Living Jesus Now

BLESSINGS

or

COVETOUSNESS?

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"Blessed be ye poor"

The All-Sufficient New Covenant

Pastors Need Repentance Too

The Open Worship Service

"So Send I You"

Over-zealous Patriotism is Antichrist

A New Testament Church

All to Jesus I Surrender

Learn to do Without

Stop Wasting Your Life

Enough!

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Many Christians claim that all the nice things that they have such as a new car, a bigger house, new appliances & TV's, new carpets & furniture, etc., are all because "God has blessed them"...rather than admitting that much of this is the result of covetousness (or greed).

But Jesus Christ said to them....

" take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." (Luke 12:15)

The word translated "covetousness" from the original Greek of the New Testament is "pleon exia" , which comes from two words that mean 'more' and the verb 'to have" , literally 'to have' (or wanting) more. "Let your life-style be without covetousness; and be content.." If Jesus walked into your home today, would He see covetousness? or only those things that are necessary while you serve Him with all of your efforts end resources. " And having food & clothing let us be therewith content." (I Tim. 6:8)

A result of covetousness is having more than you need. You must realize that the sin of covetousness is listed together with immorality in its seriousness, and states that people who live in these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Eph. 5:5) The New Testament teaches us that the reason we work is that we may give those in need- not that we might consume it on your own comforts, buying things we don't really need. (Eph. 4:28; Jam. 4:3) Yet, in spite of this warning, we continue in our idolatry- such as pro-sports, electronics, games, nice cars, and clothes. We are spending so much time watching TV; talking about sports; or playing games- while the world goes to hell. Instead we could be helping someone, or learning the Word of God, or even most important: witnessing for Christ, and exhorting the believer. ( Hebrews 3:13)

"Blessed be ye poor"

Many ministers preach that to be financially well off is a blessing from God. But Jesus taught us, " Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.. but woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort." (Luke 6:20,24) "... if anyone teaches otherwise, and does not consent.. to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.. he is conceited and understanding nothing supposing that financial gain is godliness... for we brought nothing into his world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." (I Tim. 6:3-7)

The All-Sufficient New Covenant

The Sermon on the Mount should be the heart and soul or our Christian life-style: " You cannot serve both God and money.. do not worry about tomorrow.. be merciful.. love your enemies, do good to them." We are the salt of the earth if we live what Jesus taught us. This message is not for some future "kingdom age", or just for those disciples then. Yet there are some pastors who teach that there is no way we can live by the Sermon on the Mount today. We warn them: Jesus said, " Why do you call me Lord and do not do what I say? Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the Rock. But everyone who.. does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand." [or a life not really built on Christ] Matt. 7:24-26.

There must be a revival in the church today by preaching from the New Testament, especially the gospels, the message of Jesus to His followers. The teachings of Christ contain all the wisdom you will ever need to live. Jesus said, " learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.." We should immerse ourselves in the gospels feeding on the wisdom of Jesus Christ, "for behold, a greater than Solomon is here." Preach from the New Testament and eat of His words- the true Bread. " Let the word of Christ dwell in you.." (Col. 3:16) " Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ- which is able to build you up." (Rom. 10:17 {NIV} Acts 20:32-35) Jesus taught us that providing for our families is necessary but not the ultimate goal and focus of our love and concern- which is the gospel and giving those in need. [love] (though we often repeat that verse about being worse than an infidel if we don't provide for our own (their basic necessities), but this is not a Biblical justification to stockpile goods for our family and ("build bigger barns"). We do not accumulate and store up that (someday?) we might distribute. But as Our Lord taught us: to live one day at a time- it should be going out (by sharing & giving) as fast as its coming in. (Matthew 6:34, Luke 14:26; I John 3:17; James 2:16)

Pastors Need Repentance Too

Pastor will not preach against materialism and riches because they're getting a piece of the pie also. Many are taking a $30,000+ year salary; an expensive trip to Europe or Africa is an opportunity to visit missionaries (they say). Many drive nice cars and live in big houses- unlike the apostle Paul: "To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless, we work hard with our own hands.. in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow." Yes, Paul had a right to receive support from the church but was this usually his example?? (see I Cor. 4:11-12; II Thes. 3:7-9) Pastors could work at least part- time so as not to charge the church. Then they would relate more with the congregation who work and struggle in the real world. But no, many pastors don't want their paycheck or parsonage threatened. So they will not preach what true discipleship means, or be an example of it.

The Open Worship Service

Consequently, the worship service is only occasionally open to a word of testimony, a word of wisdom, an exhortation, or even a favorite hymn. It has become a "one- man show by a paid professional"* The folks in the pew have become mere spectators. The worship service should take its example from the model found in the New Testament: for you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged." (I Cor. 14:31; 12:7) Those who were led of the Spirit stood up with something to share, and 2 or 3 (or all the brothers for that matter) had liberty to preach the word of God. (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 14:29) Speak with the elders, * (appreciation & credit here to "The Open Church" by Jarres Rutz). request that the services be open to anyone who is led by the Holy Spirit. If you feel sure that the Spirit of God has given you something to share, then use your scriptural authority- when the Lord opens the door- to stand up and do so; don't quench the Spirit, and encourage others to be open to the Spirit as well. Remember, "where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom" (but decently and in order) watch and see how much more you are motivated to live holy during the week if you know you will definitely have the opportunity to share in the service on Sundays.

"So Send I You"

In the parable of the Good Samaritan they asked: who is my neighbor? Jesus taught that your neighbor is the one in need- not just your Christian brother- but whoever and whenever there is need. (not wants, but needs) He taught us to love those who do not love us, and invite those to dinner who cannot pay you back. (Luke 14:13) Listen, we can sing that we love Jesus but the real question is: do we love our neighbor?? (which is the manifestation of that first commandment)

"Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father." It is the will of God for the disciple of Christ to be sanctified: to abstain from immorality- including covetousness. As the Father sent Christ into the world, so to we are sent by Jesus into the world on a mission. Jesus was poor- " Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.. the disciple is not above his master.. leaving us an example that you should follow in His steps." (Luke 8:58, 6:40, 1 Pet. 2:21) The followers of Christ did not indulge in the luxuries, gluttonies, and idolatries of that pagan Roman empire. But instead they denied themselves and followed there Lord's example.

So what's wrong with driving a Cadillac you ask? We should not even give the appearance of having wealth, since Jesus certainly did not on His sojourn in this world. And if you didn't show off with your possessions, you sure would have less worry of tempting the thieves. Like the apostle Peter said, "silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give you."

"This is how we know we are in Him: whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." (1 John 2-6) Jesus became poor for our sake, that we might be rich in spiritual blessings. Are you going to continue spending, and accumulating comforts for yourself? ..to "have more" new gadgets & computers, car fancies, hair perms, and more toys for the kids- just like those in the world, who live only for this life- wasting time in foolishness as they move headlong towards death & judgment!

The real Christian's life-style is self-denying love for those in need, which is the evidence of the Holy Spirit and true faith. But you go out to eat often, vacation & travel, buy the latest style in clothes buy more shoes or coats than you need to live- willfully ignoring the words of whom you claim to be following Are you going to do the will of God, or continue to live in sin?!

Over-zealous Patriotism is Antichrist

Only the message of Jesus Christ can get you out of this "have more then die" system. Even though God had just sent judgment by means of the flood, soon afterward people still had a "business -as- usual" attitude in the world, and it will be just like this before the return of Christ. " People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building" before judgment fell! (Luke 17:28) This system will fail and your money will suddenly be worthless- your money will buy you nothing. Do not invest in this world!

Patriotism can be Antichrist (almost like a second religion) filled with pride and self- righteousness- beware of this! We are told to respect those in authority- yes, but we are not told to love our country (but to love your neighbor!) The followers of Christ, the Church, are a "holy nation". The American flag is not our glory; for we celebrate our freedom in Christ, and glory in the cross of Christ alone! (Gal. 6:14) The flag is a symbol of a human government, that will someday oppose the followers of Christ- if they haven't already. Our citizenship is now in heaven, from where we look and wait for our Savior. We admit that as Christians we are aliens on this earth; we are longing for a "better country" to come- a heavenly one. Our heart and our passion is for "another country" where Jesus will be, not this one. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

A New Testament Church

THE MESSAGE YOU ARE READING IS AN URGENT CALL TO THE TRUE FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST: " Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, an investment in heaven." (Luke 12:33) Hey little flock, Jesus is speaking to you: forsake covetousness- live in this sin no longer.

Some preachers will now explain how you can "budget" you finances better- (so that you can continue in a materialistic life-style) in spite of what Jesus Christ said to do about it. Luke tells us of a "good citizen" who thought he was morally good, and better than most others because he was successful and had money. But when Jesus heard this He said to him: "sell everything you have and give the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come follow me." Compared to most of the world we in this country are rich! Hey rich American, Jesus is speaking to you: "Sell what you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have investment in heaven" where it really counts! (Luke 18:22) Invest today in the kingdom of God.

