Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Jesus gives you the key to freeing yourself from the most wearisome, toilsome tyrant ever to walk the face of the earth. Money.
Think about how much of your personal heartache, how much relational conflict in your life has come from money. Wouldn't it be awesome to be free of any kind of bondage, emotional bondage to that terrible tyrant? Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Okay, let's be honest. Do you ever ask yourself, why does the church have to talk about money so much?
It's a legitimate question, I think, but with a legitimate answer. Today, Pastor J.D. begins a new teaching series on why God should be first in our lives, and he helps us see that to become a committed disciple, we must understand how to have the right relationship with money. When we do, biblical truth about money and what we should do with it will not be burdensome.
Instead, it will set us free and help us find new joy in giving. So grab your Bible and settle in. Here's Pastor J.D. All right, if you got your Bible this weekend, and I hope that you brought your Bible, but if you haven't, I want you to open it to the book of Luke.
Luke 16. We're going to dive into something just a little bit different. Something that I'll just freely acknowledge to you has the potential to be slightly awkward. Now, y'all know there ain't no awkward moments anywhere like awkward moments in church. I've been a part of a number of them.
I have created a lot of them. During one of my summers in college, I was involved in this really, really small and kind of formal church for the summer, and it was in service one Sunday, and the pastor was up there doing something, and all of a sudden it got really, really quiet. I think he was looking for something or he was trying to figure out what came next, but it just got kind of awkwardly quiet, and I noticed that my friend beside me was not paying any attention, but when things get really quiet, you know how it suddenly gets your attention, and he looks up, and I can tell he just kind of roused back, and so I looked over at him. I said, the pastor just called on you to pray, and he's like, really? I said, yeah, he called on you right now to pray. So he just stands up and just starts praying over the whole congregation. It was one of my best and most awkward moments that I've ever created in church.
Brian Loretz tells his story about his dad, Crawford Loretz. He said when his dad was a kid, his dad grew up in church like I did, where back then we didn't have like cool children's church and kids ministry things with airplanes hanging out the ceiling and that kind of stuff like that. You just sat through church, right?
Three full services a week, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night. I sat through just adult church from the time that I was three years old, and so you came up with all kinds of ways to entertain yourself. I knew how many tiles were on the ceiling of my church.
I would count toupees and blue hair wigs and whatever it took to be able to maintain my interest. Well, Crawford, Dr. Loretz says he was like that, and he said I was a pretty rambunctious kid. He said one Sunday morning, and I'll just read you exactly what he said. Crawford said, one Sunday morning, the preacher was up there preaching his heart out, and the whole time I was consumed by one thought. What would happen if I told the preacher to shut up? My feet couldn't even touch the ground in front of the pew, but I couldn't get this thought out of my mind.
I just kept thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it until I thought maybe the Lord wants me to do this. Finally, he said, I just had to do it, so I waited for a very somber moment in his message, and I belted out, oh shut up. Crawford says that pandemonium ensued in that church. He said everybody in the church thought it was hilarious, but his mama was sitting right next to him, and in this very discreet way, he just reached over. He reached over and just pinched a huge hunk of flesh out of my arm and whispered in my ear, boy when I get you home, and Crawford says I can't even say the rest because times have changed, and I don't want you calling CPS on my mom, but Crawford says it was my most awkward moment in church. Well, this morning I want to create about a 40-minute awkward moment in church because I want to talk about, wait, what, what?
Some of you are mouthing sex. No, I'm not going to talk about sex. Today I want to talk about money. Everybody's favorite sermon series is always about money. Now let me tell you three reasons I am not preaching on this.
