Saturday, April 16, 2011

What Matters? 4/13/2011

OK, so I’m a little late with this one.  Had a few other things take priority this week.  For those of you that missed it we had an awesome time last night at the From and To Event.  Now on to the Random Blog.  Last Wednesday night we had some really good discussion that focused mostly on what really matters to us.  There were a few other introductory questions that we’ll deal with first.

Satan and Sin:
We had three questions in this category:  1.  Can you sin in hell?  2.  Could Satan be forgiven?  3.  Could Satan ever defeat God?

Can you sin in hell?
We discussed this for a bit and came to the conclusion that the Bible really doesn’t address this issue.  We talked about the fact that part of the torment of hell is an isolation factor, so you probably can’t commit a sin against someone else.  However, you could still sin in your mind through a sinful thought process.  Bottom line on this one, though, is that it really doesn’t matter.  If you’ve already found yourself in hell you’re there for eternity.  There is no time off for good behavior.  The decision has already been made to reject Christ and whatever happens from there won’t change anything.

Could Satan be forgiven?
I’ll just cut to the chase on this one.  NO he can’t.  Satan is originally an angel.  Therefore he has all the limitations of the angels.  So the question to look at is whether or not forgiveness is offered to fallen angels.  Sin is part of our human nature.  It started with Adam and then passed on to everyone since.  Then Jesus stepped in and became fully God and fully man at the same time to pay the penalty for sin (death).  He rose again and conquered sin and offers life and forgiveness to all men.  You can see a whole theological discussion about this in Romans 5.  Jesus’ sacrifice is for all men.  He did not die for the angels (Hebrews 2:16).  Therefore angels, and more specifically Satan, cannot be forgiven.

Could Satan ever defeat God?
NO he can’t.  He’s been trying forever.  It started in heaven (Is. 14:12-14).  Then he shows up again in the garden of Eden (Gen 3).  He tries to tempt Jesus to sin (Mt 4 and Lk 4).  Don’t worry the end of the book says that Satan loses.  He’ll be cast into the lake of fire and tormented forever (Rev 20:7-10).

What Matters:
I asked the group the question, “What matters?”  We got several answers.  Some said family and friends.  Some mentioned their relationship with God.  Some mentioned sports and other things.  I wasn’t really looking for a right answer on this one.  I just wanted us to think about what really matters and how we determine that in our lives.  One of our youth leaders commented that you can tell what matters to people by where they spend their time and their money.  This really is a great litmus test.  So take a minute and recall the last week or the last month.  Where was most of your time spent?  What did you spend most of your money on?  It’s easy to say God and family are what really matters.  It’s a completely different thing to live it out and really mean it.  The things that matter to us should be the things that matter to God.  So next time you pull out a twenty ask yourself:  does this matter to God?  I’m not saying all your money has to be spent on God stuff.  But check your percentages.  If things are off you might want to check your heart and see what really matters.

In the process of our conversation someone asked about tithing.  They asked if you could give your tithe to missions.  So I said I would put some scriptures in this blog about tithing.  So here it is.  Malachi 3 has a great discourse on tithing.  The tithe is 1/10 of our income and it belongs to God.  It is not an option.  It’s not an offering.  It is our responsibility to give it.  Some say it’s an Old Testament principle that we don’t have to do anymore.  Jesus said to the Pharisees that they should be doing more important things that they are leaving out, but He didn’t tell them not to tithe.  He said they should tithe, but also pay attention to the more important things (Mt 23:23; Lk 11:42).  I think Jesus saw tithing as a basic principle that should be a given for the Christian life.  It’s one of the elementary principles.

So here’s the quick definition.  The tithe is 1/10 of your income.  You give it to God because it belongs to Him.  He let’s us keep 90% of His money and asks us to be a wise steward of it.  Notice I said it’s His.  We need to operate with the principle in mind that everything we have is God’s.  He just let’s us use it for a while.  The tithe needs to be given to your local church to take care of the ministries God has called that church to do.  It should not be designated to a certain fund or ministry.  Then it would no longer be a tithe.  So, no you can’t give your tithe to missions.  At that point it would not be a tithe.  It would be an offering, and you would be in disobedience for not tithing. 

It all boils down to what really matters.  If pleasing God really matters to you, you won’t give out of an obligation or a law you will cheerfully give (2 Cor 9:7).  Tithing won’t be an issue because that will be the base and you’ll go above and beyond to support the cause of Christ all over the world.

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