Share This Episode
Summit Life J.D. Greear Logo

Keeping Sight of the Beginning, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 11, 2020 9:00 am

Keeping Sight of the Beginning, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1093 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

December 11, 2020 9:00 am

An age-old question asks, “Do you own your things, or do your things own you?” And that’s our subject as Pastor J.D. continues our series called, Staying Faith.

Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
In Touch
Charles Stanley
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

Today on Summit Life, we're looking at our bank account. There are three things that to me comprise a biblical vision for money.

You want to put all of them together, it's this. Be smart, be wise, be generous. Smart means you track everything that you spend and you don't go into debt. You know where every penny is going. Be wise means that you save regularly.

To be generous means that you give extravagantly. Welcome to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of J.D. Greer.

I'm Molly Vidovich. As I'm sure you know, during any typical year, this of course not being typical, we see crazy news footage of the crowds of people shoving and pushing, trying to get a good deal on a new flat screen TV. And it makes me think of that age old question.

Do you own your things or do your things own you? That's an appropriate question to ask as we head into a holiday season that might look a little different this year. Pastor JD continues our series called Staying Faith with a message that he titled, Keeping Sight of the Beginning. Luke 19 verse 1, Jesus entered Jericho and he was passing through.

And behold there was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Chief tax collector.

Tax collector is probably not going to be on anybody's list today of favorite jobs. So it's unpopular today, but back then a tax collector was more than just an unpopular government official. A tax collector was considered to be a traitor and a thief. You see, whenever the Roman Empire took over a city, as they had most of Israel, they wanted to extract large amounts of money for the emperor from that city. But they knew if they put a Roman official there to be in charge of taxation, not only would he be resented, he also would not know where all the money was hidden in the city.

So the Romans came up with a pretty ingenious system. They appointed a native of that city and they said, you're going to collect the tax from us because you know where the money is. And they said, here's what we expect you to give to us. Here is a squad of soldiers that you can use to extract this tax and then anything that you get above what we require you can just keep from yourself. So these guys, these tax collectors, in this case a native Jew, would extract huge sums of money from their own people for Rome and in the process they would get filthy rich because they keep a lot of it for themselves. And they were doing this for a foreign oppressing empire against their friends, people they'd grown up with, usually their own relatives.

Now just stop here for a minute. Can you imagine a worse person? The Jewish Mishnah said that a tax collector was so loathsome they should not even be considered a human being. Zacchaeus is not just a tax collector. Zacchaeus is the Archa Telonus, the chief tax collector, and he's the chief tax collector in the richest city in all of Israel.

Let me ask you this. How much did money have to have a hold on Zacchaeus' heart to do this? Watch this, verse three. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not because he was vertically challenged. So he ran on ahead and he climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him because Jesus was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and he said to him, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.

Verse six. So Zacchaeus hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw, they all grumbled and said, he's gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.

You see, there is a scandalous order to this story. In that day, to eat with someone, to actually go into their house and share a meal, was a sign of very intimate fellowship. Jesus is extending this invitation to Zacchaeus before he cleans up his life. You see, every other religion in the world says, change, clean up, and God will accept you. But the gospel reverses that. The gospel is God has offered acceptance to you in light of that invitation change.

God's acceptance is the power that liberates you from sin, not the reward for you having liberated yourself. You see, watch this, verse eight. And Zacchaeus stood and he said to the Lord, behold, Lord, the half of all my goods I give to the poor.

And if I have defrauded anybody of anything, I restore it fourfold. And Jesus said to him, today salvation has come to this house. Religion, you see, points outward and says, Zacchaeus, out there, go do that and you will be saved.

But Jesus' gospel is Zacchaeus' salvation has come to your house. It walked in freely as a gift, not because you deserved it. In fact, you did not deserve it. It came in on its own accord. It came to you. It saved you.

In response to that, you're going to change. We little Zacchaeus has found a greater treasure than money, the Lord Jesus Christ. Here are a few lessons for us from Zacchaeus' life. Number one, money problems usually come from money idolatry. Idolatry is when something has become so important to you that you crave it. You feel like you couldn't be happy without it. Zacchaeus' worship money is the greatest thing that life had to offer. Here are some of the things that we do for love of money.

Cheating, overspending, that's a money problem, right? You're eaten up with jealousy. You see what other people have. And it just drives you crazy that you don't have that. You've got to get that.

You hate them. It's a money problem that comes from money idolatry. Not being generous. You want to be generous, but you just can't because you worship money. I've told you this before, but there are two personality types that struggle with this. Unfortunately, all of you fit into one of these two personality types.

All right, me too. I've told you there are some people who, when they get money, they spend it, right? You get an extra thousand dollars, you know, unexpected, and what are you doing?

You're headed out to buy the flat-screen TV, the new set of drapes, the new set of golf clubs, take a vacation. You're a spender. There are others of you, you get an extra thousand dollars, what do you do? You're a saver.

You tuck it away for a rainy day. Now, here's the irony. Both of you think that the other personality type has a problem with money. You savers are like, man, those spenders, they just got to have all the nice, they got to have the bling in their life, and that's just so stupid. Then you spenders look at the savers going, they are so scared, they're always worried, they're misers, they got to hold on to all their money.

By the way, another irony, in God's wonderful sense of humor, these two personality types always get married to each other. Always. Some of your worst marriage problems have come from that extra one thousand dollars, haven't they?

Because you can't figure out what to do with it. And both of you are pointing a finger at each other saying you got a problem with money. Jesus, when he was diagnosing this, I love this, it's probably his most clear passage on generosity, Matthew 6, he said this, he talked to both personality types, he said, to the spender, you should consider the lilies of the field. The beautiful flowers, they don't spend a dime on their beauty, but God makes them beautiful. Right? And what he means is not that it's not okay to have some nice stuff, it just means that your main source of beauty and your main source of significance shouldn't come from what you own or what you wear, it should come from the God who has called you and has a plan for your life. Right? Then he turns around to the savers, because when he's saying that, all the savers are like, oh, stick it to them.

Yep. And then he turns to them and he says, and you savers ought to consider the ravens. Man, they don't save a dime, they don't have a bank account, but God takes care of them. And what he's saying is not that it's wrong to save money, he's just saying, watch, your primary security in the future ought not be your bank account, it ought to be God. So then he says, seek, to both groups, seek first the kingdom of God, his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you. What are all these things? The beauty and the security of your life.

That's what he means. So that you list, you have money and God blesses you with it and you buy some nice stuff, you use the money and you save it, because that's what a wise person does, but your money is neither your primary source of beauty or your security, God is the source of those things, and if God tells you to reduce your standard of living so that you can give to his work, you do it freely, because God makes you beautiful, not your clothes. And if God says, I want you to give away part of what you save so that my work can prosper on earth, you do it freely because you say God controls my future, not my bank account. You seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, you obey him in all things, and money is no longer holding you captive. There are three things that to me comprise a biblical vision for money.

You want to put all of them together, it's this. Be smart, be wise, be generous. Smart means you track everything that you spend and you don't go into debt, you know where every penny is going.

Be wise means that you save regularly. To be generous means that you give extravagantly. And I know you'll never be able to do any of those three things until the money idolatry has been broken and you quit worshiping money. Number two, only an experience with the gospel changes our heart's attitudes toward money. Only an experience with the gospel changes our heart's attitudes toward money. Zacchaeus did not become generous, as I pointed out, because Jesus commanded him to. He became generous because he wanted to.

Do you see how many times the word joyfully was repeated in there? This was not about law, it was about love. One afternoon with Jesus did more than 10 times more than 10,000 sermons on the law of generosity could ever do. Because the gospel does what sermons cannot. The gospel changes your heart.

The gospel transforms you not into a person who just does generous things, but it transforms you into a truly generous person. We, even more than Zacchaeus, have experienced the grace of the gospel. In fact, Jesus's last statement in this story explains the relevance of the story for us.

I skipped it, let me read it to you now. Verse 10, for the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. We see in Zacchaeus's story our story.

We get a picture in this story of what Jesus did for each of us. Watch, Zacchaeus was up in a tree because he was despised, and rightfully so. Jesus called him down out of that tree into the warmth of fellowship and he ate a meal with him. The irony is that at the end of Jesus's life he would climb up into a tree. Deuteronomy 21 23, cursed is the man who hangs on a tree. The Jews considered every person who died on a tree to be despised and cursed. Jesus climbed up in the tree and was despised so that he could give Zacchaeus the warmth of fellowship.

Do you see what happened? He traded places with Zacchaeus. He got the scorn of derision so that Zacchaeus could get the warmth of fellowship.

He took the shame so that Zacchaeus could get the reward. Isaiah 51 17 says he drank the cup of wrath. Our wrath, God's wrath, his judgment poured out in a cup. Jesus took it and drank it to the full on the cross and had all the wrath for my and your sin put into his body so that at our Lord's table he could offer us the cup of salvation. He could offer us the cup of fellowship. He drank the cup of wrath so I get the cup of intimacy. This is not just about Zacchaeus.

I hope you see that. This is about you because all we like sheep have gone astray. We turned everyone to our own way and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Jesus, Jesus, what a friend of sinners. Jesus, lover of my soul.

Friends may fail me. Foes assail me. He, my Savior, makes me whole. And when you see that you will need to be commanded to give like Zacchaeus. You will give freely without a command because you're going to see that though he was rich yet for your sake he became poor so that you through his poverty would become rich. You're going to see that though he was God he had the loftiest position. He left it and he became a servant so that he could release you from your servanthood and your captivity to money into the things of the world.

You're going to see that though he knew no sin God made him to become sin so that you could become the righteousness of God in him. And when you see that, when you experience that, when you grasp that, you're not going to need me to stand up here and yell at you about giving. You're not going to need me to stand up here and yell at you about sacrificing or mission or anything. You're just going to become a generous person. By the way, and not just generous in one area. I've told you this.

I've told you this. If you're only generous in one area not all areas then that means you just feel guilty about something. If you have been touched by the gospel you become generous with your time. You become generous with your resources. You become generous with forgiveness. And you're not just generous in response to a sermon series. You're generous for a lifetime because of what Jesus has done in you and for you.

Here's how we say it. Those people who truly experience the gospel become like the gospel. Those people who truly experience the gospel become like the gospel. If you have not become the gospel, like the gospel, I would suggest you probably have never really experienced it.

There's just no way. The thing that most characterizes the gospel is that God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that those of us who believed in him would never perish but have everlasting life. If we have been given too then those who re-experience that begin to give. Number three.

This leads me logically I think to number three. People who ask how much do I have to give don't get it. Many of us ask how much is enough? What do I got to give to get God off my back? How much to fulfill my duty? When is God?

When do I get the gold star? Here's a lot of people who ask that and don't ever get it. Gospel giving is about love not law. It's not about percentages. It's about a person. Zacchaeus is not meeting a standard.

Zacchaeus is pouring out his soul to God. That's one reason. Here's the second reason people who ask how much do I have to give don't get it. God doesn't need your money.

Right? God's not up in heaven going oh I got so much I want to do on earth but I'm flat broke. Man that Summit Church has got the money. Man if they give me some of their money I could get my kingdom built. I can assure you there are a lot of conversations happening in heaven.

That is not one of them. People who ask how much do I have to give have what I think is really helpful. Have what a guy named Chip Ingram calls small pie syndrome. They think of resources like a pie and so you know I got a limited pie. I only got so many pieces in the pie and if I cut a piece for you then that is one less piece for me. And so I want to give God a little sliver but not enough that it's going to cut into my pie.

Right? He said the flaw in that thinking is that the kingdom of God is about multiplying pies. So what God does is he takes a pie of five loaves and two fish and he multiplies it so that there's millions of pies to feed 15,000 people that are starving on a hillside. Because giving to God is not about meeting the needs of a God who speaks worlds into existence. Giving to God is about the worship and love of your heart. God doesn't need your pie. God can make a new pie and giving away part of your pie doesn't reduce God's ability to take care of you because God just multiplies the pie that's left.

Right? So we don't have small pie syndrome. Gospel giving is not about meeting God's needs. He's all sufficient.

He never needed us. Gospel giving is about worship and joy. That's why 2nd Corinthians 9 told you two weeks ago God only loves a cheerful giver.

Cheerful comes from the Greek word that we use to translate the word hilarious. God loves hilarious. God loves giggling givers. When's the last time that happened to you in the offering?

Offering plate passes by and you're like, hahaha, you're putting money in. That's the kind of giving God loves. Think about that. Why does God only love cheerful givers? Why does he only love cheerful givers?

None of us are like that. Right? I mean, like, if you're a landlord and you've got tenants, you don't care if they give you their rent cheerfully. You just care that they give it.

Right? They got money. You deserve it.

You need it. I've never gotten a note back from the IRS, not once, and ever said, hey, you paid your taxes, but we're concerned that you did not give this cheerfully. We only love cheerful givers. They don't care what kind of giver I am as long as I pay my taxes. Why does God only love cheerful givers? Because God doesn't need our money.

And the money is not about meeting one of his needs. The money is about expressing the heart of devotion and worship to him. It's about pouring out a sacrifice of our heart to him, to saying, I love you. That's why sacrifice is a necessary part of a Gospel offering. Because it's not about meeting a need of God.

It's about expressing the love of your heart, and that's what sacrifice does. King David, end of his life, God tells him where he wants to build the temple. It's on this piece of property, and so David is going to buy the piece of property. So he goes to the guy who owns it. The guy's name is Arno. He goes to Arno, and he says, hey, I'd like to buy this field because God wants to build a temple here. The guy says, hey, you've been a great king.

Man, you've really helped me. I just want to give this to you. And David says, 2 Samuel 24, 24, no, I will buy it for a very heavy price because I will not give unto the Lord that which costs me nothing. See, by this point in David's life, he finally understood that giving was not about meeting a need that God had, because if it was about meeting a need, then the field, however it got there, would be fine. But David said, no, my offerings have to cost me because if it didn't cost me anything, it doesn't say anything about my heart to God. Sacrifice is a necessary part of any gospel offering.

In fact, here's how I'd say it. God measures our generosity not by the size of the gift. God measures our generosity by the size of our sacrifice, because sacrifice expresses affections. The most famous giving story in the Bible is the story of a woman, very poor woman, in fact, who comes in to Jesus a few days before he dies, and she has a little alabaster flask full of perfume.

Extraordinarily expensive in those days. In fact, they would say it took a woman usually an entire year of saving money to be able to purchase just one flask of perfume. She comes in, she breaks it open, the bottle, which means she's going to dump all of it out on Jesus' feet. She weeps, and she washes his feet with her hair. Jesus looks at her and is so moved that he says, wherever the gospel is preached, this woman's story of giving and sacrifice is going to be told as the standard for what it means to give to me. Now, why was he so moved? Is it because she met a need?

No. I mean, nobody's really that concerned about how their feet smell as long as other people can't smell them, right? And if you want perfume to last forever, you don't put it on your feet. The offering only lasted for 20 minutes, but the statement that that offering made about her heart to God, got at the heart of what God wants for his people, and that is offerings that say, God, I love you. It wasn't the value of the offering. It was a statement of the soul. Every gospel offering, in fact, my vision, God's vision, I think for this as a church, not full of rich people who are meeting God's needs in Raleigh-Durham, don't be an idiot.

