“Their religion is their kitchen” (Calvin)
“Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly. . .” (Philippians 3:19)

One of the characteristics of false teachers is a voracious appetite for filthy lucre and the things of the world. Paul describes these people as men “whose God is their belly” (Philippians 3:19). They are not concerned in magnifying the Word of God, neither are they diligent in ministering to the souls of men. Their preoccupation is rather the enriching of their bellies and pockets. Thus, Calvin rightly describes such men as those whose religion is their kitchen!

We are seeing a proliferation of such religious leaders during these end times. Many are found promoting the “health and wealth” gospel. They proclaim, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and He will make you healthy and wealthy!” With this false gospel, they hoodwink their congregation to swell the coffers of their churches and bank accounts. Paul issues a double imprecation against such men in the book of Galatians – “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)

Then, there are those who are hirelings. Their motto is, “More pay, more preach! Less pay, less preach! No pay, no preach!” If the church does not meet their demands of salary and leave benefits, these men will pack up and leave. On the other hand, Paul exhorts Timothy that a minister must be ready to preach the Word of God in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). Pay or no pay, he must preach!

Likewise, we must also be careful not to be like the false teachers. Our minds must be focused on things above and not on things of the earth. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21) Do not be a lover of money, nor be obsessed with your belly!

The following question is a litmus test – “Why are we attending church and fellowship groups?” Are we attending because it is a good time to socialise? Or do we attend because church and fellowship groups are good places to secure business contacts? Or is it because we want to feel good tickling our ears with some “moral teaching”? Or to find help to cope with the expenses of life? God forbid! Our purpose for attending church and fellowship group must be for the glory of God alone. We serve because the love of Christ constrains us (2 Corinthians 5:14). Those who love their bellies will stop attending church and fellowship groups once their ungodly appetites are not fulfilled. On the other hand, those who love the Lord will continue to serve God despite difficulties. Rain or shine, transport or no transport, I will continue to worship the Lord!

Dearly beloved, let us not be found exploiting the flock of God for that is the characteristic of false teachers and brethren. The religion of true believers is not in the kitchen but in the Word of God. The God of the saints is not their bellies but the Lord Jesus Christ. False teachers and brethren will always put themselves first before God and others. The true Christian, however, will always put God first in his life, and love the brethren. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)

Youthful Lusts (2 Timothy 2:22)
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)

The verse above is an exhortation of Paul to the young pastor Timothy. Now Timothy was a man between 30-40 years old. While society may regard him as a middle-aged man, he was certainly young in the minis-try as a pastor. He must therefore beware of the many bodily appetites and temptations that young ministers often succumb to, causing them to falter in their service for Christ. Thus Paul describe such sins as “youthful lusts”. If Timothy keeps his life pure from such sins and pursue godliness, he will then be a clean vessel fit for the Lord’s use.

The principle in this verse is also applicable to everyone, especially young men and women. Young people often get entangled with the world, thinking they know better than their godly parents and teachers. When they do not keep themselves unspotted from the world, they cannot be clean vessels fit for the master’s use. Young men and women, flee from youthful lusts!

However, it is a mistake to think that youthful lusts only affect young men and women. Pride, money and sex can ruin the usefulness of any believer. A life of holiness is necessary for anyone who wants to profitable in his service to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The following is Calvin’s Commentary on “youthful lusts”:

But he who would indeed become a “vessel for honour” in that great house of God must do more than merely separate himself from all outward communion and friendship with men who, by their teaching and in their lives, did dishonour to the Master’s religion. There was an inner work to be accomplished, as well as an outer and more public protest to be made. He must fight with and conquer those lusts, passions, and desires which are more peculiarly tempting to those who are still in the meridian of life. That Timothy was not now in early manhood has been already shown. He was at this time, probably, between thirty and forty years of age. These youthful lusts are by no means to be limited to those varied and fatal excesses summed up in the Seventh Commandment. A victory over these, of course, is imperatively necessary for one who would be “of use” in the house of his God: but such a one must train himself to subdue other and far more subtle lusts than are included in these. He must be watchful and stamp down all covetousness, whether of rank or gold; all longing for empty shows; all pride, conceit, readiness to take of-fence; all the kindred forms of love of self.

God bless all readers.

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew