Sluice Box Adventures

Believing Bible Study in the 21st century

New Testament Missions - The Dog Has Fleas

Psalms 12:6-7 "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."

1 Thessalonians 2:13 "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."


New Testament Missions - The Dog Has Fleas

Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2022  Richard St.James


New Testament Church Missions

The Dog Has Fleas

Preface:

1.      Gospel Missionary Movement in America

2.      The Mission Vision

3.      Bible-Believing Study

4.      The Past, The Present and The Future

5.      The Epistles to the Church of Corinth

6.      Those Promises

7.      Those Vows

8.      Question: Do The Ends Justify The Means?

9.      The Faith Promise Program of the 20th Century

10.   The Pattern for a certain contribution for the poor saints


Missions


Preface:

Romans 16:5: “Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.”

The churches in the beginning [A. D. 33] were minimalistic, and frugal in the structure of their congregational buildings [mainly houses].  Their pastors often supported themselves [as tentmakers], and also received gifts from the brethren.  

Philippians 4:17: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”

The churches missions giving was evidently very amply supported through the tithes and the offerings of the brethren. The missionaries were sent out to preach the Gospel to the four corners of the earth, and to all the nations of the world.

Mark 16:15: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

And so they went!

When the latter part of church age began in the 20th century, the churches began to become very materialistic with their massive ornate buildings.   The tithes increasingly went towards supporting the church, and thus, the missions support as a consequence dwindled.

Revelation 3:14-17:

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”

In the midst of the apostasy of this church [Laodicea] there came inventions [or programs] that were developed to compensate for the rise of the materialism in the churches and self-admiration of the brethren.

The Dog Has Fleas!

With this said: Let us move forward in our study of missions.


1.      Gospel Missionary Movement in America


Missions represents the lifeblood of a New Testament church. 

What follows is a little history of missions in America.

Shubal Stearns … God’s instrument used to multiply, by revival, the New Testament Baptist churches throughout the south-eastern United States, was prepared of God.

Born in Boston, January 28 1706, went with THE LORD, November 20, 1771 at Sandy Creek, North Carolina.

COME OVER INTO MACEDONIA

Acts 16:1-10

“Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.

Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night;

There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.”

FROM EAST TO WEST

God’s pattern [or direction] for the publishing of the Gospel was established in the book of Acts, chapter sixteen:

1. In verse six: “forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia” [therefore not east].

2. In verse seven: “the Spirit suffered them not” to go into Bithynia [not there also].

3. In verse nine: “Come over into Macedonia” this determined God’s pattern [or direction] for the movement of the GOSPEL.

Observation: God’s Spirit has moved THE GOSPEL with the PREACHING in a circling fashion around the globe of this Earth, always in a movement from the east to the west.

THE BEGINNING OF TRUE RELIGION IN AMERICA

“And so they left that good and pleasant city, which had been their resting place near twelve years; but they knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits."  William Bradford, the year 1620.

On November 21, 1620, when the pilgrims landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, they brought [in their hearts] the embryonic beginning of a people who had the fear of God. These would be a people that would become a nation that would be a fruit of the “Great Reformation.”

William Brewster was the Bible-believing pastor of the little group of Christians aboard the Mayflower. At the sight of land, he led in a song of praise, and the congregation read aloud Psalm 100.

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

William Bradford, the Plymouth colony's first governor declared on the day of public thanksgiving in October 1621: “We have noted these things, so that you might see their worth and not negligently lose what your fathers have obtained with so much hardship.”

We can, by the Mayflower's crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, see the mighty moving of the Spirit of God in encompassing the earth from east to west with the [GOSPEL] of Jesus Christ.

This is fulfillment of: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” [Acts 1:8].

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it was preached, went west in its travel to "the uttermost part of the earth" [See Acts 16: 6, 9].

It would be in America [among the Gentile nations] at the latter end of the church age where some of the greatest moving of the Holy Ghost would occur in revivals experienced by God's people. It would behoove the Bible-believing Christian to read the historical narratives recording God's work in America.

THE GREAT AWAKENING

When the pilgrims came across the Atlantic Ocean in 1620 THE GOSPEL continued its westerly movement

[Always EAST TO WEST].

