Tag Archives: greed

IMMORALITY, IMPURITY AND GREED ARE OUT!

IMMORALITY, IMPURITY AND GREED ARE OUT!

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure. No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a person is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. 5:3-5).

We must always keep in mind that the recipients of Paul’s letter were once immoral, impure and greedy people!

The change in a person’s lifestyle, who has become a follower of Jesus, is and must be so radical that they live as citizens of a completely opposite kingdom with opposite standards of behaviour.

Paul defined these two opposing realms as the kingdoms and light and darkness. Light is a synonym for everything for which God stands – morality, purity and generosity in every way towards others as a reflection of God’s character. Darkness – the absence of light – represents whatever God is not. Paul summed up the characteristics of those who insist on living in darkness by three words – immoral, impure and greedy.

We don’t need to look very far, in the world around us, to recognise these characteristics in those who refuse to acknowledge God or to live under His authority.  Selfishness and all its ramifications dominates human society. It’s everyone for himself regardless of what it does to others. Selfishness controls even the most humanitarian of professions – medicine and its associated disciplines.

In my country, if a seriously ill or injured person cannot produce a medical aid card or the upfront amount demanded by a private hospital, he or she can die outside without being seen or treated, and no one cares a hoot. Our government hospitals and ambulance services are no better. People die waiting for an ambulance. Unborn babies die before help arrives for a woman in labour. The motto of employees of these services, mostly controlled by unions, is generally ‘That’s not my job.’

Paul urgently implored these new-born babies in Christ, “Don’t be like that.” He has already explained in detail that they have been given a brand-new life. They were once dead to God but, because of His grace, they were alive and able to respond to His Spirit in them. They had been restored to the family of God and given unrestricted access to the Father. It was now up to them, with all the resources God had given them to live their new lives, to leave the old ways behind and respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in them.

What did Paul mean by ‘immoral, impure and greedy’?

To say that, some act is immoral is to say that violates some moral lawsnorms or standards.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immorality – retrieved January 2016.

Purity is a state of being unmixed with anything that taints or pollutes e.g., pure water has no pollutants in it. A pure person is one whose behaviour is not tainted with immoral actions or standards. To be impure is to taint one’s being with actions or behaviour that are not part of upright living.

Greed is “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed” – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/greed – retrieved January 2016.

 

 

What is idolatry? http://www.gotquestions.org/idolatry-definition.html

 

The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God.”

 

http://www.gotquestions.org/idolatry-definition.html – retrieved January 2016.

 

These vices have no place in a believer’s life because Christ has set him free from the standards and practices of the world. His citizenship is in the kingdom of light where the standards of righteousness apply. It is up to each citizen of the kingdom of God to establish new patterns of behaviour based on their choice to imitate Jesus rather than the citizens of the dominion of darkness.

 

Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

THE GOSPEL OF LUKE – WHO YOU ARE, NOT WHAT YOU HAVE

WHO YOU ARE, NOT WHAT YOU HAVE

“Speaking to the people (Jesus) went on, ‘Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even if you have a lot.'” Luke 12:15.

Jesus was well aware of the flaw in the fabric of human nature. He spoke about money and possessions more than any other subject. Why? He constantly warned against greed because of its consequences. Greed turns men into monsters, warps the mind and rips families and society apart. The Apostle Paul put it in a nutshell, ‘The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.’

To Jesus, greed was more wicked than adultery. He forgave the woman caught in adultery; He spent time and ate with tax-collectors and sinners, but He had serious issues with religious people who used their religion as a cloak for greed. He told stories to warn people about what God thought of greed.

Generosity was the clearest evidence of a change of heart. When a greedy person was willing to give and to share, that was ‘salvation.’ He did not mean that giving one’s money away saved anyone. That would have made it unnecessary for Him to go to the cross. He died to change the greedy heart into a disposition of generosity like the heart of God. So, when a greedy person turns generous, like Zaccheus, the miracle of salvation has occurred.

In the Bible, the word ‘righteous’ and the word ‘generous’ are interchangeable, for example, ‘The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.’ Psalm 37:21 (NIV). Generosity with our money and possessions are the outward evidence of a generous disposition which is willing to be open-hearted with people in every other way. God’s character can be summed up by the word ‘generous’. Just look at the world around us. God does everything in excess – lavish, prodigal, super-abundant provision in every way. Only man has messed it up.

God is not only generous with His provision in the natural world. His generosity spills over into His dealings with us. He is generous in His love, His mercy and His grace even towards those who will have nothing to do with Him. He gives us life and He offers every opportunity to receive His forgiveness and become a part of His rule of righteousness (generosity) in His kingdom. As long as we have breath in us, He calls and woos us towards Himself.

How can we protect ourselves against the greed that destroys everything? The answer is simple. Firstly, by receiving God’s mercy, we are forgiven and given a new disposition of generosity to replace our self-centred greed. But we have to cultivate the attitude towards others that sees their need before our own. Jesus said, ‘Give!’ The more we give to others, the more we break the selfish attitude that puts ourselves before others.

