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Who Owns Your Possessions?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
December 5, 2021 7:00 am

Who Owns Your Possessions?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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December 5, 2021 7:00 am

It’s not difficult to find examples of people who’ve allowed the love of possessions to ruin their lives spiritually, and nullify their witness. They fill the pages of Scripture, and the malady is still with us today. Join Dr. James Boice as he poses the question, do you own your possessions, or do your possessions own you?"


Do you own your possessions or do your possessions on you. Perhaps the better question might be, does God own your possessions. Have you ever given them to him and acknowledged his ownership over all that you have no welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. God recognizes our right to own things were not called to relinquish our wealth. When we come to Christ but to use it under his direction for the task of proclaiming the gospel join Dr. Boyce as he poses the question, who owns your possessions and directs us in using those possessions to glorify God after the great teachings in the first half of Matthew chapter 6 about the spiritual life of the Christian, the Lord Jesus Christ turned to warnings about the personal failures that most often deprive a believer of spiritual victories and nullify his witness, beginning with verse 19 and continuing through chapter 7 verse five, Jesus warns against the love of possessions, anxiety and judgmental attitude toward others. We should be looking at these warnings in this and in the next two studies it's not really difficult to find examples of those who've allowed the love of money to ruin their spirituality and to nullify the effect of their witness history is full of such examples, and they come from our own time. Also the book of Joshua were told of the sin of Aiken that caused the defeat of the armies of Israel, led to a high Israel had just been victorious at Jericho and had dedicated the spoil of the battle to God as God intended. It was a scar on the victory during the battle, the soldier called Aiken had come upon a beautiful Babylonian garment in 200 pieces of silver and ingot of gold because he coveted them. He took them and hid them in his tent although it was a small thing. Those men count smallness, but it was disobedience to God, must Israel was defeated in their next engagement and judgment came upon Aiken and upon his household. Solomon allowed the love of money and women ruin his spiritual life.

Ananias sends the fire allied to the Lord about money, pretending that they had given the full price of the sale to the church while actually keeping back a portion they were struck dead.

Then Paul wrote in one of his letters about a young man named Dimas who he said has forsaken me, having loved this present world urban countless others we see the same things today, when people will put their home in the care of it above the need for biblical teaching, and thus will mow the grass on Sunday. For instance, when they should be at church or when others will direct all their efforts toward amassing a fortune are part of one while neglecting their families send the essential spiritual life of their home. No wonder then that Paul wrote to Timothy to remind him that the love of money is the root of all evil.

Now remember that the Bible nowhere teaches that money itself is an evil or the things in themselves produce it is not things that are at fault. It's the men who use them before God created men and women. He created a vast world of pleasant and useful things for them to enjoy. They were meant for man's use in every joyful and constructive way. When man sinned. The things that were to be helpful to him came to usurp a place in his heart that they were never meant to have men began to fight and steal and cheat and do countless other things to possess them today when a man surrenders to God and allows him to redirect his life process begins in which money and things may be removed from the center of his life in God once again be reinstated on the throne through been sensitive souls in the history of the Christian church will recognize the evils that accompany possessions, but unfortunately have sought to eliminate the evils by doing away with the possessions collectively using the example of the early church in Jerusalem, which tended to pool its possessions and distribute to those who had need these questions of argued against the right of private property among believers of sometimes even advocated a form of Christian communism.

This is not really right. Some Christians are led of the Lord to sell their possessions and give to others and they do so, particularly in a time of need. Well this is a great blessing, but it does not therefore follow that all Christians should follow their example. Actually, if you examine the Bible carefully see that far from condemning the possession of private property.

The Bible actually assumes the rightness of it.

