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12-4-22 - Eight Truths Jesus Taught About Investing - Part 2

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist
The Truth Network Radio
December 12, 2022 10:03 pm

12-4-22 - Eight Truths Jesus Taught About Investing - Part 2

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist

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December 12, 2022 10:03 pm

December 4, 2022 – Message from Pastor Josh Bevan

            Main Scripture Passage:  Matthew 6:19-24

            Topic: Prayer

 

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If you would join me in the Word of God this morning to Matthew's Gospel Chapter 6. Matthew 6, we're going to read verse 19 down to verse 24.

When you find your place, if you would honor God's Word with me as we read Matthew Chapter 6 verse 19 down to verse number 24. The Bible tells us here 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.

If you'd read verse 21 with me. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye, if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine 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.

Where mammon simply means riches or money. Father, your word is our light. It is our wisdom. You've brought us salvation. You have caused us to live spiritually by the word of the Lord, where the heavens made and the host of them by the breath of your mouth. And it is the word of God that has begotten us into a living hope. We are humbled by the grace that you have shown us in our salvation.

We are rejoicing that Christ is our greatest treasure now. And Lord, I pray that as we examine this text that you would draw our hearts into the reality of eternal investing. That we would look to live our lives every day for the glory of God and not for our own selfish purposes. Give us the heavenly vision.

Help us to see the temporal measure of earthly living. And I pray that you would own our hearts today. May you own our affections. May our first thought, our best thought and our last thought of the day be of Christ. Be exalted among your people, God. And again, we pray that you would make us, Lord, as your people would.

And this word would be a fire that it would consume us. Be glorified now in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And all God's people said, man, you may be seated this Lord's day. Well, this morning we return to a portion of scripture where Christ is teaching on the importance of being a wise investor. He's calling out for people to not be foolish with their lives, but rather to be wise with their lives.

For people not to waste their lives, but rather to live their lives for that which will last forever. From being those who will one day lose everything to being one who will one day keep everything. He's teaching us to go from short term investing to long term and even eternal investing. From being consumed by that which is temporary to being consumed by that which is eternal.

And every person today is an investor. Every person every day is investing their time and money and energies into what we deem to be most valuable and most important. Jesus is saying here what and where we invest will determine the length and return of that investment. It's important to understand that Jesus doesn't separate the spiritual from the physical. Rather, Jesus Christ teaches everything in our life becomes valuable if we live it for God.

Jesus elevates the reality that among the believer there is no such thing as sacred and secular, but everything is sacred to the one who lives for the glory of God. And so we are to lay up treasures in heaven. 1 Corinthians 10 31 says, whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, do all to the glory of God.

Now, wise investors will do that. They will take the daily things of life from doing dishes to doing chores to going to work to raking the leaves to being kind to a neighbor to serving God in some capacity or sharing the gospel. All of that can be done for the glory of God. On the other hand, we can also not use our time, talents and resources for the things of God, but rather use them for selfish purposes to only benefit what we want. So I would ask you today, how are you investing your life?

What are you truly valuing and what would Jesus say you value? I'm not sure if there is a more important topic for us to reflect upon as we've looked at this last week and continue today in this text to step back and examine what we're really spending our life in. You know, we have one chance at this thing called life. There is no do overs.

There's no reset button. You live and then it's finished. And last week we looked at five key truths about investing, and today we'll look at three more. And by quick way of review, by last week we learned that we are all investing. God has given all of us different amounts of time, resources and maybe different capacities of spiritual giftings or physical talents as well. But we all have time, abilities and resources to invest. Secondly, Jesus taught in this portion of scripture, you only have one of two places to invest in heaven or earth.

There is no third option. Thirdly, we learned that our investments give different returns. Investments into the world at best are temporary and investments into the things of God and heaven are at worst eternal. That should that should that should cause us to evaluate our life, shouldn't it? Second Corinthians 4 18 Paul writes, while we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. And then fourthly, we saw last week, all earthly investments will be lost forever. This caused Jesus to say, lay not up for yourself treasure on earth because moth, rust, corrupt, thieves, breakthrough and steal. You can lose all of that. I've performed over one hundred and forty funerals. I've never seen a U-Haul being pulled behind the hearse and I've never seen a shroud with pockets.

They don't make them that way because you don't take anything with you in the physical realm like that. And fifthly, Jesus taught all heavenly investments will be kept forever. All of them kept forever. First Peter 1 4 Peter writes to an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled and that faith is not away, reserved in heaven for you. Anybody looking forward to that eternal reward, that internal inheritance as a 17 year old? I remember pondering this very heavily as though God was offering me two different kind of lives, a life that could be used in a good way or a life that could be used in an eternal way. And I said, God, I want to give my life to that which when I'm 70 years old, 70 years old and looking back, I can say, thank God I went down that road.

Thank God I invested my life there. And I'm here today because I have accepted God's terms of investing. And I believe God has called me to reach people and to call them from going being a temporary investor to being an internal investor. You don't have to be in full time ministry to be an eternal investor because all of us are really in full time ministry when you get right with God. We all serve God in a full time capacity, whether you work at a mill or whether you work inside of a factory, whether you work at Wal-Mart or whether you work at a church. All of us are serving God 24 seven and use that life, that one life that God's given you for something that will outlive you.

The Bible talks about about Adam's son, Seth, that even when he was dead, he still spoke. And when you live for God, your voice and your message in the in the life that you lived will continue on impacting people, but also eternal rewards await you. Today, we come to three more truths and number six we find here is in verse 21. Jesus says very simply for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The word treasure there is the Greek word Thesaurus, where we get the English word thesaurus, which is a treasure trove of words, if you would. And here treasure Thesaurus means a treasury or a storehouse, it's the it's the location that you keep your wealth and possessions, what you have and where you place it. And what you find in verse 21 is the where will determine the there, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

And what you put your treasure into, you will invest your resources of your heart, your heart will be pulled into. And the Bible uses the word cardia here in the Greek, it's where we get the word cardiology is the someone who works on the heart and cardiologist. And so the heart is the seat of our physical life.

It's what circulates blood throughout our bodies. But the Bible doesn't speak of the heart simply that way, but it's rather speaks about the heart as being the center of who we are as a person. In our culture, we think about loving someone with all of our heart or having an emotional way, but the Bible doesn't simply attach emotions to the heart. Rather, it attaches much to the heart. There's 750 references to the heart in the Bible.

It speaks out the heart is the place that conceals, discerns, instructs, meditates, muses, perceives, plans, plots, thinks and ways and on and on. That's why the Bible says in Proverbs 4 23, it says, Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. It's why Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all of your what?

Heart, soul, mind and strength. It's why we're called in Proverbs 3 verse 5 and 6 to trust in the Lord with all of our what? Our hearts. And God told Samuel, he said, Look not on the outward appearance, for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

And he said of David, I found a man after my own heart. God sees us as the person we are by seeing our heart. It is the reality of what we are as a person. So our heart is the center of who we are. It's the source of our actions, our emotions, our worship.

It's what God sees in us. Here in Matthew 6 19, Jesus is a very incredible statement. He says basically where we put our money, what we invest in with our money will reveal our hearts. According to the Lord, our finances are a window into our hearts. Jesus does not say what we say with our mouth reveals our hearts. He did not say our words reveal our hearts. He said our money does our treasures. Matthew 15 eight. It says the people draw near unto me with their mouth and on earth me with their lips, he says. But their heart is far from me.

Let me ask you this. If what our hearts really value is seen by what we do with our money, what part of the worship service do you think honors God most? If what our hearts really value, according to Christ, is seen by what we do with our money, what part of the service on Sunday mornings do you think Jesus looks at to see if he really has our hearts or not?

Is it the singing? Is that the greatest form of worship? It's not what the Bible says. Jesus said, Where your treasure is, there will your heart be. Jesus' love was not shown through singing or speaking.

It's a lot easier to sing than it is to give, isn't it? The Bible says God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. The Bible says in Second Corinthians, eight, nine, for you know, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes, he became poor so that we through his poverty might be rich. Paul told the church at Corinth that love would be evidenced in their giving. He said, I speak not by commandment, by the occasion of forwardness of others to prove the sincerity of your love. Second Corinthians eight, verse eight. He says, I want to see if you're really serious about loving these saints in Jerusalem.

And he's talking. He literally preaches two chapters, Second Corinthians chapter eight and chapter nine about giving. And that would evidence their love.

And it needs to be done right. John MacArthur writes, perhaps the most telling statement in all of scripture related to money are the words of our Lord. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also to put that into common language. Show me where your money is and I'll show you where your affections lie to make it even more mundane. Go through your checkbook and find out what you really care about. He said your spiritual life can be measured probably better by what you do with your money than any other single thing. So how do you treat God with your money?

And that will reflect his priority and value in life. If your spiritual life was measured by your bank accounts, would you feel comfortable going over them with Jesus Christ? What do they say about the importance of Christ in your life? And if somebody said, God is first place in my life, but he's last place in their finances, is are they being honest?

Are they being honest? If my giving reflects my love for the Lord, what is my giving revealing? Think about when the wise men, as we come into Christmas, came to the birth of Christ.

It says in Matthew 2 11, when they were come to the house, when they saw the young child and Mary, his mother, they fell down and they worshipped. And notice what the next statement says, and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. Flip with me over to the John's Gospel Chapter number 12.

I want to highlight something that is very important that we find there. John Chapter number 12. Someone might ask, why are we preaching on money at church? I thought you weren't allowed to talk about money or politics in church. Well, we're talking about money because Jesus talks about money.

And when he talks about it, I'm not going to skip over anything, he says. And so John 12. And I think that's what you want. That's why you're here, isn't it? I mean, Lighthouse continues to grow because you you're interested in what the Bible says. We all have to make a choice what we do with that information. But I would ask you just to examine if what I'm telling you is not from the Bible or if it is. And if this is from the scriptures, then we have to make a choice. What we preach on and what we what we want to hear is not based on what we like. It's what is true. So what what is the truth of scripture?

What does it say? And here in John 12, you're coming right off of the heels of a chapter in John 11, where Jesus just raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been dead for four days. He's in a town called Bethany, which is about two miles outside of Jerusalem on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. It was a small, quaint town. It was a place of a recluse for Jesus and his disciples.

