The Cost of a Deeper Walk with God - Purity 1173
Purity 1173 10/16/2023 Purity 1173 Podcast
Purity 1173 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of the silhouettes of trees on the
horizon underneath a cotton candy sunrise sky comes to us from yours truly as I
traversed over about 60 yards of damp grassy farmland to get just beyond the right-of-way
power lines to capture this unobstructed view of the morning sky a week ago on
October 9th. I liked the
view of God’s creation so much that morning that I wanted to capture it without
the intrusion of man and was willing to go further than I intended and get my
feet a little wet in the process.
Ok, I have to admit I didn’t quite understand just
how soaked my feet would get in that morning dew when I set out but once I had
started on the mission to capture this view I decided to just keep pressing
forward rather than give up and turn around because I had set my course and I
thought that the extra yards and wet feet were worth the cost to capture this
Well, it’s Monday and as we enter into October’s third
work week, my morning walk reminds me of the unexpected costs of pursuing the
path of Christian Discipleship and how after I had set my course to follow the
Lord as much as I could with the way I live my life, how I have repeatedly
agreed that the journey and its various destinations were worth the price of
admission, and its hidden fees.
While the financial costs of seeking the Lord, alone,
could be considered to be great if I just thought about the amount of money I have
spent and continue to spend on Christian books, education, “mission trips”, and
charitable donations, the path of Christian Discipleship will also cost you
time and the incalculable value of the losses in your pre-Christ
relationships. You wouldn’t necessarily
think that deciding to “do the right thing” in following the Lord would result
in losing relationships but it usually does. But considering the things lost versus the
things I have gained in Christ Jesus I can easily echo the sentiments of the
Apostle Paul in:
Philippians 3:7-11 (NLT2)
7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.
8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ
9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,
11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
Knowing the love, peace, and joy of
the Lord and experiencing the new and eternal life that God gives to us through
Christ makes whatever personal costs we have to pay worth it. God’s amazing grace is a priceless gift that
keeps on giving and even when my faith results in suffering or unexpected expenditures
to my finances, time, or personal relationships I can confidently and boldly
say, I wouldn’t have it any other way and would be willing to pay even more
than I have had to know this peace with God.
Pretty faithful huh?
Well, yesterday my zeal was put to
the test as I received a wake-up call on yet another aspect of what a “deeper
walk” with Christ may actually entail and what it would mean biblically to make
God first in my life.
Yesterday, my pastor, Roscoe Lily
laid out one of the most convicting messages on tithing that I have ever had
the displeasure to hear. Yup, I have a
confession to make, while I have tithed in the past and mentally agree with the
idea that we should put the Lord first with everything in our lives, including
our money, my failure to budget properly resulted in compromising on tithing. The various seasons of turmoil in my walk and
my failure to practice frugality and good financial stewardship resulted in my
giving less than I should.
Don’t get me wrong. Pastor Lily is as
humble servant leader and seeker-friendly a pastor as a skeptic or sinner could
hope for but as I often say to others, I love his preaching because it doesn’t
compromise one iota on telling the truth in love and encouraging his listeners
to be Followers of Jesus – with a capital F – or D for Disciple. So when he made a straightforward call to be
obedient to the Biblical principle of tithing, the Holy Spirit used it to
convict me and step my game up in terms of generosity immediately, in about
less than 10 minutes into his message.
I have sat under other messages on
tithing in the past without complying with the call to obediently honor God with my “first fruits” because
of my financial status and hardness of heart in the past but yesterday, the
Holy Spirit worked through Lily’s message and caused me to immediately
surrender and commit myself to doing “what was right” regardless of the
costs. God has given me everything and I
was ashamed that I had changed my course from faithfully tithing as I had done
in the past. So, I did it almost immediately,
and I’m glad I did because Roscoe’s message was a full court press on being a “real
Christian” for real. Don’t get me
wrong, he did give grace to those who were in no position to make the tithing
commitment and even gave a money-back guarantee to the faint of heart – really he
did – Starpoint invites people to tithe for 90 days and if they don’t feel the
Lord has provided for them after 90 days the church agrees to return the paid
tithe back. I know who’s going to ask
for their money back, but that’s the contract you can sign to give tithing a
try at my church. Crazy.
