Have you ever gone off somewhere to just be quiet?
Maybe it was just closing the door to your office. Maybe you left the office to sit on the bench outside. Maybe you just wanted to get out of the house and sit in the garden for a bit, or maybe you just took a drive.
Did you notice how unquiet it was?
I teach at a high school and as I write this I am sitting on a bench outside in one of my free lessons. It’s noisy.
When it’s my wife’s birthday I’ll buy her a present “from the boys” so that they get to give her a gift on her birthday.
How many parents here have done a similar thing? Or maybe your parents did that for you?
Or how about pocket money?
My son, Rory has a few chores he has to do around the house and in return he gets a small amount of pocket money. We’re starting to teach him about tithing and want him to give back 10% of his money to Jesus.
Where did the pocket money come from?
Mom and dad.
You could argue and say that he worked for it, but where did the opportunity to do the chores come from so that he could get pocket money?
Mom and dad.
It’s a similar thing with us. Everything we have or do comes from God. We work for “our” money, but it is really God who gave us everything we have.
When we ask Rory to tithe it’s not really about the money. If he does it or does’t do it, we’ll love him the same. We’ll still bless him with his own presents. We’ll provide for his needs.
So why the fuss about tithing, or “sharing” what you have with others?
I had a past student phone me last night. He phoned at 00:30 to warn me about the state that South Africa was in and that I should be making plans to leave. We spoke for a good two and a half hours, but we didn't spend the whole time discussing politics. In fact, one of the main reasons he phoned was to discuss a book on Christianity I had lent him while he was still at school.
As a highly intelligent young man, he preceded to probe my thoughts on a god, or gods, the possibility of a multiverse, quantum theory and evolution to name a few. I am well read enough to know at least a bit about some of the stuff he was speaking about and engaged him as best I could. He told me that he was convinced that there was a god or at least some sort of intelligent designer who had made our universe, but that in all likelihood there were another "gods" who had made the other universes that existed in our multiverse.
Although he has read the Bible (in multiple translations) it seems that just one god doesn't fit what scientific evidence appears to be saying about evolution and the probability of a multiverse. At this point it necessary for me to say outright that, from a scientific standpoint, I don't have a clue about the probability of a multiverse. I haven't read nearly enough in this area to even consider myself vaguely competent to argue on the topic. All I could do was speak from personal experience about my understanding of things. So that's what I did.
In John 15:14 Jesus says: “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” And then later on in the great commission, He gives the following instruction to His disciples before He ascends into heaven:
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NASB
Jesus didn’t give this command casually. He always modelled for us how we should walk, before asking us to do the same. Jesus Himself was baptised by John the Baptist and it was only then that the Holy Spirit descended on Him so that He could begin His earthly ministry.
So clearly being baptised is something we should do. But what is it? Who can get baptised? How does the whole thing work?
Ephesians 1:3 “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” (NLT)
Have you ever read a scripture like this and thought every blessing? Really? Like, I have been praying for my son’s asthma for months and months and he still gets a tight chest, and I have been praying for someone at work to come to the Lord, but nothing has happened yet.
I believe that the Lord really has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. He is a God of abundance and a good Father, why wouldn’t He? So then there must be a catch right? I mean, it’s not like I’m swimming in all the blessings I’ve been asking for in my prayers.
No catch. Just some good ol’ sensible parenting.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8
And he went out not knowing where he was going. Have you ever stopped to consider what this would be like?
Abram, as he was known at the time, was living in Haran. The Lord called him, saying:
“Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
And that was it. Off he went. No deliberating, no delaying, he just went. At 75, Abram walked off his map.