They often resorted there because they were loved, welcomed, cared for, housed and housed there. And that's where he went. And when you come to Chapter 12, it's six days before Christ himself would be crucified. And the Bible tells us in verse one of Chapter 12, then Jesus, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he had raised from the dead. Verse two says there they made him a supper. Isn't that wonderful? Making Jesus a meal. Anybody think that'd be a wonderful thing to do? Say, hey, I know some of you ladies here would say I'd love to have hosted Christ.

I would love to have taken care of him, making him a meal and. Providing for him hospitality, and you see here that it says and Martha served. I know Luke Chapter 10, verse 38 through 42 talks about Martha serving and she gets irritated because Mary's sitting at Jesus feet hearing his word. But I tell you, I think it's pretty awesome that Martha is such a faithful servant.

Martha here isn't seen saying a word for the entire narrative. All she does is come in and she serves. And I think this is tremendous. Some of you serve in the church behind the scenes, constantly helping, constantly serving, cleaning, building, fixing, ministering, cooking, visiting, helping, setting up for events, tearing things down. You know, there's about a half dozen or more ladies this week who came in and they took down all the all the decorations for Thanksgiving.

That looks so nice. And and they put up all the Christmas decorations that are not only in this room, but also in all the hallways and the bathrooms inside the tables and all this stuff. Aren't you thankful for the ladies who come in and volunteer their time to make the church look nice?

Isn't that a blessing? Men say if you know the people right now that are back there watching kids in the nursery, I appreciate these dear ladies. And if you can hear us, ladies, we thank you. We thank you. The folks that are watching the toddlers and teaching the kids and and people who come in and clean through the week and those who help with outside stuff as well as inside stuff.

There's so much that goes on. People who work in classes, people who work as greeters, people who come and they get stuff set up in the building. And those who those who work in kids programs, youth groups, drive buses, visits, kids, I want you to know that God sees everything you do in secret and what you do in secret shall be rewarded openly in heaven. Nothing could be done at Lighthouse if it wasn't for all the faithful people serving.

Like Martha, all should be involved in serving. Galatians 5 13 says, But by love, serve one another. Jesus said in Matthew 23 11, but he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And then you see in verse number three. There was another individual who enters the room, says in verse three, then took Mary a pound of ointment of spiken or very costly and annoyed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair in the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

Without a word, Mary enters the room. Her love and devotion is about to be put on display in one of the most dramatic scenes in scripture. What happens in verse three is staggering beyond what most of us would understand. Six days before Christ is going to be crucified in Jerusalem, six days before the lamb of God becomes the payment for sin. Jesus Christ, who will taste death, taste death for every man, the pure sinless lamb of God taking the curse of sin and nailing it to the cross with his own death. Six days before this punishing death, a woman named Mary enters the room.

She's carrying what's called an alabaster vial, which is a small container inside of this little vial would have been about 12 ounces of fragrant oil that comes from a plant that's harvested on the mountains in India. The cost of it was extremely high. It's said to have been around 300 pence, which would have been close to a year's wages. There's about a year's income. Imagine whatever you make in a year is inside of a 12 ounce fluid container. The parallel account of this story is incredible in Mark 14, verse three says that she broke the vial and literally poured it on Jesus.

Every drop was was thousands of dollars in our amounts. She dumps the whole thing on him. What you find here is unrestrained love. She took the most valuable possession that she had and she gave it without reservation to Christ. She literally dumps her greatest treasure on the one she treasured most. Everybody knew that she just gave the greatest possession she had to what she saw as her greatest possession.

Where you have your treasure is where your heart will be. The house, it says in verse two, was filled with the odor of the fragrance in verse three, I should say. Many in the room may not have seen exactly what had happened, but they would have smelled it. The whole house would have been filled with a beautified smell. What is that aroma that's filling my nose? What is that smell?

That is so amazing. What's this fragrance and murmuring and discussion would have flooded through the house? Did you see what this woman just did? She just took that fragrant oil that maybe is passed down for many, for many people are passed down as a great treasure that she would have had. And she just broke that and Mary just poured that all upon Christ.

And how did the people respond? Look at verse number four. Then saith one of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor?

This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and had the bag and bare what was put therein. What you find in verse four through six is also reiterated in Matthew 26, verse eight and nine, where it says even the other disciples were murmuring the same thing. Instead of people saying, wow, Mary, that was awesome. She gets scorned for her sacrifice for Christ.

How sad it is that the people that should have applauded her are the same people scorning her, ridiculing her. Friend, have you ever been scorned or hurt by a Christian? Don't let offensive people keep you from serving Christ. It saddens me through the years sometimes when people get upset and they they don't want to do anything for God because they get.

Somebody said something about them or did something to them. John, twelve, seven, says, then said, Jesus, let her alone against the day of my bearing, has she kept this? You know, it's interesting, Mary doesn't defend herself. Jesus defends her. Jesus is the one who stands up for her. Because Mary did not make the sacrifice for the people. She made it for Jesus. Therefore, she doesn't run out when people say things about her.

