Something Worth Everything?
All this morning we come to our final sermon in a series that we've been looking at money. We've been talking about money and if you're new to Red Hills and this is your first Sunday here. You're like, I knew it you go to church and all they want to do is talk about money. Well just to hopefully set some of your fears aside our goal in this has not been to say give money. The goal is more if you're a Christ follower if you're somebody who has said like Mary said Christ is my Lord. I'm going to do what he says to do. Then how do you think about money? How do you approach money? Because if Jesus is in charge then your approach to money is going to look much different than somebody who doesn't follow Christ or should anyways, and this is this is one of my greatest fears for us as a church in America. One of my greatest fears is that we would seek it because we have in the church. We sought to base everything we do on the word of God, but my fear is that our culture would blind us to a reality. It would blind us to the fact that there is a vast Gulf between what America thinks I should do with my money and what God thinks I should do with my money and that we might Overlook what Jesus had to say on this matter because we are Americans and in America. One of the predominant Idols is money. As a matter of fact, some people that I know many probably that, you know, some of you maybe this people and sorry for stepping on your toes little bit here, but some of you may be thinking money is worth everything. You don't actually think that but I know that people do think this because I've seen what decisions people make it doesn't matter. What words come out of our mouths, right? Our actions will always speak louder than our words and when I look around at our culture when I see are a ton of people who are effectively saying money is worth everything and they will sacrifice their family. In pursuit of money, they will sacrifice their friends in pursuit of money. They will stab their co-workers in the back just to get ahead in Pursuit Of Money Money becomes something that is worth everything to them and as we've looked at money and how we got to think about it. We need to recognize that if we're Christ follower. That can't be us. We have different allegiances something else must be worth everything but it goes beyond just money. And so if you're sitting here this morning, like money's not really an issue for me either because you have so much of it. You don't know what to do with it or you just never really worried about it. You know, you sitting here thinking like what what's this have to do to me? How does this evil part of me? Will let me just say today as I talk about what is worth everything. I want you to understand you could fill in that blank with something else for some of you the thing that is worth. Everything is love. It's the relationship that you have with that special someone or with a child or you know, it's at it with your parents. It's that that that relationship is what was worth everything you'll sacrifice anything for that relationship for some of you it's an addiction. For some of you you have some substance that is taking a hold of your life to the point where you are willing to break relationships waste your life pursuing that thing so I understand it's not just money. The money is what we're talking about. But if you're thinking that doesn't apply to me will fill in the blank. Because the only thing worth everything is Christ and his kingdom anything else you try to put in that anything you try to answer. What is something worth everything anything other than Christ in his kingdom that you put in that slot will ultimately waste your life. Get money be in a relationship or be at some addiction anything other than Christ. That is the ultimate value in your mind is going to waste your life. That's why I worry about us. And I include myself in that I'm a product of the culture as much as you are a product of the culture. We are continually bombarded by a world that says treasure this thing value this thing it's only you have the latest iPhone. If you are only have the newest car. If only you had a higher-paying job you would be happy if the answer is no So Christ and his kingdom are the only things that matter. And it's my fear that if you've been with us for a couple of weeks and you've heard what I said before about money and how we have to look at it, but you don't treasure Christ above everything else.
That you're not getting anything out of what I'm saying? Because what we need to understand is the value of Christ, we see this in Matthew Chapter 13. Would you turn to Matthew Chapter 13 with me Matthew Chapter 13 is one of my favorite chapters in one of my favorite books in the Bible because it's the one I'm preaching this week. No because it's got a lot of Parables how many of you know, what a parable is brief show of hands some of your kind of iffy on at some of your still turning and so you can't raise a handy. Like why would this guy asked me to turn and raise my hand like it was supposed to use my nose for this.
Cory's think it's a good idea. No, sir. Here's what a parable is just so we're all clear. Right and people look at parables in a parable is simply a story that Jesus told that had a spiritual point to it and it and we come to The Parables and we can get really tripped up we can get really confused when we try to do something that we all like to try to do. We try to make every little piece of the story fit right with the spiritual meaning and so like will will break down a parable of like well this Parable this means this and this means this and if this means this than this and this and this and it gets so convoluted that you don't know what's going on. That's not the point of a parable. A parable is simply a Earthly story with a spiritual application and it's usually just one point that we need to get out of it and so in The Parables that were going to look at today. It's possible to Come Away with the wrong conclusion if we start trying to nitpick the parable, but Jesus is just making one point and he doesn't into Parables Matthew chapter 13. Inverse 44 and then again in verse 45 and 46. He makes he tells to Parables both with the same point. So read with me starting in verse 40 for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man found and covered up then in his Joy. He goes and sells all that he has and buys that field again. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls who on finding one pearl of Great Value went and sold all that. He had and bought it.
