Summary: In this sermon, we establish that God is the owner of everything, that it is He who gives us the ability to earn an income, and that we must keep the money in the proper perspective.
A. Several years ago, a Madison Avenue advertising agency surveyed non-church-going people and asked them their impressions of church.
1. Here is a summary of what the respondents said, “The problem with church is that the people are always sad, or they talk about death, or they ask for money.”
B. There is a classic joke goes something like this:
1. A mother of a young boy calls to her husband hysterically, “Henry, quick call the doctor, Johnny just swallowed a coin.”
2. Henry replies, “I think we should call the preacher rather than the doctor.”
3. His wife asks, “Why call the preacher?”
4. Henry replies, “The preacher can get money out of anybody!”
C. In response to these prevailing attitudes about churches, many churches today are upbeat, they don’t say much about death, and they rarely broach the offensive subject of money.
1. If you have been around Wetzel Road very long, then you know that we don’t talk about money all the time, but we do talk about it, because we are people of the Book, and the Bible talks about money a whole lot.
2. Because of the dangers and challenges inherent in money and in human nature, Jesus talked about money more than any other single topic.
3. So for that reason, without apology, I want us to spend four sermons exploring what the Bible has to say about money and how to use it.
4. I’m calling the series “Spiritual Dollars and Sense.”
5. We will be looking at what the Bible says about earning, spending, borrowing, saving and giving.
D. By way of introduction, let me share three common ideas or approaches to money that have been taught in Christian circles - two of the approaches have led to confusion and incorrect conclusions.
1. Some people have been taught what we might call Poverty Theology.
a. People who believe or teach this theology say that we should hate material things and that it is wrong to have money or material possessions.
b. They teach that poverty and spirituality are one and the same.
c. I do not believe that this is what the Bible teaches.
2. At the opposite extreme are those who have been taught the Prosperity Theology.
a. They believe that God promises that all who truly believe and obey will be blessed with riches. “God wants you to be a millionaire!”
b. This is often called the “health and wealth gospel” and it is pedaled by many TV preachers.
c. They say to their viewers, “Send your money and God will reward you.”
d. They promise, “The more money you give, the more money you will receive.”
e. Unfortunately for many, the only one who gets rich is the TV preacher with his mansion, private jet, and Rolls Royce.
f. I do not believe that the Bible teaches a prosperity theology.
3. In our series, we will be working toward what I could call Proper Theology.
a. What we will discover is that the proper way to view our possessions is that they have been entrusted to us by God and that we are given the responsibility for managing them.
b. We will discover that ultimately, God is the owner of everything, so why not start there
I. Everything Belongs to God.
A. God is the maker of heaven and earth, and therefore He is the owner of heaven and earth, right?
1. There is hardly anything more clear in the Bible than God’s absolute right to everything.
2. To Job, God declares, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” (Job 41:11)
3. Psalm 24:1 reads, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”
4. Haggai 2:8 reads, “The silver is mine and the gold is mine; declares the Lord.”
5. In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul is trying to make the point that none of us should take pride in ourselves or boast about what we have accomplished, for this reason, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Cor. 4:7)
B. Therefore, we must understand that everything originates with God and is from God.
1. Everything is His and He distributes things as He has decided.
2. Don’t you think this should help us to have a humble disposition and to be less possessive and less anxious about the things we have received?
3. God’s ownership of everything also changes the kind of questions we should ask about giving.
4. Rather than asking, “How much of my money should I give to God?” we should learn to ask, “How much of God’s money should I keep for myself?”