First, this is not some kind of passive aggressive way that I'm asking for a raise. This church takes fantastic care of me, and I got no complaints. Second, I'm not doing this because this church is behind budget, and I got to beat the bushes to try to make ends meet. In fact, I'm very happy to be able to say to you I'm just full of thanks to God and to you that because of your generosity we're doing great. I mean, sure, there are a lot of things that we believe God has for us in the future, and they are faith goals for us, and we want to go there, and in order to do that we got to go together, and God's going to use our obedience and sacrifice to get there, but we're not approaching this subject like God needs us to raise money for him. God is never in that position. Thirdly, I'm not doing this because I'm trying to get you to buy into some, you know, you can live your best life now, you know, get rich quick church Ponzi scheme where you give here.
I get a private jet, and then I promise you that when you do that, that brand new Range Rover with the 26 inch rims will just materialize in your driveway, and the fillings in your teeth will transmogrify into gold, and then you'll just be happy living your best life now. We do not give, let me make this clear, we do not give to get back from God. If that is why you give, you're not given to God, you're given to yourself. Scriptures does say, it does say that God will often multiply our resources when we give, but he does so, if you read the context, he does so that we will have even more to give. In other words, we give to get back so that we can give even more.
So if those are the three reasons we're not doing this, why would I take time to go through this? Well, it's because one of our values here at the Summit Church is that we want to make disciples, not just converts. We want to raise up a generation of fully committed disciples, not just gather a large group of attenders each weekend, and this is one of the most crucial dimensions of discipleship. Did you know that Jesus talked more about our relationship with money than he did prayer and faith combined? He talked more about this subject than he did heaven and hell combined. He brings this subject up in more than 40% of his parables and 40% of his teachings on the kingdom. Y'all, if I preached on money as often as Jesus did, it would be every third sermon.
Just say it. Jesus's most dire warnings were about money. He implies again and again throughout the Gospels that a selfish spirit will keep us out of heaven.
It's a huge theme in Luke where we are going to spend some time today. He says, for example, in Luke 18, it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. There is nothing else he says that kind of thing about. It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person, which basically, by the way, apply to all of us to go into the kingdom of God. He tells listeners in Luke 14, any of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Again, he didn't talk that way about anything else. In order for you to be his follower, you have to renounce control of every single resource that you have. And you have got to say, none of it is mine anymore.
It all belongs to you. That's the only thing that he talks about in those kinds of terms. He tells people in Luke 12, watch out, watch out, be on your guard against greed.
Again, here's the thing. He never talks like that about adultery. He never talks that way about lying. I don't know any place where he says be on guard against adultery and be on guard against lying. Why do you think he doesn't talk that way about those things? Well, I think it's because with those sins, you know you've crossed the line when you crossed it. But greed is subtle.
Usually we don't realize that we've crossed the line until we are miles beyond it. That's the interesting studies done in the American church show that we Americans will freely admit to all kinds of sins. I mean, we're free to say, I struggle with pride. I struggle with lust. I struggle with anger. I struggle with prejudice. I struggle with bitterness toward people.
But almost none of us, I mean, it's almost kind of crazy when you look at the statistics, almost none of us say we have any problem with greed at all. In Luke 16, our passage for today, here's what Jesus says. Look at this. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other. They're mutually exclusive. If you love one, you're going to hate the other one. And if you devoted to the one, you're going to despise the other. You simply cannot serve both God and money. Again, Jesus doesn't talk that way about anything else where one love of one forces out the love of the other. This subject has a way of getting to the heart like nothing else does. So the primary reason that we do this is not fundraising. It is because you simply cannot be a disciple without dealing with this because this issue gets at the heart of what you love and what you worship and what kingdom you're living for and who you're following like nothing else does. In fact, it is to the point that I've told you that even if we had no financial need at this church, if this morning over at the Apex campus underneath the first time guest tent, they discover an oil reserve, right?
There's a little black seepage and up from the ground comes a bubbling crude. And the next thing you know, we're all millionaires. If that happens, we will still do this every November. Why? Because we know it's not about supplying God's financial needs. God does this because he knows this gets at the heart of what we really love and follow more than anything else does. It's also why I tell you that if this is a struggle for you to sit here and hear this, maybe you grew up somewhere that you saw this abused, or maybe you can't get past thinking this is some kind of manipulative way where I try to get money out of your pockets and into mine.
What I tell you, and I say this almost every time, and I'm very, very serious about this. If that's you and you can't get past thinking that way, why don't we just for the next few weeks, why don't we take giving to the summit church off the table? And why don't you respond to this? Not by giving here, but why don't you respond to this by giving into the kingdom of God somewhere else?
Because I do not want that cynicism or that difficult situation that you were through. I don't want that to become an insurmountable obstacle for you becoming an actual disciple of Jesus. And so let's just, I'm asking you, if that's you right now, and you're like, I hate this.
I feel like I want to get up and walk out. Let's just right now, take giving to the summit church off the table. And yes, I've had church consultants tell me, it is crazy for me to say that.
And they're like, do not say that. I'm saying it. Okay. Because it is more important for me that you become an actual disciple of Jesus. I'm trusting God's going to take care of us. And yes, obviously, if God calls you to this church, you should be at a church where you love and trust and feel like you can be a part of it and feel good about where you're giving. And if that's not this place, you should find somewhere else. So yeah, I'm not saying that's a healthy place to be long-term, but what I'm saying is right now, if you just can't get past this, take giving to the summit church off the table and you apply everything that I'm saying by giving generously somewhere else.
Cause it's more important for me that you become an actual disciple of Jesus than it is for you to let that obstacle keep you from becoming a disciple and cause you to miss the kingdom of God. Right? So that's what I want you to hear on this.
We got this. All right. So what Jesus says here in Luke 16 about no man can serve two masters that gets repeated verbatim in both Luke's gospel and Matthew's gospel. But interestingly, it's part of two different sermons.
He used the same point, two different sermons. So y'all get mad at me. All right.
Cause I use the same point sometimes Jesus did it. So deal with it. Okay. So, but interestingly, it's two different sermons with two different points of focus. Listen, y'all hear me out.
Okay. I think you're going to find these next two weeks really liberating. I don't think they're going to be burdensome because in these passages, y'all, Jesus gives you the key to freeing yourself from the most wearisome toilsome tyrant ever to walk the face of the earth. Money. Think about how much of your stress, think about how much of your personal heartache, how much relational conflict in your life has come from money. Wouldn't it be awesome to be free of any kind of bondage, emotional bondage to that terrible tyrant.
Now you're sitting here and you say, well, pastor JD, I don't know. I got so many financial problems thinking about generosity is just not on. I'll get to that toward the end, but let's just go into this with an open heart and say, God, how do you want to free me? Generosity is not something you want from me. It's something you've got for me.
Listen with that, with that filter. Luke 16. Jesus makes a statement about new man, conservative masters at the end of the sermon. So we're going to go back to the very beginning of the sermon and look at how he develops it.
You ready? Here we go. Verse one. Jesus told his disciples that was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So we called him in and he asked him, what is this that I hear about you? Give an account of your management because you cannot be manager any longer because you're such a bad manager. You're so slack and you don't get up to 11 o'clock and you go out to lunch every day. And so the manager said to himself, oh no, he just got fired. What do I do? He's gotten his two week notice. My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig.
I got these nice manicured nails and I got these, you know, kind of soft skin hands and I'm ashamed to beg. Well, what am I going to do? I know what I'll do so that when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses. So we call it in each of his master's debtors. And he asked the first one, people that are just, you know, master money, how much do you owe my master? 900 gallons of olive oil. He replied, your question is how in the world could you get in debt to somebody for 900 gallons of olive oil? How much cooking do you actually do?
I don't understand that, but that's what it is. The manager told him, hey, I tell you what, you owe him 900. Take down right now, sit down, take out your checkbook and make it 450. Then he asked the second one, how much do you owe? 1000 bushels of wheat. He's replied. I told him, take your bill and make it 800.
