Friendship is the real gift. When efforts do another lift. To cause the grieving just one smile To bear their load another mile. To cause the lonely just to be A little less in misery. When just a friendly loving smile Makes us know it’s all worthwhile. We have so many chances here To be an avenue of cheer. So very many secret ways To traffic in what truly pays. So friendship is our business here. On this goal let us all be clear. Go see what you can give away To bank against that judgment day. For on that final resting day When that hearse rolls us away The only true eternal pay Is what in love we gave away. SPIRITUALLY MINDED VS. CARNALLY MINDED A more careful understanding of what the Bible intends as being carnal will go a long way to fortifying us for the race that remains ahead of us. The proper understanding of this will bring many things into better focus. Contributions to the poor? Romans 15.26 – 27: “For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. 27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.” Envy, strife, and divisions? 1 Corinthians 3.3-4: “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” Sections of the LAW? Hebrews 7.15-16: “And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” Hebrews 9.10: “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” = Sarkikos (sar-kee-kos’) pertaining to flesh, bodily, temporal, animal, unregenerate = Sarx (sarx) flesh, body, external, human nature, and passions This radically expands the things that can be seen to fall under the prohibition of carnal thinking found throughout the Bible. It is no longer adequate to satisfy yourself that you do not engage in one or more of the sexual sins and then go ahead and destroy the church through selfindulgence or through gossiping about those that do. TYPE OF ATTITUDE Acts 12.3: “And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)” Acts 13.45: “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” Mark 11.32: “But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.” Mark 12.12: “And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.” Luke 20.19: “And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.” Luke 22.2: “And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.” Acts 5.26: “Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.” Galatians 1.10: “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Colossians 3.22: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:” Matthew 6.2: “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.” Matthew 6.5: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” Matthew 6.16: “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” ETERNAL PAY We each have just one life to live Where goals and dreams we often sieve Through reason, searching for the way To guide our actions day by day. Is life defined by towers tall, Or eloquence inspiring all? Is fame earned on the battlefield? Investing at the highest yield? Do folks remember prices paid, The greatness of foundations laid, The sizes of our herds and flocks, The acres of our warehouse stock? The Bible does not let us view How Abram’s earthly riches grew. It tells instead how he in faith Did rescue Lot from certain death. The means of Noah’s wealth, unknown, But long and true his heart did groan For neighbors to whom he would preach Hoping that a few he’d reach. When Christ described the judgment plan, How He’ll divide us man from man, He made the measure very clear: It’s what we give to others here. A glass of water, food, and clothes: Investments that a wise man knows. Visits and encouragement: Here is where our time’s well spent. The absence of these works is a far greater danger than errors or omissions of commandments. This was made clear by the very One Who will judge these matters. SUMMARY OF THE MATTER The Lord tells us how these matters will be judged: Matthew 25.31-46: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 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: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 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. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” I John 3.18: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” Ephesians 6:6: “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;” Matthew 6.19-20: “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:” I Corinthians 1.27: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” TYPE OF PEOPLE That would explain why God used so many improbable people Joshua 6.17: “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.” I Samuel 9.21: “And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?” I Samuel 16.11: “And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.” Acts 8.27: “And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,” II Corinthians 10.10: “For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” Luke 4.25-27: “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” Matthew 5.5: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” TYPE OF METHODS This broader observation of the prohibition against carnal thinking will change everything in our life. We will come to learn just how pervasive coveting is. The last of the ten commandments not only weaves through all the others, but is the pivotal difference between spiritual living and carnal living. Exodus 20.17: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.” This is communicated into the New Testament in many verses, but especially: Romans 7.7: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” We wonder why essentially everyone who visits the mission fields comes back saying that it was the most profound experience of their lives? This is very likely the source of the difference. They are visiting a place where there is an abandonment of carnal living, or covetousness. We have the notion that we will not give people jobs until they prove themselves. This strangely communicates a list of behaviors or a code that is expected before “honors” are bestowed upon people. The more spiritual approach appears to be to put people to work and exhort them to higher levels of Spiritual success as we work along side them. Is this not how Christ worked with His disciples from the beginning? This may be at the root of why the end-time prophecies are so vague. The biblical intent may be to be busy in the Master’s work and be caught up in glory in the midst of work, rather than having our focus distracted on the signs of things, or the appearance of things. The Apostle Paul develops this idea more fully in: Philippians 3.8-21: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” The true Christian walk is a very fragile state of attentiveness and responsiveness to the leadership of the Holy Spirit always tested against the proper handling of the entire Holy Scriptures. This is like walking along the crest of a mountain. One can slip off the crest down the slope on either side of the mountain. Those two directions are: Legalism and Liberty. There is no observable difference between the legalist who observes a tightly defined list of rules that he has taken from sections of the Bible, and the person living in the liberty of Christ who refuses to use his liberty as an occasion for the flesh, or carnal living [Galatians 5.13]. But the unobservable difference is everything. The legalist considers the observance of the list to be most of Christian living. It is the main emphasis. To the one living in the liberty of Christ, peace with his fellow man is to be valued during his work, but the work, or service to others is the main emphasis. This is the difference that this broader understanding about not being carnally minded makes. This difference can become observable when judgment and sensitivity would suggest a course of action that was not anticipated on the list or code. This is how legalists can have a code that prohibits jewelry but be insensitive to driving into a church parking lot in a half-million dollar Bentley. If everyone in the church were completely in tune with this biblical teaching about not being carnally minded this would still be no problem. Instead we see huge walls of resentment and jealously building up. But Christian living is not one or the other, it is the walking along the crest that is created by both of them together. There are laws and commandments in the New Testament. Christ even exhorts that we teach His own commandments: John 15.10: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. The commandments give us clear boundaries that help us identify when we have gone off course. But just turning these New Testament commandments into the purpose of the New Testament is denying the power of having the Holy Spirit dwell within us. We must soar beyond these commandments. We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit into all good works in whatever setting we find ourselves.
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