In the passing of time [one hundred years] spiritual malaise had set in both in England and America [1720].

[SPIRITUAL DECLENSION]

Then in God’s providential timing The Spirit of God brought a GREAT AWAKENING to both England and America.

Never was there such an exciting and fascinating time as in THE GREAT AWAKENING!

Never was there so much interest by so many of God's creation concerning the proceeding goings on in the world in the hearts and minds of men.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ was literally going to the four quarters of the Earth with a resounding boom! Even the Devil, old Satan himself, had more than a passing interest in these proceedings.

Satan's anger over losing the souls of men by the droves to the Son of God during this Philadelphia period had caused him to kick and fuss and work even harder against his old enemy. His enemy is THE ALMIGHTY GOD of The BOOK [The A.V.1611 Bible].

Remember, the Authorized Version of 1611, or any edition, thereof (1613, 1644, 1676, 1680, 1701, 1767) is God's pure word preserved for all of us today.

In the 1730’s Jonathan Edwards of Northampton, Massachusetts, was the one to lead the charge, by reading to his congregation in a monotone voice word for word from his manuscript, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. It shook the place! The message had God's stamp upon it. The fires of revival spread amongst the Christians and the souls outside the churches got saved. It spread throughout New England and all over the colonies.

God brought George Whitefield at this time to further affect our forefathers with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tens of thousands of people would congregate in the open fields to hear the Gospel.

God also used Charles and Gilbert Tennant of Pennsylvania in an outpouring of evangelical power. It was estimated in New England alone that of a population of 250,000 people, over 50,000 souls were saved (born again) and added to the kingdom of God.

THE EAST TO WEST MOVEMENT OF THE GOSPEL CONTINUED WITH SHUBAL STEARNS

One man who heard George Whitfield preach in Tolland, Connecticut, in 1745 was a Shubal Stearns … a lost religionist. [This Shubal Stearns was one the thousands to get saved during this time of the [GREAT AWAKENING].

Shubal Stearns getting saved was a direct result … of hearing the WORD of GOD [“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”]

This is nothing less than the inner work of the Holy Spirit, convicting men of sin, and righteousness. [John 16:8-9] “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me.”

Shubal Stearns came to the LIGHT of Jesus Christ, and as a consequence, was identified with the New Lights. [The New Lights rejected the notion that [RELIGION] is only manifested in the external [THE OUTER MAN]. The New Lights believed [TRUE RELIGION] must [FIRST] be an internal matter of [The INNER MAN … The HEART].

Further the New Lights believed once the inner man is [BORN AGAIN] then the [SECOND] thing becomes the order: [THE EXTERNAL]. What is in the inside will show on the outside! The outer man is what others observe! Amen! [Matthew 5:16] “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

To know if these conversions [in 1730-1750] were genuine, [that is, of God] one only has to look at the fruit. “Ye shall know them by their fruits...wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” [Matthew 7:16a, 20].

America's men, women and children turned, and experienced true repentance. They “sorrowed to repentance made sorry after a godly manner” [2 Corinthians 7:9]. They received “with meekness the engrafted word” [James 1:21]. Their lives were changed!

The changed lives prepared and made fertile the ground, which would usher forth the Biblical principles that framed the United States of America's foundational documents, The Declaration of Independence, The U. S. Constitution, and The Bill of Rights.  

God truly visited us [as a nation] with great blessings! Never on the face of this earth in two thousand years of history did a people experience such opportunities to worship God “in the beauties of holiness.”

After Shubal Stearns was saved, he was baptized [BELIEVERS BAPTISM] [1751] in Stonington, Connecticut by Wait Palmer a Baptist preacher. He was called to preach the WORD, and was ordained, as a Baptist Preacher, in March, [1751] by Palmer and Joshua Morse in New London, Connecticut.

Shubal Stearns was a NEW LIGHT BAPTIST, or otherwise known as a [SEPARATE BAPTIST].

