbs! I also am reminded of the importance of “background people” who are not in the limelight, and are sort of comparable to “leftovers” in the church; the “undesirables” who fall by the wayside and no one wants to pick them up. The churches are full of them, but I ask, “What will you do with the crumbs?” These may be sweeping the pews, but not winning the souls; they may be slow witted, but cleaning the bathrooms and doing the things no one else wants to do, but they remain “crumbs” of no value to the congregation. They are people we endure, but do not wish to associate with. Let us gather the crumbs first, only then we can have the full loaf.
The Characteristics of Love
1. Love desires reciprocation.
A one-sided love promotes frustration and discontent.
Love desires company (companionship). 1 John 4:19.
2. Love is unbiased, without prejudice.
It is unconditional;
Conditioned love is mock love.
3. Love is eternal.
There is no “falling out of love”;
Nothing can replace true love, as it has no end.
4. Love cannot be described.
No words adequate enough to describe love. (“so much” as in John 3:16)
Love is seen in action, not in words. (Calvary).
5. Love is not self-seeking.
There is no pride in love; no self seeking.
Love is “others” minded, it gives and asks nothing in return.
6. Love is pure.
Real love promotes chastity.
7. Love is powerful.
Love brings the strongest and most nOBle of men to their knees.
8. Love is motivational.
It promotes Truth;
Love demands action.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (v.13)
God always provides a way of escape for us. He never gives us more than we can bear. Does any one wonder what that Way is? It is Jesus--He is the Way. (Jn. 14:6) It is always the same Way, there is no other. Yes, the Way never changes, it is always the same. Notice also that all temptations that come our way are “common to man”. In other words, we are not going to go through anything that all mankind doesn’t go through. For this reason, as well as others, I believe that we will never be tested or tempted to the extent that JOB was. Therefore, when we are tempted, we can be assured that if anyone has made it through that same sort of tempting, we can too. If others could make it, we can. This, to me, is a wonderful thing to know. I will never be overwhelmed with temptation to the point where I cannot resist, because Jesus won’t allow it. This means that when I fall to temptation, I do it deliberately! That is, after all, the real gist of the matter, it is the emphasis of sin. When Satan deceives us, we still don’t have to succumb to the temptation, we can escape it, resist it. This puts the blame right on our laps, where it belongs. It shows that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). By the way, the temptation contains the way of escape, as our verse says; it comes “with the temptation” so it is there for all of us.
Also note that “God is faithful” to us, yet we find it so hard to be faithful to Him. What if He were as faithful to us as we are to Him? What a mess that would be! We can rely on Him because He is faithful. There is much value to faithfulness. It is stability; stability in others, that we can depend on when we need them, and stability in us that causes us to be reliable also. Can God rely on you? I can only hope that He will rely on me.