Today we're going to be looking at Matthew Chapter 6, and so if you have your Bibles, if you would turn with me to the wonderful Gospel of Matthew. We're going to be reading verse 19 down to verse 25 this morning. Matthew Chapter 6.
We're going to read in verse 19 down to verse number 24. If you'd read verse 19 and 20 with me, the Bible says in Matthew 6 verse 19, lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal. Our Lord goes on to say, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye, and if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light, but if thy eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness? No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon, and that word simply means money. Father, we thank you for your word today. We rejoice in Christ, our savior. We rejoice that Jesus Christ, who lived and died, rose again and he is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. And we have a risen savior.
We have a reason to live. And as we look across the landscape of this nation and world, Lord, our hearts could be filled with fear if it were not for God who sits on the throne. And so we rejoice in your sovereignty.
We rejoice that you are sovereign over all things. And God, this world is in your hands, and you raise up kings, and you bring them down. And God, I pray that you would be glorified in this service today. I pray if anyone doesn't know Christ, that today might be the day of salvation. And I pray as we examine your word today that it would come alive in our hearts, that your word would accomplish all your desires in us, Lord, bringing salvation and sanctification and transformation. Lord, may we live with humility before you. Thank you for all the faithfulness of your people to be here today. Bless now, we ask in Christ's name, and God's people said, Amen.
You may be seated this morning. If God were to give you 70 years of life, a million dollars, and health to live out those days, how would you invest it? What would you do with it? How would you spend your time and the money and the health that God would give you? In our verse-by-verse study of the Gospel of Matthew, we have spent 33 sermons preaching on the greatest sermon ever given, which is the Sermon on the Mount, which spans from chapter 5 through chapter 7. In these chapters, our Lord has taught how to become a citizen of his kingdom. He went through the nine beatitudes, and he starts by saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of God.
You must come to God recognizing your own spiritual bankruptcy and your destitute situation that only Christ can be your Savior. And he goes on with the other eight beatitudes. He preached on being salt and light in the world. He declared that he did not come to destroy the law, but in fact to fulfill the law, and that not one jot or tittle would pass till all of it's fulfilled. He assaulted the hypocritical righteousness of the spiritual leaders of his day. He declared to his hearers, unless their righteousness were to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, that they would not even enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus assaulted their external hypocrisy, where they were looking good on the outside, but inside they were full of dead men's bones. And he taught the hard attitudes of anger and lust would bring forth the fruit of adultery and murder, that it was the heart that God was most concerned with. That when you're clean inwardly, you can be clean outwardly. He taught on divorce, on taking oaths. He taught on forgiveness. He taught on loving your enemies. Then in Chapter six, Jesus taught on giving, how to give without hypocrisy. Then he taught on how to pray without hypocrisy and how to pray correctly.
And then he got into how to fast, as we saw last Sunday. Perhaps one of the most unique sermons ever preached the week before Thanksgiving on fasting. And today we come to verse 19 through 24, where Jesus turns the focus of our lives and the discussion into investing. What you read about in verse 19 through 24 is what Jesus is teaching on the area of investing. He focuses on what we do with our life. And what's interesting is Jesus attaches our spiritual life to our physical life and our physical possessions in specific. We can often create a arbitrary division between the spiritual and the physical, but Jesus destroys that division. In fact, the Lord teaches that it is what we do with our treasures and our possessions that will be the final verdict of where our hearts are. As he said, where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.
I'm not sure there is a more important topic for believers to understand than what Jesus is sharing in this passage. It's a good thing for us to step back and ask ourselves, what am I investing my life and resources into? You know, we get one chance at this thing called life. We have one life to live. There is no resets.
There are no do-overs. And every day we are making investments with our life. For the next couple of weeks, I want to walk through eight specific truths that come to light in this passage. We're going to look at five of them today and three next week. And I pray that we have a fresh new look as we come to the conclusion of another year. And I think this is a great time for us to consider these things because 2022 is coming to an end. Eleven months have already been fulfilled. What has been written has been written.
We have one more month to go until 2023 starts up again. And I would ask you, as you consider this, would God say that you have been a wise investor with your life in 2022? Or would he say you've been foolish? Are you using your lifetime and resource to honor God or to fulfill what you want? The story of our life is being written in the question I'm asking is who's holding the pen of your life?
Who is authoring your life? Who is the Lord of your life, in other words? And so today I want to look at five truths that Jesus taught about investing in verse 19. He says, lay not up for yourself treasures on earth in verse 20 says, but lay them up in heaven. This may seem like a very simple first thought that I'll bring you to. But simply put, Jesus is first of all teaching us that we are all investing somewhere.
First of all, we are all investing somewhere. The Bible teaches God has given all of us life. Acts 17 25 says that God gives to all life and breath and all things. Our lives are a gift from God and what we do with our life is a gift back. In Psalms 90 verse 10, Moses declared men are normally given 70 to 80 years of life. And that is a gift from God.
I've done over 130 to 40 funerals in Zenion, every time I have a service I'd share with the families, you know, no matter if this individual lived 95 years or five years, every day they lived was a gift from God. None of us come into this life earning days. We don't deserve to live 70 years. We don't deserve to get 80 years in life. We don't deserve to have so many amounts. Every single day is a gift, unearned, undeserved, freely given to us by a benevolent God.