What kind of sense does that make?
To put all your eggs in one basket, right? There's another story that we tell that has a meaning for our lives. Right? Don't put all your eggs in one basket know. Jesus is saying these guys haven't figured out they're putting all of their eggs in one basket will sell everything they have to gain this one thing and that one thing that is of supreme value to them is the kingdom And we need to understand when Jesus told his Parables his audience would have immediately connected with them. When Jesus first told these Parables he was in the setting in which there were no central banks that people went into posited their valuables in a safe deposit box that you can take advantage of and so if you came into a large inheritance, are you suddenly found yourself with more money than you know what to do with you either kept in your house. Where anybody could break in and steal or you went and you buried it and a lot of stories from this time. Feature somebody going out finding treasure getting suddenly rich on it Jesus Taps into that kind of common cultural thing of his day and he tells his own hidden treasure Parable and this is why I say we shouldn't try to nitpick Parables because we could say hate, you know, this guy's kind of dishonest ready finds this she's walking through a field that he doesn't own he finds this treasure that he doesn't own but he covers it up and doesn't tell the owner about it and goes and buys a field in Jesus saying we should be dishonest in our pursuit of treasure chest. No, no, that's not what Jesus is saying. He's not making an ethical points here. He's not saying that we ought to not tell owners of property until we get our hands on it right? He's saying look there is something in this world. Represented in Christ and represented in his kingdom that is worth you giving everything up for that's what the man. Does he stumbles over this right whether he was plowing the field and his plow all kind of catches the edge of the treasure chest or he's just walking me kinds of seize the corner of it sticking up out of the ground. He just stumbled into this. But he recognizes the value of what he's found and he's willing to give up every other thing he has on Earth in order to secure this treasure. The second Parables kind of like that as well right that this pearl of great price, but here instead of a guy kind of stumbling over something you have this person who is Desperately Seeking this thing out right a merchant a dealer in fine pearls. This is what he's looking for. And when he finds that Pearl he's willing to give everything he has for it now in Jesus's day everything he has for it could have been quite significant roles were the rarest and I know saw that really a gym technically, but you know what? I mean when I say that right it was the most valuable form. Of wealth was it was a pro? We think of diamonds, right? We think of we think of things like that we can go that's that's that's what you need. You need a big diamond knowing that day. It was it was pearls they were valued over no cultivated pearls, right? This is the only way you can get a parole was the old-fashioned way. All right, and so they had a great amount of Value as a matter of fact, there was a Roman general who we read about in the pages of History who financed an entire campaign in entire military campaign off of selling one of his mom's pearl earrings. He sold one earring and was able to take an army for a year and go and wage war off of the value of that one Pearl. Do you need to understand? What this Merchant is searching for here is the thing of greatest value and then amongst the pearls. This is the pearl of great just value and he's Desperately Seeking it. So whether you stumble over it or whether you're seeking it when you come across Christ and when you come across the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus says it is worth everything you have. It's called discipleship.
This is what Christ is calling us to to Value him and value his kingdom more than we value anything else in the world. The big idea behind both of these Parables is the exact same idea whether you're seeking it or not when you find the kingdom it's worth you giving up everything for that's discipleship. So we need to break down. What is discipleship? What does it mean? And we we kind of have glossed over discipleship quite a bit in our modern-day. We're so focused on what is it me, how do I get saved? We don't think about what does it mean to follow Christ discipleship means giving up everything for Jesus? There's a reason why when we baptized we say this is a symbol of somebody being lowered into the grave and raise back out when we put somebody in a casket and we bury their body after they're dead before come on guys. When we bury someone in the ground in their casket. What do they own?
