All Things Spiritual- For All To Consider…

LAND IS SACRED

2 Kings 5:15-18 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.”
The prophet answered, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.
“If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD.

But may the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this.”

Wherever we dwell, God is with us. What’s His is ours and what’s ours is His. Through us, He cleanses the land and makes places sacred. Our lives our sacred and holy to Him. And wherever we go, he wants us to bring Him into the land so that he can cleanse, heal and restore it so that he can speak to others through it. This is what clearly happened to Naaman. Through God’s creation/land, He was healed and convicted by the God of Israel. As a result, Naaman wanted to bring the grounds of Israel back to his homeland.

2 Kings 17:24-28
The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns. When they first lived there, they did not worship the LORD; so he sent lions among them and they killed some of the people. It was reported to the king of Assyria:

“The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires.”

Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the LORD.

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LIFE IS SACRED

We so easily forget that our God is a ‘God of the Land’. Through His creation He can speak to us or judge us. God will use the land or animals for His purposes to speak to anyone. As Christians (priests), we should be Christ-like and respect God and his creation so that we can appreciate Him in His fullness.

We too often forget that it is the land that needs to be cleansed from territorial spirits. Our actions can invite unclean spirits into our homes. But if we focus on our Lord God Jesus Christ, He can cleanse our households, our lands, our communities, etc. from spiritual decay and sickness.

There is some spooky connection with our actions and how that can invite unclean spirits. When we are accountable, responsible or conduct ourselves appropriately, it is amazing how much creation reflects our choice of action or what spiritual entities we invite. It mirrors our condition.

I’ve come to such a conclusion because of what I’ve seen and been confronted with throughout different church ministries. Similar spirits dwell with churches that seek unhealthy things. As much as they are prayed against, they are invited each week because of the saints actions or unhealthy desires.

What do you invite with your actions or thoughts? What do you consider to be sacred? Have you ever considered that God wants you to pray cleansing over your family? House? Work place etc.?

How often are your thoughts on Him or His Spirit when enjoying life or feeling bothered? How sacred do you consider your life with God being in union with Him through the Holy Spirit in everyday living?

Consider the speck. Consider the plank.

S&P


71 thoughts on “All Things Spiritual- For All To Consider…

  1. Hi guys.

    I did not know Signposts2 was back and operating …

    I have been asked to leave two Blogs in a month so after a fews days break, I might come back and try make it a hat-trick! 🙂

  2. Hey a huge warm welcome Lionfish,

    Im curious what monstrous & evil things you might have done to be thrown off 2 blogs!- We must get you involved with the wonderful life of Facelift; lets see; hes an ex-Guernseyan , testifies to a poor grasp of English, is 20x year CCC/Hillsong associate who appears to eat sumptuous domestic meals and appears to be a hard-core Arch-conservative, removes demons from demoniacs and richly serves the poor, of which he is a proud member-you would richly enjoy dialogues with him Im sure!- Welcome also to enjoy some of our wonderful blog-scholars who habitually paste incredibly tedious chunks of obscure Bible-commentaries into this site, as wonderful, monolithic evidences of Truth!

    “I could always tell you were a girl teddy” he purred, stroking her fur behind a plush ear next to one of those cute, button-eyes….Has Specksnplanks invited you & hubs out with us all yet to dinner? He regarded her affectionately, with glittering monocle and cigarette-holder clenched in a skull-like grin beneath a peaked old-fashioned German Navy cap set at a cocky angle,..”I cant wait to see my portrait!”

    I love the post Bro’, and am so pleased you are thus media-savvy in general,

    Yes,as mysterious as it all is, I concur with this concept of ‘land’, so easily-forgotten, and felt a great pleasure as I read of Naamans belief in the little patch of earth that was full of Gods power to heal him- I was recently reviewing 1Tim 1-6 , and remembering that this Gospel of Christ comes full of POWER with the Holy Spirit, as plainly as it can be rendered, which is always a huge and refreshing relief to me, as I feel often surrounded by non-freedom-loving situations full of manipulative behaviour in people so enslaved by various things,

    God then, inhabits and ‘fills the land’ when he is loved & worshipped wherever you are- Although its an OT story, I see this as fully applicable today SP, as one may be tempted to try and translate this into some kind of retro-hebraic Bethel-worship type structure; perhaps its enough for Christians to claim Gods domination of their area through the temple of their own bodies.-Hm,—

    Presently, I am wondering at the ‘mute idol’ nature of so many things & activities in modern life- thats how they deceive so many people, yet fail to satisfy; I am forever surrounded by people trying to get something out of a state of ‘achievement’, status by association, by going through the motions (like ballroom-dancing!), yet missing the joy of life.

    I wonder my friends at this incredible effect of Christ ‘filling all things’ in us & around us.. [Col1:19]
    “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    -a typical scripture, showing how god can even reconcile the ‘land’ back to himself through christian people being in it.

    Again, great spotting S&P; keep having a great time,

    Z

  3. Z – LF is very familiar with FL from past blogs…

    I read the latest blog you were thrown off, LF – used the link you supplied on Lance’s blog. Well, you are always welcome back here. And no one has yet attempted to match your penultimate tithing post. 🙂

  4. Hm, Interesting person then; Ok do your best Lionfish!

    [with strong Jewish accent..]..” Ve can forgive youu my friendd, but ve vill neffer Forgett!!”

    Z.