While I basically made the change to
tithing almost immediately, I was impressed with a part of Roscoe’s message
where he addressed the hypothetical scenario of someone coming to him and
asking about how they could have a deeper walk with God. Roscoe said that if someone asks them that
the first thing he will recommend is tithing because it costs you something and
it really puts your money where your mouth is.
Put up or shut up.
Don’t get me wrong. Tithing is
perhaps one of the easiest ways to be obedient.
Anybody can write a check. You don’t become spiritually richer or more
mature instantly by paying your tithes. Believe me I have done it in the past!
But it does show some basic obedience and could be a true sign of one’s devotion
to the things of God.
So yesterday, I made God first in my life in a basic way that I had in the past but had somewhere compromised along the way. The word of indicates we should tithe and while I agreed with the principle, I wasn't practicing it but now I am and I will make adjustments in other areas of my life so my choice to give God my “first fruits” won’t be a means of suffering for my faith and I can be a “cheerful giver” who gladly pays the costs to support God’s work on earth,
Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By
John G. Kruis.
While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google
search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s
work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )
morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Bitterness, Resentment,
Galatians 5:15 (NIV2011)
15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
verse fall under the second point of our counseling reference guide resource’s
section on Bitterness,
Resentment, & Hate.
2. Quit biting and devouring one another.
Today’s verse exhorts us to not bite and devour each other, showing that even the early church could be a place of contentions, bitterness, and hate.
Not for nothing but Pastor Lily’s message on tithing yesterday undoubtedly will cause some to be offended and angry and may even cause some to never return to our church. Critics who complain about churches being all about money have a large piece of evidence to present at the court of public opinion after yesterday’s message!
The enemy knows how to stoke the flames of discord among the brethren and money is just one of a plethora of topics that the enemy can use to sow seeds of bitterness and resentment among the body of Christ. Pastor Roscoe’s call to pay the costs of discipleship in terms of tithing could cause a great division among our congregation and result in people “biting and devouring one another”.
“Heck it’s the fourth quarter of 2023, the economy is rough, and Christmas is coming – did the Pastor really ask us to give more money to the church!?!? – Ding! Ding! Come out with your dukes up!
But seriously, the Apostle Paul’s words in today’s verse admits to the reality of the dangers of infighting in the body of Christ and warns us against it. So as much as it depends on us, let’s agree with the word of God, obey it and be peacemakers as we seek to show and share the love of Jesus.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I
always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to
assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.
As always, I share this information for educational
purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own
private study and to support his work. This resource is available online
for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3)
A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit
30 - The Spirit Fructifying
of the Spirit (Graces of the Spirit)
“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good
fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring
forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit … Wherefore
by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:17, 18, 20). The fruit they bear
is that which distinguishes the children of God from the children of the Devil.
This “fruit” is the temper or disposition wrought in the elect by the Holy
Spirit, which is manifested by them, severally, “according to the measure of
the gift of Christ” (Eph. 4:7). The Spirit fructifies the regenerate by
conforming them to the image of Christ: first to His graces, and then to His
example. The lovely virtues found in them do not issue from the depraved nature
of fallen man, but are supernaturally inwrought by God.
There are three
leading passages in the New Testament on this subject. John 15 names the conditions of fruitfulness: union with
Christ, purging by the Father, abiding in Christ, and Christ and His Word
abiding in us. Galatians 5 furnishes a description
of the fruit itself. 2 Peter 1:5–8 states the order of fruit or the process of its cultivation. “In the
figure of the Vine, the Holy Spirit is not mentioned, but in comparing Himself
to the Vine and His disciples to the Branches, the Tree corresponds to the
Body, and the Life to His Spirit. The diffusion of life is the work of the Holy
Spirit, and the fruit by which the Father is glorified is the fruit of the
Spirit. Apart from Christ there is neither life nor fruit, but without the
Spirit of Christ there can be neither union or abiding. Our Lord does not
specify the fruit. What He emphasizes is the fact that it is fruit, and that it is fruit directly
from Himself” (S. Chadwick).
