The unspeakable gift of God, and our "tithing"

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!”

On the issue of tithing in the Church of Christ
Teddy Donobauer 2020

One of the recurring themes in almost every Church assembly is the matter of finances. Rare is the Church that does not now and then find that the commitments of the organisation outrun the giving of the members and/or the profit from the various ministries of the church. (A church may be renting out part of it’s building for rental income for instance, or run a bookshop at moderate profit etc)

Almost invariably this shortage of funding is met with a rally from the pulpit focusing on the issue of tithing. And equally invariably the last OT book of Malachi is drawn into the arena. Preaching is then done which challenges the church to stop robbing God. Not bringing the full tithes into the fellowship is such robbery. Secondary issues are: should this tithing be based on gross or net income? Should we tithe before or after tax?

The most powerful punchline is always Mal 3:6
”For I, the LORD do not change: therefore you O sons of Jacob are not consumed”. Unspoken or spoken there is the insinuation that because God Himself does not change then also the Old Testament law of tithing is unchanged and still in place. And all our shortages, missing prosperity and lack of blessing as well as our coming short in collections are a result of our disobedience in the matter of tithing. We are also made to know that there is a deliberate curse in operation. Namely the curse that is best expressed in Deuteronomy 28:1-14.

As compelling and emotionally powerful this preaching can be, and may of course increase the giving to the common good of the fellowship, it falls short of the entire New Covenant teaching. Malachi may be useful for preaching on tithing, but nothing in the New Covenant affords a basis for teaching on tithing.

The use of an Old Testament Law in order to challenge the church of the New Covenant needs to be scrutinized in the light of what the Holy Spirit says in the writings of the New Covenant. And to a certain extent on what is not said. Because unless the difference between the first and the last Covenants are understood the use of
Scripture in support of the Old order must be challenged by the explicit teaching of the New.

Jesus and Tithing
It is startling to note that on this topic the Lord himself had only two comments to make. And both in relation to the last generation of the Mosaic Covenant. After Malachi the so called silent 400 years followed. In that time the Talmud was created and it had an elaborate system of rules regarding tithing and giving. The effects of that modification of the mosaic ruling is seen in two passages from the life and ministry of Jesus.

First: in Matthew 23:23
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith. These ought ye to have done and not to leave the other undone.

Note ”Ye pay” aimed at and including all the talmudic followers of tithing laws. Not once does Jesus say to the disciples that they should be like them either in their evasion of the scriptures by reinterpretation or in the matter of tithing.

Second: in Luke 11:42 the same event and meaning as in Matthew 23 is referred to again. But the unique contribution of Luke is from chapter 18:11-13. Jesus relates something obviously not uncommon:
”The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are: extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’

And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

Is there a single line from three years of ministry by Jesus either demanding, upholding or verifying the matter of tithing for the Kingdom or the Church? What Jesus did teach about giving is made very clear in the teaching that arose from the trap set by the scribes and pharisees about paying taxes. Jesus demanded to see that which was used to pay the tax. He was shown a coin with the image of the emperor. ”Whose image is that?” He said. ”It is the image of the Emperor”. ”Does that mean that it belongs to the emperor?” ” Then give to the emperor what belongs to him, and give to God what belongs to him.” What bears the image of God? Our (tithing) money or we ourselves?

When you consider that the great comission was to teach everything that Christ had taught to the coming generations then surely
the very omission of tithing ought to raise a red flag before any OT preaching about tithing for a New Testament fellowship is attempted.

Objections will be raised: Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He said that not one iota or tittle would cease to be law.
Yes that is true. But the application of that is very clearly NOT that the Church was bound to continue fulfilling the mosaic law.
Neither the circumcision, nor the law of the Sabbath nor the ceremonial laws were upheld by the church. The whole of Hebrews deals with the finality of Christ’s fulfillment of the law. In fact Jesus himself upheld the Sabbath law by deliberately breaking it. The laws were not written for themselves but for humanity. Christ himself came to fulfill the law so that it no longer was a curse over sinners.

The Apostles and tithing
What Jesus what silent about, the sum total of the Apostles also kept silent about. There is not a single reference to the concept of tithing in the entire rest of the New testament except in Hebrews 9 where the events of Genesis 14 are referred to and where Abraham gave tithing to Melchizedik King of Righteousness from Salem. Are we to teach that which is written or not?

Let us examine first the issue of
”being under a curse if we do not tithe.” Those who maintain that the non-tithing of the church means that they are still under the curse of the law need to read Galatians chapter 3. They need to show what Romans chapter 8 means. To claim that a born again believer may still be under a curse as severe as that from Deuteronomy 28 and in the very condemnation of it, makes considerable havoc of some weigthy doctrines. What happens to Salvation by faith if you are condemned because of non-tithing? Where is there room for remaining curses after Calvary? Is Isaiah 52-53 a mockery?

Gal 3:9-14 ”So then, those who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written: “Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”

But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

And the law is not of faith, but “The man who doeth them shall live in them.”

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is every one who hangeth on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

To claim that the laws about tithing are to be upheld commits you to keep all of the law. Because breaking one single one of them breaks the whole law. James 2:10For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend on one point, he is guilty of all.

