The Church Just Wants Your Money! – Lies of the Enemy #23– Purity 1035
Purity 1035 05/04/2023 Purity 1035 Podcast
Purity 1035 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a rainbow over multicolored trees of spring comes to us from Dawn Kaninenberg-Steward who shared this scene, presumably from near her home in Chatham NY on social media on May 2nd , commenting “never gets old”. Dawn is the president of Our Community Cares Inc, (http://ourcommunitycarescc.org/) whose mission is to provide financial and emotional support to residents of Columbia County who are facing hardships in their lives or in the life of a family member. I met Dawn and co-director, Lori Weaver, back in 2019 when I was the Walk Chair for the AFSP’s Columbia-Greene Out of the Darkness walk and I can tell you that Dawn and Lori showed that their organization is the real deal by providing me with much needed support to pull off that event! Just like enjoying the beauty of a rainbow never gets old, their continued service to the Columbia County community shows that their passion for helping others never gets old either!
Well it’s Friday, and I hope that you will indulge me in thanking God that it is Friday, because for me – thanking the Lord never gets old as I make an intentional practice of gratitude part of my morning routine each day. I have been forgiven much and I have been blessed with a supportive family and Heavenly Father who have been with me through all the ups and downs of my life and so when I remember the hard times that I have been through and consider the peace, love, and joy that I am experiencing now giving thanks to the Lord comes pretty naturally and I hope to never tire of it!
A significant part of finding joy in my life has been due to my involvement with the community of saints – the church- where I was able to learn and grow in my faith because some faithful men and women decided to faithfully worship and serve the Lord by encouraging a “seeker” like me.
I have been a “member” – or regular attendee to at least 5 different churches in my life and while I can say that I don’t think I was really “saved” and definitely not fully following the Lord until 2010 or 2015, if we are talking FULL SURRENDER, I can say that all the faithful men and women I have met along the way through all those churches didn’t have any ulterior motives or hidden agendas – as far as I know. The people who served in those churches, as far as I know, seemed to be sincere in their faith and seemed only interested in encouraging others to serve and follow the Lord too.
However, in those communities of faith and in regard to Christianity in general, there is a dissenting opinion that the worship is not sincere and that the motives for meeting are monetary rather than missionary. Some claim the purpose of churches has more to do with the almighty dollar rather than the Almighty Deity!
And that brings us to our current series, the Lies of the Enemy, which is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith or the faith of others, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives.
Today’s big lie is:
Lie #23: The Church Just Wants Your Money
The enemy delights in every church financial scandal and every plea for cash from a prosperity gospel preacher because it helps to make the case that “The Church Just Wants Your Money”. The enemy has plenty of support to try to convince us that this lie is true.
Some churches actually boldly proclaim (and list this on their websites) that members of their church are required to pay a tithe -10% of your income – to be a member of their “Christian” fellowship. On the flipside of this, I know from experience, that some church members practice the “dollar tithe” – a dollar a week -sometimes per family member – sometimes for the whole family – for the weeks they go to church. The preaching at many churches turn to the subject of tithing or the financial needs of the church on a regular basis to invite congregates to put their “money where their faithful proclamation” is to raise needed funds or to welcome people into a deeper trust in God and investment into their faith life. All of these things and the proven cases of financial mismanagement and theft in the “church” build up the enemy’s case that “the church just wants your money”.
The enemy does this of course to sow seeds of division and encourages people to forsake the assembly of the saints. Churches of united Christians are a threat to the enemy and so he appeals to people’s more selfish instincts to harden their hearts when it comes to giving or to separate themselves from “organized religion” all together.
And that’s the point on which I would like to make a stand for the “church” – the true spiritual body of believers. Buildings, denominations, and organizations are not the “church” – the people that follow the Lord are the church and while local congregations and organizations need money to operate – the “church” doesn’t just want your money – they want all of you!
They want your presence, your fellowship, your talents, your obedience, your encouragement, your service, and anything else you can contribute to God’s kingdom’s purposes.
There are various opinions on the subject of tithing, and I would encourage you to follow the Apostle Paul’s instruction in
Corinthians 9:7 (NLT2) that says:
7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
Decide in your heart how much to give and to do it without pressure and to give it freely with joy. If you feel the conviction to give 10%, or less, or more, give it with joy.
And the same goes for our service or the other ways we give to the body of Christ- don’t do it out of pressure – do it out of the love you have for God – not the good opinions of men – do it with joy.
God is the head of the church, and He wants you heart, not your cash. The Lord doesn’t want financial gifts or false expressions of worship where we just go through the motions.
Isaiah 1:11-18 (NLT2)
11 “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting— they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings.
14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
16 Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
18 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.
The Lord wants us to repent and follow Him – sincerely. So all that we do should be done out of our love for Him – otherwise no amount that we give of anything will please Him. He wants us to follow Him with joy. So give of yourself as you feel led and continue to seek His will for you.
Hosea 6:6 (NLT2) tells us
6 I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.
God wants our love and to know Him and what you give to Him will only be a small investment on the huge blessings that will come from walking humbly with our God.
The Church – the body of Christ – is led by God and it doesn’t want just your money – He wants all of you, but He only wants what you free give.
So deny that lie of the enemy that the Church is just after your money and go to the Lord with your offer of full surrender and give Him what you can with joy.
For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is :
James 1:25 (NLT2)
25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
Today’s verse encourages us to know the word of God and to do what it says with the promise of God’s blessing for doing so.
This verse can easily be misconstrued to support those prosperity gospel preachers who promise great returns for your great faith but when I encourage people to follow the Lord’s will for their lives and to obey the word of God, I try to temper their expectations “keeping it real” by assuring them that while they may be blessed by the fruit of the Spirit when they decide to walk in the Spirit – they may have to find their peace and joy in the midst of hardship, suffering or persecution because Christ said we could expect it.
When we walk with the Lord, we are blessed by His presence and the peace we have when we are in harmony with Him. And that is a GREAT BLESSING – the Joy of the Lord is our strength and the peace He gives goes beyond our understanding so we shouldn’t necessarily be expecting material or circumstantial blessings because if we put our hopes in the things of this earth we will be disappointed.
So look into the “perfect law that sets you free” and do what it says and expect the blessing of a rich relationship with God and wait and see what He has for you.
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 “Satan, Demons & Satanism: A Sinister Reality” By June Hunt.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. This resource is available online for $7.99 (https://june-hunt.myshopify.com/collections/keys-for-living/products/keys-for-living-on-satan-demons-satanism_ ).
Satan, Demons & Satanism
A Sinister Reality
by June Hunt
B. What Are the Signs of Satanic Involvement?
A teenager was given the assignment to write a paper on any religious group. During his research, he became obsessed with satanism. While he was preoccupied with sadistic rock music and satanic rituals, his personality changed. Moving from soccer to sorcery, the boy became hostile and rebellious … eventually killing his mother and himself. This story is both tragic and true. Jesus warns us to “be on guard” … to watch out for false allegiances and abominations where hearts are hardened against His power.
“Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.”
Signs of Possible Satanic Curiosity
• Unexplained mood swings
• Intense rebelliousness
• Black candles
• Experimentation with drugs
• Fixation on death
• Use of satanic paraphernalia
• Secret agendas and unexplained activities
• Loss of interest in school, work or normal activities
• Obsession with occultic books, games, videos, movies
• Avoidance of family members
• Change in friends
• Black clothing and jewelry
• Hostility toward the church
• Preference for heavy metal rock music
• Drawing or displaying satanic symbols
Don’t dabble in the demonic. Satanism is like cyanide—in a gallon of milk. It takes only a few drops to kill you!
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
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My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ), her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Satan, Demons & Satanism: A Sinister Reality (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 8.