You believe that? And so for that gift, we must be thankful. We must be grateful. And God has given us physical abilities. He's given us talents and skills and wisdom to apply ourselves to life. We can create and build and engineer and design. And he's given us all kinds of spiritual gifts as well at salvation to be used to build up the church and to edify the body.
God has also given us finances and resources. If you work 25 years and made $40,000 a year, you would have accumulated an income of $1 million. And there's only four basic things you can do with money.
You can save it, spend it, give it or invest it. Now, some people in life have more time than others. Some people live longer than others. But all of us have time. We all had 168 hours this last week, and I want you to consider this. It's simple as that thought is, all of us had the same amount of hours in the last week. The difference is some of us invested them wisely and others did not. And whatever you've chosen to do with your 168, your weekly allotment that God has given to you and I, we've chosen to do. It wasn't your work.
It wasn't anything else. It was that you chose to live that way. Well, I have to work 70 hours or I have to work this many hours or I have... Well, most of the time it's because we chose to buy things or we chose to buy this or we chose to buy that, and we have become so many times a slave to so many hours because that's what we've chose to do. But whatever you and I have chose to do with our life, we've chose to do that ourselves. We've made those decisions.
How much of your life in the last week time-wise was wisely invested? Some people have perhaps a greater capacity in their talents, in the areas of skills and abilities, or even in the area of spiritual gifts to do greater things. Some people have greater capacities in these areas. I think about the parable in Matthew 25 when Jesus said, The Lord gave unto one steward five talents, another two, another one, according to their several ability. And that the word talent means amounts of money. And he gave his different stewards different amounts of money based upon their giftings. And it's a parable.
It's a physical story with a spiritual meaning. And what he's telling us, not everybody has the same kind of capacity of oversight. And so he's giving different people abilities, but all of us have some abilities.
All of us have some spiritual gifting if you're saved. The question is, how are you investing those things? Some of us today have more resources than others. Some are very well off and others may be living week to week, but all of us have resources to invest.
All of us have resources to use. And though we have different amounts of time, money and abilities, God has given us all these things to invest somewhere. Secondly, we only have two options, according to Christ, to invest in. Notice that Jesus clearly teaches you either lay up treasure on earth or you lay it up in heaven.
There is no third option. With your time, energy and resources and money, you can either invest them in earth or in heaven. And when we're born into the world, we are born with an earth-driven mindset. We are born to focus those things into the world, to get all we can. As they say, whoever dies with the most stuff wins.
Boy, that's a foolish statement, isn't it? Whoever dies with the most stuff still dies. And they ask the question, so how much did the richest man in town leave behind when he died? And the answer was, he left all of it.
You leave everything, right? When we're born, we have the mindset of making all our investments into the earth, but when you're born again, you're called by God to invest from earth now into heaven, from focusing our time, talents and treasures in the world's purpose and pleasures, to focusing them into God's purpose and pleasures, from living for what is the here and now to what is the forever. And that brings me to a third point, which is this. Our investments give different returns. Our investments give different returns. The length and security of our investments are determined by where we choose to invest. Those who deal in the world of investing understand that you want to get the maximum return out of your investment. They want to maximize your investments. Jesus here is telling us to maximize our investments.
Do you hear me? Christ is calling us to be maximum investors, get the most out of what you have. And he's telling us how to do that. According to verse 19 and 20, this is what Jesus is teaching. Investments into the world at best are temporary, and investments in heaven are at worst eternal. When you consider that truth, how then shall you live? 2 Corinthians 4.18, Paul says, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are what? Temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. And so where we invest will give different returns.
Now, in what ways are earthly investments temporal? Well, I think when people we think about in the area of time and really those three categories, our time, our talents in the area of abilities and skills and even spiritual giftings in the area of treasure, when you consider those three areas of things that God gives to us with our time, I think people so often try to buy more time. I believe it's good to be a wise steward of our health.
I don't think there's anything beneficial to being gluttonous and being unhealthy physically. I think it's wise to take care of, and I think we should take care of all that we possess physically anyway, right? We should paint our house. We should take care of our cars. We should not allow things just to go bad. You don't want your circular soul sitting outside in the rain. You want to take care of that. You want to maintain your possessions well.
But we must also understand that 1 Timothy 4 and 8 is also true. This says bodily exercise profiteth what? Little. My dad used to say that when I was young, and me and my brothers would be working out, lifting weights in the basement. He's like, boys, bodily exercise profits little.
To which we would respond, yeah, but little profits better than none, dad. And so it's good to take care of your body, but look what he goes on to say. But godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come. You know, when you work out physically, take care of your body, there's nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong with when you can only focus on your body and you've not taken care of your spirit. It's not good to be healthy physically and unhealthy spiritually, in other words. And also, no matter how good you take care of your body, it doesn't last. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger understands now that the power of entropy takes effect. You know what the power of entropy is? It means that where he would once have a 20-some-inch bicep, he now has a 20-some-inch sagginess, right? I mean, the bicep turns into the bag, in other words. The transition happens.