I mean, God has no needs. The vision is a group of people in this church with alabaster flask, all of whom are offering them up like Zacchaeus saying, I love you. And it means that every single one of us gives in a way that's sacrificial, that states something about our heart and about Jesus's value to us. That woman, her very valuable possession didn't matter anything at all to her compared to the value of Jesus. And until she had broken it, her heart was not where it wanted to be with God.

That's why when somebody that's wealthy strokes a $200,000 check, I mean, that's awesome. Praise God. It may impress us, but if it does not represent the sacrifice of your soul, then it doesn't mean anything to God because God's not needy or $200,000, he's got two bazillion dollars.

It means that every single gift that is offered to God ought to be done in a way that is a sacrifice of the heart. I was so moved last year as different members of our church gave in ways. I knew some who delayed the purchase of a car. I knew one, at least, who there were some additions they wanted to put on their house and they permanently, or at least for the meantime, postponed putting those additions on there.

Some that sold recreational tools like golf clubs or mountain bike. One that gave up a piece of jewelry to help with an adoption. I know several that canceled cable services and other luxuries that were entitled to, but this is a way they could sacrifice and give. I knew one who took, actually several who took last vacation that year.

I knew at least one who gave away a vacation home. Everybody in our church ought to have something they sacrifice. I can't tell you what it is, I'm not the Holy Spirit, but I can tell you you're supposed to live a generous lifestyle in response to the gospel.

I can tell you that. And then I can tell you to ask the Holy Spirit because he's your God, not me. And I can just say, hey, live a generous lifestyle, not me. I can just say, hey, live a generous lifestyle, not ask the Holy Spirit what he wants and put it all in front of him and say, my security, my significance, my beauty is not found in these things, it's found in you.

And I'm going to seek you first. And if that means you tell me to get rid of one of these things so that I can offer it out and pour it on your feet, not because of the value it has, but because of the statement it makes about my heart, then God, you can have it because you're worth more than any of those things to me. Pouring out everything we have at the feet of Jesus. That's the challenge today from Pastor J.D. Greer on Summit Life.

We're in a short one-week series called Staying Faith. And if you'd like to hear the previous messages, you can find them online at And if you're new to Summit Life and you'd like to get to know us a little bit better, sign up for our email list. You'll receive Pastor J.D. 's devotional blog posts as well as the popular Wisdom for Your Weekend posts.

Subscribe right now when you go to At Summit Life, we believe that the gospel changes everything in our lives. In fact, we have this phrase we say a lot. The gospel isn't the diving board into Christianity.

It's the whole pool. If you believe in that mission and in the power of gospel-centered Bible teaching, will you join with us financially today? When you give to this ministry, you're helping us continue to press on in our mission to reach more people with the gospel and all the people who hear this program in the new year will have you to thank for it. And if you're already giving a monthly gift as a gospel partner, would you consider adding an extra year-end gift so we can enter the new year with boldness and confidence and reach more people with the gospel?

Your generosity at this time of year is such a blessing and we're so grateful. As our way of saying thanks, we'd like to send you our 2021 day planner that we put together. Jitti often talks about the importance of using our resources for God's glory, and that includes the resource of time. Now, this is so much more than just a day planner. Of course, there's space for you to record all of your notes and to-do items, but as you use it, you're also going to notice Bible verses that remind you of the timely and important truth that God makes all things new. We've also included a Bible reading plan that'll take you through large sections of the Bible over the next year. And this is the first week that it's available, so be sure to get in touch with us soon. Ask for a copy when you make a generous year-end donation by calling 866-335-5220.

That's 866-335-5220. Or request the book when you give online at While you're on the website, you'll also want to subscribe to Pastor Jitti's blog. The articles go in-depth with many of the topics that we cover on the broadcast. Sign up online at I'm Molly Bidevich, so glad you joined us today, and be sure to tune in again next time as we wrap up our series called Staying Faith. That's Monday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-15 21:59:22 / 2023-08-15 22:10:17 / 11

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime