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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Money Matters - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Money Matters - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Money Matters - Part 2
TOPICS: Let's Please God, Money

James Madison was our fourth president, often referred to as the father of our constitution. He made this statement, I want you to know how much this is a part of our heritage. We have not always been pagan to the degree we are. He said this, our fourth president! "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God".

I'm not arguing for a theocracy. I'm not arguing for a state church, but I'm telling you there has been a worldview and ideology that has made us strong as a people, and we have allowed it to be mocked and ridiculed and removed. I intend to go please God. So I picked one topic, one of the things that's looming in front of us. I'm looking for these things now when I feel the anxiety that comes from the blatant ungodliness. And one of the places where, at the moment, we are complete idolaters is in how we deal with money. It is sinful. We're $34 trillion plus in debt. We're selling our kids futures.

So, I thought we could take a few minutes and just begin with some biblical perspectives on money. And I'm not gonna ask you for any tonight. I mean, you don't want to give away the future, but, I mean, tonight. There's just some fun, we've lost our balance on this. The government is not our security. The government is not our provider. And when somebody's trying to promise you something to get you to support something that's ungodly, there needs to be a flashing yellow light on the inside of you. We should not be bribed into ungodliness. So the first principle I would give you is that God is the owner of all things, and we are just temporarily handling his resources. It's not my money anymore than it's my time. I'm a servant of the King.

We serve at his pleasure. Much of what I do these days is because I think it's what he's asked me to do. This notion of "I don't want to". Do you understand, you will be totally enmeshed in selfishness if you make your decisions based on "what I want to do". Ask the Lord what he wants. What if we started saying, "Lord, I'd like to please you. I would like to please you". Most of my heroes in the Bible, when God began to deal with them, if I remember right, they said, "I don't want to do that". Remember Moses? "Well, I don't wanna do that". "Throw down your staff". It's a snake. "Pick it up". It's a staff again. "Nice trick. I don't want to do that". "Put your hand in your coat". It's leprous. "Put it back". "Oh, that's really cool. I don't want to do that".

Remember all the Hebrew slaves? After they get delivered, they're back out in the desert. Now they're free. No more slaves. No more bricks. No more slave masters. "We don't wanna do this. We wanna go back". I promise you, if you determine that you're gonna begin to please God, you're gonna have to cross over this bridge of "I don't want to". One of the fruit of the Spirit is self-discipline. Where was I? God is the owner of all things. I told you, I've been in church all day. This is dangerous, and we are temporarily handling his resources. It's not my time, it's not my money, it's his.

1 Corinthians 4:2, "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful". God's going to evaluate what you and I do with our time and our treasure and our talent. Luke 12:48, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who's been entrusted with much, much more will be asked". Isaiah 2, "Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he"? Elections are important. They have consequences. We need to participate. We need to be aware. All of those things, but at the end of the day, we gotta stop waiting for the elections to fix us. If we will have a heart change, God will engage the elections.

If we don't have a heart change, the deterioration will continue. Secondly, it's God who gives us the power, the ability to gain wealth. I assure you, God is the one, you'll need to think about these a little bit, 'cause again, they're so against the conventional wisdom of the day. We think we're good dealmakers. We've worked hard. We're clever. We got up early, and we stayed up late. Look at Deuteronomy 8, "Remember the Lord, your God, it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant".

I've had the privilege, I've traveled a bit. Typically, I go to places in the world that are not on vacation schedules. Been along the Amazon in South America. I've met people who have spent the majority of their adult life without the benefit of electricity. And if you'll allow me, they work desperately hard to survive. They get up early, they stay up late to survive. I was there with a medical and dental team, and we were on a boat, and we would travel at night and pull into the shore, and in the mornings, we would open a dental and basic medical care clinic, and the people would materialize out of the jungle, and I would watch them. Children line up, the only time in their life they'd ever seen a dentist. And the dentist would pull teeth all day long. God has blessed us. He has blessed us. And we imagine we've made ourselves successful.

Now, I'm an advocate for work. We'll talk about that before we're done with this. But it's God who gives us the power and ability to gain wealth. It would be appropriate to begin to say to him, "Lord, you have been really good to me. You have entrusted me with your resources disproportionately to anything I have done. You caused me to be born in a place where I could have an education," or, "in the midst of an economic system where we could actually use resources for leverage and gain opportunities. Most places in the world, we don't have that opportunity. Lord, you've been good to me. What you've entrusted to me is yours". 'Cause here's the reason it's so important: only God can secure our futures. It can evaporate overnight.

We're playing Russian roulette with our futures right now, and we're oblivious to it in all sorts of very practical ways. We don't wanna use energy from our country, but if we can get it from Venezuela or Iran, that's some good petroleum. We are just forfeiting our future. There's some money questions, I'm gonna run out of time before we run out of outline, but it's okay. I'll be back, God willing. Proverbs 10 says, "The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it". If you've had the privilege of accumulating something, the biblical prescription for that is that it's the blessing of the Lord. It's the blessing of the Lord.

Proverbs 28, "A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished". Contemporary Proverbs. There's some misconceptions about money that flourish, and they flourish within the community of faith. I'm interacting enough in a broad enough way. I can tell you they are alive and well. One is it's just unspiritual to be rich. There's kind of an arrogance around poverty. And I find that amusing, and it's particularly true. We're very quickly judgmental. If somebody who's serving the Lord prospers, whether it's a business person or a professional Christian, I'm not...I read some fun statistics. It was in "Forbes" magazine recently, so I suppose it's reliable.

The highest-paid athlete in the world right now, do you know who that is? Cristiano Ronaldo. He's a Portuguese soccer star. He earned $260 million in the last 12 months. He plays for the Saudi Pro League. But he's been the highest-paid athlete in the world for several years. Wasn't like he had just a good year or a new contract. The world's 50 top-earning athletes hauled in a combined 3.8 billion in the last 12 months. Fifty athletes, almost $4 billion. The cut-off to make that top 50 list, you gotta make over $45 million annually. The NBA has the most athletes on the list with 19. The NFL landed 11. Global soccer has nine.

Now somebody will say, probably, "Nobody should make that much money". Well, let me help you. There's no passage in the Bible that says, "Thou shalt not make $200 million a year". So when you arrive at that conclusion, you're not doing it with biblical perspective. You may not like the way the resources are being allocated, but the Bible doesn't say that money is the root of all evil. Many people believe that. It doesn't say that. It says that "The love of money". You can love money and not have any.

You see, we've got this all, but you can be filled with covetousness and greed and envy and be living a very modest life. And our culture tends to feed that, "You deserve more". And you can be so easily manipulated if you don't understand these biblical principles. Somebody will tell you, "You deserve something," and if it's not a biblical perspective, they've just invited you into the judgment of God. It is happening on a daily basis amongst the people of God. Those who say "Money is basically evil" are misinterpreting the Bible. Many Christians feel guilty for making money. Thinking that if they were really spiritual, they'd just quit their jobs, give all their money to the poor, and live a very meager lifestyle. And on too many occasions, those who aren't wealthy feel contemptuous towards those who are.

Well, we promote that. There are people that have whole careers right now amongst us, bringing division and hatred. Departments in our university, sections of our government thinking if someone is rich, they must be materialistic, and they're not very spiritual. And the truth is, the Bible says to us that everything we have, including our money, is a blessing from God. Look at what Paul said to Timothy. 1 Timothy 6. It's in your notes. "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment".

What Paul was commanding the people to do is worth noting. He didn't tell them to liquidate. He didn't. He said, "Command them to do good," verse 18, "to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they'll lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life". Again, Paul did not say to Timothy, "Tell those rich people to quit accumulating so much money". Neither did he say to them, "Tell them to give all their money to the church". I wrote it. I know. "And then redistribute it to everyone equally". No, I've noticed all the people that are telling you to do that typically don't practice it. The word for that these days is equity. We used to strive for equality, where everybody got an equal opportunity, but that's no longer chic.

What's chic today, I don't mean just chic is fashionable, it's being enforced. It's being pumped through academia. It's pumped through our government. It's pumped through many of our celebrated universities. Karl Marx forwarded the perspective of socialism, suggesting that everything should be owned in common, that all property should be owned not by the individual but by the people as a whole, distributed equally by some authority. Now, when this is brought up in theological circles, they're usually really quick to say, "But this is not Marxism". As if that changes the outcome. It'd be me, like, going home and having a half a gallon of ice cream and a package of Oreos, and going, "Well, this isn't fattening".

I wish my words would fix that. The thought process has become so prevalent that it's greatly influenced many churches and theologians. Some people believe the Bible advocates for socialism. This isn't a theory to me. When I was working my way through the academic system in a graduate school in a very celebrated place in a school of religion, I was assigned a rather substantial paper on the topic that Jesus was a socialist.

Kind of the proof text is Acts 4, I put it in your notes. It's worth noting. It says, "All the believers were in one heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales, put at the apostles' feet, it was distributed to anyone as he had need".

