THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-4-05
LESSON TITLE: "GREAT LESSONS FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: SERVE GOD RATHER THAN RICHES"
Our young people today often sing a song which says, "the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases...!" How true this is and praise be to God for His complete and never ending love.
It is before this God of love that we assemble this day and we thank you for joining us for this time of offering to our God. It is my hope and prayer that we are all doing our best, today and every day, to accomplish everything according to God's precious will and His eternal purpose. Furthermore, won't you do your part this morning so that God may truly be magnified and so that all we sacrifice toward His throne will be done in spirit and in truth.
With these thoughts in mind, will you bow with me before His Almighty throne in prayer.
As it is time to begin with our first song of the morning, let me ask if your heart is in the right place this day? Are you focused on God? Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together a song which helps us to clarify this point, the name of the hymn "Is Thy Heart Right With God?"
(SONG # 1)
I started the program this morning by mentioning a song which clarifies the steadfast and never ending love of God. Now I would like to consider the verses from which the rest of this song comes, they are found in Lamentations 3, beginning in verse 21. There we read, "This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" Wow, what a powerful song and passage!
Notice all of the further encouragement we find here in this text! Not only do we have hope in God because of His wondrous love, we also learn that...: "his mercies never come to an end..." WHY? "they are new every morning..." furthermore "God's faithfulness is great..." AND FINALLY "the Lord is my portion says my soul..." "therefore I will hope in him!"
Brethren we do have so much to be thankful for in the fact that we serve such a loving and caring God. Truly without Him I would be nothing! Have you forgotten this day just how great and mighty our God is? Are you fully serving Him and doing those things which are according to His Will? If not, choose today to get back on track with your Savior. Or if need be, believe on Christ and confess His name for the first time, repent and turn from a life of sin, and bury those sins in the watery grave of baptism so that you will be cleansed and added by the Lord to His precious family. Are you willing to take the most important step of your life on this the Lord's day?
As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing our series entitled, "Great Lessons From The Sermon On The Mount." Our specific discussion of the morning will deal with our need to, "Serve God Rather Than Riches." So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Jerry Sullins will be leading us in our main study of the day. We are again happy to have brother Sullins with us. As you might remember, he is the Director of the Bible Institute of Missouri, here in Springfield, Missouri. We thank him for taking the time to lead us in the study of God's Word this day. However, before our main lesson, let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "In The Land Of Fadeless Day."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Jerry Sullins
I appreciate so much the opportunity to be with you again especially during this series of some of the teachings of our Lord and Savior in what is commonly called "The Sermon on the Mount." Before beginning our lesson this morning which is found in Matthew chapter 6, verses 22-24, I would like to say that we would like to encourage any who might be interested especially young men or others who might be interested in coming to the Bible Institute of Missouri. Our classes started just a week ago, but it's not too late for you to enroll and to be a part of this new class that's going to be in session. So you're invited to call me at (417)865-4543. I will be glad to talk to you about becoming a part of the school and being involved in a study of God's Word for basically two college academic years where you will study over 40 Bible or Bible related subjects including the Greek language and have an opportunity to improve your knowledge of God's Word and develop your skill and proclamation of the Word of God. So thank you for considering this and please be sure and call me if you are interested.
It seems like when you began this study, you were studying some of the most important teachings in all of the Bible. In fact, that's the truth because Matthew 5:6-7 are directly the words of Christ concerning so many important issues of life. Last week, you were discussing the importance of not laying up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and dust does corrupt and where thieves break through and steal. That's in Matthew chapter 6, verse 19. But Jesus pointed out how important it is for you to "lay up for yourself treasures in Heaven where no moth nor dust doth corrupt, nor where thieves can break through or steal." Then He said, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Now although it doesn't seem like necessarily verses 22-23 have anything to do with the accumulation of wealth and things of this world and the riches of life, but yet as we really look at it and understand it, Jesus was implying in these verses that it is the way we look at our lives as it relates to treasures on earth and treasures in Heaven that really determines the end result of our lives. As He said in verse 22, that's Matthew chapter 6, verse 22, "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore the eye is good..." which means if it is clear, if it's righteous and I believe Jesus here is talking about the spiritual eye. I don't believe there is any confusion here on that matter. He said, "If therefore your eye is clear or righteous, your whole body will be full of light. (That is spiritual light.) But if your eye is bad..." and simply that means if it is evil or unhealthy or unrighteous, then your whole body will be full of darkness. "If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness?" And so we can be involved in things of this life that pertain to possessions and wealth and riches that will actually cause us to be in darkness although we may seem to think that we are in the light.
And then Jesus, I believe, was summating it in verse 24 when He said, "No man can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon..." which is an Aramaic word for riches. You cannot serve God and riches. Now He is very clear on this matter. You cannot choose both at the same time. Many people who refer to themselves as Christians and say that they are Christians and may be striving to live somewhat the Christian life seem to be trying to have both at the same time, that is the riches of this life and the care and trust in the riches of this life and yet seem to want to be having a relationship with Jesus. Jesus is simply saying, "You can't serve us both at the same time because what you will do is you will love the one and hate the other or you will despise the one and be loyal to the other."
So His teaching is very clear here. It seems like as we look at the life and the attitude of Jesus Christ concerning money, He seemed to be very indifferent toward it. I remember on one occasion and you probably remember it also. He had been preaching and teaching to a multitude of 5.000 men and of course there were women and children there so it was probably a group of over 20,000 people. On this occasion, when Jesus looked upon the crowd and He had compassion upon them and realized that they were hungry, He began to look around and to see what there was that they could be fed with and of course He was not really concerned about money. On one occasion, He was needing to pay taxes and He was really not concerned about money. He told His disciples to go down and catch a fish and in that fish they were able to go take out a coin and go pay his taxes. Remember this was the time that He gave the great lesson, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." So it just didn't seem that Jesus was too concerned about money itself.
