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Freedom From Financial Bondage

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God does not want his children to be in bondage to anything. But the sad truth is that many Christians are in financial bondage. Jesus died to set you free from bondage to anything that might control your life but Him. God is concerned about every area of your life and weather or not it keeps you in bondage.

Few other areas of life have the potential for putting the believer into bondage then do their finances. An old Jewish proverb says: A penny will hide the biggest star in the universe if you hold it close enough to your eye. In other words, many — including too many Christians — have become blinded by money.

Jesus talked a great deal about money. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions. In the Gospels, an amazing one out of 10 verses deal directly with the subject of money. The Bible offers 500 verse on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions. So it must be pretty important, wouldn’t you say?

In the next few moments let me share with you some biblical insights into managing you money and how to keep free from financial bondage.

I. GOD’S PRINCIPLES FOR YOUR FINANCES

          1. the bible speaks of four principles concerning money

A. THE BIBLE TELLS US ABOUT MAKING MONEY

          1. God has something to say about how you make your money
            • Jeremiah 17:11 “Like a bird hatching an egg it did not lay, so are the people who get rich by cheating. When their lives are half finished, they will lose their riches. At the end of their lives, it will be clear they were fools.” NCV
              1. translations — you are to earn money honestly
                • ILLUS. The poet John Masefield once wrote a little ditty that says: O Lord, the sin, Done for the things there's money in.
              2. "The reason many folks don't recognize opportunity when it comes there way is cause it mostly goes a round wearing overalls and looking just like hard work."
          2. the bible tells us we are to make money honestly

B. THE BIBLE TELLS US ABOUT LOVING MONEY

          1. no where in the bible does God condemn money or material wealth
          2. God does condemn our love of money or material wealth — especially when they become more important to us then our worship of Him
            • Ecclesiastes 5:10 “Whoever loves money will never have enough money; Whoever loves wealth will not be satisfied with it. This is also useless.” NCV
            • ILLUS. William Barclay, the great Scottish pastor and theologian, once said of money: Money in itself is neither good nor bad; it is simply dangerous in that the love of it may become bad. With money a man can do much good; and with money he can do much evil. With money a man can selfishly serve his own desires; and with money he can generously answer to the cry of his neighbor's need. With money a man can buy his way to the forbidden things and facilitate the path of wrongdoing; and with money he can make it easier for someone else to live as God meant him to live. Money brings power, and power is always a double-edged thing, for it is powerful to good and powerful to evil.
            • 1 Timothy 6:9-10 “Those who want to become rich bring temptation to themselves and are caught in a trap. They want many foolish and harmful things that ruin and destroy people.10 The love of money causes all kinds of evil. Some people have left the faith, because they wanted to get more money, but they have caused themselves much sorrow.” NCV
          3. the Bible warns us about loving money

C. THE BIBLE TELLS US ABOUT WASTING MONEY

          1. in the story of the Prodigal Son Jesus tells us that the young man squandered his wealth in wild living
          2. in many of His parables Jesus talks about servants who are intrusted with wealth by their rich master
              1. those who invest the money intrusted to them are praised and rewarded
              2. those who waste the money intrusted to them by hiding or hoarding it are condemned
          3. you see friends, God is not only concerned about the tithes and offerings that you bring to Him in worship
              1. He is also interested in what you do the material wealth that you keep
          4. some of you are going to say, “Aw, preacher. I don’t waste my money on sinful or stupid things like that Prodigal Son did.”
              1. oh yea? How many of you bought a Pet Rock back in the seventies?
              2. or a Rubic’s Cube (that will never be right again)?
              3. or a lottery ticket?
          5. the bible warns us about wasting money

