Mark 9:30-35 – They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Jesus became the servant of all. He is first in the Kingdom! He is everything. In that passage, He was cutting to the heart of the issues in their hearts. They were self-focused, evidenced by them not having an understanding of what they were supposed to be representing: Christ. Because of an inflated view of their own spiritual condition, the Apostles-in-training were busy debating their status in a Kingdom that they were far from arriving at. Ever heard the term “putting the cart before the horse?” These guys, in these scriptural scenarios, remind me of what humans do to this day. People get a little knowledge, or better stated; a little information about Jesus, and share it, trying to compel others to acknowledge it, yet they don’t understand it themselves, nor take the time to. The only people who understand Jesus’ teachings are those who are intentionally applying them. Everyone else is deceived. How do I know that? By inspecting their fruit (deeds.) Jesus said that good trees don’t yield bad fruit. To modernize it, real Christians do what Jesus did, not what the world offers.
One of the easiest places to inspect the fruit of a person calling themselves a Christian is in their giving. Giving has been a God-commanded principle since the garden. In the Old Testament, starting with an example set by Abraham, the “tithe” was established. Tithe simply means ‘a tenth.’ 10% of your earnings were to be set aside for God. Does God consider anyone who is not faithful in this core principle His child? Let’s see….
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.
I think it is pretty clear that God doesn’t curse His true children, don’t you? Those Israelites were not faithful in their returning to God His tenth. He rejected them. In the New Covenant, Jesus altered the ‘tithing law.’ He doesn’t tell us an amount to give, except that it must exceed the what those of Judaism gave.
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
So the Pharisees gave how much? The tithe (tenth.) And New Covenant believers are to do what? Exceed the righteous deeds of the Judaizers. Hmmm. Is a person who is unfaithful in New Covenant sacrificial giving a child of God? Read the last line of Jesus’ command again. “…you will never enter the kingdom of God.” In the new covenant, we are not told the amount to give. We are just told that it must exceed the tithe. Some people claiming Christ will reason in their hearts that 10.1% would exceed the tenth. You see, a greedy spirit looks for ways to lay up for themselves and give God their leftovers. That is what Cain did wrong. Abel’s offering was accepted because he obeyed God and gave to God willfully of his best material things. But Cain made sure Cain was well taken care of first. God received an offering of “have-to” status and not “an honor-to-give” status. Cain’s actions showed what God calls “an unthankful heart.” God will not be mocked. If you aren’t settled on faithful giving of more than ten percent of your gross income, you are not God’s child. If we say we cannot afford to offer that amount, then we are beast worshipers, enslaved to the things of this life. Obviously whatever we did afford is our god! Boats, ATV’s, hobbies, jewels, vacations……..
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, THE GREEDY, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Another thing that arises in people’s actions, claiming Christ, is unfaithfulness in gathering. Look at the New Covenant commandment….
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, NOT NEGLECT TO MEET TOGETHER, AS IS THE HABIT OF SOME, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day (of the Lord) drawing near.
FOR IF WE GO ON SINNING DELIBERATELY AFTER RECEIVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…”
Can we be in rebellion to faithfulness to fellowship in TRUE Christian teaching and be His child? Notice I said “true.” Attending anything with a cross and a steeple is not “Christian.” Calvinism is NOT Christian. Pentecostalism is NOT Christian. Evangelicalism, Dispensationalism, Mormonism, and every other “ism” are NOT “the once and for all delivered” gospel of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1: 6-10… go read it. Paul says that anyone who teaches a gospel that contradicts what the apostles taught is damned to hell!! Anyone. Now that statement should help you understand why Jesus said that many false prophets would arise and deceive many. Can He be any clearer? In fact, attending such a place puts you or I in rebellion to Christ, and we are guilty of His name. Fact!
Paul said we must draw near with a true heart of faithfulness. Is a heart that is distracted from obeying His commands a ‘true heart of faithfulness?” No. One must take inventory as to what has their attention over God. You see, if a person isn’t faithful to the first thing I pointed out, “giving”, they will NEVER be faithful in anything else. Why? Greed is self-focused. The prerequisite to be a follower of Jesus is self-denial. Why do we think God created the tithing/giving motif? It is certainly not because God needs our money. It is to keep us in remembrance that he is the focus of the Christian life, and it is he who gives us the health and ability to get wealth. “It is in Christ that we live, and move, and have our being”, as Paul stated. Christians are KINGDOM-FOCUSED. Their desire is fellowship and learning. They gather to encourage one another and to be encouraged, as our text tells us above.
How else does one’s actions reveal that they “just don’t get it?” This is one I used to fail in, because “I didn’t get it.” I would preach Christ and at the same time be on social media advocating for a politician that I deemed the lesser of two evils. What I didn’t get was that no matter the political party, or their representatives, both sides were two wings of the same evil bird, that scripture calls “the Beast”, or the world system.
Thankfully God woke me up to His word in that area, and I repented. I divested from being involved, spending my time, or promoting any aspect of the American democratic mindset. All of it is incongruent to God‘s kingdom. Jesus said “we are in this world but not of this world”. Caesar’s ways are not God’s ways. Christians do not pledge allegiance to ANYTHING but Christ. Ever wonder why modern ‘christians’ know nothing about persecution? Because they don’t follow and declare Jesus’ word. Do you think Jesus, Peter, James, or John were standing for Rome’s national anthem, based on a song about a land and territory conquest that slaughtered human beings made in God’s image, that is 100% in rebellion to Kingdom law? Do you think they pledged allegiance to the Roman flag of an ‘eagle’ that represented the war of conquest of other peoples? And since my rhetorical questions have an obvious answer, do you see why they were persecuted for Christ’s name? They stood for the Law of Christ, not to please men who are in opposition to Him. When one resists the Beast, THEN they are persecuted. Do you see nationalism being taught by Christ? Did He preach loyalty to Israel? No. The Jewish religious leaders did. They condemned Jesus for associating with the Samaritan lady. Judaism taught elitism of themselves over other people God created. They were prideful in thinking God demanding His people to be set apart meant they were superior. Did Jesus act superior to others? No, He became servant to all. Do you see Christ teaching the Jews of His day that they were superior to other nations? No. What you see is that Jesus renounced national ethnicity and established a covenant with every nation, kindred, people, and language. The ‘whosoevers’ will’ of humanity. And those who will are the Israel of God in the New Covenant.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, THEN YOU ARE ABRAHAM’s OFFSPRING, heirs according to promise.
For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for ALL WHO WALK BY THIS RULE, peace and mercy be UPON THEM, and upon THE ISRAEL OF GOD.”
So, is a Christian who has been shown the error of this world, made aware of the concept of the “Beast” in scripture, in how it denotes the ever-evolving socio-political system of the world we live in, to be a partaker of, and consumed with it? No. We are to repent of it, come out from among them and be separated. So what does it say about us, if we continue to be absorbed by it, after being taught better? It means we are world-focused. That is often excused by saying “we just want a better world for our kids to grow up in.” Since when does Christ ever focus on our kids’ future in this broken world? We are to teach them the eternal view, not health, wealth, peace, and prosperity in this corrupted system. Showing a world focus is announcing that we don’t like how it is affecting US. And most often, it is rooted in greed. But rather than recognize that the Christ we profess is cursing the greed of the world system we live in, and the economic hardships are God’s will, we complain and soil ourselves in the politics and slander of the leaders that God appoints to carry out His judgment. Yes, God appoints leaders that reflect the heart of the populous. Have you ever read in the scripture where God gives men over to what THEY DESIRE? If a nation’s people are screaming for freedom against God’s moral law, He will grant them a President who will lead their charge. Then He will judge them for it. People really should read their Bible!!
