Monday, April 30, 2018

Matthew - Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

In today's study from Matthew 7:1-5, we take a closer look at the issue of how and when we are to judge others.

vv.1-5 Judge not, that ye be not judged.  (2)  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  (3)  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  (4)  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  (5)  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

This passage has primarily to do with one man judging another. 

Judgment begets judgment (v.1)
The Lord said if you don’t want to be judged yourself then don’t judge another. You can be absolutely certain that if you judge a brother or sister in Christ, judgment is coming back at you. The person you judge will “respond” to your accusations by pointing out your faults as well.

I heard of a fellow that was the church watch dog.  He kept his eye on everything and just as soon as he spotted a problem with a brother or sister in the church he blurted it out to the pastor and members of the flock.  He was usually right, you know.  But then one day, he became the target.  He got into a little trouble and when the news got out, there wasn’t one sympathetic soul in the church.  Today, he is a bitter, wasted, miserable Christian without a church.  Why?  He got judged the same way he had judged others.

So, does that mean that we are never to judge another?  No. But you have to do it God’s way. How many have heard someone say, “Judge not, lest ye be judged!”? 

Judgment must be based on a standard (v.2)
Whatever standard you use to judge another is the same standard that’s going to be used to judge you (v.2). In the Old Testament, when witness was found to be lying, he got the same punishment that he was seeking for the other fellow (Deut 19:16-21). That was to keep them from judging unjustly. The Bible clearly shows us that there are times that we need to judge people and things. In order to do that, though, we must have something greater than ourselves by which to judge. We must judge according to God’s standard. Paul said in 1Co 2:15 “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”

The Bible speaks of five situations in which judgement should happen.

1. We are to judge based not upon the way a thing looks but upon whether it’s right.

Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

2. We are to judge things that pertain to this life according to the Bible without going to court with our brethren (1Co 6:1-5).

3. We are to refrain from judging a brother on matters that are reserved for the judgment seat of Christ.  We must all give account of ourselves (Rom 14:10-12).

4. We are to judge sin in the life of another that affects the congregation based solely upon what the Bible says.  Remember that the same verses apply to us (1Co 5:3).

5. We are to judge those that teach and preach contrary to sound doctrine: 

    1. Avoid them Rom 16:17-18
    2. Mark them Phi 3:17-19
    3. Beware of them Mat 7:15
    4. Rebuke them Tit 1:10-13 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Sobering Indictments

Some of God’s indictments of backslidden Jerusalem and Judah are found in Isaiah 3:8, 12. Sobering words indeed. Read them slowly.

"For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory. The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths."

Should Women Be Ordained? - Part 12

This is part twelve in a series on what the Bible says in regards to the ordination of women in the church. Again, instead of rewriting what I believe has already been well laid out, I am sharing Dr. Jim Feeney’s writings on the subject for your edification. He confronts the issue by responding to the most popular arguments made in its defense. You may disagree, and that is your right, but please be able to point to the Bible for your reasons and not the culture which is normally wrong.

Argument #13: “Being a wife and mother is a wonderful thing. But I have spiritual gifts and callings that need a larger expression beyond the home.”

A Biblical Response: Yes and no.

•• Yes — The assembled church congregation provides an excellent opportunity for men and women alike to minister in the multitude of ways open to both sexes. For example, prayer, gifts, serving, praise and worship ministries, and a multitude more. The two roles reserved for men, as we have already discussed, are the church authority roles and the pulpit ministry to the assembled church.

•• No — Probably the most elaborate teaching in the Bible on the virtuous woman is found in Proverbs 31:10-31. A similar, shorter list of the traits of godly women is found in Titus 2:3-5. One of those positive womanly traits is “to be busy at home” (Titus 2:5), rendered in the King James Version as “keepers at home”. There is no doubt that the prevailing teaching of the Bible specifies the home as the woman’s prime place of fulfilling her God-given role on earth. Let me offer some biblical observations confirming that.

