Dying to Give, Living by Giving

Luke 11:39-41 (NASB)But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness. “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also? “But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you.”

When we give that within we give that which we love and that which is nearest and dearest to our heart. The Pharisees were lovers of money thus described as being filled with robbery which was manifested in a wicked covetous behavior to hold these idols close. Christ commands them to give it all away, much as he counseled the rich young ruler. “Go sell all that you have, give to the poor, and then come follow Me, and you shall have treasure in heaven.” He departed grieved for his wealth gripped his inner heart with the strength of ten strong men. 


Cutting off hands and plucking out eyes never becomes easier but it can become more reasonable in the light of an encounter with the Lord of glory. His voice in the Gospel whispers with a powerful confident assurance and increasing clarity of purpose. Regardless, the death of even a small idol is neither quiet nor a clean process. There is always traumatic calamity of separation. There is also an ever-vigilant spirit of watchfulness required lest a caustic recurrent malignancy spring to life again in an attempt to reattach itself in vital heart union. This is more common than originally thought. An honest assessment of life and self must conclude: If we are unwilling to part from that which we hold dear, Christ is not Lord and the Cross is not that to which we cling. How can we bear the Cross with two hands stuffed full of this world’s trinkets? Consider Moses and the reproach of Christ, at the cost of the fame and pleasure of Egypt. 

I would now like to reference CSLewis in The Great Divorce in his beautiful illustration of killing sin (an idol). The “great divorce” is our becoming unwed from the things of this world that tend to hinder and hide from us the more glorious “other world” or eternity which unseen is in reality more tangible and durable. (This concept of eternal greater durability is brilliantly illustrated throughout Lewis’ masterful work.)

In the following illustration of Lewis the “ghost” is a man making a transition from the temporal to the eternal world but he has a lizard (sin) attached to his neck and it has become a part of him. The lizard must die to complete the translation. Though the “ghost” (man) knows it not good and even evil, he simply cannot lay the lizard aside by himself. A mighty angel offers assistance but only upon the threat of pain shall the lizard (sin or idol) die and never easily or quietly. 

A mighty angel approached the man and asked, “Would you like me to make the lizard quiet?”

“Of course I would,” said the Ghost.

“Then I will kill him,” said the Angel, taking a step forward.

“Oh—ah—look out! You’re burning me. Keep away,” said the Ghost, retreating.

“Don’t you want him killed?”

“You didn’t say anything about killing him at first. I hardly meant to bother you with anything so drastic as that.”

“It’s the only way,” said the Angel …. “Shall I kill it?”

“Look! It’s gone to sleep of its own accord. I’m sure it’ll be all right now. Thanks ever so much.”

“May I kill it?”

“Honestly, I don’t think there’s the slightest necessity for that. I’m sure I shall be able to keep it in order now. Some other day, perhaps.”

“There is no other day ….” 

“Get back! You’re burning me. How can I tell you to kill it? You’d kill me if you did.”

“It is not so.”

“Why, you’re hurting me now.”

“I never said I wouldn’t hurt you. I said it wouldn’t kill you.”

[Suddenly] the Lizard began chattering loudly: “Be careful,” it said. “He can do what he says. He can kill me. One fatal word from you and he will! Then you’ll be without me for ever and ever. I’ll be so good. I admit I’ve sometimes gone too far in the past, but I promise I won’t do it again ….” 

“Have I your permission?” said the Angel to the Ghost.

“You’re right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature.”

“Then I may?”

“Blast you! Go on can’t you? Get it over,” bellowed the Ghost: but ended, whimpering, “God help me. God help me.”
Next moment the Ghost gave a scream of agony such as I never heard. The Burning One closed his crimson grip on the reptile: twisted it, while it bit and writhed, and then flung it, broken backed, on the turf.

Then I saw, unmistakably solid but growing every moment solider, the Ghost materialize into a man, not much smaller than the Angel.
At the same moment something seemed to be happening to the Lizard. At first I thought the operation had failed. So far from dying, the creature was still struggling and even growing bigger as it struggled. And as it grew it changed. Suddenly I stared back, rubbing my eyes. What stood before me was the greatest stallion I have ever seen, silvery white but with mane and tail of gold.
The man, now free from his torment, climbed upon the stallion that had been his sin and rode into the glowing sunrise towards the Savior.

This is why we need Lewis today. 

Navel-Gazing vs Finding the Real Cause of it All!

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (Paul)Philippians 3:7

Grace takes natural gifts, and even spiritual privilege, spiritual pedigree and all zealous works and shifts them in total to the liability side of the balance sheet, from our perception of the asset column in which we had placed them. These “assets” are one and all without exception hindrances to our entry into the narrow door, and must be repented of in their entirety. Self-Righteousness and good works unto attempted justification before holy God will condemn a man to hell as certainly as blasphemy. In the parable of the Wedding Feast the man’s appearance without proper wedding apparel into the King’s dinner celebration resulted in his being cast into outer darkness. He made it a great distance and convinced many of his eligibility to enter, but he failed the King’s scrutiny in the final judgment. We must take heed unto our selves and our doctrine. 

If we are trusting in our confidence of a ticket stub held in hand that gives apparent validation of an past experience or decision we made, and not the present experience of the living God who works deeds of deliverance in our lives today, we need to go again to the basis of saving faith. We must again reconsider, remember and reflect upon the One Mediator sufficient to bring about an eternal ceasefire between ourselves and the Holy God of Heaven. Am I navel-gazing and overcome with grief, sorrow and guilt over my failures to meet my standard, or even worse, condemned by His impossible standard? Or do I grace-gaze into the heavens, anticipating the blessed hope and glory of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ? I say it is a potential idol to look at a decision or anywhere else, and not to Jesus alone. No where in scripture is such counsel given to recollect a past decision as the basis of hope, but rather, “As you received Christ as Lord, so walk in you Him.” FAITH! We are always compelled to look to faith’s Author and Finisher!

Peter says it well for us all in John 6:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have words of eternal life and we have believed and come to know that You are the holy One sent from God.”

We must never forget: There simply never has been an adequate Plan B. Not ever. WHEN WE BELIEVE WE BEGIN TO KNOW GOD, and that is Eternal Life. 
Suggested Reading:



An Ecclesiastical Change of Gears: Leaving the Reformed Faith for a Traditional SBC

Yesterday after many agonizing months we walked through a whole new door as we began a new chapter in our ecclesiastical journey by our departure from formal association with the Reformed Faith and formerly opted for a traditional SBC church. This has been an emotional and painful journey that has vexed and confused us as to the purposes of God fleshed out in daily life. We are joyfully thankful to find light and comfort today.

The call of God and opportunity to utilize the gifts of God to the glory of God in the building up of the body of Christ are two of the more significant reasons for leaving the reformed faith. For many years I have experienced little encouragement from most reformed leadership pastors (for various reasons) to utilize my gifts in service. In this immediate area (Shreveport-Bossier) I see no opportunity to serve God in the preaching of Christ beyond being a bench warmer. That is not what God has called me to; time is short, days are evil and I have lots of gray hair. I have been actively engaged in multiple ministries to the glory of God for years yet with no formal church support, and this is to my great distress. But now to my joyful expectation of more power in corporate prayer and support and encouragement, I am truly glad to have the Body umbrella of protection once again as I seek to utilize God’s entrusted gifts as a faithful steward both without, and now WITHIN the body of Christ. I am thrilled at the opportunity that exists!

My convictions: The Truth of God has not changed, nor has my faith in it. I still affirm substantial adherence to the 1689 LBC and the WCF and their accompanying catechisms.

I still believe in…
1. A Sovereign and Holy God
2. A Sinful Man
3. A Saving Christ
4. A Repentant Faith
5. A Holy Life
6. A Responsible Churchmanship

“The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach today, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.”

Charles H. Spurgeon