And it doesn't matter how healthy you are, your body will fail. And so that's what Christ is teaching us in this simple truth. People who invest also their time in learning things of the earth. There's people here perhaps that you could quote books, you could quote articles, but you couldn't quote any scripture. I would say that's a bad investment. Nothing wrong with investing and learning, but it's wrong to invest in the world's information at the lack of not knowing the scriptures. It's not wise to be able to win jeopardy and not be able to even quote John 3.16.
It's not a wise thing to be able to debate your position in a political realm, but you could never discuss with clarity and an apologetical defense of the scripture or the biblical positions. It's okay to root for your favorite team, even if they're the Buckeyes. Are we allowed to use that word today? You know, I just have to show you this. I had a sweet little boy come up to me today. He was just so adorable. You know, he's just just a little guy. He's like, Pastor, I have something for you. I'm like, what do you have for me? And this is what he drew for me. You know, and just so you know, I'm a man of grace. I took this.
But I do need something for target practices at home, you know, so. I have more Michigan folks call me yesterday. I didn't even realize I had people from Michigan getting in contact with me. He's like, I love you, Pastor Josh. I was like, Yeah, I love you, too.
I'm sure you do just had to call me right now. Yeah, yeah. Nothing wrong with being excited about a sports team and those things can be fun and sometimes not fun. But but but nothing wrong with that. But but what is what is a problem is when we can know all the stats and we can know all the things in a sports arena, but we don't know anything about the word of God. That's what I'm trying to say is don't use all of all of your time, the things of the world.
And then your your life has no grasp of the scriptures. People use their talents and abilities to to be successful in life. But then they do nothing for God. I've seen people that have great minds and they they fill their minds and lives. They can go out and do some great physical things. But but at the end of the day, that's not going to last.
Do something for God. People who take their treasures and resources and nothing wrong with having nice things, but realize all things that we have in the physical realm is only temporary. Proverbs twenty three verse five says, Will thou set thine eyes upon that which is not for riches, certainly make themselves wings. They fly away as an eagle toward heaven. You know, a new vehicle still rusts. New clothes wear out. Food perishes. It's all temporary. And so all of our earthly investments of time, talents and treasures at best are temporary.
Fourthly, all earthly investments also, according to Christ, will be lost. Notice, he says in verse number 19, lay not up for yourself treasures upon earth. The word lay not up is a Greek word.
Thessa Rizzo. And what's interesting, the word treasures in Greek is thesaurus. So it literally is the verb form lay not Thessa Rizzo up for yourself Thessa Rissos. Like you could translate like treasure not up for yourself treasures is the idea. And the word treasures just simply speaks of the location of where the treasures or money are stored up. And here he's saying, don't lay up, don't treasure up for yourself treasures upon what?
Upon the earth. Don't let the earth be where your treasures are all stored up. And the reason for that, he says, because moth and rust will corrupt them and thieves break through and steal. You ever seen a moth eating the clothes that you're actually wearing right now?
What do moths go after? The clothes were not wearing, that are stored away, right? And so when we store all that stuff up, nothing wrong with having other clothing, I'm saying, but when we store all that up, you know, all that we invest in could be taken in a moment, a house fire, a stock market crash, a terrorist attack, somebody stealing your identity. I'm sure most in this room have felt the impact of stolen identities. The boogers are sneaky, aren't they? They get in there and maybe your bank calls you and says, we just need to validate this purchase. And you're like, I don't even know what you're talking about.
Then your wife comes in. You know, somebody can steal your possessions as a thief. And Christ is teaching us here simply that everything we have physically will fade away in ruin. Jesus gives us a clear warning about where we invest. He says, do not invest in this world.
Determine where you're going to invest in because in one place you'll keep it and the other you won't. And this warning is that all investments made in the world will be lost. 2 Peter 3 verse 10.
Look what Peter says. It says, the day the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat and the earth also and the works that are there and shall be burned up. And he says, seeing that all these things shall be dissolved.
That word just means completely annihilated. What manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness? People are worried today about global warming. And God says, you better be worried about global warming. Because when God comes to warm this place up, it will be obliterated. And listen to me very closely.
The world will never be destroyed until God would bring it to destruction. We aren't keeping this thing going. God's keeping it going. By the way, you are over a million miles away from where you were yesterday. You understand that?
No. The earth is going around the 580 million mile orbit of the sun. The speed of which places you over a million miles away from where you were yesterday at a 23 degree axis, spinning at a thousand miles an hour. Everything in such equilibrium that it keeps us from flying off this earth. He holds it in such perfect balance.
The moon is at such a distance from the earth so that it allows the gravitational pools to be what they are, to keep the tides in place. If God did not keep the laws of physics balanced what they are on a razor's edge, we would be destroyed in a moment. And we're like, we're the gods of this world. If you use too much hairspray, you're going to die.
Oh, really? You're worried about hairspray, you better worry about righteousness. You better worry about repentance. You better worry about standing before a holy God one day, because if he didn't want this world to continue, it would not continue.
You believe that? And he says one day it's going to be consumed. Knowing that's coming, what kind of person should you be? I'm here to warn you that one day all material investments will be lost. Many have used all their money and resources to inquire things on this earth.
And it's funny, every year they're telling us, and we've been blasted with it this week, right? We have gluttony Thursday and we have financial gluttony on Friday, right? Black Friday comes and all these sales and all these things, people buy this, buy this, buy this, and nothing wrong with getting a good deal, nothing wrong with purchasing things, but it never ends. And then we serve our stuff with our time and abilities to pay it off. Do you realize where you spend your money will determine where you spend your time and talents?
You understand where your money goes the rest of your life is drug? All these temporary investments at best are temporary. And if they're only temporary, we should seek to spend the minimum reasonable amount on them. We should minimize what we spend in that which will not last. Sadly, too often we maximize our expenses into the temporary. Many in our society are struggling financially.
Some have been wise with their money and worked hard, but maybe faced a job loss that was unexpected, maybe a difficulty in a family situation, a spouse left, or maybe there's just unforeseen circumstances that put you in a difficult situation, maybe even based on health. But the majority of people in America who struggle financially do so because they've chosen to do foolish things with what God has placed into their hands. We live in such a prosperous country that it's hard for us to understand what real poverty is.
I don't say this in an ungracious way, but you need to hear this. Poor people in other countries are not overweight. They're starving to death. I've been to multiple third world countries, even their dogs are just skeletons. You ever seen a cow that you can see every one of their ribs, just skinny cow? Like, what is that?
How can it even produce milk? Look at that. It's just shocking. You ever seen little children come up to you and they're deformed physically because they've lived in malnutrition and there's no way for them to get out of the malnutrition? We don't even comprehend in the United States what true poverty is.
We can't even get it. You know the average household income in the world is $10,000 a year? The average household income, not individual, but household income worldwide is $10,000. The average income in the Philippines is $2,401 a year.
Isn't that right, Tom? We support multiple missionaries in the Philippines. You know when COVID hit in the Philippines, they didn't have online giving and all that stuff, and in the Philippines, they put such lockdown like the churches had no physical ability to meet together.
And so some of our pastor friends over in the Philippines said, hey, we got some of our local pastors. They're not meeting together. There's no income coming in.
They have no way to live financially. And I said, yeah, we'll help support that. We sent thousands of dollars over there to help sustain some of these guys.
And that wouldn't have happened if you weren't faithful to give to missions, right? And so, you know, the average income in Guatemala was in Guatemala in 2014 is $4,516 a year, the average household income. In Honduras, it's $4,848. I'd always thought growing up, I thought, well, you know, it's because stuff over there is so much cheaper. Like you could probably buy rice real cheap, and you could probably buy chicken real cheap, and milk is probably 50 cents a gallon.
What blew me away was that I went there in these other countries was that the cost of living, the produce and things were as expensive, if not more so there than it is here. And I was like, how do they live? How do you live on $2,400 a year? How do you live? They have nothing.
Like when I say, I mean, they have nothing. I remember going out and helping these people and seeing grandmothers carrying water on their shoulders, like down mountains to their little hut, like 65-year-old grandmothers. We was at a place in Guatemala, and these dear folks came to us, and they said, Sir, our grandmother died today. Is there any way you could help with some cost to have her buried?
So on the spot, we bought a $100 casket and did a service on the spot for their 65-or-so-year-old grandmother, who looked like she was 90 because of her malnutrition. They have nothing. They have absolutely nothing. And people in America are like, well, you know, I'm struggling. The average pack of cigarettes in Ohio is $6.10. Cable bills, $65 to $100 a month. Expensive phones. People stop and get $5 worth, which is nothing to do. People stop at convenience stores and get $5 of goods a day. And if you spend $5 a day at a convenience store, smoke one pack of cigarettes and have cable, you're spending over $400 a month just on that.
That's over $40,000 in 10 years. Well, I can't give the missions. Can't give the missions. I wonder what God's going to say when he says, you know, I had a lot of saints over there in the Philippines. I had a lot of preachers over there that had nothing. I had a lot of preachers over there in Guatemala. I had a lot of preachers over there in China.
I had some guys over there in Nicaragua. They didn't have nothing. And you spent more on cigarettes or on dog food or nothing wrong with dogs, nothing wrong. There is something wrong with cigarettes. Spending $3 on a energy drink. If you spend more on one day at the convenience store than you do missions or giving to the church, you need to get on your knees and ask God for forgiveness today. And you don't need to ever tell me because I don't know who gives what. But you need to say, God, forgive me because I've been a fool.
I've been a foolish investor. And you need to hear it from me that sternly. You listen, look at me and be mad if you want. I don't matter. But you need to know that out of love I say that.
Because one day there won't be such a gracious face you'll be looking at. You'll be looking at the God of heaven who he who became rich became poor so that we through his poverty might be rich. That Christ poured his life out so that we might be kings.
And saints of God. And that we would take what God's given to us and use it in such a foolish way. Nothing wrong with having things. It's wrong when things have us. Nothing wrong with possessions. It's just wrong when possessions become the possessors. And it's not even wrong to be rich. The Bible tells us that Abraham was rich, Job was rich, Isaac and Joseph and different ones were rich.
But it's wrong when those riches control a person's life to where they hoard it up and they they they're clenchfisted. You know, because I visit people in the church and over the years just not on all these different people and families in the church. Some of the people in our church who have the greatest possessions and I wouldn't know it unless I went to visit them.
And I'm like, man, you know, can I live in your West Wing? And beautiful homes, beautiful places. And you would never know it. Some of the most humble servant hearted people. You wouldn't know if they lived in a single wide or in a mansion. And they serve.