• In the descriptions of the virtuous, God-fearing woman in Proverbs 31 and Titus 2, not one of the godly traits listed referred to prayer, Bible reading, “quiet time”, and the like. Should these be part of the virtuous woman’s life? Of course! But it cannot be ignored that in both those Scripture portions, the things for which the virtuous woman was praised were predominantly domestic and family-oriented.

• Note that in Proverbs 31 the virtuous woman is deeply involved with the domestic needs of “her family (vs. 15), “her household (vss. 21, 27). Meanwhile, “her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land” (vs. 23). The modern “Women’s Liberation” movement scoffs at this type of biblical thinking and has, as a result, inflicted great harm upon the American family in the past several decades. Sad to say, that same antibiblical feminist thinking has been slowly permeating the American Church, with predictably similar results as the biblically distinct roles of men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, are blurred and in some cases eradicated.

Argument #14: “Women are intelligent, capable, and spiritually gifted. Why should they be excluded from being elders of a local church?”

A Biblical Response: Women do not qualify Scripturally as elders in the local church for a variety of biblical reasons:

•• Eldership by its very nature is a ministry of authority in the church — for example (1 Timothy 5:17, KJV), “the elders that rule well”. A woman being an elder would violate the prohibition of women having authority over men in the church (1 Timothy 2:12).

• One of God’s indictments of backslidden Jerusalem and Judah was (Isaiah 3:8, 12) “Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling ... Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.” God has from earliest times placed men in positions of spiritual leadership. For example (Psalm 77:20), You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”God did not lead His people by the hand of Moses, Aaron, and their sister Miriam. Moses subsequently appointed seventy men as anointed elders (Numbers 11:24-25). God through Moses also appointed the sons of Aaron to serve as the priests leadingIsrael’s service at the Tabernacle and the later Temple (Exodus 28:1).

•• New Testament church elders are biblically defined as being males — “the husband of but one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6).

•• On a very practical level, difficulties in the area of biblical purity can arise in the process of appointing women as elders in the church. I asked a pastor friend of mine if he intended to ordain women as elders in his church. He said “no” for the following reason. To raise up a good elder, he said, the pastor must spend much time, sometimes one on one, getting to know that person very well, finding out if their life is in biblical order. He will counsel the elder candidate. The pastor and the elder candidate may travel together on sick calls, hospital visits, and other similar practical training activities. In sum, this pastor said, it is inappropriate for a pastor to spend that kind of personal time alone with a woman other than his wife.

•• Permit me at this point to make a related observation concerning traveling ministry. Sometimes church leaders, elders, etc., go out on ministry travel in small groups. A simple, biblical observation is that it is not good to have mixed groups of men and women, not married to each other, traveling together. A seldom-mentioned Scripture that directly addresses this subject is 1 Corinthians 9:5 — “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles?” This verse reveals to us that the early Church’s married apostles customarily had their wives travel with them. They understood the importance of having safeguards for biblical holiness and purity.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Doubtful Disputations

In today's study from Romans 14:1-15:7, we look at how the Bible says that we should respond to doubtful issues that are not dogmatically addressed in Scripture.

In this chapter, Paul is dealing with Christian conduct. One area is those that are very clear and the other is areas that are not as clear. These are areas that the Bible simply does not take a dogmatic stance on, or at least are not discussed in depth. These areas could include drinking, dating, gambling, smoking, music taste and styles, television, social media, home schooling, etc. None of these issues are directly dealt with in the Bible. There are no “thou shalt or thou shalt nots” in regards to them.

I believe that God has given us three things that need to be considered when dealing with questionable matters: conviction, conscience, and consideration. 1. Conviction looks forward (Is it what God is asking you to do?) 2. Conscience looks back (Are you going to be able to live with it?) 3. Consideration looks to the left and right (How will it affect others?) In other words, conviction anticipates, conscience meditates, and consideration hesitates. I believe that conviction, conscience, and consideration should govern how and why we do what we do at all times.

