GOD GAVE US

Every good and perfect gift comes from above – James 1:17 ...

 

AS WE LEARN ABOUT GIVING in our study of 2 Corinthians 9, we have come to a point where Paul is writing to encourage us to give BOUNTIFULLY.

He uses the illustration of sowing & reaping. This is still good imagery for today. Paul specifies 4 out of the 9 basic principles of the Law of Sowing & Reaping.

  • We expect to reap so much MORE than we sow.
    • If you plant a few seeds, you’ll get a smaller return.
    • If you plant a lot of seeds, you should expect a much greater return.
  • You will reap in a different season than when you sow.
  • If you don’t sow, you won’t reap.
  • You WILL reap what you sow.

Paul then goes on to emphasize the necessity of giving by pointing out the giving done by our Creator.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” [2Cor 9:8-11]

Upon reading this, along with a few additional passages on the subject, we glean 5 incredible gifts given to us by God.

SEED to SOW: v10. Everything we have was created by God. Isaiah 55:10 states, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater::”

SEASON: God has given us the seasons, as Paul spoke in Acts 14:17, “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” These seasons provide for the growth cycles as well as for us to see God’s might & power [Le 26:4; De 11:14; 28:12; Job 5:10; Ps 65:10; 68:9; 147:8; Jer 14:22]

SPROUTING with fruit: v10; What a comfort it is to know that God continues to provide for us the things need for life. David concluded, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” [Psa 37:25] cr 1Cor 3:6.

SUN: When God was displaying His power to Pharaoh, He darkened the sun for 3 days. It was a darkness so dark that it could be felt. [Ex 10:21]. Every time the sun rises, take a moment to thank God for the marvelous light. [cr. Jas 1:17; 1Cor 15:41]

SIGNS: God doesn’t leave us in darkness of His will, He also gave us signs that we can read about in the Bible. “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” [Heb 2:4] These signs are sufficient for our faith, if we’ll just read His word. [Acts 14:3; John 20:30-31]

HIS SON: v15; No listing of God’s blessings is complete if we fail to include Christ Jesus. All other blessings pale in comparison. God’s love is demonstrated toward us through the giving of His Son as a sacrifice for the sins of man.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” [1John 4:9-10]

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16]

It’s a shame that people continue to reject the Grace of God given to us through Jesus, the Christ. It’s also a shame that those who have obeyed the gospel become stingy with their Time, Talents & their Treasures in service to the Almighty.

Let that not be one of us.

IT’S HOW MUCH?!

Surely, you’ve uttered those words after asking a vendor for their price. I’m often shocked at the price of certain items. With that in view, I thought it a good time to look at the prices of some of the finer things.

If you’re in the market for a new ring, here is the most expensive diamond in the world. The WINSTON BLUE DIAMOND weighs in at a hefty 13.22 carats and can be snapped up for a paltry $23.8 million.

Perhaps you’re in the market for a new production vehicle, then the ROLLS-ROYCE SWEPTAIL may be for you. You can lose 20% of it’s value when you drive this $13 million baby off the lot. If that’s out of your budget then you can grab one of the cheaper most expensive cars, the MCLAREN SPEEDTAIL for just $2.2 million.

If you’re like me, you’re saying, “I’ll never spend more for a car than I would my house.” So, you’re looking for a house? If BUCKINGHAM PALACE were on the market, you could grab it for $1.5 Billion. Unfortunately, it’s not for sale; however, you can pick up the VILLA LEOPOLDA, VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER in France for just under $800 Million.

All of these are likely out of your price range, so let’s look at a few ‘cheaper’ things. At $11,000 per night you could take a vacation at NORTH ISLAND IN SEYCHELLES. If you’re a bit more adventurous you could spend just one night at WHITE DESERT “GREATEST TRIP” TO ANTARCTICA. This trip of a lifetime will only set you back $195,000 for the 24-hour trip. That’s just $8125 per hour…or perhaps you could visit for a few minutes at just $135.42 per minute.

These things are just luxury items anyway, how about we look at some more practical items? The most expensive suit of clothing will only set you back $895,000, THE STUART HUGHES DIAMOND EDITION. Each one of the three suits ever made takes over 800 man hours to design & stitch the finest wool, cashmere & silk into this magnificent work of art. We all need clothing, right?

