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Life of Paul Part 35-The Principle of Investment-Handling Money God's Way

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
July 1, 2020 7:00 am

Life of Paul Part 35-The Principle of Investment-Handling Money God's Way

So What? / Lon Solomon

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July 1, 2020 7:00 am

Handling Money God's Way

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Good morning, everybody. We want you to take a Bible and open it with us to the letter that Paul wrote the Church of Philippi.

We call it the Book of Philippians, chapter four. We're going to be coming there in just a couple of minutes. But first, I want to tell you the true story of a man named Melvin Milligan. Mr. Milligan lived in Passaic, New Jersey. And in June, early June of 2000, get the year now, he was driving home from work and he decided he was thirsty and he wanted to stop and get a Coke. So he stopped for a Coke at a little convenience store in Montvale, New Jersey. And as he was walking in the store, he noticed in the window an advertisement for the $46 million jackpot that week on the big game lottery. So he thought, ah, what the heck?

I'll buy some tickets. So he bought five $1 tickets. He didn't even have any favorite numbers because he never plays the lottery. So he just said, let the computer pick him. The computer picked him and he got home, didn't even think any more about it, threw him in his junk drawer.

And for a year, it never even occurred to him that he had them. In June of 2001, June the 7th, to be exact, Mr. Milligan and his wife were sitting together watching the evening news when the newscaster was interviewing a state lottery official who said that the single winning ticket for the $46 million drawing of a year before had never been claimed. And whoever had it had 36 hours left to claim it.

Otherwise the one year statute would run out and the ticket would be declared null and void. Somebody was going to lose $46 million. Now as part of the newscast, they showed a picture of the convenience store in Montvale, New Jersey where the winning ticket had been bought.

This is true. And Mr. Milligan turned to his wife and said, Hey, you know, I think about a year ago I bought some tickets at that convenience store to the lottery. And she said, well, honey, I think you better get up and go look for them. So he did. It took a while to find them. He found them in the bottom of the drawer, that junk drawer, and he stuck them in his pocket and very leisurely strolled on up to the deli in town and they began sticking them in the computer and go to war.

Miss Annie, would you believe it? The second ticket in was the one single winner of $46 million. He claimed the prize with less than 24 hours left before they were going to declare his ticket completely null and void. Now, if you won $46 million, what would you do with $46 million?

Well, I've got a couple of possibilities for you to consider. With $46 million, you could buy 12 one minute ads on the Super Bowl. With $46 million, you could cruise around the world 92 times on the Queen Elizabeth II, staying in the penthouse with private veranda. For $46 million, you could feed all the animals in the National Zoo for 90 years. With $46 million, you could buy 184 brand new Ferraris. With $46 million, you could pay off.1% of the national debt. Now, that's scary.

And here's my favorite. With $46 million, you could buy a courtside seat for the Lakers and sit right next to Jack Nicholson for the next 800 years. Yeah. Well, now nobody in their right mind would do that with $46 million. What would we do? We would invest it, right?

Hey, I got another option. You could pay off the McLean Bible Church building program with $46 million, but you still have about $10 or $12 million left. And what would you do with that? Well, you would invest it. And you'd invest it at the highest possible rate of return.

You could get your hands on and everybody would look at you and say you were a wonderfully smart and shrewd person. Now today we're going to talk about, as part of our little series, handling money God's way. We're going to talk about the most incredible investment opportunity that has ever been offered any human beings in the entire history of the world. It's offered us by God and we want to make sure everybody here understands it so that we can take advantage of it. It's better than if you had bought $10,000 worth of Walmart at its IPO.

By the way, do you know if you would have bought $10,000 of Walmart in 1990 at the initial public offering today, that same stock would be worth $5 million. This is better than that. You say, well, it better be good. It is. And the best part about it is everybody here can get in on it. It's open to every one of us.

There are no commissions, no loading fees, no minimum balances. It's wide open. So let's talk about that. But first let me review just a little bit. We're in a short series entitled handling money God's way. The way we got into this series is we're doing the life of the apostle Paul. And as we were tracing his life through the book of Acts, he's been in the city of Philippi now and in the city of Philippi, the most generous, the most liberal, the most openhearted and open handed church and all the New Testament of all the churches Paul started developed.

They gave to an unbelievable degree to the work of God. And so we said, Hey, this would be a good moment to stop before Paul leaves Philippi and moves on and talk about this. Now I made you a deal.

