commentary: Charity Begins at Home

A Devious Takeover
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 29-Mar-14; Sermon #1204c; 13 minutes

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Excessive governmental regulations have grown like a malignant cancer in the last thirty years. Satan favors the concept of tyrannical, centralized government. If God's laws of love were internalized, there would be little need for the kind of control exercised by governmental officials today. Ironically, it is through the appeal to 'charity,' a responsibility demanded to all of us, that government has taken over charitable functions. If Christians had taken care of their families in the first place, despotic governments and confiscatory taxes would have not metastasized to the dangerous, debilitating level they have now become.

All one has to do is to get a group of Americans together—especially those who consider themselves Christian—and I do not believe it will be very long before one of the major talking points will be regarding the degree of governmental control individual citizens face today.

Regulations regarding almost any activity one does these days abound. Governmental regulation has always been a reality. God is our government, and His Word contains regulations. He commanded Adam and Eve right at the beginning not to eat from those two trees in the midst of the garden. He was regulating their behavior in their home.

In the past, a strongly held truth in this nation was the thought that a man's home was his castle, and the owner was pretty much free to do as he saw fit to alter his home or land to accommodate his family's needs. But that was before the last 30 or 40 years. Depending upon what one wants to build, alter or adjust in some way, now one's plans may have to be approved by the borough, the township, the city, the county, the state, and in some cases federal agencies before receiving approval, or he may be stopped and ordered to destroy what has already been altered.

The infamous executive orders issued by President Obama are an example of detailed regulations regarding some specific detail that the Executive Department of the federal government issues to cover a specific circumstance held important by them. The Executive Department is not the only area of government doing this. These regulations require, in many cases, no passing in review before the multitude of wisdom and safety in the Congress. But virtually every department of the federal government is free to do this. By "departments," I mean the likes of the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Defense, Commerce, Revenue, and I could go on and on. And it is by this means of regulatory powers that these departments are increasing their control of their specific interests. Very little of this instant regulation is reviewed as to its need and fairness.

Watching this process occur, I believe that by this means I can perceive Satan moving to centralize power and control through through those humans he has under him. However, there is a far different procedure shown in the Bible for Israel under Christ's control following His return. Israel is described in Ezekiel 38:11 by their enemies—Gog and Magog; Meshech and Tubal—as a land of unwalled villages, a peaceful people who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, having neither bars nor gates. All these things are picturing a nation really free.

And thus, after Christ's return, I believe that there will be a brief period of centralized government that He establishes, and then Christ will decentralize government. Now, why will He do this? It is in order that the rulers will be close at hand to those they are ruling. At that time, almost all government will be local. What will permit this is that the New Covenant will be made with the Israelites, in which God will write His laws in people's hearts and minds, and people, by His Spirit, will love each other. Who needs to regulate people who regulate themselves according to what is right? Thus, there is no need for very much of this current regulation imposed by outsiders. People will regulate themselves in harmony with God's laws of love.

I read a blog regarding charity that had an interesting and unusual perspective. "Charity" was at one time defined and used as Christian love. This is why the King James version translates God's love in humans as "charity." However, its meaning and common usage has narrowed considerably during the centuries. Now "charity" is defined as "benevolent goodwill or love for humanity" in a dictionary you might look in. It's most common usage is of—get this—monies or other material contributions given to an organization, which is also called a charity. We're getting away from its original meaning there.

Now, the interesting perspective in the blog is that the abuse of charity is the way through which the government—local, state and federal—have gained broad power and control over our individual lives. Well, here is how they got it. This power and control has been freely given to the government by much of the so-called "Christian" citizens of this nation, who did not follow through with their personal responsibilities to God's Word, but withdrew their personal active involvements except for some financial and material contributions.

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 are typical of the Old Covenant approach. When you go to read that, the key words regarding God's approach to charity is "personal" and "active." Deuteronomy 15:8 specifically uses the phrases, "open your hands wide," "willingly lend," "sufficient for his need," "whatever he needs," and God Himself guarantees the loan.

In addition, farmers were required to not cut the corners of their fields, and they were not to glean their crops but voluntarily allow the poor to do the gleaning. This does not mean, though, that in the church one should just throw care to the wind. I Timothy 5:1-8 provide a New Covenant approach, and it clearly narrows the most personal responsibility of each person to that of his own family. Now that can be broadened, but that's where it begins. Charity begins at home, and this the New Covenant points out specifically. The Christian responsibility is not limited to the family, but focuses on the family in this context.

I Timothy 5:4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents [Do you hear that, kids?], for this is good and acceptable before God.

Now this is not really addressed to kids. It's addressed to grown up children. They have the responsibility before God to provide for their parents who are no longer able to have income or whatever. So, children have a responsibility to take care of their parents should the parents fall in need.

I Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household [listen to this:], he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

That verbiage makes it clear these laws are a spiritual issue of great importance, and failure to follow through is a denial of the faith.

Here is where the Americans had their great failing. So what happened here in America? The so-called "Christian" citizens did not follow through. Gradually, over time, many failed to fulfill their responsibility. Instead, what they did is they petitioned the government first to provide things like unemployment benefits. Then it was Social Security. Then it was medical assistance, and in the meanwhile, other citizens were also organizing charitable institutions like the Red Cross, the March of Dimes, cancer funds Jerry's Kids, etc., etc., and all the while, government intrusion in these institutions, making sure everything was being done "righteously," grew and grew and grew.

In other words, they took over. Thus, the number of those employed by the government also grew and grew, until today 48% of the population in the United States of America is in some way dependent on the government for charitable help to some degree. That assistance given them comes from our taxes to support these people and the regulations imposed.

This block of government-dependent citizens is perhaps the largest single block of voters in America, and they, out of self-interest, almost always vote for their present employer—the government; the administration in office—and nothing good ever changes.



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