That's the text. That was the proof. And if you take that text, and you don't know anything else about the Bible, you could be led down that merry path with it. But just a casual glance of scripture, and you know that we're not all the same. We don't all get the same gifts from God. We don't have the same talents. We don't have the same physical gifts and abilities. We're different. Every one of us is unique. Some of us see color in a way that others of us can't. Some of us hear music in a way that others of us don't. Some of us look at numbers, and they talk to us.

Some of us look at numbers, and we get queasy. We're different. I could take you to just about every book in the Bible and lead you through the character of God that stands in very dramatic opposition to this notion that we're all the same and should get the same. We're not gonna get the same in heaven. You'll be rewarded based on how you've lived in time. It's very manipulative, but if you don't read your Bible, if you don't know the character of God, we're easily led astray, and somebody promising you, feeding your greed and your envy and that you deserve.

Folks, if any one of us get what we deserve, we're dust, and we'll spend eternity apart from God. You do not want to build a head of steam based on what you deserve. Look at Psalm 68. Says, "God will be a father to the fatherless, and a defender of the widows". I think we all understand the biblical principle that we have a responsibility to the widows and the orphans, but that's been used so glibly, so casually. We ignore the larger council of scripture. Look at 1 Timothy 5, this is not Old Testament, this is new. It says, "No widow may be put on the list of widows unless," so there's a qualification. It's not like just "all widows". You can't even be put on the list "unless she's over sixty".

Well, the life expectancy at that point in time wasn't 60, so she's got to be extraordinarily resilient just to make the list. "And she's been faithful to her husband, she's well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds". A checklist for benevolence. It's just hard to say out loud. We're so far removed from biblical ideas. 2 Thessalonians 3, "Even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, they don't eat". "Well, I'm just not into work. I'm more contemplative".

Jesus in Matthew 26, "The poor you'll have with you always". Someone had just lavishly responded to Jesus with some very expensive ointment. And there were critics that it was inappropriate to happen. The discussion we're having is not a new discussion. It's a part of the people of faith through the generations. "The money could have been sold and used to help people less fortunate. It's too extravagant. You shouldn't have done it". And Jesus said, "You're always gonna have the poor". Jesus said that. But there was an opportunity here where extravagance made sense. Wow.

You see, a part of the reason we're susceptible to this is we're angry at people that have more than we do. We've lost the awareness of contentment. We can't be satisfied. We want something that we don't have. And so, we'll stamp our feet and act like petulant children, and we'll get out our religious credentials to say we've got eternity wrapped up, so now we're gonna use all the secular means available to us to go satisfy that carnal part of our person. Folks, money matters. What you do with your money is as much an expression of how you worship God as what you do when the music plays. And I'm not asking for any today.

Money matters. We're being manipulated broadly and tragically too frequently with theological language. The apostasy in the church is not just about redefining marriage and ignoring biblical values around human sexuality. We're gonna please God. We're gonna pick up a new mantle. We're gonna give the Holy Spirit permission to begin to say to us, "That would please me". There are a multitude of ways that, together, I believe we can please God in the midst of our community. Then perhaps, just perhaps, God will look upon us with mercy. Not because we deserve it or we earned it, but because he sees his kids with a sincere and genuine desire to please him.

If you'd like in on that, why don't you stand with me. I want to pray. I didn't bring you a prayer 'cause I'd be tempted not to pray. But I really wanted to invite the blessing of God. He's been so good to us. We have so much food, there's too much of us. We have so much stuff, our closets are, like, frightening. We have so many clothes, we can afford to think about what's fashionable and what's not. We can. We have so many options for things to do and to travel. We're agitated because we don't have enough free time. We have so much, and yet we're not more grateful. We're not more godly.

Father, I thank you. I thank you that you love us and care about us. Lord, that you've called us to this season of shaking and realignment and tremendous change. Lord, we praise you for it. Lord, I know that if you've called us to this time, that you have given us what we need to flourish. And we pause tonight to say that we're listening. We would like to please you in our homes, in our jobs, in how we spend our time, and what we do with our resources. Lord, we're not suggesting that others should be different. We are volunteering ourselves to begin to please you in new ways.

Give us understanding hearts. There are places where we've been deceived or confused or...Lord, I pray you'll help us to see. Most of all, I ask that in the days and the weeks ahead you might be pleased with us. I know you love us, but may you be pleased with our choices, with our willingness to submit to you. May we run as if we intend to get the prize. In Jesus's name, amen.

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