Tuesday October 9, 2018
EPH 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:
EPH 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
EPH 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ
“has blessed” - eulogeo (aorist active participle). Aorist refers to the Father blessing every believer before the foundation of the world (vs. 4).
God the Father is the only source of blessing. Material blessing is ultimately meaningless without His spiritual blessings.
On Sunday we saw the rich young ruler who wouldn’t sell his possessions and give to the poor by command of the Son of God. Jesus told him to keep the commands and he claimed that he had done so. What he violated was the first command.
EXO 20:2 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
EXO 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
The spiritual blessings are God Himself. Material blessings are created by God and meant to be used. We must all recognize the answer to the question, “Used to what end?”
We also saw the man who after hearing the Lord speak of the glory that all who believed in Him would see, asked Jesus to arbitrate between him and his brother in a financial dispute. Jesus said that the fool is the “man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God.” (LUK 12:21)
Then we saw the infant church in Act 2. She was made up of almost all Jews, who because of their belief, were ostracized from the Jewish community; from their families, neighbors, and friends. The Lord’s statement that “he who loves mother or father more than Me is not worthy of Me,” was fulfilled in the very beginning of the church. Because the community rejected them, many were in need, and the community of Christians stepped up and even sold property in order to share all they had so that none would be in need.
Each person must give as they purpose in their own heart. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, but do not have love, it profits me nothing (1CO 13:3). What is the profit in agape love? Is it not being rich towards God?
Be careful of lying to yourself in the area of giving and possession. Love is sacrificial. He who sows bountifully will reap (towards God) bountifully, 2CO 9:6.
Because God is your Father, your storehouse for giving that which is good will always be full.
Material blessings are from God. He is the Creator of them all. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
God loves matter. He made it and said that it was good. Yet, matter is not a part of Him. It is outside Him as His creation. However, election, love, justice, fortitude, grace, goodness, holiness, etc. (spiritual blessings) are all a part of Him.
Temperance has always referred to self-control in all pleasures, and not just drink. The term was taken over by temperance societies in the nineteenth century who pledged teetotalism (etymology).
God does not bid us to be ascetics. There may be many sound reasons that a man gives up drink, either for an individual occasion, or for the rest of his life, but he is not to expect everyone else to do the same.
The whole point of self-control is abstinence or temperance of any thing for good reason and not condemning others who seem to be having a good time.
ROM 14:1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.
ROM 14:2 One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.
ROM 14:3 Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him.
ROM 14:4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
ROM 14:5 One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.
ROM 14:6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
ROM 14:7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;
ROM 14:8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
ROM 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
ROM 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.
ROM 14:11 For it is written, [ISA 45:23]
"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give praise to God."
ROM 14:12 So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
The error comes when the abstainer begins to imagine that the thing itself is wrong. Alcohol is not wrong. Its abuse is wrong and very damaging as almost every family knows. Others may abstain from marriage or gambling or any number of things for a good reason, but that doesn’t make marriage or cards or sports wrong.
A man who takes any worldly thing as the center of his life is guilty of the first commandment and has a lack of self-control or temperance.
What this has to do with our study is that the spiritual blessings are always to be the center of our lives. Material and worldly blessings will be used well and enjoyed from that context alone.
A lack of self-control will be more noticeable depending on what is out of control. The more easily hidden things are not any less sinful. Moral degeneracy is not better than immoral.
1TI 6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
1TI 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
1TI 6:19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
What are also of a material commodity on the level of wealth and things are power and influence.
We have recently seen the ugly side of such lust for power in our latest Supreme Court nomination. All semblance of justice, fair-play, and respect of decency was cast aside in the pursuit of power. I pray the people of our nation see this for what it is, not so that they may affiliate with any political party, but that they might see that virtue, an invisible power that only comes from God, is far more important that wealth and worldly power, and that perhaps, this might get them flocking to their local churches with hearts in search of truth.
Spiritual over material: The Bible doesn’t mandate a particular form of government or economic system.
Has the world noticed that the Bible doesn’t prescribe us to a particular political or economic program? Why not?
The truth is meant for all men of all times and in all cultures and situations. Politics and economics are not eternal and different programs may work better with different peoples.
ROM 13:1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
ROM 13:2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
ROM 13:3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same;
ROM 13:4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.
ROM 13:5 Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake.
ROM 13:6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
ROM 13:7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
The founding fathers understood that evil, selfish men always rise to the top of power, and so they instituted the separation of power into three branches of government.
In every upstart nation that is well-meaning, things seem to work okay in the beginning, but like a broken machine, it goes along for a little way and then breaks down. Our machine has only lasted as long as it has under one government because of the impediment of the Constitution to those who would take power. Yet, if the people in general were virtuous due to the spiritual blessings of the Father, the impediment would be unnecessary. The reality is that men are not angels and neither are governments.
The danger is not in your political affiliation or what brand of government you prefer, but if your affiliation and program lack justice, reason, temperance, and fortitude.
Spiritual over material: The NT tells us to give sacrificially, but not what, when, to whom, and how much.
When the Bible tells you to feed and clothe the poor it does not insert a cooking and sowing lesson. It says, “Go and do to your neighbor,” to which we often delay our commitment with silly questions about who is our neighbor.
LUK 6:27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
LUK 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
LUK 6:29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
LUK 6:30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
LUK 6:31 "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.
LUK 6:32 "And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
LUK 6:33 "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
LUK 6:34 "And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount.
LUK 6:35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
LUK 6:36 "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
LUK 6:37 "And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
LUK 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."