A. Proverbs 3:9; Exodus 34:19
God always required of Israel that they offer him the first of their earnings.
B. Deuteronomy 17:1; Malachi 1:12-14
He also insisted that what they gave Him be the best they had. Damaged goods were an insult. What we give Him, likewise, ought to be our first and our best. Really, whatever we are unwilling to part with is exactly what the Lord demands.
A. Mark 10:17-27
Jesus once told a wealthy man to give away all his belongings in order to please God, but the man refused. It was the one thing he would not do.
B. Luke 12:16-21
Those who invest in worldly wealth, but give no regard to eternity will regret it.
C. 1st Timothy 6:9-10, 17-19
It is not money that is the root of all evil, but the love of money that is. To be clear, it is not that money is evil itself, merely that the love of it is the root of all evil insomuch as people will lie, cheat, steal, and kill to obtain or retain it. The rich are not, generally, required to get rid of their money – only to use it generously for the good of others.
D. Acts 4:34-35
Barnabas is a fine example of one willing to part with his property in order to help others, thereby pleasing God.
E. 2nd Corinthians 8:9
Christ Himself sacrificed the riches of heaven to live in poverty on earth in order to save sinful man.
A. John 12:42-43
There were people who believed in Christ, but were unwilling to confess His name because they did not want to lose their social prominence.
B. Matthew 23:1-12
Christ teaches us not to be like the religious leaders of His time who loved to be recognized and admired.
C. Philippians 3:1-10; Acts 22:3-23
Paul presents himself as an example of one who set aside his prestige in the community so he could pursue Christ.
A. Luke 18:28-30
Although Scripture strongly supports the family in so many specific ways, the Master nevertheless taught that family might need to be sacrificed in order to please God.
B. Genesis 22:1-14; Hebrews 11:17-19
Abraham is commended for His willingness to sacrifice is beloved son to God. He did so because he trusted he knew God said the promises would come through Isaac, so God would resurrect his son. Similarly, Christians must trust the Lord enough to sacrifice intimate relationships, knowing He has something better in store.
C. Deuteronomy 7:1-4; Ezra 10:1-5, 16-17, 44
The people of Israel were forbidden from entering into marriage with those of certain nations, but, in Ezra’s day, did exactly that. To their credit, they recognized their sin and insisted on Ezra’s leadership in helping them to repent. They put away (divorced) the women they had no business being married to, even ending marriage that had produced offspring. This took months, but they saw it through to the end.
D. Mark 6:17-18
John the Baptist suffered martyrdom because he told a certain powerful couple they had no business being married to each other – that, in fact, the woman was still the wife of another man.
E. Luke 16:18; Matthew 19:3-12
Jesus explained that divorce is sinful – taking apart what God put together – and that subsequent marriage is worse – being adultery.
A. 2nd Timothy 3:12
Paul explained that persecution is inevitable for Christians.
B. Hebrews 11:24-26, 36-38
Moses gave up the pleasure of Egypt for the treasure of heaven. Others suffered worse.
C. Acts 20:22-24
Paul went willing to Jerusalem for preaching, knowing chains awaited him.
A. Hebrews 10:24-25
Time must be given to assembling with Christians, but many forsake that necessity.
B. Ephesians 5:16
Time is a fleeting resource that must be properly utilized.
C. Psalm 90:12
Awareness of our limited lifespans will assist in the proper expenditure of time.
D. James 4:14
We cannot know with certainty what will transpire in the future.
E. Acts 24:25
Felix is one who failed to make good use of his time, putting off forever what ought to be acted on urgently.
F. 2nd Corinthians 6:2
Don’t waste another day – be saved now!
A. 1st Peter 1:18-19
Jesus is the unblemished sacrifice offered to God for sinful man.
B. 2nd Peter 3:14
In return, we must present ourselves spotless before Him. Are we offering to the Lord our very first and best in all things?
By Bryan Matthew Dockens
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