GOD DELIGHTS IN THE CHEERFUL GIVER. Why do you give of your wealth to the Lord and His work? Do you do so out of a sense of religious obligation? Do you do so because everybody else around you does and therefore you do so out of guilt? Do you do so out of religious motivations just going through the motions? Or, do you give cheerfully because you have been changed by the Gospel and delight in honoring God with your wealth? 2 CORINTHIANS 9:7 teaches us that God loves a cheerful giver and cheerful giving can only result when the Gospel of Jesus changes us.
BLESSED OBEDIENCE. THE MOTIVATING FACTOR FOR THIS SERIES IS THIS: WE DO NOT WANT SOMETHING FROM YOU; WE WANT SOMETHING FOR YOU! God promises to pour out blessing upon those who are obedient in this area through the prophet Malachi. If this is the case, and I can tell you that it is, we should expect the opposite of blessing in this area of our lives when we are disobedient. For some of you I have just answered the questions that keep you up and night, which drives ulcers and heartburn and bring about all sorts of anxiety and worry. The Scriptures are clear—GOD PROMISES BLESSING FOR OBEDIENCE AND CURSES FOR DISOBEDIENCE. So, for some you are going to hear the Word of God, obey the Word of God and experience the blessing of God in a new way.
WARNING SIGNS. The REASON for this sermon series is because through my personal study and devotion time I have been reminded over and over again just how much Jesus taught and spoke about money. Jesus talked/taught more about money than heaven and hell combined and if it was important enough of a matter for Jesus to teach about it as often as He did, then we need to pipe up and hear Him.
• WARNING SIGNS ILLUSTRATION. “Road Ends 1 mile.” “Road Ends ½ mile.” “Road Ends 1000.” Would you ignore the warnings and continue on expecting nothing to go wrong? NO! You would heed the warnings. Well, much of Jesus’ teachings about money actually come to us as warning signs—about the unique danger and threat that money poses for the soul. When our time is through hopefully you will see why Jesus spoke about it so much.
MONEY CAN KEEP US OUT OF GOD’S KINGDOM LUKE 18:18-27
THE RICH RULER. While religious, this ruler knew internally that his best efforts at keeping a list of rules and regulations was just not enough. Jesus, knowing his heart, points the man to the part of the Law that he was not keeping, namely the 10th commandment and by implication the 1st thru 4th commandments. The ruler was GOOD in regards to his dealings with men but he was GUILTY in regards to coveting, greed and idolatry because he was a lover of money more so than a lover of God. His outward righteousness might be able to fool others but his lack of genuine righteousness internally Jesus knows and addresses. Jesus addresses this man’s love and worship of money and tells him to sell everything and give it all away and then he will have real treasure—treasure in heaven—and then come and follow Him. DO YOU HEAR THE GRACE IN JESUS’ WORDS! He is offering the man an opportunity to be saved; to quit worshipping the false god of money that is killing him; and to have real treasure in heaven and follow Him AND THE RULER REFUSES. The ruler’s unwillingness to part with his riches showed that he valued them more than treasure in heaven. HE WANTED MATERIAL WEALTH MORE THAN ETERNAL LIFE.
WEALTH: BLESSING OR CURSE? Jesus makes a striking claim when he reveals the difficulty of the rich entering the kingdom of God. The disciples are astounded and thought to themselves, “Well, if the rich cannot make it in than surely we are hopeless!” They made the mistake of buying in to the popular opinion that MONEY IS A SIGN OF THE BLESSING OF GOD. Sometimes wealth is a sign of God’s blessing ON HIS PEOPLE. Other times, as it is in this instance, MONEY IS A CURSE that will keep people from being saved/eternal life/kingdom of God. UNCLE EARL ILLUSTRATION. While money can be a great obstacle to salvation, nothing is impossible with God for even the heart deeply in love with money can be changed by God. The ruler received an invitation to the grace of God in salvation and chose his money over eternal life. MONEY CAN KEEP US OUT OF THE KINGDOM.
WOULD YOU GIVE IT ALL AWAY? Here is the litmus test for believer, unbeliever and religious people alike. Ask yourself who you love more, Jesus or your money? What do you think about more, Jesus or money? If Jesus told you to sell it all and give it away how would you respond? The answer that is screaming out in your heart right now is revealing of your heart.
MONEY CAN STEAL OUR AFFECTIONS MATTHEW 6:19-21
OUR HEART IS WHERE OUR TREASURE IS. He is speaking to a crowd living during a time where the philosophy of life was such that it was expected for people to hoard and gather all that they could and behind all the hoarding, gathering and accumulating of material possessions and money is a love for such things. It is not hard for people to know what we treasure—cars, success, fame, reputation, accomplishment, money, stuff…--it is hard, however, to admit that these things which we treasure have captured our affections. And behind all of this Jesus informs us just how foolish it is to affectionately love things like money, material possessions, etc… because ultimately it will all be destroyed! Underlying this warning is the eternal reality that Jesus alone is worthy of our love and affection. Jesus is not warning people about the dangers of wealth because He wants our money He is warning us about the dangers of wealth because He wants our hearts and of all things, if we are not careful, MONEY POSES A UNIQUE THREAT TO OUR LOVE FOR JESUS AND CAN EASILY AND OFTEN REPLACE HIM AS THE RECIPIENT OF OUR LOVE. The answer to the question I posed earlier regarding Jesus telling some of us to sell it all and give it all away will be determined by how we respond to this and the previous warning—WHO/WHAT DO WE WORSHIP AND WHO/WHAT DO WE LOVE ABOVE ALL ELSE.
MONEY CAN STEAL OUR WORSHIP MATTHEW 6:24
YOU CANNOT WORSHIP GOD AND MONEY. That which we treasure will always and ultimately be that which we love and WE WORSHIP WHAT WE LOVE! We are designed to worship and every single person on this campus today, young or old male or female, is worshipping something or someone. While we may adore and “like” many people and/or things there is only one thing or person in our lives that we are currently worshipping. THIS IS WHY JESUS SAYS THAT ONE CANNOT WORHSIP BOTH GOD AND MONEY! We worship what/who we supremely love above all else. Now we know that only Jesus is worthy of our worship and only Jesus quenches the thirsts and fills the hunger of our hearts and souls. Things of the world, especially money, cannot quench the thirst and that is why those who do not know Jesus go from thing to thing and person to person in their worship because nothing and nobody can satisfy like Jesus. When we find our longings met in Jesus we willing offer up to Him our worship and praise. So I ask, who or what is receiving your worship today? Honestly asses your heart. Is it money or Jesus? It is impossible for it to be both because, as Jesus said, you will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other.
MONEY CAN PRODUCE FALSE SECURITY REVELATION 3:14-18
FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY. There are many other warnings in the Scripture about the dangers of money including, “THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL!” (1 Timothy 6:10) and it would probably be good for us all to devote some time to the study of such. I want to, at this point, direct our attention to a final warning about money that applies to us corporately as a faith family. READ REVELATION 3:14-18. The church in Laodicea was a financially secure church. They had money in the check book and emergency money in the savings account. In all of this, they concluded that they must be doing well in the eyes of the Lord for surely this is because of His hand of blessing upon them. Their confident misinterpretation of their worldly riches blinded them to the poorness of their spiritual lives and Jesus reveals as much to them. It would be very easy for us do the same. We can look at what we have and assume that all is well and all the while turning a deaf ear, a hard heart and blind eyes to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit among us about our sin.
WHY THE WARNINGS?
WARNING #5: IDOLATRY HAS ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES. We are created to be worshippers and because of our own sinful nature we are naturally inclined to worship everything and everybody other than the One whom we were created to worship—Jesus. As John Calvin said, the “man’s nature…is a perpetual factory of idols.” God could have justly let us die in our sinful idolatry whereby we love and worship worldly idols resulting in eternal separation from Him in hell, but He did not. He sent His Son to forgive us of such sins and to give us a new heart that will beat with love and worship of Him. He does not want something from us—He wants something for us and today maybe you heard yourself described in one of these warnings we have looked at and you know that you need Jesus as your Savior and Lord. How awesome would it be to see somebody get saved through a sermon on money!!!! Christian, will you be honest before God through this series? Will you not look for excuses not to be here? Will you ask God to grow you in this area? I believe that some of you are going to experience a new level of joy in your relationship with Him as He grows you in this area of your walk.