  5. What are all the scriptures relating to territorial unclean spirits in houses, cities or even traffic black spots? I hear of these things, but lack knowledge of the scriptural backing for the teachings.

    BTW – re ‘the land’ – can you imagine the good that could be done if instead of always focussing on stewardship of money, teaching focussed frequently on stewardship of the earth and its resources? God gave us the earth, and look where our stewardship is taking it – no Arctic ice caps in summer from 2040 probably – very, very scary. If only we took our stewardship of the land to heart, and not just stewardship of other things.

    Having said that, there are some Christian groups who do take this seriously. But it’s basically been ignored in most of my own church experience.

  6. Great post Zepp and Pente!

    And Lionfish. I find your views interesting and I’m sure you’re pretty nosey for finding good Christian articles on church life. You’ve engaged me with your comments on the orginal SignPosts.

    So would you like to be made an author on SignPosts02? Please say yes.

  7. Well, frankly, LF you were rather overbearing and offensive in your approach at a reasonably friendly and inoffensive site. I don;t know that you were actally barred as much as asked to return to Signposts where you’d be able to grumble to your heart’s content wthout being kicked off.

    And your arguments aren’t always all that sound, as HB pointed out, nor are they proven or concrete evidence of anything wrong. I don’t know why you had to bring up the Grassley affair, or Popov, which are totally unrelated, and prove nothing really to do with the very few Contemporary Churches you have a even a sniff of anything against. But you put all Contemporary Churches in your pot and stick on, what you consider as the heat.

    Neither does Mike G’s fall prove anything about the Contemporary Church. How do you make out that the Contemporary Church is utterly corrupt based on one individual’s fall from grace, which, you should know, has been heavily criticised by those he deceived? You seem to forget, conveniently perhaps, that Mike G has been suspended and is undergoing discipline and psychiatric help. He has admitted guilt. Does this make every Contemporary Church guilty? Or every Pentecostal Church? Or every Youth work? No. It’s very publicity reveals that it is an isolated case of wrongdoing being dealt with by it’s own body in firm fashion.

    I think you were well treated considering.

  8. Oh Facelift, how I missed discussing these issues with you! 🙂

    It was not me that started this, it was (rightfully) the media – I just asked the kids to think about things:

    “The “love offerings” – an offering taken up for a guest preacher – seem to have become a “scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” exchange between powerful pastors, knowing a weekend visit to another church can net upwards of $10,000”.

    http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,24265176-2682,00.html

    If you read closely, I said

    “Please do not think I condemn Mike G or your Church Leaders – I am merely advocating fundamental changes (a reformation so to speak) in the Churches such as Riverview, Hillsong et al for greater accountability, financial transparency, better church governance and importantly a repentence for teaching dodgy doctrines (especially manipulating the scriptures with regard to the tithing doctrine – which is not an obligation of a Christian who has been liberated from Law)”.

    The media, politicians, and other thinking Christians (are rightfully) asking questions about how these Churches operate.

    If there is nothing to hide – then they should submit their financials etc.

  9. “Systemic problems my dear Facelift; systemic problems!”, he said, puffing a Meerschaum pipe,

    You must glance through Carson’s “Exegetical Fallacies” to help train your reasoning powers, my dear fellows!

    {& warm regards to Mrs Lionfish!]

    Your obedient co-servant,

    Sherlock Zeppelin

  10. I am glad I am using a ‘safri’ web browser. I can now click on every second word in Zepplins comments and automatically ‘google’ it … “Carson’s “Exegetical Fallacies””, “Meerschaum pipe”. 🙂

  11. “The “love offerings” – an offering taken up for a guest preacher – seem to have become a “scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” exchange between powerful pastors, knowing a weekend visit to another church can net upwards of $10,000”.

    The key word here is ‘seem’.

    You, like news.com, seem to have a lack of evidence for your claims. Another good word would be ‘surmise’. But surmising has its weakness also.

    I think it more likely tat these pastors employ on another to preach in their conferences because they are hugely successful in their fields, excellent communicators, with an effective message of hope, proven ministries, and, so, as they meet at various places, they build relationships, which build trust.

    Taking offerings is an important part of Pentecostal culture when a guest ministry is invited. There is a growing trend against calling the ‘love offerings’ because the media and people like you have thrown a negative light on a well-used term. The actual abuse may be occurring as result of unsubstantiated speculation rather than fact.

    ‘Speculation’. There’s another word.

  12. Well I’m glad there is a trend against calling gift offerings ‘love’ offerings. Anyway, you know my thoughts on these things –

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/why-love-offerings-irritate-me/

    I do wonder why _salaried_ pastors receive love offerings as well, especially when they are preaching at a different church in the same denomination. Some are low paid, so OK. But others are very successful, and the offering still applies it would seem.

    When a speaker has no other means of support, and is not able to be self-funded, then I don’t think there’s necessarily a problem, if they are operating in their gift. I also don’t have an issue for a speaker having the offering go towards a cause they are supporting, such as supporting the needy elsewhere in some form.

    Associating the gospel with money, or associating the gifts of God with the giving of money, can compromise the gospel. It is wise, if we want the kingdom to be healthy, to take this seriously, and consider when it is appropriate to have an offering, and when it is sending a message that is unscriptural or brings the gospel into disrepute.

    Paul took this very seriously; so did Peter. While it was acknowledged that the worker deserves his wages – including the Christian servant – the main emphasis I see on giving in the NT, is giving to the poor and needy or to those hit by disaster, such as famine.