Praying won’t change us. Giving will. The strange thing is that giving releases a joy that makes us want to give even more. Giving does not make us poorer; it enriches us in ways we would not have believed possible. That’s what Jesus meant when He said, ‘Blessed are…” True happiness comes when we do the right thing and the right thing is to meet someone else’s need at our own expense. An amazing thing happens. We create a current of attitudes and resources that flows right back to us!

Jesus also warned against defining ourselves by what we have and not by who we are. The danger is that we elevate ourselves and treat others by value, not worth. Our worth lies in the price God put on us, the blood of His own Son. What we own is transient, but what we are worth is eternal and all people of all time are worth the blood of Jesus because we have God’s breath is us.

Immorality, Impurity And Greed Are Out!

IMMORALITY, IMPURITY AND GREED ARE OUT!

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure. No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a person is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. 5:3-5).

We must always keep in mind that the recipients of Paul’s letter were once immoral, impure and greedy people!

The change in a person’s lifestyle, who has become a follower of Jesus, is and must be so radical that they live as citizens of a completely opposite kingdom with opposite standards of behaviour.

Paul defined these two opposing realms as the kingdoms and light and darkness. Light is a synonym for everything for which God stands – morality, purity and generosity in every way towards others as a reflection of God’s character. Darkness – the absence of light – represents whatever God is not. Paul summed up the characteristics of those who insist on living in darkness by three words – immoral, impure and greedy.

We don’t need to look very far, in the world around us, to recognise these characteristics in those who refuse to acknowledge God and live under His authority.  Selfishness and all its ramifications dominate human society. It’s everyone for himself regardless of what it does to others. Selfishness controls even the most humanitarian of professions – medicine and its associated disciplines.

In my country, if a seriously ill or injured person cannot produce a medical aid card or the upfront amount demanded by a private hospital, he or she can die outside without being seen of treated, and no one cares a hoot. Our government hospitals and ambulance services are no better. People die waiting for an ambulance. Babies die before help arrives for a woman in labour. The motto of employees of these services, mostly controlled by unions, is generally ‘That’s not my job.’

Paul urgently implored these new-born babies in Christ, “Don’t be like that.” He has already explained in detail that they have been given a brand new life. They were once dead to God but, because of His grace, they were now alive and able to respond to His Spirit in them. They had been restored to the family of God and given unrestricted access to the Father. It was now up to them, with all the resources God had given them to live their new lives, to leave the old ways behind and respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in them.

What did Paul mean by ‘immoral, impure and greedy’?

To say that, some act is immoral is to say that violates some moral lawsnorms or standards.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immorality – retrieved January 2016.

Purity is a state of being unmixed with anything that taints or pollutes e.g., pure water has no pollutants in it. A pure person is one whose behaviour is not tainted with immoral actions or standards. To be impure is to taint one’s being with actions or behaviour that are not part of upright living.

Greed is “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed” – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/greed – retrieved January 2016.

 

 

What is idolatry? http://www.gotquestions.org/idolatry-definition.html

 

The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God.”

 

http://www.gotquestions.org/idolatry-definition.html – retrieved January 2016.

 

These vices have no place in a believer’s life because Christ has set him free from the standards and practices of the world. His citizenship is in the kingdom of light where the standards of righteousness apply. It is up to each citizen of the kingdom of God to establish new patterns of behaviour based on then choice to imitate Jesus rather than the citizens of the dominion of darkness.

 

Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

To Hell With Your Money

TO HELL WITH YOUR MONEY!

“Peter said, ‘To hell with your money! And you along with it. Why, that’s unthinkable — trying to buy God’s gift! You’ll never be a part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes. Change your ways, and now! Ask the Master to forgive you for trying to use God to make money. I can see this is an old habit with you. You reek with money-lust.’

“‘Oh!’ said Simon, ‘Pray for me. Pray to the Master that nothing like that will ever happen to me.'” Acts 8:24 (The Message).

How difficult it was for this man who was so used to letting money talk for him, to change gears. In his world, money opened every door and bought him the power to con more money out of gullible people. They were easy pickings where the realm of the supernatural fascinated them but which they did not understand.

In God’s realm, His provision is freely given because the price was paid by His own Son. He sent His Spirit, not as a power superior to the devil to be used for people’s selfish ends, but as the presence of God Himself with and in His people. Through His people He would put His glory on display by transforming them into the image of His Son and by pouring out His abundant grace through them to meet people’s needs.

Simon failed to understand this new Way. He tried to add the “Jesus” Way to the way he was already following, not knowing that they led in opposite directions. He was on the path of greed and self-indulgence, manipulating people’s gullibility to gain popularity so that he could plunder their pockets.

The way of Jesus is the way of loving self-sacrifice, using money and resources to meet the needs of others in order to make their lives better. This demands a change of heart is so radical that only the Holy Spirit can make it happen. Peter urged Simon to change his mind so that the Holy Spirit could change his heart.

