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Gods Rival: Money - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
January 6, 2022 7:00 am

Gods Rival: Money - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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January 6, 2022 7:00 am

Finding contentment in what God has provided for us.

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. He's not talking about planning. He's not talking about investing. He's not talking about hard work.

In fact, in the Old Testament, in the wisdom literature, they use the ant as a perfect example of how hard work pays off. He's not talking about that. What he's talking about here completely is this idea of priority. That to him becomes the most important thing. So he said, don't do this. Don't store up for yourselves treasures on earth. His reason behind it seems to be pretty clear. It's always temporary. Of course, that's the case.

Don't store up because it's always, with no exceptions, temporary. Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt. Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's Word meets our world. After all these years of studying the Word of God, there have been some things that have surprised me. One of the things that really surprises me is this whole idea of sometimes how few verses in the Bible deal with really important subjects.

And other times how other subjects get a whole lot more attention than what I would think it would be to do them. For example, if you looked at the term prayer in the Bible, there's about, in the whole Bible, about 500 verses that deal with this idea of prayer. There's a little less than 500 verses that deal with faith, so you think faith and prayer are pretty big subjects. But one subject in the Bible has over 2,000 references and verses that deal with one subject in the Bible, money. 2,000 references to money. Jesus taught 38 parables in the New Testament. Sixteen of those are devoted to money.

You're left with a question here as to why. Why is there so many verses dealing with money? And I believe that it's because there are very few tangible things that can absolutely reveal your relationship with God clearer than money. In fact, money is often, especially in our culture, but all cultures, money is often for many believers the main rival to God.

There may be no greater idol of all time than the idol of money. And Jesus wants to address that. So open your Bibles to Matthew chapter 6 and verse 19. Matthew 6 and verse 19. He has dealt with subjects like giving and praying and fasting so far in this chapter, but now he's going to get somewhere and go somewhere else completely. And he's going to start out here with a commandment. He says, do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth. It's a commandment. It's imperative mood.

It's a present tense. Keep on doing this. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth. Now, please understand as he goes through this section, what Jesus is not talking about. He's not talking about planning. He's not talking about investing. He's not talking about hard work.

In fact, in the Old Testament, in the wisdom literature, they use the ant as a perfect example of how hard work pays off. He's not talking about that. What he's talking about here completely is this idea of priority. That, to him, becomes the most important thing. So he said, don't do this. Don't store up for yourselves treasures on earth. His reason behind it seems to be pretty clear. It's always temporary. Of course, that's the case.

Don't store up because it's always, with no exceptions, temporary. He said, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. Now, it's interesting here that the term that he uses here for treasure is a term that the French used it in France, and we use it in English, directly from the Greek. The Greek word is thesaurus.

And you've heard of Roget's thesaurus. A thesaurus is a treasury of words. And so he says, do not store up for yourself a treasure.

Now, it's a little different. The Greek word thesaurus means a little bit more than just simply treasure. It also has the idea behind it of sort of like stacking or hoarding. He said, don't do that. And then he gives his reason, and when he gives it, it's kind of an interesting reason because he said it's always temporary.

Now, you'll notice the first thing he said is that it's where moth will destroy. In the day of Jesus, there's only certain ways in any culture you can show your wealth. In Jesus' day, one of the great ways to show your wealth is the clothes you wear. Your clothes will let everybody know how much money you have. Most people didn't have many clothes. One or two inner, one or two outer garments, and that's it. But people were thrill money.

They wanted to show it off with their wealth. Their favorite fabric to use clearly, even though it's very hot in that part of the world, is wool. Okay, you wanted wool garments. And if you really had money, all the stitching on your garments is gold. They would turn gold into stitching like thread, and if you saw someone in a wool garment and they had gold stitching, they're loaded.

That's the point. The only thing that was against it was, moths love wool. And so the moths would end up eating the wool, and it would destroy it. The next term he uses is rust. And I thought, wait a minute, rust? I thought rust started when we started manufacturing cars in America. I thought, that's rust. But that's not exactly what the Greek term means.

What the Greek term means is something that consumes something else. The rust he's talking about, another way you can show your wealth in Jesus' world, was grain. Remember the guy had said he had so much money, he didn't know what to do with it, so he'd build more barns so that he could all store his grain so he wouldn't know how much money he had. Well, rats come and eat all the grain. So they would destroy it.

They would consume it, as would termites or worms or all those other kind of things that consume things. And then he said, and by the way, the old stable one, where thieves come in and steal. Any time there's someone who has anything that's worth stealing, someone usually tries. That's just the way this whole thing works.

And he said, look, I don't want you to do that. Now, the reason he's addressing this whole issue is simple. We think that the prosperity doctrine that we see all over our country today just started here in America. The prosperity doctrine's been around a couple thousand years. The Pharisees had a different version of it than today. It wasn't like if you have enough faith, you can get anything you want.

