SOUND DOCTRINE SEMINAR: To Follow in His Steps

 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”  (1Peter 2:21)

The Gospel of Matthew chapter six verses one through four says,

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”

“Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:”

“That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matt. 6:1-4)

Jesus is teaching on alms giving. This is one area where many Christians have failed terribly in God’s plan for having a giving life.

The giving of alms, or money for the poor, is very important in the eyes of God.

And once again, there is an apparent meaning and a spiritual meaning. The spiritual meaning reveals the truth in following the example of Christ and entering into “perfectness”.

“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.” (Prov. 21:13)

The Lord wants us to seek honor and acclaim in His eyes only.

That is why the Lord says that the giving of alms should be in secret, however the Pharisees and the hypocrites were doing it to seek honor in the eyes of men for various reasons.

The Pharisees practiced a vain and defiled religion which they had created by adding traditions and misinterpretations to the Law of Moses.

They practiced it to appease their inward wrong attitudes. They really did not believe in God actively engaging in their lives.

That is why they were so startled when individuals were delivered from demons or healed from diseases. That is why they were so offended when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath day, even though it was God who did the healing.

They were so intent on the minutia of their tradition they had lost sight of what was important. It didn’t matter to them if it was God who did it or not. They were totally involved in self-satisfaction and gloating over all the religious acts which they observed.

This religious attitude still persists today.

Several years ago, I was leaving a Hospital after visiting a sick individual when I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to hand a Gospel tract to a gentleman who was passing by.

I asked him if he knew that Jesus loved him and he declared that he was a Presbyterian.

I replied, “Great! Have you been born again? Jesus said, ‘except a man be born again he shall not see the Kingdom of God’.”

He replied, “I don’t care what Jesus said. I told you I was a Presbyterian.”

This religious pride is most prevalent in the Church today when it comes to giving.

The emphasis from the pulpit is often upon obedience to the law, the amount of the gift, and honoring the giver regardless of the reason for the giving and the attitude of the heart.

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1Sam. 16:7)

Matthew chapter 25 verses 34 through 40 declares,

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:”

“Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?”

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?”

“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?”

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:34-40)

First Corinthians chapter four and verse five also says,

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” (1Cor. 4:5)

These Scriptures are talking about when we shall come into the presence of Lord. If we give in secret for God’s eyes only, we shall receive praise from God as we stand before His throne plus He says that He shall reward us openly now.

When we give in secret it is God who receives the glory because there is no one standing in the way to receive the acclaim.

The Bible says that God who sees in secret shall reward openly.

This is a promise of prosperity not only in this life, but praise from God in the life to come. It is hard to imagine being praised by God, but God says He is going to do it.

James chapter 2 verses 15 and 16 says,

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (James 2:16)

The answer is it profits nothing.

God’s faith is a practical faith. Jesus met the physical needs of the hungry multitudes as well as meeting their spiritual needs.

Love and charity are practical.

And just as faith without works is dead, love and charity must have works also.

The Bible says that faith works by love.

“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” (Gal. 5:6)

First Corinthians chapter 13 and verse three declares,

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1Cor. 13:3)

There has to be charity, there has to be love involved in the giving, otherwise the giving profits nothing.

Many times people give wrongfully, such as the Pharisees and hypocrites did, because of the pride of self-sacrifice.

There is a certain pride in giving away what we believe we have worked so hard to earn.

There is a pride in believing that since we worked so hard for it then it is a great sacrifice and we should be honored for giving it.

John chapter three and verse 27 says,

“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” (John 3:27)

And in First Corinthians chapter four and verse seven,

“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1Cor. 4:7)

Everything we have is not because we worked for it but we have it by the grace of God.

Therefore, if God has given it unto us then we can freely give it back to Him by giving it to others.

When we have this attitude of stewardship instead of ownership it takes away all pride and God is able to bless our giving.

First Timothy chapter six verses 17 through 19 tells us,

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”

“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”

“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1Tim. 6:17-19)

The Greek word for communicate literally means “to give to the poor”. The Lord teaches us that giving in love is instrumental in receiving back from him.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)

In conclusion, Jesus Christ is, was, and always shall be the same.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)

Jesus Christ and the Father are one.

“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)

Jesus Christ is perfect.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mat. 5:48)

We are to follow the example of Christ and strive for perfectness.

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” (1Peter 2:21)

“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col. 3:14)

We follow in His steps and strive for perfectness through charity, and we achieve charity by following His rules for Kingdom living as Jesus described in His “Sermon on the Mount”.

This can only be done through Christ in us, the hope of Glory, the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost.

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)

Only then shall we see the manifestation of God’s power in our lives and receive the blessings of obedience.

Next- GOD DESIRES RELATIONSHIP, NOT RELIGION

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

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