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#25680 - Mon Jun 06, 2005 3:28 AM True Religion  
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I believe that True Religion is that defined by Our Lord and Saviour (Visiting the Widows, Homeless, Fatherless etc.) But I am having the hardest time trying to fulfill this definition. My wife and I as well as some other Christian friends found an elderly gentleman living on the road and we tried to get him in a home that he could live out his time and be exposed to the love of Jesus and we were hard pressed to find such a place. He is approximately in his mid to late eighties. We eventually found room at a home close by our place of residence and quickly found out that only My Wife and my self were willing to actually take on the monthly expense of paying for his boarding and clothing etc the fee includes medical check-ups and medication. The free homes were all filled to overflowing with long waiting lists, so we had to do with what was available. It has been several years now and owing to financial troubles starting with a change in jobs and the illness and subsequent death of my father etc. as it now stands we are 18 months in arrears and trying to keep him from being evicted, or to have him relocated to a cheaper place. My question is that (with no judgement intended) How is it that our Church buildings cost so much to construct and maintain however there is still no room in the in for those in need? I struggle in different areas of my walk like the next person so this is not a position of judgement but rather one of examination. Why to we remain untouched by the situations of our fellow persons in need? If we consider that if it were not for the grace of God to us and a difference in His plan for many of us we may have found oursleves in a similar position as the homeless, fatherless etc.

#25681 - Mon Jun 06, 2005 4:16 AM Re: True Religion [Re: Delivered]  
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So your church isn't helping in this matter? Have you asked other churches? I believe in what your doing is right, but not to the point of you hurting yourselves financially the way you are. If your church won't help, I would try a Lutheran or Episcopal church, they are pretty good about these types of ministries. This is truly a sad example of the church. You will be in my families prayers.

Y.B.I.C,

Dave.


Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. - Galatians 2:16
#25682 - Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:09 AM Re: True Religion [Re: Delivered]  
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Quote
From the Free Church of Scotland:

Ministry to the poor

The fifth mark is concern for the poor. I have left it to the last, not because I believe it is necessarily the most important, but because it is the most neglected. In both the First and Second Books of Discipline the idea is linked very closely to the work of deacons, whose `office and power is to receive and to distribute the haill ecclesiastical gudes unto them to whom they are appoyntit.2 In the First Book of Discipline, John Knox made specific provision for a ministry to the poor. `Every several kirk,' he stipulated, `must provide for the poor within itself; for fearful and horrible it is, that the poor, whom not only God the Father in his law, but Christ Jesus in his Evangel, and the Holy Spirit speaking by Saint Paul, hath so earnestly commended to our care, are universally so contemned and despised.' In Melville's arrangements, one quarter of the kirk's revenue was to be 'bestow it upon the puir members of the faithful, and on hospitals'.

Such provision was simply a reflection of what marked the church from the beginning. We know from Acts 6, for example, that at a very early point in her history the church organised formal provision for the poor. We also know that when Paul went to discuss his Gentile mission with the apostles in Jerusalem they said to him, `Your gospel is OK; but remember the poor': the very thing, he said, he was eager to do (Galatians 2:10). Later, we see Paul himself (and how remarkable it is!) giving time and energy to organising collections to relieve the poverty of the saints in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1‑9:15).

Just, then, as a church is not a church if it does not evangelise, so a church is not a church if it has no concern for the poor. Every single congregation should have some formal provision of this kind, reaching out to the need in its own community. Tokenism is not enough. There is real need in the society around us. I am not going to give detailed formulations. I am simply laying down that the poor must be on both our consciences and our agendas and that the church must be organised, not only to evangelise, not only to worship, not only to administer the sacraments, but also to help those who are in need.

Of course, under a Welfare State that can be complicated. The very fact of such a Welfare State existing at all is often an excuse for doing nothing. But the theology is crystal clear and the Liberationists are absolutely correct: God has a bias towards the poor. Our responsibility is never merely to evangelise. We have to go about, like Jesus, doing good (Acts 10:38). That includes responding to people's temporal and material needs.



Quote
Matt.25:34-40 NASB

34"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

35'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;

36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?

38'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?

39'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

40"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'


Quote
Matt.25:41-46 NASB

41"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;

43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'

44"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'

45"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

46"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


Quote
From City on a Hill by Philip Ryken:

But even the United States of America, there are many homeless who need a good meal and a safe place to sleep. One out of five American children lives below the poverty line. This is an age of immigration, with people moving to this country from all over the world. There is a tremedous need for them to receive education and other practical assistance. Then there is America's rapidly growing prison population, with nearly two million inmates locked behind bars. The needs have never been greater than in these post-Christian times.

There are many reasons that the church should get involved in meeting these needs. There is the simple fact that God has commanded us to have compassion on the needy. Then there is the strategic importance of showing mercy to reach the next generation. Many young people want to make a difference in the world. Unless they see the church demonstrating mercy and compassion in practical ways, they will not listen to our message - nor should they. But a church that is committed to outreach offers them a place to belong, and, eventually, a place to serve. The church should also show mercy because it confirms the truth of God's Word. The Bible is sufficient to bring salvation. However, when the Word of truth is accompanied by a work of mercy, the powerful, living demonstration of Christ's love has the effect of turning up the volume on the gospel.

Those are all good reasons to show mercy, but Jesus pointed to something else. He gave the purest and truest motive for mercy. He said, "Do it for Me." The righteous do not perform charity in order to get to heaven. No, what makes their service supremely valuable is that they offer it for Jesus' sake. Love for the poor and the needy expresses true love for Christ.

Why would anyone love Christ so much? It is because He first showed His love to us. One of the striking things about acts of charity is that they are all things that Jesus has done and continues to do for His sheep. The mercy we give is the mercy we have been given.

We are hungry and thirst. In our spiritual famine, Jesus comes to us and says, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry." In our thirst for spiritual refreshment, He says, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." There was a time when we were estranged from God by our sin. The Bible says, "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death. Through the cross of Christ, God has shown us the hospitality of His grace, turning us from strangers into friends.

At the end of history, when the entire human race gathers before God's throne, Jesus will say to His friends, "Come into My kingdom. I know you belong because you showed me mercy." They will be astonished to hear this, and so they will ask, "When did we show You mercy?" Jesus will say, "When you did it for them, you were doing it for Me." Then perhaps we will be able to say, "Jesus, the only reason we did it for them was because You did it for us first."

Every Christian and ever church should be active in some form of mercy ministry. Mercy always begins at home, so our first priority is to meet the needs of our own Family-meaning both our natural family and our spiritual family, which is the church. The Bible teaches that our strongest obligation is to care for those who are closest to us: "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse then an unbeliever" The same principle holds true for teh church: "As we have oportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers"

Finally, we must care for our surrounding community. Although this is not the primary focus of Matthew 25, it is an obvious extension of its principles. "As a priority, we should give to needy Christians both intensively and extensively, until their need is gone. But we must also give generously to nonbelievers as part of our witness to the world... In other words, the ministry of mercy is not only an expression of fellowship of the church, but also an expression of the mission of the church.

In the same way that Jesus reached out to us, we must reach out to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the prisoner. This means reaching out to international students, unwed mothers, homosexuals, people with AIDS, the ederly, inner city children, the jobless, the homeless, the seperated and divorced, single parents, the disabled, and the imprisoned. In each of these and many other areas of human need, church members should be on the lookout for people who could use some help, and then under the direction of their pastors, elders, and deacons, organize themselves for effective ministry. This is what mercy requires: both the identification of a need and a personal commitment to meet that need in the compassion of Christ.


I hope this helps.

May His grace and peace be with you,

Y.B.I.C,

Dave


Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. - Galatians 2:16
#25683 - Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:14 AM Re: True Religion [Re: Delivered]  
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Kingston, Jamaica
There are National Institutions that have been put in place for the needy and poor, but that we still have so many living on the streets of our cities and other unsuitable places speaks to the fact that there simply are'nt enough such places or resources to capture the stuation of a huge portion of those in need. It is my view that those of us who have discovered the Grace of God through Jesus our Christ behave like good Samaritans by taking a active role in looking out for our downed brothers and sisters. I fall short personally and I believe that I should and can do more and I am not speaking of over burdening my Family or our families, just being concerned enough to do what we can based on our own situation. This role of caring and sharing should be more dominant within our walk and this may help us to achieve that state of brokenness before our Saviour that will allow us to live a more victorious walk with Him who is our Deliverer. I speak to myself also.

#25684 - Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:38 AM Re: True Religion [Re: Delivered]  

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Delivered,

My prayer is that God will never take away your tender heart for the needy. May God richly bless you for what you and your wife have done for this man.

I think we are called to help the needy to the point of both parties having a little of what they need. I don't think we are to put ourselves or our family in any type of jeopardy financially or otherwise. Just share what you have brother.

And I'll be blunt. You may want to consider a different church.

#25685 - Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:53 AM Re: True Religion [Re: Delivered]  
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Delivered,

First off..... [img]http://www.the-highway.com/Smileys/welcome_scroll.gif" align="absmiddle[/img] to The Highway Discussion Board.

We have discussed this topic several times in the past here and it seems that the overall consensus is that the majority of members believe that government run "welfare" programs are not what God wills. But rather, it is the Church which should be the primary source of aid for the poor, i.e., true believers should be the ones who care for the needy of this world. Ironically, it would appear that this is not what is happening and thus I suppose one should be grateful for government run programs otherwise a far greater number of needy people would be without anything.

Quote
You wrote:
It is my view that those of us who have discovered the Grace of God through Jesus our Christ behave like good Samaritans by taking a active role in looking out for our downed brothers and sisters.

I'm not sure how you are using the designation "brothers and sisters", but it is certainly true that the Church should look to their own first who are in need and then to those outside the Church thereafter. IF, however, you are using that phrase to designate everyone, then I would have to question your understanding of who these "brothers and sisters" are according to Scripture which uses that term to designate ONLY those who have at least made a valid profession of faith.

In His Grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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#25686 - Mon Jun 06, 2005 12:14 PM Re: True Religion [Re: Pilgrim]  

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I'm sorry for the comment I made about finding another church. I re-read your original post and realized that you made no reference to your church not helping out. Sorry again brother.

#25687 - Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:01 PM Re: True Religion  
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Kingston, Jamaica
Honored Pilgrim,
I know and believe what the scripture defines as my Brother and sister and in this case it is a matter of word use as rather than theology. I know that my "true brothers and sisters in Christ" are defined by what the Word of God says and I believe that we should begin at home first but this topic has many deeper implications. In this case however I was using the example of the Good Samaritan who was of no relation and dealing level with the man who was robbed and beaten by the thieves, howevet he treated him like a close family member, a brother. The way in which Christ treated all of us in that while we were still his enemy He went upon the Cross and Bled and died for us. Our actions towards even those who have not yet professed "Faith" should be in itself a witnessing tool. I am Sorry if the word use created a theological conflict, it was not my intention.
Respectfully,
Delivered.

#25688 - Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:44 PM Re: True Religion  
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Delivered Offline
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Kingston, Jamaica
Bibledude,
It's all good my brother. My Church has what they call an "Outreach Ministry" and they are in the process of constructing a soup Kitchen. Also there are two Private homes for the Elderly in the immediate area of our Church and the Church gives to both of these homes as much as I guess they can, given the allocation of our funds and the focus and priority of our various Ministries. We also sponsor Missionaries in China, Tanzania, and Cuba, (by the way I notice that the posting lists Florida as my location, but I am actually in Kingston Jamaica, I have a mailing address in Florida and in most cases online I have to put this mailing address, I did correct the information so I hope the posting changes the location). The two private "Homes for the Elderly" located in our district or area are not places that you would consider placing a relative and I believe that they ware both under-funded and under-staffed. We have also looked at Homes ran by other Churches and they are all filled up. We eventually approached several groups and private citizens who have come forward and have pledged what they can afford so now it is more of a group effort. But this problem is not limited to my geographical location my family have visited various locations in New York, Florida, London and other major cities world wide and have encountered the problem, so I know that this is a universal problem.
Also the finacial burden began with my father's battle with cancer which eventually took his life and he had no medical insurance, this and not the actual monthly payments for the gentleman in question, was the reason for our financial setback. In the beginning it was managable through the help of God, but I believe we were somewhat blinded by our grief and did not always see the Hand of God pointing to the funding and help. Thanks for your comments.


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