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Christians and the World

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2021 7:00 am

Christians and the World

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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February 22, 2021 7:00 am

Though we may never verbally admit to not trusting God, the way we live speaks volumes. And our lack of faith is often most clearly revealed in our finances. You may not consider worrying about money to be the equivalent of telling God, I don’t trust you, but that is exactly what Dr. Boice proposes that it is.

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Though we may never verbally admit to not trusting God the way we live speaks volumes in our lack of faith is often most clearly revealed in our finances, you may not consider worrying about money to be the equivalent of telling God I don't trust you. But that's exactly what Dr. James Boyce proposes that it is. Thanks for tuning into the Bible study our to learn what the Bible says about wealth and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

There is a reason why horses have to wear blinders and it just so happens to be the same reason why Christians must be careful when it comes to wealth.

It can be a dangerous distraction.

Let's turn to Matthew chapter 6 and listen in to learn more. The last several weeks now we've been studying the sermon on the mount from one of the things we have seen a sleep study that is it is very well organized adjuster scattered collection of incidental teaching of Jesus. So some people got that impression when I read it for the first time that I actually developed so that each idea follows very well and the one before it starts by talking about the happy or blessed life.

Everybody wants to live a happy life explains that it's not the way most people think about it has to do with walking in God's way we say at that point. Well, how do we know God's way. The answer is through the Bible. That's where it's all laid out we say what does the Bible principally teach teaches us to live righteous lives, we say well then what is righteousness.

Jesus begins to explain and he does it by taking selection of the 10 Commandments and explain it in terms of the real death, not what we make of the things when we sort of constricts them to the mere externals, but actually that which comes out of the heart. After that he began to talk about the practice of religion.

The chief things that the Jews regarded as central to religion.

That is the giving of all was helping the poor prayer and fasting and that's what we were looking at last week. Now up to this point. Almost everything is had to do with the vertical relationship that is between ourselves and God does touch upon other people. Of course, starting from that perspective. And yet now he begins to move from that point to talk about the position of Christians in the world. We do live in the world were not just creatures made for God are not spirits of the Angels are alone that we have spirits we have bodies we live in the physical world and so we have a concern for things like food and clothing getting along with other people.

All that the question is, how should we not regard these things so should we think about the future. For example, usually worry about things in terms of the future were afraid that in days to come.

We might not have enough to get by and so we focus on awful lot on earning money laying up treasures on earth to use Jesus praises that right. What should we do Jesus as I say begins to talk about that now. But it's interesting that he doesn't in the context of everything he said previously was the tell us how we should relate to the concerns of this world, the things that are largely on her mind, where most of us would start if we were focusing on things that concern ourselves, but he says the way you have a proper answer to that and operate properly in the world is in terms of your relationship to God. So to get that straight, and the other things are going to follow. Now, here he begins to talk about wealth talks about worry about our tendency to judge other people and then he talks about our constant need for prayer bringing it in again.

He talked about it already. In the previous section in the very last part of summering it all up. He is the golden rule which most of us know very well.

Just look at these, what about this matter of storing up treasures on earth, we all know people who've ruined themselves by putting the pursuit of wealth above everything else there chief priority in life is to get rich so I trample on other people. They neglect their family.

They even end up doing all sorts of wrong things in order to acquire wealth. We have examples of that. But if we don't know. Examples of that from our own experience you plenty of them in the Bible because the same thing was true.

There is think back in the Old Testament to the case of Aiken, who was one of the Jews present at the time of the conquest of Palestine. When they took Jericho they were to dedicate all of the spoil to the Lord. Later on they would have all of that for themselves the first time around. They were to give it to God and he broke that eat some of it to himself. He saw a beautiful outfit in the Babylonian style. It must've been there equivalent of Dior bursae site and they thought that would be nice.

