Are you a Bible believing Christian? Hallelujah! So am I! This little study should bless you and challenge you as it did me! I hope you are blessed!

GOT LITTLE FAITH? PART ONE

THERE ARE FOUR AREAS IN WHICH THE LORD REBUKED THE DISCIPLES FOR HAVING LITTLE FAITH.

The first area was in PROVISION, and His Words concerning that Provision sets the precedent for all the areas in our lives where we need to be in our walk with Him. Concerning Provision, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke these Words:

Mat 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

 

I don’t think Jesus was being rhetorical here. I think He meant what He said. The first thing that those who have ears to hear should hear Him say is “Don’t lay up treasures for yourself on earth”. The walk of faith for the Christian is NOT what so many teachers have taught in many of the so called WORD OF FAITH circles.

Many “Word of faith” teachers stand in front of the audience on their gilded pedestals and while professing to be men and women of faith, their conduct and their dress contradict Jesus’ teaching right from the start. They flash their gold Rolexes and gold or silver jewelry, and drive their luxury cars or fly in their private jets from meeting to meeting.

As I pointed out in part two of my three part message on the Minnesota Bridge collapse, some require a five figure honorarium and demand other ritzy amenities before they will speak at a church. Others require a sum of money just so you can spend five or ten minutes with them. They appeal to the lusts of carnal minded Christians who “sow into their ministry” in order to get a hundred fold return back on their investment, while building up their personal bank accounts, or their treasures.

These so called Word of Faith teachers, although professing the Name of Jesus Christ, actually make a mockery of Him and His teaching through their covetous practices, and they teach the Body of Christ that a King’s Kid should have treasures laid up for themselves. The sad part of this is that they have large audiences who buy into that lie and who chase after the god of mammon.

Despite the fact that the Bible instructs us not to owe any man anything except to love one another, most Christians in America are in debt for a number of different reasons. Just about every Christian has a credit card. Credit cards are convenient to have, but they make it very easy to get into debt. A lot of times, what is bought on credit is really unnecessary, and it’s just something to add to our earthly treasures. The little trinkets, baubles, gadgets and toys are fun to have, but that monthly payment with or without accrued interest isn’t fun!

But we get over the bill payment, and then we get deeper in debt by getting more things. I am not writing this to condemn anyone…I am just stating the way it is. In effect we serve the god of mammon because of our debt. Because of the debt that we get ourselves into, it’s appealing to us when we hear of some way that we can get a lot of money, and get out of debt. So the “Word of Faith” preachers turn God into a genie, and promise you great treasures if you just sow into the “good ground” that they convince you their ministry is. NEVER MIND THAT JESUS SAID “DON’T LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES ON EARTH”. He didn’t really mean that, did He? Never mind that the Word of God says that those who would be rich fall into many a hurtful snare.

1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Obviously it’s not WRONG to be rich. Paul tells Timothy how he ought to deal with those who are rich. He doesn’t say that they ought not be rich…He says they have to be careful not to be high minded or arrogant.

1Ti 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

A lot of people (not all) who are rich are arrogant. They like to flash their treasures in front of people. They like to be in their special social circles. A lot of preachers are getting rich off of their sales pitches they make to the congregations. You especially see that in the Word of Faith circles, but you can see it in a lot of mainline preacher’s circles as well. Some use the gospel to build their own financial Kingdom. They establish satellite churches with the name of their ministry somewhere so they can be known to be the founder of that ministry.

Let me say right now that I am not against the concept of satellite churches. Satellite churches are not wrong in themselves…If a church or ministry is establishing new works of ministry for no other reason to further the gospel, Hallelujah! Establish the church in the Name of Jesus, place a pastor there with a heart for Jesus, and that is wonderful. But a lot of ministries establish the satellite churches to further their claim to fame and to brag about their accomplishments. “Our ministry has established 30 churches world wide, and we are feeding and clothing 23,000 people on a weekly basis, and we are seeing 20,000 people make decisions for Jesus.”

Although some may justify such words by saying that they are just giving reports to be accountable to those who contribute to their ministry (which contributions generally come through active solicitation or self promotion), most of the time those type of things are said as a pitch or a way to manipulate people to get people to “sow into their good ground”, and for the most part it works. Accountability is good, and we should be ready to be able to tell our brothers and sisters what we are doing in the ministry if we are asked, but not to the point of boasting, or manipulating people to sow into the ministry. Jesus said not to let your right hand know what your left hand is doing….What if those people stand before Him and hear Him say something like: “I thought I taught you differently than that. Don’t you remember my instruction that I gave in My Word? You have had your reward while you were on earth.”

Mat 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

When I was a young Christian, less than 6 months in the Lord, my wife and I were part of a satellite Word of Faith Church. It carried the same name as 100 other churches that were founded by the ministry, and they had a big screen where the founding pastor would preach from his church a thousand miles away, so we would know who we could be grateful for, and who was receiving some of our tithes. He didn’t preach all the time…sometimes the pastor on board would preach, but they always were in sync with the teaching from the "MOTHER CHURCH".

Men like to receive honor and glory and recognition for the things they do. It’s a flaw in our character. Though they may receive honor and recognition here, what a terrible trade off it will be when they hear the Words of the Lord Who searches the heart and knows their true motivation.

This is just my personal opinion, but I personally think it is wrong for Christians to give in order to get a tax write off. In my opinion, they are letting their left hand know what their right hand is doing. My flesh likes to be comfortable. So in the flesh, I reason that I better get it all while the getting’s good! Unfortunately we have a pick and choose mentality about the Scriptures, so we compromise our covenant with the Lord, because we have embraced the “covenant of Grace” teaching (It really doesn’t matter how you live or what you do after you ask Jesus Christ in your heart. It’s just a matter of losing some rewards when you get to heaven), rather than the covenant of Faith (Jam 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.)

But the truth remains, that Jesus said we are not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth. We need to be Kingdom minded. Although it may seem that I am straying from the subject, I really am not…just bear with me here as I address the tithe for a minute: (oh… oh…here he goes meddling with the tithe now!)

Many ministries are very adamant that the Law was done away with at the cross, and that we are saved by grace through faith. Yet at the same time, they are very insistent that their “members” need to be faithful to give their tithes, which was a product of the Levitical law (Lev 27:30-32, Nu 18:21-28, Deu 12:5-17, Deu 14:22-29, 2 Chr 31: 4-6, Mal 3:8-11, etc.). If the truth were to be known, under the New Covenant of faith, EVERYTHING that we have belongs to the Lord. NOT just a paltry 10%! That’s why in the early Church all the believers laid everything they had at the apostle’s feet. It was all used for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God, whether that meant to help pay for the expenses incurred in ministry, or to help widow Jones with her living expenses, or brother Bill and his family get by because Bill is in between jobs. Everyone understood that they were all a part of the active Body of Christ, and that everything they had was to further the Kingdom of God!

They understood that Truth because the disciples obeyed the Lord’s directives before He left them, and they went out and made disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them all the things that the Lord had taught them! No doubt they taught Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6. Because of the apostle’s uncompromised obedience to the Words of Jesus, those who entered into the Faith understood the concept of not laying up treasure for themselves, and that whatever they had should be used for the Glory of God, and the furtherance of His Kingdom.

The problem is that it wouldn’t be a very popular message for a preacher to declare that everything you have belongs to the Lord! Most American Christians are so tied to their possessions that it’s difficult to even get them to relinquish a 10th of what they have for the work of the ministry! So, pastors preach erroneously out of Malachi 3, bringing the flock under the law again, and then in a little while after the basket is passed, they’ll preach how we’re not under the law! What a dilemma! It’s because American Christians have bought into that “American Dream” ideal. You know, a house with a two car garage, a car for everyone over 16, a laptop computer and a cell phone for every member of the family, cable t.v., wireless internet, a pool and a trip to Starbuck’s at least twice a week! And those are just the basics! What do you mean, everything is the Lord’s? I want MINE! We don’t need to take this Kingdom of God thing so seriously, do we?

Mat 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Under this covenant of faith that we have entered into, Jesus told the disciples that there were two commandments that we need to live by. The first commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and all our strength, and all our mind. He must be the center of our lives. If our treasure is in this worldly realm, we are breaking covenant with God. He said where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.

All those basics I mentioned that encompass today’s “American dream” entail a lot of debt. Debt requires a lot of time and effort to be spent in the realm of worldly affairs, and having to work to pay off debt takes away from the time and money a person can spend on furthering the Kingdom of God. If the Lord calls you to go somewhere to minister His Gospel to a lost and dying world when you have bills that need to be paid, your obligation to pay those bills will hinder what the Lord has called you to do. THUS, YOU BECOME A SERVANT OF MAMMON, and Jesus said you can't serve two masters. He said "You cannot serve God and Mammon (money)".

As Christians, we should be scheduling our secular affairs around the work of furthering the Kingdom of God, rather than the affairs of the Kingdom having to take a back seat to our secular obligations. But because we haven’t grabbed hold of the true significance of what the Covenant of Faith is, our priorities are screwed up. In itself, it’s not wrong to have things and riches (remember 1 Timothy 6:17-19) as long as your focus is on using what the Lord blesses you with to further the Kingdom of God! That’s where the true treasures are.

The covenant of faith declares “With the heart man believes unto righteousness”. The person who has truly entered into a Covenant of Faith with the Lord will pursue after the righteousness of God. The person who has entered into a Covenant of Faith will actively pursue establishing the Kingdom of God wherever he goes. That’s done through preaching the gospel in the market place, the work place, and in the places of fellowship. If you are making the furtherance of the Kingdom of God your priority, and are sincerely seeking to walk in His Standard of Righteousness in every aspect of your life, then all those things that you have need of will be taken care of. You won’t have to be a pitch man for your finances. You won’t have to appeal for help from man. The Almighty God will be on your side. He’s a good Father. See what David said:

Psa 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

It’s time for the Church in America to get her priorities right! There are a lot of prophetic words going out with feel good messages, just as it was in the days of Elijah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Ezekiel, and the other true prophets of God. But Elijah stood in the face of all the feel good prophets and he declared the uncompromised Word of God. Some prophets are declaring that these are the days of Elijah and that there is a wind of revival blowing…I so yearn for that revival…but for it to happen we need to get out of our “little faith” mentality, repent of our covetous ways, and get our priorities right.

Maybe it will take a financial collapse for Christians to realize what’s really important. Maybe it will take more hurricanes, earthquakes, fires and terrorist attacks to be a catalyst for ministries and Christians in general to refocus on the establishment of the Kingdom of God instead of their own pitiful kingdoms. Think about the Words of the One Who is the Captain of your Salvation, the One who you say you believe in:

Mat 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The next area where Jesus rebuked the disciples for having little faith was in the area of protection in the face of danger.

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