Sadly, today we have two extremes within Christianity in regards to questionable matters; no separation and total separation. The second group is the one that Paul is addressing as weak in the faith in this passage of Scripture. In the end, we must learn to balance Christian freedom and Christian responsibility. It was Paul who also said in 1Co 6:12 that “ll things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” In other words, just because you can (freedom) does not mean that you should (responsibility).  

Ten Principles for Balance:
(1) We are told clearly that we are not to be judgmental in regards to gray areas (Rom 14:4).  

(2) Each individual should be convinced in his own mind as to the rightness or wrongness of an action (Rom 14:5).

(3) We must all stand ultimately only before God and give an account of our actions (Rom 14:10; Heb 4:13).

(4) We must be careful not to knowingly place a stumbling block in the way of our brother (Rom 14:13; ICo 8:12; Mat 18:6).

(5) We must always act in love (Rom 14:15; Gal 5:22a).

(6) We must always pursue actions that make for peace (Rom 14:19; Rom 12:18).

(7) We must always seeks to build one another up and not destroy (Rom 14:19; ICo 14:12).

(8) We must only do that which can be done in faith (Rom 14:22-23; Rom 1:17).

(9) We must seek to glorify God in all of our actions (Rom 15:6; Rom 12:1; I Cor. 10:23-33).

(10) We must always accept one another, even when we disagree over doubtful things (Rom 15:7).

Again, God has given us three things that need to be considered when dealing with questionable matters: conviction, conscience, and consideration. 1. Conviction looks forward (Is it what God is asking you to do?) 2. Conscience looks back (Are you going to be able to live with it?) 3. Consideration looks to the left and right (How will it affect others?) In other words, conviction anticipates, conscience meditates, and consideration hesitates.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Matthew - Only One Master

In today's study, we take a look at Matthew 6:24-34 to find that we have only one Master, and that by rememebering that, we can overcome anxiety.

Single Master
vv.24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

While we saw in vv.19-21 that we should seek a single treasure. Then we saw in vv.22-23 that we should have a single vision. Now, we see that we should have a single master. Just as we cannot have our treasures both on earth and in heaven or our bodies in both dark and light; so too we cannot serve two masters.

The word master is often translated, “Lord.” The idea is not that simply of an employer, but a slave owner. While it is possible to have more than one employer and still satisfy each of them; it is impossible to have more than one owner. The slave owner has total control of the slave. The slave is owned and totally controlled by and obligated to his master. That is why Jesus said in Luke 6:46 “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” It hypocritical to call Jesus your Lord if you are a do not obey Him. Jesus spoke to this in Joh 14:21 when he said, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

You see, for the slave to give anything to anyone else would make his master less than master. No slave can fully or faithfully servant to more than one master. We cannot claim Christ as Lord if our allegiance is to anything or anyone else. Paul spoke to this when he said in Romans 6:16, Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

John Calvin once said, “Where riches hold the dominion of the heart, God has lost His authority.” Our treasure is either on earth or in heaven, our spiritual life is either full of light or darkness and our master is either God or the Devil. It is as simple as that folks.

Conclusion of the Matter
Joshua told the Jews in Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Elijah asked the Jews in 1 Kings 18:21, “…How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” It demands an answer from each of us.

Overcoming Anxiety
vv.25-34 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?  (26)  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  (27)  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  (28)  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  (29)  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  (30)  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  (31)  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (32)  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  (33)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  (34)  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Now Jesus turns His attention toward our anxieties about what we are to eat, drink and wear. This passage is directed at both the rich and the poor. The rich are tempted to trust in their possessions, and the poor are tempted to doubt God’s provision. The rich are tempted to become self-satisfied in the false security of their riches, and the poor are tempted to worry and fear in the false insecurity of their poverty. Whether rich or poor, the best indicator of a man’s spiritual condition is his attitude toward material possessions.

