Summary: The unique dangers and threats that wealth CAN pose to the Christian.
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.