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Posts tagged ‘hypocrisy’

What Really Are My Innermost Motives?

SOURCE:  D.A. Carson/The Gospel Coalition

Regarding:   Genesis 6Matthew 6Ezra 6Acts 6

THE FIRST THREE SECTIONS OF MATTHEW 6 (which itself is the central chapter of the Sermon on the Mount) deal with three fundamental acts of piety in Judaism: giving to the needy (traditionally called “alms-giving”), prayer, and fasting (Matt. 6:1-18).

The common link is striking: Jesus recognizes how easy it is for sinners to engage in worthy, philanthropic and even religious activities, less in order to do what is right than to be admired for doing what is right.

If being thought generous is more important than being generous, if gaining a reputation for prayerfulness is more important to us than praying when no one but God is listening, if fasting is something in which we engage only if we can disingenuously talk about it, then these acts of piety become acts of impiety.

The fundamental way to check out how sound we are in each of these areas is to perform these acts so quietly that none but God knows we are doing them.

So be generous, but tell no one what you are giving (6:1-4). Insist that even the recipients be silent. Pray far more in secret than you do in public (6:5-8). By all means, fast — but tell no one you are doing so (6:16-18). As for the middle item in these three traditional acts of piety, there is a further test: do not bother to ask your heavenly Father for forgiveness where you yourself are unwilling to forgive (6:14-15).

In each of these three traditional acts of piety, genuine Christian living is characterized by a simple yet profound desire to please God, and not by the ostentation that is in reality more interested in generating the impression among our peers that we are pleasing God.

The last two sections of the chapter continue this probing of our innermost motives.

(1) In the first, Jesus tells us to store up treasure in heaven, for our hearts will inevitably pursue our treasure. What we ultimately value will tug at our “hearts” — our personalities, our dreams, our time, our imaginations, our inmost beings — and we will pursue it. That thing becomes our god. If what we value is merely material, our god is materialism. But if all we cherish most belongs to the eternal realm, then our whole being will pursue what is of transcendent significance.

(2) In the second, Jesus tells us that a true and faithful relationship with God refuses to indulge in endless, needless fretting. We can trust God — his wisdom, his goodness, his providential ordering of things — even in this broken, evil world. Not to trust him betrays the pagan character of our hearts.

In short: seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness (6:33).

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Please Break This Rule

SOURCE:  Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 120.

When our wrongs are too obvious to ignore, we practice what I call the 40/60 Rule.

It goes something like this:

“Well, I know I’m not perfect, and I admit I am partially to blame for this problem. I’d say that about 40 percent of the fault is mine. That means 60 percent of the fault is hers. Since she is 20 percent more to blame than I am, she should be the one to ask for forgiveness.”

I never actually say or think these exact words, but I often catch myself resorting to this tactic in subtle ways. By believing that my sins have been more than cancelled by another’s sins, I can divert attention from myself and avoid repentance and confession.

Food for Thought

Jesus tells the perfect “40/60 Rule” story in Luke 18:10-14.

In this passage, Luke says that Jesus addresses the story to those “who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else.”

This is the story:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Next time you’re tempted to invoke the 40/60 Rule to minimize your part in a conflict, remember that few subjects raise more disdain in Jesus than moderated mercy or a “righteousness ranking” where we give ourselves an unequivocal first place vote.

Quotations of BILLY SUNDAY

SOURCE –  Adapted From:  Keiki Hendrix

Brief Biography
Billy Sunday (1862-1935), was a professional baseball player from 1883 to 1891 for Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia teams.

He was converted through the street preaching of Harry Monroe of the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago.

He left a $5,000 a year salary as a baseball player for a $75 a month for the previously evangelistic YMCA. From 1893 to 1895 was associated with J. Wilbur Chapman.

He was an evangelist from 1893 to 1935. It is estimated that over 300,000 people walked the “sawdust trail” to receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. (Adapted from “The Wycliffe Biographical Dictionary of the Church,” page 387, Elgin S. Moyer, 1982, ©Moody Press, Chicago, IL)

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+Let’s quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ.

+If you want to drive the devil out of the world, hit him with a cradle instead of a crutch.

+I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as   I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!

+Live so that when the final summons comes you will leave something more behind you than an epitaph on a tombstone or an obituary in a newspaper.

+The Lord is not compelled to use theologians. He can take snakes, sticks or anything else, and use them for the advancement of his cause.

+I believe that a long step toward public morality will have been taken when sins are called by their right names.

+Your reputation is what people say about you. Your character is what God and your wife know about you.

+If you took no more care of yourself physically than spiritually, you’d be just as dried up physically as you are spiritually.

+If you live wrong you can’t die right.

+Look into the preaching Jesus did and you will find it was aimed straight at the big sinners on the front seats.

+If good preaching could save the world, it would have been done long ago.

+Churches don’t need new members half so much as they need the old bunch made over.

+There wouldn’t be so many non-church goers if there were not so many non-going churches.

+There are some so-called Christian homes today with books on the shelves of the library that have no more business there than a rattler crawling about on the floor, or a poison within the child’s reach.

+Too many churches are little more than four walls and a roof.

+Home is the place we love best and grumble the most.

+I don’t believe there are devils enough in hell to pull a boy out of the arms of a godly mother.

+There is nothing in the world of art like the songs mother used to sing.

+To train a boy in the way he should go you must go that way yourself.

+Don’t stop with telling your boy to do right. Show him how.

+Be careful, father, or while you are taking one lap around the devil’s track your boy will make six.

+If you would have your children turn out well, don’t turn your home into a lunch counter and lodging house.

+Not to walk in the straight and narrow way yourself, is to give the devil the biggest kind of a chance to get our children.

+Some homes need a hickory switch a good deal more than they do a piano.

+Better die an old maid, sister, than marry the wrong man.

+Whiskey is all right in its place — but its place is hell.

+The normal way to get rid of drunkards is to quit raising drunkards — to put the business that makes drunkards out of business.

+Riches have never yet given anybody either peace or rest.

+It won’t save your soul if your wife is a Christian. You have got to be something more than a brother-in-law to the Church.

+You can’t raise the standard of women’s morals by raising their pay envelope. It lies deeper than that.

+The reason you don’t like the Bible, you old sinner, is because it knows all about you.

+Going to church doesn’t make a man a Christian, any more than going to a garage makes him an automobile.

+The difference between God’s side and the devil’s is the difference between heaven and hell.

+God keeps no half-way house. It’s either heaven or hell for you and me.

+A man can slip into hell with his hand on the door-knob of heaven.

+The Bible will always be full of things you cannot understand, as long as you will not live according to those you can understand.

+The inconsistency is not in the Bible, but in your life.

+God likes a little humor, as is evidence by the fact that he made the monkeys, the parrot — and some of you people.

+Yank some of the groans out of your prayers, and shove in some shouts.

+If you are strangers to prayer you are strangers to power.

+What have you given the world it never possessed before you came?

+The Bible says forgive your debtors; the world says “sue them for their dough.”

+Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in.

+I am not the author of the plan of salvation, but I am responsible for the way I preach it.

+I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world’s heart for two thousand years.

+When I hit the devil square in the face some people go away as mad as if I had slapped them in the mouth.

+The backslider likes the preaching that wouldn’t hit the side of a house, while the real disciple is delighted when the truth brings him to his knees.

+To discover a flaw in our makeup is a chance to get rid of it, and add a new line of beauty to our life.

+It is not necessary to be in a big place to do big things.

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