Then he saw some silver early like that and that was a little Golding lying there body like that as well and he took it and so for the sake of his greed and acquiring possessions. She suffered a judgment and the people lost the battle of Solomon, he allow the love of money and women to ruin his life for you, go to the New Testament. You've got Ananias and Sapphire, who had a piece of property wanted to be thought well of being generous of all of that. So they sold it they gave part of the money to the church. They kept back part and they pretended that they given all labor judge for that. It wasn't that they didn't have the right to keep it negative All of it if they wanted. The problem was that they were lying.

They were pretending to be something that they weren't so there are plenty of examples. What's the problem is the problem money.

The problem is the money itself because her plenty of examples of rich people in the Bible use their money while Abraham was a rich man so was Joe was one of the richest people of his day. King David was very rich. That is the problem. The problem is how we regard wealth and how we use it.

Should we trust wealth. We think that our security comes from black that is from our possessions or do we recognize that our security really comes from God and he's given us wealth. We have an obligation to use it to serve him now. That's what Jesus was talking about here. He's giving us sound reasons why we should make it our priority to stir up store up spiritual wealth rather than physical wealth and he gives us for sound reasons now, here's the first number one material things do not last. That's what he's talking about in verses 19 and 20 uses some imagery for that. He talks about Mansa got in and destroy the close Mallozzi wall most of the clothing in that day was wall so he says you can have these beautiful clothes, but it can get destroyed rather easily organic talks about Ross word that's translated Ross's groceries that actually means eating away some of the scholars suggest what it probably has to do with this is with rodents eating away the grain, because a lot of the treasurer in that day would be the grain that was laid up in the barns and so forth.

But whether that's what it means or not rust is a good word for us because Russ does destroy material things, things made out of metal or even that wonderfully expensive, beautiful, flashy cherry Ferrari that each one of you has in your garage, it's your other car you charge by the Volkswagen to work, but that's going to rest in time and if it's not a case of that, even if you think what I'm doing is laying up wealth in my PO planner by IRA or display with my broker and my stock account stocks to go down as we well know from recent experience and that even if you don't lose it that way the government steals it through excessive taxation, and even if the government can't get it all, although they certainly would like at all. Eventually, even as Jesus said heaven and earth were going to pass away. So what's the point of putting your trust in things foregoing the parish.

Eventually anyway. Jesus said what good is it romantic again. The whole world and yet forfeit his soul.

Secondly, focusing on money binds us to the earth were creatures of the earth that stroke were attached to the earth by gravity of nothing else. Also by habits and needs, we do have to eat we do have to be clothed, we do have to have places to live, but we are just creatures may part one of the same things about our contemporaries today is that since they pushed God out of their mental universe and spiritual universe. I don't have anything better to relate to.

All they can relate to is the earth so they become essentially materialistic or if they relate to the animals they become obese generally end up doing things that the animals do even worse things than the animals do they forget or don't know that we, in addition to being creatures of the earth are also made in the image of God for fellowship with God.

Now if we concentrate on wealth alone. We do is strangle what is best about us and we forget our true destiny, which is to be with God forever.

That's the second thing the third thing is this.

Concentrating on things clouds our vision is what Jesus has in mind in this image of a clouded over by seems a little strange but here's the explanation William Barclay puts it this way. He says the I is regarded as the window by which the light gets in the whole body color and state of a window decide what light gets into a room window was clear, clean and undistorted light will come flooding into the room and will illuminate every corner of it.

If the glass of the window is colored or frosted distorted or dirty or obscure the light will be hindered. The room will not be lit up so Jesus says light which gets into any man's heart and soul and being depends on the spiritual state of the eye through which it is the press. The eye is the window of the whole body your eyes all the time fixed upon possessions and there's not much of spiritual light that will get through, but if you focus on God and your thinking about spiritual things you're looking to him. Then the light of God. God being the only true source of light will flood your soul. The last thing verse 24 no one can serve God and money at the same time. Interesting here that the word translated Monday. Actually, the word Mammon that appears in that form and the older King James Bible and it is an interesting history. It comes from the Hebrew verb meaning to entrust or to place in someone's keeping so the noun really referred to the wealth that one entrusted to somebody else. For safekeeping didn't have any bad connotations at that time. So if you meant something bad by it.

