Can you be a saved Christian and not sacrifice for the poor?

“What is with millennials and orphanages?” “All these young people just want to feed the poor. I am more concerned about people’s spiritual needs!” “I’m so sick of this social gospel infiltrating our churches!” “We don’t need to help the poor in order to preach the gospel.”

“I give my tithe. Why do you keep asking for more money?” “If they’re so poor then why don’t they get better jobs or leave their country?” “I need to take care of my family first.” (the Same person will spend for 3 cars, computers, iPads, video games, sports, expensive meals, goes into debt for a vacation, oversized home, monthly satellite TV and entertainment subscriptions, but can’t give to help any charitable Christian works).

These statements are made out of ignorance for many, some out of a cold or selfish heart, and often with a misunderstanding of what God expects Christians to do with His money.

Believers will question a man’s salvation based on his outward appearance of “worldliness” or a besetting sin. I have heard a genuine, holy, separated from sin man’s salvation questioned because of his music and Bible version. I once heard a Christian accuse a leading IFB pastor of immorality because he didn’t like the church’s music.

Yet, I personally have never heard a message that teaches good works are necessary for a believer’s life. I have never been taught contextually from the much-debated verses implying good works provide evidence of salvation what they really mean. In a Biblical context “good works” or “works” often refers to charitable work, not church attendance and Bible reading.

This material applies to health and wealth frauds, judgmental fruit inspectors, and those who believe that gain is godliness. If you have been blessed financially it is to give. These verses and thoughts are for any Christian who wishes to please His Savior in the way he lives.

If we do not teach Christians to live with an eternal perspective concerning poverty for fear of being opposed, called liberal, or focusing too much on money, then we are failing to preach the whole counsel of God and what being a Christian really is. 

-Can you be a spiritually mature Christian and not care for the poor?-

NO! You can not. That is the Biblical answer. I could write a book on the verses, but I’ll just post a list of SOME below:

  1. God’s teachings about the poor (regardless of their spiritual condition or nationality):

Pro 14:21  He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Eze 16:49  Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

Pro 14:31  He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.

Deu 15:11  For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

Psa 82:3  Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Psa 82:4  Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

Pro 19:17  He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Pro 29:7  The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

In the Old Testament God focused on the needs of those within the borders of His chosen people, both the Jews and non-Jews. In the New Testament, our focus is the world since we are citizens of heaven and pilgrims in this world.

We are to be lights that let our light shine through GOOD WORKS. 

Pro 31:20  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

Mat 19:21  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Gal 2:10  Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

2. God’s teachings on giving:

Eph 4:28  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with hishands the thing which is good, that he may have TO GIVE to him that needeth.

Jas 2:14  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16  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? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Oft-debated passages about soteriology are preached argumentatively but not contextually. If we understood and believed what these passages teach, the American church could have revival.

1Ti 5:10  Well reported of for good works.. if she have lodged strangers… if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

1Ti 6:17  Charge them that are rich in this world… 18  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate…

Mat 5:42  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

1 Jn 3:17  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him

Mat 6:19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

I’ve heard it said, “IF YOU’VE GOT SIN IN YOUR LIFE THEN YOU’RE NOT SAVED!” Would it be honest biblically then to say “IF YOU’RE LIVING IN COMFORT WITHOUT SACRIFICING FOR THE POOR THEN YOU’RE NOT SAVED?”

I am not advocating that a person who is not as generous as they should be is not saved, but biblical expositional consistency will make us think about how important compassion is to GOD.

So, what do you think? If you would like to know of a few organizations you can begin supporting today feel free to message me on social media or through my email.

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Baptist Preachers Who aren’t Ready for Revival by Dr. Rick Flanders

The following article is written by a man I know personally and deeply respect. His messages have impacted my life, I have enjoyed his fellowship, and he has a testimony of faithfulness. The message he is trying to communicate will be misunderstood, probably by the very ones that need this truth. One thing I appreciate about Dr. Flanders is that he always tries to be biblical, honest, and genuine.

