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THE FOCUS WASN’T ON TRUE HOLINESS
I was raised in a Pentecostal “holiness” church and I have attended holiness churches most of my life. Nevertheless, looking back over the years, I believe a major component was missing much of the time.
First, I have to give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7). I appreciate all of those messages I heard in church about abstaining from the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), separating ourselves from the world (Romans 12:2), forsaking not the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25), to have faith and do good works (James 2:18), etc. Wonderful, must have teachings.
As I have grown older and closer to the Lord over the years, I have learned more of the deep things of the Spirit, which God teaches His children “one on one.”
Sitting at Jesus’s feet, I have learned the sanctity of giving and praise, which most churches would actually balk at today.
In one instance, Jesus gave me a lesson during my “one on one” Bible study with Him. At that time, the church was preparing for a “basket auction” to raise money and women in the local churches were creating baskets to auction at a district meeting. I committed to purchasing some things for the basket and I thought auctioning baskets was a nice fund-raising venture; but the Lord ministered some deep things of the Spirit to me about the “basket auction,” as I studied and prayed.
Jesus pointed out to me certain issues about auctioning these baskets in His sanctuary that weren’t becoming to the saints of God.
First, He explained to me that those pledging money to make the highest bid had their minds on winning a basket; their hearts were not being encouraged to focus on the sacrifice of giving from the heart, which is what God is looking for.
Second, He explained to me that the highest bidders would likely be those who had the most money. He reminded me that the poorest among us would never win a basket to take home, but the poorest among us could use the items placed in the baskets more than anyone else there.
Third, as people are being encouraged to “bid offerings” in order to win the baskets, they aren’t, in those instances, giving a sanctified offering, dedicated, sanctified unto the Lord. They, in those instances, are giving to get something, giving for gain, which is an abomination in His sight.
Fourth, as auctions and such open displays of giving are conducted in churches, they stink in the nostrils of God. Jesus told me we are to give privately and the Lord will reward us openly (Matthew 6:4). In fact, the offering box should be placed at the exit, where people can give privately as they leave. Sticking offering plates under the noses of parishioners, intimidating them to give, is not how God wants collections to be taken in the churches.
Men are afraid that if offering plates aren’t shoved under the noses of parishioners, they will leave without giving an offering on their way out, which is very good in the sight of God, for He doesn’t want their money with a begrudging heart; He wants their sacrificial gift from their hearts, which sanctifies the offering.
Churches would be abundantly blessed financially, if they collected offerings in God’s way, not their own way. Nevertheless, men don’t have enough faith these days to rely on the God they “serve;” they find it necessary to come up with their own schemes and devices in order to maneuver the people and outmaneuver God. In the end, they shortchange the saints and short change the work of God, but their eyes are blind to it.
I was quite stunned, as the Lord revealed to me that this type of “fund raising” has no place in the House of God. The gathering of the saints is a holy convocation unto the Lord, but these activities are not holy in God’s House; He despises them.
Obedience, friends, is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
The word of God tells us,
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” Proverbs 14:12.
It is the flesh of men, not the Spirit leading, that contrives such events for the gathering of the saints, in the name of “giving.”
Some might argue that the children have to be able to delight themselves in activities at church, since they are only children, and we can’t continually bore them with adult content.
This is very true and exactly why the Apostle Paul wrote,
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things” 1 Corinthians 13:11.
Parents need to make certain that they are not requiring children to act like adults in adult settings. It is good for children, for a limited period of time, to observe the holy convocation of adults, prayer and small segments of adult teaching, so as to slowly integrate them into the deeper things of God. Overall, however, children need to be allowed to participate in entertainment structured learning sessions, including participating in “hands on” instruction, such as plays, game-based learning and the like.
As Paul wrote, however, “…when I became an adult, I put away childish things.”
God is looking down to examine our hearts, to examine how much we desire to learn from his Word, how we live in the privacy of our homes and out on the streets, and how we approach the House of God with our worship and giving.
Men, proposing to be God-ly, have devised all sorts of ways to entertain adults, to keep them happy in the House of God, to keep them giving their money and of their time – with leisure and pleasantries, etc.
These have all been derived by men for the pleasure of men and have nothing to do with the holy convocation of the gathering of saints in the House of God.
The children of God need to take a thorough study of God’s Holy Word, with their hearts and minds laid out before God, and find out what true worship and holiness is, and not rely on the traditions of men.
Entering into His courts with praise, thanksgiving and offerings from the heart are the elements of worship and the gathering together of the saints.
In fact, nothing else will do; nothing else will be accepted.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” Colossians 2:8.
May the Lord bless you with true holiness.
“…Be ye holy, for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:16.
“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” 1 Thessalonians 4:7.