You had a habit qualifier. You can talk about Mammon. But you have to say evil Mammon or the mammon of unrighteousness.

What happened, of course, over time is that when you were focusing on possessions you begin to trust the possessions and so the sense of the verb turn from that passive that which is entrusted to the active sense that in which one trusts and when that happened the word Mammon about a different flavor and actually means that in which you trust something like a God.

And at that point instead of being spelt with a small limit was built with the M so Mammon became almost like a God. Now the new international version picks that up a little bit by capitalizing the word money in the text is news Mammon.

It uses money.

That's the idea. So it says you can't serve God and money at the same time you really understand that you believe it. We generally don't we think we can. We think we can serve God on Sunday and we can serve money. The rest of the week are great compromisers but you can live a schizophrenic life that way either one will dominate the other or it will be the other way around. If our hearts are set on our possessions which is probably an accurate description of where many of us are most of the time were not actually serving God and we certainly are trusting him Martin Lloyd Jones and English preacher died half a generation or so ago now does this story about this which is in his commentary on the sermon on the Mount was a farmer who came in the field one day very happy and reported to his wife something quite unexpected happened is best, given birth to twin tramps very pleased with that two for the price of one. So we said God is been very gracious to us and I decided the Lord has led me to do that is what I will do is give one of them to the Lord and will have one for ourselves will raise the boat one get older will sell one of will give the proceeds from that sale to the church so things went all right for a while but the day came when Barbara came back into the house again.

He had a very sad expression on his face. He said to his wife. I have very, very bad news for you. The Lord's calf is died, she said to him, now I remember our earlier conversation and that when we were talking earlier I said to you which one is the Lord's calf and you said it didn't matter, both the same and sell one and keep the other all know he said I had always determined in my mind that it would be the white cath that was the Lord's, and it's a white cath that is died out.

As always the way it is, must we get our priorities straight. At the beginning we start off well because we want to think well of ourselves.

All yes were going to serve God. Of course I guess to the crunch. We do is let God go, and we take care of our selves. Unless we get our priorities straight from the beginning, now listing Jesus talks about here is worry and it follows naturally and what he said about wealth doesn't because reason why were so concerned about laying up earthly treasures.

We don't really trust God to take care of us and so we worry all the time. And so Jesus begins to talk about in verse 25 and following. He says therefore I tell you, don't worry about your life what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you wear because the pagans run after all these things in your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Why shouldn't we worry of Jesus gives three reasons. Very nice little outline here uses the word therefore three times. Verse 25 verse 31 in verse 34. Therefore, don't worry. Therefore, don't worry. Therefore, don't worry when you have a word like that always points back to what comes before and so he has three reasons here because of the truth. In verse 24.

We shouldn't worry because of the truth in verses 26 through 30.

We shouldn't worry because of the truth in verses 32 and 33.

We shouldn't worry about what are they well first of all, you can't serve God and worry to this picks up on what is a set about wealth serving God and money. The Westminster shorter catechism. It says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever can hardly glorify God in your doubting his ability to take care of you when you can enjoy them because you're worried about things and you certainly aren't serving them.

You can't serve God and worry all at the same time so says Jesus stop worrying and at least one of the commentators that we commit sin when we worry we don't trust God when we worry we do not receive answers to prayer. When we worry because we are not trusting. Secondly, if you're worrying you're overlooking God's care for the rest of the creation was really blind what's going on out there.

Talks about God's care of the birds and the flowers even the common grass of the field is as God takes care of that provides for the creation, don't you think is able to take care of you will, of course, so stop worrying worry because God really is able to do all these things conferred it's only by putting God first that we can be sure of anything that's a very practical point. You see, if were created to know God and serve God, then the only ultimately successful course of life is to trust God and not worry, God's created us and redeemed us from the work of Jesus Christ is the highest and we suppose that he'll fail to care for us. Of course not, he will care for us, so make it your business to seek God's interest first, and serve him and save all your true physical needs don't come to you naturally.