Give you a 20% discount today and today only. What just happened? Let me put this in modern terms in case you were like the 900 gallons of oil and you just like, you know, throwing off. An accounts manager for a really rich guy is giving us two week notice. Basically he's fired, but he's got two weeks left on the job. So he goes home and in despair, he says to his wife, wife, what am I going to do? I got used to drinking my $5 Starbucks lattes every single day, sitting up in first class. And there ain't no way I'm going back to Maxwell house out of the can and sitting down and sitting back in economy class on that airplane.
What am I going to do? And then he has a brilliant idea. He calls up all his bosses, clients who still owe his boss money. He says, Hey, I see here that you owe my boss $100,000. I tell you what, sit down right here right now, right out of check for $25,000. And I will give you an official debt settled certificate.
And we'll just call it even. Because technically in those days, the guy still had the authority to do it. When you were an accounts manager, you had the power of attorney.
You had the seal. And so, you know, technically this guy in a legal technicality still has the ability to do this. So when he releases them from their debt, they're free. And he does that with every single person who owes his boss money.
Right? So after he's fired, now, he's got a huge bunch of people who feel like they owe him a big, huge favor. Cause every time he releases somebody from their debt, he's like, just remember, just remember a few weeks who took care of you, you know, and they're like, gotcha, man, I got you taken care of. Then Jesus, in a really surprising twist on the story, verse eight, the master who just gotten hosed by the way, okay.
The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. I mean, seriously, if you've never read the Bible before, did you see that coming? Here is the son of God like, and that is a really, really smart manager.
Right? Jesus is such a great storyteller. Then Jesus explains the surprising lesson. You see, the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. In other words, Jesus is saying, if you know, if you know that your current reality is coming to an end, wouldn't it be wise to use whatever moments you have left to prepare for, for the next reality?
If you've gotten your two week notice, isn't it wise to use whatever remaining time you have in that window to get ready for the reality that you're about to go into? Shouldn't you be making friends for the next reality? So what does that mean? Jesus asked for the money and the resources that God has made you manager over. I tell you, verse nine, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves in eternity so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Jesus continues, for whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much. Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who's going to trust you with real riches?
And if you've not been trustworthy with somebody else's property, who in the world is going to give you property of your own? Jesus explains here that in some mysterious way that I'm not sure I totally understand, but some mysterious way, our faithfulness with our resources here is going to determine both our responsibility level and our enjoyment level and the life to come. The point is that God gave us what he gave us down here to steward. Steward is a word that just means somebody who manages something that belongs to somebody else. When you're a steward, you're not the owner. You're the manager. I mean, you all realize, right, that as God sees it, every single resource that you have, all of your money doesn't really belong to you, right?
I mean, you understand that, right? I was watching a Will Smith interview, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air guy. And the interviewer asked him, he said, when did your kids learn that they were rich?
Will Smith interrupted and said, let me just stop you right there. I'm rich. My kids are not. I let them use some of my money, but it is not theirs. It is mine.
And every parent said, amen, right? Same thing with us and God. God gave us what he gave us and has a purpose for them. My question for you is, be honest, is that how you see your resources? Do you see your resources as fundamentally yours or fundamentally God's?
Who really owns them? Because if you see your resources as yours, you will ask, how much of this do I have to give to God so that he won't curse me and I won't feel guilty? But if you see your resources as fundamentally his, you ask, not about 10% of it, but about 100% of it, what does he want me to do with this? And what are the eternal purposes that he gave me these things for? Jesus said, you are a manager, you're a steward, you're not an owner. God gave you these things to leverage, to prepare for eternity. And soon, and very soon, you're going to have a given account of every single one of those things. And those who are wise realize that and will arrange their lives accordingly.
Let me think about it, friends. It's just common sense, right? If time on earth is short, if you've already been given your two weeks notice, and you have been, right? Your two weeks notice is you're looming death.
I don't want to be depressing in here, but death rate in America still holds steady at 100% and shows no sign of waning. Your two week notice may last 60 years, it may last literally two weeks, but all of us have been served a two week notice. And if that two weeks, however long it actually is of that two weeks, compared to eternity, is as short as eternity must demand that it be, how should we be using that last two weeks?
Isn't that just common sense? One of my favorite Psalms is written by, not by David, but by Moses, Psalm 90. And in Psalm 90, Moses prays a prayer that I have prayed regularly since college. Psalm 90, verse 12, teach us to number our days. So teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Notice the connection between numbering your days and the developing of wisdom. I love how Martin Luther translated that verse into German and then re-translated it back into English.
I'm not going to read it in German. Teach us to think daily about death so that we might finally learn how to live. It is only by thinking often about the brevity of life that you're ever going to develop the right attitude toward the days that you have. How long, friend, is eternity and how short is life? I remember when I was in middle school, my youth pastor using an illustration that just, I don't know why it stuck with me, but it's still kind of thick and kind of like I'm still like, this is when I think about eternity, this is the first thing that pops in my head. And you're gonna say, this is silly.
It is silly, but it helps me. My youth pastor said, okay, he said, I did some math. You know, birds fly what, 15 miles an hour?
You know, a good bird. And he said, so if a bird flew 15 miles an hour and picked up a grain of sand and flew it to Pluto, which when I was in middle school was still a planet, but it's since been demoted as a rock floating in space. He said, if he flew a grain of sand to Pluto at 15 miles an hour, take him 25,565 years to get there. And then he dropped off the grain of sand and flew back.
And he picked up another grain of sand and flew back 25,565 years and dropped off the second grain of sand and then flew back 25,565 years and did that until every grain of sand off every beach in the world was now off of earth and onto Pluto. He said, when he finally finished that assignment, that would be the first day of eternity. How long is eternity? And how do you not look at your life like James says in James 4, that it's just like the morning vapor that comes out of your mouth when it's a cold morning and you blow out and it just appears for a moment, he says, and then it is gone. Only when you learn to think that way will you develop the right attitude toward life. Everything that we have is for the purpose of preparing for eternity. You're listening to Pastor JD Greer on Summit Life. Pastor JD, you emphasize that we can have both God and money in our lives, but we can't serve them both. One of them will be at the center.
One of them will be our boss. So how does the discipline of memorizing scripture or any other spiritual discipline for that matter help us make sure that God is first and that He's at the center of our lives? You know, for most of us, the problem, Molly, is not that we don't know how valuable the Bible is. The problem is we've never brought our practice.
We've never considered our practice and whether it's in line with our beliefs. I've always loved what Moses said in Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy 32 47, that these are not idle words. Moses says, it is your life and your ability to live spiritually, your ability to know God, your ability to guide others around you into life is directly related to how well you know this book. What we've done is we've put together a pack of 50 memory verse cards for you. Some of my most cherished verses.
It comes with a magnet so that you can switch them out in your refrigerator or your filing cabinet and say it to yourself until it becomes a part of your, not just your heart, but your consciousness. I'd love, I would invite, there are very few things that our listeners can do that would do as much for their spiritual life as this. I would love to give you a copy of this.
You can go and reserve yours at jdgrier.com. We're so grateful for your support and this set of 50 memory verse cards and matching magnets are our way of making our appreciation tangible. This will be a resource that will take you through the entire year and beyond, and we'd love to get that to you today.
It's perfect to use as a weekly memory verse to carry with you or just as daily encouragement that you can share with a friend. The all things new memory verse cards set comes with our thanks when you donate today to support this ministry that helps more people dive into the gospel each and every day. Give and request your set when you call 866-335-5220. One more time, that's 866-335-5220.
Or you can request the set when you donate online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Bidevich. I'm inviting you to listen again Tuesday as we dive a bit deeper into Luke chapter 16 on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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