Summary: Jesus wanrs us that money can become a competing god in our lives.
“What Jesus Has to Say about Money”
July 29, 2007
I am scared to death to be speaking about the subjects of the next three weeks. This message is not about our present church financial issues.
We live in a society that is fascinated with money, sex and power (pride). We are bombarded with cultural messages that tell us that if we want to be truly happy we will seek out these three things. The problem is that our society has a distorted view of how to gain these, how to handle these, and how to control these. In order to gain a better understanding, I feel it necessary for us to tackle some difficult subject matter to see what Jesus has to say about it.
Our culture is saturated with negative images of life. Everyday, the average American is bombarded with 3,000 images of advertisements. The main message behind these ads is usually one of money, sex, and power.
“Throughout history, and in our own experience, money, sex and power seem inseparably intertwined. Money manifests itself as power. Sex is used to acquire both money and power. And power is often called the best aphrodisiac.” Richard Foster, The Challenge of the Disciplined Life
In and of themselves, money, sex and power are not evil. In fact, they are God’s design and idea. However, in our human experience we have distorted and confused God’s plan with our own desires. What we need to experience today is a renewed vision of God’s purpose and plans for our lives in these areas that so strongly dominate our culture.
Over the course of the next three weeks we are going to look at the negative influences of money, sex and power. We are also going to look at what Jesus has to say about them and what principle we can learn from the words of Christ to help us deal with these areas of life in a biblical and godly fashion.
We must never forget that the power of God is the ability to change lives that have been distorted by human desire.
“Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s rebellion.” That’s an especially interesting perspective coming from a man who works with a guillotine every night.
At the height of his worldwide fame, Cooper drank a bottle of whiskey a day. But the bottle almost destroyed his marriage to Sheryl, his wife of twenty-five years. He started heading off to church with her and felt as if God was speaking to him every Sunday. Even at the pinnacle of his ghoulish career (which he believed was no more provocative than a horror movie musical) he still believed in God. The son and grandson of preachers, Cooper’s faith was crippled by the weight of fame and the toxicity of alcoholism.
He experienced every pleasure that money could buy but found it did not satisfy. “I was the prodigal son. I left the house, achieved fame and fortune, and found out that that was not what I wanted,” he tells HM magazine. “Now I read the Bible every day, I pray every day. That’s really what I’m about.” He continues: “I was one thing at one time, and I’m something new. I’m a new creature now. Don’t judge Alice by what he used to be. Praise God for what I am now.”
At then end of the day, the question we all must answer is “Am I willing to be changed by the eternal truth of Jesus?”
Today, we are talking about money. We have a tendency to feel like the church is always about money. We have this idea that money is the driving force of church life and people are skeptical that the church is after their money. I want you to understand that my goal is not for you to give more to the church. My goal is for you to have a biblical understanding about the role of money in your life and what Jesus had to say about the issue. We often feel like speaking about money is a taboo, but Jesus spoke more about money than he did any other subject except the Kingdom of God.
“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.”