The deal I made is we're going to talk about money for a couple of weeks, but I am not going to ask you for a cent. And that deal still goes because friends, the purpose of this series is not to get more money from a claim Bible church. The purpose of this series is to educate you and me as to how to handle our resources biblically so that we can mature as followers of Jesus Christ. And so we learned last week that the apostle Paul was in jail in Rome when the Philippian church sent him another offering, one of the many, and in response he wrote him back a thank you note. The book of Philippians is really just a big thank you note for the money they sent. And in chapter four, Paul comments on their giving and gives us all the principles we need to set up a biblical system of resource management. Last week we looked at principle number one, the principle of contentment. If you missed last week, get the tape, get the CD. I don't have time to review it today.

We want to go on to principle number two, the principle of investment. Let's look beginning at verse 14. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Paul writes, he's talking about the money they sent earlier on.

He has said, I'm content. I'm trusting God to take care of me, but nonetheless I appreciate the money you've sent. Verse 15. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel message, when I set out for Macedonia, when I left Philippi, we're about to leave with him in our study of his life in just a couple of weeks, you sent me aid money again and again when I was in need. When I set out for Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you only. They were the only church.

Can you believe this? Of all the churches he started, it's the only church he gave to his ministry. Then he says, for even when I was in Thessalonica, the next city he went to, you sent me aid again and again and now you've done it and I'm in Rome.

You've done it again for me. Now, you know, it's clear here that the apostle Paul was very excited about the generosity of this church. But you know, money is a funny thing, friends.

It's very easy for us to misunderstand other people's motives when it comes to money. And I'm sure there would have been some Philippians who would have said, oh, yeah, well, no wonder he's excited about our giving because we give to him. Of course, he's just saying that because he wants more money. So to counter that very quickly, look what Paul says. Verse 17.

He says not that I am looking for a gift. The reason I'm really excited about your generosity is not because I'm trying to get more and more your money. Well, Paul, why are you excited then?

What makes you so thrilled and happy about a church being this generous? He's going to tell us verse 17. But I am looking for what may be credited to your account. Now the New American Standard translates this, but I seek the profit that increases to your account. The old King James translates this. I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. But to really get the sense of what Paul saying here, we need to go back and look at the Greek words themselves in the end of verse 17.

And when we do, we find that every single one of those words is a bookkeeping word, a financial word, an accounting term. And here's how the verse really translates literally. Paul says what I'm really excited about is the interest that will excessively accrue into your bank account. I'm excited about the interest that will excessively accrue into your bank account. Now in the end of verse 17, we find this principle about monetary giving to the work of God, the principle of investment. And there are two very important truths we find here. Truth number one is found centered around this word that there is interest that's going to accrue to our bank account. The truth is the Bible teaches that the day you and I gave our lives to Jesus Christ, God that very day opened up a heavenly bank account for each one of us in the pearly gate savings and loan. Now you have your account, I have my account, and the Bible teaches furthermore that every time we use money here on earth in a way that honors God, every time we give to the work of God, whenever we use money to help homeless people, orphans, refugees, disaster victims, people in need in any way, and we help them in the name of the Lord, the Bible tells us that we are making deposits into our heavenly bank account. We are transferring funds into our heavenly bank account, and the Bible talks about this throughout the New Testament as storing up treasure in heaven. You say, Lon, are you sure you're not reading too much into this verse?

Well, listen to these other verses. Matthew chapter 9, verse 21, Jesus told the rich young ruler, go and sell all you have and give it to the poor, invest it in the work of the Lord, and you shall have treasure in heaven. Jesus said, Luke chapter 12, verse 33, when we give to the Lord, we provide ourselves with purses that will not wear out, treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted. Matthew 6 in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but rather store up for yourselves, here comes, treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

What's truth number one that we find here? We find it throughout the New Testament, that every believer in Jesus Christ has a heavenly bank account, that we make deposits into that bank account whenever we use money here on earth in a way that honors Jesus Christ, and that as followers of Christ, when you get to heaven, when I get to heaven, I can't my account, your accounts gonna be waiting for you there. Some of us are going to have a lot in our account when we get there.

And some of us will our accounts kind of going to be on a respirator when we get there. But you know, the worst part about this whole thing is that when we get there, if we don't like the balance that's in our account, we got nobody to blame but us. I don't make deposits into your account.

You don't make deposits into my account. See, that's why I hate golf, not play golf, but I hate it. And I'll tell you why. Because when you make a bad shot, there's nobody to blame but you. See, if you play a team sport, you can say, Well, if she did that, he did this, and they did that over there, then I wouldn't have messed up. But what are you going to blame in golf, the ball, the tee, the club? That's why it's such a stinky game.

Because when you hit a bad shot, the only person to blame is you. Well, when we get to heaven, and we don't like the amount in our account, guess what? Well, friend, there's nobody to look at but you. You're the only one who decided how much went in there.

He said, Well, Lon, this makes me feel really uncomfortable because you know what? I don't have that much money. I mean, how am I going to possibly put as much money in my bank account in heaven as some millionaire Christian or some multimillionaire Christian who's got all this money? Well, friends, remember, God doesn't do accounting that way.

Remember the story of the woman with the two little coins at the temple? And Jesus said, Hey, you see all these people who came and gave 1000s and 1000s of dollars, this woman gave more in my opinion than all of them, because she gave everything she had, and they gave out of their wealth, it really didn't cost them much. Friend, let me tell you something, God is not going to line these accounts up and hand out rewards for these accounts, based upon the dollar amount that goes in. He's going to look at what you had to give what I had to give, and what we gave to the work of God proportionately, relatively to what we had. And he's going to account completely differently than we account down here on earth, some of the people are going to get the greatest rewards, you're going to be surprised when you get to heaven, who some of those people are going to be, they may not have given a lot of dollars, they may have been some poor widow who gave 10 bucks a week. But you know what? God looks and see what we have, and then what we give. And that's how he figures this out. So don't you be intimidated in the slightest, what somebody else has, God's not going to account for them, for you, or based on what they have, he's going to account for you on what you have.

They say, Well, Lon, what are you really saying here? You're really saying that getting into heaven depends on what we how we spend our money down here on earth? No, no, the Bible teaches that if we trust what Jesus did for us on the cross, we have a guaranteed place in heaven when we die. And it doesn't matter if we never give one cent to the work of God here on earth, that doesn't make one bit of difference. Because getting into heaven doesn't have to do with what we do or what we don't do what we give or what we don't give.

It's based on Jesus Christ, shedding his blood on the cross to buy our way into heaven. But if you're here today, and you've never trusted Jesus Christ in a real impersonal way, and maybe you're given to the work of God coming to church singing in the choir working in the flower garden in front of the church, doing everything else you can to help and you think that's going to help open the door to heaven. Let me just remind you, none of that makes any difference getting into heaven.

Those are all wonderful things to do. But God doesn't let anybody into heaven because of what we do or what we don't do. It's because of our trust in Christ. Now, for those of us who've trusted Christ, how we handle our money, however, does make a difference.

Because as I said a moment ago, God is going to dispense various levels of rewards when we get to heaven, based at least in part on the balance in our heavenly bank account when we get there. You say, Oh, so I understand this is a pie in the sky, buy and buy sort of thing. No, that's part of it. Remember, I said there are two truths here. That's the first one.

The second one is this. Look at the verse. Paul says reading the Greek again, literally, but I am excited about the interest that excessively accrues to your account. The second truth here is that when we give to the work of God, God pays interest on the money that we invest. We're not just giving it away. We're investing it. And the interest that God pays on this is exorbitantly high, the Greek says, and it's paid right here on earth, not just in heaven. You go, Wait a minute, wait a minute.

You sure you're right about that? Oh, I am. Listen, Proverbs three, verse nine. Honor the Lord from your wealth. Okay, now here comes the earthly interest, and then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over. Malachi chapter three, verse nine. Bring the whole offering into the storehouse and test me now in this, says the Lord.

Put me to the test and see. Here comes the earthly interest. See if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing that you won't even have room to store.

You'll have to move. All right, now Jesus himself, Luke Chapter six, said, Give now look at the earthly interest that comes back and it will be given back to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will be poured into your lap. Jesus isn't talking about heaven here, friends. He's talking about right here on earth and look what he says. He says, For with the measuring cup that you use to measure out to the work of God, God will use that same measuring cup to measure back to you. Hey, if we measure out in our giving to the work of God with a thimble, God is going to measure back to us with a thimble. If we measure out to the work of God in our giving with a dump truck, God's going to back his heavenly dump truck in our backyard and dump more blessing on us than we know what to do with. The only person who decides what measure comes back is us.

We decided by what measure we measure out with. That's what Jesus said. Now, friends, this is the language of major financial return, excessive interest on every cent you and I invest in the work of God. In fact, did you know the Bible actually tells us the rate of interest God pays? Did you know that? You go? No.

Yeah, it does. Listen, Matthew 19 verse 29. Jesus said, Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or mother or father or fields for my sake, anybody who's given up or given in anything for my sake shall receive 100 times as much here on earth. 100 times as much as we give 100 times as much as we put in as we invested. People look at giving when it comes to us giving to the work of God, and they see they call it giving.

It is not giving. It is investing with a rate of return 100 times what we give that is a rate of return of 10,000%. Now listen to me, Merrill Lynch would sell their bull for 10,000% return and Ameritrade would give you that little talking bear on television to 10,000% return.

Whoever heard of that kind of return on anything? You say, Well, Lon, if this is really true what you're saying, then a person would be stupid to turn down an investment opportunity like this. You're right. You're absolutely right.

If they knew it existed, and that's the whole point of the message this morning is to make sure that you know and that I remind myself that this investment opportunity, an unprecedented investment opportunity is offered to every single follower of Jesus Christ. And all we've got to do is take advantage of it. He said, Lon, wait a minute. Well, that's enough. I've had as much as I can take.

Well, it's time stop. You know, Lon, I gotta tell you, I've been given to the work of God, and I have never ever seen 10,000% return on my money. I've never seen me give $1 and I get $10,000 back in the mail.

Well, friends, see the problem with this kind of thinking is that it fails to realize that God has all kinds of ways of making good on his 10,000% promise. I mean, we get a raise or a promotion and we go, Well, yeah, that's because I worked hard. I mean, our portfolios in good shape.

And we say, Well, yeah, that's because I had a good broker that told me to sell everything in 1999. Our health's been good. And we go, Well, yeah, but you know, that's because I work out three days a week. I watch my cholesterol.

I watch my diet. Our children have been well. We said, Well, yeah, but I watch what they eat and I give them vitamins and everything.

Make sure they get enough sleep. Our car's been running fine. We go, Well, yeah, but that's because I changed the oil every 3000 miles and I keep up on the preventive maintenance. You know, we survived the beltway. And we go, Well, yeah, but that's because I drive defensively. I'm very careful.

You know, I use my side mirrors. Our children are walking with the Lord as they grown up. And we go, Well, yeah, but you know, that's because I had family devotions when we were younger. Listen, folks, lots of followers of Jesus Christ give to the Lord. And then they say, I don't see any 10,000%.

But those same people live well, they eat well, they ride well, they dress well, they vacation well, their income is well, their children as well, their health as well. We need to realize that God fulfills his 10,000% agreement with us in lots of ways other than sending us a check in the mail with the postmark heaven and the return address Jehovah God. I mean, we walk around and say, I can't figure out why God is not doing for me what he promised me was going to do. And God's up in heaven going, I can't figure out why you can't see all I'm doing for you.

Forgive the personal reference here. But you know, my wife and I Brenda have seen God fulfilled this principle of investment in our lives in spades over the last almost 28 years we've been married. When I came to Christ 32 years ago, everything I owned was in a knapsack on my back, literally. I said, try getting around the country with my dog and half of the knapsack belong to my dog. I go by the time I took his bowl out his food out his brush out all he had half the knapsack.

Well, that's how I started. And you know, when I went to seminary, I worked a giant food, and I made $50 a week. There was a single guy and I gave God $10 a week because when I first came to Christ, the man who led me to Christ taught me this principle of investing. And I made a commitment to God when I first became a believer, I was going to give to God as generously as I possibly could the rest of my life, I gave God $10 not $10 not a lot of money.

But when you're only making 50 it's pretty good percentage. And I thought I was pleasing God Brendan, I got married and we talked about this and we agreed as a married couple, that we were going to make this our pattern as a married couple, we were going to give to God as generously as we possibly could every year. And for the last 27 years, thank God faithfully. We've tried to keep this commitment. You know, during all of those years, I've lived on a minister salary, never had another job during all those years.

25 of those years, my wife has been a stay at home mom, we've lived on one income all those years. And I look around today, and I say good googer mugger, what God has done for me. I mean, friends, Brendan, I both healthy. We have three healthy boys who are all dedicated followers of Christ, you say, and yeah, you got a severely disabled little girl too.

You're right. But I just want to tell you that little girl has been the greatest blessing in my life the last 10 years, I wouldn't trade her for anything. She's made me a better man, a better husband, a better father, a better pastor, a better leader. That girl was a blessing from God.

We have a wonderful home that we live in. We have the privilege of serving this wonderful church here. And people, you know, the biggest miracle all is that people actually liked me at this church. I can't believe that that's really amazing. They do.

But anyway, nice idea. You know, my, my dad came to Christ before he died. My mom came to Christ before she died. My only living sibling is an active follower of Christ today. I've had the chance to go to Israel 17 times I baptized all three of my boys in the Jordan River.

Today I have five cars for goodness sake. And I was walking when I met Jesus carrying my knapsack. And I look around at all of this stuff, some of it money can buy some of it money will never be able to buy and I say is God my debtor? Does God owe me anything? Not on your life, not on your life. If I'd have saved up every single penny I'd ever given God invested it in the best investment going on this earth. I could never have done for myself what God has done. And that's just with the material things. Think of all the other things he's done that you can't even buy with money.

And let me tell you the neatest part of this. It's not about me. God makes this deal with anybody who will take him up on it. It's just a question of whether or not you take him up on it. If you're willing to invest aggressively, God is willing to return aggressively.

So the deal is open to you. You will never outgive God, my friend, it'll never happen. God will never be your debtor.

So it's just a matter of how aggressively you want to invest. That's why as your pastor, I'm not the least bit ashamed to stand up here and challenge you to give to God liberally, to challenge you to give to God generously because I know I'm doing your favor. I know that in response to your giving God is going to outrageously reward you in this life. And that one day when you get to heaven and you stand before God and some little CPA angel with green visor and bifocals read you the account balance that you've got in heaven, you're going to turn around and you're going to say, thank God for Lon Solomon. Thank God for McLean Bible Church. I wouldn't have anything in this account if these people hadn't encouraged me to do it and taught me to do it.

Thank God for those people. You say, Lon, you know what? Are you telling me that I should sell my vacation home and sell my boat and liquidate my stocks and my properties and give all that money to the work of God? Is that what you're telling me? Friend, I'm not telling you anything. It's your money to manage.

You do whatever you want to with it. It's your money. I'm just simply telling you that God is offering you and me the greatest investment opportunity that's ever been offered. 10,000%. If we were sitting around the pool one day and some guy was talking to you and telling you, some lady, maybe about a guaranteed investment that we're going to return 20% and there was no risk at all, you'd fall all over yourself getting to the bank and getting everything you could out if you really believe there was no risk and you're getting 20%.

You know, the latest Gallup poll shows that the average Christian in America gives less than 2% of their income a year to the work of God. Now, would you call that an aggressive investment strategy? Well, I don't know where you are and you know what, friends, is none of my business where you are. You're going to have your account and I got my account. All I can tell you is God is offering you an unprecedented investment opportunity. No loading charges, no commissions, no brokerage fees, no capital gains tax.

How about that? It's all yours to keep what interest you get and I just want you to take advantage of it. I mean, what you do with it is up to you, but I've told you about it and I've urged you to take advantage of it. Remember, friends, the only thing we take with us to heaven is the money we transfer down here. The rest of it stays and I don't know if it's possible to have regrets in heaven, but if it is, let me tell you the regret that more of us are going to have than any other regret and that is simply that we didn't transfer more.

I don't want you to be one of those people. Now what you do with this is up to you. May God help us take it to heart.

Let's pray. Lord, you know, talking about money is a very sensitive topic and I understand people's sensitivity with the church and money. Churches have taken advantage of people. Churches have manipulated people and that's wrong, but by the same token, we can't avoid talking about money because money is central issue in life. It's a central issue in having a biblical worldview and so I pray that you would really remind people what my true motive is here today. It's not to get more money from McLean Bible Church.

It really isn't. It's to help each one of us here develop a biblical system of resource management so that we can not only have a maximum blessing from God down here, but really be in a position that we don't regret when we get to heaven. So Lord, take what we've talked about today. Use it in our lives. If we need to make changes in our spending habits, you convince us of that and give us the courage to make them with your help. And I pray these things in Jesus name. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-10 06:45:23 / 2023-06-10 06:57:30 / 12

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