Archive for February, 2009

Are you adding to God’s word?

Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Genesis 3:1-3

We frequently hear how Eve added to God’s command in verse 3. God commanded back in Genesis 2:17 that they should not eat of the tree, but said nothing about touching it. Eve added the part about touching it. She is regularly castigated for adding that part to God’s command. We are often told that Eve shouldn’t have even been near the tree, because if she isn’t near the tree, she wouldn’t be tempted to sin and eat the fruit from it. That sounds good at first, but isn’t that adding to God’s command? Did God command Adam & Eve to stay away from the tree? Since God only commanded not to eat the fruit and you say Eve should have stayed away from the tree, aren’t you just as guilty as Eve of adding to God’s command? Obviously, Eve would have had to touch the fruit to eat it, so not touching it sounds like a good idea – just as not coming near the tree. But both add to God’s command.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Genesis 3:6

Some have said that it was because Eve was near the tree that she saw that it was good for food and pleasant to the eyes. If she wasn’t near the tree, she would not have seen it was good for food and pleasant to the eyes – as if those two things were part of her problem. However, look back to Genesis 2:9:

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9

Notice it says every tree was pleasant to the sight and good for food. If seeing a tree was good for food and pleasant to the sight was part of Eve’s problem, it would have been a problem whenever she saw any tree in the garden. Eve’s only problem was eating the forbidden fruit. It was not going near the tree. It was not looking at the tree. It was not touching the tree. God did not forbid any of those things.

I have heard an illustration and admonition for parents that is dangerous. It goes something like this.

Suppose sin is a cliff. Some parents build a fence right on the edge of the cliff and when their kids jump the fence, they fall right over the cliff into sin. It would be wiser to move the fences back from the edge of the cliff so when the kids jump the fence, the parents still have a chance to keep the kids from falling off the cliff into sin.

Now, that all sounds well and good. But that is adding to God’s word just as Eve did in Genesis 3. If something is sin, it is because God declared it is sin. Therefore, it is God who put the fence up at the edge of the cliff. God said everything up to that point is not sin and therefore acceptable. If you move the fence away from the cliff, you are saying you know better than God and you are denying your children something that God said was acceptable. In essence, you are saying it is sin when God did not. You are just as guilty as Eve of adding to God’s word.

Adding to God’s word does not keep people from sinning. We all are going to sin. Moving fences away from the cliff really accomplishes nothing except for maybe produce Pharisees (I’m so holy that I don’t even go near the tree that God said I shouldn’t eat its fruit).

Are you adding to God’s word? Are his commands not enough for you?

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by gahammerle

Redistribution of Wealth

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.Adrian Rogers

…for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Luke 10:7

For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward. 1 Timothy 5:18

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10

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by gahammerle

Supposing gain is godliness

Sunday, February 8th, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 1 Timothy 6:1-5

There are those who preach that God rewards obedience with material blessings. They will tell you how they used to drive around in beat-up, death-trap cars, but now that they’ve served God all these years, God has given them nice cars. They will tell you that they used to live in a run-down house with a leaky roof or a cockroach-infested apartment but now live in a nice house because God rewarded their faithfulness. Tell that to Lazarus (Luke 16) who desired and begged for the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Our rewards are not earthly. Read Hebrews 11 and see how all those Old Testament saints looked for a building and foundation not made with hands – how they looked for the heavenly, not the earthly.

Look at the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. The servant given the ten talents was not mentioned as one who had served God more faithfully than the one given five talents or the servant given one talent. The talents were not given out based on faithfulness or obedience. Why were they distributed as they were? The talents were a test of the servants’ faithfulness – not a reward for it. When the master returned, he was looking to see what each servant had done with what he had given him. If the talents were a reward, the master wouldn’t care. But the master did care because he was testing the servants. The servants who passed the test heard “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

I once heard about a missionary who went to a foreign field and he would not live in huts like the natives. He would not dress like the natives. He said his reason for doing so was because he wanted them to desire what he had. He was supposing that gain was godliness. He was preaching a false gospel. He may have been preaching the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but he was still preaching a false gospel because he was trying to show the natives that if they came to Christ, their material possessions would be changed. Should people who come to the United States look at what Bill Gates or Donald Trump have and then worship their god? Those two have more money and possessions than any Christian I know. If the missionary was using that logic to get people to come to Christ, shouldn’t we expect people to want the false god of Bill Gates and Donald Trump? God never promises us material blessings. He makes it to rain on the just and the unjust. The Lord instructed his disciples to take neither purse, scrip, nor shoes when they went about preaching the gospel. Even the Lord had no place to lay his head. God’s rewards are not material and using the material to draw people is a false gospel.

Christ came to save us from our sins. He did not die so that we could have wealth and prosperity in this world. We need to look to the heavenly. We need to withdraw from those who preach the false gospel of material blessings. And those who point back to the old covenant promises of prosperity and blessings also need to look at the promises of cursings. Thankfully, we are under a new and better covenant, but that is a topic for another day.

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by gahammerle