nothing If somebody dies and they have a will they have some direction of where their stuff goes, but if they die and they don't have a will guess what they still don't own it. They don't get to retain title to it. Even though they didn't give it away their dead. They have no more ownership of it coming to Christ. Is dying to yourself. Discipleship means giving up everything for Jesus. We are lowered in the symbol of baptism because we're dead and we've been raised to walk in New Life Dietrich Bonhoeffer German Theologian killed in to the Nazis back in 1945 Dietrich Bonhoeffer said when Christ calls a man he bids him come and die. The statement of Jesus coming follow me is a statement that calls from us a giving of everything and that is discipleship to give up everything for Jesus. If we're going to do that, we have to Value Christ in his kingdom more than anything else. We have to be like that man walking through the field recognizing disc treasure is worth everything that I have. I will sell everything. I will give everything I will turn everything over to other ownership so that I can have this the kingdom like that Merchant searching for that thing. What is it that's going to be worth everything. Some of you are Searchers some of you have questioned some of you want to know the answers to those questions and you are seeking truth you tell you you are seeking Christ whether you know it or not because Christ is the one who is worth you giving everything for Discipleship means giving up everything for Jesus if we're going to give up everything for Jesus. We have to Value him more than anything else in the world more than our addictive substance more than I am 13 minutes more than our cell phones more than our jobs more than our money discipleship means giving everything up for Jesus and we have to Value Christ and his kingdom more than anything like this Merchant like this man, but we need to get it to our heads. It is not in a sense of great trepidation and foreboding that they give up everything here. I want you to look back at the passage with me real quick verse 44. How much do the Kingdom's like a treasure in a field which man found a covered up then? 3 words in his Joy In his Joy he went and sold all that he had and buys that field. in his Joy There's another story that Jesus tells about a man. Who came to him and said teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus ask him a couple questions kind of repairs the ground and then he says here's the only thing you got to do give up everything to follow me and that man went away sad for he had great possessions. When we try to Value the things of this world and to Value Christ at the same time, the things of this world will always pull us away. And the call of Christ will always bring us sadness. That's not discipleship discipleship is Joy giving up everything for Jesus is the joyful response of the person who is found the greatest treasure ever. It's so if it comes to you and your money and every time you think about Jesus saying I'm in control of this. It causes you sadness you have to ask the question am I a disciple of Christ? Do I find joy in obeying the commands of Christ? Do I find joy and submitting my life to Christ? Because the man who finds the treasure in his Joy goes and sells everything he has. In Acts chapter 2 in and Acts chapter 4 we have a description of the early church. These these first Believers in the gospel. They've seen the Risen Christ. They've heard the testimony of the Risen Christ and now they are living together as the reanimated people of God. And you know the emotion that marks them Joy. They would sell all that they had to make sure that none of their brothers or sisters was in need and we look at that and be like all that just work for them.
Know that works everywhere that the spirit of God moves that works everywhere where disciples are following Christ and it is joy to do whatever he asks discipleship is joy. And this joy as I've said is available not just to those of us who earnestly seeking it it's available to those who stumble over it. Regular people who give their lives to a search for truth and they come to Christ and they find fulfillment of all of their deepest Desires in Christ. CS Lewis was one such CS Lewis was pursuing truth and he wanted the truth more than anything else and he came to Christ not joyfully coming, but joyfully leaving.
That is the big spirits that people have we seek truth when we find it in Christ. We find joy, but some of you are not Seekers some of your not asking questions, and you don't know how you showed up here this morning, but you woke up you were in your bed, and then the next thing, you know, you're here and there's some dude up on a stage talking to you. If that's you and your like, how did I get here? What's going on? You're here because you're stumbling over the truth of the Kingdom. Jesus is worth everything that you have every hope every desire every longing that you have will find its fulfillment in Christ if you let it if you submit to him as Lord Discipleship is not just for the super Christians. Discipleship is for everyone who finds the joy the surpassing joy of knowing God in Christ Jesus. That is discipleship. so
money relationships substances entertainments, whatever it is.
If you really want to know what is valuable look at Christ look at his kingdom. So what is this mean though, very specifically since we've been talking about money for the last 2 weeks. We're finishing up today. What is this mean very specifically for how we view money. I want to challenge you. This is very Contra to everything that you've ever heard as an American. Your Society has told you something vastly different from what I'm about to say. So let's take this passage the talks about discipleship. Let's a pliant to money and think about how does this change our view of money? The first thing is that money must be included in our discipleship. Money must be included in our discipleship. We don't have the freedom just because we're rich Americans in the top 1% of the world's wealthy just because that's us it does not give us a pass. I'm submitting even our finances to Christ. We don't get to come to Christ and say hi Jesus. Here's the deal. You save me and in return. I'll let you decide how I dress. I'll let you decide. You know, what substances I consume. I'll let you decide who I hang out with all even let you decide what I spend my morning time doing I leave instead of you were in the morning God, but the only thing I ask is. Just leave my money alone.
Apparently we miss somewhere the whole follow Jesus thing. There's actually a story about this where a man comes to Jesus and he says Jesus. I want to follow you. But first I need to go take care of some things.