You know, some some people would have run out of the place. Well, that hurt my feelings. Not Mary. When you serve the Lord for his glory and not man's applause, you can survive the scorn of other people. You know, I appreciate when people say, hey, preacher, I appreciate that sermon. That was a good sermon.

I appreciate you know, those things are nice. And but I also have people who don't like what I preach. And I have also people who get upset with me. But I can tell you this. I'm not going to preach a certain message based on applause, and I'm not going to preach a certain way based on scorn. I'm just going to preach the message. The word of God says whether you get applaud or scorn, you can't base truth upon those things. You base it on the word of God.

Amen. And all of us have to live that way. We have to be driven for the motive of glorifying God. And you want to be kind and gracious and benevolent and and all of those things. But but but don't make man your motive. Make God your motive. And it discourages me when I see people sometimes, hey, would you like to be involved in this?

Hey, would you like? Oh, you know, years ago I was serving and somebody said something about me and I I'm not going to serve anymore, really. So so now you're going to let me and keep you from serving Jesus. So where's that in the Bible at?

Where's that found? You know, I know sometimes people can hurt our feelings, but I think sometimes God tests us through those things. He brings intentional scorn upon us to see if we will serve him with a right motive.

But you know what? The Bible says don't get offended when people come against you. You get offended when people come against God. How many times our offenses are because of personal things and not because of the glory of Jesus Christ? That should be the issue.

That must be the issue. And so he says, against the day of my bearing, has she kept this? Mary's total devotion allowed her above all others to anoint Christ. She most greatly resembled Christ that last week of all.

You know what's incredible? In John Chapter 13, Jesus Christ brings the disciples into the upper room. He washes their feet, dries them with the towel that he's girded with. And no one else washed Jesus's feet in that upper room.

Nobody does. But when you go back to John 12, you find Mary washing Jesus's feet. Mary is the only one found in the scriptures here outside of the other lady in Luke's gospel.

But there's only one other time. She's the only one the last week of his week that is seen in the scriptures washing Jesus's feet. Her love and devotion allowed her to serve God in such a tremendous way. What do the sacrifices of your life say about the value of Jesus in your life? If great sacrifice reflects the great worth of Christ in our lives, what does little sacrifice show God? Some key biblical truths I think about giving that honors God is, first of all, giving to God our first and best honors God. In the Bible, what you find is God speaking about giving the first fruits. The Bible says in Proverbs three, verse nine, it says, Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase. Interestingly, that's just right after Proverbs three, five and six. Most of us are familiar with Proverbs three, five and six. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Just a couple of verses later, it says, trust him with your resources. So if I trust him with my heart, I'll trust him with my resources.

Right. And it says and with the first fruits, what does the first first represent that that represents the first and the best. You know, what day do we meet? Do we meet on the second day, the fifth day or the seventh day of the week? Which day do we meet on the first day of the week?

You know why? It's the God has chosen the first day of the week, the first hours of the day for us to gather together, that we might come together on the first day of the week. We call it the Lord's Day so that we can give him the first and best portion of our week. Amen. Do you see that God set that up physically for our time so that we could also reflect that spiritually as well as financially, as well as service and all that we do, you have chosen to be here in worship of God. You've done well.

That's a good thing you've done. Keep him a priority. Make sure that you keep Sunday set aside for God. And you know, when you go into the Bible, you find that God gave us his first and best. You know, the Bible calls Jesus Christ the first fruits of God. And first Corinthians 15, 20 and 23, Christ is called the first fruits. Romans 8, 23 calls the Holy Spirit the first fruits. God kept dumping on us his first and his best.

And should we give God less than our first and best? I think about the story of the grandfather who had two little grandsons. And he, you know, that's one of the things that my parents have been so much more gracious and spoiled. I'm sure it doesn't happen to anybody else's home, but they were so much harder on me and my brothers, you know, bring my kids around and, you know, they'll give them all kinds of things. You know, they just here's food and snacks and gifts and all this stuff. And, you know, they can all they can eat on the couch.

Sure, that's no problem. OK. Give them a dessert before the meal. OK, I see how it rolls. Yeah. Brand flakes, you know, yeah. Frosting on everything. Anyway, no bitterness left in my heart about this. And but, you know, grandfather gave his two grandsons a box of chocolate. The first grandson took it, ran into his room, ate all the chocolates, made a mess, got it all over his face and devoured them all. And the second grandson opened up that box of chocolates. And before he tore into that first chocolate, he looked at it and he looked up his grandfather and he says, thank you so much for this gift here. I want you to have the first piece.

And that should be the reflection of the believer, shouldn't it? I wake up in the morning. We should say, God, you've given me another day. Lord, I want to give you the first piece of my day. We make money. We say, God, I want to give you the first portion. I want to show you're in front of me, in front of my money. My money doesn't own me.

You do. God, I want to give you the first and best portion of my abilities. I want to serve you with my life that we would seek to put God first in all of those things. You know, the story was told of a farmer who had a couple of baby milk cows that were born. And he says, you know, honey, God has blessed us with these two milk cows. And I'm going to give one of them to the Lord when it grows.