  13. Evidently giving to successful ministers doesn’t compromise the gospel. In fact they have he influence to reach more people, hence their ability to draw crowds to hear the gospel preached.

    Secondly, what a person earns shouldn’t really be our business. We don’t have a clue how much or where these ministries give, and we shouldn’t have to press them to know.

    I take exception to those ministries which demand a large payment before they will minister, but those who travel and preach and are given a ‘love offering’ in the true spirit of the gift would be receiving something they didn’t request, and it is a genuine offering. Asking for an offering is, in fact, deceptive, because that is, in reality, payment, not giving. There probably needs to be a distinction made there.

    I know well respected ministers who have received love offerings and sown them back into he ministry they received it from.

    Some movements, including at least one which is often maligned on this site, I know to have a policy of sowing offerings over and above the person’s salary back into the movement, and not into the pockets of those who are already salaried.

    The truth is, as I have said before, much of the criticism is based on speculation, and much of the problem is caused and furthered by misplaced assumptions.

  14. When it comes to money, the standard assumption in Western societies is that it will eventually corrupt people. Therefore it is not enough in most organisations to say that you have no proof of corruption. There are standard rules to avoid corruption, and if they are not there it is simply assumed that the organisation will contain some corruption.

    For example, I work for a secular organisation, and if I were to make an invention or some product arising out of the knowledge I have from my work, the commercial rights to that invention or product would go to the organisation. This is to avoid the situation where I might change my work practices, or use contacts at work to promote my own commercial interests to the detriment of the organisation. If I were to solicit donations in the course of my work, that would also not be allowed by the organisation for the same types of reasons.

    In contemporary churches we see people soliciting donations and promoting books and products in the normal course of their work as Pastors. I dont know how this could not lead to problems, unless you believe that Pastors have some special dispensation from God that makes them immune to these temptations.

  15. Well, I agree with you, wazza, that we need strong accountability structures, morally and financially. Most Pastors would know this, and have had it drummed into them enough to make it even more absurd for them to be ‘caught’ with their fingers in the till.

    Surely the ATO has to take the appropriate action in cases of fraud, and I don;t see any on the horizon which involve any of the movements or individuals named here. maybe in mega-church structure the ACCC will have to take a look, but again, nothing coming up as far as I can see. Maybe the ATO is satisfied with their audit! You’d think they’d take a good look with all the adverse media speculation and innuendo!

    Do we ask a plumber to reveal what his salary is and whether he earns money from other ventures before we allow them to fix our dripping tap? Actually, it wouldn’t be a bad idea, because if he has a poor reputation and isn’t employed by many people because of shonky work, so has a low income, maybe he’s more of a risk than a successful plumber who is so efficient he has more work that he can handle alone, and has to employ other plumbers to help him out, but charges a little extra for quality service.

    So maybe you have a point after all!

  16. Oops’, I’m talking to wazza, so I’d better point out that I don’t mean Pastors should attempt to not get ‘caught’ but have their fingers in the till anyway. I mea they’d be stupid to have their fingers in the till in the first place.

  17. “Secondly, what a person earns shouldn’t really be our business. We don’t have a clue how much or where these ministries give, and we shouldn’t have to press them to know.”

    They frequently have strong opinions on how much and where we should give, though. Some churches these days even keep tabs on who is giving and how much they give.

    My point is that the scriptures that give examples re providing for ourselves via work while we minister to others are often ignored. So are any scriptures implying that money could have a corrupting influence on actual Christian _ministers_. Then people are shocked when examples of corruption occur.

    It is a given in much teaching that it could corrupt members of the congregation, and of course, the congregation needs to give until it hurts to prove they are free of the rule of money. If they give to needy causes outside the church, that doesn’t count, if they aren’t also tithing.

    How ridiculous.

  18. The issue is not having fingers in the till, although I’m not sure there always is a till, sometimes its just a bucket.

    The ATO is only interested in their slice of the pie. The biggest issue is whether people are getting diverted from their job as the result of having other commercial interests.

    An example is Dave Gilpin’s sermon at CCCOF which was posted up by Teddy. Phil Pringle introduced him by saying that he was going to bring the Word of God, but he spent a lot of time talking about his books, especially “Man-boobs and other Human Rights”. I’m not a high-level AOG pastor or bible-scholar but even I could discern that wasnt the Word of God. I cannot prove that Dave’s commercial interests affected his preaching, but it is a fair assumption.

    I dont mind paying a bit extra for a good plumber, but if he also owns a plumbing-supply business and is recommending that I replace all my pipes, there might be a conflict of interest.

    In most professions there are rules about conflict of interest. It is not necessary to prove that people are acting corruptly, it is only necessary to identify a conflict of interest and that conduct will not be allowed.

  19. Oh dear, I’ve left myself open to misinterpretation re what I think is ‘ridiculous’. It is ridiculous to discount that money can corrupt full time ministers, and ridiculous to teach that it is always more important to tithe to one’s local church than to give generously to the poor.

  20. In a legal sense accountability isn’t as stringent as some Christians would like it to be in a moral sense.

    In a way we are just recovering from the poverty syndrome which denies Christians the ability to own anything of significance for fear it may corrupt them. Poverty as holiness is just as much an error as wealth as success.