Simon tried to buy this power to use the Holy Spirit for his own ends. Imagine how powerful and wealthy he could become if he want around dispensing the Holy Spirit for a “fee”! That idea came from the pit of hell and Simon woke up from his dream with a jolt when Peter exposed his heart.

It was to Simon’s credit that he acknowledged his error and begged Peter to pray for him. There is no record of Simon after this. Perhaps God’s grace rescued him from a life of self-destruction.

What is the lesson for us in this incident? There is a trend in the church today that is a dangerous deviation from the truth. Greed and self-indulgence are marketed under the guise of the “Prosperity Gospel.” The name-it-and-claim-it movement has been sugar-coated with teachings about faith – believing God “for” whatever our hearts fancy.
This is the very temptation Jesus repudiated. “Use God’s word to get what you want,” said the devil. Satan tried to lure Jesus into manipulating God into doing what He wanted by holding him to His word. “Jump,” said the devil, “God said He’d send His angels to catch you. You’ll impress the people and they will believe you,” he hissed. “No way!” said Jesus. “Daddy didn’t tell me to do that!”

Part of this “con”spiracy is to dangle the carrot in front of the unsuspecting donkey. By “sowing seed” into this ministry, you are guaranteed a “harvest” for yourself. So the ministry grows fat and so do you. If you sow your car, house, jewellery or whatever, God is obliged to give you something better.

Is this really what the Bible teaches?

Not at all. The Bible teaches us that we have an obligation to care for our pastors, our “storehouse” – the local church, our families and the orphan, the widow, the alien and the poor. When we do that, God reciprocates by taking care of our needs. The seed we sow produces a harvest which is both bread for us and seed to sow again. The outcome is that God gets the glory for being who He is, the abundantly generous God who always keeps His promises.

Meeting the needs of others is part of our duty to God. He is not obliged to reward us but He does because He chooses to do so.

Job is another case in point. God had to strip him down to the skin before he finally understood that God owed him nothing. Job was whining about God being unfair because he, Job, had been such a good man. God confronted him in a violent way, not a gentle chat, to show him that, although he thought he knew God, he knew nothing.

God is obliged to no-one. What He does and what He gives is purely because of who He is. His favour and generosity flow out of Himself, not as a reward for who we are or what we deserve.

“It is impossible,” said Jesus, “to serve two masters.” The moment we allow greed to control us, we have changed allegiance and slipped back into the dominion of darkness where we are driven towards self-destruction.

Sick and Stupid Culture

SICK AND STUPID CULTURE

“He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, ‘Get out while you can: get out of this sick and stupid culture.’

That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptised and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal and the prayers.” Acts 2:40-42 (The Message).

“Sick and stupid culture”! That’s a good way to describe my culture, your culture, any culture that leaves Jesus out of the mix. It doesn’t matter where we live in the world; every culture is underpinned by the same characteristics that entered the world with Adam’s declaration of independence from God.

Adam exchanged family oneness for aggression and alienation towards God, his Father and his fellow man, leaving him orphaned and abandoned. He exchanged generosity of spirit for greed and selfishness, making him even more alienated from other people and more lonely. He exchanged fellowship with the Father for man-made religions which leave him empty, frustrated and fearful.

Put these together and you have a multiplicity of cultures that are nothing but “sick and stupid”. Wrap them up in religious systems that have no foundation in fact or reality, that have absurd belief systems and practices and that never bring us back to our source in God our Father and you have “sick and stupid” cultures. Adam’s choice was stupid and left every descendant in every generation sick.

Notice the first evidence of the restoration that happened when the people who had murdered Jesus realised what they had done and came back to God in humble repentance and confession. They devoted themselves to four things that were a radical reversal of their old culture and a powerful witness to the change that had taken place within their hearts.

1. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles. For the first time on their lives they were open to receiving the truth. Jesus had promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth. He entrusted to them the responsibility of interpreting the events of His life and death under inspiration of the Spirit and passing it on to His followers. It was the knowledge of the truth that would set them free from all the nonsense they had ever believed and practised in their ignorance.

2. They did life together. Their new-found faith in the Messiah bound them together in the unity that God intended from the beginning, restoring the family bond and drawing them to each other so that they loved, shared and cared for one another in such a powerfully visible way that outsiders noticed and were impressed.

3. They ate together – another powerful symbol of their new culture. Instead of living in alienation from each other, they were reconciled. They buried their personal issues and demonstrated their reconciliation by sharing their meals. In the culture of the Middle East, you did not eat with an enemy.

4. They fellowshipped together with the Father in the set prayers of their Jewish faith. The prayers of their Scriptures, which they had prayed as a habit, became the heart of their fellowship with God and with each other.

What a beautiful description of their new faith and their new life! Everything lost in Adam was regained in Christ. How simple compared with the complicated religion much of what is called “Christianity” has become today! Just imagine the impact the church could have if it truly abandoned the sick and stupid culture of the world and adopted the pattern set by these early believers.

They got it right. Why can’t we?