One thing I appreciate about Dr. Flanders is that he always tries to be biblical, honest, and genuine. The church needs revival, but it won’t come through the Baptist pulpit because we’re not ready for it. This article is convicting, challenging, and correct. I have highlighted in bold the portions that most interested or resonated with me. Please read with a Spirit-filled heart and mind:

Right, But Not Ready by Dr. Rick Flanders

“And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy.” (Exodus 40:9)

The book of Exodus ends with the successful completion of Israel’s great wilderness project: the construction of the Tabernacle.  And they had done it all just right.  The thirty-ninth chapter (next to the last) ends with these words:

“And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.” (Exodus 39:43)

Then the fortieth chapter begins will the account of the assembling of the Tabernacle worship center.  The tent was set up (vs. 1-2), the ark was put in and the vail hung (v. 3), the table of showbread was set up with the right things put on it (v.4), the candlestick was brought into the tabernacle and its lamps lit (v.5), the incense altar was placed before the ark and the door hung (v. 5), the brazen altar was put before the door (v. 6), the laver full of water was put between the altar and the door (v. 7), and finally the court was set up (v. 8).  In many ways, it was perfect.  Truly it can be said that the Tabernacle in the wilderness with its prescribed rituals was the most perfect object lesson depicting the Person and Work of Jesus Christ ever to be made.  It was just right, but we note as the book comes to a close that the Tabernacle and its ministers were not yet ready.  Something had to be done before ministry at the Tabernacle could begin.

The LORD told Moses that he must “take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein,” and by anointing it with the oil, all of it would be hallowed and holy and useful in the service of God (v. 9).  So he anointed the brazen altar with the oil, and then the rest, and also the priests in their special garments.  The Tabernacle and the priests were not ready until they were anointed.

Of course, anointing with oil was the ritual that symbolized the anointing with the Holy Spirit.  In Old Testament days, men were anointed as they began their service for the Lord.  In the sixty-first chapter of the book of Isaiah the prophet we read

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me; because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel unto the meek…” (Verse 1)

“…to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness…” (Verses 2 and 3)

The First Book of Samuel tells the story of David, and includes this record,

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.” (Chapter 16, Verse 13)

Throughout the era of the Old Testament economy, anointing oil represented the Spirit of God.  And so Exodus 40 is teaching us that our witness for Christ can be right, perfectly right, while we are not yet ready for ministry.  It is the power of the Holy Spirit that makes even the Gospel effective.  The Word of God is a beneficial sword when it is the “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), but it is actually dangerous to preach the Word without the ministry of the Spirit, “for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (Second Corinthians 3:6—read Verses 5 through 18 to see the distinctive work of the Spirit in the New Testament ministry).  Often Bible-believing Christians concentrate on being right about every detail of doctrine, while missing the fact that we often are not ready to be used of God.

I want to be right about everything.  I’m not saying I have everything right, but I am saying that I want to have it all right.  Don’t you?  What Christian does not want to please God in every detail?  Our doctrines and practices should all be biblical.

Jesus taught us that every Bible truth is important, but that some teachings are more important than others.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:  I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)

Clearly, the “least commandments” of God are important.  None of them are unimportant.  But the fact that Jesus designated some of them as “least” (as opposed to great) indicates that some of His commandments are in some way more important than others.  He told the religious hypocrites that they had been wrong to be so certain to pay tithes, even of “mint, and anise and cummin,” and yet to “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” (Matthew 23:23).  Some biblical matters are “weightier” than others, but all are important, and none should be left undone, even if least.

Certainly, the weightiest of Bible truths are the cardinal doctrines of the Gospel, the ones essential to the soul’s salvation.  Find them in First Corinthians 15:1-3, where the Gospel itself is defined.  The fundamentals of the Gospel are the authority of the scriptures, the deity of Christ, His blood atonement for our sins, His bodily resurrection from the dead, and salvation by faith in Him.  Without all of these doctrines, you don’t have the Gospel.  Without accepting the Gospel, you are not a Christian. True Christians are sometimes confused about lesser doctrines, but if they deny any of these fundamentals, they are not true Christians. I am a Christian, and affirm the fundamentals of the faith, and rest the security of my eternal soul upon them.

A Fundamentalist is a Christian who insists that these cardinal truths are fundamental to the Gospel.  Some “Evangelicals” (the term comes from the Greek word for “Gospel”) say they believe the Gospel (you are not an Evangelical unless you do) but can accept a Liberal as a Christian who denies some of them.  This kind would be an Evangelical, but not a Fundamentalist.  I am a Fundamentalist Christian because I hold the fundamentals to be fundamental to the faith, and will not acknowledge any other set of teachings as Christianity.  Yes, I am a Christian and also a Fundamentalist Christian.

A Baptist is a Christian who practices New Testament practices.  Questions of practice among groups of Christians have often been called matters that are “distinct” to that group.  Church history defines a person like me as a Baptist because I practice what are called “the Baptist distinctives.”  Among them are: believer’s baptism by immersion, regenerate church membership, two ordinances of the church, two officers of the church, the church of Jesus Christ as local and visible with Jesus as the head of each congregation, the separation of church and state, and individual soul liberty.  So I am a Baptist, and it is important.  The Baptist distinctives are taught in the Bible.  But being a Baptist is not as important as being a Christian.  A person might get to heaven without being a Baptist, but he cannot get to heaven without being a Christian.

Even Baptists disagree about what the Bible is saying about lesser issues of doctrine or practice.  Personally, I have strong convictions about the preservation of the biblical text and how it relates to the choice of a Bible translation.  I also hold to views about what I understand the Bible to teach about dress, about the security of the believer, about election, about issues of personal “separation,” about principles that apply to church music, about revival, about prayer, and about victory through Christ over sin and the devil.  These are very important matters but they do not have the same biblical weight as do the fundamentals of the Gospel or the distinctives of New Testament practice.  I want to be right about these issues, all of them.  As I understand the light I have on these issues from scripture illuminated by the Holy Spirit, I identify myself to be a Fundamentalist Christian who is a Baptist by conviction.  I also think I am using the right Bible and the right music, and dressing the right way.  I want to be as right as I can be in my point of view, but being right has never been enough.

Notice that the priests were not ready to serve in the Tabernacle until the Tabernacle and its furniture had been anointed with oil (read again Exodus 40:1-11).  Then “Aaron [the high priest] and his sons” (Exodus 40:12-16) were to be washed, clothed, and anointed for service.  When He was baptized by John, the Lord Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Acts 3:36-38).  On the great Day of Pentecost, all believers in Jesus Christ were anointed with the Holy Spirit (see this in Luke 24:45-49, John 14:15-27, John 16:5-14, Acts 1:1-8, Acts 2:1-18, Second Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:12-14, Ephesians 4:30, Ephesians 5:17-18, and First John 2:26-27—it will be worthwhile for a servant of Christ to review these passages and study the anointing again).  We are His priests, but the enduement of power our Lord promised resulting from the anointing of the Spirit does not happen until those sealed with the Spirt when they believed are finally filled with the Spirit when they surrender.  And this happens after they are washed from their sins (John 13:4-10 and 15:1-5) and clothed with Jesus Himself (as in Romans 13:11-14).  Washed, clothed, and anointed, we are finally ready to be used of God to impact the dark world around us.

It really isn’t enough to be a practicing independent, fundamental, King-James, conservative-dressing, Baptist believer.  We must be filled with the Spirit.  “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).  As we have examined the weightier and lesser matters of the written Word of God, let us now examine ourselves, if we have been washed (by confessing our sins), clothed (by faith putting on Christ), and anointed (by surrender).  Let’s hear revival preaching, engage in self-examination, unite in prayer meetings, and claim the power of God to evangelize the world!  When we have taken such measures, we will be ready to preach our Lord Jesus Christ and to win many to Him.  The lost world is waiting for us to get ready!

 

Thanks for taking the time to read. Feel free to share as God leads you!