Summary: First in a 5 part series on understanding your possessions from a Biblical prespective. Part 1- How to stay out of and handle debt.
Escape the Debt Trap”
Introduction to Series: VIDEO CLIP: “Stanley Johnson” Lending Tree Commercial- :32
“Somebody help me!” Maybe you have seen that clip on TV. Interestingly it is done by a company who claims they will help you by consolidating your debt. But financial experts will tell you that in reality this is a “for-profit” company who takes your debts and stretches them over a number of years actually costing you thousands of more in interest rates over the long run. I’m not sure Stanley or we for that matter need that kind of help!
But let’s face it, handling our finances and balancing our wants and needs is a challenge! Jesus knew that. Take a look at the list up there. I was going to have you guess which topic Jesus spent more time on but since we are in a financial series and since you all are smart people I knew that this would be a no-brainer. But it still may be surprising. But the truth is Jesus spent more time talking about finances & possessions then he did baptism, communion, Bible study or even prayer. Why? Because he knows us! And he knows what a problem this thing we call materialism can be for us. We have bought into the lie that we are going to be here forever so we need to “grab for the gusto,” “get all we can get,” and live for this life because “you only go around once.” Really? That is not what the Bible teaches. In fact, the Bible teaches that this life is just a trial run, a race that ends. And when your time is done and you break the tape and finish this life, then real time begins. So, we want to spend the next five weeks talking about this very pertinent and challenging topic.
And I want you to know that this whole topic is a challenge for me too! In fact, I was thinking how ironic this is that the guy that’s preaching to you about all this, just bought a new house! And that purchase gives us the largest monthly mortgage payment we’ve ever had! Now, I will tell you we’ve planned for this but I want you to know up front that I am not above this struggle. Let’s realize as we start this that debt, money and possession issues are a great equalizer... from pastors to politicians, teachers to truck drivers, accountants to athletes, all of us struggle with this topic. So, the one who speaks to you is listening as well as preaching!
And even though the title of this series is “Escape the debt trap,” we won’t be just talking about financial debt. Our debt goes much deeper than that. We owe a debt to God for making us, and then providing salvation for us that we can never pay. But we can give him a decent return on his investment in us by handling our possessions wisely. So, in the following weeks we will talk about “Understanding your money biblically,” “Gaining your money correctly,” “Spending your money wisely,” and “Giving your money generously.” Now, I want you to understand that I know that one of the biggest complaints against the church from those who are not a part of it, and from some who are, is that “all the church wants is my money.” We have been very deliberate and careful here at Discovery to let you know that is not the case. But, because this topic is a relevant problem, and because Jesus Christ himself makes it a priority in His teaching, we must address it. But... this series will not be all about giving to the church. My prayer is that you will learn some practical principles that will help you in this life and prepare for the life to come! PRAY
Introduction to Sermon:
America is on a buying binge. And what’s amazing is that experts tell us that the borrowing and credit splurge shows no sign of letting up. Staggering though it may seem, families across America have more than $600 billion in credit card debt alone! Our spending is causing incredible problems. Listen to some of these facts from 2002. Over 40% of us spent more than we earned. The average savings rate was a -2.2% That’s minus 2.2%! 95% of all bankruptcies were personal bankruptcies.
Maybe it’s time we got it in our heads that debt is dangerous. Out of control debt fuels desperation, depression and fear. And when those things come into play they put pressure on our relationships and become greater than our faith. The devil is an expert at using our financial stress to steal our joy and damage our seeking God and our confidence in his care! So, let’s start this series by looking first at why we get in debt and then apply come biblical and practical application to escaping the debt trap.