The Doctrine of StewardshipPart FourWhen spending our money on the things of this world, one would be wise to consider what activities we indirectly support with the money that the facilitators of these activities receive from us. Many individuals and organizations promote activities that devil is using to destroy the moral fiber of our society. We would be wise not to partner with them.This includes the promotion of false doctrines. I have found that many supporters have no clue as to what their chosen local assembly, ministry, or denomination actually promote with the money that they contribute.I have also noted that people assume that because one attends worship services at any given local assembly that he/she is in agreement with all that takes place there. But by interacting with each other, you might be surprised to learn that this is not case.The lesson learned is where one receives his/her spiritual edification is a part the unspoken testimony of our daily lives, even though many false conclusions and inaccurate assumptions are made.* * *Many households in the USA pay hundreds of dollars every month to receive cable TV and/or other forms of "entertainment" that promote all kinds of ungodly material, while "not having the money" to contribute to God and the things of God. We all have legitimate bills that have to be paid, but it is on what we spend or invest our “other money” on that speaks volumes about our stewardship when it comes to money.The devil's world (Luke 4:6) is designed to use or tie up as much of the believer's time, talents, and money, as possible. The devil is allowed to do this within the parameters of the spiritual combat, as this scenario is what provides the believer with choices to be made that will either favor God, self, or the devil. Neither we nor our money can serve two masters. The more of our time, talents, and treasures ($$$) we invest in one thing, the less time, talents, and treasure there will be to invest in God, or in the things of God. Stewardship is largely a matter of establishing priorities. People are generally not willing to give up one thing until they want something else more.How much of one's money or assets that a Church Age believer desires to devote to God and/or the things of God is between that believer and the Lord, but it will be an indication of where the heart of the believer truly is. God loves the "cheerful" giver, and not offerings that are given under compulsion (2Cor. 9: 7)."Each one must do as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion (e.g. tithing), for God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor.9: 7 NASB/parentheses mine)."People will make all kinds of sacrifices to provide themselves or others with a secular education as part of their plan to make the best of the here and now. But how many would consider making sacrifices by setting the example and providing the means to establish a Biblically edified soul structure? If one conducts himself in a manner consistent with Biblical discipleship, he/she is not likely to experience the same level of earthly prosperity as those who compromise their walk with the Lord. The devil’s world (Luke 4: 6) is not set up that way. Those who experience such prosperity will say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing (Rev. 3: 17 NASB), but God says they do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Rev. 3: 17 NASB).”Secular education takes a lot of money and determination, hopefully setting the stage for at least some earthly prosperity. Spiritual edification takes a lot of time and commitment, setting the stage for a lot of conflict, rejection, adversity, and persecution. It is easy to see why earthly-oriented human beings will prefer to pursue the former.Once the goals (secular vs. divine) has established, the assignment of available assets falls into line.The wise man will so arrange his stewardship of money so that he can make the best of his opportunities to secure both earthly and eternal benefits (3John 1: 2). The benefits of having a secular education opens the doors of opportunity that one may or may not otherwise experience here on Earth, but such an education does not open the gates of Heaven (John 3: 5). Many principles promoted by educational and religious organizations are not as far spaced apart as extremists on both sides of the controversies would have us believe. The devil, however, will use whatever means possible to challenge what God has to say. The problem is that religious leadership has NOT always understood what God has actually said, and secular knowledge is always in a state of change.In more cases than not, the ever-evolving principles of science concur with what Scripture has to say when Scripture is properly interpreted. The primary difference is that researchers are trying to figure out what God has known all along.I believe that if Man knew all the Deut. 29: 29 secret things of God, the gap between faith and science would close. It is by divine design that the gap exists. God desires that we come to Him by faith as well as by fact (Hey. 11: 6). Science accepts only what can be proven. History has shown that what can be proven is in a constant state of change, revision, and correction.Most of what Man creates has sooner or later come back to haunt him, threatening or doing much harm to himself and to the environment. One is forced to consider what areas of is research are really worth investing our time, talents, and treasure. Knowledge is power, but fallen Man has a long history of using his acquired knowledge and to produce the means of his own destruction.God is NOT opposed to legitimately secured earthly prosperity (3John 1: 2), but on the other hand, God also points out the foolishness of gaining all that the world has to offer if one neglects his spiritual needs in the process (Mark 8: 36). Jesus taught that one MUST be born again to be saved (John 3: 7) and that one needs to develop (Matt. 7: 24-27) and apply (James 1: 22) a Biblically edited soul structure if a born again believer is going to succeed in the post salvation life of discipleship.The advancing disciple will be more concerned about the balance of his account in Heaven than in ANY of riches that this world has to offer (Matt. 6: 19, 20, 21), knowing that will one day ALL of one's earthly prosperity will one day be gone!Our time here on Earth is but a passing moment. Eternity never ends.No matter how much (Luke 16: 19) or how little (Luke 21: 2-4) money that one has, what one chooses to do with it reveals much about where the heart of the individual is at any given time. "Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers (2John 1:2 NASB)."
"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his own soul (in the process)." Mark 8: 36 NASB/parentheses mine.
'Do not store up for yourself treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moths nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where (in Heaven or on Earth) your treasure is stored, there (on the things of Heaven or Earth) your heart will be also (Matt. 6: 19-21 NASB/parentheses mine."How does one make deposits in one's eternal bank account that will not be diminished or stolen? Such “deposits” are made through the production of divine good, symbolized as gold, silver, and precious time stones in the 1Cor. 3: 12. Divine good benefits the soul.Every human being is capable and usually performs some kind and amount of HUMAN good. But human good does NOT, in of itself, glorify God, nor result in eternal reward. It is the doer of human good that generally receives the credit. In fact, some of the human good that is done is for the very purpose of being acknowledged, evidenced by the reaction of the producer when acknowledgement or thanks is not offered.Acts of human good are symbolized as the wood, hay, and straw that are burned up (rejected) at the evaluation event that takes place in Heaven (1Cor. 3: 12-15).If an atheist or an unbeliever can do the deed, then it does NOT qualify as divine good, nor does it warrant eternal reward. How so?The production of divine good requires the John 15: 5 power of God. Atheists and unbelievers do NOT have the indwelling Spirit of God (1Cor. 3: 16) nor do they have the accompanying and enabling power (John 15: 5) of God to produce divine good.I believe that the 1Cor. 3: 12-15 evaluation will be a jaw-dropping event when much of what many Christians thought would bring them eternal rewards goes up in smoke!God does make use of the human good that believer’s, atheists, and unbelievers produce. He makes use of both godly and evil persons, and both godly and evil nations to accomplish divine objectives. The classic example of using human good is the work that both Christian and non-Christian surgeons perform on a daily basis. The fact that God uses both godly and Pagan nations to accomplish His objectives can be traced throughout both Biblical and secular history, affirming the principle of Acts 17: 26.As powerful as any Pagan may be, remember the words that Jesus spoke to Pontus Pilate. “You would have no authority over Me unless it had been given you from above;…(John 19: 11 NASB).”Producing divine good has nothing to do with retaining the salvation that a born again believer has already secured. But it has everything to do with glorifying God and the receiving of one's full reward in Heaven.Disciples do NOT serve or invest their time, talents, or treasures ($$$) in God or in the things of God in order to be rewarded. But God has chosen to reward those in Heaven who live for Him here on Earth in the here and now.Investors, both in the secular and spiritual realm, want to know just how secure their investments are now and will be in the future when it comes time to benefit from them the most. There are NO guarantees concerning the security of one's secular investments, nor does anyone have any guarantees that he/she will have the health, time, or opportunity to enjoy what he/she is able to store up and retain (Luke 12: 20) here on Earth.There ARE such guarantees regarding the security of one's salvation (John 3: 16, 18/John 5: 24/Romans 8: 1), and there ARE guarantees regarding the security of one's 1Cor. 3: 12-15 rewards that he/she deposits and accumulates in the bank in Heaven (Matt. 6: 20).Many ministries will make promises and promote alleged and actual instances of financial blessings and prosperity by those who have contributed or will contribute to their ministries. While I do not dispute that God MAY choose to financially bless those who financially support ministries that promote the fulfillment of the Great Commission (2Cor. 9: 6), it is equally true that dedication to the same cause has, is, and will cost others who engage in this same area of spirituality everything that this world has to offer, including, in some cases, their very own lives (Heb. 11: 37)."Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully (2Cor. 9:6)."We can sow these seeds with our time, our talents, and our treasures. If we do so sparingly here on Earth, we should not expect to reap bountifully in Heaven.In Hebrews 11 Scripture lists some of the blessings and accomplishments that the heroes of faith received while HERE on Earth, but as of vs. 35-39, it also speaks of the dear price many other believers have paid, are paying, and will pay HERE ON EARTH for being people of faith. I have issues with so-called evangelists who act like recruiters only telling one side of the story. Jesus made it clear that there is a price to be paid for all those who choose to follow Him (Luke 14: 26/2Tim. 3:12). T
"...others were tortured, not accepting their release (in exchange for renouncing their faith), so that that might obtain a better (greater reward) resurrection; and others experienced mocking, and scourging, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill- treated, (men of whom the world was not worthy", wandering in deserts and mountains, and caves and holes in the ground. And all these (believers), having gained approval (of God) through their (acts of) faith, did NOT receive (HERE on EARTH) what was promised,.....(Heb. 11: 35-39 NASB-parentheses mine)."With a few exceptions, the Christian life here in the USA is a walk in the park in comparison with what believers is more hostile environments face every day. Yet even in the best-case scenarios, those who live godly lives here in the devil’s (Luke 4 : 6) world will be persecuted (2Tim. 3: 12).At the end of the day, one can measure the quality of his discipleship not by what he has gained, but by what it’s costing him.To be continued…