Moving onto food, how about THE FORTRESS STILT FISHERMAN INDULGENCE? You’ve gotta eat, and this fine dining experience is a mere $14,000. To wash it down, there are beverages ranging in price from $225,000 up to $3.5 million.

That’s some shopping list, but we don’t come here to give recommendations like Yelp. No, we need to talk spiritual matters.

For most, if not all of us, these pricey things are way out of our league. We’ll never experience such worldly pleasures. However, what would we do for much less, much less?

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?” [Matt 16:26].

By the way, you can pick up everything that could be bought for just $241 trillion (based on the combined world GDP).

You see, when we reject God’s plan for us, His plan of salvation through Christ Jesus, we place a higher value on things that will one day burn up over the great cost paid for your soul. [2Peter 3:11].

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” [1Peter 1:18-19]

Jesus told us not to fret over things we shall eat, drink or wear. Rather, we are to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. [Mat 6:30-33]. While on this planet we may never take a luxurious vacation, nor live in a magnificent mansion, but there is a far greater place that awaits those who are in Christ. Lay up your treasure there [Mat 6:20; John 14:2; 1Thess 4:16-17]. (BTW, you can get a RTW ‘Round the World’ flight for just under $2k)

This Website contains the instructions for God’s plan of Salvation. Let’s go to heaven together, shall we?

If we have time, preach the Gospel

THIS IS NOT another article on being busy, or wasting time. Neither is this article going to tell you never to help the needy. No, this article looks at some complicated issues facing the church. Below are two questions that get to the heart of the matter…

  • Why did Jesus come to Earth?
  • What is the work of His church?

Answering these questions incorrectly can lead to a misunderstanding of the work of the church. We must know the answer, we’ve got to get it right. To do otherwise will cause a lot of us to be lost.

Recently, a brother in Christ stated, “In my Bible, Jesus spent His life helping poor and the needy.” It is statements like this that have led to a complete departure from the God given work of the church. Many denominations have deprecated the work of the church and turned it into a benevolent organization. If that is what God wants us to do, we had better do it. However, what if He gave the church, that He built, a different task?

To find out what our work is, we need to answer those two questions.

Why did Jesus come to Earth?

Looking to what Jesus Himself said on the matter, we find a few passages…

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? [Luke 2:49] Did Jesus say this as the carpenter’s son or as the Son of God? Clearly, He spoke as Emmanuel, God with us.

And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. [Luke 4:43] In this passage, Jesus is plainly saying why He came to earth, TO PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

When people came to Jesus in John 6, He perceived that they only came for the physical food. What He says to them speaks volumes about why He was here. Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. [John 6:26-27] If Jesus’ job was to provide for the physical needs of the poor, why didn’t He feed them again? If you didn’t get it, read vs 29; Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. The work of God, the job Jesus came to do, was to teach people about the Kingdom of God, to pay the penalty for sin so that we could be reconciled back with God. He did the miracles of feeding and healing to CONFIRM that this message, which was alluded to in the OT, was from God [John 20:30-31].

When we look at other passages, we learn what others thought of Our Lord’s work. 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, 36] John the baptizer knew why Jesus had come, it was to reconcile man back to God.

At the circumcision of Jesus, Zacharias said, “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,” [Luke 1:76-77]. We are separated because of sin and need a Savior. If we understand the principles of sacrifice from the scripture, then we will have a better understanding of why Jesus came to earth. He came to bring salvation from sin.

Lastly, when we look at the last command He gave while still on this earth, we learn the answer to question two.

What is the work of His church?

What was the last command Jesus gave while still on earth? He gave it after His DEATH, BURIAL & RESURRECTION.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. [Mat 28:18-20; cr. Mark 16:15-16]

Jesus, the founder and builder of the church which bears His name, gave very clear instructions; PREACH THE GOSPEL, MAKE DISCIPLES (through hearing, believing, confession, repentance & baptism) and to TEACH those disciples to obey His commandments. THIS IS THE WORK OF THE CHURCH! Can people feed the poor, YES. Should people feed the poor, once again, YES. And the bible gives us instruction on how and who. It also limits the church collective to needy saints [1Tim 5:16]. We need to focus on preaching the Gospel, to do anything less is to place salvation as a secondary activity to physical concerns, something we do IF WE GET TIME.

Is One Denomination as good as another?

all-denominations

IT ALWAYS amazes me when someone explains how one denomination is as good as another regarding worship or salvation. Denomination, by its very definition means division. Today, there are around 33,000 Christian denominations in the U.S.

These 33,000 are subdivided into 6 major mega-blocs in order of size, rounded slightly for convenience:

  • Independents (about 22000)
  • Protestants (about 9000)
  • “Marginals” (about 1600)
  • Orthodox (781)
  • Roman Catholics (242)
  • Anglicans (168)

One reason there are so many denominations is because of the variety of teachings. Some teach baptism by sprinkling, others teach no baptism at all. Still others teach sin is wrong whereas others teach no repentance is required. You can join a black only church, a woman church, or even a church of Satan! Is this what Jesus had in mind when He built His church?

WHY SO MANY DIVISIONS?

Some very important questions are raised when you begin to think about these divisions. Did God authorize so many divisions? Is one denomination just as good as another? Does it matter which church you join? All of them are important questions, so what does the bible say? The Apostle Paul found this division problem as far back as the 1st century, and he wrote to the church to correct it;

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” [1Co 1:10-13]

It’s clear from this text that God had no intention for us to divide up into these denominations. These divisions are causing confusion among people and they are being led astray, or even being turned off of religion because they don’t know where to turn for truth. If ANY DENOMINATION will do, does that make God an author of confusion? Certainly not…

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” [1Corinthians 14:33].

Let’s illustrate why this fallacy of “any denomination is as good as another” is wrong. Look at our own currency. We call the different size bills, denominations.

denominations-bills

If you could have only one of these bills, which would you choose? Since, “one denomination is as good as another” it makes no difference which bill you take, right? After using this illustration, one person said, “Yes it makes a difference, one denomination goes farther than the other.” That is exactly right, just as in our currency, so also with denominations of religion, one goes farther UP than another. Again, we go back to the scriptures for the answer…

Jesus said, “I will build MY church.” [Matthew 16:18]. He didn’t say “churches” plural, He said “church” singular.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit who instructed Paul to write, “there is ONE body” [Ephesians 4:4], and the body is the church, [Ephesians 1:22-23].

The reason there are so many denominations comes down to this one point; error. Jesus said, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures,” [Matthew 22:29]. We are supposed to teach the same thing [Mat 28:20], when we do we will be added to the one church that Christ has built.

Making Preachers Rich

An Excerpt of a sermon BY Moses E. Lard

EDITOR’S NOTE: In 1863, Moses E. Lard, one of the “second generation” Restoration Leaders wrote a tribute at the death of Allen Wright, another preacher of that era. Lard said “the Churches always managed to keep Brother Wright poor, very poor.” From this point Lard gave a “sermon” to the readers of his Quarterly. Speaking of the brotherhood he said,

” . . . (they) tell me they do not believe in making preachers rich. Neither do I. But, brethren, I do believe in making them comfortable, in supporting them this side of want, and in affording these faithful men the means of schooling their children well.

Is this right? But why, pray, do you not believe in making preachers rich? Do you think it would hurt them? You cannot say it would; for you have never made one rich, to know. Suppose before you longer preach your doctrine with so much confidence in its truth, you test it by making at least one preacher rich.

Hitherto you have kept them all poor; let us now have at least one exception to your rule. You are satisfied that it works well both ways. Preachers are not at all satisfied that you are right in what you say, neither will they be until, by making at least one of them rich you convince them that you are so.

Do you think it would hurt you to be rich, or hurt your children to educate them well, and thereby enable them to move in genteel circles? Of course you do not. How then can you imagine that it would your preacher, or injure his children to make him rich?

You tell me it would cause him to neglect his calling. But how do you know this? You have never made one rich, to have the point tested. Would making you rich cause you to neglect your calling? Why then should you think it would cause the preacher to neglect his? The closer you stick to your calling the richer you grow. Think you not, if the preacher, too, could grow daily richer by sticking to his calling, that he would not stick to it close indeed. But the difference is, that the closer you stick to your calling the richer you grow, while the closer he sticks to his the poorer he grows. Is there not something wrong?

But tell me truly, faithful brother, do you preach this doctrine really believing it. Is it really so that you do not believe in making preachers rich, and that, too, because it would hurt them and cause them to neglect their calling? Or is not this a mere plea to shield your own purse? Beware” (Lard’s Quarterly, September. 1863, Volume One, pp. 37, 38).

4 step formula for success

The other day in the panhandle of Texas, I heard of a lady that had been kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend. She had called her former employer, this person had only used her once to clean a rental house, seeking help. She wanted to avoid any shelters so as to be able to keep her kids, though her kids were with other people. She had no money, no one to turn, no place to go zip, nada, nothing.

Without trying to sound incompassionate, this question came to mind; How does one get to a point in their life that they have nothing? How do you burn every bridge so that you have no bridge to cross? I’m speaking about people that have options and without disabilities to prevent them from having some semblance of success. (incidentally, I’ve met folks with major obstacles in their lives and have overcome)

How do you live an honest life, lacking nothing?

Would you like a life like that? Honest living, lacking nothing? There are little treasures in the scriptures that God gives us to better enjoy our lives. He said in 2Pet 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, KJV. These “things” are more than just the churchy stuff. He provided information about life.

So, turning to the scriptures we find this little gem…

1Th 4:12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Here we see a worthy ideal, having an honest life toward folks, and a lack of nothing. This verse says “that ye”, meaning that the formula is in the previous verses where we find the 4 step formula….

1Th 4:9 ¶ But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

Let’s break this down for you…..

  1. LOVE – In vs9 He says that we are to love one another, then in vs10 to “increase more and more“. We should do more than just increase, but that He was urging us strongly to make this increase. Notice the word “beseech“.
  2. Pursue PEACE– In vs11 we see “study to be quiet“, meaning that we need to seek peace, a quiet life. Do you see how these first two steps can really change how our lives unfold?
  3. Mind your own business – Also in vs11 we see “to do your own business“. This is about being a busybody, or meddling. I think it’s referring less about what to avoid and more about what to do, take care of your stuff, look after your needs. This is not a selfish ambition, but rather making sure that the beam is removed from your own eye. Mat 7:5
  4. WORK with your own hands – now this may make sense to some of you, but to others this is a four letter word. From the very beginning, man has been assigned work to do. Work is the thing that provides all the necessities of life; food, clothing and shelter. If you don’t work, someone has to. Think of work as a blessing, not a curse. Though work is a struggle for mankind, it’s still the only thing that provides for our needs. On another note, there’s another benefit to work, Eph 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. KJV

Love – Peace – Mind your own – Work

Had I told this to certain audiences, they would reject this formula simply for being from the Bible. If I were to share this without the scripture reference, they would hail it as just good ‘ole common sense. These things work whether you’re a believer or unbeliever……..

……if you’re an unbeliever, then what’s the point of any of this? If you don’t have a hope of heaven in Christ, then you’ve got nothing and that is one bridge you want to keep from burning. He’s told us how to cross that bridge too. Click here to see what saves you.

 

spencer
Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10

True wealth

There’s a story in the Bible about a wealthy man. This man’s labor brought him more than he needed or could use at one time. He had so much that he came up with a new plan…..

This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. Luke :18-19 KJV

This man had figured he was on easy street and could then retire. Let me tell you about another person, my mother. She lived her entire life working hard, raising a family and generally living life like most of us, struggling. When she reached her 63rd year, not quite ready to retire and “take thine ease”, she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. She was forced into retirement, spent her final 2 years fighting cancer with chemo, radiation and surgery. She died at 65. Let’s go back to our first story……

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? Luke 12:20 KJV

You see, both of these folks died. One wealthy, the other not so much. So what’s my point? If we continue to read the scripture we shall see the point.

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Luke 12:21 KJV

Whether you have a lot of money or very little, all of us need to pursue a wealth that is not of this world, we need to be rich toward God. Why? Again let’s appeal to scriptures.

Mt 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
1Ti 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

You see, being rich toward God brings you eternal life. This is a true wealth. Our money here on earth can be lost or stolen. Even if you manage to keep it all, like the earlier example, it stays behind when you die. There’s a joke about a wealthy man that attempted to take his wealth with him. In his will he left instructions to have all of his wealth be converted to gold and be buried with him. As the joke goes, which is not very accurate to the way things will go, he finds himself walking around heaven with a suitcase full of gold. God asks him, “Why are you lugging around pavement?” Rev 21:21 It’s just a joke, that’s not how things are going to go when we die. All of our possessions will remain behind. All of our work and planning will cease. Ecc 9:10 Besides all of this there is one more thing……

Mt 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Are you living near Borger, Tx and would like to know more about how to be rich toward God, drop me a note.

Spencer
preachinthegospel at gmail dot com