SANDY CREEK, NORTH CAROLINA

In the process of time [by 1755] God had put into Shubal Stearns to move south to Sandy Creek, North Carolina to build a new church. The church quickly grew from 16 members to 606 in a matter of months. What followed was a veritable spiritual explosion [REVIVAL] in the New Testament church pattern. Shubal Stearns method [the same found in the Book of Acts] was:

1. To Preach Jesus Christ to the Lost for TRUE SALVATION,

2. To disciple in Jesus Christ those who were converted,

3. To train them [who were disciples] to go out and start other churches.

This is the pattern! These Sandy Creek Baptist Church preachers and their families moved to other areas of North Carolina, and they started other churches [CHURCHES BEGETTING CHURCHES!].

In the next seventeen years [till Shubal went with the LORD, in 1771], not only in North Carolina did this happen, but in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky the [FLAMES of REVIVAL] flowed [all ultimately] from the one Sandy Creek Baptist Church of North Carolina.

 [From one came many!]

What a heritage we have!

OUR BAPTIST HERITAGE

The Sandy Creek Association was formed in 1758. Morgan Edwards, a Baptist minister who visited Sandy Creek the year after Stearns' death, recorded that, “in 17 years, [Sandy Creek] has spread its branches westward as far as the great river Mississippi; southward as far as Georgia; eastward to the sea and Chesopeck [sic] Bay; and northward to the waters of the Pottowmack [sic]; it, in 17 years, is become mother, grandmother, and great grandmother to 42 churches, from which sprang 125 ministers.” Quote from [Founders Journal, spring 2001 · pp. 16-31]

The Mission Vision


2.      The Mission Vision


Romans 10:15: “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

A church that is involved in missions is a church that has a vision.    It is the vision to send beautiful feet to the march of the preaching of the gospel of peace to a lost and dying world. 

Furthermore, this vision sees the winning of souls to Jesus Christ as a paramount mission.   

Thus, this mission involves sending out the missionaries [from the churches] to all the world, in order to bring the glad tidings of good things in the pursuit of the salvation of the souls of men.

This brings us then to this question: How does a New Testament Bible-believing church collect money to support sending the missionaries to the field?

Answer: The church collects on the first in the week, and then stores and ultimately sends, the gifts and offerings [given by the brethren] to the missionaries

Thus, the missionaries are supported by the gifts, and the offerings given to them, and also, by their own hands [tentmakers].

By wrought: Acts 18:3: “And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”

By gift: 2 Corinthians 1:11: “Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”

By gift: 2 Corinthians 8:4: “Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”

By gift: Philippians 4:17: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”


3.      Bible-Believing Study


Assumption:

We will begin here by making this bold assumption.  This assumption is that the Authorized Bible of 1611, called the King James Bible, or any edition thereof, is the absolute inspired word of God in the English language.

We have God’s word:

We will not resort to the Hebrew, or to the Greek, in this study, for I believe we are not one whit a disadvantage than when the Apostle Paul's epistles were being read for the first time in the presence of the Corinthian church.  Not even the verb tense will be doubted.  For if this would be allowed, then error would creep in, or the temptation to wrest the Scripture to fit our own human experience might occur.  We should rather have God’s word judge us, rather than us judging God’s word.

The Acid Test:

The acid test of whether or not a man is a true Bible believer involves what he does with the word of God.  Did you catch that?  Let me state it differently.  Will he believe the words of God that are written in this BOOK, including where it says it?   Or will he give in to the temptation to change [or corrupt] the words [or what it says] in this BOOK, and where it says it to benefit himself?

2 Corinthians 2:17: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

Now this brings us to a particular passage in the Scripture.   Turn to the Epistle of Second Corinthians chapter eight, verse twelve: 

HATH: “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” [2 Corinthians 8:12]

According to that a man hath.

Notice the verb tense here: “that a man hath”. 

This means: The money was already in his pocket.  Warning: The verb tense must not be doubted!

The Faith Promise Giving Program  

We will see later [in this study] what the 20th century promoter of “Faith Promise Giving” Oswald J. Smith had said about the words: “that a man hath”.  

It will be seen that Oswald J. Smith doubted the veracity of tense of the verb here, and was willing play with it a little.  It is better to believe the BOOK!  “Hath” means the money was already in the pocket [in the present] and it was already earned sometime in the past.

Warning: Do not go down the road of unbelief.  The verb tense should not have been doubted by Oswald J. Smith.

