17 Luke 6.17-26
It’s all in how you look at it
v Parents had cataract surgery about a month ago
Ø Mother had to wear a patch for a day or two
§ If you have ever held your hand over one eye
· You know that you lose one thing…
Ø Hinder your ability to judge distances correctly
v Perspective is a very powerful thing
Ø How you look at something is all important
§ Artist MC Escher was the master of this
v If you look at something long enough
Ø You gain perspective on it
§ That is what Jesus is doing today
· Drawing our attention to 4 areas in life in order for us to gain the proper perspective on them
Ø He does this by teaching the positive and then the negative of the same subject
§ A “Blessed” and a “Woe”
· Parallel teaching
v Perspective of your Wallet ~ V. 20 & 24
Ø What Jesus is saying here is not that being poor is better than being rich
Ø Or that being rich instantly condemns you…
§ But when it comes down to it
· The Christian life demands that you make decisions not based on money, but on ministry
¨ And many times that requires sacrifice in the area of the wallet!
Ø Danny Oh’s job search
§ Elder in church
§ Laid off
§ Limited his search to the Boston area because He knew the Lord wanted him to stay
Ø Having a proper perspective on money is very important in Scripture
§ Out of 38 parables, 16 deal with money and possessions
§ 1 out of 10 verses in the Gospels deal directly with the subject on money
§ The Bible offers:
· 500 verses on faith
· 500 verses on prayer
· But more then 2,000 on money and possessions!
Ø RQ: Why so much instruction on possessions and money?
§ Because Jesus wants us to understand that money is a lot like taking vitamins…
If we lack basic nutrients in our diet we suffer malnutrition. The cure is simple: take vitamin tablets to insure you get the minimum level. Once the minimum is reached, however, additional tablets have little or no benefit. Unfortunately some people apply this logic: "If a little was good, a lot will be better." This simply is not true and in some cases is dangerous. On occasion people have even lost their lives from overdoses of vitamin A.
Sadly, this is often the case with money. If at one point we lacked money for basic necessities, then money, when it finally came, was a blessing. But many have applied the logic "If a little was good, a lot will be better." Many have lost their lives this way.
Ø And that is exactly what 1 Tim 6:9-10 warns
§ 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. 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 with many griefs
· What Paul is teaching here is that money itself is not evil or bad
¨ But the love of it is.
Ø Illustration: Jack Benny skit
§ “You money or your life”
§ “Don’t rush me, I’m thinking about it”
· It is so funny because it hits a chord in all of us
¨ Money is important to us!
Ø The proper perspective on money is found in…
§ READ Proverbs 30:7-9 (p. 1029)
v Money will buy a bed, but not sleep
v Money will buy books but not brains
v Money will buy food but not appetite
v Money will buy medicine but not health
v Money will buy amusements but not happiness
v Money will buy comfort but not the Kingdom of God
§ Nothing that is God’s is obtainable by money
v The perspective that Jesus wants to give us here is…
Ø If you follow the money trail…
§ It may lead to comfort in this life
· But not in the next
v Perspective of your Self ~ V. 21a & 25a
§ It is a basic need
§ A need that everyone has to face
§ It is a very self-serving need
· When you sit down to a dinner
· And your plate is full of wonderful food
¨ You know that it is all for you
¨ To satisfy you and your hunger
Ø It is actually a very self focused activity
§ By saying blessed are those who hunger…
· Jesus is saying metaphorically
¨ It is not about you…
Ø It is about God
§ If you are selfless for Jesus’ sake in this life
· You will be satisfied in the next
Ø I have said before, and I will say it again
§ This life is not so much about you as it is about God
Ø Look at our purpose in life
§ WSC #1
· Q: What is the chief end of man?
¨ To glorify God and enjoy him forever
Ø Our purpose is to glorify God
§ Everything we do is to bring more glory to God
v St. Francis of Assissi wrote:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light; and
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much Seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Ø Francis got it!
§ It was not about him, but about God
v Perspective of your Happiness ~ V. 21b & 25b
Ø What is your goal in life?
§ For many it is the pursuit of happiness
· A life devoid of difficulty
· A life without bumps
· A life lacking crisis
· A life with no hurdles
· A life full of ease
There is a tendency throughout life to search for the easy way out of every dilemma. We all search for Easy Street. Well, I am told that it actually exists. Just travel to Honolulu, Hawaii, and take the Pali Highway northbound. Travel about a third of the way to the Pali Pass and turn right on Park Street. Go one block and there it is: "Easy Street." The problem comes when you turn onto Easy Street and go one block more, there's another sign that says "Dead End."
Ø I think that is what Jesus is getting at here
§ Those that seek a life of ease
§ Those that seek “Easy Street” in this life
· It is a dead end
¨ For in the next there will be mourning and weeping
Ø We have to remember what Scripture teaches us about being a disciple of Jesus Christ
§ Matt 16:24
· If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me
§ John 15:20-21
· Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
Ø RQ: Then why would anyone ever want to be a Christian? Why would anyone ever give their life to Christ?
