I would like to extend a personal invite to anyone interested in attending our Bible Study event this Thursday evening at 7 pm. We will be meeting in the Church fellowship hall downstairs. This Bible Study is intended for junior-high through adults. It meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. You will need something to write with and your Bible.
I look forward to meeting you and spending time together in the precious Word of God.
The Bible says, “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
We must really believe “He is” or we will never come to Him in prayer.
If we don’t come to Him in prayer we inevitably don’t really believe.
We don’t believe God will hear or answer our prayers. We either don’t believe He is able to answer our prayers, our request is to big for Him, He can’t handle it, He’s too far removed (transcendent), or He doesn’t really care enough to intervene on our behalf.
Nothing is too hard or difficult for Him (Ephesians 3:20, Genesis 18:14, Job 42:2, Jeremiah 32:17 & 27, Luke 1:37, Matthew 19:25-26)
God does care and desires to meet our every need (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:19).
We must correct our thinking and then we will be free to seek Him in prayer (Proverbs 23:7a).
The weakness of our flesh (Mark 14:37-38).
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38).
Our flesh is opposed to anything spiritual and will fight us all the way. (Galatians 5:17).
If you want to see how weak your flesh is try praying for an entire hour (Mark 14:37).
We lack spiritual discipline.
We may be saved, sanctified and Spirit-Filled, but without discipline we will never spend quality time with God in prayer.
The Psalmist wrote, “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass” (Psalms 37:4-5).
No one ever spends regular quality time in prayer without commitment and discipline.
We must have a resolve that nothing will get in our way of spending time with God. It will help to set apart a specific time for daily prayer.
We’ve left our first love.
Jesus said to the church of Ephesus, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent” (Revelation 2:4).
We no longer have that enjoyment of God’s presence we once had. We have left our first love and must return.
Like many couples, we start off loving spending time with each other and as time goes on we let the fire die out and spend less and less time with each other. At the beginning of the relationship nothing could keep us apart. It’s the same with our relationship with God. We have forgotten that “in Your (His) presence is fullness of joy; at Your (His) right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalms 16:11).
We don’t want God to interfere.
Hudson Taylor said “Whenever we truly get alone with God, He’ll deal with our lives.” When we get alone with God in prayer, we put ourself in a place for God to work in our life.
Like the rich young ruler He begins to put His finger on things in our life (Matthew 19:16-22).
Not to spend time in prayer shows we are unwilling for God to mess around in our life. Let’s expose ourself to Him in prayer allowing Him to do what He desires in us.
There’s sin in our life.
John Bunyon said, “Prayer will make a man cease from sin as sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”
when we have had failure in any area, we are less likely to spend quality time with God.
We feel guilty and unworthy and unmotivated to approach Him. This is why we must keep ourself in right standing and immediately make things right with Him when we have failed (1 John 1:5-9).
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
To obtain mercy denotes we have messed up in someway and therefore we are in need of mercy. When we have failed, let’s boldly run to Him instead of running away from Him.
Prayer is often laborious.
It was said of Epaphras that he was “always labouring fervently for you in prayers” (Colossians 4:12).
Paul requested of the Romans, “I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me” (Romans 15:30).
We must strive in prayer to God. Therefore, our lack of prayer is often the result of laziness.
We are exhorted, “not slothful (lazy or sluggish) in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11).
“That ye be not slothful (lazy or sluggish), but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).
Prayer demands thought, concentration, effort, resolve and persistence. Let’s discipline ourselves in seeking the face of God.
Isaiah cried, “There is none that calleth upon Thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee” (Isaiah 64:7). Let’s stir ourselves to lay hold of God with all we have within us.
We don’t prioritize prayer.
We don’t have time to pray or more accurately, we don’t make time to pray.
Other things take priority over prayer.
This is proof of idolatry (1 John 5:21).
We are to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Even those in full time ministry let things sneak in to rob us from spending quality time with God in prayer
We become discouraged.
Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).
We often become fainthearted when we don’t see the results to our prayers right away.
Jesus goes on to teach us a parable of a widow who goes to an unjust judge seeking help. The judge seems to ignore and refuse to listen to her. She is undaunted by his refusal and relentlessly continues going to him with her request until he says,
“Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me” (Luke 18:4-5).
Jesus went on to say, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:6-8)?
This persistence in prayer is the type of faith God is looking for in His people.
We lack the spirit of prayer.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Prayer.
Paul wrote, “You have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry out, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).
“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).
If we do not have a sense of the Holy Spirit crying out to God from within us we may not have received His Spirit through the new birth.
If we have been born again and we aren’t stirred by the Spirit of prayer, perhaps we need a fresh charge of this Spirit of Prayer or we need to be filled anew with the Holy Ghost.
Disciplining ourselves with time in God’s Word and prayer
will help to rekindle this in our life (Ephesians 5:18-19 and Colossians 3:16).
I have noticed, the more time I spend in prayer, the more I sense the Holy Spirit crying out from within me to God.
Prayer: REPENT AND CHANGE YOUR MINDSET AND ASK GOD TO RE-FILL YOU WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND IGNITE YOUR LIFE IN PRAYER!
“Only Liberal Preachers discount the tithe as mandatory for New Testament believers.” —-Really? Check out these “liberal” men who understood the Scriptures to NOT TEACH MANDATORY TITHING under the New Covenant.
B.B. Warfield – “When told by sceptics that we are bound by the Bible to pay tithes, to execute the idolater and blasphemer, to put the Sabbath-breaker and witch to death, our answer is that the apostolic decree sets entirely free from these and all other peculiarities of the old Jewish economy. They are not names among the exceptions, and therefore are of no binding force upon the Gentile believers (p.193)”
C.I. Schofield – “In contrast with the law, which imposed giving as a divine requirement, Christian giving is voluntary, and a test of sincerity and love.”
Charles Ryrie – “Not even the most ardent tither would say that the Sabbath should be observed today because it was observed before the law (Exodus 16:23-36), yet this is the very reasoning used in promoting tithing today. The New Testament teaches us about a new day of worship, and it also gives us new directions for giving. To tithe today following the examples of those who did it before the law would mean that only 10 percent of one’s income would go to the Lord and only on certain occasions; to tithe on the basis of the teaching of the law would mean that 22 percent would be given to the Lord as payment of what was owed Him; but to give on the basis of the principles of the new Testament might mean any percent, and given in recognition that 100 percent belongs to Him. The Lord’s work will never lack support if we preach and practice New Testament principles of giving.”
Charles H. Spurgeon – “But you are not under a system similar to that by which the Jews were obliged to pay tithes to the priests. If there were any such rule laid down in the Gospel, it would destroy the beauty of spontaneous giving and take away all the bloom from the fruit of your liberality! There is no law to tell me what I should give my father on his birthday. There is no rule laid down in any law book to decide what present a husband should give to his wife, nor what token of affection we should bestow upon others whom we love. No, the gift must be a free one, or it has lost all its sweetness.”
G. Campbell Morgan – “I hear a great deal about the tithing of incomes. I have no sympathy with the movement at all. A tenth in the case of one man is meanness, and in the case of another main is dishonesty. I know men today who are Christian men in city churches an village chapels, who have no business to give a tenth of their income to the work of God. They cannot afford it. I know other men who are giving one-tenth, and the nine-tenths they keep is doing harm to their souls.”
Irenaeus – “and instead of the law enjoining the giving of tithes, [He told us] to share Matthew 19:21 all our possessions with the poor”
J. Vernon McGee – “Today we are living in an age of grace. Under the Mosaic Law, men were required to give one-tenth to God. (Actually, I think that if the Mosaic Law is examined correctly, they not only gave one-tenth but they gave three-tenths.) Today we’re to give on an altogether different standard or basis. That is, we’re not under Law; we’re not under compulsion relative to this matter at all.”
John Bunyan – “his paying of tithes was ceremonial, such as came in and went out with the typical priesthood.”
John Gill – “Hebrews 7:4 which is no proof of any obligation on men to pay tithes now to any order of men; for this was a voluntary act, and not what any law obliged to; it was done but once, and not constantly, or every year; it was out of the spoils of the enemy, and not out of his own substance, or of the increase of the earth; nor was it for the maintenance of Melchizedek, as a priest…”
John Milton – “And yet the Jews, ever since their temple was destroyed, though they have rabbies and teachers of their law, yet pay no tithes, as having no Levites to whom, no temple where, to pay them, no altar whereon to hallow them: which argues that the Jews themselves never thought tithes moral, but ceremonial only. That Christians therefore should take them up, whicn Jews have laid them down, must needs be fore absurd and preposterous.”
John Nelson Darby – “They proposed the subtleties of casuists and neglected the essential things of the law of God. Exact as to the minutiae of the tithes demanded by the law of Moses, they neglected justice, mercy, and faith, all that which was really important in the eyes of God. They washed the outside, and within they were full of rapine and unrighteousness.”
John Owen – “it is no safe plea for many to insist on, that tithes are due and divine, as they speak, that is, by a binding law of God now under the gospel. . . .according to the duties required of all the ministers thereof in the gospel, to sing unto themselves that tithes are due to them, by the appointment and law of God, is a fond imagination, a dream that will fill them with perplexity when they awake”
John Smyth – “Wee hold that the tithes are either Jewish or popish” “Mr. Bern. pag. 156. of the Sep. Schisme avoucheth that to deny tithes, & a set mayntenance to Ministers is contrary to the Lords wisdom, who vnder the law appointeth tithes a set maintenance & ther is nothing against it in the gospel: I answer with the Apostle, the old testament and the ordinances thereof are abolished”
John Wesley – “give all you can, or, in other words, give all you have to God. Do not stint yourself, like a Jew rather than a Christian, to this or that proportion. “Render unto God,” not a tenth, not a third, not half, but all that is God’s, be it more or less”
John Wycliffe – “why curates are so severe in exacting tithes, since Christ and his apostles took no tithes, as men do now ; neither paid them, nor even spoke of them, either in the Gospel or the Epistles, which are the perfect law of freedom and grace. But Christ lived on the alms of holy women, as the Gospel telleth ; and the apostles lived sometimes by the labor of their hands, and sometimes took a poor livelihood and clothing, given of free will and devotion by the people, without asking or constraining.” ” Paul proved that priests, preaching truly the gospel, should live by the gospel, and said naught of tithes. Certainly tithes were due to priests in the Old Law — but it is not so now, in the law of grace.”