    Jesus was mainly concerned with the corruptibility of riches for riches sake, rather than its potential to help resource life equitably. He was concerned about wealth as worship rather than wealth distribution. Financial increase is useful for sustenance, kingdom resources and giving rather than hoarding or as personal security.

    Giving is a personal choice, but is best led by the Spirit, whether we choose to use the tithe as an example, or to give to the poor, or service missions endeavours.

    I think we maybe covet money more than we know judging by the amount of time spent attempting to sort out how to successfully employ or deny the stuff. It’s still too emotive an issue, either way, or on either side of the argument, for any of us to be able to say anyone, apart from God, has got it right, or that we are, any of us, mature in our dealings with wealth or the lack thereof.

  21. Glad to hear you admit FaceLift that you are not mature in your dealings with wealth, and the same for your MegaChurch Pastor associates.

  22. And it takes a big person to admit that they covet money. Good on you FaceLift, identifying and confessing the problem is a big first step. I’ll be praying for you to work through these issues with God so that you can become more mature in this area.

  23. Thanks, wazza. And I’ll pray for you too that you’ll see God’s grand plan for prosperity, and step up to the maturity of the challenge of equitable wealth distribution of his great creation without shame, blame, covetous gain or personal claim.
    _________________________________________

    I wonder how you interpret the fact that God created everything for his own pleasure.

    Would that include the wealth of this earth?

    Would it be correct then to claim that the wealth of this world was created only for the devil’s pleasure? Or has he deceived even elements of the elect into believing he has taken the wealth of creation from God?

    Has God changed his mind about the centre-piece of his creation, man, male and female, exercising dominion over the earth, subduing and replenishing it, and multiplying in the earth?

    “I AM the I AM, I change not!”

  24. I am not sure I should be discussing this with an admitted covetous person :

    ‘Know you not ta the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.’ 1 Cor. 6:9-10.

    FaceLift you quoted this on the old Signpost2 about the issue of homosexuality. So I think you should take a good look at yourself and deal with this issue responsibility before you try to teach others.

  25. Didn’t Jesus call everything that we trust in that is not of God, ‘unrighteous mammon’? I wonder how we should interpret that in relation to churches that continually focus on obtaining lots of money?

    Of course, we hear they are kind to their flocks, because they are helping their congregations to break free of money addiction. They certainly don’t trust their flock to distribute their abundances as their hearts see fit according to their life in Christ. The role of deacons these days doesn’t seem to be distributing funds to the poor and needy.

  26. I am quite happy to assist in setting people free from their love of money. 😉 I promise I will put their money towards good causes. As I have a superior anointing, I am more capable than all you plebs out there when it comes to deciding where it should go.

    You can trust me.

  27. I’m also setting up an ex-covetous ministry. The oversight will be from Planetshakers because they have a record of overlooking a lot of things. The staff will all be qualified, just not in psychology or any related field.

  28. facelift:
    “Would it be correct then to claim that the wealth of this world was created only for the devil’s pleasure? Or has he deceived even elements of the elect into believing he has taken the wealth of creation from God?”

    The world was cursed by God so that the Devil and man in his fallen nature could not take advantage of something that was good. If God did not put a curse on creation (limit creation), Satan and fallen man would be unstoppable. When creation was limited that wasn’t enough for God. He limited us further by confusing the common language and creating diversity and culture (tower of babylon). Why did he do this?

    He made us capable stewards over creation, community and over our own bodies. However, in our fallen state we exploited these, therefore God limited us by cursing creation and confusing the common language.

    This is why ‘creation groans’ for the sons of God to be revealed. Only those worthy who overcome all things by the blood of the Lamb can enjoy the inheritance of the new earth. Through Christ, we can be trusted with the new earth where we can care for it properly, the way Adam did in the garden.

    Understanding this sets my eyes not on money, but my eyes on things to come with others who I bring with me. I want God to trust me with what I have so he can trust me with greater things. While these things are insignificant now, this preparation is setting me up to me an accountable and responsible person restored with dominion over the future perfect creation once renewed.

    The devil desired to rule the good earth, that is why God cursed it; so that he can’t take advantage of it’s goodness. The world being cursed was the result of man sinning. So God proved his goodness by putting the enemy at a disadvantage by cursing the earth.

    Whatever goodness we experience or witness in nature now, is just a glimpse of creation in the present future. Occasionally this does occur in the here and now.
    It is our job to see the future glory of creation now in everyday living so that our spiritual eyes are set on His future hope.

    This is why money is a huge distraction. It’s convenient, but it definitely takes our eyes off Him when we allow it to possess us.

  29. Well I could only be considered covetous if I desired something that didn’t belong to me, and I could not possess.

    Apparently, because I am in Christ, all things are mine already! (1 Cor.3:22)

    Incidentally, I quoted from the New Testament – Revelation 4:11 – when reminding us that all things were created for God’s pleasure. What right has the devil to any of God’s creation? He is a thief, a liar and a murderer from the beginning. Everything made belongs to God, and I am in God, a joint heir with Christ to God’s promises and inheritance. I have no need of covetousness. It all belongs to my Father.

    “For by Him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for Him!” (Col. 1:16)

  30. Watch out FaceLift. You have already admitted you have a problem with covetousness. Now you seem to be developing a theology that says that covetousness is acceptable. You are no different from those you criticise.

  31. I think I used the word ‘we’, meaning everyone,as a generalism, from poor to rich, saved or unsaved, in reference to a tendency to covet money, and qualified it as a lack of maturity in understanding God’s resource system.

