What does the Bible say about demon possession

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Lessons from Legion – Mark 5:1-20

While we were in Romania, an Orthodox priest made the news because he was trying to exorcise a demon from a girl. As a part of the “exorcism” ritual, he had stuffed some type of cloth into her mouth. As a result of the whole process, the girl died. I do not know how the Orthodox church and her members reacted to all of that.

Books and movies about demons and evil spirits might be great story-telling but the danger is always that we will get our theology from the movies and TV shows we watch rather than letting God’s word inform us relative to spiritual matters.

Let’s take a look at demon possession in the Bible and see what we can learn about it.

WHAT ARE “UNCLEAN SPIRITS”? – Mark 5:1-2:
There are two ideas relative to what unclean spirits / demons are. One idea is that they are the evil spirits of dead (evil) men. Those who believe this idea use the example here in Mark 5 as support. I do not know if there is anything theologically wrong with that idea. But, it seems to me that a stronger case can be made that…

Demons are evil spirits / wicked angels who have followed Satan in his rebellion against the God of heaven. I find strong support for this position in the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:41 where He says that hell was prepared “for the devil and his angels.”

WHAT CAN DEMONS DO? – Mark 5:3-7:
There are seven specific examples of demon possession in the life of Jesus (Mark 1:21-28; 5:1-20; 7:24-30; 9:14-29; 16:9; Matt. 9:32-34; 12:22-37) and two in the book of Acts (16:16-18; 19:12-16). There are eight references to demons after the book of Acts but no references to demon possession.

When we summarize the behavior of demons, we see that they could do some harm to their human host but they never killed them and they never used their host to kill someone else. They did cause some physical ailments but demon possession was a separate issue. This account, in Mark 5, shows us that demons could have supernatural strength.

WHAT ABOUT TODAY? – Mark 5:8-13:
One of the burning questions that modern people have is whether God allows demon possession today.

When Jesus sent out His apostles and disciples during His earthly ministry, He gave them power to cast out demons (Luke 10:1-20). Look at Mark 16:17-20 to see a specific context of the apostles casting out demons. Those last two verses help us understand that demon possession served a special purpose in the ministry of Jesus and in the early years of the church, a purpose that the Bible itself now fulfills (cf. Jude 3).

WHY DID GOD ALLOW DEMON POSSESSION – Mark 5:14-20:
As with all miracles, demon possession served a specific purpose – to prove that man was teaching the truth about God (John 20:30-31).

In Luke 11:20, Jesus shows us that Jesus’ power over demons proved that the Messianic Kingdom was about to be established. The unclean spirit was going to pass out of the land (cf. Zechariah 13:1-2).  I think this is the specific purpose of unclean spirits and demon possession. It shows us in a graphic way that Jesus is more powerful than Satan (1 John 3:8; John 12:31).

Now, to say that demon possession no longer exists today does not mean that Satan and his angels are no longer active today. The Devil works primarily through deception (cf. 2 Cor. 11:13-14; 2 Thess. 2:9-10). The only defense we have against Satan is to rely on the truth and stay closely with the truth.

While Satan is still active today, Christ is more powerful. We can be “more than conquerors” through Him.

–Paul Holland

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There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death

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Running the Wrong Course

The race was a 13.1 mile half marathon in Bangalore, India. In this year’s race, there were three men who were top contenders to win. But, these three men were following the guide car when it missed the turn and led the runners 2 1/2 miles in the wrong direction!

By the time they all learned the error, it was too late. They admitted they noticed the crowds were thinning and then they noticed they were running through a neighborhood. All they could do was borrow money from some bystanders and buy some train tickets to go to the finish line. The sponsors could simply apologize and these men will have to wait until next year to finish the race.

How often it is that in religion, we are following the wrong guide! Men can be deceived and they can deceive themselves so easily. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). The guide car was wrong. It makes you wonder why the crowds standing around did not cry out and tell the men they were going in the wrong direction! Maybe they did but the runners (and guide car) was so convinced they were right that they ignored the crowds of people!

The apostle Paul wrote that in the Christian race, “Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:24-27).

Paul kept his eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), not a mere man. We’ve got to focus our hearts and minds on the Truth as it is revealed in the New Testament. Do not listen to the crowds. Do not follow your preacher. Study the Word yourself and make sure you are on the right course.

