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Restoring Resources

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Sermon shared by Jim Drake

November 2007
Summary: God created material things for us to use to glorify Him. The problem is, we have placed His stuff in the wrong account. We have taken God’s stuff out of His glory account and transferred it to our materialism account. And when it’s in our account, it’
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
About Sermon Contributor
Sermon:
1. The first account transfer is from one house to another.
2. The second account transfer is from one hand to another.
3. The third account transfer is from one land to another.

EZRA 1:7-11

In 1985, the year that I graduated High School, do you know what the #2 song on the Billboard charts was? It was a song by Madonna called “Material Girl.” And if a song ever embodied the times, it was that one. You could probably consider that song the national anthem of shopping malls, couldn’t you? We’re coming up on that time of the year when it seems that everything is geared around material things. But are material things bad? In and of themselves, are things bad? No—materialism is bad. But in and of themselves, material things aren’t bad. It’s how they’re used that makes them good or bad. There are people in the world today that believe things are inherently bad. We call them monks. Or Buddhists. Or Hindus. Or New Agers. Or Wiccans. They believe that the only way to be free from evil is to be free from material things—including your own body. The Bible teaches something very different. The Bible teaches that in and of themselves, material things are good. Why? Because God created them. In reality, material things are good gifts from God. It’s just that most of the time we use them for the wrong purposes. You remember that Israel had spent years using everything God had given them for the wrong purposes. God gave them the Law—they ignored it and disobeyed it. God gave them the land—they abused it and were disobedient in it. God gave them the temple—they worshipped idols in it. So God sent them into exile. Now it’s time for Him to bring them back. Israel underwent four stages of restoration before the Lord deemed they were ready to rebuild the temple foundations. Isn’t it interesting that the first stage was about restoring stuff? Restoring material items? It was about restoring the items God had sanctified for the purpose of His worship. Do you remember back to the book of Exodus? Remember when Moses came down from the mountain the second time with the stone tablets in his hands? After Moses gave the people the Word of the Lord, what did they do? They started making stuff. They created material things—the tabernacle, the ark, the altar, the priestly garments. All the stuff that was to be used in the worship of the Lord. And that material stuff must have been pretty important to God because He spent the last 5 chapters of Exodus describing it in the minutest detail. God is creator of all. And as creator of all, He owns it all. Material things are important to God, otherwise He wouldn’t have created them. But the reason material things are important to God isn’t because He needs them. They are important to Him because of how we use them. God created material things for us to use to glorify Him. The problem is, we have placed His stuff in the wrong account. Have you ever put your money into someone else’s bank account? That can cause a lot of problems, can’t it? We have put God’s stuff in the wrong account. And all you have to do is open your eyes to the world around you and you can see the problems it’s caused. We have taken God’s stuff out of His glory account and transferred it to our materialism account. And when it’s in our account, it’s not being used for His glory like He intended.
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