Money can be a master to some people. These people worship (affection/priority) money by spending the vast majority of their time at their job or other money-making opportunities over their family and over faith building opportunities. Others worship money indirectly by idolizing wealthy people and amassing possessions; they are materialistic.
Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, for 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.” (Matthew 6:24)
1Timothy 6:9-10 “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
Money can be misused by some people. These people are spenders and often have expenses that go beyond their income.
– Wasted Energy (estimated $443 billion)
– Coffee (Americans spend avg $1092 on coffee annually outside their home)
– Gambling (Lottery ticket sales have increased every single year since inception in 1965 despite fact that chances are 1 in 175 million – odds more likely being struck by lightning, death by shark or asteroid/comet. Average American loses $400 per year gambling with some spending 5% of gross income gambling.
– Average credit card debt per US household is $15270
– Average student loan debt $23186
Money can be a mysterious complexity to some people. These people are not good at budgeting and know little about how much is coming or going; they are inattentive and irresponsible.
– 37% of marital problems derive from financial situations
– 46% of all Americans have < $10K saved for retirement
– 70% of all consumers live paycheck to paycheck (run out of money before end of month)
– 50% have less than 3 month cushion
– 27% have no savings at all
For these & other reasons, at this time, I want to briefly have a promotional introduction for a seminar study that SPBC will host as a resource regarding money management. – Bill Swartz (share personal testimony/experience as well as highlight FPU seminar upcoming details).
EXAMINE Matthew 19:16-26 Title: Stuck By Finances
We get stuck by finances when we ask the wrong questions (19:16)
We know from other Gospel accounts that this person was a rich young ruler. The person was young, wealthy and influential. He comes to Jesus asking about what “good deed” he needs to perform to have eternal life.
Note: This is the wrong question. The question is not what you can do but, “What does Jesus accept?”
– How do you view Jesus? Who do we view as the follower – ourselves or Jesus?
o Rich Young Ruler viewed Jesus as a teacher. Jesus is more than a teacher but a Lord who sits on the throne. Jesus is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.
o Jesus doesn’t accept halfhearted devotion or lukewarm acceptance. We cannot have a compartmentalized faith but must have a comprehensive faith that integrates our entire life and possessions under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
– Who owns everything? What is the source of my income?
o Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
o Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills [is mine]. The birds of the hills are mine.”
o Haggai 2:8 “’The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
– What is the purpose of accumulating possessions? What will last into eternity?
o Mark 8:36 “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
o Matthew 6:19-20 “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.”
o 1Timothy 6:17-18 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
o People are the only thing you can take with you into eternity…
o It is important to note that wealth or the accumulation of possessions does not automatically qualify as sinful or selfish. Saving money is smart to give for strategic purposes, surprise emergencies and security provisions (though ultimate security is in God). Further, there is a basic multiplication principle that it takes money to make money. Through compound interest accumulating over time and investing wisely, you can actually earn more to give more away over a lifetime than you could by giving instantly to every needy cause. Thus, investments and building wealth can be wise as long as it is not hoarding or lacking the trust that God will provide and give security in the future.
- Multiple Biblical characters had wealth: Abraham, Job at beginning & end, David as King, Solomon, Macedonian Church, Paul at times, and others.
- Nehemiah 8:10 Ezra and Nehemiah encourage the people to celebrate God in a lavish manner.
- John 2:1-12 Jesus makes good wine, not cheap, watered down wine.
- John 12:1-8 Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive (year’s wages) perfume and Jesus says “the poor you always have with you…”
We get stuck by finances when we trust the wrong treasure (19:17-22)
Jesus gives two responses to “what good deed must I do to have eternal life”
1) Why do you ask me about what is good?”
2) You must keep the commandments [perfectly].
The remarkable characteristic about this young, wealthy and influential individual was that he was also moral. He was a nice, clean cut, bring home to momma kinda guy. He tells Jesus that he has kept all the listed commandments. Yet, this man still sensed that he lacked something. There was a void; life seemed pointless & purposeless. He had an inner sense he was trusting the wrong treasure.
Our good deeds will never outweigh the bad. We need a Savior!
– Everything – Jesus = Nothing Jesus + Nothing = Everything
– Jesus said he lacked perfection – going beyond external rule keeping to also having an internal trust and treasure in God above everything else in life.
