Michael Youssef - Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You - Part 7
Don't ever forget the privilege of being able to choose is deeply rooted in the Christian faith. This privilege of choosing is a hallmark of biblical Christianity. In fact, the Bible from cover to cover is a book of choice. From cover to cover the Bible challenges every human being to make a choice. Either choose Christ and his redeeming work on the cross and be eternally saved, or choose to reject him, ignore him and face the consequences of eternal torment in hell. So turn with me please to Matthew chapter 6 and you'll see how Jesus makes that question of choice plain and simple, plain and simple. Four choices he gives us. And as we continue in this series of messages, in fact, it will be completed next week, "Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You".
Here our Lord Jesus Christ gives us four choices. I don't want you to miss this. Four choices. Four choices. They're all interdependent on each other. First choice; verses 19 to 21, Matthew 6, Jesus gives us a choice between two investment banks. Which one will you use? Secondly, in verses 22 and 23, Matthew 6, he gives us a choice between blindness and vision. Which will you choose? And then he build up to the third stage. Verse 24, there is a choice of masters. It's a choice between two masters. Which one would you choose? Fourthly and finally the culmination, in verses 25 to 34, he gives us a choice between two ambitions in life. First, he gives us a choice between two investment banks, where you invest your money. Hear me right please on this one. This is important. Jesus is not, not, not saying that there is anything wrong with money or making money.
In fact, he assumes that you're going to be making money because you're going to be investing it. How else would you invest if you don't make money? Nothing wrong with possessions. Nothing wrong with saving for the future. Nothing wrong with buying insurance. All the insurance people are going to love me. But I'm saying that for a reason. I'm saying this for a reason. In Matthew 25:22, Jesus commends good business practices. In Proverbs 6:6 and 8 it says learn from the ant. That's not your aunt; the ant, the insect that works hard in the summer to save for winter. In 1 Timothy 5:8, it says anyone who does not take care of his family is worse than an infidel. In the letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul makes it clear if you do not work you should not eat. Woo, isn't that harsh? Yeah. In this kind of a sentimentality's age we live in, yeah. But it's truth. It's truth.
There is nothing wrong with working and making money. The problem with possession is when they begin to possess you. That's the problem, and that's what Jesus is saying here. The question is, which investment venue will you place your money? The investment in the kingdom of God and, will help the real needy. Or are you investing in self and put it all on the self? I believe that our Lord is saying exactly that. If you deposit all of your wealth or hoarding all of your wealth and accumulating for the sake of accumulation, the end is treachery. When you put all your eggs in the earthly basket; it's not only risky, it's unsafe. In fact, if you want to insure what you have here on earth, be generous in investing in the bank of heaven.
If you want to continue to be blessed here and now, and I'm going to show you from the Word of God, then make your real investment where you will be spending millions of years not few decades. And Jesus said where your treasure is, there is your heart. People always reverse that. You noticed? You want to know where your life focus is? Look at your finances. If for even by chance you manage to keep your money and save it from loss, in the end you're going to lose it anyway. Beloved, I have never seen a U-Haul truck following a Hearse. Have you? You're going to leave it behind. As we have been seeing throughout the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord is speaking to believers, not non-believers. He's speaking to believers because I can tell you this; non-believers can give everything away and still be not saved. I'm telling you because salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This has nothing to do with salvation. This is for the believers who are saved already. First choice, the investment venue. Which one, the bank of heaven or here on earth?
Secondly, he goes immediately from that choice, gives us a second choice verses 22 and 23; and the second choice is having a vision for life or going around blinded for life. Look with me please at those verses because really it's a choice between light and darkness. That's really the choice. It really is a choice between spiritual blindness, not physical blindness, spiritual blindness and spiritual vision for life. Has nothing to do with your physical eyes and with your sight. See, hoarding all of your blessings or using it all on yourself plunges you into darkness. Hear me right, please. When you have good eyesight, physical eyesight, it will help you know where you're going, right? You look and you see and you take steps and you know where you're going physically, if you're moving this direction or moving this direction or moving this direction.
