Today​’s Scrip-Bit 13 March 2019 Matthew 19:21.

Matthew 19:21.   ​Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be (want to be) perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
 
What did the man say? ‘Fight one more round…just one more round…before giving up!’ Ah friends, that’s exactly what the ole fella’s doing; fighting one more round, as in going into the big city of T.O. for another medical appointment, and that’s also why he’s up so early writing the Bit! Aren’t you proud of him? I know you are! (smile) 

Yeh, it’s a pain in the rear end to be always going into the city for these medical appointments, but the long and short of the story is that they are for my benefit, not the doctors. So if I don’t go, who’s going to suffer eh? They might not even make less money since there are oodles of people lining up to see them. 

And today, in this season of Lent, where we all aspire to get more spiritual, (smile) we’ll look at an interesting situation in Jesus’ time that still holds good even today, and possibly more so than ever. It all begins with this quote from Uncle John (John Hagee), which says: ‘Your spiritual strength is measured not by what you can believe, but in what you can obey.’ Living truth that my people! Believing is easy, but obeying cuts right to the quick of our sinful hearts and desires! 

And we have a great example of that in the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking about eternal life. The Good Book reports it thus: ‘And behold, one came and said unto him (Jesus), Good Master (Teacher), what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 

And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt (want to) enter into life, keep the commandments. He (the man) saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: And thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.’ (Matt.19:16-19) 

Now that’s standard fare for us all, the basic dictates of the Ten Commandments that the Lord gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai, for the Israelites and all those who believed in Him to follow. And the Good Book continues: ‘The young man saith unto him (Jesus), All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be (want to be) perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.’ (Matt.19:20-22) 

Ah friends, yuh see what we talking about? Spiritual strength is so much more than just believing! That young rich ruler believed, but he just couldn’t obey. Selling his many possessions and then giving away the resultant funds to the poor was just too much for him to handle. And so it is for many of us in today’s very materialistic society. We believers who are supposed to be in the world but not of the world, are too often caught up in those same very materialistic situations like that young man of old. 

And the scholars offer this insightful explanation. ‘19:18-22. This list of commands in verse 18 centres on outward duties, rather than inward nature, which was the young man’s real problem. He protests that he had kept these outward demands. His luxurious wealth and self-righteousness had blinded him to his real weakness. To expose this, Jesus orders, go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor…and come…follow me (v.21). 

This he would not do and went away sorrowful. Jesus thus shows him that he had not kept the commandments at all. He LOVED himself more than he LOVED his neighbour (the poor), and he LOVED his possessions more than he LOVED God (“me”). This passage teaches the seriousness of true discipleship, but it in no way teaches the average man that he must sell his possessions in order to be a Christian.’  

No friends, the average Joe does not have to give away all his stuff, but I’m sure that we’d all agree that there is certainly too much poverty in our society, when overall there is immense prosperity. This therefore means that too few have too much, and too many have too little. Consequently there needs to be a touch of equalization, where some of us who have a lot, give to those who don’t have much. 

And that was the original purpose of the church; to help those in need, as we see from Acts 2:44-45. ‘And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted (distributed) them to all men, as every man had need.’ 

Yes friends, I know the church was much smaller then and they could do that kind of communal living, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the church today, meaning all of us believers, is definitely not as sympathetic and giving to the needy as Jesus would like us to be, because we are too attached to our earthly possessions. 

 Remember we are the hands and feet, the body of Jesus down here on earth, and whatever we do will reflect on Him. So for Jesus’ sake, my fellow believers, please, I implore us, let’s try and do better nuh. In this way, the world will have a much more accepting disposition to our Lord and Saviour and thus less souls will be lost to the enemy. 

Now let’s go home wailing our Wednesday Wail, telling all and sundry our sure-fire position in Christ. As one strong voice now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! 

I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Now that’s a future that none of us should  want to miss! Much LOVE!

…getting is very dependent on giving…you’ll get…as you give…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 June 2014 Acts 2:47

Acts 2:47.   Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be (were being) saved.

Oh Friends, it’s a beautiful Monday morning, the day after Pentecost! That means the Holy Spirit has recharged your spiritual batteries only yesterday, so please rise and greet the new day with praise and thanksgiving, as befitting true followers of Jesus Christ.
 
And though many still muttered and groaned like a normal Monday morning, generally speaking, the response to that request wasn’t too bad at all. Wonder of Wonders! (smile) But I know we can’t do without our adrenalin rush on the first day of the new work week, so let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn to get our spirits activated.
 
All together in loud and hearty harmony now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together.
 
We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies.
 
But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’
 
Now that was a pretty good rendition Friends, no doubt aided by our recent filling, regeneration of the Holy Spirit; that incredible aura of God’s LOVE!
 
So yesterday we saw where the Holy Spirit blazed a windy and fiery trail down from heaven, and fell upon the apostles at Jerusalem, enabling them to speak of the gospel in the many different languages and dialects of the city dwellers. And after Peter preached a mighty sermon, some three thousand lost souls were saved that day. ‘And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.’ (Acts 2:42)
 
Now listen to this explanation from the scholars. ‘2:41-42. The pattern set here for new believers is normative throughout this age. They publicly confess their faith through baptism and join in fellowship, edification, and service within the assembly of God’s people.’
 
Oh my brethren, how I wish it was that simple in these convoluted and compelling times! But getting supposed Christians to publicly confess and participate in their faith today is like pulling teeth without anaesthetic. Anyway, what I want us to see today is the effect that outpouring of the Holy Spirit had on those first time believers.
 
The Good Book describes it thus: ‘And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by (through) the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted (distributed) them to all men, as every man (anyone) had need.
 
And they, continuing daily with one accord (mind) in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat (food) with gladness, and singleness of heart (simplicity), Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be (were being) saved.’ (Acts 2:43-47)
 
Yes Friends, it evolved into a kind of communal living; of sharing and praying and praising God together, and God increased their numbers daily. Yuh see what can happen when we live a life that’s pleasing to God!
 
However, here are some interesting comments from the scholars on that situation. ‘2:44-45. Communal sharing was practiced for a brief time by the early church but not throughout Acts. These believers were expecting the very soon return of Christ (as Peter demonstrates in his sermons of chs. 2 and 3), and they therefore sold their possessions. This did not last.
 
Such communal life is not taught by the apostles. Rather we are taught to be good stewards of that with which God has entrusted us and to share willingly and cheerfully (2 Cor.8, 9). Further, this does not correspond to Communism, because this resulted from a spiritual unity among the people and was a voluntary act (cf. 5:4).’
 
Oh Friends, I guess that style of living would be rather difficult, nigh impossible to do in these modern, greedy and selfish times. But my fellow believers, that shouldn’t stop us from fellowshipping and generously sharing what’s been entrusted to us by God, with those in need. For remember all that’s in our possession truly belongs to God, and we are just His managers while on our earthly pilgrimage. That’s why we can’t take it with us.
 
Now let’s get out there this Monday morning, in this wicked and lustful world, and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, spread His LOVE Revolution, ably guided and assisted by His Holy Spirit, so that unsaved souls can see our good works and true faith and greatly desire to come to Jesus for salvation and eternal life. For there’s no greater wisdom in all of heaven and earth than that! Much LOVE!
 
…what a powerful and intriguing God-head…the Father…the Son…and the Holy Ghost…