Justin Martyr – “and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit;”
Martin Luther – “But the other commandments of Moses, which are not [implanted in all men] by nature, the Gentiles do not hold. Nor do these pertain to the Gentiles, such as the tithe”
Matthew Henry – “The tenth is a very fit proportion to be devoted to God and employed for him, though, as circumstances vary, it may be more or less, as God prospers us”
Roger Williams – Secondly, as to the Labourer worthy of his Reward, I answer, we find no other patterne in the Testament of Christ Jesus, but that both the Converting (or Apostolicall Ministry) and the Feed (or Pastorall Ministry) did freely serve or minister, and yet were freely supported by the Saints and Churches, and that not in stinted Wages, Tithes, Stipends, Sallaries, &c. but with larger or lesser supplies, as the Hand of the Lord was more or lesse extended in his weekly blessings on them.
W.E. Vine – “Love and devotion to God! That imparts the real value to giving. And this perhaps serves to explain why no command as to the amount is laid down for believers. To obey a command stating the amount or proportion would be easy, but what exercise of heart would there be? Where would the motive lie? Loyalty would be superseded by mechanical religion. Love would be replaced by formalism. Both individuals and local churches would lose their sense of the high motive which should inspire in the offering a loving response to the love of the great Giver Himself.”
Walter Elwell – “Nowhere does the New Testament require Christians to tithe in the sense of giving 10 percent, but it does reiterate many things associated with tithing: those who minister are entitled to receive support ( 1 Cor 9:14 ); the poor and needy should be cared for ( 1 Cor 16:1 ; Gal 2:10 ); those who give can trust God, as the source of all that is given ( 2 Cor 9:10 ), to supply their needs ( 2 Cor 9:8 ; Php 4:19 ); and giving should be done joyously ( 2 Cor 9:7 ). The New Testament directs that taxes be paid to the state ( Rom 13:6-7 ), which replaced Israel’s theocracy. Paul’s vocabulary and teaching suggest that giving is voluntary and that there is no set percentage. Following the example of Christ, who gave even his life ( 2 Cor 8:9 ), we should cheerfully give as much as we have decided ( 2 Cor 9:7 ) based on how much the Lord has prospered us”
John Huss – “they came to the town hall to present their petitions for their tithes. ” Ah!” said the lords,” you [Huss] said before that tithes were not purely alms; but you assert now that they are, and so condemn yourselves.” Huss noticed this absurd course of the clergy. “I wonder,” says he, with stinging sarcasm, . . .They condemned the article that tithes were alms; now they beg that their salaries,which are alms, may not be taken away.””
Moody Bible Institute – “Tithing is never mentioned by any of the New Testament writers as a compulsory behavior of the church, but generous giving is emphatically expected.”
The Berean Call (Dave Hunt) – “I don’t think tithing is for Christians. Everything belongs to the Lord…I don’t read anything in the New Testament saying that we give 10%”
The Anabaptists – “Another very disturbing feature of the 16th-century Anabaptist movement was its opposition to paying tithes. This state-church tax was experienced by the poor as oppressive and provoked frequent protests (for example in the peasants’ movement of 1524-1526), but it was foundational to the Christendom system and defended by both church and state with determination and increasing desperation. Anabaptists, in common with other radical groups, rejected the state churches’ approach to tithing as unjust and based on bad biblical interpretation.” “Leaders of these groups included Felix Mantz, Conrad Grebel, Simon Stumpf, and Wilhelm Reublin, all of whom Zwingli had an impact on. Hubmaier, the Hutterites, and Thomas Müntzer also opposed the exacting of tithes. The Anabaptists maintained that the New Testament taught nothing about tithing and paints a picture of Christians having all things in common.”
The Early American Baptists and Separatists – “That the due maintenance of the Officers aforesaid, should be of the free and voluntary contribution of the Church, that according to Christ’s ordinance, they which preach the Gospel may live of the Gospel: and not by Popish Lordships and Livings, or Jewish tithes and Offerings.”
Jesus warned the Pharisees about taking man-made doctrines and giving them the weight of Divine commandments. We must be careful not to do the same thing. This sermon addresses the error of the Pharisees and those who follow their example, it deals with some examples of this and shows the damaging effects of teaching for doctrine, the traditions of men.