| Re: |
Thank you Brother Fletcher.
Jesus always sought to do only what He saw the Father doing and to say only what the Father gave Him to say. The same thing should be true of us who walk in the Spirit. That is solid truth and I think it is what Todd, Elizabeth and Fletcher are essentially saying and NT Scriptures definitely back that approach to walking with Jesus in life and ministry.
With that said, Jesus was very clear that if we see a brother in need we must help them. There isn't a caveat of "but only when I tell you to". Granted, there may be occasions when God doesn't want us to help for His reasons and may stop us from obeying that general rule, but that is the exception, not the rule.
When it comes to brotherly love, the Scripture makes it clear that we are to lay down our life for every brother or sister in need. That "laying down" gets very practically explained in 1 John 3:16 et.seq. (not a coincidence lost on me)
Living by the Spirit is a clear and compelling directive in Scripture. Life lived that way can look different in each person's walk. However, we can't disregard clear directives ( laid out by the Spirit ) that are so clear cut that the Spirit wants us to be clear.
I didn't write my OP to indict anyone on this forum. There is a general problem in the church that accepts a form of personal wealth as ordinary and even desirable that is at odds with Scripture and with a heart of love and compassion towards those in need, especially in the household of faith. This wealth principle may have originated in West but it has been adopted and embraced everywhere now. It is indefensible through Scripture.
The general principle of Scripture is that the love of God compels a person with an abundance to help the one with nothing in order to meet their daily need.
It's love that compels. If we lack this love and hold onto our abundance in the face of clear need ( unless the Lord directs us not to help) then there is most definitely a coldness in the heart which is probably rooted in self love if I understand Scripture correctly. Self love is a base form of idolatry.
We all struggle with self love. The key is to establish the right standard for loving others and not let our own levels of love or our own perceptions of what is really "possible" in life establish a different standard from the one Christ established.
If we are moving deeper and deeper into loving others with our lives, then we are tracking rightly.
My concern is that there are many ( as in many ) in the evangelical church who aren't really tracking on this because the church has accepted standards and notions of wealth retention that deaden a heart of love being developed in His people. When this happens, we strive for wealth unabated by the demands of love and sanctify this pursuit with words like stewardship, prudence and wisdom. When self love is accepted and even embraced by the Christian culture then there is a most serious problem in God's people. I think that is where we are. I don't mean any particular individual, but rather the body of Christ in our affluent culture.
Generally, when a brother in Christ sees a brother in need He is commanded to help. I'm not sure anyone should dispute that. If we say that this is true, but we insist that we also acknowledge and be guilt free to hold back and not help for the sake of our future needs or for our want, then we are beginning a slippery slope rationalization process that gives way too much space for the development of cold hearts and covetousness.
The sin of knowing the good we ought to do but not doing it when it is in our power or ability is just as dangerous as the sin of doing bad. Generally, people don't think that way.
I'm not trying to indict but rather trying to make sure we hold up the right Biblical standards and descriptions and commands of love so that we can all strive for the right bar. Lowering the bar to assuage guilt or to permit or even encourage potential sin is not our right nor our calling. No one in this conversation has tried to do that. But, when we fight holding the bar up to its proper heights it is the first step to the lowering of it.
Fletcher, my only desire in this is to hold up the right bar for His bride to reach for in honor to her King, in respect to His indwelling Spirit and for the good of others, especially His body in need. God delights to practice mercy and justice in all the earth and His people should likewise delight in sacrificial mercy and love because we are like Him. I'm not trying to drag anyone to sell their stuff to make God happy.
If we lose the delight in this meeting of need and obey out of reluctance or guilt, then God is not pleased. In fact, Duet. 28 makes it clear that glad hearted obedience is the only kind that is obedience.
| 2019/10/30 18:33||Profile|
| Re: |
Robert I agree with what you just said.
A part of the problem, too, at least in America, is that we tend to not see tons of people in dire need, at least on a daily basis that we come across. I obviously know they are out there but if you don’t live where they tend to be you don’t see them unless you go there. Thank goodness I actually work for a company with a Christian CEO that encourages more volunteering for and giving to the needy than most churches I have attended.
| 2019/10/30 20:30||Profile|
| Re: |
Sometimes we can avoid the ditch where the need is by
staying off the roads. Most needs are just one keystroke away from immediate nearness. That’s not directed at you.
| 2019/10/30 21:04||Profile|
| Re: |
You are exactly right and it is not human nature to “go looking.” Jesus said to help those you see but also said to go and visit.
| 2019/10/31 7:01||Profile|
| Re: |
I'm thankful as one in need that Jesus had to go find. Christ likeness goes and finds those in need. As you said,
human nature won't but divine nature desperately wants to.
| 2019/10/31 7:59||Profile|
Phoenix, Arizona USA
| Re: Am I greedy? |
William Law wrote that covetousness is one of the four aspects of self (envy, pride, and anger being the others). It is worthwhile to do a study through the Bible on these words. Here's some info on covetousness from Strongs and Torrey's Topical Textbook;
PLEONEXIA - a desire to have more, always in a bad sense - greediness
EPITHUMIA - desire, lust, includes sinful desires for unlawful objects besides that of gain.
1. Comes from the heart. Mark 7:22,23.
2. Engrosses the heart. Eze 33:31; 2Pe 2:14.
3. Is idolatry. Eph 5:5; Col 3:5.
4. Is the root of all evil. 1Ti 6:10.
5. Is never satisfied. Ec 5:10; Hab 2:5.
6. Is vanity. Ps 39:6; Ec 4:8.
7. Is inconsistent
a. In saints. Eph 5:3; Heb 13:5.
b. Specially in ministers. 1Ti 3:3.
8. Leads to
a. Injustice and oppression. Pr 28:20; Mic 2:2.
b. Foolish and hurtful lusts. 1Ti 6:9.
c. Departure from the faith. 1Ti 6:10.
d. Lying. 2Ki 5:22-25.
e. Murder. Pr 1:18,19; Eze 22:12.
f. Theft. Jos 7:21.
g. Poverty. Pr 28:22.
h. Misery. 1Ti 6:10.
i. Domestic affliction. Pr 15:27.
9. Abhorred by God. Ps 10:3.
10. Forbidden. Ex 20:17.
11. A characteristic of the wicked. Ro 1:29.
12. A characteristic of the slothful. Pr 21:26.
13. Commended by the wicked alone. Ps 10:3.
14. Hated by saints. Ex 18:21; Ac 20:33.
15. To be mortified by saints. Col 3:5.
16. Woe denounced against. Isa 5:8; Hab 2:9.
17. Punishment of. Job 20:15; Isa 57:17; Jer 22:17-19; Mic 2:2,3.
18. Excludes from heaven. 1Co 6:10; Eph 5:5.
19. Beware of. Lu 12:15.
20. Avoid those guilty of. 1Co 5:11.
21. Pray against. Ps 119:36.
22. Reward of those who hate. Pr 28:16.
23. Shall abound in the last days. 2Ti 3:2; 2Pe 2:1-3.
a. Laban. Ge 31:41.
b. Achan. Jos 7:21.
c. Eli’s sons. 1Sa 2:12-14.
d. Samuel’s sons. 1Sa 8:3.
e. Saul. 1Sa 15:9,19.
f. Ahab. 1Ki 21:2-4.
g. Gehazi. 2Ki 5:20-24.
h. Nobles of the Jews. Ne 5:7; Isa 1:23.
i. Jewish people. Isa 56:11; Jer 6:13.
j. Babylon. Jer 51:13.
k. Young man. Mt 19:22.
l. Judas. Mt 26:14,15; Joh 12:6.
m. Pharisees. Lu 16:14.
n. Ananias &c. Ac 5:1-10.
o. Felix. Ac 24:26.
p. Balaam. 2Pe 2:15; Jude 1:11.
| 2019/11/1 11:10||Profile|
| Re: Radical departure|
Nothing short of a radical departure from loving our ego-centric American culture will suffice.
As I look over my own life, it is shot through with all kinds of carnality manifesting in greed.
God in his abundant kindness has seen fit to give me skill and ability to work and make a living, one that not only feeds me but abundantly provides a route to increasing worldly treasures.
I am a middle-classer, which means only those in third world countries consider me rich. But on a world-scale I am beyond rich.
The scriptures warn of associating with the covetous...in which case I am unable to associate with most everyone in an American Church. They too would have to excommunicate me for having kept my old cars...and kept my old tools and kept my old hobbies which when added together paint the clearest picture of greed.
"with God all things are possible" said Jesus in the context of the impossibility of a rich man going to heaven.
There are scant few who can be said to be poor from continued and frequent costly sacrifices. The rest of us have kept back and have food pantries, not just food. We have stored furniture not just furniture. We have more than sandals we have Lexus, Mercedes, SUV's and sports cars.
Our lives consist of the abundance of what we possess. That of course is not what Jesus taught, but it is what the vast majority live like and the very few that don't...want to.
It maybe that God will remedy our and my life with the current increasing hatred for all things Christian. Wealth confiscated, freedoms taken, restrictions placed upon me and others...and then we are free from all the 'appearances of greed', then maybe will come the heart which will actually repent of greed.
The idea that possessing the kingdom of God and not possessing worldly goods is anathema to the American dream and anathema to any church requiring abundant tithing to build bigger barns and buy more furniture.
The idea that people...not me and you, but those outsiders, those lost and those abusers of themselves and others are what have 'extra' is all about is utterly lost in the American pulpit and of course among conversations with each other.
In another thread ole Kanye...critiqued for his public interviews and statements suffers absolutely no reproach among the 'true believers' for having enough money to feed utterly millions of poor. That's because we withhold from the 10's we could feed...and justify it. It's harder to condemn in him what we have become accustom to in ourselves.
But Jesus whom I and others like me have recast in their own image has the same woes pointed towards those who withhold from their 10 the same as those who withhold from 1000's.
It's extremely difficult to wear all my Christian badges when Jesus walks in the room and shines the light on my life.
| 2019/11/1 12:58||Profile|