That's what Jesus is like an end. There's no other reason, please think of this. You can't do anything about the future anyway. God controls the future you down so trust them.

Jesus says don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Every day has troubles enough of its own, is another subject that comes in whenever Christians say that something is either right or wrong or whatever they speak out against immoral or bad behavior from another person there frequently told that there not to judge never got into that kind of the discussion of sure you've heard it. You're not to judge. It's almost the only verse that non-Christians know when the Bible in fact in our postmodern environment, which is against any standards at all interprets every kind of judgment as a power-play. The only real evil is claiming that there is evil, at least in somebody else's position that we come up against that constantly now is what Jesus really meant when he said, don't judge or you will be Johnson's there in chapter 7, verse one. Well obviously not because last verse of this section speaks of a false kind of judging and then requires a right kind of judging and does it in rather extreme terms. After all, says don't give dogs what is sacred or throw your pearls pagans well in order to obey Jesus at that point you have to know what is sacred and what isn't just about what pearls are and are not valuable and furthermore you have to be able to identify the dogs and the pigs let some kind of judgment rather extreme. So is talking about that when he is talking about here is what we would call censorious nurse means judging the minor faults and other people harshly without acknowledging and correcting work or perhaps even greater failures in ourselves. There may be a connection here with what he said about the image of the eye.

In chapter 6. Remember what he said back there, we talked about people trying to take a suspect out of somebody else's lie when they actually have a big plank sticking out of their own what you have here are not people that have become to secular work that is there hung up on possessions.

That's what he talked about earlier, but rather people who will become falsely religious, overly zealous of even fanatical about religious matters person like that is become judge mental word that's used here is a Greek word tree now and it has exactly the same meaning that Paul had when he spoke about it using it in Romans 14 verses 10 through 12 and so Paul is actually commenting on this textured what Paul wrote, you then why do you judge your brother, why do you look down on your brother because were all going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. It's written as surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me.

Every tongue will confess to God.

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. We really believe that it would destroy our hypocrisy and would put us in a position where were actually concerned to help and build up other people rather than merely prove to them that their long now trying to show connections with all these things at this point the question out of the power of the world are we going to do that right now we going to do any of these things because when we talk about our possessions. We really do trust our possessions because we see them and we don't see God when we talk about worry, we really do worry. We talk about judging others we don't judge other people because far too often we ourselves are the standard of the universe for ourselves. So you say how are we ever going to live in the right way in these areas.

Well, the answer is by looking to God to provide an answer in the power and that is why Jesus begins to talk again about prayer memory talk about it earlier in chapter 6, he was talking there about these three main areas of Jewish piety, almsgiving, prayer and fasting and he spent a lot of time talking about prayer. That's where he gave the model prayer Lord's prayer as we call it, but he brings it in again here in the course. The reason he brings it again here is that we need God's power to do the right thing, and all these areas, verses seven through 11 are an immensely important section of the Bible about prayer teach a few things. Let me just call them to your attention.

First, they teach that of her, Christ's disciples having entered by faith into the kingdom of heaven. And we have God as our father and the God who is our father is generous in giving the child one staff something of his father Holly asked is that a dependent awful lot upon the character of the father of the father is mean stingy thinking only about himself, the child go to be very careful when asked something is going to be sure the fathers of the good mood is like an ass too much to be careful in the flat or maybe even bribe if he's capable of doing that. But if the father is a generous good-natured father. The child is in the parade asked the child simply comes boldly and asked him Jesus is saying, just like that with God, our heavenly father God would like the pagans imagine them to be the were capricious, selfish or even vengeful then would be awfully afraid of approaching him enough to try and bribe them. If we could.

