We are commanded not to tempt God, yet we are to have faith: what is the answer to this apparent conundrum?
Now of course we can all fall into financial woes for very many reasons; that is not the point here; the issue being discussed is deliberately taking normally unacceptable financial risks and calling it faith, when it is truly tempting God.
For many decades the Church groups has claimed to be stepping out in faith as they followed out their own corporate plans. Was this really faith in God, or was it tempting God?
What is the difference? and where is that line between faith in God and tempting God?
UCG has had its financial challenges resulting from a bad financial plan which involved an almost immediate expansion of expenses after the split instead of waiting until things settled.
PCG has had severe financial problems resulting from foolish extravagances to the point of the awesome, and again bad financial planning and unexpected difficulties.
RCG is now in deep financial difficulty because of bad financial planning and beginning to build a new center without the funds or proper financial preparations to do so.
Herbert was continually begging for money and taking on more that the brethren could handle.
The only major Group which has the appearance of having solid financial principles and planning so far, is COGWA.
A common thread behind all these groups and their financial problems is the consistent comment that they are stepping out in faith. Yet Jesus said [which I quoted yesterday]:
Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
The difference between FAITH and TEMPTING God is the issue that I want to discuss today, before going on to Mat 26-28.
Jesus had somewhat to say about building a house without counting the cost and preparing to pay the price; and he did NOT recommend that they start off on faith!
In fact he alluded to those who build without preparation to pay the price, as being very foolish!
Luk 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
The Example of UCG
Some UCG people have said that they must sue others to be good stewards of God’s money.
How remarkable, that they think that being good stewards of God’s money means that they are to use God’s money to break the scriptures and sin against the teachings of Christ!
1 In suing others, UCG engaged in breaking the teachings of Jesus Christ; which is sin and separates them from Christ, thereby cutting themselves off from Jesus Christ.
2 They spent more on lawyers than they could possibly gain from the suit.
3 They deepened the schism with their brothers, instead of acting in a godly manner and returning good for wrong to help repair the wound.
4 They set a terrible example for both the brethren who left and for those who remained, and their terrible example was not lost on the local communities and across the broader the COG community.
How much money did UCG spend on these lawsuits? When they should have gone to God and asked HIM to restore the loss, as the scriptures say!
Then they spent much money on a television outreach without proper financial planning during a split! A clearly financially foolish action. This was NOT stepping out in FAITH; it was TEMPTING God; and had the expected results.
Stepping out in FAITH means TRUSTING God to keep his word to us, by doing what God commands to be done, regardless of the expected consequences.
Stepping out in FAITH means saying NO to working on Sabbath; saying NO to buying in restaurants on Sabbath: It means obeying Almighty God in all things and trusting in his promise of the resurrection for all those who uncompromisingly obey him in all things.
Faith also means NOT doing what we want, and patiently waiting on God.
Faith is, Rev 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are [spiritual virgins being chastely loyal to Christ and not polluting themselves with spiritual adultery or idolizing any other god] virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Faith is absolute TRUST in God to keep his promises of salvation to those who believe and obey HIM!
Faith has nothing to do with our personal desires or financial decisions to overextend ourselves, in the hope that we can use our supposed “faith” to blackmail God into bailing us out and giving us what we want physically!
Tempting God is to deliberately put ourselves in difficulties, and then expect God to bail us out of trials which were of our own deliberate making.
The true called out; do not seek to be persecuted, they do not seek to be martyred, they do not seek trials, but they will be faithfully obedient to Jesus Christ and patiently endure any trials that do come their way, and learn from them.
FAITH is about believing and obeying God in all things; it has nothing to do with our deciding for ourselves and making our own foolish decisions.
To claim to be God’s people and then to deliberately get ourselves into trouble, and then expect God to bail us out, when we are only receiving the just fruits of our own foolishness: IS TEMPTING GOD!
Yet, of course, if some unexpected disaster not of our own making befalls us; we can surely call on God for help in faith.
How Then Should We Handle Corporate Finances? R E S P O N S I B L Y!
1 Do not make any financial plans based on pledges of support; situations change and long term pledges are not to be relied on.
2 Establish yearly budgets based on 90% of the previous year’s income. This will involve some extremely difficult belt tightening in the beginning, but will prove itself over time.
If each year we budget spending at ONLY 90% of the amount received in the previous year:
A) We are somewhat insulated from a drop in income
B) We have a built in savings plan; almost, or possibly greater than an automatic; 10% savings accumulation each new year
C) This built in accumulation can then serve to aid us in the lean years; when income drops below the previous year.
D) In the first seven no0rmal years the fund should increase to a full year’s cushion fund.
E) After the first seven years, or earlier if the fund grows rapidly; a new fund can be set up to prepare for major projects.
Finally we must become more concerned about building our spiritual houses; than some grand physical ediface.
Back to The Subject
Faith in God means doing what God wants; regardless of our fears, our traditions, leaders or corporate entities.
It does NOT mean doing what WE want and then expecting God to bail us out when we have problems!
Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
To receive support from God; we MUST be keeping all of his commandments and doing that which is pleasing to God; NOT doing whatever we decide we want to do like the church today.
Standing up and telling the organization that they will now hold Bible Studies on the New Moons: would be an example of stepping out in FAITH to do as God has commanded!
Taking God’s money to build some grand facility, which is far more extravagant than what is really needed: is NOT stepping out in faith!
It is stealing God’s money; given to preach the gospel!
WE TEMPT God by wasting God’s money on our own personal projects, and not using it as God has commanded, [which is the sin of stealing from God] then we wonder why we get into financial trouble.
We dare to label our sin; “stepping out in faith”, when it is tempting and sinning against God!
It is not the brethren who have robbed God! No they are bled white with the giving!
It is the corporate leaders who tempt and rob God, by using God’s money for their own purposes, and not for the purposes that God commanded.
Consider how much Gerald Flury has spent on HWA memorabilia? That was all money given to be used for preaching the gospel; money that was STOLEN from God!
Consider how much HWA spent on his edifices to his own ego, how much was spent on pagan opera’s and buying photo ops. That was all money STOLEN from God!
Consider how much Dave Pack is spending on his edifice to his ego; that is money STOLEN from God!
Now consider that LCG, COGWA, RCG, PCG and UCG do NOT preach the scriptural Gospel of Warning and Repentance commanded to be preached and therefore do NOT teach the FULL Gospel of the way into the Family and kingdom of God.
Mal 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
The FOUNDATION of the people of God, is a diligent internalizing of the very nature of God, through zealous FAITHFUL obedience to all of God’s commandments and teachings.
That is how we are to think and live, and that is what we are to be proclaiming!
The Faith of God is that we should BELIEVE the Gospel of Salvation, and KEEP all of God’s commandments.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart [they believed, which is FAITH in the message (promise) of salvation], and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent [STOP breaking the commandments], and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
To do our own thing our own way; is TEMPTING God!
How many of you would throw yourselves off a high building and expect God to save you? Would you deny that the act is tempting God, as Jesus said? Yet you buy into needlessly throwing yourselves off a high financial cliff, and call that faith?
Now of course we can all fall into financial woes for very many reasons; that is not the point here; the issue is deliberately taking normally unacceptable financial risks and calling it faith, which is truly tempting God.
Our arrogance is thinking that God has to save us; that God has to back up up, no matter what we do, that God is somehow subject to our desires; has been and will be our downfall: for it exalts us over our God; making us sovereign and God subject to our whims.
Truly in this age, the church is all about our own pride in tempting God through self justifying insistence that God must do as we think right; and NOT about any zeal on our party for the ways of our God!