And I'm going to we'll keep the other one. And the wife said, oh, that's such a generous offer, you know, such a gracious thing to be generous to God in that area. And a few weeks passed by and the woman saw her husband come into the house and he seemed down and sad. And she said, honey, what's wrong? And said, well, one of the cows got sick and it died. Said, I'm so sorry, the Lord's cow died. Why is it that it's always the Lord's cow that dies? Shouldn't it be our cow that died? You understand what it means to give God the first and the best? Don't let it be in your life that it's always the God's cow that dies.

You've got the first. I think what a sad reflection to always say, well, if I have any time in my schedule, I'll make it to church. If I have any more money left over, I'll give it to God. If I have any abilities and time, you know, maybe I'll squeeze something I could do at church, really. So is God always going to be on the back burner in your life?

How can you say you love him with all of your heart when you keep him in the back of the line? You know what I get saddened by sometimes, too, is it's not only all the people that serve and work at church that build up the body, but some people can't even make it to church. Sometimes I think maybe I should turn off the online viewership. And all the people viewing are like, don't do that. But if it's the only way you can be a part of the church is to be online, then I'm glad to have that available.

But, you know, it does sadden me to think that there's people who say, well, I'll just catch it online, really. Is that really giving God your first and best? The Bible says assemble together, be here. And if hundreds of people through the week can clean and serve and minister and teach and do all these things, what does it say when a person can't even come? I can't even come to be ministered to.

I think it should be a reflection of your heart, friend. You know, they say 20% of the people do 80% of the work, vice versa. Don't let that be said of you. Don't be the 80%. Be part of the 20%.

Be the person who serves and does something for God. So today, examine your life. We're talking about investing here.

You get one shot at this thing called life. Use it wisely. And then number seven, where you invest reveals your spiritual condition. Where you invest will also reveal your spiritual condition. What we invest in reveals our heart.

Secondly, or seventh, where we invest reveals our spiritual condition. Verse 22 and 23, if you go back to John's gospel, it expands upon verse 19 through 21. Verse 22 reads, the light of the body is the eye. 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. Therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness.

How great is that darkness? The word single there is the idea of single-mindedness, a single devotion, a clear devotion. And what it's talking about is having a single devotion to God.

That your heart and your eye would be focused on him and not on materialism. And the result will be, it says, your whole body shall be full of light. But on the other hand, it says in verse 23, but if your eye be evil. And the evil eye is spoken of several times in the Old Testament as that which is greedy, that which is materialistic. Proverbs 28, 22 says, he that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye. This is repeated in Proverbs 23, 6, Deuteronomy 15, 9. The person with an evil eye is a greedy person, a stingy person. It's a person that's spiritually sick. Jesus is teaching that materialism and greediness calls people to be blind in deception. And he says, and how great is that darkness.

They will become a dark soul. The point is this, how we look at our money and possessions and how we use them, make a clear indicator of our spiritual condition. Whether we are spiritually healthy or whether we are spiritually blind. I want to give you, I think we should all have the heart that says, I want to give to God because it reveals my spiritual condition.

Unhealthy giving reveals an unhealthy spirituality. You know, if my desire is to see people saved, baptized and discipled, I would want to invest in that entity, that earthly entity that Jesus came to build. He said, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And to invest there, 2 Corinthians 8, 7 even says we should grow in this grace of giving. I think about Zacchaeus in the Bible. Remember Zacchaeus, the wee little man, ran up in the Sycamore tree for the Lord. He wanted to, yeah, you get, okay, you don't want to sing along, that's all right.

I'm not going to sing it. But this little guy was rich and I imagine you get to heaven, he's like, Lord, did you really have to say I was a little guy, you know, right up here in the street? But he was a rich tax collector, he was betrayer of his own country when you're in taxes in those days as a publican, that's what he was. Traitor to his own nation, taking taxes from his own people, giving it to Rome. And it was also a lucrative business. He was not only a tax collector, but he was a chief tax collector. He was very corrupt. Jesus calls him down from the tree and says, I'm going to go home to dine with you today. People were shocked, they couldn't believe it.

How on earth could he go home to the most wicked man in town? So wicked, Republicans, they would not allow them to even give a, they could not even give a count of a record inside of a public court because they were so sinful in their eyes. They would not even allow them inside of their public meetings when they came together in synagogues.

Republicans were not allowed to be there. The only time, therefore, a publican would ever hear Christ speak was when Jesus walked around and spoke. And so Jesus comes home to this guy, and the guy ends up giving his life to Christ. He trusted Jesus as Lord. Luke 19 gives us the record in verse 8.

Notice what happens. And Zacchaeus stood and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, a confession of his faith. And he says, The half of my goods I give to the poor, if I've taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation. Come to this house for as much as he also is a son of Abraham. Jesus became Lord of Zacchaeus' life, and he became Lord of his money.

You cannot have one without the other. According to some church historians, Clement of Alexandria, his early church father, said that Zacchaeus became a very faithful Christian leader at the church at Caesarea, and that church later became pastored by one Cornelius of Acts 10. Zacchaeus went from having an evil eye of materialism and greed to a single eye of putting God first and using his resources for God. So if our money is a reflection of spiritual growth, how are you using your money? And how is your spiritual growth? Paul said we should grow in the grace of giving. As a Christian, you should be doing more now financially for God than you were 10 years ago.

I say this in a humble way, but God, I'm so thankful, has allowed me and my wife to grow through the years in our giving. I'm thankful that my parents taught me to tithe, and I've always done that faithfully through the years, giving 10% or whatever comes into the Lord. And I don't believe that's a command of the New Testament, but I think it's a principle the Bible teaches that we should submit to. Why should I give less in the New Testament than the Old Testament saints did under the old? In the New Testament, the widow gave all. In the book of Acts, they gave much more than 10%. They were extravagant givers. But through the years, God's allowed me and my wife to give more through building and missions than we do to tithe and to grow in that giving and do that.

And I say that to be an example. Be faithful, and God will be faithful to you. If you don't think giving is directly connected to your spiritual growth, just consider this. I have a pastor friend up toward Toledo that has a church of 800 people, and he got very sick, and he battled so many health issues, just so sad, and he was such a faithful man of God. And over the course of a year, because of his absence in the pulpit and having to bring in other speakers and stuff, the church went from 800 people to 600 people over about a year and a half of that sickness that he dealt with. And he told me this.

He said, Josh, you know what was so fascinating? He said as the church declined in attendance from 800 to 600, the giving stayed exactly the same. He said the giving never went down any.

You know what that told me? Faithfulness is directly connected to giving. Guess who's the first to leave a church? The non-givers. Guess who leave when a pastor's sick, when there's a trial that's going on, it's the people who don't give. How do you lose 200 people and your giving's the same?

All the non-givers just left. Is that incredible? It's incredible to me. Faithfulness and devotion are directly attached to a person's money. Where your treasure is, guess what, there will you be. If you believe in what is happening at Lighthouse, one great way will be reflected in your giving. I think also giving increases your faith. You know, faith is increased in giving. If giving were easy, everybody would do it faithfully. Faith doesn't come by having, faith comes by giving. People say, well, if I had more, I would give more. Or if I had more, I would at least start giving. And I would say you will not. If you have more, you'll just spend it. You'll do exactly what you've been doing.

That's for sure. You need to know that. You will never give more than what you would have right now giving. And so in the book, Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand tells of many years of his miserable prison, imprisonment and communism. He was tortured, many were starved to death. But he talks about how the principle of tithing was so internalized in his heart that he was given one slice of bread a week in dirty soup every day. He said he faithfully tithed from that. He said every 10th day, he gave his soup to a weaker brother, and every 10th week, he gave his slice of bread to some other prisoner in Jesus' name.

If all you have is a cup of dirty soup and a slice of bread, and a guy can tithe off that, what does it say of us in America when all of us probably will throw away more food today from lunch than he would have had in a week? And we say we can't faithfully invest in things of God? You know, Jesus taught very clearly that giving reflects our faithfulness, and if we can't be faithful with the finances of our life, we cannot be faithful with the spiritual things of our life. Luke chapter 16 verse 10 and 11, listen to what Jesus says. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.

He that is unjust in the least is unjust in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, or unrighteous money, who will commit to your trust of true riches? If a person can't be faithful with money, they'll never be faithful with ministry. I always wondered why God put me through such financial tight situations when I first got married. I thought, is God against me?

Did I do something wrong? I'm moving from college to a city in Chillicothe to help get a church started, and every one of my needs met, never borrowed money from anybody, never put a penny on a credit card, never a late payment. All my needs were met, and I never ate out.

I never bought a pup. I told you this before. Just so tight, and I think God was testing me in those couple years to see if Josh cannot be faithful with money, a little bit of money, while he's living in that situation, he can never pastor a church. If he can't be faithful with little, how could he be faithful with much? It's impossible. And some people don't realize they've disqualified themselves from being used in some greater way by God because they can't be faithful with this.

They can't stop spending on silly, frivolous things. And God says, God attached this directly to ministry. He says, if you can't be faithful with the unrighteous man, then who will entrust the true riches to you, the things that really matter?

It's important to understand that those connect together. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1-12, the Lord counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry. It is faithfulness, friends, not perfection. All of us fall short. I fall short. You fall short. But it is faithfulness.

And then number eight, and we'll be done. Wrong investments Jesus taught, according to verse 24, will cause us to serve the wrong master. Look what verse 24 says. 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. Now, what is mammon?

Mammon is a transliteration of an Aramaic word, and it just means your money, your riches. And Jesus even personifies it here by speaking of it as something that would lord or master over you. And according to Christ, you can have only one of two masters. You either have God as your master or money.

Do you find that interesting? Jesus says there's only one of two things that will own you in life, God or your money. I think if that's the case, we should probably preach on money at least once a month, if not more.

Does that make sense? You know why people get angry when preachers preach on money? I don't think people here would, I wouldn't assume, get mad, but I'm sure there's probably somebody like... You know why we get irritated? And if you're here today and you find yourself aggravated on the inside, stirred up, frustrated, let me ask you why.

Why would you be upset? If money is the chief competitor for God's affection in your life, why would you not want someone to preach against it? Why would you, if money keeps people from getting into heaven, Jesus said it's easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to go to heaven. It's easier for a man to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into heaven. If money is what would keep somebody from heaven, why would we get upset if they preached against it? The only reason people get upset is because it's touching their idol. You just put your hand on what they love most. Well, I don't love money most, then get that frown off your face, right?

