Summary: Much of the material used in this sermon was gleaned from Larry Burkett’s teaching on finances. Two thirds of the parables that Christ used in teaching deal specifically with finances.
GOD’S PLAN FOR FINANCIAL FREEDOM
(Note: Much of the material used in this sermon was gleaned from Larry Burkett’s teaching on finances. Crown Ministries has more material available for further study.)
Shortly after his death, someone asked John D. Rockefeller Jr’s chief financial advisor, “He was one of the richest men in the world, how much did he leave?” To which the advisor answered, “everything!”
God would have us remember that we all leave everything when we die. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19-21, "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.”
Two thirds of the parables that Christ used in teaching deal specifically with finances. The financial principles given throughout God’s Word are not there to see if we’re strong enough to live by them – they’re given because God knows that they are the best for us. God’s principles of finances are not an arbitrary set of rules by which to govern us – they are a loving Father’s wisdom to those who will listen and trust Him.
Christ never said money or material things were problems. He said that they were symptoms of the real problems. He constantly warned us to guard our hearts against greed, covetousness, ego, and pride, because those are the tools that Satan uses to control and manipulate this world. Christ warned us a great deal more about materialism than He did any other sin. “And He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Satan has taken the very riches provided by God to enhance our lives and bring others to salvation and has diverted them for his use. Today, even Christians evaluate others on the basis of how much they have and how successful they are in worldly terms. The poor are thought to be losers – while the wealthy and successful are thought to be the spiritual winners. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Bible has much to say about material wealth – let me read you an example from Leviticus Chapter 26.
’If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land. "’I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove savage beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.
’I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.
’But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you. ’If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit. ’If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve.’