D. THE BIBLE TELLS US ABOUT MISUSING MONEY

          1. the Scriptures seriously condemn those who have been blessed with this world’s material wealth and who do not share it with those who have not been so blessed
            • James 5:1-6 “You rich people, listen! Cry and be very sad because of the troubles that are coming to you.2 Your riches have rotted, and your clothes have been eaten by moths.3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and that rust will be a proof that you were wrong. It will eat your bodies like fire. You saved your treasure for the last days.4 The pay you did not give the workers who mowed your fields cries out against you, and the cries of the workers have been heard by the Lord All-Powerful.5 Your life on earth was full of rich living and pleasing yourselves with everything you wanted. You made yourselves fat, like an animal ready to be killed.6 You have judged guilty and then murdered innocent people, who were not against you.” NCV
          2. in this passage, the Apostle James is referring to rich folks who have poor folks working for them
              1. the rich folks are socking it away, preparing for the last days — i.e. retirement!
              2. in doing so they have not given the conditions of the less fortunate around them a second thought
          3. in the Old Testament, God commanded His people to be generous to those who are facing hard times
            • Deuteronomy 15:11 “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” NIV
            • ILLUS. Martin Luther, the father of the Reformation, once said, “God divided the hands into fingers so that money could slip through.”
              1. one of the great Christian examples of a believer being openhanded to the poor is John Wesley
                • ILLUS. John Wesley was a professor at Oxford University. When he was elected a fellow of the college, his financial status changed dramatically. His position usually paid him at least £30 a year—more than enough money for a single man to live on. He enjoyed his relative prosperity while teaching, and spent his money on playing cards, tobacco, and brandy. One incident that happened to him at Oxford changed is perspective on money. One of the university’s chambermaids came to his door. It was a Winter day and he noticed that she had only a thin linen gown to wear for protection against the cold. He reached into his pocket to give her some money for a coat, and found he had little left. It struck him that the Lord was not pleased with how he had spent his money. As a result of this incident, in 1731 Wesley began to limit his expenses so he would have more money to give to the poor. He records that one year his income was £30, and his living expenses £28, so he had £2 to give away. The next year his income doubled, but he still lived on £28 and gave £32 away. In the third year his income jumped to £90, again he lived on £28, giving £62 away. The fourth year he made £120, lived again on £28 and gave £92 to the poor.
          4. the bible tells us that we are misusing our finances when we use them only for ourselves

II. GOD’S PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE AND YOUR FINANCES

          1. let me ask you a question this morning, “What is your basic purpose in life as a believer?
              1. the answer is pretty simple, It is to glorify God in all that you do
          2. there is no area of life that should be excluded — including your finances and material wealth
              1. for the Christian, all of life falls under the Lordship of Jesus Christ — this includes money matters
          3. what are some practical attitudes the Christian should have toward wealth and possessions?

A. BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE

    • 1 Timothy 6:6-8 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” NIV
          1. we live in a culture that has an enormous appetite for “things”
          2. believers often get caught up and swept along with the philosophical tide of materialism
              1. that philosophy is, “old” is bad, “new” is better and the popular adage He who dies with the most toys, wins
          3. Paul’s advise to be content does not rule out ambition and the desire to produce wealth and gain property
              1. he does condemn selfish ambition and says that it is an act of the sinful nature and an indicator that one has not had a true conversion to Christ, Jesus
          4. why does Paul urge us to be content with the basics of life?
              1. because you can’t take it with you!
                • ILLUS. John D. Rockefeller, Sr. was one of the wealthiest men in the world when he died. His estate was estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In today’s money it would have been billions of dollars. One day, someone asked Rockefeller’s chief accountant: “How much did John D. leave? We know he was an immensely wealthy man.” Without a moment’s hesitation, the accountant answered, “Everything!”
              2. Jesus warned His disciples that if we are not careful, that money can turn into our master
              3. and when money becomes our master, Jesus is not
                • Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters. The servant will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly riches.” NCV
          5. one of the great secrets to wisely managing your finances is learning how to be content

B. DON’T GET BOGGED DOWN IN DEBT

          1. nowadays people can be divided into three classes according to their finances:
              1. there are the Haves
              2. there are the Have-Nots
              3. and there are the Have-Not-Paid-for-What-They-Haves
          2. debt is something the bible warns us about and something the Christian should be very careful about
              1. the reason believers are to be so very careful about getting bogged down in debt is because it has a negative impact upon your spiritual life
                  1. debt causes stress, anxiety, and worry and keeps the believer’s heart from being fully turned toward God
              2. debt places a strain on family relationships
              3. debt can cause you to become resentful of others who seem to have no money problems
              4. debt ultimately hurts the testimony of the Christian
                  1. it is difficult to declare to the world that you are trusting God to meet all your needs and to be deeply in debt at the same time — it destroys your credibility
          3. there are two schools of thought regarding debt and the believer
              1. the first is that any debt is sinful and for the Christian a violation of the commandment in Romans 13:8 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” KJV
                • ILLUS. R.J. Rushdoony is an advocate of this school of thought. He writes: Debt rests on covetousness, a desire to possess what our neighbor has, even though we lack his means. As a result of covetousness, the slave desires to possess a home, car, furnishings, and clothing which he sees the wealthy possessing, and his means of securing these things is debt. The believer who avoids debt declares . . . that he refuses to be a slave, refuses to be covetous, acknowledges that the earth is the Lord’s and man also, and, therefore, that life can be lived only in terms of God’s law. The Christian cannot mortgage himself or his future: it is God’s, not his own.
              2. the second school of thought about debt teaches that borrowing is not sinful, but should be seriously weighed before doing
                  1. this second interpretation has not so much to do with borrowing, but everything to do with repaying
                    • Psalm 37:21 “The wicked borrow and do not repay,” NIV
                  2. debt is when you find yourself in financial bondage because you outgo exceeds your income (which is usually a result of our desires over-ruling common sense)
                  3. how do you know you have a serious problem with debt?
                      1. you can’t pay bills as they come due
                      2. you start putting off the payment of one bill in order to pay another
                      3. you feel pressure regarding you bills
                      4. you become worried about how you will pay your bills
                      5. you start looking for quick fixes or quick ways out of your debt — like gambling or playing the lottery or even taking a second or third job
                  4. there is one basic rule of thumb about debt that the Christian needs to remember — if you don’t feel at ease and confident when you look at your financial situation, you’ve probably got a debt problem
          4. most people jump quickly to the conclusion that the primary solution for their debt is to earn more money
              1. that is not always the case
              2. the truth is, unless you change your habits and attitudes that got you into debt in the first place, an increase in income isn’t likely to resolve your problem
                • ILLUS. Larry Burkett said that one of the best things to do when in debt is to preheat the oven to 400 degrees and then put your credit cards in it. Then mail the cards back to their respective companies and ask them to mail you no more.
          5. one of the great secrets to wisely managing your finances is not getting bogged down in debt

C. BE A GOOD STEWARD OF ALL YOU OWN AND EARN

          1. being a good Christian steward means giving your tithes and your offerings
              1. I believe that giving the tithe — or 10% — of your income to your church and other Christian causes is the minimum to which Christian love will stoop to
              2. in Old Testament times it was considered a sin to come into the house of worship without an offering
                  1. God’s people were not to approach God empty handed
              3. if you are not giving your tithes and offering to God, you are not handling your finances well
          2. being a good Christian steward means understanding why you earn money in the first place
            • Ephesians 4:28 “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” NIV
              1. most believers I know have no problem with the first clause of that verse
                  1. you’re not a thief and you do not rob from the work place
          3. most believers I know have no problem with the second clause of that verse
                  1. just about everyone here this morning works and does something useful with their hands
              1. it’s that third clause that so many believer wince at
                  1. here is the revolutionary Christian concept of labor — we do it for the benefit of others!
                  2. for our families first, but also so that we might have something to share with those in need
                    • ILLUS. In the Hollywood musical Hello Dolly Barbara Streisand plays the part of professional matchmaker Dolly Levi who sets out to catch herself a husband. In one of the lines from the movie, Dolly says to Horace Vandergelder — her husband to be — “Money is like manure: If you spread it around, it does a world of good; but if you pile it up, it stinks to high heaven.”
          4. one of the great secrets to wisely managing your finances is to be a good steward of all you have — which means being generous with your money

Jesus said that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Matt. 6:21).

The world asks, "What does a man own?"; Christ asks, 'How does he use it?”

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