Sunday, December 23, 2007
What did JESUS teach about MONEY?
Luke 16:13 (NIV) "No servant 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."
Mat 6:19-21 (TEB) "Do not save riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. Instead, save riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. For your heart will always be where your riches are."
It is easy enough to "explain away" one or two verses to come to the conclusion we want. But what you are about to read is more than one or two verses: Scriptural teaching about money is clear, consistent, and radical. All is required, and the flesh must die to obey.
Be Content With Your Needs Being Met - Beware Of Materialism
Heb 13:5 (RSV) "Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have."
Ps 37:7,16 (NAS) Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way... Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked.
Prov 23:4-5 (NIV) Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
The Test of Riches and The Test of Poverty
1 Sam 2:7 (NIV) The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
Prov 30:8-9 (NIV) ...Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
If poverty is accompanied by physical dangers, prosperity is accompanied by spiritual dangers. God will often move us through both for the purpose of testing us.
Phil 4:11-13 (Phi) ...For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of eating well or going hungry--of facing either plenty or poverty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.
Phil 4:12 (NAS) I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
Phil 4:12-13 (Jer) I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich, too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength.
Will We Follow if Jesus Asks Us to Enter Poverty For a Season?
Mark 10:21-27,31 (Jer) Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, "There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, "My children," he said to them, "how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." They were more astonished than ever. "In that case," they said to one another, "who can be saved?" Jesus gazed at them. "For men," he said, "it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God... Many who are first will be last, and the last first."
Is it likely, with all of his contacts and experience, that this man would have remained poor for long? And yet he was unwilling to obey Christ with all these advantages, even temporarily.
Loosening Your Grip
Acts 2:44-45 (Phi) All the believers joined together and shared everything in common; they sold their possessions and goods and divided the proceeds among the fellowship according to individual need.
Acts 4:32,34-35 (NIV) All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had... There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
God is calling all of us to let go of our possessions. We may even get to use them in the future if we "loosen our grip". If we do not do this willingly ourselves, God will. It is a sure sign that we are sons. We should thank the Lord when He wrenches a dangerous thing from our hands. Maybe we could even cooperate a little! If we don't, moths, rust, and thieves will do their job.
A.W. Tozer: "Never Own Anything--Get Rid Of The Sense Of Possessing!"
Luke 14:33 (Phi) "Only the man who says goodbye to all his possessions can be my disciple."
Luke 14:33 (TEB) Concluded Jesus, "none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up everything he has."
Luke 14:33 (RSV) "Whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."
Luke 3:11 (NIV) John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
Luke 6:30 (Jer) "Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you."
Jesus Gives Investment Advice...
Luke 16:9-11 (Phi) "Now my advice to you is to use 'money', tainted as it is, to make yourselves friends, so that when it comes to an end, they may welcome you into the houses of eternity. The man who is faithful in the little things will be faithful in the big things. So that if you are not fit to be trusted to deal with the wicked wealth of this world, who will trust you with true riches?"
Luke 16:9-12 (NIV) "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings... If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?"
Luke 14:12-14 (NIV) "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Mat 6:24 (NIV) "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."
Luke 12:33 (NIV) "Sell your possessions and give to the poor... "
He Who Dies With The Most Toys... Loses!
Luke 12:15-21 (Phi) ..."Be on your guard against covetousness in any shape or form. For a man's real life in no way depends upon the number of his possessions... A rich man's farmland produced heavy crops. So he said to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have no room to store this harvest of mine?' Then he said, 'I know what I'll do. I'll pull down my barns and build bigger ones where I can store all my grain and my goods and I can say to my soul, Soul, you have plenty of good things stored up there for years to come. Relax! Eat, drink, and have a good time!' But God said to him, 'You fool, this very night you will be asked for YOUR SOUL!...' That is what happens to the man who hoards things for himself and is not rich in the eyes of God."
Luke 16:19-31 (NIV) "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus... The beggar died and angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died... In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up... 'I am in agony in this fire.' But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony...' 'Then I beg you... I have five brothers... warn them so that they will not come to this place of torment.' 'They have Moses and the Prophets, let them listen to them.'"
Ps 49:16-19 (NIV) Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed--and men praise you when you prosper--he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life.
Ecc 5:10-15 (NIV) Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep. I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner, or wealth lost through some misfortune... Naked a man comes from his mothers womb, and as he comes, so he departs...
Prov 11:4,28 (NIV) Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death... Whoever trusts in his riches will fall...
Money as An Insulation From God
Christians hope in eternal security, and God would have us give up "carnal security" to get it. The flesh wants the security of money. It wants to be in control, to be master, to "be god". So we dream of and cling to money because we don't want to be totally dependent on God...
Job 31:24-25,28 (NIV) [Job:] "If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, 'You are my security,' if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained... then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high."
C.S. Lewis writes in Perelandra, "This itch to have things over again, as if life were a film that could be unrolled twice or even made to work backwards... was it possibly the root of all evil? No: of course the love of money was called that. But money itself--perhaps one valued it chiefly as a defense against chance, a security for being able to have things over again, a means of arresting the unrolling of the film."