When you have good spiritual eyesight, when you have a spiritual vision, it will give you a spiritual perspective, it will give you spiritual insights, it will give you eternal perspective, it will give you purpose, it will give you joy in your work, it will give you joy in seeing God's vision for your life, it will give you confidence in Christ's provision, and you don't have to live in worry and fear and anxiety, as he shows us in the next few verses. But also the reverse is true, the reverse is true. If your vision is clouded by more and more and hoarding and accumulating for the sake of hoarding and accumulating, if your vision is clouded by worldly values and worldly endeavors, oh, you are in a world of hurt. Two investment banks. Two visions.
Thirdly, two masters. Look at verse 24. Two masters. See, he's building up. He's building up. He's building up. This is not casual stuff, this is real. Our Creator God is building up the case. Two masters. Listen, every one of us, I don't care who you are, you have a master. Did you know that? You have a master, every one of us. Don't get uppity on me and say, "Oh no, I've no masters". Yes, you do. You can't wiggle out of this one. The ultimate choice is between two masters who are behind the scenes. Either Jesus or Satan. You say, "Michael, I'm the captain of my ship and the master of my destiny". Yap. Then your master is self. Hello? In reality, Satan is the hidden master behind the scenes.
Hear me right. This is very important. Any master other than the Lord Jesus Christ you're going to find Satan behind the scene being the puppet master, and he has you by the throat even if you don't know it. I can tell you with pride and with joy and proclaim it to the whole world that I have a master. His name is Jesus. Here Jesus is saying you cannot have two masters at the same time. He is saying that behind the choice of your investment firm, behind the choice of vision for life there is a choice between two masters, God or Mammon.
Now, Mammon is an old Aramaic word, not Hebrew. It's an Aramaic word, means hoarding material. And it all boils down to one choice between the Creator or a created being, and you cannot be on both sides of the issue. Some people try. They get hurt. You cannot walk to the right and to the left all at the same time. You can work for two employers, but you cannot be the property of two owners. It all boils down to a single ownership, a single vision, singleness of service in the essence of your choices. An old preacher used to say you cannot serve God and Mammon, but you can serve God with Mammon. Hear me right. God is the kind of master who wants exclusivity. When it comes to you, he does not want to share you with the devil. He wants you to himself because he loved you enough to die on the cross for you. He has wants exclusive ownership, exclusive allegiance, exclusive devotion, exclusive attention.
God said, "I am the Lord. That's my name, and my glory I give to no other". To share loyalty with God, the Bible calls that idolatry. Listen. Listen. To me there is no contest. To me there is no comparison. To me the choice is very clear. Hands down I will choose the one who died for me as master. Hands down I will choose the one who loved me when I reviled him. Hands down I will choose the one who knew me by name before the foundation of the earth. Hands down I will choose the one who loved me when there was nothing in me to be loved. Hands down I will choose the one who redeemed me and gave me hope. Hands down I will choose the loving master who said, "Come unto me, come unto me, come unto me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul".
Who would ever choose Satan, the cruel master who pays you with bitterness and gall? Who would choose Satan who promises much and pays severe pain? Choose between two investment institutions, between two visions, between two masters; and all of that is going to lead you, finally, the consequences of these choices are going to lead you fourthly to two ambitions in life, two ambitions. Our Lord Jesus waits until we comprehend the first three and then he comes up with the fourth one. And, folks, this one is a biggie.
This fourth one is a biggie. It's the most desperately needed in our day and in any day; for it is only when you comprehend the choice between what is dependable and what is fleeting, between blindness and vision, between a great master and a slave driver, only then can you choose to live in victory, and joy, and contentment, regardless of your circumstances because you know that he's taking care of all the details of your life. No worry and anxiety. Once you've made those three choices clear, when you choose to place your investment in the bank of heaven, when you choose a bright vision for your life, when you choose a loving God for your master, then and only then will you be able to not worry about a thing.