Geez, I want to follow you but not in this area. I'm willing to do what you say, but not over here in Jesus says. Yeah, that doesn't work. The disciple doesn't determine the nature of this relationship the master determines the nature of the relationship and if we go to Jesus and we withhold our money and put my life in every area except this one it's as if we've given him control of nothing. Whatever we reserve from Jesus whatever we reserve from submitting to him. Is the thing that will keep us from following him is the thing that will keep us from knowing him. It has to be surrender and it has to be complete and when we surrender completely we recognize something far from being this painful onuris burden that we've been placed under now all of a sudden when I use my money for the kingdom. It's not a painful sacrifice. It's a joyful gain. Time and time again, we read this in the in the Bible that to give is the source of joy for God's people that when we use our money for Kingdom purposes, what we feel is not the pain of letting go of something that's valuable to us, but the joy of gaining something that is most valuable to us when we use our money for Kingdom purposes. Our emotion is one of joy And I'm not going to ask for a show of hands, but I am going to ask you to do something. Okay, if you have a testimony about the joy that you found in giving would you do something and encouraged me this week by sending me an email with that story? If you don't want to send me an email, just give me a phone call this week and tell me get let me hear what God has done in your life because this is a continual struggle for me. My temptation is to view giving as that painful sacrifice and not to recognize it for the joy that it is. It's a one way that you can encourage one of your pastors. This week is to send me an email saying this is how I found joy by submitting my money to Christ. This is where I found joy in being able to give up things that are valuable for that which is most valuable. I would love to hear some of those stories this week. It is a joyful gain when we use money for the kingdom we talked about that last week was storing up Treasures in Heaven not storing up Treasures on Earth. It is to your benefit. It is to your joy when you follow Christ in the area of finances.
3rd when you find that Joy. Your money takes on in a whole different thing in your mind your money becomes something else when you find that Joy money no longer matters, except as a tool for the kingdom money no longer motivates, you money no longer drives you you're no longer willing to sacrifice your family to sacrifice your friends or your co-workers for your pursuit of this thing because you recognize that what matters is the kingdom money is just a tool to expand it money is just a tool for the kingdom and you change the way that you look at it instead of being something to cheer to spend on your own desires. It becomes something that you spend furthering the work of Christ Kingdom. money
This is this is the reality of the world that we live in guys it cost money to live. I'm 90% convinced that if the government could tax the air we breathe they would I'm not entirely certain they haven't started doing that already actually. Yeah, that's what I was thinking.
It cost money to live it cost money to take the gospel overseas this week. I heard about a need in it in another country where it there are a group of pastors are saying we want somebody to come and to teach us the word of God. Do you know how to get from here to Uganda without spending money?
I miss you a much better swimmer than I am. That is. Boat plane train automobile doesn't matter to get there from here requires money. To send a missionary whether they're going across the state or across the world cost money. To be able to print gospel materials cost money.
Travel to do just about anything to expand the Kingdom cost money requires an investment from his people if it doesn't cost money at Cost time. Those two things are always required of Kingdom work time and money. And so when your perspective changes on giving and use your perspective changes on money and you start thinking this is what I want to use my my money for this what I really want to use. Let me rephrase that the money God has entrusted me the money that God has entrusted me with I want to use it for Kingdom purposes. When you begin to see Kingdom Purpose is all over the place you begin to see opportunities to use what God has given you to further the kingdom whether that's sending a missionary or blessing a neighbor. You start looking at it differently because when we use money as a tool for the kingdom. others find joy
other stumble over the kingdom when we use our money to take the kingdom to them others who have been seeking the kingdom for years come into contact with a missionary who can tell them the gospel because we reallocated the finances. God has given us to prioritize kingdoms things. That's what happened. So our joy in giving becomes their joy in receiving the gospel. All joy and saying this money is for Kingdom purposes becomes the joy of those who enter the kingdom for the first time.
Let me ask you to consider your next purchase. Jesus is not against you having a TV in your house. He might be. Synopsis Siri is not against us having cars to drive or houses to live in or close to where is a matter fact. He says this is an essential thing that you do with the money. I've entrusted to you take care of the needs in your life. But when it comes to those things that are not needs like TVs like new cars, I want to ask you to consider something. Would that money? Be better served for a Kingdom Purpose.
And maybe it is maybe that car serves a kingdom purpose for you. Maybe that TV is what you're going to gather a group of friends around to watch a bible study on right now media and talk about it. But maybe it's just where you're going to go and waste 20 hours a week of your life on Netflix or Sports guys and want to leave you out. Or hunting shows, you know, whatever it is your thing. We have to reconsider whether or not our temporary pleasure is worth someone else's Eternal Joy. Because when we devote our finances to Kingdom purposes other people can find Kingdom joy that they would have had no access to and I don't say this again. I don't say this for Red Hills as benefit. I say this for your benefit I say this because what I want each of us to experience when Christ comes back and when we enter into eternity with him, I want each of us to have this experience to meet somebody who looks nothing. Like we look who talks nothing. Like we talked and yet who comes up and says you didn't know it but because you sacrificed financially. I entered into the kingdom.