They serve as one of the most some of some of the most humble people. There's nothing wrong with what I'm trying to say is nothing wrong with having possessions. You see what I'm saying?
It's wrong when those possessions become in control of your life. And when you're so people get so caught up and I can't. Well, I got to work 70 hours. I got to work 80 hours. And what are you going to do? Stand before God one day and say and your family's been neglected and the ministry's been neglected and your neighbors and their souls have been neglected and all that's been neglected.
And for what? For a truck that's now rusted away and money that you passed on to your kids that split them up. You know, as a pastor, one of the things, too, that I've seen over over all these years of 130 plus funerals is how much inheritance is destroy families. Sometimes you can bless your kids and there's nothing wrong with that passing on those things to them. But if you have a bunch of ungodly, godless children, why don't you invest that into some ministry or missions work? Do you hear me? See this guy right here? You know how many times I've been asked to be an arbitrator between a family that has been pulled apart by money?
Pastor, could you could you talk to all of us? And we're going to come together because this money thing is really turn us apart. You know what I say? I will have no part of your covetousness. I will have no dealings with that. I know I will not get caught up in your family divisions and squabblings over your finances.
You say, well, that's pretty sensitive. Well, I'm just doing what Jesus did. You know what Jesus did in Luke 12? Luke, chapter number 12.
Listen to what Jesus Christ did. Jesus just gets done preaching and a guy stands up in Luke, chapter 12, verse 13. And it says in one of the companies said to him, Master, speak to my brother. He divide the inheritance with me. He just gets done preaching in front of over 10000 people and a guy stands up and says, Jesus, can you tell my brother to divide the stuff with me?
Well, that's a wise statement. Jesus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth is here to preach. And you're going to ask him say you had a question. You get to ask the son of the living God.
And the question you ask is, can you tell my brother to divide the stuff with me? Well, you're a wise person. Does Jesus get drug into this verse 14? And he said to him, man, who made me a judge and a divider over you? I say, well, I'm going to do with the same thing the Lord did. You know what?
You put a pastor in the middle of that kind of insanity. You think I'm going to be a winner? Somebody is going to hate me.
Well, I think you should divide this. I'll just quote verse 14. That's all I'm going to do. So never come to me and do that. OK, I will not be a part of it. And so Christ rebukes that.
Don't be a part of that. The key to faithfully investing in the work of God is this. Give to God first. Then your needs and then your wants. You know, in the Bible, it's always put God first on to the Lord with the first fruits of thine increase. You know why we should do that? Because God gave us his first and best.
Jesus, the first begotten of the Father, the Holy Spirit in Romans, they called the first fruits of the Holy Spirit. God gave us the first and best, and yet we so often can lose sight of that. But instead of people putting God first and meeting their needs and then getting their wants, people reverse it. They buy what they want.
They struggle to pay their needs and they give little or nothing to the Lord. Isn't that sad? Do you realize today that you have been impacted at Lighthouse only because people were willing to invest in this work? You know, 13 years ago, this did not exist.
There was no one here at Lighthouse. When we came here, there was 15 churches and about a five or so individual families who said, We're going to we're going to give thousands of dollars to help a church get started in Xenia. We had eight people here and God allowed us to start this church. We came out of the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Chillicothe and we started this church. There were people in the church in Chillicothe you will never meet.
Who gave thousands of dollars, they'd call up and say, Hey, I had a guy one time he's in his 90s. He said, Hey, do you guys have any needs? I said, Well, I've been preaching on a wooden platform for the last year. We don't have money for carpet. We don't have, you know, and he says, I'm not saying you will $5,000 cover that. I said, Stanley $5,000 will cover that.
Yes, sir. And you know why we have had carpet over there is because there's a 90 plus year old man who paid for that. You know why you're sitting in these chairs? Most of you didn't weren't here to pay for those. You know, when we were 10 months old, this little baby church raised $30,000 in one Sunday on the on the spot. $30,000 among a small little flock to help put down a down payment to buy this facility. Raise your hand if you were there in the first 10 months of the church. You see this?
You understand somebody invested in you. Anybody thankful for that? I'm thankful for that. I tell you, the three souls who got saved today, the two souls who got saved last Sunday, the two saved last Sunday morning. I praise God for that. You know, we start out with meager means.
Friends, people may pull up and say, oh, that car, that parking lot looks nice. And, you know, they got to, you know, well, anything you see somebody sacrificed for. And I praise God for that. I thank God for the faithfulness that you give.
We are so blessed as a church. And those what I'm trying to say, those investments are eternal investments. Stanley could have gone out and bought some nice thing. There's people that go out and buy some nice little comforts in life. But instead saying, hey, and he lives in a very modest place. Very modest. It's incredible.
I've just been so blown away over the years. The graciousness of God's people. Turn over with me to Luke 12. Let me just show you what happens, what what God views as a foolish investment. Luke, chapter number 12. Look at verse number 15. I just read a couple of verses before that about the guy who says, Lord, tell my brother to divide the inheritance.
That's got to be the worst thing I've ever heard. And that is just one of the dumbest questions ever asked after Jesus preaches. Verse 15. So Jesus turns the guy into a lesson plan. He's like, hey, this guy is so foolish, I'm going to turn him into a parable on the spot. And he said to the crowd, so after he rebukes the guy, he tells the crowd, take heed and beware of covetousness. Don't be like this guy. For a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.
You know what he's saying there in verse 15? Your life and your value is not defined by your possessions. Anybody thankful for that? I'm glad that our value is not based on how much do you have in your bank account. Well, you're worth this much then.
Your value is here. Again, nothing wrong with having possessions, but it's wrong when you begin to base your value and status in life on what you have. You ever known people like that? They kind of look down on other people because they're just not in the same class of financial arena. They don't have the same education. It happens in the era of education to annoys me. Well, I have a MDiv here and I have a doctorate over here and I...
Probably healthier to take those initials off the end of your names. Nothing wrong with those things. Nothing wrong with education. It's wrong when you begin to think you're more valuable because of those things. Our value doesn't... Anybody can get... Listen, not anybody.
Most people can get a good degree and move on to some of that stuff. But that's not where our value is. Verse 16, he spake a parable unto them saying, The ground of a certain man, a rich man, brought forth plentifully. Bumper crop, verse 17. He thought within himself saying, What shall I do? Because I have no room to bestow my goods, my fruits.
Never came into his mind to give to his neighbors that were in need, verse 18. And he said, This will I do. I will pull down my barns and build greater and then will I bestow my fruits and my goods. So he's going to... He made the economic decision to destroy his barns and build bigger barns.
That's not a really good financial plan, but that's what he chooses to do. Verse 19, and then he begins to have a conversation with the most important person in his life, which is himself. And he says, I will say to my soul, soul. This is the guy in Matthew 18, isn't it?
Lord, thank you that I'm not his other men. He's praying to God, but he's actually talking to himself. This guy says, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
I mean, this guy's retirement plan is in place. He has more than he could ever know what to do with, no thought of anyone else. And look what God says in verse 20. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then who shall those things be which thou hast provided? This man thought he was something special, and God said, You're just a fool.
21, so is he that lath up treasures for who? Himself, and is not rich toward God. Jesus is teaching us here, you can be earthly rich and heavenly poor. Let me ask you, are you earthly rich, but heavenly poor?
Nothing wrong with having possessions. And this is not an attack against retirement. I don't really see in the Bible, you never see retirement. You know, most people would die within a year of retirement anyway. Retirement isn't time to go home and watch TV. You know what retirement is?
Stop doing what you don't really want to do to begin to do what you would like to do. You should, the people who should be really pouring their time and energy and resources into the church should be those who are at that season because they have more time. What else are you going to do with it? Go fishing all day? Go hunting?
You know, play games, go golfing? I always think the most miserable thing in my life was if I had nothing to do but golf. Like what a wretched life that would be. I'd be so mad every day. Because you would peek out and you could never, seemingly never improve because entropy would happen, you would get worse, you couldn't hit it as long. There's always somebody who could beat you, you'd be miserable.
I couldn't handle that. You ever go on vacation and after a while you're just like, I need to get back to doing something meaningful. You know, enjoy the vacation, enjoy those times, but you enjoy it because you were doing something worrisome before, right? And so the Bible tells us, even among Joseph, it says save up for seven years of plenty because there's seven years of famine. So it's wise to lay aside, to save up, nothing wrong with that. Even the Bible tells us in the book of Proverbs, it commends the ant that works in the summer so that it has food in the winter.
Nothing wrong with those things. And we're even to make sure that our families are taken care of, according to 1 Timothy, or we're worse than an unbeliever. But we should not do all of that only for ourself. We should save so that one day we could be faithful to give to those in need, to things that would be elevating the cause of Christ. Don't be earthly rich and heavenly poor. And also remember this, your life is not promised to be there when you've gathered up all your riches.
Neither are your riches promised to be there at the end of your life. I had a guy, I'll never forget, worked for the railroad. We were down in Chillicothe and one of the guys at our church worked for the railroad and he was sharing with us the situation and we followed up with the guy, but he had worked for 40 years, saved up all his money to retire. He was going to golf every day, he was going to just enjoy life. He wasn't a believer, but he got cancer and he died within three months of his retirement. And he was so bitter. I remember my brother had gone to see him in the hospital and he cussed my brother out, as horrifying as you could imagine, just lamb blasted him, don't ever come in here and everyone see you. Had such a hate for God because God messed up his plans.
And what he didn't realize was he was being a fool. He made himself rich in the world, but he was poor with God. Don't live that way, don't live that way. And number five, all heavenly investments, all heavenly investments will be eternal. They'll be forever. Everything invested in this world will be lost forever and everything I invest in the things of God will be kept forever. That's why Jesus says in verse 20, but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven. After the warning comes the admonition. Returns invested in the things of God are eternal.
They're forever. I mean, if I was a I asked this question to hundreds of teenagers when I was doing public school Bible studies over in Chillicothe, I asked hundreds of teenagers. I would say, if you could have a million dollar choice of having a million dollars today, or if you could know the moment you die, you would be with God in heaven forever.
Which one would you take? And like ninety nine point nine percent of teenagers would look at me and say, I would rather have heaven forever. And I would look at them and say, why?
Why would you do that? And they said this, because my money would run out. But eternity's forever. And I'm like, if these kids could get it.
Most of them were not saved. And then I went right into the gospel and began to talk to them. Well, hey, I have something better than a million dollars for you today. I have something worth more than money can buy.
