Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically today’s passage is found in the first twenty-one verses of the twelfth chapter. “In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trade one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say” (Luke 12:1-12).
“And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he derived the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consistent not in the abundance of the things which he possessed. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink ,and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:13-21). When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you will find Jesus being once more present in a place He was no stranger to being in—namely in the midst of a great crowd and multitude. If you begin reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find find Luke writing how “in the mean time” there was gathered together an innumerable multitude of people before and round about the person of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that not only was there an innumerable amount and multitude of people but so great was this multitude that they trade upon one another. Before I truly delve into the words and language which is found within this passage of Scripture I find myself wanting to call and draw your attention to how many people had heard about the Lord Jesus—whether it was from those whose lives had been personally touched by Jesus the Christ or whether from those who had simply heard and listened to the words which He taught and spoke. It would be during those days in which Jesus walked among us as the Word made flesh being manifested unto all that the fame of the Lord Jesus went throughout the surrounding cities, towns and villages. In fact if you take the time to read the final verses of the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find it mentioned how the fame of the Lord Jesus spread throughout the surrounding region and how there would be those who would come out from their homes and from their towns, villages and cities that they might gather themselves unto this man known as Jesus of Nazareth. I sit here today thinking about and considering the words and language found in the opening verse of this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the great multitude which was present before and all around the Lord Jesus. If there is one thing we have to recognize and understand when reading the words present within the gospels it’s that Jesus was always present in the midst of the crowds and the multitudes. Oh there were those specific times when the Lord Jesus Christ took the disciples apart aside to pray and to find rest for their souls and physician bodies. It is also true there were times when the Lord Jesus would depart by Himself unto a quiet place where He would pray unto and before the Father who was in heaven. With this being said, however, we must needs recognize that time and time again within the four gospel narratives Jesus was indeed present among the multitudes. It is in this passage of Scripture we find it written how the Lord Jesus was surrounded by an innumerable multitude of people which would undoubtedly suggest that the size of this crowd was incredibly massive. Scripture does not reveal how big this crowd truly was during those days, however, we have to assume that it most likely numbered in the thousands. I would dare say that the number of this multitude and this crowd numbered in the thousands and was undoubtedly too many and too large to count. Luke writes how there was gathered together unto the Lord Jesus an innumerable multitude of people insomuch that they trade one upon another. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for there were two other specific times when we know—at least in part—how many men were gathered before and around the Lord Jesus. There are two distinct narratives found within the gospels when we learn that there was a time when five thousand men—excluding women and children—were gathered unto the person of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is we know that there was another time when there was a multitude numbering four thousand men—excluding women and children—who had gathered themselves unto the person of the Lord Jesus. The more I read and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and how it would be during these days when Jesus would indeed be surrounded by great multitudes of people who sought to not only hear and listen to the words He would speak but to also be healed of their sickness and infirmity, be cleansed of their plague and be delivered from whatever oppressed and afflicted them. Time and time again within and throughout the four gospels we are brought face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ being surrounded by such great multitudes of people who would gather themselves unto Him that they might experience healing, cleansing and deliverance from whatever was present within their hearts and lives. This is something we must needs pay close attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the atmosphere and environment wherein the Lord Jesus had found himself. Oh there were countless times when the Lord Jesus would indeed be surrounded by a great multitude and throng of people and there would be one time when the Lord would have to enter into a ship and thrust out a little from the land that He might teach and speak unto the people. What we find in this passage of Scripture is a truly wonderful and powerful picture of an innumerable multitude of people who gathered themselves before and unto the person of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that this multitude of people was so great that they would tread upon each other as they undoubtedly thronged the person and presence of the Lord Jesus. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for once more we find the Lord Jesus being in a place He found Himself in more times than not—namely in the midst of great crowds and multitudes. If there is one thing I can’t help but think about when reading the words found in this passage of scripture it’s whether or not the person, the presence and the power of Jesus has the same type of effect within our generation. We know that the fame of the Lord Jesus spread throughout the surrounding cities, towns, villages and regions during those days and how that fame would indeed draw men and women out of such places unto the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture is very clear that the more the fame of the Lord Jesus spread—whether through the person encounter and experience of a single individual or through the word of mouth of countless men and women who had personally encountered and experienced His ministry—the more men and women gathered themselves unto Him. Oh during these days there was such a draw and almost a spiritual magnetic pull upon the hearts, the minds, the souls and the spirits of men and women that they would come out from the cities, towns and villages that they might hear and listen to the words which the Lord Jesus spoke. What’s more is that this spiritual magnetic pull would also cause men and women to come unto Jesus bringing whatever illness, sickness, disease, plague and ailment afflicted and oppressed them that they might be healed, cleansed and delivered. Within and throughout the life of the Lord Jesus we find men and women who were healed of that sickness and illness within their physical bodies, we find men and women who suffered from plagues within and upon their physical bodies coming unto Jesus to be cleansed and we also find those who were tormented, possessed, oppressed and afflicted by unclean spirits coming unto the Lord Jesus that they might be delivered. Oh if there is one thing we must needs understand when reading the words found in these passage of Scripture it’s that during those days men and women came unto the Lord Jesus to be healed, cleansed and delivered as the fame of the Lord Jesus would indeed spread throughout the surrounding regions, cities, towns and villages. It is with all of this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the incredible truth surrounding the language found within the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and pay close attention to Jesus’ presence in the midst of the crowds and multitudes for Jesus would continually be barraged and bombarded by great multitudes and crowds of people. More often than not the Lord Jesus was not isolated by Himself together with His disciples but was found among the multitudes or even in the synagogues. It would be on the sabbath days when the Lord Jesus would be present in the midst of the synagogues and yet I would dare say the other six days there would be countless times when the Lord Jesus would be surrounded by great multitudes of people who would gather themselves unto Him to not only hear the words which He would speak but who would also seek to be healed, cleansed and delivered. I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the numerous times the Lord Jesus found Himself present in the midst of the crowds and multitudes of people who had gathered themselves before and around Him that they might personally experience His presence and power within their lives. Regardless of whether they came unto Him because of the power and authority that was present within His teaching and words or to experience the power and authority that was present within Him over sickness, over disease, over illness, over plagues, over unclean spirits, and so much more there were countless men and women who would indeed gather themselves together before and around the person of the Lord Jesus Christ that they might find that which their hearts and souls were seeking for and searching after. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found within the gospels concerning Jesus’ presence in the midst of the multitudes and crowds of people during those days: “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:23-25). “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him, and he opened his mouth, and taught them” (Matthew 5:1-2). “When he was come down from the mountains, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them” (Matthew 8:1-4). “Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee wither soever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath. Not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:18-20). “And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men” (Matthew 9:8). “And as they went out, behold they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils” (Matthew 9:32-34). “And Jesus went about all cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38). “And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in king’s houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee” (Matthew 11:7-10). “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; and charged them that they should not make him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust” (Matthew 12:14-21). “The same day when Jesus out of the house, and say by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables” (Matthew 13:1-3). “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35). “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field” (Matthew 13:36). “When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals” (Matthew 14:13-15). “And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children” (Matthew 14:19-21).
“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone” (Matthew 14:22-23).
“And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the Sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:29-31). “Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus said the unto them, how many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala” (Matthew 15:32-39). “And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him” (Matthew 17:14-16). “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; and great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there” (Matthew 19:1-2). “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I should do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight and they followed him” (Matthew 20:29-34). “And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:9-11). “And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine” (Matthew 22:33). “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples” (Matthew 23:1). I fully recognize that this was a lot of Scripture which described the multitude and the multitudes of people which gathered themselves before and around the Lord Jesus, however, I am convinced that it helps set the stage for the words which are found in the twelfth chapter of this passage of Scripture. In the opening verse of this passage of Scripture we find Luke writing how in the mean time there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people. So great and so large was this crowd and multitude of people that they trade one upon another as they sought to walk with, follow and gather around the person of the Lord Jesus. It would be in this context of a great multitude walking with and following the Lord Jesus we find Jesus beginning to speak unto His disciples first and foremost. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s that Jesus warned His disciples—and perhaps not only the disciples but also the multitudes—of two distinct and two separate things which could bring destruction, chaos and confusion into their lives. It is in the first verse of this chapter we find Jesus warning the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which was hypocrisy. It would be in the fifteenth verse of this passage we find the Lord Jesus warning His disciples of something else that was just as sinister and evil as hypocrisy—namely that of covetousness. When we take the time to read the words found within this passage of Scripture we are indeed brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the words and warnings which the Lord Jesus would give and speak unto his disciples. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something truly captivating and challenging found in this passage of Scripture—namely that which we must needs guard our hearts against. Within this passage we find Jesus warning us against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees while also warning us against the covetousness that can indeed and can in fact creep into our hearts. I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be reminded of the words which our Lord spoke which are recorded in both the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew as well as within this same gospel written by Luke. It was the Lord Jesus who would indeed warn against covetousness which in all reality is something the LORD God commanded against when delivering the Law unto Moses atop the mountain in the wilderness. It would be there in the midst of the wilderness atop the mountain the LORD would give Moses one of the commandments which was simply “Thou shalt not covet.” The LORD knew and understood that one of the greatest evils within the heart of a man and/or a woman was indeed covetousness. One of the greatest dangers, snares, and pitfalls within the hearts and lives of men and women is that of covetousness—and not only coveting that which we do not have but also not being content with what we do have. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that covetousness is intrinsically connected to contentment—and not merely contentment but the absence and lack of contentment within our hearts and souls. If you want to truly understand the danger of covetousness you must needs recognize that it has its root in our being discontent with what we have. Those who have learned and who have trained themselves to be content with that which they have—the clothing they have, the food they have, the drink they have, and the like—are those who recognize the danger of covetousness and who seek to guard themselves against such a sinister foe within their heart and life. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for there is a great need within us to guard against covetousness—and not only guard ourselves against covetousness but guard ourselves against covetousness with contentment. Oh the more I think about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the fact that one of the ways—if not the primary way we guard ourselves against covetousness is to indeed be content with that which we have and that which we have been given. With this being said I would dare say that covetousness is a tremendous affront to the provision and blessing of the living God for it emphatically declares unto the eternal and living God that what He has blessed us with is not enough. Those who allow themselves to be consumed by and filled with covetousness are those who have said within their hearts the provision and blessing of the living God is not enough. Scripture reveals unto us that the living God can never and will never supply all our wants, all our desires and even all our passions but all of our needs. It was the apostle Paul who declared that His God would supply all our needs according to His riches which are found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was also the apostle Paul who would declare that he had learned wherewith to be content in all things and in whatsoever situation and circumstance he found himself in. This is something that requires careful consideration within our hearts and lives for it brings us to the point where we must needs ask ourselves whether or not we are content with the provision and blessing of the living God within our hearts and lives. What we must needs understand is that we are either content with the blessing and provision of the living God within our hearts and lives or we are not. Oh I am absolutely convinced that covetousness is indeed and is in fact rooted in a discontentment in the provision and blessing of the living God and that which He has given unto us. Those who covet that which they do not have are undoubtedly those who also covet that which they cannot and should not have. Oh having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Ephesian saints, the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written by James, as well as the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness” (Matthew 6:19-23). “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mom on. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for the body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these tings. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:24-34). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestination us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. >In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predstinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14). “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to heave, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adultleresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, Go resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubled minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:1-10). It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for within them we are brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding that which the Heavenly Father has blessed us with. It is in the first and opening chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Ephesian saints we find him speaking of the living and eternal God blessing us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that the Father has already given us everything we need—and not only everything we need but also everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. It was the apostle who also declared that the eternal and living God has indeed blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus and has in fact given us everything we need. The Heavenly Father has indeed redeemed and adopted us as well as purchased us with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it confronts the reality of whether or not we truly believe that we have been given everything we need from the hand of the Father. It was James who also emphatically wrote that every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights in whom there is no variance or shadow of turning. Our Father not only know what we have need of but has also blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus in heavenly places. This is something we must needs recognize for it directly confronts whether or not we truly do believe that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. Notice the apostle Paul did not say the eternal God blessed us with every natural blessing in Christ Jesus, nor did he mention the living God blessing us with every earthly or temporal blessing in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that the eternal and living God hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing which is found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more I think about the danger, the trap and the snare of covetousness the more I am confronted with the fact that at the very heart and center of covetousness is a discontentment within our heart and soul. In all reality it was this discontentment—and not only this discontentment but also this idea that God is somehow holding something back from us—that caused Eve to look upon the fruit of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. It was when Eve thought and perceived within her heart and mind that God was somehow holding something back from her that enabled her to look upon the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and see that it was pleasant to the eyes, that it was good for food and that it was desirable to make one wise. It was the serpent who sowed this discontentment within the heart and mind of Eve and it was from that place of discontentment and feeling that God was somehow holding something back from her that caused her to not only look upon that which she should not take but also covet it. What’s more is this was the same sin which Achan partook in after the walls of Jericho collapsed to the ground and the children of Israel marched straight up into the city and plundered and conquered it. The Lord God had given a specific command that the children of Israel were not to take of any of the spoil from the city for it was holy unto the living God. Undoubtedly there would have been plenty of goods and spoil to be had after the collapse and fall of the walls and yet there was a command given not to take unto oneself any of the spoil. This command, however, would be ignored and disobeyed by Achan for he would not only see plunder which was appealing unto him but he also coveted. It would be as a direct result of coveting that he would then proceed to take and from that place of taking he would hide it beneath his tent in the midst of the camp of Israel. It would be this sin and offense of Achan that would cause the children of Israel to then be defeated before and by their enemies which were present in the midst of the land. Having said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are not only found in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis, and not only in the sixth and seventh chapters of the Old Testament book of Joshua but also that which is found in the Old Testament book of Second Kings concerning Gehazi who was the servant of the prophet Elisha. In each of these passages of Scripture we are indeed brought face to face with covetousness and how incredibly dangerous it truly was within the hearts and lives of these individuals. It would be covetousness within the heart and mind of Eve that would not only cause her to take of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and eat it but would also cause her and her husband to attempt to cover themselves and their nakedness, to hide among the trees of the garden and ultimately to be banished from the garden with both sin and death working within them both at the same time. It would be the covetousness found within the heart and soul of Achan that would not only cause the children of Israel to be defeated before their enemies but would also cause him and his entire household to be consumed in the wrath of God in the midst of the camp of the children of Israel. What’s more is it would be the covetousness of Gehazi that would cause him to be cursed with leprosy after he had gone chasing after a reward and prize for the manifestation of the power of God in the life of Naaman the Syrian. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture: “Now the serpent was more subtil l than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be op need, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the yes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the tress of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that you wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: :Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:1-24). “…And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD; they shall come into the treasury of the LORD” (Joshua 6:17-19). “And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. And Joshua adjure them at that time,s saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildest this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country” (Joshua 6:24-27). “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORd was kindled against the children of Israel. And Joshua sent men of Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven on the eat sided of Beth-el, and spake unto them,s aging, Go up and view the country. AN the men went up and viewed AI. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about thee thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down; wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and because as water” (Joshua 7:1-5). “And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the even tide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O LORD God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! O LORD, what shall I say, when Israel turned their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name? And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore lies thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, of Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take way the accursed thing from among you. In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he that transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel” (Joshua 7:9-16). “So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken: and he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites; and he brought family of the Zarhites man by ma’am; and Zabdi was taken; and he brought his household man by man;a nd Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah wa taken. And Joshua said unto Acahan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? The LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day” (Joshua 7:17-26). “…And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused. And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to the servant to mules’ burdens f earth?: For thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. IN this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leadeth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way” (2 Kings 5:15-19). “But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the charity to meet him, and said, Is all well? And he said, All is well My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Erphaim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed. But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow” (2 Kings 5:20-27). Within the narratives of Eve, Gehazi and Achan we find powerful examples of individuals who allowed themselves to be discontent with that which they already had. What’s more is that within and directly connected to this mindset is the belief—or should I say the deception—of believing that God is somehow withholding something from us. It is within these passages of Scripture we find incredibly powerful examples of individuals who allowed their hearts to be discontented with what they currently had and as a direct result of that discontentment they allowed covetousness to creep in. Eve had access to all the trees in the garden and the fruit thereon—even the very tree of life—and yet she desired that which she was prohibited from having. Eve had the whole garden before her and yet the enemy was able to sow seeds of discontentment within her heart and mind and cause her to somehow feel that God was somehow withholding things from her. This particular truth is also found within the narrative of Gehazi for he and the children of Israel had just experienced a tremendous victory over the enemy and adversary in the midst of the land. Gehazi and his household had witnessed the supernatural work of the living God in bringing the walls crashing to the ground and yet even with that victory given unto the children of Israel he was somehow discontent with it. Oh pause for a moment and consider being the recipient of a tremendous victory at the hands of the eternal and living God and yet being somehow discontent with that victory and wanting spoils. The victory alone wasn’t enough for Achan for he also desired to take of the spoils which were present in the midst of the ruin and rubble. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the incredibly wonderful and powerful truth surrounding discontentment—even in victory and supernatural victory at that—within the heart of a member of the people of God and a covetousness which was permitted to creep into his heart. I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful truth surrounding this discontentment which somehow finds its way into the hearts of those who aren’t careful. Eve, Gehazi and Achan allowed their hearts and their minds to become consumed with discontentment and as a direct result of this they all allowed covetousness to creep in unaware. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it brings us face to face with the condition of our own hearts and whether or not we are indeed those who allow discontentment to creep into hour hearts without being checked. There is a reason why the apostle Paul spoke of being content in all things for he knew that being discontent in any thing would not only be the breeding ground for covetousness but would and could also cause his heart to become cold and indifferent to giving. What we as the saints of God must needs understand and recognize is that if we allow discontentment to lay hold of and find root and lodging within our hearts we can and very well find ourselves in a place where we not only become covetous toward those things we don’t have but we also find ourselves being careful concerning those things which we do have. Those who are somehow discontent with what they currently have are not willing to give unto others that their needs might be met and that they might be vessels and conduits of the blessing and provision of the living God. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—please note and mark my words on this particular occasion for if you allow discontentment to creep into your heart and lay hold therein you will not only become tight-fisted with what you have thus being unable to give but you can and will also covet thous things which you feel you don’t have. Not only this but those who allow this discontentment to creep into their hearts can and will allow this sense of entitlement to find root and lodging in their hearts and that others—perhaps even God somehow owes them. The words which we find within these passages clearly demonstrate the incredible danger that surrounds discontentment and allowing it to creep into our hearts and abide unchecked. There is a great need for us to pay close attention to any form of discontentment that might creep within our hearts for such is not only the breeding ground of being tight fisted and holding on to what we have been blessed with but it is also the breeding ground for coveting that which we do not have and walking in a sense of entitlement. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it directly confronts the danger, the trap and the snare of discontentment within our heart. It is for this reason the apostle Paul emphatically declared that he had learned in whatsoever things he found himself to be content for he recognized the inherent danger surrounding discontentment within his heart. Oh we play an incredibly dangerous game when we think and believe that we can entertain discontentment within our hearts and minds for if we allow ourselves to do so covetousness is right around the corner. It was the living God who spoke unto Cain about sin crouching and lurking at the door and I would dare say that if and/or when we allow discontentment to be manifested within our hearts—not only is entitlement lurking at the door but so also is covetousness. Eve was somehow discontent within her heart and mind because she felt God was somehow withholding something back from her while Gehazi was discontent in Elisha not taking any reward or payment for his cleansing and felt entitled as a result. This is something which must be carefully considered for when we consider the account of Achan we find him revealing a pattern that surrounds discontentment—namely, “I saw,” “I coveted,” “I took” and “I hid.” This pattern is one which we must needs carefully consider within our hearts and lives for when we allow ourselves to first become discontent and then we allow ourselves to covet we open ourselves up to seeing with our eyes, taking what doesn’t belong to us and what we shouldn’t have and hiding it. Notice how in the case of the covetousness of Achan and Adam and Eve it ultimately led to and resulted in hiding—the first was a hiding of one’s physical person while the other was a hiding of what one had taken and laid hold of. As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to some of the language that is used within the New Testament concerning contentment. I am absolutely convinced that we as the saints of God must needs recognize and understand that we have indeed and have in fact been called to live a life of contentment. If we are going to truly combat the nature of covetousness within our hearts and lives there must be this deep and abiding sense of contentment. There must needs be this underlying contentment—not only in what the living God has already blessed us with but also with and in the person of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for to do so would be to miss out on something incredibly important for our lives. If you and I want to truly combat covetousness and entitlement within our hearts and lives we must needs be those who are willing to give ourselves to being content in all things. There must not be any part of our hearts and lives that is not fully and completely surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ in the area of contentment for those who have not surrendered this part of their lives unto Him can and will find themselves in a place where they are not only in danger of coveting that which they were not not given and that which they were not meant to have but also feeling entitled in the sense that they deserve and somehow should have that which was not given unto them. We must needs recognize and understand that we as the saints of God have been called to the tremendous and incredible place of contentment in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ knowing that we have indeed been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus in heavenly places. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to be those men and women who recognize that contentment is indeed a place of quietness, a place of trust and a police of rest in the presence of the living God. If we are truly honest with ourselves we must admit and acknowledge that contentment is indeed the manifestation of a deep and abiding sense of trust, of confidence and rest in who the LORD truly is—and not only in who the LORD is but also in what He has given unto and bestowed upon us. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament concerning that which the apostle Paul believed concerning himself. The apostle Paul learned the discipline of contentment and recognized just how truly important contentment truly is within the heart of one who walks with and follows the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul was one who truly found a place of quietness, a place of trust and a place of rest in the Holy Spirit as He walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something which we must lay hold of within our hearts and lives for if we want to truly trust in the living and eternal God fully and completely we must needs be those who learn to be content. In all reality when the apostle Paul was writing unto the saints which were at Philippi and when he spoke of contentment he spoke of it as something which he himself needed to learn thus suggesting that it was not something which came naturally unto him. The apostle Paul was content within his life, however, it was not something which he automatically and naturally had in and of himself. When writing unto the Philippian saints the apostle Paul emphatically declared that he wasn’t merely content but that he had learned to be content. What’s more is that he not only learned to be content but he also learned to be content in whatsoever state He was in. Oh we must pay careful and close attention to this for it reveals the incredible need within our hearts and lives to be those who truly recognize that contentment is not something which is automatically and naturally present within our hearts and lives but is something which we must learn and be taught. What’s more is that if contentment is something we must learn then it by very nature suggests and implies that there is One who can teach us how to allow its work to be manifested and produced within our hearts and lives. Oh that we would indeed recognize that we have not only been called to be content but also that we have been called to learn how to be content in all things and in whatsoever condition we find ourselves in. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the writings of the apostle as well as the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also carefully, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Not wist handing ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction” (Philippians 4:4-15). “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which down men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fright the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:6-12). “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The LORD is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifices of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner” (Hebrews 13:1-19).