The “one thing” lacking was supreme surrender to self. We must deny self, take up cross and follow Jesus.
Further, a person can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right. We are sinners not just from acts of sinful commission but also from acts of sinful omission. There are things that we should do and do not do.
“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” James 2:10
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17
This young man compartmentalized God and his faith. He considered that he could give mental assent to categories of knowledge while his desires and deeds reflected differently. Many people do this today. They attend church and even claim a moral uprightness in comparison to others who are more blatantly evil on the outside. However, their own sincerity and salvation are lacking “one thing”. They have a god-substitute, an idol of the heart that is not God.
Many times we do not take God and our faith as seriously as we should. Instead we are lukewarm.
Jesus said “sell everything”.
– What are you withholding from Jesus?
o Jesus loves us too much to ask for anything less than total commitment.
o Psalms 34:10b “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
o Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
God is more valuable than pleasure.
Psalm 16:11 “in God’s presence is fullness of joy; at God’s right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
God is more valuable than power
Psalm 147:5-6 “Great is our Lord and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”
God is more valuable than possessions (money)
Psalm 84:10-11 “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
His wealth could have been used to support cause of God rather than self-gratification.
His influence could have been used to open opportunities rather than sit back and remain comfortable.
His youthfulness showed potential.
Potential without action is an abuse. Potential with action is an advantage.
“Youth is wasted on the young.” Oscar Wilde
We get stuck by finances when we fail to understand God will hold us to account (19:23-24).
After the man went away, Jesus spoke a challenging prophecy – “only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Such a striking statement yet with significant relevance. The wealthy in this world often have little needs and therefore believe they have no use for God. Jesus says in another parable, “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word [of God]”(Matthew 13:22).
There will come a day that all will give an account as stewards of what God brought into our lives. The rich and the poor, the old and the young, man and woman and every race will stand before God. At that time we will either here, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:21) or we will hear the opposite and be separated unto eternal darkness and damnation.
– Do you view yourself as a steward or owner?
– Are you using your blessings to be a blessing to others?
o Proverbs 28:27 — He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.
o 1 John 3:17 — If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
We get stuck by finances when we fail understand God’s generosity (19:25-26).
The Disciples heard the exchange between the man and Jesus. Their assumption was that a young, wealthy and influential man who followed God’s commands would be accepted into God’s kingdom. However, Jesus’ teaching caused them to see the radical cost of following Jesus – complete surrender. The Disciples were greatly astonished – “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus’ response was that with man salvation is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
– Salvation is in the measure of God’s gift of grace not man’s merit.
– When we understand God’s generosity we are free to give because we will never be able to out-give God.
o God did not tithe His love toward us but gave us His very Treasure in the blood of His Son.
o Luke 6:38 “give and it will be given to you – good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
o 2 Corinthians 8:9 “for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
o God often prospers our standard of living to raise our standard of giving.
à Are you stuck thinking you have to pay God to earn salvation?
Salvation is free but following Jesus will cost you everything.
à Are you stuck financially… these principles will help. Put God first and trust with rest (Matt 6:33)
à How is God calling you to respond in faith?
God often prospers our standard of living to raise our standard of giving.
As we consider God’s giving methods, we not only have an example but a desire to show our appreciation. Giving becomes fun and fulfilling, agreeing with Jesus that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
- Malachi 3:10b — “ ‘Test me in this, ’says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’ ”
- 2 Corinthians 9:6 — Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
- Proverbs 3:9-10 — “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
Accumulating debt is often an unwise financial move. Debt is a cautious means to an end. If the end has unbiblical motivation it often turns into slavery and paralyzes flexibility in one’s finances. There is no explicit prohibition of debt in the Bible though only wise caution. One wise counsel is to distinguish between depreciating and appreciating assets – the latter perhaps being a good investment with debt (real estate…).
Proverbs 6:6-8 “Go to the ant, O sluggard, and consider her ways and be wise…she prepares [and saves] her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”
Proverbs 10:22 “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no sorrow with it.”
Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.”
Proverbs 14:24 “The crown of the wise is their wealth.”
Proverbs 21:5 “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.”
Proverbs 22:7 says, “the borrower is the slave of the lender”.
 Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle