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This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill? Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations?
I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.
For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at FindingPurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. I remember when I first came to Christ, you all, I remember my mom was like the greatest and still is the greatest Christian example that I know. She came to Christ and I didn't know what was going on really back then, but I knew something was different about her.
She led me to Christ and she was instrumental in me knowing Christ. I remember just struggling as a young believer. I remember we were going to a place called Camp Oak Hill. I was a camper at this time.
I was like 14 years old. I didn't even realize it was a Christian camp. I remember just going to this camp thinking I'm going to play basketball because I love basketball, swim, all the stuff you would do at a camp. I remember my mom had this Bible. She had this Bible and I remember she had given me the Bible and she wanted me to take the Bible. I thought, man, why would I take a Bible to a camp?
We're going to go and have fun. I had no idea it was a Christian camp. To make a long story short, we get there and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to lead this Bible in the car because I'm not going to take a Bible to camp.
I remember I'm in the back seat and I remember a friend of my mom's road with us this hour and 15 minute drive from Raleigh to Northern Granville County. I remember plotting, man, I got to leave this Bible. I can't take this Bible. I'm not going to take a Bible.
This is crazy. I remember getting out when we got there, I got out of the car real quick and I remember opening the back door and I remember trying to slot the Bible under the seat. She's not a preacher, but she can preach y'all. She really can. This was one of those moments she broke into a sermon. Her sermons are just her just rallying off scripture and telling you about the Lord. I remember her just telling me about the Lord and telling me not to be ashamed of the Lord. Then she quoted this verse you all.
This is the first time I had ever heard this verse. She's like, if you don't acknowledge that you're a believer, if you don't acknowledge Christ, if you are ashamed of Christ before men, when you stand before God and stand before the angels, he's not going to acknowledge you. Don't be ashamed of being a Christian. Don't be ashamed of acknowledging Christ before men.
That stuck with me, you all. This image that one day you all, we will stand in glory and Christ will present us. Jude 24 says that we will be presented to God and only by His grace is without fault.
It's incredible how that will happen. But can you imagine Christ being ashamed to acknowledge you before heaven's courts? But he clearly says if we don't acknowledge Him before men, when we stand in the courts, He will not acknowledge us before angels. Fear Jesus, don't fear man. Notice 3rd, Jesus says we should fear the Holy Spirit and not man. Look at what He says in verses 10 through 12. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
When you are brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how you would defend yourselves. Don't worry about defending yourselves before men or what you will say for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. Jesus lets us know that we can receive forgiveness if we blaspheme Him, but if we blaspheme the Holy Spirit, there's no forgiveness. Blasphemy of the Spirit, people have wondered what exactly is Jesus getting at there.
I think it's just simply this. Blasphemy of the Spirit is simply attributing to Satan what the Holy Spirit is doing. Attributing to Satan when the Holy Spirit is at work.
And it's a really form of a, it's really a picture rather of a hard heart. And this was the Pharisees. They had hard hearts.
They were hypocritical. The Holy Spirit is obviously at work in and through Christ and yet they're saying Beelzebub. That's Satan's work there. And Jesus says that this blasphemy will not be forgiven because it's a hardness of heart. Finally, Jesus tells the disciples here when they are under pressure, standing before Jewish authorities, they are not to worry. They are not to fear.
Here's why the Holy Spirit will teach them and give them words to say. Beware of concealment. Guard against hypocrisy.
Look at what he says next too. Beware not only of concealment, but now beware of covetousness. Verses 13 through 21. Or in other words, guard against greed.
Guard against greed. So there's one in the crowd that says to Jesus. Look at verse 13. Look at what he says to Jesus. This is incredible to me. Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. Try to picture the scene.
All right. They storm the field. They're trying to see Jesus. They're trying to hear Jesus. Jesus maybe pulls his disciples over.
Hey, don't be hypocritical. Fear God, not man. Fear Christ, not man.
Fear the Holy Spirit, not man. And now the scene kind of changes a little bit and maybe Jesus is now addressing the crowd, right? And there's one guy that just yells out, hey, Jesus, tell my brother to split the inheritance with me.
That's like the craziest thing. I mean, what was the last time you were in a public setting and someone shouted something out like this before? I mean, he just cries out, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.
Interesting that he would say this in the midst of a crowd. It seems to me that would be something he would try to work out inside the family or it doesn't seem like it's something he would announce at a public gathering. It seems to me that if there's an inheritance to be divided, then there must be a death to mourn. Perhaps a parent has died in this context.
Perhaps the father has died because the father would be the one to leave the inheritance and perhaps the father has died. But this man, notice where his focus is. His focus is not in finding someone to help him with his mourning and grief.
He seems to be interested in finding someone with authority to tell his brother to split the money. And it may be an indication of where his heart is. He seems more concerned with stuff. He seems more concerned with material possessions.
He seems more concerned with money than he does that he's had a relative, perhaps his father, to die. Notice what the Lord does. The Lord doesn't get involved with petty disputes. And look at what he says in verse 14.
Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you? And Jesus proceeds to warn the entire crowd saying, look at this, watch out, be on guard against greed. The language is very strong here. It's like Jesus is saying, take care, look out, be alert, avoid and flee greed. Greed here in the original language is wanting something that does not belong to you. And some translations here will translate this word greed, covetedness. And it's possessive jealousy to have that which God has not given you. Why does Jesus give this warning?
One reason. Life is not defined by what we possess. Life is not about getting stuff.
Jesus, notice what he says, verse 15. Man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Life is not about the things you own, Jesus says. Life is not necessarily about the size of your house. Life is not necessarily about how big your bank account is. Life is not about all the stuff that you have accumulated. Man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possession.
It's interesting, the word life here is in the Greek language is the word zoe. And this word carries the idea of a life that's meaningful, a life that is purposeful, a life that's satisfying, a life that is fulfilling. And this is what Jesus is saying, that kind of life cannot be found with stuff. That kind of life, fulfillment, purpose, meaning, destiny. That kind of life cannot be found through material things. And you know what, we live in a culture that says all the time, oh yeah it can. The more money you make, the bigger your things, the nicer your things, the happier you'll be.
And Jesus says, no, actually that's not true. Life does not consist in the abundance of your possession. Notice the word abundance here. It's more than enough. It's more than what is needed.
It far exceeds and surpasses that which we need. And that's how greed works, doesn't it? That's how greed works. I'm gonna be honest, you know, even as a pastor, I have to guard my heart against greed.
Because I start thinking about stuff. And God has given me plenty. And sometimes in my sinful heart, I can just want more. I have an abundance in a sense, and I'm not wealthy or rich or anything like that, but I have everything that I need. And yet sometimes my heart just wants more. And sometimes I believe a lot that if I just had more, then somehow I'll be more fulfilled and more happy. And Jesus talks about the deceitfulness of wealth.
It'll deceive us. And that's how greed works in our heart. We want more and more and more. And we may have a sufficient amount. And in most of our cases, we have an abundant amount. We have more than what we need. Yet our heart still wants more.
Thinking that purpose and fulfillment in life will come as a result. Jesus warns us against this. Jesus warns us against this.
It's foolish to pursue material things and think we will find life. And one day we will stand before God. We will stand before God and give an account. Now, Jesus illustrates this. He tells a story.
And notice the story begins in verse 16. He says, the ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He's a rich man. Jesus doesn't condemn him for wealth. Wealth is not a sin.
It's not at all. It's a blessing from the Lord if a person has earned wealth honestly. And Jesus doesn't condemn him for being wealthy. Jesus doesn't condemn him for having abundant harvest. If you have an abundance, man, that's God's blessing. Praise God for it. This man is rich. He yielded an abundant harvest.
Look at verse 17. He thought to himself, what shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.
Then he said, this is what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. He has some barns. They're just not big enough to store all of his abundance. Never occurred to him that maybe he ought to be generous and give some of it away. And there I will store my surplus grain.
Verse 18. Again, he has an abundance. He has a surplus.
He's building bigger barns. Does that sound like greed? Does that sound like what Jesus was just talking about?
Verse 19. And I'll say to myself, you have plenty. Again, he has an abundance. He has a surplus. He has plenty. You have plenty of grain laid up for many years.
And look at what he says next. Take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry. Life is fulfilling now. I got purpose. This is great.
I'm on easy street. Man, life is good. And notice what Jesus says in verse 20. But God said to him, you fool, this very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? All the stuff that we accumulate, when we die, we're going to leave it to somebody else.
I know we know that. Verse 21. This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves, but is not rich toward God. The man in his parable thought life consisted of the abundance of his possessions. And in his greed, he was storing up things for himself foolishly, not realizing his own mortality, nor preparing for the life to come.
I don't know if you read Pastor John MacArthur, he's spot on here when he says this. The location of a person's treasure reveals the true condition of his heart. It reveals whether they have love for themselves and their possessions or love for God, whether they worship material things or worship God, whether they seek fulfillment in this life or in the life to come, whether they store up treasure on earth to lose it forever or store up treasure in heaven to keep it forever. Beware of covenantness. Be on guard against greed. Is possessions your God? Is money your God?
Is your most passionate pursuit the things of this world and material things? If it is, if you would be honest with yourself and before God in your own heart tonight, if that's where you are, I want to encourage you, heed Jesus's warning. Turn from that and turn to him. Notice the final warning Jesus gives, beware of care.
How am I doing on my time, Russ? Am I all right? Beware of care. Notice what he says in verses 22 through 34. In other words, be on guard against worry. Jesus says in verse 22, therefore I tell you, do not worry.
This is a command by the way. Worry is to have a divided mind. That's why the King James version of the Bible may say here, give no thought because worry is this battle that takes place in the mind where our mind is going to and fro back and forth. He says, do not worry.
It's a command. What do we worry about? Our life, what we will eat or about your body, what you will wear. Verse 23, for life is more than food and the body more than clothes.
Consider the ravens. They do not sow or reap. They have no store room or barn yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable are you than birds? Who of you by word can add a single hour to your life? Jesus tells us not to worry. He gives us three reasons why worry is useless. He says, who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Worrying does no good. To worry about life, to worry about our basic needs, food and clothing and these kind of things. It doesn't do a single thing. We can't add a single hour to our life. Worry is useless. But look at what he says next. Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the wildflowers grow.
They don't labor or spend. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon and all of his splendor was dressed like one of the Solomon, the richest maybe person to ever live maybe. He dressed, he was a king and he dressed with great splendor. But Jesus says the flowers of the field are arrayed better than Solomon because God takes care of them. And then he says, if that's how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you? And look at what he says, you of little faith. The second thing we see about worry and why we shouldn't worry, not only is it useless, it's faithless. When we worry, we show that we really don't trust God. When I worry, it shows I really don't trust God.
The thing that you may be worried about tonight where there's something in your business or on your job or in your family, maybe it's your children. When you worry and your thoughts have been taken captive by this thing that you're worried about, Jesus says, you of little faith, you don't trust me. And if Jesus will take care of flowers, certainly he will take care of you and you can trust him. And then he says in verse 29, and do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink. Do not worry about it for the pagan world runs after such things.
And your father knows that you need them. Worry, third is godless. It's what pagans do who don't know God. But those of us who know God and God is our father, we know God will take care of us.
But when we worry, we act like the nonbeliever. And look at what he tells us to do as we close, but seek his kingdom. The kingdom is the spear of God's salvation where Christ rules and is king and Lord. And he says, seek first his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well.
We are to seek the kingdom of God above all else and God will give us everything we need. It's a promise from God. Then he says in verse 32, do not be afraid, little flock. This is a term of endearment given the image of the fact that we are God's sheep. We are a part of his sheep fall and he is our shepherd.
It's an intimate term suggesting that we are God's children. Look at what Jesus says next, for your father, he's our father, has been pleased to give you the kingdom. He's happy. He's eager. He's glad to give you the kingdom. Kingdom being the spear of his salvation where Christ rules and Christ reigns in our life.
He's glad to give this to us. Now notice the last two verses. Jesus issues an imitation.
There are certainly people in his audience that were not yet in the salvation of the kingdom of God. So this is what Jesus says, sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out. A treasure in heaven that will never fail where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. Jesus invites them to sell their possessions and they give to those who are in need.
You might say, well, that sounds like that's kind of legalism and that's workspace. That's not faith in Christ and what he did for us on the cross. Well, Jesus here, if you remember, there was a rich young ruler in Matthew 19 and his possessions had him. And he comes to Jesus and Jesus says, one thing you lack, go sell everything and give to the poor and then come follow me. And he walked away pretty sad because he had great possessions. He didn't have great possessions.
Actually, great possessions had him. His possessions were his God. And Jesus issues this invitation to those who may be worried. And sometimes we worry about our possessions, right?
I think all this kind of flows. We worry about our possessions and we're holding on to them. And for some, our possessions are our God and Jesus is laying on the line. Your possessions can't be your God. If you're worried about your possessions and you're not trusting me, you're trusting your possessions and not me. And so Jesus issues this challenge to give all your possessions away, sell them and give to the poor and follow me. It's the same, it's the same invitation. And then he says, in doing so, you will store up treasures in heaven and the treasures in heaven will be saved.
Thieves can't break in and steal and moth can't destroy. And then he closes by saying where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Where's your heart tonight? Would you say tonight that I am living an authentic life before God and man? Or would you say, you know what? I need to heed the warning to not be a hypocrite.
And maybe tonight you would say, hey, you know what? I've been pretending. Everybody thinks I'm a Christian. Everybody thinks I'm walking with God. Everybody thinks I got my life in the order, but you know what?
My life is a wreck. Hey, you know what? Jesus loves you and cares for you greatly. And you can come and he already knows. And guess what?
You know what? Other brothers in Christ, man, would love you and welcome you. And so if that's you tonight and you would say, man, I want to come clean and I want to just be authentic and I want to be real before God and man, I would encourage you to do it.
The Spirit of God is moving in your heart in that way. I want to encourage you tonight if greed is something that has a grip on you. If God, if money is your God, that you would come tonight and you would say, Jesus, I give it all to you. I lay it at your feet. I want you to be my King and my Lord.
And I'm going to trust you and not my resources. And God will love you and welcome you and use you greatly. And maybe tonight you just got care.
Maybe you're just, you're just consumed with anxiety. Here's what I love about God. 1 Peter 5, 7 says, we're to cast our anxiety or our care on him. And he cares for us and you can bring whatever anxiety you might have tonight to the Lord.
And he loves and cares for you greatly. And so as we close, let me pray for us. Father, we thank you. We thank you that you are a God who loves us enough to give us warnings and father help us to by your grace, heed the warnings you give us. And that we would guard against the things that would try to really destroy our souls. Father, we realize we are accountable to you.
And one day we will stand before you. And would you, would you help us to live faithfully? Help us live faithfully. Lord, help us to be authentic. Help us to not be pretenders, but help us to walk faithfully and with integrity, both in public and in private. That there would be a consistency about us that we would be the real deal. Help us God to guard against greed.
God, we live in a culture where money is all around us. And you bless us in so many ways. May we never pursue money, but help us to pursue you Jesus. And then God, would you take care of all the things we may be worried about tonight? You love us.
You care for us much more than birds and much more than flowers, because we're your children. So help us to trust you God. I pray for anybody that's here that doesn't know you as their Savior, would you work in their hearts that they may come to faith in Christ and repentance from sin. In Christ's name I pray.
Amen. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at FindingPurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at FindingPurpose.net This is the Truth Network.
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