|Series Theme: "Faith Sermons"|
Title: 22. Whose World?
a) Today's world
We live in a world that appears increasing secular and materialistic
Today we have noted how we administer our The Fund'. I was asked why not call it Worldwide Fund to reflect our giving. Tithe reminds us we are giving first to God.
We have been barraged with atheist propaganda
Richard Dawkins is just about to bring out a new book extolling the wonders of this materialistic world that has no need of a God.
The good news is that there are those who are rising up to challenge the atheistic propaganda
John Lennox concludes his brilliant lectures about the new atheists with a call to Christians to read their Bibles so they know why the atheist's words are based on empty ignorance
David Bentley Hart writes, Many of today's most obstreperous critics of Christianity know nothing more of Christendom's two millennia than a few childish images of bloodthirsty crusaders and sadistic inquisitors, a few damning facts, and a great number of even more damning legends; to such critics, obviously, Christians ought not to surrender the past but should instead deepen their own collective memory of what the gospel has been to human history. perhaps more crucially, they ought not to surrender the future to those who know so little of human nature as to imagine that o society liberated' from Christ would love justice, or truth or beauty or compassion or even life
There we have two brilliant Christians
saying what Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones used to say: know your Bible and
know your history!
Isaiah had said it many centuries before: to the law and the testimony (Isa 8:20)
Our temptation is to similarly be secular and materialistic or, as the Bible calls it, godless'.
b) Our calling to focus on the truth
The Bible teaches us that this world belongs to God because He made it and He sustains it
Now what do we think of when we think of God's world?
Big mountains, oceans, deserts, hills, forests?
How about your home car furniture ipod bank account home family?
We have what we have because God planned for us to be able to have them!
But with all gifts, there need to be warnings?
Why? Because we live in a fallen world and the old sinful nature will lead us into folly.
Too much of any one thing is bad even if the thing is good
Too much food = gluttony = obesity = health problems
Too much alcohol = drunkenness = danger = heath problems
No, our calling is to blend faith with reality or, if you like, living with truth.
So, let's consider faith and possessions
B. Jesus' Teaching on Money & Possessions
Lk 12:15 Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
Lk 12:21 "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
Mt 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.
Mt 6:24 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.
Mt 6:31-33 So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Mt 19:27 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 5:42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
C. Some dangers to be observed
as soon as we start talking about giving, we find something rises up within us that produces excuses
let's consider some of the things that so often crop up.
1. I don't have enough, I can't give anything away
this makes faith determined by amount not by faith
faith is about responding to God's voice
some of us don't hear His voice because we are too predisposed in the opposite direction and so can't hear such words.
2. I've got so little it's not worth giving any of it away
blessing another has little to do with amount, but all to do with heart
a card or some flowers don't have to cost much
giving should be all about heart.
3. They've got more than me, so why give to someone better off than me
this is still legalistically focusing on figures and forgets love, concern and obedience
often people with more money have a lifestyle that is difficult to reduce and so have less available
they may have wealth but they may not have love
they may have wealth but they may still have big worries.
4. No one has even given to me, so why should I give to others
we don't only do after we've been done good to
God has already done heaps for us; this is all about passing on His love, tangibly
5. I don't want to give to anyone
fine, but realise that God has a giving nature and we're t be like Him
fine, but realise that everything you have is a gift from Him and you're only His steward and will have to answer for how you used it.
6. I don't like all this talk about giving
that's because we have never yet realised
everything we have is a gift from God
it belongs to Him
and He wants you to have more of it to be an even bigger and better steward of it
Quote: When God put it into the heart of George Muller to build these orphanages, he had only two shillings in his pocket. Without making his wants known to any man, but to God alone, over a million, four hundred thousand pounds were sent to him for the building and maintaining of these orphan homes.
George finds himself in dire trouble. His business is about to go into bankruptcy and he's got serious financial problems. He's so desperate that he decides to ask God for help.
"God, please help me. I've lost my company and if I don't get some money soon, I'm going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lottery!"
Lottery night! Someone else wins...
George prays again. "God, please let me win the lottery! I've lost my company, my house and I'm going to lose my car as well!" Lottery night again! Still no luck...
prays again. Lord, I've lost my company, my house and my car. My children
are starving and my wife is nagging me. I don't often ask you for help
and I have always tried to be a good person. PLEASE just let me win
the lottery this one time so I can get back on my feet!"
That is not a story to suggest you waste your money on a lottery ticket, but it does say that we have a part to play
When we play it according to God's word, then He blesses.
It's all about your heart, it's all about faith.
Let's be faith people whose hearts are moved by God.