You should be like, thank God, I would be glad. I've always, thank God, I appreciate preaching on money because I don't want it to own my heart, I don't want it to own my affections. I think about the rich man who walked away sorrowful in Matthew 19. Jesus says, sell everything you have, come and follow me, and the man who went away sorrowful, he traded heaven for earth, Christ for material things. I wonder now, 2,000 years later, if that rich man has some regrets.

What do you think? And you know later in Luke 19, you have Zacchaeus who traded earth for heaven. Giving to the Lord will protect people from the horrible bondage of covetousness. You know, experts tell us that the average person thinks about money 50% of their waking time, 50% how they can make it, how they spend it, how they repay it, how they give it. 1 Timothy 6, 10, notice what this verse says. For the love of money is the root of all evil.

That's a very encompassing statement. The love of money is one word in the Greek. And it literally means the affection for silver. And it is not money that's the problem, it's the love of it.

It's the affection for it. Because when you love money, listen, it will determine the direction, energy, thoughts, actions of your life because it holds your heart. On the other hand, when we love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, God will determine our direction, our affections, our desires, what we spend our energy, thoughts, and actions on. Money in itself is not wrong and God can bless people financially if he so chooses. Proverbs 8, 21, God says that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance and I will fill their treasures. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 6, 17 that God gives us all things richly to enjoy.

If you're here today and you're financially well off and you have maybe nice possessions and things, don't feel guilty over having those things. But don't let those things own you. Hold loosely all that's not eternal.

Don't have a white knuckle on them. You know one of the ways they catch monkeys in the jungles of certain areas in the Congos? They take a coconut, they cut out a little hole, and they put a silver object, this is true, they put a little silver thing inside of there. A monkey will come along and the hole is just big enough for him to squeeze his little hand through and he'll grab that silver flashy item inside of there. And then the natives will come along and they'll have a rope tied to the other side of that and they'll begin to pull the monkey toward them.

All the monkey has to do is let go of that silver toy and he would be free, but he will not. And so he holds it and grasps it until it brings him to his death. And friends that's what people do, they hold on to their things, their possessions. Learn to not be covetous, it made God's top ten list. God says be not covetous, Israel fell into covetousness over and over again. Jesus warned in Luke 12 our life doesn't consist in the things that we have. So 1 Timothy goes on and says the love of money is the root of all evil. It's the cause for all kinds of sins of our life. Is there anything sinful that man has not done because of money?

I mean we have bribed judges, we have caused injustices, we have stolen possessions, people have killed other people for money, prostitution, all kinds of wickedness has been done because of money. And it says while some coveted after they erred from the faith. I think about Demas in the Bible who was a faithful servant of God, but later in his life Paul writes at the end of Paul's life, Paul says in 2 Timothy 4, 10, for Demas had forsaken us having loved this present world. Judas, you know even Judas Iscariot sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver, right? How much would it take you to betray Christ for? How much could somebody offer you and they say, hey, I'll give you $100,000 if you reject Jesus. I'll give you $100,000 if you threw his Bible away, said I don't want his word in my life. I'll give you a half million dollars or a million, would you betray him?

I just act like I did and then I'd, really? Judas sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver, about a month's income. At the end of that Judas was so grieved that he went back and he said I betrayed innocent blood, he cast the money back to the people he took the money from, the religious leaders. They said we don't have anything to do with this money and Judas went out and hung himself. What Judas found was the money was not worth it.

I would ask you today, what are you doing with your life and is the money worth it? All who serve money will one day realize it was a lie. John D Rockefeller said, quote, I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness. Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made his wealth in railroads and shipping in the 18th and 19th centuries, he said, quote, the care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone.

There is no pleasure in it. John Jacob, a story of the first multimillionaire in the US said, quote, I am the most miserable man on earth. Paul Getty, founder of Getty Oil Company in 1957 by Fortune magazine, was labeled the richest man in America, said, quote, What can I say?

I only know I am desolate. Henry Ford said I was happier doing a mechanic's job. Andrew Carnegie said, and he led the great expansion of the steel industry in the 19th century, they said his net worth today would have been around $13.5 billion. He said, quote, millionaires seldom smile, and he went to give away over 90 percent of his money. Jesus said you will love one and you will hate the other. If Jesus taught money is man's greatest competitor for God for the affection of our hearts, shouldn't we be thankful for God's word being preached against the love of money? Shouldn't we expect pastors and teachers to warn us of the danger of loving money? Why do you think people get upset over it? It just, you know, don't talk about money or politics. Well, we'll talk about both.

And I fear the reason people get so upset is because they are so in love with their money. Don't let that be you today. As I close, I remember growing up and my pastor making this statement. He would say, what kind of church would Lighthouse be? And at that time, it was the church we were in called Bible Baptists. What kind of church would this be if every church member were just like me?

And it really caused me to reflect upon it. And I want to ask you that what kind of church would Lighthouse Baptist Church be right now? If every church member would be just like you.

Would we have to expand our life groups? Would we have to go from two services to three because people chose to come every week? Would we have to say, hey, we're going to be paying down this mortgage loan a little bit faster than we thought for the bank, and the bank would be not happy. It's nice to make the bank unhappy when you pay stuff off early, so it's nice.