Let me tell you about that. This is this is where the riches are. You know, the good thing is, and with the riches of heaven, no one can steal your possessions. And think about wise investments. In what ways are heavenly investments eternal?
Well, people who make time to study the word of God, I can tell you this. If you grow in your understanding of the word of God, it will pour over into other people's lives. And you will make eternal investments. When you make church a priority, you're investing in eternity. You've made a wise investment with your time this morning. When you take a track and you share the gospel with somebody else, that's a wise investment. You're investing in eternity.
Parents who spend time teaching their children the word of God, making sure that they know the gospel, that they come to Christ, just like the story we heard today from Jaden. That's a wise investment. You're investing in eternity. Those who say, you know what, once a week, I'm going to take an hour a week and do a family D group where we get around and we study the word of God. And that's a wise investment. Don't you think out of 168 hours a week, a mom and dad could say, hey, maybe we should set one hour aside to sit down and talk to our kids about the word of God.
That would be a wise investment. And I think about talents, the way we use our skills and abilities, the gifts, the spiritual gifts God's given us. Some of you have gifts of mercy, gifts of faith, gifts of giving. All these different spiritual gifts use them to grow the body, to minister to other people.
There's people in our church who have gifts even in the physical area of construction, and they have come in through the years and helped bless and help build things. And then treasures, those who honor God with their finances, who give and faithfully support the ministries here that are also affecting missionaries around the world. You're investing in eternity.
J.L. Kraft, the head of Kraft Cheese, said this. For many years, he gave over 25 percent of his income to Christian causes. He said, quote, The only investments I ever made which have paid constant increasingly dividends is the money that I have invested into the things of God.
John D. Rockefeller said this. I have tied every dollar God has entrusted to me, and I want to say if I didn't tie the first dollar I made, I would never have tied the first million dollars I made. J. Oswald Sanders said the basic question is not how much of our money we should give to God, but how much of God's money we should keep for ourselves. Everything we have belongs to him. And it's saying, God, what do you want me to do with what you've invested into my life and trusted to me? The Bible calls us to be stewards, friends.
Now, let me say this. I do not believe the Bible commands us to give the tithe. I don't believe that I think I and some of you may disagree with me, but the Bible in the New Testament doesn't say tithe give 10 percent of what you have to the church.
It doesn't say that. But I believe in what's known as a principle of tithing throughout the entire scriptures. Tithing is a principle you find throughout scripture. So in the Old Testament, Abraham gave a tenth of all he had to the Lord. Joseph gave it. Jacob gave a tenth of all he had to the Lord. Why did they give a tenth?
Because it represented the whole. That was before the law was ever given. You see this happening in Leviticus, I believe 22, where the tithe was commanded to the Old Testament saints under that jurisdiction. In Malachi 3, God says to not rob God in tithes and offerings, but that was to the nation underneath that system of giving. But in the New Testament, Jesus reaffirmed that that was a good thing to do. But the New Testament, I believe, teaches that tithing is not simply an end point, but it at least would be somewhere you would want to begin. People in the New Testament gave much more than 10 percent. I'm thankful my dad taught me to tithe as a young child because it's something I haven't had to struggle with because the first tolerance I made, he said, hey, you need to honor the Lord with the 10 percent of that. And I think that's a principle to place in life.
But that should not be the end point, but it should be something that you should be faithful to pull your life into to be faithful to give to the things of God. And so I want you to just consider each week at Lighthouse, there's over 600 people that gather on Sunday morning, over 300 on Wednesday nights. We have a large teen and a one in ministry, hundreds of others that join across online across different states.
We have three different times these messages go out on radio stations. We have 14 classes taught during life group hour. We have we teach at juvenile detention center tonight. We have 26 D groups that meet through the week with over 100 people, 125 or so people in that.
We have a Thursday night marriage class. We do with over 80 people involved in that. There's over a thousand people. The word of God's being preached and taught to every single week and over 40 to 50 different small groups. That doesn't include the 54 missionaries that we support all around the world lighthouse because of your faithfulness and giving.
We sent over a nearly $18,000 last month alone to the missions works all around the world. That gospel penetration is awesome. And so thank you for your faithfulness. And it should cause us to say, God, I want to invest in eternity. I don't want to get to heaven one day and find out that I got such a big fancy this and a big fancy that that I had nothing left over to give to God.
Put God first, need second and once third. You know, Jesus lived by this principle. When you look at the Lord's life, was he was he focused on his physical possessions or on the kingdom's work? When you look at Paul's life. When you look at the John the Baptist, the 12 disciples, even Moses, it said, is steaming the riches of Christ greater than the riches of the world. Nothing wrong with having possessions. But don't be earthly rich and heavenly poor.
And you can do that. You can also be earthly poor and heavenly rich. Revelation two, verse eight, nine.
Listen what this says. And under the angel of the church in Smyrna, right, Jesus is writing this, these things say the first and last with which was dead and alive. He said, I know thy works in tribulation and poverty. God says, I know you're poor, but thou are rich. The church of Smyrna says you're impoverished, impoverished in the physical realm, but you're actually rich. How rich are you if God calls you rich?