Ananias and Sapphira Acts ch 5
Early in the life of the Church the issue of finances arose. The belief in the imminent return of Christ occasioned what we may loosely call the ’communalism’ of the Jerusalem church. Many sold all they owned and put the money into the common treasury. It was neither demanded nor as far as we know taught. And it was certainly not because of a teaching on tithing. In fact it was a free will offering which appealed to many. It is obvious that many who remained in Jerusalem after that Pentecost were far from their homes and properties. Among many other dependants the church had Greek widows depending on the church for daily food. (Which caused the beginning of the diaconal ministry Acts 6)

The generous giving by some of the members attracted the attention of the afore mentioned couple. They sold their belonging and came to the church with it. As long as it was theirs they had absolute jurisdiction over it. And there was no coersion to give any of it. None of the Apostles said to the church: ”Well a tenth belongs to God so give that. The rest is up to you.” It was because Ananias and Sapphira made a pretense of giving it all while retaining some for themselves that they were caught out as being liars. And their end was immediate. But not for not tithing.

There are a number of occasions right through the early Church years where gifts of money were made ready for the church in Judea and Jerusalem. Note: only for that Church. The persecution of the Church lead not only to the death of James and the dispersion of most of the Church, it also lead to a continual poverty. The persecutors would have confiscated the treasury at the earliest possibility. Every collection in the NT that is mentioned is for them. But never once on the basis of tithing or out of such funds.

Paul himself travelled and started church after church. But never once did he teach on tithing. Had such tithing existed he could easily have asked for assistance from the churches. He preferred to work day and night so as n
ot to be a burden on any church. He considered that he had the right to share in the material blessings in return for the spiritual blessings he gave out. But never presumed on the institution of tithing for that to be so. Had tithing been enjoined it is impossible to think it was never mentioned.

What did Paul and the others teach on the matter of giving? Precisely what Jesus taught. A life of faith is not a life of ten percent to God. It is a total 100% comittment. A death to the calculating old man. An end to the ’tit for tat’ mentality of ”blessing from God only in proportion to what you give to God”. It is Grace abounding where sin abounds. This is born out so strongly by all his writings. Listen to some of them:
 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Rom 12:1-2

Rom 14:6-12 ”He that regardeth one day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not that day, to the Lord doth he not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not and giveth God thanks.

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ both died, and arose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

For it is written: “‘As I live,’ saith the Lord, ‘every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’”

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

When speaking of the gifts of the church he numbers the gift of giving to the church out of material means as a ”gift of Grace” not an obligation for all. Rom 12:6-13 ”Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us: if prophecy, let us prophesy according to our portion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching;

or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Have kindly affection one for another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another;

not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints, given to hospitality.”

When he comes to the Corinthian Church to collect their contribution to the Church in Jerusalem he brings the matter into focus in a wonderfully succinct way. He came expecting their gift. He found something even more impressing.

2 Cor 8:1-5 ”Moreover, brethren, we want you to know of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: how in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing to give of themselves, praying us with earnest entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we had hoped, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and unto us by the will of God,”

There you have the core of NT teaching on giving. Membership in the church or any church is geared to ”taking upon ourselves the fellowship of the ministering to the Saints.” This comes from the concept of ”we are one body” Eph 1:23, 4:4, 4:14-16 and 1 Cor 12:20-27 ”But now there are many members, yet but one body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, “I have no need of thee”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Nay, much more those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary.

And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

For our comely parts have no need, but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another.

And whenever one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

Neither Peter, John, Paul, James or any other of those who were filled with the Spirit and wrote what the Spirit gave them ever said one word about tithing. But they spoke volumes about giving ourselves entirely to God, to not considering anything that we have as being our own. We are never owners but stewards of God’s manifold grace. And being a member of the body puts us under obligation to care for one another.

This comes to a head in 2 Corinthians 9 where Paul now tackles this very ministry to the saints by the saints. It is hard to imagine a better opportunity to teach on tithing than this. But not a syllable of that theme is here present.

2 Cor 9:6-15
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written,

He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever.”

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Just a mild exposition of this section will make it plain that giving is not to be under compulsion (You must tithe!!) but out of gratitude to God for all His mercy. Not on the basis of 10% but on the basis of meeting actual needs known. And truly they who give with liberality and out of a generous heart will not be shortchanged by God. He knows what we have need of said Jesus while on earth. But our true needs do not often coincide with our ”I wants.” We do reap what we sow. The essence of the seasoned believer is that of Paul: ” I have learnt to be satisfied both in abundance and in want.” Phil 4:12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

A common objection is this. ”Tithing is at least a way of training people in giving regularly. Is that not a good thing? Saying that everything belongs to God is an easy escape from giving anything at all.” Both statements are true in their own way. The excuse is easy and handy because after all we are also told that ’what happens happens out of sight and no man knows what another man does between himself and God’. And of course it is good to have a regular habit of setting aside on the ord’s day a sum of money to be given. It is when such a habit is elevated to spiritual duty and under the threat of falling away from faith if not carried out that the problem starts.

There are many sins of the flesh connected to our consumption and materialistic world. There are truly many ways in which we can reduce God to equal only our own belly. Indulging the flesh is the downfall of the rich young ruler who would not trade his riches on earth for riches before God in Heaven. The rich man who de cided to build bigger barns ”and live happily ever after” did not realize that the time was up for his soul to be confronted with God. Accountability to God is a red thread through the Scriptures.

Is running a Christian organisation the same as ministering to the Saints?
This then is the ultimate issue. If we read the word of God we find that God always supplies the needs for things that He asks. And here is a clou: ”He gives them to the individuals who then are asked to give back to God what they decide in their hearts to give ’without’ covetousness.”

If we have donned a suit too large for our wallet then the tailor needs to assist us in ”taking in the suit.” When the resources are getting less then it may be time to assess what they are spent on. Any longlived perceived need may be a blind spot.

Being a member of a body means that my contributions are not voluntary. My heart supplies blood to all members equally without discrimination. Constantly, come rain come shine. My hand however has a different mode of giving. In contrast to the heart the hands are idle at times. But however the task of the member is the body needs it, so it is not really a matter of doing my part when I feel like it only. Only if I have given myself to the Head first will I give my body support too with a comitted heart. As a member of a Church I have actually said that I will agree with the work of the church. That means that if the church has say 65 members then the cost of running the entire operation is to be divided by 65. My share is then 1/65th of the annual budget. That is my target for my giving and my praying. Agreeing to expenditure is agreeing to upping my share of the cost. But then of course the reality is that some have more and some less. And all can only give according to what they have and not to what they don’t have. So there will always be need for extraordinary offerings for things not in the budget. That is where prayer and Faith has an extra challenge. If all are to be treated fairly then all will be treated differently.

Stewarding the means is a most carefully undertaken task and is worthy of respect. The handling of money among people of faith in God differs however from that of those whose only hard and reliable facts are their bank balance.

Church is never left in doubt by God about the reality that whom He calls He also equips.

Teddy Donobauer.


Blogtext "Men in action"

 ”How Should We then Live?”

First: the matter penned down

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Those more than well-known words from Psalm 133 form the arrowhead of a quest for some basic life parameters for any group of believers. But especially for men as such. There appears to be a good reason to accept the insight that any group of men will react and interact in fairly recogniceable and universal patterns if left to their own devices. All cultural differences aside, males tend to have some basic things in common wherever they are. I take note that individually they may be anything but this way inclined, but as a group they will surely show up some of these characteristics.

I have detected a few that might be universal. You will correct me if I am wrong, I am sure of it.

1. Jockeying for position within the group.

2. Keeping the face and standing on their dignity, come what may. ”I must appear to be in control even when I have lost the plot.”

3. ”Fixitity”. The only real reason to talk about something is to find a solution to a problem.

4. Don’t rock the boat. Finger in the air, sniff out the wind and sail along. Only live salmon go against the flow of the stream.

5. Brothers in arms, even in the face of the Father. The isms of the world are formed by the fatherless against God

6. Men join clubs today for the same reason they bore clubs in the past: security in number or collective clout.

7. Programme, protocol and comittees are the collective armour behind which men like to hide. “If we name it we must tame it.”

8. By and large men lack an acceptable language for their emotions. Emotive language is seen as female prerogative by many. Nobody wants to appear a sissy..

To a varying degree we may recognize these more or less common signals as our own or those of our present affiliations. They surely arer worth pondering. Especially if we want to become men of God in Christ.

It all comes down to the effects of what is known as Group dynamics and has been extensively researched within the field of Psychology. But there is a massive point of departure from the findings of ordinary human psychology towards a biblical approach to the issues. Whereas psychology starts with man in his fallen, post adamic state, biblical understanding starts with the man redeemed and identified in the last Adam. For this distinction I am much beholden to Oswald Chambers and the notes from his lectures on Biblical Psychology. Essentially there is a huge chasm between the natural man and the spiritual man. Whereas the natural man is impervious to any work of the Spirit except nudging him towards repentance, the Spiritual man nudges everything merely natural to the sacrificial altar. The study of ‘l’homme animal’ and l’homme spirituel’ leads to vastly different avenues of thought about man and men.

Interestingly enough the Bible shows lots of examples from both of these two object groups. And it is by comparison between the behaviours of those under sin and those under grace that we might get clues to an answer to the main question: “How should we then live?”


In the above list of points there rests a considerable ambiguity. Each point has two sides to it. None of them are in themselves necessarily wrong but they can lead to wrongs if not tempered by the Spirit of regeneration.

1. Jockeying for position within the group.
Unless those who are able to lead stand up in the group and make themselves known as potential leaders the group may suffer listless and aimless idiocracy. The group exists then merely as a place to hole up and rescind all responsibility without any other aim then to be and be left alone by the group. (Idiocracy means: “That which to itself is it’s only reason to exist.”) Without any positioning the group refrains from direction and purpose outside of the enjoying life on the basis of the least common denominator. Leadership comes out of the need for taking stands within the group so that the group can stand out. But clearly we all know of groups where some muscle in and turn the group into an extension of their own ego only. Group cohesion then becomes the evidence of leadership. Even if all the direction that the incumbent leader follows is destructive in the long run.