We pay extra on it every month and it's getting paid off quick. Would we have to say, hey, we're going to have a waiting list on the greeters, on the nurseries, on the cleaning teams, on those who help throughout the week, all the different ministries. We're going to have to expand our kids ministry, our wanna ministry, teen ministry. There's all kinds of different ministries we're going to be starting up because there's so many people in the wings wanting to serve, wanting to work. We don't even know where to put everything.

I mean, this thing is just blowing out of the water. Is that the church that we would have? Or would it be that, you know what, we'll probably have to cancel Life Group because nobody's wanting to teach it. Nobody's even showing up for Life Groups right now. Would we have to cancel church even every other week because they only come every other week? Would we have to say, hey, we're not going to be able to support the missionaries that we're supporting all around the world, 55 plus missionaries. You know, we just had a missionary come in this last Wednesday from the jungles of the Amazon.

It's ridiculous. This guy's been on the mission field for over 40 years. He bathes in the river. I wouldn't even get in that river.

And I'm pretty fearless about certain things about water, but my goodness, the Amazon? He'll be at the Amazon tomorrow on a 10 day tour preaching from village to village. He said, you know, Pastor Josh, the monies that you gave me when I was there Wednesday, it's going to fuel the little boat that we're going to be crossing the Amazon going to those little rivers. Praise God for all the people that give to lighthouses missions programs. You know, the last two months, God's allowed us to give 34 plus thousand dollars away to missions. Tens of thousands of dollars being pumped out of this place all over the world. We just sent what, 450, 500 shoe boxes all around the world. Aren't you thankful that you participated in that? It blesses my heart people taking those boxes out and they see teenagers and adults and young and old alike and knowing that, hey, they're going to be putting 10, 20, 30, $50 worth of stuff in there and then paying for postage. We sent over $6,000 down to them guys to help send that stuff all around the world.

Praise God for your faithfulness. What kind of church would lighthouse be if every church member were just like you? Would we have to do a thousand shoe boxes because they're just everybody's taking them, even multiple ones? Or we have to cut some programs that we have to say, hey, we're going to have to we're going to have to cancel some missionaries. You know, every few years we increase the giving that we send to each missionary. We give them more because a lot of our missionaries are on the field and some of the churches have closed down or they've dropped so much through COVID that they said that are losing support on the field. They're out on the field preaching the gospel and churches have lost their incomes because people stopped coming because of COVID. Well, I wish we had more concern in our Christian arena over the souls of people than trying to stay alive from a disease that 99.98 people survive from.

You get it right? But it's tragedy. I think COVID was a big test for churches in America. But what would what would we be? Would we be a thriving church or would we turn into a dead church?

Would we be like all the other churches around the country that seem to dry up and die? You know, Christ said, we're all investing. You only have one or two places heaven or earth. Investments give different returns, temporary or eternal. All earthly investments are lost forever.

All heavenly investments are kept forever. Your investment reveals your heart. Where you invest reveals your spiritual condition and what you invest in will determine what controls your life.

I mean, these are massive truths about investing. You just finished your 2022 in your book of life. What's been written has been written. And you're coming to the end of your 2022. And what's what are you writing in your work in your in your life's book? Are you ending the year? Well, are you serving? Are you loving? Are you sharing the gospel? You're winning souls, discipling. Are you investing your time, talents, resources? Are you are you just kind of fluttering along, pouring your life into things that won't last?

As I said earlier, don't be convicted. All of us live a full time ministry life, whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do for the glory of God. Honor God. When you go to work, when you serve, when you cleanse your house, whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.

Make him your focus and your rewards are eternal. Be faithful, friends. Be faithful.

Let's all stand this morning with heads bowed, nice clothes. Maybe today you just want to come and take a moment and kneel down before the Lord and say, God, I want to examine my life. God, I want to be faithful.

I want to be one that's found faithful. Maybe there's something in your life you say I could do more for God. I could give more. I could serve more. I could give more of my time. Maybe there's something in your life you say, God, I need to surrender more of that to you. I want to be used by you.

I want to know when my life's over that it mattered. Don't let this be another message. Don't let this be another another time you heard a preacher. But let this be something you own in your soul and say, God, I want that to be me. I want to live that word that Jesus said there. Let me lay up treasure in heaven.

Not lay it up on the earth. Don't let the good in your life become the enemy of the best. It's not always sin that pulls us down.

Sometimes it's distractions. If you're here today and maybe you are not saved, if you stood before God, you don't know if heaven's your home. I'm going to be down front.

We have men and women down front. We'd love to talk with you. If you need to make a decision, maybe you need to rededicate your life, turn your life over to Christ. Whatever your need is today, I'd love you to come make that decision today. Father, we praise you for your word today. You keep us from wasting our life.

I have wasted so much of my life throughout different years. And God, I wish I could go back and do things over at times, but God, I'm so thankful for the times you've allowed me to be faithful. It's only your grace that's done that. I pray that in the time that all of us have remaining that we would be found faithful. May we live for your glory in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-13 13:44:04 / 2022-12-13 14:07:59 / 24

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