Right. Then in Chapter three, he writes to the church at Laodicea in Revelation three, verse 15, it says this. Christ says, I know thy works that thou art neither hot or cold nor hot.
I would thou art cold or hot. So then because our lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth because thou sayest I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. And Jesus says this and knowest not that thou are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. They define themselves as rich. Jesus defined them as poor. The church at Smyrna defined themselves as poor and Jesus defined them as rich. How would God define you today?
And so we come to this. Do you want to keep what you have? If I were to come to you today and say, hey, John, I could give you ten thousand dollars today. Or if you wait for one year, I'll give you a million dollars. I'll give you ten thousand dollars a day. Or if you wait for a year, I'll give you a million dollars. Who in here says I'd take the ten thousand dollars today? OK, no short term investors.
Who here would say I'd wait for the year and get the million bucks? Raise your hand. Be honest. Yeah.
Some of you are so pretty sure I wouldn't take money from anybody. Yeah, right. Yeah.
Yeah. You'd be the first one lining up, pushing people out of the way for that bit. And so you and I understand that in the physical realm, the wisdom of waiting, of investing, of saying, you know, I'll go without now so that I could have later. What Jesus is saying is be a long term investor. I felt like God put that on my heart so heavy when I was a young man. I remember at 17 years old, it was like God was just I could still like I could just pressed it into my soul.
Josh, you could have a great job, have a big house, boats, cars, all this fancy stuff. Or you could be willing to give all that up so that you could come and follow me and and serve me. And I remember as a 17 year old saying, God, I would give up all of that if I could just serve you and do something for you. And I just wanted my life to mean something for eternity.
And I remember he even challenged me later in life with this when I right before I went into full time ministry. And I graduated Bible college helping my brother and I got a job that that began to after a while began to pay incredibly good. I mean, the last month I was there, I made over twenty one thousand dollars, five thousand dollar a week checks. And I was nice making five thousand dollars a week. And and it was like right at that point. Then my brother's like, hey, we can take you on full time. I was like, all right.
And and so I walked away from that job and and it was like God was saying to you, are you are you serious about this? And I'm so thankful. You know what my riches are? You are my riches. You are my reward. When I get to heaven, it's you.
You're you're you're my eternal investment. God's blessed me financially. God's blessed me health wise. God's blessed me with a wonderful family.
God's taking care of my life. But in spite of all of that, you're the reward in the people that you invest in. They're your reward in your children and your neighbors. You share the gospel with the people you've led to Christ, the people you're teaching in a one is classes in the teens class and all these areas.
They're your reward. Make eternal investments. And so I'm here on behalf of God, saying tap into God's investment plan. I've taken God up on his investment plan and I'm calling. God has called me to call out to people, say, go from being a short term investor to a long term investor. I'm calling everyone to go from short term investments to long term investments. That's what I'm doing.
It's why Lighthouse was started. Calling people to say, don't sink your life into a lost world that's going to die and go to hell. Sink your life into Christ who will bring you to the riches of heaven forever. Anybody want part of that plan? That's where I want to invest.
And so today we have a choice. We're all investing somewhere. There's only two options to invest in heaven or earth. Our investments give different returns, eternal or temporary. Every investment into this earth will be lost forever. And every investment into God's kingdom will be kept forever based on those five truths. How then shall we live?
It's all staying this morning with heads bowed, nice clothes if you're here today and you know, Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. And perhaps you say, Pastor, there's some areas of my life I feel like I could be more faithful investing in the things of God. Maybe with your time, maybe with your mind, your talents, your abilities. Your energies, maybe with your finances and resources, you say, God, I want to be more faithful friend. Every one of us, myself included, there has been portions of my life. There's still times in my life now clearly that it's not as faithful, not as a good steward, perhaps wasteful with time and energies and things like that. And so maybe today there's some area of God saying, you know what?
Give me more. Invest more into the things of God. Do more for his kingdom.
Take a track when you leave today. Be faithful financially. Be faithful with your energies. Be faithful with what time God's given to us.
We get one life who's authoring it. If you're here today, say, Pastor, if I stood before God, I don't know if heaven's my home. You know, Jesus said this. He said, what does a man gain if he gets the whole world and loses his own soul?
What's it profit him? So today, if you were to ask yourself, am I saved? If you stood before God and he said, why should I let you into heaven?
You need to say, I don't know what I would say. I'm going to be down front with people down front. If you need to be saved today, you can come trust in Christ. If you say, Pastor, could you remember me in prayer? I'm not sure that I'm saved.
I'm not sure if I stood before God that I'd make it to heaven. Could you remember me in prayer? Would you just raise your hand that I might know to pray for you today?
Anybody like that today? Pastor, could you remember me in prayer? Not sure if heaven's my home. Amen. Father, we just thank you for your word today.
I pray that it would take root in our hearts. God, I thank you for the truths of scripture. God, it's a rare thing that we ever talk about money around this place because we only talk about it when you talk about it. But, Lord, thank you that you've shown us that we either serve you or our money. Help us to be faithful with what you've entrusted to our hands.
Thank you for all you've given us. We all have clothes today. We have shoes on our feet. We have cars to get in. We have a home to go home to. And more to eat than what we really know what to do with. God, you've blessed us beyond measure. Forgive us when we're not thankful like we should be. Help us to spend our life for you. Save anyone today that's lost. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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