God is really like. Jesus declares him to be and is a gracious giving God, then we can come to him boldly and not be afraid to ask him for whatever we needed any time you need strength to live in the way that Jesus says you should live walk in the way of righteousness God are provided to give you what you need, but here's a second thing we do have to ask God gives us all a lot of blessings we don't ask him for we don't even think about it, but we have life and health of all of those things, but you were talking about spiritual victories were talking about growth in the Christian life. What Jesus says is that we do need to ask James puts it negatively in his letter he says you don't have because you don't ask God. Jesus gives the positive side when he says ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find knock and the door will be opened, and finally the third thing he says is that you need to keep on doing it and that's because in the seventh verse in the original language. These verbs are present. Imperatives of means do it and keep on doing it until it means that we are to exercise vain repetitions we already saw that he dismissed that earlier but it does mean that our needs are ongoing, and therefore our prayer should be ongoing to Jesus Christ. I need strength to live for you today. Good God will give us strength to live for them today, but I also needed to live for them tomorrow in today's victories don't automatically carry over to the future so we need constantly to pray, we need constantly to wait upon God. The last we come to the golden rule when everything Jesus says do to others what you would have them do to you because this sums up the wall on the prophets.

This is Jesus. Summary is not only a summary of the law and the prophets is a summary of the sermon on the Mount because we saw earlier that you have an introduction. You have a conclusion and then you have the main body of its that is bracketed by that reference to the law and the prophets called and include zero in biblical scholarship you had it at the beginning in the fifth chapter verse 17 outcomes. In the end this is the heart of it in this verse of the end of that section sums it up. What he says after this is you have to choose which way you're going to go over to talk about that next time about what is important and unique about the golden rule is Jesus gives it is that it's expressed in a positive form is not difficult to find examples of the golden rule in a negative form you find it not only in Judaism but even in secular or pagan writers. Hillel said what is hateful to yourself, due to no other. That's the whole law.

The rest is commentary in the book of Tobit which was composed several centuries before the time of Christ. The hero tells his young son what he just due to no man other examples in Confucius Epictetus.

The Stoics even in the hands of fate of Buddhism but all of these are negative I say don't do to others what you don't want them to do to you. By contrast, Jesus turns around and strengthens it immensely by saying so and everything due to others what you would have them do to you is it's always possible for people to keep the negative version of this. It just makes sense and is a good legal principle. If you want to get along in a civilized society after discipline yourself not to hurt other people. You have to obey the laws have to stop at stop signs you have to pay your bills.

Avoid overt acts of prejudice all kinds of things like that little bit like paying taxes people pay their taxes and want to but they do it because they have to. They just hope that they have a little bit left over. The end live on and so that's what it is. If you're trying to do this negative way you do as much as you can to get along but you hope you have enough leeway actually to be nasty if you want. Here Jesus puts it the other way around entirely. He says now it's not a legal principle.

What you have to be as different. You say that's as we say where the rubber meets the road. That's what we can't do by ourselves.

We can't, by ourselves, make ourselves different.

We can discipline ourselves so we don't do bad things, but we cannot change our hearts and that's why we need Christ.

That's why we need the gospel in order to fix our attention on the needs, cares. Love enjoys hopes and dreams of other people. We must be changed. People in other words, we have to turn away from the demands of the law entirely in order to receive a new life from God which comes only through Jesus Christ what is Christianity.

Christianity begins by a confession of our failure. We can't do it, followed by faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. He won salvation on our behalf and then it continues by learning to put the needs and wants of other people first. In other words, it's only when we have first learns to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength that we can begin to love our neighbors as ourselves and that's what Jesus is teaching.

Father we pray now as we did at the beginning of our service that you would teach us and teach us not only so, we learn mentally and intellectually the way in which we should go with a deep teaching that seeks down under the heart of actually changes us of the different men and women. Thank you that that way is open the blood of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, grant that we might be changed or our well-being and also for that of other people pray in Jesus. You are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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