That's sort of the day. The Pharisees had a different view. The Pharisees' view was to the greater degree that you keep the law. To whatever degree you keep the law, God will give you wealth.

So if you really keep the law, you're going to get really wealthy. And that's how the Pharisees saw this more as a scheme in that sense. Jesus wants to point out that that's not right. So he says, do not store up for yourself. And then he says again, now I'm going to give you another commandment. He says, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. So he says again, in imperative mood, commandment, you need to store up something in heaven. In other words, what Jesus is saying in this way is you can take it with you. You see, that's what he's trying to say.

Whatever you got, you can take it with you forever in heaven. Now, is he talking only about money? No, I don't think so. I think he's talking about all the resources that God has given us. Is money one of them? Yes.

Is time one of them? Yes. You say, how about our talents? Our gifts? Yes. He said, you can actually invest all those in things that you can take to heaven with you. So he's making his analogy and he said, and they can't be destroyed no matter what.

There's nothing you can do about that. Let me give you an example of that. John Wesley, the great Methodist evangelist in England had an enormously long ministry. He was preaching two, three, four, five times a week to various audiences through England for decade after decade after decade. He was in high demand. He was in so high a demand that he actually would take his sermon notes and publish them and they were bought and sold all over England and Europe. People wanted to read or pastors wanted to use the sermons of Wesley. And one of his critics would say to him, Wesley is a mercenary. He makes enormous amounts of money from all the different congregations he speaks to and from his sermon notes.

He makes an enormous amount of money and that's why he does this. Eventually, after a long life of ministry, Wesley died. So when Wesley died, his critics couldn't wait to see what his net worth was. And all the savings that Wesley had in the whole world were 28 pounds. Everything else he gave away. Every other thing. He invested in heaven. A whole different way of looking at wealth from that point of view.

So Wesley is the perfect example. Now, what's interesting is that he says that this is the only real security that you have. He said because notice, moth or rust or thieves, they can't do anything about this. In 1 Peter 1 for Peter says, our inheritance, which is imperishable and undefiled, will not fade away and it's reserved in heaven for you. So he says, look, you can do this. You can invest in heaven. But he also knows there's a problem with us.

You don't want to. That's our big problem. So he goes right to the source. For where your treasure is, that's where your heart's going to be also.

Wow. For where your treasure is, that's where your heart's going to be. See, what is our treasure? It's what we value most. And what about our heart?

It's the source of what we value most. You see, his whole idea is if your heart doesn't value God more but values your stuff more, your wealth more, he said it'll reveal itself in your treasure. That's what you'll do. Look, what he ends up talking about here is he says, look, your outlook will determine your outcome.

That's what he says. Whatever way you see life, that's what you're going to devote yourself to. And he's going to really put a squeeze on us here because a lot of Christians, especially in today's world, what we often think, and I think most of us have a way of doing this, we think, well, that may be true of some people, but I'm good with both.

I can do this. I can have a treasury on earth and a treasure in heaven. I can love God and love money, and I can do it both. And Jesus is categorically going to say you can.

You're only fooling yourself. You cannot do this. That's what he's going to say.

He's not going to allow you that particular option. So what ends up happening here is he moves on then and he says the eye is the lamp of the body. So then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, the whole body will be full of darkness. He said if then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness?

It's an interesting way that Jesus is trying to explain this. The Jews believed that the eye, your eyes were the way to your heart. In other words, whatever you saw through these eyes would take up residency in your heart. And so he said if your eyes are clear, and the word is hapless and it means sound or healthy, if your eyes are clear, you're going to be just fine. He said but if your eyes are bad, that's panaris, and that means evil or worthless. He said it's going to be dark for you. That's the choice.

Now that makes some sense if you think about it. This has to do with how do you see life? How do you see life in a way in which you think? Because the way you see life is going to establish what your values are. What are your values? You see, that's going to be the way you see your life. You're going to establish your values. And once you have your values, that's going to establish your priorities. That's what you're going to say, this is more important, this is most important. That's your priorities. Then your priorities are going to establish all the choices you make.

And what the Bible tells us is once you make all those choices, that will establish your character or your stance before God. So it all comes from how do you see things? And it's an interesting thing when we think that money or wealth or stuff can actually be an adversary of your relationship with God. We live in a culture that never stops parading through your eyes more stuff. I mean, that's what our culture does. That's the whole marketing technique of our culture that just never ends. You know, it's an interesting thing.

Like, think of the things we can spend an awful lot of money on. This, right, it's a 12. And you know what that means. It has one or two things the 11 didn't. But now the 13's out. Oh, my.