Natural vs. Spiritual
The Bible makes it very clear that there are two types of men: natural and spiritual. The natural man is unregenerated spiritually (lost). The spiritual man is regenerated spiritually (saved). The natural man is an earthly creature and is therefore concerned about earthly things. The spiritual man is a heavenly creature and should therefore be concerned with heavenly things. That Jesus said in John 17:16, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Don’t Worry
Three times in this passage Jesus gives the command to now worry or be anxious (vv.25, 31, 34). He also gives four reasons why we should not worry or be anxious.

#1 It is unfaithful because of our Master (v.25).

Notice “for this reason”. What reason? v.24. To worry is to doubt the faithfulness of our Master to take care of us. Psalms 24:1 “The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” 1 Chronicles 29:11 “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.”

#2 It is unnecessary because of our Father (vv.26-30). The believer has no reason to worry because of who is Father is. Jesus is basically asking, “Have you forgotten who your heavenly Father is?” Therefore, He concludes that it is foolish to worry about food (v.26), life (v.27) and clothing (v.28-30).

#3 It is unreasonable because of our faith (vv.31-33). Worry is inconsistent with our faith and is therefore sinful. To worry means that we have taken our eyes off of God. Cf. v.33

#4 It is unwise because of our future (v.34). Making reasonable provision for tomorrow is wise, but to be anxious about tomorrow is unwise. Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Isaiah 26:3-4 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.  Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:”

There is an old hymn written by Ira Stanfield that says:

I don't know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
And I don't borrow from the sunshine,
'Cause the skies might turn to gray.

And I don't worry about the future,
'Cause I know what Jesus said;
And today I'm gonna walk right beside Him
'Cause He's the one who know what lies ahead.

There are things about tomorrow
That I don't seem to understand.
But I know Who holds tomorrow,
And I know Who holds my hand.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Should Women Be Ordained? - Part 11

This is part eleven in a series on what the Bible says in regards to the ordination of women in the church. Again, instead of rewriting what I believe has already been well laid out, I am sharing Dr. Jim Feeney’s writings on the subject for your edification. You may disagree, and that is your right, but please be able to point to the Bible for your reasons and not the culture.

Argument #11: “Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, seems to have been teaching the Bible to a man.”

A Biblical Response: The text alluded to in this argument is Acts 18:26 "[Apollos] began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately." Several obvious thoughts come to mind that do not permit the erroneous conclusion that Priscilla was a teacher of men.

•• This was not a formal teaching situation. It was a situation where the preacher Apollos had been invited to Aquila’s and Priscilla’s home (vs. 26).

•• They “explained to him the way of God more perfectly.” The scenario seems to have been an informal discussion with Apollos in his hosts’ home.

•• There is no indication that Priscilla took the lead in any of this. In fact, her name occurs seven times in the NIV New Testament, never by herself, but in all seven cases in association with her husband.

Argument #12: “If we women don’t have some leadership roles in the church, how will our voices be heard when we have important input?”

A Biblical Response: I don’t personally know of any church leaders consistently closing their ears to women’s input. And this input can be had without ordaining the women and/or putting them into leadership and pulpit roles to men. I was a local-church pastor for 22 years and a Bible college teacher for twelve years. Throughout that time my wife never functioned as an ordained minister, nor did she ever lead or teach men. However, the input and wisdom that she shared with me profoundly influenced the churches in which I have ministered. For example:

•• On a number of occasions my wife offered suggestions to me which I then brought to my fellow elders. Some of those suggestions were well received by the church’s governing elders and were incorporated appropriately into the church’s life and ministry.

•• Time and again, having heard the Lord’s voice in her own devotional times, my wife has shared biblical insights with me that I have then incorporated into sermons I have preached.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Truth Shall Make You Free

Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 

Should Women Be Ordained? - Part 10

This is part ten in a series on what the Bible says in regards to the ordination of women in the church. Again, instead of rewriting what I believe has already been well laid out, I am sharing Dr. Jim Feeney’s writings on the subject for your edification. You may disagree, and that is your right, but please be able to point to the Bible for your reasons and not the culture.

Argument #10: “But just look at the New Testament. It is absolutely filled with godly, gifted women. How can we hold back these women from fulfilling their calling?”