Currently gas prices and inflation is the point of discontentment. People are upset about their own wallets. Ever notice the majority were indifferent over rainbow flags and the other depraved behaviors affecting the nations, but man…when gas and food are up 200%, everyone is up in arms!! For Christians, God commands you that if you have food, clothing, and shelter to be CONTENT. So why are people professing to follow Christ complaining? Because they’re exposing their love of the world, rather than showing their support of God, in Him judging the unrighteousness of their nation. They want God without having to suffer. It is NOT possible. Scripture tells us that God judges humanity in his mercy, so that they may repent and escape His final wrath. The suffering of judgment is intended to bring people to repentance. It is the love of God. Real love is discipline. But even the professing Christian, rather than repenting of the world system, is promoting it through their own disobedience and complaining. If you compile all the issues I’ve stated thus far, it may sound like this:
“I can’t afford to give what God requires of my income because I have pay the house payment, new truck payment, the payment for a new sports car I just bought my 16 year old, buy pool chemicals, my side-by-side payment, all the insurances, my wife’s credit card bill, this years lush vacation, and groceries and gas, which are now skyrocketing because of this stupid administration people voted for. And with gas so high, it’s cheaper to stay home than drive to church, plus I’ll save a little money so I can fill up my ATV’s, so she and I and the kids can still go riding Saturday. That’s OUR day together!!”
LOL! I made myself laugh with that rendition. That sounds pretty accurate to what I have heard from multiple sources! So tell me, when people say ‘they’re getting it’, and yet are guilty of things like all I’ve stated above, Jesus is saying to YOU: “HEY GUYS,YOU DON’T GET IT!!” It’s mere lip-service to God, but the heart is far from Him. Just talking about scripture and acknowledging its validity, yet not PRACTICING what He said, is rebellion. It is called LAWLESSNESS. Jesus said…
On that day MANY will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you WORKERS OF LAWLESSNESS.’
Is a person who isn’t committed to giving as commanded to God an accepted believer? No. God rejects them as greedy idolaters. They will not be saved.
Is a person who is unfaithful to gathering with the church, He has placed them with, a believer? No. They’re rebellious and their desires are elsewhere. Whatever keeps us from faithfulness to anything is our god, whether it is our golf clubs or our children. Something is an idol we value above obeying God.
Is a person consumed with the things of the world, and its political systems, a believer? Jesus said….
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father IS NOT IN HIM. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but WHOEVER DOES the will of God abides forever.
Being consumed with American politics and culture is a world focus. It is rooted in the God of “Me”, and how my wallet, my security, my 401k, my job, my whatever is being affected. Make no mistake, we can’t say we trust God and blow up Facebook with evidence of our focus on a kingdom that hates God’s kingdom. And we cannot serve both! Salvation comes by doing what Jesus says. That is called Faith, or “faithfulness.” What is “abides forever” a synonym of in scripture? Eternal life. So the obvious question is: Will the person that DOES NOT do the will and word of God be given eternal life and abide forever? NO!!! They’re lying to you in those churches that teach a workless salvation. Those false teachers are damned and will damn you if you follow them.
Only LET YOUR MANNER OF LIFE BE WORTHY of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind STRIVING side by side FOR THE FAITH of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For IT HAS BEEN GRANTED TO YOU that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him BUT ALSO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls. BUT BE SURE YOU LIVE OUT THE MESSAGE and DO NOT MERELY LISTEN to it and so deceive yourselves. For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was. But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but ONE WHO LIVES IT OUT – he WILL BE BLESSED in what he does.
If we aren’t practicing and living out Christ’s law, we aren’t His child. One can keep sharing their proverbial ‘Christian tracts’, sharing information about Jesus, or speaking ‘Christianese” on social media, but it is merely taking His name in vain if we aren’t examples in walking as Jesus walked.
“Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Yeah….Jesus’ half-brother wrote that…..
Are you getting it yet? Only the obedient will be saved.