    You made it particular to me, as some kind of confession of guilt, and, in so doing, set yourself as judge and jury, and, accordingly, denied any covetousness on your part. It is a trait of yours to personalise issues, and particularly with those you disagree with. actually thought you were being light hearted about it, and went along with it, but you are actually being serious!

    In fact, you’ll be glad to know, I don’t generally have major issues with money one way or the other, and never have, even before I became a Christian.

    You’ll also be happy to hear that on the occasions when I have overstepped the mark I have confessed my sin. I find it a good practice to check my motives (as you suggested all people should do on an earlier post) and confess sin regularly, whether is is sin of commission or omission. In that respect I believe I am clear, as we speak, of any current covetousness for anything.

    I hope that will clear things up for you! I’m sorry I had to spell it out for you, but if you must personalise everything, that’s what you get, and that’s why I went off for a while last time. I don’t know what gayness, or any other issue you raised as an argument here, has to do with this. You really are on a crusade! Hack away! I’m immune. The blood cleanses every time!

    Besides which, I don’t see how a true Christian can covet something God has given them as a resource for the kingdom.

    Or maybe you section off ownership into things which are God’s possession in your stewardship, and things which are your possession, and ‘hands off my stuff, God’.

    I think everything is, in fact, God’s possession, for his pleasure, made for him, and what we come into contact with, and are given responsibility for, is used for stewardship, including finances.

    Or do you see your salary as mostly yours to do what you want, and an occasional portion set aside for God’s kingdom purposes?

  32. I see us all having an individual responsibility to look after and steward the things that God gives us, whether it be money, the planet, our time or even relationships.

    We all have seasons in our lives where different priorities may occur – as long as we are abiding in Him, and following what he would have us do, we need not worry about what others think of us.

    So our giving is between us and our Lord. I would hope that giving is a matter of generousity and compassion, in the context of wisdom – also from the Lord.

    Just giving x percent of money to the church plus a few offerings and leaving it at that, doesn’t necessarily allow us to grow in this area. Also, pressure from church leaders to give in a particular fashion regardless of circumstance can even be too challenging for where some people are at, and just lead to feelings of guilt and condemnation when they miss the ideal put forward. Particularly when the ideal is presented as the most basic measure of the Christian stature.

    Giving, like everything else, is to spring from our hearts. Our hearts are transformed in our relationship with our Father. This is not for someone else to dictate in order for us to meet their goals, but is a developing part of our walk with the Lord.

    So rather than thinking of our finances as ‘this portion is mine, and this is the Lord’s’, why not be led as he leads us, without thinking about it too much except to rely upon his wisdom as well.

    Rather than a check box to tick off to signify that we are ‘OK’ in that department, giving would become more relational, more of an expression of God’s love for all of us as we show that love in our generousity towards one another, and our needy brothers and sisters.

    And if this approach led to less giving – then perhaps the focus should be upon encouraging people in their walk with Father, so that as that grows stronger, the increased generousity will just be a natural result. A faith in God’s work in the hearts of his people, rather than programs or pressure applied by men.

  33. Well, actually, whilst I agree we should be led by the Spirit in our giving, Paul does tell us we should purpose in our own hearts what to give, not out of necessity, or grudgingly, but with a cheerful attitude. Giving, on a regular basis, a specified sum is actually purposed giving, and meets this criteria perfectly. It also means we can be open to the leading of the Spirit to give over and above what we purpose. Logically, it also helps with our budgeting. It is good stewardship. I think you’ll find people struggle more with random giving than with purposed giving.

  34. One can definitely be ‘led’ in one’s ‘purposed’ giving, in fact, that is highly desirable, and I think purposed giving that one feels right about (part of how we give cheerfully is knowing God has purposed us) is probably part of ongoing good stewardship.

    I don’t think being ‘led’ to give has to be random. It would include random giving, but – speaking from my own experience – I have felt led to make regular, purposed commitments to give to various things on many occasions. These commitments will only stop when I feel led to cease them, and that would include time praying about it.

    For my family, as we don’t agree with the tithing doctrines taught, this has included in the past the amount we felt right to commit to giving regularly to support our local church. Being led covers all giving, whether regular or one-off. Not that I am saying all should do as I do – however, for my familiy, this is an important part of our walk, we believe, and we do regularly seek God about it on an ongoing basis.

    So I have no issue with someone tithing as they feel genuinely led to do so, but I would hope they are not responding to false doctrine, or to guilt or fear put upon them by others.

    We don’t dwell too much on the amount once we have come to agreement after prayer. Sometimes its more spontaneous than that – some one-off things, for example, But even so, there is a sense of listening to God in this area. Mind you, I am sure we have plenty of room to improve, and hope that over time we do.

    If we are under financial stress for some reason, we also pray about that. We’d alter our giving then, only if we felt led to.

    There are certain commitments we have in giving, which we are more committed to than keeping up other things we do as a family.

  35. Glad to hear you’re in the clear FaceLift, what then did you mean when you said “I think we maybe covet money more than we know”

    Who are you referring to when you said “we”. I thought you mean Pentecostal pastors in general.

  36. But since you have this doctrine that the true Christian cannot be covetous, you could not have been referring to yourself. Hmmm….

  37. As long as you drive your incongruous arguments around in weird unrelated circles, you’ll go on confusing yourself. It’s a wonder you actually learn anything about anyone else but yourself. You obviously have no counselling skills, or will to discover why people are different.

    The more anyone qualifies what they say, to help you understand their point of view better, and feed you more information to ease your concerns, the more you circle, like some tethered goat retracing the ground it’s already eaten up.

    We’ve moved on meanwhile.

  38. I dont know if its me or you going around in circles. You say that everyone in general has a tendency to covetousness, but the true Christian cannot be covetous. Which is it?

  39. Oh – are we all supposed to have counselling skills now as well as everything else? Another way in which I probably don’t measure up.

    Wazza, you’d better head out to your local counselling course ASAP. I know I will be.

  40. Both!

    Or you don’t agree that even Christians have a tendency to sin, but the true Christian never sins?

    “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us f all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not…” (1 John 1:8-10, 2:1a)

    We all know we are saved from sin, and have been given power over sin, but sin has a tendency to tempt the flesh.

    “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then wit the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Chrst Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Rom. 7::24-25, *:1-2)

    And covetousness is sin, so can you say you never covet? Anything?

    If you say you never covet are you claiming you’re not a Christian, then?

    You made that whole doctrine up out of things I wrote which meant nothing of the sort. It’s too hard to have a conversation with someone like you because you’d have to write a literal book every post to qualify every little thing said.

    And now you’ve amanaged to place the whole thing back on whether a) I qualify say anything about anything because I’m obviously such a lousy sinner b) you are actually allowed to converse with a sinner like me

    Well done!

    Thanks rp. I don’t remember saying anything about counselling to you. Wazza twists my words to mean what he thinks he’d like me to mean so he can have an argument with himself pretending to argue with me, and you agree!

    I said that stuff about wazza and counselling because he seemed to be counselling me earlier on how to get free of the covetousness I don’t have!

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/all-things-spiritual-for-all-to-consider/#comment-2707

    Just notice that this discussion has nothing to do with any topical subject we can all discus rationally any more, but everything to do with whether FaceLift even qualifies to be speaking to the amazing people on this amazing site with their amazing incontrovertible thoughts on everything. I think I’ve been here before. The scenery’s familiar. Yep, wazza’s circles!

  41. Actually, however it came about, I am interested in the question about Christians sinning.

    I freely acknowledge that while a believer in Jesus, I still struggle with sin of various types. Sometimes, though, I’ve experienced a level of freedom from some bothersome sins, that seems to come about when I have a stronger sense of abiding in Christ.

    I’d love to say I abide closely all the time, but honestly I know I don’t. He is close to me regardless. Learning to walk more closely with Jesus, on a daily, constant basis, seems to be the Way to become really free of personal sin, and free from the bounds both we and others place on ourselves. This is the way I am seeking to go, increasingly. I am convinced the transformation is an ongoing one. Over time, I look forward to greater freedom from things that I did not even recognise I needed to be free from. So salvation in this lifetime is an ongoing and increasing thing.

    I hope that makes sense.

  42. It does, rp, and was the exact context I used to describe the affect of covetousness on everyone.

    In retrospect, I should have better described it as temptation to covet, rather than actual covetousness, which may, then, have saved us all from wazza’a rationale of his imagined covetous mega-church minister (of which I am not one, either as covetous or as a member of a mega-church), which he raised, and I did not, nor did I ever imply, or consider.

    It’s not temptation that disqualifies us from having a point of view, or a voice, but it’s actual sin which separates us from God. Temptation doesn’t disqualify us, provided we don’t yield.

  43. “It’s not temptation that disqualifies us from having a point of view, or a voice, but it’s actual sin which separates us from God. Temptation doesn’t disqualify us, provided we don’t yield.”

    For us who are in Christ, sin does not separate us from God.
    To believe so is a lie.

  44. That’s an interesting statement, s&p, and open to huge debate.

    Hypothetically, then, according to you, as long as I am in Christ, it is OK for me to become a drunkard, or commit murder, or steal, or commit adultery and I will still enter heaven.

    New Testament teaching:

    “Little children, let no man deceive you: He that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whoever does not righteousness is not of God…” (1 John 3:7-10a)

    “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than Him? All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” (1 Cor. 10:21-23)

    This is an emotive area, and a difficult one, well worth discussion, but I think we should be careful of declaring it’s OK to sin because we won’t be separated from God. In one sense, once we have come into Christ he will never reject us, unless e reject him, but if we fall back into sin, we are in effect denying him, and ‘falling back to perdition’, or destruction.

  45. All very complex. I don’t have much time to add input, however, in reading Jude recently, I noticed the reference in Jude vs 4:

    “For certain men have crept in stealthily [gaining entrance secretly by a side door]…ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into lawlessness and wontoness and immorality, and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ…”

    It seemed to me, perhaps wrongly, that this might refer to those who upon hearing the doctrine of grace, pervert it to mean they can now do whatever they like, totally selfishly, and ultimately, this is denying Jesus.

    So while there is a tension between being saved from sin through abiding in Christ, and the sins that we still struggle with – perhaps in areas where we are not fully abiding in Him, and still loving ourselves more – there is also the illustration of grace being perverted when it is used as a license to behave ‘wontonly’.

    I think there are two extremes – the licencious response to grace, which has existed since the early days of the teaching, and the overly religious and legalistic approach where people work and strive in order to achieve salvation. Neither of these are abiding in Christ, which is the key.

