Faithlife Sermons


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(Monday A.M.) Just read your mother's email. I assume she wrote you, too; if not I'll fill you in. This is day 18 of the 20 days of Medicare paying the bill. She says the supplement insurance has kicked in now. PTL!

Praying that our LORD will go against the giants tomorrow and give us in His mercy the leaders that will honor Him; we have no power to go against this "army" but He does! Praising Him for His grace and mercy!

This morning in class we were discussing Ahab's coveting Naboth's vineyard and from there to the Christian's attitude toward money, time, toys, and property--how we get caught up in the values of our world.God gave me what I needed in preparation. Tonight I was reading in Matthew.6:19-34 and wondered about the "eye" and light and darkness so turned to my commentaries from IVPress. John Stott and Michael Green commented on the passage. From there I got into the related passage on how we see money. I gleaned fthe following from Green's, The Message of Matthew, pp. 103-105. It was special to me so I thought I would share it with you. Save it for when you have time.

"Michael Green is an international evangelist and senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, England. As a pastor, author and lecturer, he has taught and preached the New Testament for many years."

"[God and money]... are rival affections. Money, the ancients came to see, is like sea-water. The more you drink of it the thirstier you get. .....In May 1987 Time magazine came out with an issue all about the corruption in high places brought about by wrongly placed priorities. 'Whatever happened to Ethics?' was splashed across the cover. ....Money possesses a terrible power to corrupt. Believers must make sure that they are not overcome by it. And yet they are.

"There are few areas where the standards of the world have so invaded the church as in this area of money. Christian giving is frequently at an abysmal standard, and when it rises to 10% or so, there is often the implicit or explicit assumption that God will bless you in financial terms for what you give. It is very convenient to forget that the preacher of this Sermon was penniless and remained that way until devotion to God drove him to a cross of wood. He practised what he preached. He did not try to serve God and Money. William Barclay makes an interesting point. 'Mammon' has a Hebrew root which means 'entrust'. Mammon was the wealth people entrusted to bankers to keep safe for them. But as the years went on, Mammon came to mean not that which is entrusted but that in which people put their trust. God entrusted us with all we have.[Me: 1Cor. 4:7] It is the supreme treason to prize the gift above the donor. This generation is accountable at this point. Things that have been entrusted to us by God  to support us have become, in effect, our god. Disciples are marked out clearly by their attitude to money.

"Closely allied to the theme of money is worry (6:25-34). On the whole, the more money people have, the more anxious care they expend on how to keep it, increase it, and stop others stealing it. Secular people are preoccupied with their lives and bodies (25), and in particular with three areas which Jesus takes as examples: food, drink and clothes. Disciples should stand out in sharp contrast. We should not be consumed by merimna, anxious care, over these things.

"Worry is not a weakness....It is a sin that is strictly forbidden. R.H. Mounce says, 'Worry is practical atheism and an affront to God', and Jesus gives good reasons for the truth of this.

"Worry is unnecessary, even for the hardworking. Nobody works harder for a living than a bird, but birds do not worry.........

"Worry is useless. Anxious care cannot add a single hour to life (27; or, as helikia may be translated, 'a few centimetres to height'). The past cannot be changed; the future cannot be charted. So worry about them is useless and debilitating.

"Worry is blind. It refuses to learn the lessons of God's providence taught us by the birds and flowers. Short-lived as they are, in their quiet dependence on their environment they display that 'peace' that should mark believers who know that behind their environment there is a loving heavenly Father.

"Worry is essentially a failure to trust God. And for disciples to be of little faith (30) hurts God  greatly. It means we do not trust him, and that is always grievous. It means that we do not put him first, but instead all these things (33) come first.....

"...What of the hardship of believers? Is Jesus being unfeeling and unrealistic here? No. He himself knew the pinch of near-starvation and was to taste in his flesh the bite of cruel nails. But these things did not rob him of his loving trust in his heavenly Father, whose overarching providence would not allow anything to befall him which was not, in the last analysis, for good.That analysis might not be apparent until eternity, but it could be relied on, and it still can. For it depends on the faithfulness of God to his creation......After all, we follow a crucified Messiah and cannot expect a bed of roses. We were never promised one. What we are promised is the endless, unremitting, detailed, loving care of the Father over every aspect of our lives....."

What a challenge! We are in "process", and praise God He has promised to complete the work He has begun in us!

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