I want that to be the case. God does not give us the incredible resources. He's given us as an American church as American people. He does not give us those resources. So that as his been said by many other so that we can increase our standard of living. He gives us that so we can increase our standard of giving. Because when we give to Kingdom purposes, we impact Eternity for others we could use that money to impact our temporary world or we can use it to impact others eternity to think about that. And here's here's what I want to challenge you with. All right. So so one of our college students and if you don't know him, I'm going to put them on the spot cuz he really likes being on the spot. Tim Shoemaker Tim came to me said hey, man, he said so there's this church in Ohio that I was part of and they do something really really cool. They do something called rice and beans week. rice and beans week how many of you know what rice and beans week is
is this like an Ohio Illinois conspiracy or something that you just kept from the rest of the country?
Rice and beans with here's my challenge. This is not a formal Red Hills thing. This is something I'm challenging each of you individually to commit yourselves to over the next week. I want you to think about how much do I spend in food every week? How much do I spend in food every week breakfast lunch dinner snacks dessert ice cream coffee, you know? Okay, then I want you to figure what would it. What would it look like? What would my budget be if I eat rice and beans all week in place of what I normally eat. I want you to take those two totals what I normally spend what I would spend if I ate rice and beans and I want you to say whatever that's whatever that result is. Want you to say my goal is to give that towards Kingdom purposes this week. in the next seven days, I will give that to or if you're a broke college student save up this weekend in the following week give that Whether you actually eat rice and beans for every meal or you just calculate that total. I want you to take a personal challenge. Everybody won't take it somebody next to you might not. But if you would I would challenges I think some cool things could happen as a result. If we said you know, what I'm going to do that I'm going to take my food budget. I'm going to say, where's my rice and beans budget. There's the number I'm going to give that to a Kingdom Purpose now some of you may be wondering what what Kingdom Purpose would I give it to? Here's some ideas is there only ideas I would encourage you to ask the Lord to lead you the first thing I would encourage you to do is to think about a missionary that you know. Who might be incredibly blessed to receive that gift and for whom that gift may meet a need at the precise right time? That would be one way that you could do this. Maybe you could give it to a local charity. But give it anonymously in Jesus name. Not yours. Right, we're not looking for another tax write-off. We're wanting to demonstrate to Christ. Hey you own All of Me even my money. Right give it to a local charity give it to a friend or neighbor or co-worker for you who you know has a need. Do you know is facing some bills and they've talked to you about that at lunch and they said look, I don't know what we're going to do about this. Maybe you're the answer to that question. Maybe God has placed you there for precisely that purpose to share that with him and say this is because Christ loved me enough to give everything for me. I'm willing to give this to you. Whatever it is, whatever idea here. Is that your last resort option. Your last resort option is to designated to Missions at Red Hills. This is not something I would normally call a last-resort option. Except it for some of you it is incredibly too easy to drop a check into a plate and give it you know, just kind of I'm giving to missions and we'll let the church kind of figured out know the purpose here is in this challenges. I want you to connect to what God is doing in the world. And if the way you guys do that is to designate it to Missions at Red Hills go for it. But if that's your easiest option, don't do it. Find a personal connection go above and beyond outside of your normal to say Jesus. You have all of the so rice and beans challenge. Now if all of you eat rice and beans every meal this week.
Some of you shouldn't eat just rice and beans this week. Actually lets let's to do that but it's all of you did that. Can you imagine what kingdom impact that would have just that one week taking that challenge and saying yes Lord. You have my finances. Now I also don't want you to get from that. I do this one week and then I'm kind of like free and clear and then I can go back to doing whatever I want with my money again. Now if you take that challenge, I want this to become a lifestyle where you say, what is it that I can shift in my life that will prioritize the kingdom impact of the money. God has given me to manage. What is it that I can change my focus change my spending so that the kingdom is impacted in somebody's eternity is changed not just tomorrow not just next week, but every single week of my life, where can I find the joy that comes from giving everything to Christ?
That's what I hope for us. That's what I want for us to be a people of joy to handle God's money God's way to not control it for her own purposes, but give it to his purpose when we do we will find Joy but but
you have to have Christ as your greatest treasure. If you're going to do this.