Notice: Oswald J. Smith allowed doubt to come into his reasoning, and thus, error creeped into his Faith Promise Giving program. Oswald gave into the temptation to twist the Scripture to fit his own human reasoning.  What he should have done is have God’s word formulate his giving program, rather than his giving program corrupting God’s word.

Do not doubt the BOOK of GOD! 

Believe the BOOK of GOD!


4.      The Past, The Present and The Future


The very grouping of the words: Faith Promise together is suspect.  [Faith Promise]  Suspect: This means it should be held as to being uncertain; to doubt and to mistrust.

Why suspect?  Let’s search this matter out.

Future things:

Now, promises involve future thingsThe LORD had said to Man: “shew us what shall happen.”  [The LORD is showing here a sense of humor.] 

Of course, Man cannot deal with the future.  Man is a limited creature.  The future things belong to God.  Man can only deal with the present, or at the very best, recall what has already come to pass.

Present things:

Past things:

Conclusion: Man’s realm involves the things in the present, or he can learn from history in order to remember the things that have already occurred in the past

Now, consider what the Spirit of God said [through the prophet Isaiah] in the book of Isaiah chapter forty-one, verses twenty-one through twenty-four:

“Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.

Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.”

God says here, O Man: Show us what will happen.  But they cannot!  For only God knows what will happen!  We will now continue with the next verse:

Verse twenty-three: “Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.”

The LORD says here: Go ahead Man, and show us the things that will come hereafter.   Man in himself does not know the future.

Ye are nothing: 

Now, for verse twenty-four: Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.” [Isaiah 41:21-24]  

There you go: We are nothing!  We, as finite creatures, need to contend with the now and now, by default!

Now, for the real big, big one!  This one is found in the book of Proverbs, chapter twenty-seven, in verse one.  Are you ready for this?

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” [Proverbs 27:1]

Who can know the future?  Only God knows the future.  Man cannot know what will happen in the tomorrow.  He only deals within the present.

Now, for another plank to be laid down.  This one is found in the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter ten, verse fourteen:

“A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?” [Ecclesiastes 10:14]


5.      The Epistles to the Church of Corinth


With this foundation now laid to show man’s limitation, we are ready now to go to the Scripture which is located in the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter eight, and we will read from there, starting with verse one.

2 Corinthians 8-9:

Chapter 8:

Verse one: “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.”  The Apostle Paul bears witness of this grace to them.

Verse two: “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”  A trial is intended to increase the joy.  Strange but true! 

And notice this also: A person’s deep poverty often works out for the person to be the all-out giver.  

Remember the poor widow in the Gospel according to Mark: “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in in two mites, which make a farthing.” [Mark 12:42]

Verse three: “For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves”.  Focus on this: “they were willing.”  Notice: This is a matter one’s freewill.

Freewill

The word freewill appears in your Bible seventeen times.

 The first mention of the word freewill occurs in the Third Book of Moses called Leviticus and concerns freewill offerings.  

Leviticus 22:17: “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Verse eighteen: “Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering;

Verse eighteen:Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.”

A truth: Man has a freewill given to him by God.  In verse three, again: “They were willing of themselves.”

Now, go back to Second Corinthians, chapter eight.

Verse four: “Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”  This freewill gift is a ministry.

Verse five: “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”   

For a believer in Jesus Christ to be able to be willing to give, he must first give himself [or die to live] to Jesus Christ.  Pause here now, and consider the truth of the corn of wheat shown in the Gospel of John, chapter twelve, verse twenty-four:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” [John 12:24] 

Now, read the Epistle to the Galatians, chapter two, and verse twenty:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” [Galatians 2:20]

Being willing [by freewill] to give to others is totally dependent on one being in Jesus Christ by the new birth.

Verse six: “Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.”

Verse seven: “Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.”  Note here the word diligence.

Verse eight: “I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.”

Verse nine: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

Verse ten: “And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.”  

You see, the brethren were already giving a gift week by week incrementally over the last year.   And this giving was performed as instructed by the Apostle Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians in chapter sixteen:

1 Corinthians 16:1:  “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.”  It is here called the collection for the saints.

Verse two: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” 

This incremental collection was performed on the first day of the week [on Sunday] and was then set aside in store.  Notice: This giving amount was not set or fixed.  It was an amount that varied as they were prospered.  Each week, by their own freewill, each brother and sister in the LORD would lay aside [money] as the LORD had prospered them.  It is very important to note that the brethren [in the present] gave money they had already received [in the past] and which was still in their possession [in the present]. 

Now, look at that!  God’s perfect word clears out the mud and shows us the intention of the Spirit of God in the matter of the giving for the collection of the saints.  What will you do with what you have?  It is a matter of the heart.

Verse three and four: “And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. 

And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.”

Then, after a period of time, Paul would take what was collected, and have it brought to Jerusalem for the distribution in the care of the saints.

Now, let us go let’s back to our text where we left off in Second Corinthians, chapter eight:

Verse eleven: “Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.”

Do you see now?  It is out of that which ye have!  No fixed promised amount is found anywhere here!

Verse twelve: “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”

It is so clear to all who want to know the truth: Out of that which ye have is how the Scripture says it..  The brethren had their gift in their pockets [Note the past tense – that a man hath”]. 

Verse thirteen: “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:”

The giver and the receiver of the gift are both together to live by faith.

Verse fourteen through twenty-four: “But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:

As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.

For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.

And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;

And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:

Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:

Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.

Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.

Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.”

Chapter 9:

Verse one: “For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you”.

Again, the purpose for the giving by each Christian was for ministering to the saints.

Verse two: “For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.”

Verse three: “Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:”

Verse four: “Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.”

Verse five: “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.”

This collection of the money [which took a whole year] was called their bounty.  What we see in the next verse forms a basic principle of life which has been proven and over again down through the centuries.

Verse six: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

This is called the law of sowing and reaping.

Verse six: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

We can learn the following things from verse six:

·        The gift amount is determined week by week within the heart of each believer in Jesus Christ.

·        This gift results from the exercising of the freewill of the Christian.

·        This exercise of the freewill in the Christian produces the cheerful heart within him.

·        The final result comes full circle back to the believer: God loves that cheerful giver.

Verse eight: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Verse nine: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.

Verse ten: “Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)”

Verse eleven: “Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.”

Verse twelve: “For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;”

Verse thirteen: “Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;”

Verse fourteen: “And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.”

Verse fifteen: “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”


6.      Those Promises


2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”

Promises belong to the realm of God!

Vows belong to men.

Therefore, the Faith Promise program should be more properly called the Faith Vow program.

Note: The Dog Has Fleas!

General rule: When promises are made [in the BOOK] it is almost every time God WHO makes the promises.

The exception to the general rule:

The promise made by man to God.

There is one promise made by man to God in the Bible, and low and behold, it is concerning the freewill offering.  This is recorded in the Fifth Book of Moses, called Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 23:23: “That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.”

It is here we learn that a vow has a connection to a promise.  If the mouth of a man promises to make a freewill offering it is called a vow, and he had better keep his vow [thou shalt keep and perform] or you will be in trouble with the LORD.

The promises made by man to men.

There are seven instances of men making a promise to other men.  See the following:

1

Man promises made to men: the princes promised.

Joshua 9:21

2

Man promises made to men: the Haman promised to the king.

Esther 4:7

3

Man promises made to men: Herod promised his step daughter.

Matthew 14:7

4

Man promises made to men: The chief priests promised to Judas.

Matthew 14:11

5

Man promises made to men: Judas promised to chief priests.

Luke 22:6

6.

Man promises made to men: The priests promised Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 5:12

7.

Man promises made to men: The congregation promised Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 5:13

Notice that some of things promised were not right.  They were out of line, and certainly involved wicked men. 

The promises made by God to men.

Now, we come to those instances in Bible where God made promises to men.

There are seventy-six listed here below:

1

God promised! God promised Israel rest.

1 Kings 8:56

2

God promised! God promised David [Solomon benefits]

2 Chronicles 1:9

3

For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.

Psalms 105:42

4

God [the Father] promised to us with endowment of power from on high.

Acts 1:4

5.

God [the Father] promised to shed forth of the Holy Ghost to us.

Acts 2:33

6.

God promised unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off.

Acts 2:39

7.

God promised to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt.

Acts 7:17

8

God promised of this man's seed hath raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus.

Acts 13:23

9

God promised unto the fathers.

Acts 13:32

10

God promised the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers.

Acts 26:6

11

God promised to the twelve tribes hope to come.

Acts 26:7

12

God promised that Abraham should be the heir of the world.

Romans 4:13

13

God promised that it might be by grace and be sure to all the seed.

Romans 4:16

14

God promised to Abraham.

Romans 4:20

15

God promised by the word of promise, Sara shall have a son.

Romans 9:9

16

God promised to the Gentiles the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Galatians 3:14

17

God promised the covenant could not be disannulled by the Law.

Galatians 3:17

18

God promised: the inheritance to Abraham [by promise].

Galatians 3:18

19

God promised till the seed should come in the hand of a mediator.

Galatians 3:19

20

God promised by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Galatians 3:22

21

God promised to Abraham's seed, and heirs through Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:29

22

God promised: the freewoman was [by promise].

Galatians 4:23

23

God promised to us, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

Galatians 4:28

24

God promised after believing, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13

25

God promised the covenants [of promise].

Ephesians 2:12

26

God promised the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body.

Ephesians 3:6

27

God promised to bless children if they honour thy father and mother.

Ephesians 6:2

28

God promised: the promise of the life that now - of that which is to come.

1 Timothy 4:8

29

God promised according to the promise of life, Paul to be an apostle.

2 Timothy 1:1

30

God promised us an entering into his rest.

Hebrews 4:1

31

God promised to Abraham, he swore by himself.

Hebrews 6:13

32

God promised Abraham obtained the promise.

Hebrews 6:15

33

God promised to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel.

Hebrews 6:17

34

God promised for us to receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 9:15

35

God promised ye might receive the promise.

Hebrews 10:36

36

God promised the land of promise, to Abraham, with Isaac and Jacob.

Hebrews 11:9

37

God promised all, having obtained a good report through faith.

Hebrews 11:39

38

God promised longsuffering and is not willing that any should perish.

2 Peter 3:9

39

God promised new heavens - a new earth, where dwelleth righteousness.

2 Peter 3:13

40

God promised us, even eternal life.

1 John 2:25

41

God promised the land which the LORD will give you.

Exodus 12:25

42

God promised the place [which the LORD hath promised].

Numbers 14:40

43

God promised you a thousand times so many more, and bless you.

Deut. 1:11

44

God promised to increase Israel mightily in the land of milk and honey.

Deuteronomy 6:3

45

God promised the land grant to Israel.

Deut. 9:28

46

God promised Levi that the LORD is his inheritance.

Deut. 10:9

47

God promised to enlarge Israel’s border.

Deut. 12:20

48

God promised to bless Israel with them lending and reigning over nations.

Deut. 15:6

49

God promised to enlarge Israel’s coast, and give thee all the land.

Deut. 19:8

50

God promised Israel this day to be his peculiar people.

Deut. 26:18

51

God promised a land that floweth with milk and honey.

Deut. 27:3

52

God promised rest unto the tribes on the west side of the Jordan.

Joshua 22:4

53

God promised to expel them before you, and ye shall possess their land.

Joshua 23:5

54

God promised that to fight for Israel [as he hath promised you].

Joshua 23:10

55

God promised! Choice: all good things or evil things to come upon you.

Joshua 23:15

56

God promised David this goodness unto thy servant.

2 Samuel 7:28

57

God promised to establish Solomon, and set him on the throne of David.

1 Kings 2:24

58

God promised to give Solomon wisdom, as he promised him.

1 Kings 5:12

59

God promised Solomon to sit on the throne of Israel.

1 Kings 8:20

60

God promised rest unto his people Israel.

1 Kings 8:56

61

God promised there shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.

1 Kings 9:5

62

God promised a light to David and to his sons.

2 Chronicles 21:7

63

God promised to their fathers the LAND to possess it.

Nehemiah 9:23

64

God promised them all the good to keep the covenant.  

Jeremiah 32:42

65

God promised to perform that good thing.

Jeremiah 33:14

66

God promised to remember his holy covenant.

Luke 1:72

67

God promised a land to Abraham for a possession, and to his seed.

Acts 7:5

68

God promised salvation, the gospel of God.

Romans 1:2

69

God promised salvation and was able also to perform.

Romans 4:21

70

God promised eternal life.

Titus 1:2

71

God promised salvation, he is faithful to the profession of our faith.

Hebrews 10:23

72

God promised a son through faith by Sara.

Hebrews 11:11

73

God promised a kingdom whose voice then shook the earth.

Hebrews 12:26

74

God promised a crown of life.

James 1:12

75

God promised a kingdom.

James 2:5

76

God promised eternal life.

1       John 2:25

 

Conclusion: When promises are made in life, it is [almost every time] God making those promises with at least to a ten to one ratio to men’s promises.


7.      Those Vows


The LORD is the promise Maker, and men are vow makers.

Now, a vow made by a person is a very serious, serious thing, i.e. the marriage vow.  Be very careful about making a vow.  The wisest man that ever lived by the Spirit of God stated it like this:

Ecclesiastes 5:4: “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” [Ecclesiastes 5: 4-5]

Watch the vows you make.  

If only Jephthah had not made his vow.

Judges 11:30-31, 34, 39-40:

Verse 30: “And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

Verse 31: Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”

Verse 34: “And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.”

Verse 39: “And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man.”

Verse 40: “And it was a custom in Israel, That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.”

Again, watch the vows you make or people will be harmed. 


8.      Question: Do The Ends Justify The Means?


The problem with “the ends justify the means” philosophy is that it puts doctrines, programs, regulations, or laws into the hands of sinful men without regard to the words of God.

For instance, if an end results in having more missionaries being sent to the field, then the means used to achieve this end are automatically justified to many men.  Sad!  This is nothing less than the doctrine of the Devil.

The dog has fleas!

Now, does God only care about the ends, i.e. the number of missionaries sent to the field?  Or does God care about the means that are used to send these missionaries to the field?  Answer: It is all the above!  God cares about the ends and the means equally.

To do wrong in order to do right is not right.

Remember the Pharisees in the Gospel according to Mark.

Corban

They said: It is Corban.

Mark 7:9: “And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” [Mark 7:9-13] 

They supplanted God’s word with their tradition!

The dog has fleas!

In review: Second Corinthians, chapter eight, and nine, [as we have already seen] shows that God cares intimately and deeply about both, the end goal of the ministry [to the saints in Jerusalem] as well as the process [or steps] of the giving ministry accomplished through each heart of every believer in Jesus Christ involved, including the churches in the storing of the bounty [till it was delivered].   This interest of God also extends even to the rejoicing of the saints that were the recipients of the bounty

God the Father, and the Son, even Jesus Christ, receives the glory, and the saints everywhere were built up.


9.      The Faith Promise Program of the 20th Century


Now here following concerns the modern day Faith Promise programs as found in the fundamental churches of the 20th and 21st century. 

Here are the questions:

What is Faith Promise Giving?

What follows is Oswald J. Smith’s explanation of Faith Promise Giving, [which includes my comments in the brackets]:

“A FAITH PROMISE OFFERING

Oswald J. Smith, Litt.D.*

Faith Promise Offering is a Scriptural offering; [From our above study, we will see it is not Scriptural] it is a Pauline offering [From our above study we see it is not Pauline] and, therefore, God blesses it (2 Corinthians 8-9).

The Apostle Paul took up Faith Promise offerings. He would get the Church to promise a certain amount [From our above study we saw that giving should not be promised with future prosperity and not by fixed amounts but rather it varies from week to week on what the believer has in his pocket.] and then he would give the Church a year to pay it.

Then, you remember, as the year drew to a close, he would send Titus, or someone else, to remind the Church of the promise [From our above study, note WHO it is, that makes the promises in a ten to one ratio to that of men.],  that had been made, so that he would not be ashamed when he arrived. He wanted to be sure that it would be paid. [The word promise does not occur even once in the Corinthian epistles.  Check it out.]

Then, at the end of the year, he came and collected it. Have you ever in your life given a Faith Offering, or have you only given a cash offering?

It doesn't require any faith to give a cash offering. If I have a dollar in my pocket, all I have to do is to tell my hand to go into my pocket, find the dollar, take it out and put it on the plate. I don't have to pray about it. I don't have to ask God for it. I don't have to trust Him for any definite amount. I just have to give it. [It does involve faith if you are giving away the food your budget for the week!]

But with a Faith Promise Offering it is entirely different. I have to pray about it and ask God how much He would have me give, and then trust Him for it, and month by month go to Him in prayer and ask Him for the amount promised, and wait upon Him until it comes in. That is the offering that brings the blessing. That is about the only kind of an offering I have taken up for Missions in all these years, well over a quarter of a century now-a Faith Promise Offering.

 I would never go back to the cash offering. With a cash offering I could only get a very tittle, but with a Faith Promise Offering I can get much.  [Follow the money, if it works then do it.]

In our Annual Missionary Convention we never get more than $7,000 in cash, but we get a quarter of a million or more in Faith Promises. [The end justifies the means?]

There is many a church that will not give a Faith Promise Offering. They are not interested in Scriptural giving. They will not obligate themselves for the definite support of their missionaries. They will not promise a certain amount to anyone worker. They simply divide whatever comes in, in the way of cash, between various missionary societies. They don't have to trust God for anything. If it comes in, they give it.

But since there is no need to exercise faith, therefore there is no burden, no responsibility. I have no use for that kind of giving. I believe that every individual church should obligate itself in faith before God for a certain definite amount, and pray until that amount has been received. I do not believe in pledges. I have never taken up a pledge offering in my life.

What is the difference, you ask, between a pledge offering and a Faith Promise Offering? All the difference in the world. A pledge offering is between you and a church, between you and a missionary society, and some day the deacons may come along and try to collect it, or you may receive a letter asking for it. In other words, you can be held responsible for a pledge offering.

A Faith Promise Offering, on the other hand, is between you and God. No one will ever ask you for it. No official will ever call on you to collect it. No one will ever send you a letter reminding you of it. It is a promise made by you to God, and to God alone. [Future prosperity?  “A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?”

If you are unable to pay it, all you have to do is to tell God. Give Him your excuse and if He accepts it, you are free. [Your excuse? This is so sad what Oswald is saying here.] You do not have to pay it. That, I say, is a Faith Promise Offering.

 That is the kind of an offering I preach and teach and take everywhere I go. I want to be Scriptural in all I do. I have gone to many a church that has been opposed to a pledge offering, but as soon as I have explained the nature of a Faith Promise Offering, all opposition has disappeared, and those who have been most antagonistic to a pledge of any kind, have been perfectly willing to accept the plan of a Faith Promise Offering, and God has accomplished wonders. I believe we could get all the missionary money we need if we would take up Faith Promise Offerings in all our churches. Have you ever given such an offering? If not, do it and you will be amazed at the way God will bless you.

*Dr. Oswald J. Smith (November 8, 1889 – January 25, 1986) was the originator of the Idea of a Faith Promise offering for missions. For many years, he was the pastor of The Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada, where he challenged that congregation to raise $1 for missions for every $1 they spent on themselves. That story still continues today with his son as pastor. (Paul B. Smith was the son of Oswald J. Smith, and Senior Pastor of The Peoples Church from 1959–1994.)”

The dog has fleas!

Questions:

1.      Is Faith Promise Giving a Scriptural offering?  Answer: No!

2.      Is Faith Promise Giving a Pauline offering?  Answer: No!

3.      Should we, by faith, offer a set amount based on future prosperity?  Answer: No!


 

10.   The Pattern for a certain contribution for the poor saints.


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.

 “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.

Our duty is to have a Biblical mission program to be based on the model located in the epistles of the Apostle Paul, [First Corinthians, chapter sixteen, Second Corinthians, chapters eight, and nine, Romans chapter fifteen].   It would be wise for us to immerse ourselves in the following:

1.      Learning Missions history.

2.      Promoting the Missions Vision.

3.      Conducting Bible-Believing Studies.

4.      Understanding the Limitations of Man [as to the Present Things].

5.      Studying the Epistles to the Church of Corinth concerning giving.

6.      Realizing the Promises belong to God.

7.      Noting those Vows are for Men.

8.      Knowing the Means are as important as the Ends.

9.      Examining carefully the Faith Promise program of the 20th Century in the light afforded by the Scripture.

 

“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”

Amen!


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