A Biblical Response: No one that I know, including me, has any desire whatsoever to prevent women from fulfilling all that God has called them to accomplish. But the key is this — let’s encourage women of faith to fulfill all those things to which God has called them. And the main emphasis of this study of Scripture is that God has called only men to the ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and elders. That is, the ministries of leadership, authority, and preaching and teaching ministries to the assembled church of men and women.

•• 1 Timothy 2:11-12, as we have seen, expressly prohibits women from teaching men and having authority over men.

•• The God-called, clearly-identified fivefold ministers under the New Covenant are all men. Some dispute that fact and quote Romans 16:7, KJV, which says, “Salute Andronicus and Junia [NIV: Junias], my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” They assert that Junia/Junias was a woman apostle. However, that is an assumption lacking indisputable evidence, as follows:

• Scholars debate, without resolution, whether the name “Junia” or its other rendering “Junias” can clearly be shown to be a woman or a man. One cannot assume that a name ending with the letter “a” automatically refers to a woman. For example, Aquila and his wife Priscilla are mentioned in Acts 18:2. Although ending in an “a”, the name Aquila with absolute certainty refers to a man, the husband of Priscilla.

• Scholars debate, also without resolution, whether the text is properly understood to mean “who are of note among the apostles” or “who are well known to the apostles”. The former translation could suggest that the two named persons wereapostles. The latter translation would mean that they were well known to, but not counted among, the apostles. This and the previous issue of the gender of the name cannot with any degree of certainty be resolved.

• Fortunately, the resolution of the issue is found elsewhere, in the earlier-mentioned 1 Timothy 2:12. The very same apostle Paul who wrote of Junia(s) in Romans 16:7said to Timothy: Do not allow women to teach or have authority over men. Therefore, it is Paul’s teaching in the Bible that resolves the issue of whether Junia/as was a female apostle. Paul gives instructions that would make that impossible.

• And note further Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:5 — “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles?” The “other apostles” that Paul knew of were obviously all men, each of whom had “a believing wife”. That would make it impossible for Junia/Junias to be a female apostle.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Matthew - Fasting, Giving, and Looking

In today's study from Matthew 6:16-23, our Lord discusses some practical spiritual matters in regards to fasting, giving, and looking.

Practical Spiritual Matters
vv.16-23 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  17  But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;  18  That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.  19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  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:  21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  22  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  23  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

In this passage, Jesus gave his Jewish disciples instructions on some practical spiritual matters. He teaches them on fasting (vv.16-18), giving (vv.19-21), and looking (vv.22-23). It boils down to the fact that there is spiritual help in what you don’t eat, what you don’t keep, and what you don’t seek.

What You Don’t Eat (Fasting)
First, Jesus deals with what you don’t eat in fasting. The first thing that we see is that fasting is not to be done for appearances. Ephesians 6:6-7 “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:”

Lent is a prime example of fasting for appearance.  Everybody does it at the same time, it begins with black ashes displayed on the forehead so that the whole world will see that their “giving up something for God.” The bottom line is that while fasting, the appearance should be normal and between you and God according to the words of our Lord.

Is Fasting for Today?
I believe so. 1. Jesus said so. He said in Matthew 9:15, “Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. The apostles did it. We find in Acts 13:2-3, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Paul also did it because he said in 2 Corinthians 11:27, “In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” Understand that fasting is not to align God’s will with ours but ours to His.

Neglected Today
In spite of all of this, it is a discipline that is often neglected by American Christians. It’s interesting that Physiologists tells us that when there is no food in the stomach, there is greater blood flow to the brain. You can actually think clearer when you're not digesting burgers and fries. Imagine that! That’s not hard to believe because when I get full the conversation is over! Once you overcome those first pangs of hunger, your’ thinking processes are more focused and clearer than ever. On the other hand, if you have two Whoppers and a couple of shakes, all you want to do is sleep! Amen?

What You Don’t Keep (Giving)
vv.19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  (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:  (21)  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Second, Jesus deals with what you don’t keep in giving. The major problem with money is the accumulation of it and not the money itself. Our Lord said in Luke 12:15, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Also, the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 5:10, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver.”

We are constantly warned in Scripture that wealth accumulated here will rust, get eaten, decay, or get stolen. Job 1:21 Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither. So, the only way to keep it is to give it (v.20). Treasures in heaven are only laid up as treasures on earth are laid down. In other words, when you lay it down, you send it ahead.

Rich Young Ruler
Notice what Jesus said to the rich young ruler. Matthew 19:21, "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." In the parable of the pounds, the Lord showed us that the man who made the ten pounds in service to the Lord got to keep it and got more. Luke 19:24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.

It’s a Heart Problem
You can tell a lot about your heart by how you give (v. 21). If your treasure is in the earth, your heart will be worldly. The Bible says in James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” If your treasure is in heaven, your heart will be godly. Paul said in Philippians 3:19-20, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” George Truett said, “If you’re not right with God in your giving, you’re not right with God in any area of your life.”

What You Don’t Seek (Looking)
vv.22-23 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  (23)  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Third, Jesus deals with what you don’t seek in looking. In this section, the Lord’s admonition is to keep the eye single (clear focused). Jesus kept His eyes clearly focused while He was here on this earth in three ways.

1. He was blind and deaf to anything ungodly. The prophet said in Isaiah 42:19-20, “Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD's servant?  Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.”

2. He did not judge with his eyes and ears. The prophets also said in Isaiah 11:3, “And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:” In other words, He looked deeper than just words and actions. He looked at the heart. The Psalmist said in Psalms 44:21, “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.”

3. He did those things that were pleasing to God. In the Gospel of John it says in John 8:28-29, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.  29  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.In like manner, we are to serve the Lord. Paul told the Colossians in 3:22-24, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” The simplest way to keep your eye single is to keep your eyes on Jesus and in his Word. The Bible says in Psalms 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Should Women Be Ordained? - Part 9

This is part nine in a series on what the Bible says in regards to the ordination of women in the church. Again, instead of rewriting what I believe has already been well laid out, I am sharing Dr. Jim Feeney’s writings on the subject for your edification. You may disagree, and that is your right, but please be able to point to the Bible for your reasons and not the culture.

Argument #9: “But sister ___ is not exercising ‘authority’ in violation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12. She is simply ministering her ‘giftedness’ (as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, or elder).”

A Biblical Response: I have heard this erroneous argument more than one might imagine. The response to that is simple and biblical. We cannot isolate authority from these God-ordained ministries. For example:

•• Matthew 7:29   [Jesus] taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. One mark of a God-called and anointed teacher is teaching with authority.

•• 2 Corinthians 13:10   This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority — the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. Paul’s apostleship to them included God-given authority.

•• Titus 2:15   These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. The Bible does not state precisely which of the fivefold offices Titus held. But whichever one(s) it was, he was to exercise it “with all authority”. It is illogical and without Scriptural support to suggest that one can receive a fivefold ministry office from the Lord without the God-given authority to fulfill it.

•• Hebrews 13:17   Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. These unnamed spiritual leaders had authority, to which the saints were to submit and obey.

•• 1 Timothy 5:17, KJV   Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. Here we see elders ruling, a clear statement that church elders have authority from God.

In sum, we see again and again in the Bible that when God grants a fivefold ministry gift, He grants the authority to fulfill it. So the argument that ordained women ministers with great giftedness are exercising that gift without authority is not biblical. To be a pastor of a church and yet not have authority in that church is nonsensical. To be an apostle and not have what Paul called “the authority the Lord gave me” is antibiblical. To be a teacher without authority is to be like the scribes of the Law, not a Spirit-anointed teacher. This argument of giftedness-but-not-authority is a nonbiblical attempt to circumvent the clear teaching of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 that a woman in the church is not to have authority over men. Without God-given authority, ministries such as pastoring and teaching would be flat, lifeless, and ineffective.