“The fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22, 23). These are graces of the Spirit as distinguished from the gifts of the Spirit, enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12, and which will
be considered in our next chapter. They are holy and heavenly dispositions with
the conduct which results therefrom. The Apostle begins with the principal
characteristics of the spiritual mind, and then passes on to its operation and
manifestation in personal conduct, social virtues, and practical behavior. A
threefold reason may be suggested why these spiritual graces are termed
“fruit.” First, because all grace is derived
from the Spirit as fruit issues from the life of a plant. Second, to denote the
pleasantness of grace, for what is
more delightful than sweet and wholesome fruit? Third, to signify the advantage redounding to those who have
the Spirit; as the owners are enriched by the fruit produced from their gardens
and orchards, so believers are enriched by the fruits of holiness.
In the use of the
singular number, “the fruit (rather than fruits) of the Spirit,” emphasis is
placed upon the unity of His
operations: producing one harmonious whole—in contrast from the products of the
flesh, which ever tend to discord and chaos. These virtues are not like so many
separate flowers in a bouquet, as the variegated petals of one lovely flower
exhibiting different shades and forms. A rainbow is one, yet in it all the
primary colors are beautifully blended together. These graces which the Spirit
imparts to a renewed soul are distinguishable, but they are inseparable. In
some believers one grace predominates more than another—as meekness in Moses,
patience in Job, love in John—yet all are present and to some extent active.
Galatians 5:22, 23
enumerates nine of the graces communicated by the Spirit. Some have suggested
that the last eight are but varied expressions of the first. That “Joy is love
exulting, Peace is love in repose, Longsuffering is love on trial, Gentleness
is love in society, Goodness is love in action, Faith is love in endurance,
Meekness is love at school, and Temperance is love in discipline” (A. T.
Pierson). But while love is, admittedly, the greatest of all the graces, yet 1
Corinthians 13:13 shows that it is but one of several. Personally, we prefer
the older classification which divided the nine graces into three threes: the
first three—love, joy, peace—being Godwards in their exercise; the second
three—longsuffering, gentleness goodness—being exercised manwards; and the last
three—fidelity, meekness, temperance—being exercised self-ward.
“Love:” the Apostle
begins with that which flows directly from God (Rom. 5:5), and without which
there can be no fellowship with Him or pleasing of Him. “Joy” in God, in the
knowledge of pardon, in communion with Christ, in the duties of piety, in the
hope of Heaven. “Peace:” of conscience, rest of heart, tranquillity of mind.
“Longsuffering” when provoked and injured by others, exercising a magnanimous
forbearance toward the faults and failing of our fellows. “Gentleness” rendered
“kindness” in 2 Corinthians 6:6, a gracious benignity, the opposite of a harsh,
crabbed, and brutal temper. “Goodness” or beneficence, seeking to help and
benefit others, without expecting any return or reward. “Faith” or more
accurately “faithfulness:” being trustworthy, honest, keeping your promises.
“Meekness” or yieldedness, the opposite of self-will and self-assertiveness.
“Temperance” or self-control: being moderate in all things, ruling one’s
spirit, denying self
English, the passage would read something like this: The Fruit of the Spirit is
an affectionate, lovable disposition, a radiant spirit and a cheerful temper, a
tranquil mind and a quiet manner, a forbearing patience in provoking
circumstances and with trying people, a sympathetic insight and tactful
helpfulness, generous judgment and a big-souled charity, loyalty and
reliableness under all circumstances, humility that forgets self in the joy of
others, in all things self-mastered and self-controlled, which is the final
mark of perfecting. This is the kind of character that is the Fruit of the
Spirit. Everything is in the word Fruit. It is not by striving, but by abiding;
not by worrying, but by trusting; not of works, but of faith” (S. Chadwick).
And, as our passage goes on to say, “Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:23):
that which the Law enjoins the Spirit imparts, so that there is perfect harmony
between the Law and the Gospel.
But here, too, there
is to be a concurrence between the Christian and the Spirit; our responsibility
is to cherish and cultivate our graces, and to resist and reject everything
which opposes and hinders them. Fruit is neither our invention nor our product,
nevertheless it requires our “diligence” as 2 Peter 1:5 plainly indicates. A
neglected garden grows weeds in plenty, and then its flowers and fruits are
quickly crowded out. The gardener has to be continually alert and active. Turn
to and ponder Psalm 1 and see what
has to be avoided, and what has to be
done, if the believer is to “bring forth his fruit in his season.” Re-read John
15 and note the conditions of fruitfulness, and then turn the same into earnest
prayer. The Lord, in His grace, make both writer and reader successful horticulturists
in the spiritual realm.
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