Summary: A look at a few of the teachings of Jesus that rarely get mentioned in the modern North American Church.
Dakota Community Church
May 18, 2008
Have you ever been reading along in your Bible and come across something that kind of subtly goes against one of your doctrinal viewpoints?
Right away you know it doesn’t mean ... it can’t mean, what it seems to mean; but, you also know those nasty opponents of your view will be misunderstanding it, and before long misquoting it, and eventually, no doubt, putting it on t-shirts.
Have you ever thought, "Lord, I wish you hadn’t let that verse get put in there!"?
Have you ever thought, “Jesus, why did you have to say or do that”?
This morning I want to take a look at some of the lesser proclaimed words and actions of Jesus in our North Americanized Christian culture. I want to focus on a few of the sayings of Christ that don’t get a lot of air play because they don’t tell us what we want to hear.
What do we want to hear?
We want to hear messages that affirm our right to live and act in a Kingdom of this world fashion. We want to be told that it is right to look out for number one; we want to be told that it is right to exercise authority over others whenever possible, and we do not want to be told anything that might challenge our comfortable lifestyles.
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
"Which ones?" the man inquired.
Jesus replied, " ’Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ’love your neighbor as yourself.’"
"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
1. It is hard for a rich man.
You never hear that. In this prosperity driven generation you never hear that wealth is a spiritual hindrance. “It is hard for a rich man.” Everything I have known or been taught, all of my personal experience has molded me to believe the exact opposite, in fact, the richer you are the easier it is, but… not where eternity is concerned … according to Jesus.
Let’s see if this is a onetime inference or if this is a central theme of Jesus’ teaching.
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
"He, who has ears to hear, let him hear."
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Has this little passage ever caused you any confusion?
Jesus is talking about wealth, he basically says, “wealth on this earth is not where it is at, give it away and have wealth in heaven.” Then he goes into this thing about the eyes and light and darkness. What is that about? Then back to serving money as a God.
Here is what I think; Jesus did not lose his train of thought in that middle verse. The whole passage is about God and money. The eye, or how you see things determines the light you walk in, if you see things correctly you will give, have a heart in heaven, and enjoy a life free from serving the god of this world. If you see things wrong, you will serve money, hoard wealth, and be stuck in darkness, but, worst of all, if your religion is darkness, if you make faith in Jesus about worldly wealth, then you are in the darkest place of all. Hear that if you can.