Eze 28:2-10 (NAS) ..."Thus says the Lord God, 'Because your heart is lifted up and you have said, 'I am a God...' yet you are a man and not God, although you make your heart like the heart of God... You have acquired riches for yourself... and your heart is lifted up because of your riches--Therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon you... and they will draw their swords... and defile your splendor... and you will die... Will you still say, 'I am a god,' in the presence of your slayer, although you are a man and not God, in the hands of those who wound you?'"
What in The World is Wrong With The Televangelists?
1 Thes 2:5 (Jer) ...Never at any time have our speeches been simply flattery or a cover for trying to get money.
2 Cor 2:17 (NEB) At least we do not go hawking the word of God about, as so many do...
2 Cor 2:17 (NIV) Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.
2 Cor 2:17 (LB) We are not like those hucksters--and there are many of them--whose idea in getting out the Gospel is to make a good living out of it.
1 Tim 6:5 (Phi) ...among men of warped minds who have lost their real hold on the truth but hope to make some profit out of the Christian religion.
1 Tim 6:5 (TEB) ...They think religion is a way to become rich.
1 Tim 6:5-9 (NIV) ...men, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
1 Tim 6:10-12 (NIV) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
The Nobility of Poverty?
James 1:9-11 (Jer) It is right for the poor brother to be proud of his high rank, and the rich one to be thankful that he has been humbled, because riches last no longer than the flowers in the grass; the scorching sun comes up, and the grass withers, the flower falls; what looked so beautiful now disappears. It is the same with the rich man: his business goes on; he himself perishes.
James 1:9-11 (Phi) The brother who is in need may be proud because God has raised him to the true riches. The rich may be proud that God has shown him his spiritual poverty... Just as surely will the rich man and his ways fall into the blight of decay.
The Risks Of Wealth...
Mark 4:18-19 (Phi) "Then there are the seeds which were sown among the thorn bushes. These are the people who hear the message, but the worries of this world and the false glamour of riches and all sorts of other ambitions creep in and choke the life out of what they have heard, and it produces no crop in their lives."
Luke 8:14 (Phi) "And the seed sown among the thorns represents the people who hear the message and go on their way, and with the worries and riches and pleasures of living, the life is choked out of them, and in the end they produce nothing."
Luke 9:25 (NIV) "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet lose or forfeit his very self?"
The Prosperity "Fat Cats" Bite The Dust...
Many of us have been fervently praying that God would turn the church upside down and vigorously shake it (Heb 12:25-29). When this happens, those who love money and have lost their grip on the truth will be the first to fall.
1 Cor 4:8-21 (NIV) Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings--and that without us! How I wish you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!.. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless... Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children... I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with punishment, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
James 5:1-3,5 (TEB) And now, you rich people [see James 2:2-7], listen to me! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches have rotted away, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. Your gold and silver are covered with rust, and this rust will be a witness against you, and eat up your flesh like fire. You have piled up riches in these last days... Your life here on earth has been full of luxury and pleasure. You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter.
Jer 5:27-29 (NIV) ..."They have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek... they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor. Should I not punish them for this?" declares the Lord.
Advice on Security Investing
1 Tim 6:17-19 (Phi) Tell those who are rich in this present world not to be contemptuous of others, and not to rest the weight of their confidence on the transitory power of wealth but on the living God, who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in kindly actions, to be ready to give to others and to sympathize with those in distress. Their security should be invested in the life to come, so that they may be sure of holding a share in the life which is real and permanent.
Luke 12:29-34 (Phi) "You must not set your heart on what you eat or drink, nor must you live in a state of anxiety. The whole heathen world is busy about getting food and drink, and your Father knows well enough that you need such things. No, set your heart on his kingdom, and your food and drink will come as a matter of course... Sell your possessions and give the money away to those in need. Get yourselves purses that never grow old, inexhaustible treasure in Heaven, where no thief can ever reach it, or moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, you may be certain that your heart will be there too!"
1 Tim 6:8-10 (Phi) Surely then, as far as physical things are concerned, it is sufficient for us to keep our bodies fed and clothed. For men who set their hearts on being wealthy expose themselves to temptation. They fall into a trap and lay themselves open to all sorts of silly and wicked desires, which are quite capable of utterly ruining and destroying their souls. For loving money leads to all kinds of evil, and some men in the struggle to be rich have lost their faith and caused themselves untold agonies of mind.
Jer 9:23-24 (NAS) Thus says the Lord, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom... let not a rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this, that he understands and knows Me... "
Now You Know...
1 Jn 3:16-18 (Phi) We know what love is because Christ laid down his life for us. We must in turn lay down our lives for our brothers. But as for the well-to-do man who sees his brother in want but shuts his heart against him, how could anyone believe that the love of God lives in him? My Children, let us love not merely in theory or in words--let us love in sincerity and in practice! (2 Cor 8:9)
Luke 12:47-48 (NIV) "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
Prov 28:20 (NIV) The faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
Rev 3:17-19 (Phi) [Jesus] "While you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and there is nothing that I need,' you have no eyes to see that you are wretched, pitiable, poverty-stricken, blind and naked. My advice to you is to buy from me that gold which is refined in the furnace so that you may be rich, and white garments to wear so that you may hide the shame of your nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes to make you see. All those whom I love I correct and discipline. Therefore, shake off your complacency and repent."