And from what I saw on the edge, you can almost do Hollywood movies with it. See how that works? Now, this does everything in the world just like the last I did everything. But now there's something else. You see, that's the way the stimulus works for us.

That's the way this happens for us. But Oscar Wilde had a great, great quote years ago. He said, nowadays, people know the price of everything, but they know the value of nothing. And he's exactly right. But notice how serious this is to Jesus.

At the end of verse 23, he said, if then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is your darkness? He said, this will ruin your life. This ruins your relationship with God. Wow. So he says, what is really going on here?

Well, he keeps building his case. Notice now we can get to verse 25. No one can serve two masters. The word masters, kurios, Lord.

He's the Lord Jesus Christ, kurios. No one can serve two lords. No one can serve two masters. Notice, he didn't allow you to say, I can.

I can do both. He said, no one can. He said, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.

You cannot serve God and wealth. Fact. That's just a fact. Wow.

That's really, really tough. You see, he's going to launch himself then into this whole thing about worry and anxiety. What Jesus is going to do is he's going to prove the fact. That's what he says he wants to do, and it's the way he wants to make it. Now, when he does this, because he's saying, if you're ultimately devoted, you can only be ultimately devoted to one, not two. You see, if you're married, you can only love one man or one woman.

Devoted. You can't say, no, no, no, I can. I can love my wife and have a girlfriend.

And you'd say, well, that's just stupid. But how many of us think I can love God and love, I just love money? Jesus said, you can't.

He said, you'll be devoted to one and love one, but you'll hate the other. And you'll always be rationalizing it in your head. So, he then says, this whole section, 25 to 34, is called the cure for anxiety. But here's the point. Almost every time I've heard this sermon preached, and I've even done it in the past myself, I believe, the pastor or the preacher always parachutes in on this section. And there's a whole sermon about worry or anxiety. But Jesus said, that's taken out of context. The context isn't here about, oh, I worry about a lot of things. Jesus is saying, no, the context here is what you worry about when it comes to money.

And notice the first words of the verse, for this reason. Not other reasons, this reason. He wants to make his case.

For this reason, he says. The other thing it's going to do, it's going to surprise you, up till now you've probably been led to believe by me and what the word says, he's talking about the rich people. And by the way, if I interviewed you, almost all of you, if not all of you, would say you're not rich because as long as you know somebody who's richer than you, you're not rich.

You know, that's just the way it works. I'm not rich. You want to see someone rich, 15,000 square foot house, and they have three other homes. That's what rich is. Years ago I remember reading in a survey what the average American income was versus all the people that had lived historically in the world and live in the world right now. And the average typical American was in like the 97th or 98th percentile worldwide of all the people who ever lived. So you're rich.

You can pretend you're not, but you are. But he's not talking about rich people. He's talking about people who aren't rich. He's not talking about the luxuries of life. He's talking about the necessities of life, the things we know we all need to live.

He says, yeah, that's what I'm talking about. You see, materialism is not a problem of the wealthy. It's a problem of everybody. That's the problem. It's primarily your attitude toward money and its importance in your life.

If you have a lot, you could have a bad attitude about it, and if you don't have any, you could have a bad attitude about it. It won't even matter. And so one thing Jesus is doing, he's going to give us a test. And here's the test of whether God's first in your life or money is.

You see, here's a test. Do you worry about money in any way at any time? He said, if you do, God's not first in your life.

Money is. That's a pretty sobering thought, and I think all of us can feel it. For this reason, I say to you, do not be worried about your life as to what you will eat or what you will drink or for your body as to what you will put on.

Is not life more than food in the body, more than clothing? Now, this is notice he's commanding you and me. Do not worry about life. Just imagine this is foreign to us.

Just imagine this. You're really worried about some have a lot of anxiety. So you might talk to your mom or dad or sibling or friend, or you might go to therapy, talk to a therapist or come to me and talk to me. And just imagine you said, Pastor, I'm I'm really worried about these things. And I said to you, stop it. Just stop it.

What would you think? How can you say that to me? That's what Jesus just told you. You want to hear what Jesus said? He said, stop it.

Oh, see, what do we think when we worry? I'm victimized. It's not it's not me. I'm just victimized. And that makes me worry. But the question would be, why are you victimized?

What do you mean? What do you treasure? Where's your heart? You see, that's what Jesus is going to say.

The test is whether you worry. That's what Jesus is going to tell us all. It's amazing when you think about it. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship in the Word. If you ever miss one of our broadcasts, or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time, remember that you can go to a great website called oneplace.com. That's oneplace.com, and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online.

At that website, you will find not only today's broadcast, but also many of our previous audio programs as well. At Fellowship in the Word, we are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website, fbcnola.org.

That's fbcnola.org. At our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online, or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is fbcnola.org. For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-01 12:03:21 / 2023-07-01 12:12:53 / 10

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