–Paul Holland

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Do we think that an extra $5,000 a year would make us happy?

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The Motivation for Happiness

From time to time most, if not all, of us have to do some soul-searching. What makes us happy? If we were making more money, would we be happy? Do we think that an extra $5,000 a year would make us happy? What would we do with that? Is there a need for it or do we think that we could buy more stuff that would make us happy?

If we were more attractive, more beautiful or more handsome, would we be happy? If you could change your physical appearance into what you would like, would it make you happy? Why? If you really could lose 50 or 100 pounds, would you be happy? Why?

If you were more popular, would that be enough? How would you define “popularity”? More requests to do this or to do that? More people recognizing you, “Hey, Paul, how are you!” Is that happiness? If you had more influence over others, would that provide happiness? If people were calling you to ask for your advice, would you be happy?

Perhaps you have heard psychologists say that in order to be an “expert” at some task, you have to put in 10,000 hours at that task. That’s five years worth of work at 40 hours a week. Do you have that much time to put into something?

Let’s just take physical exercise as an example. The people who really enjoy exercise do it because they enjoy it, not because they are trying to lose weight. They work out four or five hours a day because they enjoy the physical exertion. The weight-loss comes as a side effect.

Psychologists also tell us that we are happier if we find joy in working toward our goals, not just meeting the goals. We ought to be involved in activities/work that we find inherent enjoyment in, those activities that reflect our most important values.

Living the Christian life is a process. We will not ultimately reach the goal until we reach heaven. Consider Paul’s famous words from Philippians 3:12: “Not that I have already obtained it [the resurrection from the dead] or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” The emphasis in Paul’s life was “pressing on” – the drive to succeed.

In The Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky offers three suggestions to help us sustain our commitment and drive and these three are applicable for our Christian walk. First, make a public resolution to accomplish something. We see this reflected in the periodic “covenant renewal” among the Israelites (cf. Joshua 24:24ff). God requires us to make a public confession of our faith (Romans 10:9-10) and this public affirmation is renewed through the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Second, Lyubomirsky points out that we should “win over those who are closest to us about the value of our pursuits and then engage and cultivate their aid and comfort” (pg. 141). Draw our friends and families into Christianity with us. If we can not convert them, perhaps we can at least draw them into supporting our decision to live the Christian life. It will certainly help us in our desire to reach perfection.

Finally, be willing to stretch your faith. In Lyubomirsky’s words, “choose growth over security.” Try something new. Get out of your comfort zone. Do something in the work of the church that is not “known, comfortable, and familiar.” Growth requires discipline. Christianity requires growth and discipline. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

Living the Christian life is a joy. Pressing on in glorifying Jesus in every way we can should bring us happiness that cannot be taken away.
–Paul Holland

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Best Thanksgiving sermons

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Thanksgiving Sermon for 2014

1) Lk. 16:20-21 – READ
2) The word “beggar” tells us this man was poor.
3) When we look at Lazarus in Lk. 16, what did he have in the form of transportation?
4) The word “laid” indicates this man had virtually zero mobility.
5) Lazarus also lacked when it came to health care.
i) Lazarus was cared for by dogs (Lk. 16:21).
ii) Imagine having multiple open sores (wounds) and dogs lick them.
6) In addition to commenting on Lazarus’ lack of transportation and health care, Jesus spoke about food.
i) This man wanted “crumbs” from the table of the rich man (Lk. 16:21).
ii) This man longed for table scraps like we might offer to a dog.

THE “SMITH” FAMILY.

1) Mr. and Mrs. Smith each have an automobile, but their vehicles are far from new.
2) Both Mr. and Mrs. Smith are thinking this year will be another slim Christmas.
3) Old cars, poor gas mileage, low wages, sparse Christmas plans, new medical issues – things look pretty bleak.
4) The Smith family is not really looking for to Thanksgiving; what do they have to be thankful for?
5) By in large America is a country where people are often ungrateful.
6) Even if we can focus on being grateful for, there may be still some dissatisfaction for what we do not have.
7) Perhaps it is time to look at thankfulness in a new way.
8) Perhaps many would benefit by considering things they are allowed to avoid (not experience).

LOOKING AT LIFE IN A ENW WAY.