Do you remember the teaching that is found in Matthew chapter 8, verse 20? The scripture there says, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not a place to lay His head." Many occasions throughout the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we find Jesus not even concerned about where He would lay His head, much less have a place that is with funds that He may have received that He may or may not have had. He was really not concerned about even where He would sleep. He was not concerned about what He would eat. He was not concerned about in any way that we can see in any of His teachings or any portrayal of His life, any of the things of this world that were even necessary to sustain His life. And so what was His attitude toward riches? The very attitude that we also should strive to have toward riches. But yet even though He had a certain attitude toward them, He tried to teach this attitude in spirit to those who would follow Him for He knew within their learning of having a proper attitude toward the riches of this life would rest where they would spend eternity.
I want to call your attention to a story that is given in Luke chapter 12. You probably, if you have read much of the life of Christ, remember this story because Jesus spoke a parable and He said in Luke chapter 12, verse 16, "The ground of a certain rich yielded plentifully and he thought within himself saying, What shall I do since I have no room to store my crops? So he said, I will do this. I will pull down my barns and build greater and there I will store all of my crops and my goods and I will say to my soul, Soul you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease. Eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, Fool, this night your soul will be required of you. Then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God?" Now I had been preaching for several years when I saw to my delight, and I had read this passage over and over and over again throughout my life, I guess I was in my 30's when I saw this and we had young children at home and I thought this is the message I must teach my children. It is found before this parable is actually spoken in verse 15. "And the Lord Himself said and He said unto them..." This is a group of people who had come to Him and they ask Him a question and He gave them the answer and He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses."
I'd like to ask you sincerely this morning, does your life consist in the abundance of the things that you possess? Now you might say to yourself, "Well certainly not." Well, I ask you to look in your garage and answer that question. I ask you to look in your home and answer that question honestly with yourself. I ask you to look at your bank account and of course, well some of you might say, "Well, I can certainly tell that I'm not interested in riches." Well, you may have spent all that was in there, but you had it didn't you? I ask you to look at your life and really answer the question, does your life consist of the abundance of the things which you possess? Some have said that if Americans would simply clean out their attics, it would provide everything for everyone in this world, everything that everyone needed and probably how true it is. We hoard. We covet. We protect our possessions and we take insurance so that if something happens, even an act of God happens, we ourselves can re-supply ourselves with the possessions of this world. So, are you brave enough to answer that question? Does your life consist of the abundance of the things which you possess? Now I call your attention back to Matthew chapter 6 that we were studying, which is the text of this lesson. Are you striving to serve two masters? God and mammon. Mammon meaning riches. Jesus says that you cannot do it. You cannot put your trust in riches and really serve the True and the Living God.
Let me ask you this question. Do you work for your money? Is that all you're concerned about is whether enough you get enough money to pay your bills that you've made so you might possess the things of this life? My friend, this is so important and we must consider the importance of this lesson and strive to do everything that we can to put riches or to put the things of this world in proper perspective.
Now I also want to call your attention to other passages of scripture that are found in the Bible. For instance as we think about the sins of greed and covetousness when you turn to Galatians 5:19-21, these are mentioned as sins of the flesh. Remember also that Jesus said in Mark chapter 10 and verse 25 and let's turn to that passage. Mark chapter 10, verse 25. Concerning covetousness, He said beginning in verse 24, "And the disciples were astonished at His words, but Jesus answered again and said to them, Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Now what was the problem with a man having wealth here? Not necessarily the fact that he had the wealth of this world or had the things of this world or had some of the riches of this world, but the problem was is that he put trust in those riches. So it is today. We insure ourselves to the greatest degree. Our bodies and our possessions and we put our trust and our faith in our dependence upon whom? Our own selves. And so, could we be this rich person that Jesus is talking about here that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into Heaven?" It is very important that we understand and consider the problems of having the things of this life.
Do you remember what Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 6, verses 9-10? I'm sure you've heard it before. Paul said, "Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation in a snare and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition, for the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith and their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." No, not "having money is the root of all evil," but "the love of possessing possessions, the love of possessing money is the root of all evil." Why? Because it is covetousness.
I'm amazed that some people it seems like their whole focus in life is to have the things of this world and to have money. But I'd like to ask you something, my friend. What is it of this life that you're going to take with you? When you breathe your last breath and when your heart beats it's last beat, what are you going to be taking with you? Will you take your bank account? No, you won't. Will you take any possession that you possess right now? No, you won't take anything nor will Solomon, nor will anyone else who has lived on this earth take anything with them because those are the things of this world.
So what should we do with our possessions, whatever we possess? Oh, there will be rich people who enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Surely, I hope that there will be because if any people on this earth today are considered to be rich people, it is those of us who live in the United States of America. So, do you have an opportunity to go to Heaven? Yes, you do. Can you go to Heaven being looked upon by most people of this world as being wealthy in this world's goods? Certainly you can. But what we must do is "honor the Lord with our possessions," Proverbs chapter 3:9.
So I leave you with these words of John in 1 John 2:15-17. He said, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world for all that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life or the vain glory of life is not of the Father but of the world. Now the world and the things thereof will pass away." Yes, they'll all pass away. But John went on to say, "But he who does the will of the Lord will abide forever." So what was Jesus teaching? His teaching was simply this: that we cannot love God and mammon. We cannot love God and riches at the same time. So I encourage you in every way this morning to love God.
(SONG # 3 - "Faith Is The Victory!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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May we all consider this day, just how important it is to focus our service on God, rather than wealth in this life. And Why? Because there is no other opportunity to eternal life, except through a complete obedience and service to Jesus Christ our Lord.