Discuss: when are ambitions an assett and when are they a hinderance?

2. Keeping the face and standing on their dignity, come what may. ”I must appear to be in control even when I have lost the plot.”
Being a man has cultural overtones from the past and of the present mode of thought. What seems to define manhood is this apparent need to be in control, or, less kindly, to seem to be in control.. “Oim al’roit, mon”. The captain goes down with the ship and pretends all is well and straightens the cuffs and doffs the right angle to the cap before the waves crash in over his head. Confessing weakness comes hard. “My ship sank but at least I went down with dignity!”

Discuss: what lies behind this ramrod backbone attitude and how can we come off it? Image: vertebrate man compared to invertebrate Lobster.

3. ”Fixitity”. The only real reason to talk about something is to find a solution to a problem.
The three friends of Job illustrate two very powerful positions. First, on hearing about Job’s sorrow and suffering they join him and sit with him “for seven days and seven nights”. In sympathy and comiseration, in trying to enter into the factual suffering of Job? So far so good. But then, but then comes the inevitable and commonly male reaction when faced with a problem, especially when it is not our own: find the fault and fix it. (If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it. Is it a reflection of our own brokenness that we always suss out what is broken else where?) But men will not give up looking for something to fix. Is that an expression of being God’s co-creators or is it something else? The next 37 chapters in Job show them suggesting cause and effect and solutions. Job battles not only against his total bereavement, but also against “the sound or unsound advice” of his “Friends”.

Discuss: is mending the world our task?
Is it not our primary task? Or is it us contuing to “do better than God” and acting as providences for our fellow men so as to be seen as capable and able? The thin line of self deification by our skills.

4. Don’t rock the boat. Finger in the air, sniff out the wind and sail along. “Only live salmon go against the flow of the stream.”

The dynamics of belonging to a group, to be connected, to have an identity that is recognized by our peers cause us to always be aware of what is required in order to maintain our position. When a man is skilled in group dynamic behaviour he will never voice any opinion that is beside the mainstream of the group consensus. Strong individuals acting with little concern for the group hegemony make the group insecure. Group dynamics shout at us: keep in line, don’t upset the apple cart. What does that say about the group as such? And what happens to those who refuse to play tag in the expected manner?

Discuss: How do these patterns show up in the Christian organisation called Church?

5. Brothers in arms, even in the face of the Father. The isms of the world are formed by the fatherless against God.

Let us make for ourselves a name”. At the tower of Babel in Genesis 11 the first expression of the collective disregard for God the Father is seen in the brotherhood of rebellion. “We must make for ourselves a name so that we are not scattered across the face of the Earth.” The command of God was the opposite: multiply and fill the earth. But sin came in and instead of moving Godward the brotherhood moves inward to itself. The primary victims of their collective buddines are women and children. Every ‘ism’ in the world has this brotherhood of man at it’s core and is costing us all dearly. Men without respect and submission for someone greater than themselves are the terror of the earth.


6. Men join clubs today for the same reason they bore clubs in the past: security in number or collective clout.

The nonconformist man poses a threat to his environment. Hence the need to conform to certain interests has proliferated across the world. Millions of different ‘clubbing’ activities suck men into their folds. Safety, imagined or real, is in numbers and each cause behind each club justifies itself by it’s own reasoning. It rarely invites outsider’s opinions about it. Whole religions are created by this inate drive to be part of a mass, separating personal responibility to the group and whatever dynamises, energizes and motivates the group. A study of the fanclubs of Soccer teams gives you lots of food for thought along those lines. But are churches exempt from those snares? Wether political, religious, philosophical or financial, the clubs are the essence of conformity for conformity’s sake.

Discuss: How safe am I in Church, and what am I safe from?

7. Programme, protocol and comittees are the collective armour behind which men like to hide. “If we name it we must tame it.”
Looking at our christian organisations we see that they have one dominant common denominator. Programme and Protocol sustained by various Comittees. PPP is Preacher, Pulpit, Program and those three are maintained and safeguarded by PPC, Programme Protocol and Comittees. If it can be named, it must be tamed. So all activity must have constitutions, meetings, voting, officially appointed functionaries, minutes, book keeping and a thousand other operatives for the organisation to work properly. Incidentally that is entrirely in keeping with the world wround us, and a total compliance with the values and rulings of the leadership of the nation. God does not come into this at all.

But is has virtually no resemblance to what the Word of God describes as the Living body of Christ.

Discuss: Why is it that the Church which is supposed to be the fellowship of those who are free in the Spirit appear so bound in and by the norms of the flesh. Why is it that those who by faith have eternal life are so tied down to the protocols of time? (When the clock strikes 12, the divine service meeting is over. Basta! Now God, we have given you 90 minutes, that is all you get.)

8. By and large men lack an acceptable language for their emotions. Emotive language is seen as female prerogative by many. Nobody wants to appear a sissy..

There used to be this caricature of the true Brittish gentleman. The stiff upper lip. The ramrod straight back. The unclouded eye, the iron self control, the “we stand until we fall”. The man in absolute control of his emotions. Never leaking any personal feeling whilst on duty. Never sharing any real deep personal emotion unless sanctioned by the crowd, and only while in that crowd. “Get a grip on yersel’” is the cry in face of male emotions all too often. Which leads to men simply not sharing things of a deep emtional content, and if they do then the rest of the group does not know what to do about it, or even, often where to fix their gaze in the room where such behaviour is expressed. “Response along the lines of evangelical platitudes or silence.”

I said: there used to be. Is that entirely true? Is it merely a bygone trait of no importance for our self understanding today? Surely modern contemporary man is free from all that and we are dealing with a totally new kind of liberated human. Aye?

The embarrasing thing about Jesus Christ is that he is not ‘British’
(in that sense) in one ounce of his humanity. He is anything but stiff-upper-lipped. This is a man who in every fiber is in tune with his emotion but without any sign of vapid mushiness or abusing his sentimental expressions to make others do what they would not otherwise be cajoled to do. The genuine character of His emotional responses to the real calamity of life in the fallen world is redolent with hints that men of God are no less so if and when they share and show what they truly feel.

The language of emotions is by and large owned by the women among us. Many of them feel that men lack emotions because they do not talk about them. But many men cannot identify their feelings within the framework of female language about them. The truth is more in this area: women talk of their emotions. And they can talk endlessly about these emotions and never want a solution to what causes them. Men express themselves in different ways. Women frequently lack the decoder to understand the message that man is in his very being. If you try to read a book by it’s cover alone you will not profit.

The regaining of a valid emotional language for men, giving them a redeemed expression for their reclaimed soul, and on their own terms seems long over due in my estimate. Seeing the need for it has only taken some 50 plus years for me.
It can be hoped that in future men will be more open with their feelings without fe
ar of being branded ‘sissy’, weak or effeminate. No body would have dared pin those epitets on Jesus Christ.

Discuss: Are emotional responses dangerous and to be avoided? Is enthusiasm the enemy of the faith? Is an emotional appeal enough to bring about repentance and saving faith? Is love a feeling or a chosen attitude leading to agape love in action?

Second: the matter as seen in the Word of God

All scripture is God breathed / inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and training in righteousness. That the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.2 Tim 3:16

Everything written beforetime was written for our instruction, for us, upon whom the end of the ages have come.”

Is it not our aim to be men of God? If it is not then this is where we depart from one another. Anything that follows in this monograph is spoken on the basis of the redemptive work of Christ in men as men. The psychology of redemption is utterly other than the psychology of the unregenerated man. Nothing by either Jung, Adler, Freud, Buber, Fromm or May or any of a thousand other psychiatrists, psychoanalysts or psychologists has any bearing on the redeemed man because the core of man is not his fallen soul, which is what these men have studied, but his reborn Spirit. And without the Spirit of God in man, man is a mere physical shell bound by a diseased soul and destined for an eternal displacement away from his Maker without the essential “Ha Ruach Elohim” (Spirit of God in hebrew). If not born again no man or woman shall see the kingdom of God.

To establish the basis for all that follows we need a close look at 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;  the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,  which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

And again the witness of Truth

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Discuss: how essential is the distinction between those born of the Holy Spirit and common man?

The Plumbline

The prophetic vision of a plumbline and what it accomplishes is seen in the Prophet Amos ch 7:7-9
“Thus He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand. The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Amos?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,

Behold I am about to put a plumb line
In the midst of My people Israel.
I will spare them no longer.
“The high places of Isaac will be desolated
And the sanctuaries of Israel laid waste.
Then I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”

If seen in the light of a passage in 2 Corinthians 10:12-17 one can draw a conclusion of great importance for our quest towards christian maleness. The body of common men compete only with themselves comparing themselves only to other men of their own ilk. Their common consent disapproves of any ultimate plumbline for one reason only: all would be seen to be in need of restoration, realignement, deliverance and restoration. The comfort of the brotherhoods excludes any arbiter from the outside of the ’clan’.

I refer to the enormity of the statement made by Pontus Pilate in John 19:5 ”Jesus therefore came out, wearing a crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ”Behold the man!”.. and they shouted, ”crucify, crucify..” Whatever else you do, do not embarrass men by showing them THE MAN. Remove the plumbline and leave us to selfadjust within the framework of our selfindulgent sinfulness. But do not, repeat, do not put HIM in our midst to be the plumbline of what it is His salvation is meant to do with us.

Paul hints fairly solidly at the core issue: only using other men as a template is rather inward looking and frighteningly blinding complacency: ”For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ;  not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another. But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord.  For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.”|

When the men’s breakfast started it was precisely on the strength of showing us the plumbline of Whom God has put among us, to see him who is the arbiter of our own waywardness, showing up our deviation from God’s plumbline, which was the impetus for the regular meetings. But merely seeing that would be most miserable, since we could not find it in ourselves to change ourselves. Glory be to God, He ”The Man” is also the Rectifyer of every ”Hamartolos”, (Greek for misser of the mark, being a sinner) That missing of the mark which is our heritage from father Adam. As long as we keep Christ outside the fellowship there will be no plumbline to show us our wretchedness, and neither will there be a need for salvation.

But once you see the plumbline..

For a further discussion of these matters I refer here to my book ”Adam there is a glitch in your figleaf”. Available only as a PDF file at the present time.

Teddy Donobauer Sept 15 2020


Saved to serve

Saved in order to serve”

I have recently been aware of a rather faulty teaching within many parts of that which is called Christian Churches. This awareness is by no means new, but came to the fore through a sermon on serving God. It asked the question of people who by and large have been Church members for well nigh 40 years at least: ”Are we willing to serve?” In my mind I saw a people saved but not serving. As if salvation could be had without serving being the logical outcome from the saved to the Saviour!

My mind was speedily racing to the entire Word of God. And without much pain or difficult searching I rediscovered what I already vaguely knew:
“Salvation from servitude under sin segues directly into serving in Righteousness.” There is no option for being saved and NOT serving. There is no middle ground on which to stand and discuss whether you should or should not serve. A salvation experience that leaves you hanging in mid-air between the sins of the flesh, which you needed saving from, and living every next breath in service to the God of your salvation, is no salvation at all.

The starting point

We begin the quest for the truth at the very starting point of God’s saving work for the people of Israel. Reminding ourselves that “everything that was written before time was written for our instruction” (1 Cor 10:11) we look at the events in Exodus chapters 1-3. What is the situation? The Israeli nation in bondage, slavery and forbidden to be what God meant them to be. Harsh taskmasters who are afraid of this people because their hardships had made them ‘vigorous’ and proliferate in reproduction. The more afraid of them the Egyptians were, the harsher they were treated. Sin will not let man go without a struggle. A policy of repression does however always lead to a cry for freedom. Although the gradual habit of being a slave enslaves them to accept what they cannot change on their own. That acceptance is a prison of the mind. That prison stays with them for at least forty years after their deliverance as witnessed often in the Torah, and expressed by the commonly known catch phrase: “
You can take the people out of Egypt, but fail to take Egypt out of the people.”

They had no choice as to their servitude in Egypt. Do what you are told or die! Should you thrive under those conditions, which they evidently did, then kill their future by this means or that. Keep them as slaves but kill all ambition to freedom. When the tipping point of agony comes we are told that the cooperative cognition of their general misery caused a stir in heaven. Exodus 2:23-25 Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.

And what is God’s answer to their collective cry? A man, chosen, educated, equipped and certified by God over time to bring the people out of slavery under sin to serve under salvation. The middle ground referred to above, however, did exist as seen in the forty years walk in the wilderness during which all those who preferred the wilderness to the full promise of God of the land of milk and honey lost their lives. They would neither serve under Pharaoh nor under God. Man alone.. But that option is not open to any but those who while freed from sin are unwilling to walk where salvation was meant to bring them. As little as you can serve two masters can you serve no master at all, because not to serve is to make the world around subservient to your disobedience. Very costly, then and now. I remind you of the singer songwriter Bob Dylan who very wisely formulated this understanding in the song “You’ve got to serve somebody, it may be the devil, it may be the Lord, but you’ve got to serve somebody!” Man is never His own master, how ever deeply entrenched that illusion may be.

We are saved to serve because we were slaves to someone:

Exodus 5:2-3
But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”

As slaves they sacrificed their lives every day on the brickworks of Pharaoh. And freedom was offered to them as another kind of sacrifice, not to the whims of Egypt’s gods but to the Lord whom neither they nor their Fathers had known by the Name revealed to Moses. Exodus 6:1-3
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land.”

God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as  God Almighty, but by My name,  Lord, (Yahweh) I did not make Myself known to them.

Serving God the LORD begins with sacrifice. In the former covenant as in the new. What else is there we do not know? When Paul addresses the Church of Christ in Rome the portal to service as described in chapter 12 is heralded by the very same cry as in Exodus. Let my people go and sacrifice!
Romans 12:1-2
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

How does any body of believers dare to call to divine worship without this starting point? To call a normal run of the mill church meeting ‘divine worship’ without this element of worship and self sacrifice is not merely a slight deviation, it is a Wilderness of Sin. Of which we are told: “ Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

I know very well that the coincidence of the name of this desert and the matter of human sin is only possible in the English language. But the point is easy to understand. The badlands of spiritual starvation always occur in the wasteland of sin tolerated. To claim to be saved and yet regret the stark absence of flesh pots of Egypt, surely pinpoints a people still living in the flesh and not walking by faith in the Spirit .

Paul is the total son of Abraham. He is the Bar Mitzvah of a man knowing and loving the entire law of God and knows all the rules and regulations of sacrifice of the former Covenant. One of those laws was the insistence on the daily morning and evening sacrifice of a spotless lamb. Exodus 29:38-40 “
Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; “. The consistence of sacrifice under the former covenant is consistent with making our own daily sacrifice to God of ourselves, because this is the only logical response to the mercy of God in saving us from our previous captivity under sin. No other response to the saving grace can be put in place of the sacrifice of the self to God on a daily basis. “His mercy is new every morning,” and so should our response be: sacrifice yourselves. Nothing less can be a suitable response, nothing less can be given in return for what the “unspeakable gift of God is”. The “logikon latreian”, which is the Greek for ‘your true and proper worship” (NIB), your “spiritual service of worship”, (NASB), “your reasonable service” (NET, KJV) is one of the two things that the Holy Spirit has chosen to call “sacrifice” in the New Testament. The other is found in Hebrews 13:15 “ By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” In other words: true worship is self sacrifice and the sacrifice of lips that have previously praised other gods to now praise One, and Him only. To separate salvation from service is to reduce the gospel to something other than what the Word reveals.

One frequently heard myth is clothed in most deceptive language.
We are told that “we are saved in order to go to heaven”. Does the scripture say that? Does the Holy Spirit, the author and inspirator of the written word ever once say that we are saved to go to heaven? Show me!!

The only time anybody in the entire NT speaks of going to heaven, it is done so inferentially. 2 Tim 4:18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. “

The dominant theme concerning heaven is that we have part in and access to the heavenly while we live here and now. In other words all of Heaven is made available to the Church of Christ while it is on earth. It is for the service of the Church on Earth that heaven is opened. He has ascended to whence he descended in order that His heavenly kingdom should be made manifest on earth. It needs all of the heavenly resources to do so. I will give you a mere sampling of the pervasive understanding about heaven that runs through the entire NT.

There are 277 references to heaven and heavenly in the NT. Most frequent in Matthew with 75 mentions. Then 55 times in Revelation, 37 in Luke,25 in Acts, 17 in Mark and John, 15 in Hebrews and a spattering in most of the letters of Paul and James. And not one of them all says that we are saved in order to go to heaven! 

Here are the 7 crucial passages from Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: just as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him, in love.”

When were we blessed? When does that blessing operate? We have been blessed, that is a fact completed and that blessing does not depend on our being in heaven to live in it, but is what the Church is all about now. To bring that which is heavenly to the Earth. Blameless before Him now. Not then.

Ephesians 1:9-12 whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Redemption, forgiveness, obtaining our inheritance, are all part of the salvation that we have been predestined to be living in. And it has brought about a “fusion” of Heaven and Earth along the lines of what we were taught in the prayer:
“Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.” Being saved we are now involved in the working out of His glory here on earth.

Ephesians 1:17-23“... that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”
That we may know… now, not “at some time in the distant future” but here and now. According to the working of His power of Salvation that is now working in us as we are the earthly body of our Heavenly Lord. “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Rom 5:10) That life is not THEN but now. Not when we have gone to be with him, but here while He is as present with us by the Holy Spirit as he was then when he foretold his continued Headship of the Church.

A salvation that postpones all God’s blessing to the future heavenly kingdom has no support in the general teaching
of the Scriptures.

Ephesians 2:5-7 “.. even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

There are things accomplished and things waiting. Some are realities in the heavens even now, but they are to be experienced and worked out in this world, now and in ages to come. But unless we understand our present position we will not have the relevant disposition. If our faith is based on escaping this world in a false view of why we are saved in the first place, then no wonder that the church is like a fellowship boarding a bus hoping to get away from the world as fast as possible.

It was not then nor ever the purpose of the Living God.

Ephesians 3:9-11 “..and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
The Church has a mission while on earth which reaches into the very centre of the spiritual realm in the “heavenly places”. This mission is in the here and now, not in the distant then when she has left the world. Not only is the gospel for “all men”, but for all principalities in the unseen world where the “prince of the Power of the air“ reigns.

Ephesians 4:10-13 “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

Two major missives are given.
A plural leadership for a many-headed church under the One Head and a ministry by all saints to the body of the Lord. It is inconceivable that anyone should have created a “theology” for a “one pastor” leadership, with a largely passive audience and an employed and salaried staff in an organisation, on the basis of the Word of God. How much longer is this charade going to go on? When will the believers be consciously and consistently trained to fulfil their ministry? Serving the Lord is not optional, it is intrinsic in the concept of salvation.

Old testament ghosts

The way that Christianity has structured itself, and I insist that it has done this out of a self-willed obstructive refusal to read the whole word of God, shows that it has largely failed to acknowledge the New Covenant. In particular as to the ideas concerning how and who should and shall serve. Familiar to all is the division between Clerics and Laity. Some talk almost all the talk in the hope that some others do almost all the walk. Significant value coding adheres to the various modes of ‘serving’. The class society of the Former Covenant was specific. Priests should all be of one tribe and one training programme only. The Levites were selected as a tribal unit to head up the entire ministry of atonement. Prophets and Kings could and would come from any other tribe. But the “ministry of reconciliation” was the task of the Levites only. That singled them out and gave them special rights and privileges. As well as obligations.

But this is entirely different under the New Covenant. Lip-service is given to the conditions under the new order, but very rarely any real substance.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (Nobody acts out his ambassadorial role in the homeland, I e Heaven, but in the foreign land, I e while still in the alienated world.)