  46. “Hypothetically, then, according to you, as long as I am in Christ, it is OK for me to become a drunkard, or commit murder, or steal, or commit adultery and I will still enter heaven.”

    May I remind you that as born again believers, for us to commit such acts makes us grieve. Someone truly born of God hates sin and will not. This is also the truth when Christian’s are born again but their worldly habits are not broken. God’s love and grace is at work within us now that we are new in Christ. While we are born again, we can still where our old rags, carry emotional baggage and unknowingly cling to our old man without severing the ties.

    Those who have have habitual problems feel the conviction of what they are doing is wrong and God’s Spirit in them will convict them willingly. As new beings they will try to break these things that are binding them as their nature in Christ despises the very thing they are trying to be from.

    What you have done Facelift is taken my statement and swung it to the extreme other side while I try and proclaim that God’s grace is meant to be accepted responsibly where all need to be accountable when living in the provision of God’s redeeming and abundant grace.

    As new creatures in Christ we hate sin. When I sin, I personally hate it. That’s good. If I’m not hating the sin that I commit, then I know that I am not behaving responsibly in Christ. And if Christ became sin, he can deal with me right then and there if I choose to let him deal with my problems or not.

    So FaceLift. Live in the fullness of Christ’s love and not in his partial love because you think your sin is getting in the way of Him.

  47. I don’t mean to take things to extremes to annoy you, s&p, and I understand perfectly what you are saying, and to a degree I agree, but you were very strong in your statement, saying, “For us who are in Christ, sin does not separate us from God. To believe so is a lie”.

    I think it left you wide open to criticism, since you called all people who would take issue with your statement liars, yet they would have a case for being right, and that, although it would seem extreme to raise the examples I did, nevertheless they are valid points.

    Some people think they can’t help sinning, and that they have no power over it. Your statement would appear to condone their sin, and empower them to remain in sin.

    Some have actually been taught that we have a split personality, whereby part of us is always sinful to an uncontrollable extent, but another part of us is holy, which is basically a misinterpretation of what Paul is saying in Romans 7, which refers to the pre-redemption man, not the new creation. He clearly teaches that Christ redeems us from the Adamic sin nature, and gives us his righteousness nature.

    Some are still being taught that we’re all just sinners still, and we can never consider ourselves to be the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, despite all Paul teaches on the subject.

  48. “I think it left you wide open to criticism, since you called all people who would take issue with your statement liars, yet they would have a case for being right, and that, although it would seem extreme to raise the examples I did, nevertheless they are valid points.”

    Actually, what I did was quote (or paraphrase) scripture. I can make that statement. For anyone to preach that sin can separate us from God now that we are in Christ, would either making them a liar or a fool.

    “Some have actually been taught that we have a split personality, whereby part of us is always sinful to an uncontrollable extent, but another part of us is holy, which is basically a misinterpretation of what Paul is saying in Romans 7, which refers to the pre-redemption man, not the new creation. He clearly teaches that Christ redeems us from the Adamic sin nature, and gives us his righteousness nature.”

    Can you please expand on this. I’d like to hear your take on this from your experience, your point of view and other scriptural backup.

  49. I see Romans 7 as describing an actual reality, ie. Paul continued to sin even though he was saved. To think otherwise, ie. at salvation one becomes sinless is contrary not only to experience, but also to scripture and is a very dangerous way to think.

    It divides people into two groups, sinless and sinning and allows one to discount the point of view or the issues of the perceived “sinning” group, by presuming that they are advancing it just to justify their sinful lifestyle. It is the antithesis of Christianity.

  50. Christians have imputed righteousness only, ie. the righteousness of God through faith in Christ. Any other righteousness is only self-righteousness.

  51. The problem with chapter seven is that it is chapter seven. In act there were no chapters, or punctuation in he original manuscripts, so this is one of the tmes when dividing scripture into chapters does us a doctrinal disservice.

    In fact the answer to your question comes by reading on through chapter eight to discover the context of what Paul is saying. If you stop at the end of seven you will be mislead into thinking there is no solution to this inherent sin problem, but eight tells us that the cross of Christ has in fact taken those who believe out of the flesh and into the Spirit, out from the old man into the new, from sinner to saint, from carnal to spiritual, and that there is now therefore no condemnation for those who walk not in the flesh but in the Spirit.

    If you read from the beginning of seven to the middle of eight you will see what Paul is saying. He places himself back before he understood the law, which convicted him of sin. he tells us that we have become dead to the law, and therefore dead to sin through Christ. If he is not acting our his previous tendency to sin, before he could be saved through faith, then he contradicts himself. The context is the comparison between life in the flesh and in the newness of the Spirit, and in the old man versus the new.

  52. There is still no support for the idea that one becomes sinless. It is a new beginning and a new way of living, but one still has to deal with the flesh.

    Paul talked about his “thorn in the flesh”. We dont know what it was, but most have suggested some sin or temptation to unbelief. Possibly it was a tendency to temper, as is suggested in some parts of Acts where he had abrupt and severe disagreements with other Christians and with the Jewish authorities.

  53. More likely a literal messenger of Satan who buffeted him, as in persecution, ie stoned three times.

    I don’t think God is saying his grace is sufficient for Paul to cover over a sinful nature. More likely a recurring event. Paul tells us earlier that he keeps his own flesh under.

    In fact Paul tells us what the buffeting is if we read on in the passage – infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions and distresses for Christ’s sake.

  54. So are you saying that a Christian is given a new nature such that they would not normally sin? What is your view of this new nature?

  55. We still have the choice to sin, or the ability to sin, but we have been given the power over sin, which the unregenerate man doesn’t have. We have received the nature of Christ. The new man is Christ, and we are exhorted to make sure we continually put on the new man, or put on Christ.

    The new birth brings about the new creation, who is subject to the New Covenant, in that our spirit, once dead to Christ, comes alive in and through Christ.

  56. I agree. Are there any Christians who fully express this nature and do not sin? Even for a day?

    My view is that Christians have to continually die to their old nature, and that this is an ongoing process. As the bumper-sticker says “Christians arent perfect, just forgiven”

  57. I agree with wazza, that we continually die to our old nature, and our hope in Christ motivates us when we are frustrated in this area. Plus, I still believe the key is to ‘abide’ in Him. The more we do so, the easier the victory over sin will be.

    Just for example, when we truly get a sense of God’s love for us, in such a way that we are concious of dwelling in that love, it is far more natural to be patient with people and circumstances that would normally try us, or lead us to anger.

    I know for example that I struggle with anger towards my kids at times. However, times that I am less distracted by everyday pressures and cares, and feel a sense of abiding in faith in Him (rather than worrying about all the other stuff), it is much, much easier to let the kid’s actions through to the keeper, and exercise patience rather than anger towards them. It is a direct result of my faith that is abiding in our Father more actively at that time.

    I’d like to say I’m like that all the time, but I get distracted, and need to deliberately seek God and refocus, to stay in that place. This is where I do experience noticeable differences in my life for the better, and sin has less hold.

  58. This seems critical to me – if people have a theology which denies the continuing suceptibility to sin for a Christian, then they may assume they are sinless. They may not examine their own hearts.

    Worse yet, when people raise issues to them, they may not be able to reflect and search their hearts for incorrect motivations. They may assume that the questioner has given way to sin. This seems to happen with certain personality types who become leaders.

    In some churches they have a standard confession “We have not loved you with our whole heart, we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves…” It is assumed that it will be true for everyone in the congregation. Its a pretty fair assumption.

  59. wazza
    ‘My view is that Christians have to continually die to their old nature, and that this is an ongoing process.’

    In a way, but I think sometimes we get it the wrong way round and struggle.

    Scripturally, the old man died in Christ, and so the old nature is dead, as is the requirement to fulfil the law. So we are not really dying to the old nature daily, but dead.

    ‘For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col.3:3).

    Present tense – dead!

    And seated, again present tense, in heavenly place in Christ. Justified. Sanctified.

    “Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth…’, being the ‘members’ which would tend to serve the works of the flesh.

    So ‘put on the new man…’

    Which means it’s less a case of dying to the works of the flesh than living our lives in Christ, which automatically takes care of the sin problem, since, by living our life in this flesh by the faith of Christ, we live the crucified life, and sin becomes abhorrent to us.

    Right order, right result, and less guilt.

    Not that I claim this to be an easy lifestyle, or totally sin free, but far simpler than beginning with the sin nature.

  60. You said “So we are not really dying to the old nature daily, but dead”

    But it is also written : “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. ”

    Taking up your cross daily. I think it means dying daily.

    I dont deny what you say, but as with a lot of scripture the concept is too big for one verse or even book to explain. The work has been accomplished, but we also play a part in making it a reality in our own lives.

  61. So you agree then that it is possible for us to be tempted to covet daily, and so we have to work through the tendency to covet by developing a mature lifestyle in Christ? And that we are all in the same boat?

  62. “But it is also written : “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. ”

    Taking up your cross daily. I think it means dying daily. ”

    How can we pick up our cross daily if Christ has already crucified our flesh and left it buried. Why dig up your dead man and hang it up on the tree? It doesn’t make me feel proud that’s for sure.

    “So you agree then that it is possible for us to be tempted to covet daily, and so we have to work through the tendency to covet by developing a mature lifestyle in Christ? And that we are all in the same boat?”

    “As the bumper-sticker says “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven””
    Yikes! That’s what I call error!

    It should say: “All are forgiven. Christians are perfect in Christ.”
    To know that we are perfect in Christ takes a huge weight off our shoulders in trying to obtain perfection by our own means. We can’t obtain it with God. That’s the cry of the flesh. We obtain it in God where we now forever live.

    I’d like to write more on this but I’ve got to go and get a lot done this week.

  63. S&P said “How can we pick up our cross daily if Christ has already crucified our flesh and left it buried. Why dig up your dead man and hang it up on the tree? It dosent make me feel proud that’s for sure”

    Nor me, but Jesus said it didnt he? Do you think the words of Paul cancel or negate the words of Jesus? Why would Jesus have said this if he knew his death would make it void? Why would this saying be written down by the Gospel writers so many years after Paul’s letters if they didnt think it was important?

    Please write the name of the perfect Christian. Perfect in the sense that they never sin. This person would be a great witness. I dont think there is one in that sense. Yes we are all justified by Christ and have the righteousness of Jesus so are perfect in Christ. I think that is a different sense of the term.

  64. I agree with FaceLift here particularly when he says we are all in the same boat. I think leaders have a particular responsibility not to encourage covetousness by excusing and spiritualising it, as in the book “The richest man who ever lived”, or even “You need more money”. But in the end we all are responsible for our own walk.

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