When you choose a loving master, your attitude and your holy ambition is going to follow suit. Why? Because by the time you make the first three choices you will not be anxious, you will not be fretting, you will not be worried because you already rejected the competition that makes you worry, makes you anxious, and makes you fearful. You rejected that. You have made the decision to master your Mammon and not allow Mammon to master you. You have chosen the master who is concerned about every single hair on your head. Why worry about your needs? He is taking care of every bit of your needs more than that you are even conscious of.
Listen to me. All of us, all of us, all of us, all of us live for something. All of us, all of us seek after something. All of us are made to set our hearts and minds on something. All of us are made with ambitions on the inside of us for life. Ambition, by the way, is not a dirty word. Ambition is a beautiful word. In fact, ambition is a neutral word. Being a neutral word; therefore there is godly ambitions, there's the worldly ambitions, there is the selfish ambitions, there is selfless ambitions. A person's ambitions is what motivates them for life. This is not prosperity gospel. Some people perverted this, but Jesus is the one who said, "Give and it will be given to you. But when it's given to you, it's going to be shaken and piled over and it's thrown into your bosom". That's what Jesus, he said when you sow generously, you're going to reap generously.
See, God is looking for channels. He's looking for conduits so he can bless you to bless the kingdom of God and the work of God. He's not looking for reservoirs where the water goes in and stays in. Listen, I'm privileged to know people and have friends like that. Just so humbling and challenging for me personally. John Wesley used to say, "Make all you can. Give all you can. Save all you can". And what is Jesus doing here? He's reducing all of life goals into two buckets, two. That's it. Reduce all the gibberish, all the talk, all the stuff into two. If you choose the heavenly bank, if you choose an enlightened vision, if you choose God for your master, you do not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever have to worry. Everybody else around you is terrified. I see terror in the eyes of people all the time. Why? 'Cause God obligated himself when you do this, he obligated himself.
Just think about this. If some rich man obligates himself to you and say, "Wow, you know, I can go to sleep now. I can rest". This is God you talking about, right? He's the richest in all of the universe. He obligated himself to provide for your every need. Can I get an amen? Listen carefully. He is not denying or even despising your physical needs. He's not. He's not. Don't miss this. He's not. He made our bodies. He cares for our bodies. He makes provisions for our needs, physical needs, and he is saying that if you choose well in your first three choices you will not have to be anxious or worried about your physical needs 'cause he takes care of them. And therefore don't be preoccupied with your physical needs 'cause he promised to take care of them.
When you invest in the heaven's bank, you can sleep soundly because your investment is protected by mighty angels, waiting for you on the other side when you get there and you're going to spend all of eternity there. When your vision is enlightened, you will be thinking about where you're going to be spending all of your eternity, not just a few decades on this life. And when God is your master, you will get, he will provide every one of your needs, every one of them right when you need them. I will say the Lord is never too early and is never too late. In other words, you will be at peace now that God owns everything anyway, God controls everything anyway, and God provides everything anyway. Therefore, stay cool. Everything comes back to a choice.
Let me tell you this as I conclude. I heard a story about a wise old man, always had answers at his fingertips at every challenging question that he was asked. One day a cocky, arrogant young man said, "I'm going to put the old sage to a test". And so he came to him. He said, "Sir, is the bird in my hand alive or dead"?
Now, if he says it's dead, he will just open his hands and the bird will fly. If he says it's alive, he will squeeze his hands and it would be dead. So the old sage never looked at his hand, but he looked at his eyes. He looked at his eyes and he said, "My son, the bird is whatever you want it to be. The bird is whatever you want it to be". And so it is with each one of us in our choices. If you want to live a life of worry and anxiety, then spend everything on yourself, keep blinders on your spiritual eyes, for the rest of your life become a servant to the puppet master. These your choices will affect your forever and ever and ever.