All those who have been reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus Christ are by definition also summarily summoned to become ministers of reconciliation. Blessed are the peacemakers said Christ . To be reconciled with God and have the burden of Sin removed has only one logical response left: to be reconcilers, to be go between for peace where there is strife, to bring reconciliation where enmity reigns.

Further into the New Covenant we discover the simplicity of the Church and her leadership in the ministry of priests and prophets.

1 Peter 2:4 ”And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture:

Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in 
Him will not be disappointed.”

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Much of the Church has battled on this front between the professional clergy and the “theocratic” communality of all believers. It has and continues to be a black and irremovable blotch on the Escutcheon of the Church. The deliberate division between the categories within the field of service has been a permanently bleeding wound and a recurrent reason for further divisions with the Church of Christ. And once the Church defined and limited what sort of ministers it tolerated it automatically superseded the Person and work of the Holy Spirit in the distribution of gifts to the whole body.

The flow of Love effectively staunched

The evidence of Spiritual Birth and Spiritual infilling is pre-eminently the outpouring of the Love of God in the hearths of men and women. A cantankerous spirituality is an oxymoron, a life- and workless faith is unheard of among those who have died with Christ and have risen to newness of life. And yet that is precisely the score in many super spiritual and even “hyper grace” assemblies. The majestic overemphasis on “Me My and Mine”, especially regarding Salvation, reduces the work of Christ to a divine favour for the elect and the rest of the world must fend for itself as it were. And stranger still, Love of God is reduced to My God’s Love for me only or at least primarily.

Nothing could of course be further from the New Covenant understanding. The primary quality of the “Agape” of God is that which
“.. seeks not it’s own” 1 Cor 13:5. Those who have been born from above :”..are not disappointed because the Love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit which He gave us.” (Rom 5:5 ) A self-centred and self seeking Christian is a contradiction in terms.

We serve not because we are unwilling slaves coerced and commanded to serve, having simply exchanged task masters from the Spirit of the World to the Spirit of God. We serve because we have been served the greatest, the best and the most needed thing of all. Whereas through our sinful self deification we had forfeited our right to life, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ came to our rescue. We could not save ourselves, so he gave His life in stead of the one we had forfeited. The very life that was His was made available, but only to those who accounted themselves dead with Him.
“ Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? “ Without that burial of the sinful self there is no rising to newness of life!

Hence Paul can safely write up and describe our deepest motivation for service in 2 Corinthians 5.

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. 12 We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Our reverence for God has much do do with the awesomeness of a God who will put us all under scrutiny for how we have lived the life He gave us. Each shall receive the rewards according to how he has lived while in this body. His verdicts will never ever meet with any need to appeal or ask for a second opinion. We shall know the total correctness of the way our lives will be evaluated and praise Him for His just judgment even though our works be found hay and straw and stubble. How we build on the foundations which He has laid down will be what is evaluated.

But His love is the driving force behind our service. Not the fear of retribution or fear of losing salvation. Those who teach service out of fear do most ill. Firstly because perfect love casts out fear and secondly because we have not been given a spirit of fear and timidity, but one of self control and power. Service done out of fear is the benchmark of slavery.

As the wind billows in the hoisted sails, so the Love of God in Christ constrains us to sail and serve. But the servant chooses to serve or to say “I know you are a hard taskmaster who wants to harvest where you have not sown.” Either you let your gifts be used by him or you choose to take His gifts and bury them. But to claim to be saved and have no inkling of the need for serving Him, while you live entirely by His grace, is the epitome of a wasted life.

Transforming the ordinary into the heavenly

Faith does not release us from doing “what our hands find to do”, it does not nullify the ordinary things of existence, it allows the ordinary to be transformed into worship by a change of inner attitude.

Colossians 3:17 spells it out: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, Giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” The ordinary becomes holy by How and for Whom you work, not What or Where the work is done. If any work is worth doing it can and should be done so as to please the God and creator who gave the ability to do it. There cannot be any who simply go through things “because they need doing” in a haphazard and irresolute manner, not giving the best they can. The work may be done even so, but it is not service to God but servitude under far lesser auspices.

The false imagination concerning our spiritual service is that it must have a purely spiritual constitution. This illusion is done away with in the word over and over again. There for instance so difference in the quality of service done in “the ministry of the Word and prayer” on the one hand and on “Serving at tables” on the other. Both workings presuppose and require “men filled with Spirit and wisdom.” Practical skills of a natural order still need sanctifying in the Lord to be useful.
Whatsoever we do, in word or deed, one basic requirement is for all:
“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.

Do not claim to be saved unless you are willing to serve.

Do not claim to be spiritual if the only interests you have concern your own bliss and salvation.

Do not claim to Love God while turning a blind eye to the rest of the body of believers.

God so loved the world that He is giving His sons to serve in it.

Are we willing to serve?”

To raise this question is to allow the heinous idea that you can have salvation as a one way ticket to heaven but have no servant’s heart while still here. The Word of God does not allow it. It is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. A non serving membership is not discipleship.

Teddy Donobauer 5th of July 2020



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