§ Well, if you have the proper perspective, it is easy
· It is not the happiness found in this life
¨ But in the next
In the 1976 Summer Olympics, Shun Fujimoto competed in the team gymnastics competition for Japan. In a quest for the gold medal, Fujimoto suffered a broken right knee in the floor exercise.
But his injury did not stop him. The final event was his strongest event, the rings. His routine was excellent, but he astounded everyone by sticking his dismounting with a triple somersault twist onto a broken right knee. When asked about this incredible feat, he said, "Yes, the pain shot through me like a knife. It brought tears to my eyes. But now I have a gold medal and the pain is gone”
Ø There is the perspective we should have!
§ Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh
· There might be tears now, but look beyond them…
¨ The reward is coming!!
v Perspective of your Reputation ~ V. 22-23 & 26
A pastor was at home watching their two children, Melinda, age seven, and Craig, age five while his wife was busy one evening pursuing her hobby of making porcelain dolls at a doll-making class. While the pastor was chatting with a neighbor on the front porch, the phone rang. He was proud to hear Craig answer the phone promptly and politely.
However, his pride vanished as I heard his son's response to the caller's request to speak to his mother "No, my mom's not here. She's out making a baby. But my dad is here if you want to talk to him."
The phone call was from one of the elders of our church!
Ø Our reputation is all-important to us
§ How we are viewed by the people around us
Ø We put on all kinds of masks in order to be accepted in the society in which we live
§ RQ: Why do we do this?
· Because, we all desire the world’s acceptance
¨ But look at what Jesus says to that
Ø Woe to you when men speak well of you
§ Whose acceptance should we be seeking?
Ø But it is so easy to get sucked in to caring what the world thinks of us
§ We want to be liked
· I want people in town to say, “I like that new minister”
§ We want to be included
· I want to be invited to the 4th of July picnic and fireworks
§ We want to be praised
· I remember last year I was asked to give the Memorial day speech in SWH
· I sat in my office and struggled with what I was going to say
¨ Was I going to put the Gospel into my speech?
Ø In a way it was easier for me than it would be for you
§ The public half-expects it from me
· But what about you
§ You see…
· When we begin caring more about what other people think of us
¨ Than our reputation before God
Ø There is a tendency to temper your faith
Ø To not get too radical about our faith
Ø We start saying to ourselves…
§ Everything in moderation
§ We begin believing the saying…
· “It is alright to be religious, just in moderation”
Ø Moderation is the enemy of the Gospel!
§ Why do we respect and admire martyrs?
· Because they gave their all
¨ They we sold out for Christ
§ Why do we respect Jim Elliot so much
· Because he was sold out for Christ
¨ He was anything but moderate when it came to the sharing the Gospel
§ Why do we look at Paul and shake our heads in awe and disbelief
· Because he was sold out for Christ
¨ He did not care what the world thought of him
Ø The city of Ephesus wanted to kill him in Acts 19
¨ He did not care the world did to him
Ø Hated, excluded, insulted, rejected, persecuted
§ E.g. ~ 2 Cor 11:23-27
Ø Did Paul care about his reputation before men?
· He cared about his reputation before Yahweh
During the Watergate scandal, some people regarded it as a compliment to be on Nixon's "enemies list." They took it as a credit to them that they were on the side of righteousness
In the same way, if you have enemies because of your righteousness, it will be a credit to you. You should be glad that you have that kind of enemies, and that they are persecuting you, because it means that you are not doing what they do and instead are doing what unrighteous men hate.
Ø John 15:18
§ “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
· The sign that you followed Abraham was circumcision
· The sign that you followed Moses was keeping the Sabbath
· The sign that you followed John the Baptist was that you were baptized
· The sign that you follow Jesus is that you are persecuted
¨ Hated, excluded, insulted and rejected
v The Grand Perspective
Ø It all comes down to your Grand perspective on life
§ Turn to James 4:14 (p. 1884)
Ø Many of us go through life with a patch over one eye
§ Perhaps some of you here today have that patch over one eye and have difficulty judging what is important and what is not
· Let’s let the Scriptures get rid of that patch
Ø The grand perspective that we all need is found in James 4:14
§ What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
· If you have this perspective
¨ Then your view of your
Ø Your Wallet
Ø Your Self
Ø Your Happiness
Ø Your Reputation
§ All change, doesn’t it?
· It is all about being accepted by God
¨ That is what the second half of each verse is talking about
Ø If you make your decisions based on your ministry and not the money
§ That leads to inheriting the Kingdom of God
Ø If you simply follow the money
§ You have received your comfort already
¨ Out, out, brief candle! Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.