1) Could the Smith family be:
i) Thankful their children had medical issues that could be addressed and solved?
ii) Grateful they had transportation, a place to call home, and food on the table?
iii) Thankful they had jobs, they qualified for a loan, and they had an Obama Phone?
iv) Their family was safe, intact, and together?

b) If we break a leg, thank God our problem is not a more serious medical issue.
i) If our medical copay goes from $5 to 50, thank God is not $500 and we can afford the increase.
ii) If our child gets sick for a day or a week, thank God it is not a lifelong problem.

2) Our thankfulness can also include where we live.
3) We should be thankful we live in this country rather than some other places in the world.
i) Imagine living in a country where fresh water is not readily available.
ii) Imagine living in a country where people have almost no access to courts and justice.

4) In many ways EVERY DAY in America should be Thanksgiving Day.
5) We can come up with hundreds of not thousands of things which we are allowed to avoid in life.

6) If all we had to be thankful for were bad things we are allowed to avoid, we would be greatly blessed.
7) Our time and country allows us to avoid many bad things PLUS enjoy many good things.
8) Are we TRULY thankful?

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Do the work of an evangelist

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2 Timothy 1:1-10 – Fan the Flame

From time to time, we lose our zeal; or at least the fire grows cold. We need to, periodically, fan that flame back into a fire. In 2 Timothy 1, Paul tells Timothy to “kindle afresh” the gift of God that he had (1:6). 2 Timothy is Paul’s last letter he wrote and it is among his most personal.

The theme of 2 Timothy is the very brief command in 4:5: “do the work of an evangelist.” Everything will submit to that command. In this letter of four chapters, Paul gives 33 imperatives.

THE GOSPEL IS BASED IN CHRIST’S AUTHORITY – 1:1-2:
Paul begins by referring to himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus.
Paul is saying that with eternal life being found in Christ Jesus, it was God’s will that Paul be chosen as an apostle to teach and preach that message.

THE GOSPEL IS CONTINUOUS WITH THE OLD TESTAMENT – 1:3-5:
Paul served God with a clear conscience “the way my forefathers did.” Paul saw the New Testament faith as continuous with the Old Testament faith just as a rose is continuous with its seed. It is an outgrowth, a maturing, a development from one to the other.
Paul never disparages the Law of Moses. Jews were saved, in a sense, under the Law of Moses in the same way that mankind is saved today under the Law of Christ: Faith that obeys the Laws of God given by His grace.

THE GOSPEL IS A CALL TO ACTION – 1:6-8:
It is that living faith that has been passed down through at least three generations that serves as the foundation for Paul’s appeal to Timothy in this section with the first imperative of the letter (found in verse 8)…
The reason Timothy is to “kindle afresh” this gift is because God has not given us a spirit of timidity but the spirit of power, love, and discipline. You could imagine what impact it would have on Timothy for his beloved mentor, Paul, to call on Timothy to be just as active and courageous!
It is the message of the Spirit, the “promise of life,” that gives us courage. That’s what gives us the power to move ahead, to stay faithful, to endure, to love, and to control our own thinking, or “sound judgment” (NASV marg.).
“Therefore,” Paul draws a conclusion… “Because you have a living faith and have a gift within you that gives you power, love, and self-discipline,” Paul tells Timothy (his first imperative): “Join in suffering with me.”
Paul wants Timothy to agonize with him in prayer, in sharing the Gospel with others, in being willing to be persecuted, even martyred for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Endure the pain, too,” Paul says.
The power of God will conquer. It will not break Paul out of prison, but who cares? It will break the chains that Satan holds around the hearts of the centurions who are guarding Paul (cf. Phil. 1:13). When Paul tells the Christians in Rome in Romans 16:20: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet,” he meant that through the power of the Gospel, evil doers will be converted. The tide will turn. That’s why we should never be ashamed of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16) and why we should never change the Gospel. You cannot improve on God’s power. If you add your thoughts to God’s power, it only dilutes it.

THE GOSPEL FOR WHICH WE SUFFER – 1:9-10:
That Gospel is discussed in various ways in verses 9 & 10…
The plan of salvation is not based on any works that we have done. But it is in agreement with His own plan, His own purpose, and His own grace. God planned throughout eternity that Jesus would be the sacrifice for sin and that those who obeyed God would be forgiven of those sins and would be added to His spiritual body, the Church.

Do the work of an evangelist and spread the Gospel message.

–Paul Holland

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Thinking Right about God by Frank Chesser

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Thinking Right About God

Perhaps you reached this conclusion years ago but within the last two years or so I have been overwhelmed with this perspective: It all begins and ends with the nature of God. When Moses begins writing the text of Scripture, he says, “In the beginning, God…” That says it all, right there. If you need to trust God, you must understand the nature of God. If you are thinking of obeying God (or not obeying God), you must understand the nature of God.

Whether we believe in the miracles of Jesus, it ultimately depends on our understanding of the nature of God. Whether we accept the Bible as the word of God, it ultimately depends on our understanding of the nature of God. How we view the world is affected by our view of the nature of God.

Frank Chesser is truly a word-artist. He can paint beautiful portraits of sublime themes with the use of words. Chesser has written a few books before, each of which is worth reading: The Spirit of Liberalism, Portrait of God, and Voyage of Faith. His most recent book is again, about God: Thinking Right about God.

Thinking Right about God begins with a look at how God has revealed Himself in the Scriptures. We cannot understand God without hearing about how God reveals Himself (1 Cor. 2:11-14). Chesser writes: “The desire to think right about God is the master key to discerning the thinking of God” (pg. 10). That chapter on the nature of God sets the foundation for Chesser’s further comments.

While Chesser weaves his own thoughts together in beautiful prose, you will observe that his thoughts are all based directly on the thoughts of God as He has revealed in Scripture. Chapter Two, on the Nature of God, is a quarter’s worth of Bible study. Teach it. The material will lift the humble in heart and abase the lofty in spirit.

Other chapters in the book deal with sin and redemption, elders and preachers, prejudice, capital punishment, and the “censorious eye.” Chesser’s chapter on the home is a month full of sermons that need to be preached. Within that chapter is this statement that summarizes the whole book: “A man’s mind that is full of the mind of God thinks the thoughts of God. He thinks like God thinks” (pg. 176).

I encourage you to get a copy of Frank Chesser’s book, Thinking Right about God. It will help you fill your mind with the thoughts of God.

–Paul Holland

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Free Bible study on Psalm 59

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Stand By Me – Psalm 59

Ben E. King was a souls singer from the 60s and 70s and is best known for a song entitled “Stand by Me.” It is interesting that this song was based on a Gospel song written in 1905 by a Protestant preacher named Charles Albert Tindley. That song may be familiar to you as it begins, “When the storms of life are raging, stand by me…”

These same sentiments are expressed by David in Psalm 59, which I want us to study.

You will notice in the superscription of the psalm that it was written by David “when Saul sent men and they watched the house in order to kill him.” That would place Psalm 59 in the context of 1 Samuel 19. When we look at 1 Samuel 19, we find that Saul is trying to kill David.

The way that our adversary, the Devil, works today is through deceit. He works in some way to get us to question and doubt the power of God, His love, His grace, His justice, His wrath, His truth in the Bible. That’s the battle we fight today, against the world forces in this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). So, even today, we call upon God to “stand by me.” Let’s look at this psalm…

STANZA ONE – THE CALL ON GOD FOR DELIVERANCE (59:1-5):
In this strophe, David calls on God for help through seven commands…

Verse 1 – Command #1 – David calls on God for deliverance. He describes these people through four expressions: 1.) His enemies, 2.) “those who rise up against me,” 3.) “those who do iniquity,” and 4.) “men of bloodshed.”

Verse 2 – Commands #2 & #3 – Deliver me. Save me. The focus of the psalm is deliverance from those who sin. In fact, David will use four different words for “sin” in this psalm: iniquity (wickedness, evil), “transgression” (vs 3; stepping beside or going beyond); “sin” (vs 3; missing the mark); and “guilt” (vs 4).

Verse 3 – This verse begins with “for,” showing the reason for the call.

The strophe contained in verses 4 & 5 has four commands…

Verse 4b – Commands #4 & #5 – Arouse yourself. See! Sometimes we feel like God is not watching, that God is not there, that He does not see.
Verse 5 – “Lord of hosts” acknowledges that God has a multitude of angels at His bidding and His call. We are not told much about angels, I suggest, because God does not want us worshiping angels nor trusting in angels. Yet, angels are there for God to use for His children as God sees fit (Heb. 1:14).
Commands #6 & #7. Awake. Do not be gracious. David says he’s going to leave vengeance in the hands of God. In 1 Samuel 24 and 26, God gives David a test to see if he will, in fact, leave vengeance in the hands of God. David, of course, passes the test.

STANZA TWO – DAVID’S ENEMIES VERSUS GOD – 59:6-10a:
David turns descriptive in these verses. He goes from talking to God to talking about his enemies and about God…

Verse 8 – God scoffs at the nations. The militant atheists of our day may write best-selling books and draw large crowds and laugh at the God of heaven and His Bible, but God will get the last laugh. No one mocks God with impunity.

Verse 10 – Not only is God powerful but God is also a God of “lovingkindness.” “Lovingkindness” is the grace of God. It is His commitment to be faithful to the covenant He made with man and the faithfulness that motivates God to keep that covenant despite man’s sin against the covenant. David mentions this “lovingkindness” of God here and in verses 16 & 17.

STANZA THREE – DAVID’S CALL FOR TEMPERANCE – 59:10b-13:
Verse 11 – There are three commands in this verse: Command #1 – Do not slay them. Command #2 – Scatter them by your power. Observe here the words David uses that have a military connotation. “Set me securely on high” from verse 1 is a cognate word for “stronghold” in verse 9. We also have “strength” (vs 9), “power” (vs 11) and “shield” (vs 11). Again, in verse 16, we have “strength” and “stronghold” and “refuge” and then “strength” and “stronghold” in verse 17.

STANZA FOUR – DAVID’S ENEMIES AND DAVID’S RESPONES TO GOD – 59:14-17:
The final strophe (verses 16-17) is David’s responses to God. Verse 16 – “But as for me,” is emphatic in Hebrew. What is David going to do? He will worship! He will sing of God’s strength. He will sing of God’s grace, God’s lovingkindness.

Verse 17 – David will sing praises to God. Why? Because God is his stronghold, his power. He is the God who shows David lovingkindness.

When you are in need, call on God to stand by you. He has the power to do what is right. He has the lovingkindness to do what is right.

–Paul Holland

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Too many irons in the fire

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Take Some Irons Out Of The Fire

We have a common idiom that describes someone who has ‘too many irons in the fire’.  The reference is to a blacksmith who is trying to work several items in the fire of his forge.  In fact, he has too many objects in the fire and some will ruin before he is able to do his necessary work.  Today, while there aren’t many blacksmiths around, we still use the expression to describe someone who is trying to juggle too many responsibilities and activities.  The end result is that some things don’t get done as they should.

Christians must be careful about having ‘too many irons in the fire’.  Jobs, careers, educational pursuits, hobbies, recreation, kid’s activities, various programs, etc., all have the potential to keep us so busy that we allow spiritual things to get crowded off (or at least seriously downgraded on) our list of priorities.  We cannot afford to let this happen.

In Matthew 24:37ff, Jesus said, “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”  People were, of course, very wicked in that time.  But look at the list of things they were doing.  Note that not all of them were necessarily sinful.  But, clearly, they had excluded God from all their thoughts and plans.  They had even ignored the warnings that Noah was preaching (2 Peter 2:5).  They were just too busy for God – and that, friends, is TOO busy!

So, look at your schedule again.  Re-evaluate your commitments and activities.  Are you crowding God out of the top spot?  If so, you need to ‘take some irons out of the fire’.  Think!

- by Greg Gwin

 

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Free Bible study on Luke 17

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Created for Praise – Luke 17:11-19

One distinction between Christians and non-Christians is understanding the need to be thankful, even in the middle of suffering (1 Peter 1:7-8; Hebrews 12:11). Paul said that the departure from the faith happens because of a lack of thankfulness (2 Timothy 3:1-2).
Let’s study the nine unthankful lepers from Luke 17:11-19 in order to learn from their example – let’s be like the lone thankful leper.

WE ALL NEED HELP – 17:11-12:
These men “stood at a distance” because they were lepers. One was “unclean” from the point of view of race (Samaritan) as well as unclean from the point of view of health (they were lepers).
All of us have problems. We are concerned about many things that we cannot do anything about. Nobody lives life without problems. That’s why we need help.

WE SERVE A MASTER FULL OF MERCY – 17:13-14:
The lepers recognize in Jesus the attribute of being a teacher and that He has the ability to heal them. So, they cry out or pray for mercy from Jesus. “Mercy” is found 119 times in the NASV. Mercy “describes the emotional response and resulting action after encountering the suffering or affliction of another” (Mounce, 447). So the lepers cry out for the “kindness” of Jesus to heal them.
God causes the sun to shine on the evil and on the good and sends the rain on the just and the unjust. Why? Because He is a God of mercy.

GOD DESERVES PRAISE – 17:15-18:
One of the ten healed returns. One. One glorified God with a loud voice. One. The majority of the time, the majority are in error. One. Jesus healed all of them but not all were thankful.
The ten were blessed. The ten were healed. The ten experienced the goodness and kindness of God. The ten tasted the heavenly gift. The ten tasted the good word of God and the power of the age to come. But one returned. One glorified God. One gave thanks to Jesus.
But not only that but giving thanks to God leads us to give thanks to others around us. If I am thankful to God for my wife, I will tell God. Then, I will tell my wife. When we show/express thankfulness, it communicates that we value that other person. One of the most important needs that we have as human beings is the need to feel valued, the need to feel appreciated. For over twenty five years, Dr. Nick Stinnett at the University of Alabama has studied what makes marriages strong and one of the six major qualities that make families strong is the quality of appreciation.

THANKSGIVING BRINGS FURTHER REWARD – 17:19:
Jesus told the Samaritan – “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” It seems here that Jesus passes from the physical blessing to the spiritual blessing (just as He did before in Mark 5).
Being thankful brings further rewards. With God, it brings further blessings. With our spouse, it will strengthen our relationship with the other and motivate him/her to do more. With our employer, it may bring added honor, responsibilities, even promotions. With our employees, it lights a fire under them to work more and harder – to go the extra mile.

Take home message: In everything, to everyone – give thanks.
–Paul Holland

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Do not Make Merchandise of the Gospel 1 Timothy 6:3-10

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Men (and women for that matter) have to make a living. We have bills to pay, health care, retirement, etc. Everyone needs something to do to earn a salary for their own expenses and to share with those in need (Eph. 4:28). What we cannot do is use the Gospel to make money, even teaching falsely for the sake of monetary gain. Nor can we support those who do.

In this paragraph (1 Tim. 6:3-10), Paul gets to the heart of a false teacher, literally. If anyone teaches something different than what Paul has been teaching, something that is not consistent with sound (“healthy”) words, those of the Lord Jesus and His doctrine that conforms to godliness…

Such a teacher is conceited and understands nothing! Wow! What an indictment! I may not be able to judge a man’s heart but Paul does. Not submitting to the apostles’ doctrine leads one to discuss and argue other things. He has a “morbid” interest in controversial questions and disputes. The end result of this attitude is: envy, strife, abusive language (“blasphemia”), evil suspicions…
Notice that Paul is sarcastic here when he says these people “understand nothing!” How can you understand “nothing”?

False teaching brings constant friction with men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth. Not only is their heart conceited but their mind is depraved and they do not have the truth! Why? Because they are not teaching the truth! In Paul’s case, these men are using the “Gospel” as a means to make money…

THE GREED OF FALSE TEACHERS – 6:6-10:
Yet, godliness is a means of gain, if one is content. “Contentment” is “self-sufficiency.” Of course, Paul’s point is that we should depend on Christ.

We cannot change the doctrine of Christ to tickle ears and draw in people who are not willing to submit to the teaching of Christ. We need to be content with what God has given us. We did not bring anything into the world and we will carry nothing out (Job 1:21; Psa. 49:16; Eccl. 5:14). It is irrational to do such things for money when that does not last!

There is an ever-present danger in life going well for us, financially, especially, that we turn our backs on Christ’s Truth. Big crowds lead us to believe that God is blessing us because of what we are doing. No, God blesses us when we are faithful, not large. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation, a snare, many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.

Love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Men will do any sort of evil, wicked, ungodly things in order to gain more money. Some, Paul writes, have wandered away from the faith / the Gospel and pierced themselves through with many sorrows because of the pursuit of money.

Do not preach for money. And certainly, do not pervert the Gospel for the sake of a dime. Eternity costs way too much for that!

–Paul Holland

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