You Are All Brothers And Sisters

MATTHEW 23:8-11 NLT 8 “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. 9 And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. 10 And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be a servant.

These verses can seem perplexing. Yet they contain some important truths.

The first is that in the Kingdom of God we are all siblings — all on the same level.

(Jesus did not specifically address gender in this passage, but it fits in perfectly. Any attempt to classify women as inferior or second-class in any way goes against the spirit of what Jesus said in this passage. And Galatians 3:28 certainly backs up this idea.)

Jesus is not telling us it is wrong to acknowledge we have an earthly parent called a father. For the Bible tells us to honor our father and mother. He must be referring to the custom of calling someone “Father” as a term of great respect.

For example, there are people who are called “the father of modern medicine” or “the father of jazz music.” The word “father” used in this way means someone who was the originator, the one who started it all — the leader of a movement.

Although it is not wrong to honor someone because of their achievements, we should not consider humans the originators of everything. And we are not to set some people up on a pedestal and follow them instead of God.

It is not wrong to honor people, but it is wrong to honor people above God.

No one should be allowed to take the place of honor and respect that belongs to God alone. He is the One who originated all things. He is the One who deserves our utmost honor, respect, and obedience. God is our Leader!

And instead of operating like the world and setting up a hierarchy we are to operate as co-equals. (This is not to say there should not be positions of authority and leadership. But all should remember that being in those positions is a matter of responsibility, not a matter of being better than others.)

All human beings are on the same level. God loves us all. One person is not more important or valuable than any other person.

The human tendency is to try and distinguish ourselves from others. We try to elevate ourselves so others will look up to us and make us feel good about ourselves. Jesus is telling us we must not operate this way.

We should not need a title to make us feel valuable when God has already established our value by the price He paid to redeem us. Being a child of God is the highest position imaginable. No human title can begin to compare with that.

All special titles and human recognition are ultimately worthless anyway. They may have some value here on earth. But only God, the ultimate Judge, truly matters. What others think of us matters little.

Human organizations always exalt some people while minimizing others. “These are the important people. These other people are not very important.” But God’s people are not supposed to operate this way.

Finally, Jesus tells a great truth — which many have not yet understood. The greatest person is the one who serves others the most. This is not just a short-term idea, valid only in this life on earth. This is the way it will be in God’s Kingdom for eternity. Those who serve others the most are the greatest.

In the Kingdom of God status is not measured by a title or an office or a following (how many fans or friends you may have). Instead greatness is determined solely by how much you help others.

God helps everyone all the time. That makes Him the greatest. The more we help others, the greater it makes us. So don’t worry about a title or an office — just help people.

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You Are Valuable

LUKE 12:6-7 NLT 6 “What is the price of five sparrows — two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Thoughts of inferiority attack us all. No one, no matter how beautiful or successful, is immune.

How should you determine how valuable you are?

The best way to determine the value of something is to find out what someone is willing to pay for it. What was the price God was willing to pay for you?

ROMANS 8:32 NLT 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

The price God was willing to pay for you was the death of His Son. No greater price could have been paid!

Who should you allow to determine your value? Who is really smart enough to know you and your potential?

A parent? A spouse? A boyfriend or girlfriend? A neighbor? A boss or teacher?

Hardly! All these people are limited in their knowledge and understanding. Compared to God, they are not really that smart!

God thinks you are extremely valuable! Don’t let the devil rob this precious truth from you.

While you are not yet displaying your full potential, God sees what you will eventually become. God thinks you are valuable enough to die for!

Although there are billions of other humans, you are not lost in the crowd. God knows you! He knows the number of hairs on your head! He knows every desire and dream you have. And even though He knows everything about you, He still loves you with an everlasting love!

God is committed to you. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you.

HEBREWS 13:5 NLT 5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

In light of the amazing price God paid for you, there is no chance He will change His mind about you.

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Don’t Criticize Others

TITUS 3:2 NKJ 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

It’s easy to criticize others. But God says don’t do it!

MATTHEW 7:1-2 NKJ 1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

One of the biggest traps is to criticize our leaders. Since all leaders are human, none are perfect. But it is wrong, and counter-productive, to criticize them. It may be the “spirit of the age” we live in, but it’s not the way the Spirit of God operates (Acts 23:5). (We can discuss policies without personally attacking and condemning individual people.)

Those who criticize others are proud. They assume they know what is best, and that they are qualified to judge and even condemn others. They think they are better than those they criticize.

ROMANS 2:1 NLT 1 You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.

Without God’s grace and forgiveness, we would all be in trouble!

MATTHEW 7:3 NLT 3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?

MATTHEW 5:7 NKJ 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

One of the devil’s most successful strategies against the Church has been to get us to accuse one another.

Instead of accusing our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be praying for them. After all, we are in the same Body!

Revelation 12:10 tells us that the devil is called “the accuser of our brethren.” Always be on your guard not to join forces with the devil and help him do his work.

We must make judgments about people in order to function in life. We can evaluate the fruit produced by others and therefore make proper decisions (Matthew 7:16). But we do not have to criticize and condemn people. We can be quiet.

What if a person’s behavior is harming others? We have a responsibility when we are in a position of authority to protect those we are responsible for. If you are in such a position you should report such a case to those in authority over you, in order to protect those you serve.

Otherwise, your primary duty is to pray for those you think are not yet perfect.

When we criticize someone who belongs to Christ, we are actually criticizing Him and His work. Better not do that!

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Put On Humility

1 PETER 5:5 NKJ 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Don’t run around spiritually naked! Clothe yourself with humility!

Humility will protect you, just as clothing protects your body. Without humility you are exposed and vulnerable.

Without being clothed with humility, you risk embarrassment. Humility will keep you from the mistakes of pride.

What is humility? Humility is an attitude, a way of thinking. It is remembering that you only know in part.

True humility is not putting yourself down, but simply seeing yourself as the Bible says you are. “I am what I am by the grace of God.” Everything you have is a gift from God. So without Him, you can do NOTHING!

Humility is the opposite of pride. Pride is the wrong estimation of yourself, and of others. It is forgetting that others are very important to God and greatly loved by Him.

1 CORINTHIANS 4:7 NKJ 7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Pride focuses on what I deserve and creates dissatisfaction. But humility appreciates everything.

The proud person always blames God (or someone else) because they don’t accept that they could be at fault.

Without humility you will be deceived. You will buy the lie that you have been mistreated by God. So instead of realizing that you, and other people disobeying God, are the cause of all your problems, you will blame God.

COLOSSIANS 3:12 NIV 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

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Prosperity Preachers

Sometimes people ask me if I am a “prosperity preacher.”

The term “prosperity preacher” is a critical term some use to put down those who preach God’s will is prosperity.

After thinking about this, I believe there are only four possible positions on this issue.

1 Preach prosperity is God’s will for people.

2 Preach prosperity is NOT God’s will — leading people to believe poverty is God’s will.

3 Preach prosperity is God’s will for some people, but not for everyone.

4 Don’t preach anything about the subject. Just keep quiet about the subject of money.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems these are the only options. Either you preach God is for prosperity, God is for poverty, God has some special favorites, or just keep quiet about the whole issue.

For those who might think it safest to ride the fence and not say anything, realize that Jesus spoke more about money than He did heaven or hell. The Bible is not silent on the subject, so we should not ignore the subject either.

For those who think God shows favoritism, the Bible clearly says otherwise six times (2 Chronicles 19:7, Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25, 1 Peter 1:17).

Admittedly, there are warnings in Scripture about the dangers of prosperity. And we should not ignore them. Money, just like fire, can cause great damage if used wrongly, but is a great blessing when properly used.

Money is certainly not the most important thing in life. Nor can we judge a person’s spiritual condition by their financial condition. Yet we all require material things in order to live here on earth.

Surely our Father God, who Jesus taught is superior to earthly parents (Matthew 7:11), desires for every person to have all they need.

No doubt there may be some who preach prosperity imperfectly, with the wrong emphasis, or with wrong motives. But they are not my servants, and to their own Master they are accountable, not to me. It is not my job to criticize other preachers and call them names to put them down.

Maybe they are not perfectly balanced in their teaching. Maybe they don’t know everything. But I don’t either! (And neither do you.)

But surely the correct approach is not name-calling, trying to tarnish the reputation of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I think the right attitude is the one Paul had, that even if people were preaching with wrong motives, Christ was still being preached — so he rejoiced.

PHILIPPIANS 1:17-18 NLT 17 Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. 18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.

The reason the devil wants people to use such disparaging names is because he is afraid people will find out the Bible really does teach God’s will is prosperity for all people — which it is.

Poverty is not God’s will for any person!

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Die Right

NUMBERS 23:10b KJV 10 Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!

How we face death is an important part of life. It is important to die right.

It bothers me to see those who claim to believe in Jesus Christ acting like they are afraid to die and go to Heaven.

I am not afraid to die. I look forward to it. It will be wonderful to be with Jesus in Heaven, after my job here is finished.

It bothers me to see people who have already lived a full life spend a fortune trying to prolong their life on earth, like they have no hope of Heaven.

How can we expect the world to believe, if we don’t act like we believe?

Your death is part of your testimony. If you approach death like those who have no hope, it is a bad testimony.

PROVERBS 14:32 KJV 32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.

Too many “Christians” act like there is no Heaven when it comes time to die. For a true believer in Jesus Christ, nothing could be better than to go be with our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.

PHILIPPIANS 1:21 KJV 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Should we leave this life kicking, screaming and dragging our feet — if we believe we are going to Heaven to be with Jesus?

Although we pass through death to leave this sin-infested planet, it will not hurt us. Jesus defeated death for us and removed death’s sting so it cannot hurt us. We need have no fear of death. Death cannot harm a believer!

We don’t have a choice whether we will die, but we have a choice about the manner in which we die.

I desire that Christ may be glorified, not only in my life, but also in my death.

The best ways to die are to either die as a witness for Jesus Christ, a martyr, or to die a natural death in old age, after living a full life of victory.

I am not advocating giving in easily to death before it is time. But we all must eventually face death, so when the time comes, let us face it without fear.

ECCLESIASTES 3:2 KJV 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

There is a time to die, a time when it is best. A time when you have finished your course on earth, and you are ready to go be with Jesus. Until then, you should resist death. But you should NEVER fear death.

Plan and purpose that your death (as well as your life) will bring glory to God. Pray that your home-going will be glorious and point people toward faith in Jesus Christ.

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God Does Not Need Your Money

PSALM 50:10,12 NLT 10 For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it.

While giving is a valid part of God’s training program for mankind, God’s plan is not going to fail if you don’t give Him your money.

God does not need money. People need money — not God. God is after your heart, not your money.

It is ridiculous to think of God being in need, when He can speak and create planets. Just by speaking words, God could create anything He needed or wanted.

Yet I believe in giving to God and practice it. Why?

Because I need God’s help and blessing. God does not need what I have to offer Him, but I certainly need what He has to offer me. So I give to God as an expression of worship and gratitude.

How can we give to God? Obviously, we can’t put money directly in His hand.

But Jesus said that if you did something to even the least of His brethren, it was as if you did it to Him. (Matthew 25:40)

In the Old Testament people gave to God by giving to those He appointed as priests. Fortunately, under the New Covenant, we can go directly to God through Jesus Christ, without needing a priest as an intermediary. However, the New Testament still indicates that those who spread the Gospel are to be supported by our giving to God.

1 CORINTHIANS 9:13-14 NLT 13 Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. 14 In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.

So it is Scriptural to give to those who are spreading the Gospel. But it is wrong to think God is totally dependent on human giving of money to accomplish His plan.

I do give to other ministers including some who spend great amounts of money spreading Biblical teaching through various media. So I am not against spending money to spread the Gospel. I am just against the idea that this is the only way God could do it, and that God is somehow dependent on my giving.

As an example, when the communists took over in China, they forced all the missionaries to leave the country, leaving around one million believers with no obvious help or support. They had no Christian TV or radio, no Bible schools, no Christian publishing houses, no help from anyone but God. Yet it has been acknowledged that the number of believers grew to about one hundred million during the years they were cut off from all outside help. God will not be stopped!

Even if all preachers in the world were killed today, and all Christian media was banned, God would still be at work, and would still bring to pass His will.

We should use every available means to bless others and spread the message of Jesus Christ. But we must never make the error of thinking God’s plan will fail because of a lack of money.

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No One Is Born Mature

EPHESIANS 4:13-15 ESV 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children . . . . 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Ultimately, God plans for you to grow up in every way into being like Jesus Christ.

But no one is born mature and fully developed — either physically or spiritually.

When we receive Jesus Christ, His life enters our inner being, causing us to be born again as a child of God (John 3:3). We enter God’s family by pure grace, not because of any effort or virtue of our own.

The moment we are born again, we have all the rights and privileges purchased for us by the death of our wonderful Lord, Jesus Christ.

But we have to learn who we are, what is ours, and how to walk in it. We must learn to use the authority God has given us. (The only reliable source of this information is the New Testament.)

When we are born again spiritually, we are born equipped with everything we will ever need, just as a human child is born with a brain and all the muscles it will ever have. Yet, no baby can write textbooks or win athletic events. But we understand that they have that potential, needing only time and nutrition to grow and mature.

1 JOHN 5:4 ERV 4 because everyone who is a child of God has the power to win against the world.

We are born again spiritually with everything in place. We don’t need to beg God to give us something else to put us over. We just need to grow and develop what God has already put within us.

2 PETER 1:3 ESV 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

God has already given His children all things that pertain to life and godliness. So we need to learn to walk in what God has already provided for us.

2 PETER 3:18 ESV 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Christianity is not just about being born again and going to Heaven. Being born again is just the first step. God intends for us to grow and mature.

1 PETER 2:2 NKJ 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

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Don’t Love Money

1 TIMOTHY 6:10 ESV 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Many think the Bible says money is evil but it does not. What it actually says is the love of money causes evil. The meaning is that when people love money they will do evil things to obtain it.

While not all evil is caused by the love of money (rape is an example), there are many different kinds of evil that have the love of money as their true motivation.

Money has deceived many. They think it will bring them happiness, but it disappoints.

Money cannot buy happiness or real love. Money will never love you back.

1 TIMOTHY 6:17 ESV 17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

Our Father God is our true Source who will never fail us. He alone deserves our love and our faith. But money has a history of disappointment and failure.

HEBREWS 13:5 ESV 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

As children of God we do not have to place our hope in money to take care of us, for we have the promise of God that He will always be with us and provide for us. We should not allow doubt to rob us of this blessing.

MATTHEW 13:22 ESV 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

Please notice it is not riches that choke the Word, but the deceitfulness of riches. Believing lies about riches is what chokes the Word and keeps it from producing good fruit in people’s lives.

ACTS 20:35 AMPLIFIED 35 In everything I have pointed out to you [by example] that, by working diligently in this manner, we ought to assist the weak, being mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, It is more blessed (makes one happier and more to be envied) to give than to receive.

Here is a truth too few have learned: happiness is not achieved by getting, but rather by giving. No matter how much you accumulate, it will never satisfy you. You will always want more. But when you recognize that God is your Source and you can give without worrying about your own needs, you can enter into great freedom and joy.

Can you be a lover of money and also be a continual giver? No! Those who love money are not willing to part with it. Although they may part with some for the purpose of gaining more money, they will never focus on giving, for they are interested in getting, not giving to others.

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Your Mouth Locates You

LUKE 6:45 WE 45 A good man has stored up good things in his heart, so he says good things. A bad man has stored up wrong things in his heart, so he will say wrong things. The mouth will say what is in the heart.’

What you say locates you.

When you speak freely, you expose (to yourself and others) what you actually believe.

You may have told others — or even yourself — that you are walking in faith, but what your mouth says locates you and exposes what is really in your heart.

If you speak words of doubt, you are not strong in faith.

If you speak words of hate and criticism, you are not strong in love.

You cannot see what is in another person’s heart. But if you listen to their conversation you will know what is in their heart. Obviously, this only works when they let their guard down and speak freely.

If someone is putting on an act, they could say anything and not really mean it. But in times of pressure and crisis, people usually don’t take time to think before speaking, so what they truly believe comes out.

This message is not meant to condemn you but to wake you up to reality. If you are speaking anything contrary to what God says in the Bible, you need to realize you are not in faith in that area. So you should take steps to remedy the situation by feeding on God’s Word to build up your faith.

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