Christ's followers did exactly what Jesus had said to do: " no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.. selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.. from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales.. and it was distributed to anyone as he had need." (read Acts 2:45 & 4:34)

What was the result? ".. there were no needy persons among them." This is what the church will do under grace.* God's people should never have to depend on the government, and even the world should learn to go to Christians for help, not to the eventual 666 system.

All to Jesus I Surrender

The problem is that we are not practicing the Christianity of the early church. The question is asked: how can you have two coats when your brother has none? " Judgment must begin at the house of God.. with us." Pastors can start the repentance by asking that church property be sold or even their house; or the parsonage shared as a shelter- and the money form the sales given to those in need and to missionaries. Begin to share everything we have. Are we not as pilgrims into his world just passing through.

In a large church (service) people are able to remain almost anonymous. They can put up a front of Christianity within the cliques that are formed- unaccountable to the other members of the Body, as they continue in a materialistic life-style. They will never really have to see, or have to meet the needs of others within the church community. Pastors will soothe the rich with sermons spoken that justify the keeping of wealth- careful not to offend them. We are to be good stewards they'll say- our house and all our possessions are really God's property that He has blessed us with and we have only to use it wisely. But will you face it and admit the real truth of the matter- that these things are mostly the sin of COVETOUSNESS? There has always been the excuse"that was a different culture then"; or like James says, " deceiving your own selves", to say that all our luxury is really just God's blessing (as long as we give the tithe). This is a cover-up of the truth & love Jesus Christ called us to and of our mission as servants!

Learn to do Without

Maybe you are working too many hours in order to maintain a life-style that you are not supposed to be living anyway! Perhaps ends would meet if you divested yourself of house, land, or possessions (as they did in the early church). In these last days just ahead when economic conditions worsen; people in this country will not want to give up what they are accustomed to having. Most will refuse to do without, and will not be content to stay home; they will not be able to cope with the loss of entertainment, lavish food, and superfluous possessions (all these lusts of the flesh). But if you repent of your life-style now, you will be prepared for the approaching storm, and will leave with the bridegroom. Remember that only what is done for Christ will last.

" AS MANY AS I LOVE I REBUKE AND CHASTEN: BE ZEALOUS THEREFORE AND REPENT... HE THAT OVERCOMETH SHALL BE CLOTHED IN WHITE RAIMENT, AND I WILL NOT BLOT OUT HIS NAME FORM THE BOOK OF LIKE" [Rev. 3:5-22]

Stop Wasting Your Life

Your life is a one-shot deal, there is not second chance! Our mission and purpose will never be repeated in eternity. So you are- everyday you have left- investing in heaven by what you accomplish here on earth: for the spiritual and physical needs of others in Christ's behalf. (II Cor. 5:20) Stop wasting your life watching TV! Your children suffer. Soap operas warp your mind. TV commercials tempt you to buy and consume things that you don't really need.

Will you be like the rich young ruler who continued down the broad way hellbound! ..or will you drop your fishing nets as the disciples did and follow Jesus? Will you walk away from covetousness? If not, you're lost- "living in sin" just as much as an immoral person. A criminal, an theist, or the self-righteous; you are no different in your covetousness! .. heading for death, judgment, and the fires of hell. Will you do the will of the Father, Christian? Will you in repentance forsake covetousness? ..you will no longer be a "have & want more" person.

Remember what Jesus Christ said concerning that which causes you to sin; "It is better for you to enter life crippled or maimed, than to have a two hands or two feet and be thrown into everlasting fire." (Matthew 18:8) Whenever you go to the store, think: do I really need this, or do I just want this? Then resist the temptation of covetousness to lust after things. "For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die; but if through the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rom. 8:13) This matter of sin is serious, life- threatening. I don't care if you say that you are saved- if this is the way your life is then your belief in not true belief (and there is no eternal security with that kind of belief!) [ see I John 2:4-6]

Enough!

The Lord says, that's where your robbing me- by your COVETOUSNESS. "Wherefore" you say, "did we do this", and I will say; " I was hungry" [and you were eating in nice restaurants] " I was naked: [and you were buying fashionable clothes] " I was in prison" [and you were on your boat] ..you were even offering praises that you thought I was receiving form you, but you were not worthy to offer them... "Depart from me".

"And He said to them all, if any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23) " Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 7:21)

By Daniel Selby

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