For instance, the eighth commandment says thou shalt not steal. That verse teaches that not only am I not to take those things that belong to another person, but neither is he to take mine the story of Ananias and Sapphire are that I mentioned earlier, Peter said when speaking to the husband, Ananias, why has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit to keep back part of the price of the land while it remained was it not thine own, and after it was sold, was it not a nine own power, why hast thou conceived this thing in mine heart was not light in the men, but under God. Peter was stating that God recognizes the right of private property and does not force any Christian to dispose of his money off someone will ask, but didn't the Lord Jesus instruct the rich young ruler that he was to sell all that he had and give to the poor. Only answer is that he did not say it to Mary or Martha or Lazarus or to John the evangelist, or does nobody send it to the rich young ruler whose chief obstruction to a life of following Christ laying his possessions which he proved.

Incidentally, by turning away for such a person under our many of them today. The loss of their possessions would be the most significant blessing of their lives and giving them away would be far better. This does not mean however that possessions in themselves are wrong or for that matter that poverty is a particularly blessed form of Christianity know in this as in all other areas of Christian life.

The true solution does not lie in abstinence or withdrawal lies rather in the proper use and proper estimate of the things which God has provided. In other words, we are not called upon to relinquish things but rather to use them under God's direction, among other things, we are to use them for the health and well-being of ourselves and our family for material aid to others and for the great task of proclaiming the gospel and promoting Christian verities of this is precisely what Jesus himself was teaching in the verses concern with possessions in the sermon on the Mount, Jesus was not speaking against possessions. He was speaking against a ruinous preoccupation with them. He said lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through or steal where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. These verses also take this one step further for they contain. The first of the reasons given by Jesus. Why worldliness in regard to our possessions is foolish and detrimental to our spiritual lives. Reason is this one day all earthly possessions will perish and will be gone forever. This is the case manager was spent his life accumulating them may himself be saved but you will have nothing to show for what should've been a lifetime of profitable service. Thus, Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

Now if any man build upon this foundation event Jesus Christ, gold, silver, precious stones, would Jesus double every man's work shall be made manifest for the Day will declare it any man's work abide which he has built upon it, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss but he himself shall be saved, yet does by fire. This means that it is only as a man uses his possession.

First, ritual lands that he is able to accumulate true treasure until there is another reason why a preoccupation with material things is foolish for the follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that if a man's treasure is on earth is heart will be on earth also.

Therefore, things will rule him as a great illustration of this in the linguistic development of the Hebrew word Mammon which occurs several verses further on in this chapter where it says you cannot serve God and Mammon. Mammon was a word for material possessions, but it did come into Hebrew from a root meaning to entrust or to place in someone's keeping Mammon therefore meant the wealth that one entrusted to another.

For safekeeping. This time the word and not of any bad connotations all and a rabbi could say but the Mammon of thy neighbor be as dear to the is thine own. When a band since was meant well and an adjective or some other qualifying word was added so we have the phrase the mammon of unrighteousness or unrighteous Mammon. As time passed, however, the sense of the word Mammon shifted away from the passive sense of that which is entrusted to the active sense of that in which a man trusts this case, of course, the meeting was entirely bad. The word Mammon, which was originally spelled with a small M came to be spelled with a M is designating nothing less, than God. You see this linguistic development repeats itself practically in the life of anyone who does not have his eyes fixed on spiritual treasure. Is this true view have things become your God. Don't forget that these things are written to Christians that they are therefore meant to make you ask whether the Lord God Almighty occupies the central place in your life or whether things obscure him may not be so. But if you think most about your home, car, vacation bank account, close our investments, then you are building your treasure on earth and according to Jesus, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The third reason Jesus Christ warns his followers about an improper concern for possessions occurs in verses 22 and 23 as a do with our spiritual vision.

Jesus said the lamp of the body is the high, if therefore thine eye be healthy. My whole body shall be full of light.

But if thine eye be evil by whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in the be darkness, how great is that darkness the great biblical commentator William Barclay writes of these verses. The idea behind this passage is one of childlike simplicity. The lie is regarded as the window by which the light gets into the whole body. The color and state of a window beside what light gets into a room of the window is clear, clean and undistorted light will come flooding in the room and will illuminate every corner of it, the glass of the window is colored or frosted, distorted, dirty, obscure the light will be hindered in the room will not be lit up so then says Jesus light which gets into any man's heart and soul and being depends on the spiritual state of the eye through which it has to pass the eye is the window of the whole body. Now let me ask you a question. Do you see spiritual things clearly or is your vision of God and his will for your life clouded by spiritual cataracts or nearsightedness brought on by an unhealthy preoccupation with things. I am convinced that this is true for many, many Christians, particularly those living in the midst of Western affluence that a person like this complains to me that he cannot understand the Bible or that God seems far away. Sometimes he's confused about the Christian life or about God's will for them. Well, it's no surprise. What is more, it will always be this way for 1 Who Knows His Way around the supermarket or brokerage house more than he knows his way around the New Testament. Jesus warned us against it while he did not direct us away from possessions themselves. He did warn against losing our spiritual vision because of them. Incidentally, there's another very interesting thought in this section, the King James version renders verse 22 like this.

The lamp of the body is the eye.

If therefore thine eye be single by whole body shall be full of light. The word which the King James translators rendered single is translated in the revised standard Philips and the new English Bible says sound word help loose related to the noun haplotypes places the word means simple or simplicity, but there are other texts in which the only possible translation is generosity. Translators of the new Scofield Bible recognize this truth when they came to the 12th chapter of Romans verse 849 verse, the word simplicity, which was used in the old King James translation is changed to liberality so that the text now reads he that giveth, let them do it with liberality or generosity. I believe that it is this sense of the word that is present here in Christ teaching the single I is the generous by end of this is the case, then Jesus is promoting a generous spirit in regard to our money. How can you tell whether riches of clouded your spiritual vision. The answer is by the extent to which you are generous with the goods you have been given the tell me that you cannot be generous this year because it's a bad year financially or because your stocks have declined long ago I received a report of alumni giving to Harvard University for the fiscal year 1969, 70, it was the second-highest record of annual giving in the entire history of the University and it occurred in the year in which the Dow Jones average dropped from a high near 1000 below 700 all know liberality is not very closely linked to affluence unless perhaps is an inverse relationship. We all need to learn the secret of the Philippian Christians who we're told, out of the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded on the liberality of the final verse of our section for today. Verse 24 deals with the mutually exclusive nature of serving God and riches. No man can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Nothing could be said more clearly or be more obvious and it should be a heart searching question for all Christians listen to me.

Good anything be more insulting to God was redeemed us from the slavery of sin in Christ and is given us all things richly to enjoy the take the name of our God upon us to be called by his name and then to demonstrate by every action and every decision of life that we actually serve money in his discussion of this verse Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones tells the story of a former who one day reported to his wife with great joy that is best college given birth to twin calves, one red and one white, and he said you know I have been led of the Lord to dedicate one of the calves to him. He will raise them together. Then when the time comes to sell them. We will keep the proceeds that come from one calf and we will give the proceeds that come from the other to the Lord's work. His wife asked which Kathy was going to dedicate to the Lord. But he answered that there was no need to decide that. Then we will treat them both in the same way, he said, and when the time comes, we will sell them as I've said several months later.

The man entered the kitchen of the home where his wife was working. Looking very sad and miserable when his wife asked what was troubling him. He said I have bad news for you. The Lord's calf is dead. All but his wife remonstrated would not yet decided which was to be the Lord's calf. Oh yes, he said I had always determined that it was to be the white one, and it is the white calf that has died. You know my friends is always the Lord's calf that dies unless we are absolutely clear about our service to him and about the true nature of our possessions who owns your possessions Lord Jesus Christ tells us that either God owns them. You serve him, or else your possessions owns you and you serve them in any case, you never possess them personally. God give us each.

The victory that comes when our gifts wealth time, friends, ambitions and talents are turned over to him and we use them to establish indestructible riches in heaven and our father, we thank you for these truths we ask you to use them to make us all more diligent and faithful stewards. We pray in Jesus name, amen. You're listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce how we view the things of this world is a direct reflection of the trust we have in Jesus.

Dr. boy spoke more about possessions in his teaching series on the parables of Christ. We like to offer one of those messages.

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