to ceasar

Do you know what it means when someone says, ‘There is an elephant in the room?’ It means that there is something that everyone knows about, but no one has the courage to talk about it. When you are the room with an elephant, that thing no one talks about, everyone feels weird. The kind of weird like watching your parents kiss weird.

When you were a kid, your parents read you the story that had the following sentence in it, “The emperor has no clothes.” Everyone knew he was naked but wouldn’t admit it until a little boy said the obvious.

Have you ever worked for a company that never addressed anything in an upfront manner. Everyone knows there is something going one but no one talks about it. Everyone feels on edge. Then maybe a day comes when the boss actually talks about ‘it’ and everyone thinks, ‘finally!’ The mood in the entire company changes because finally, someone had the courage to talk about the white elephant in the room.

In Christianity, there are a couple elephants, a couple things people don’t want you to talk about. The biggest elephant would have to be ‘money.’ It’s that thing, that subject, that makes people feel weird. Here’s why. Truth is, the talk about money isn’t about money. It’s actually a talk about the heart. And because the money talk is about the heart, it can be a subject we don’t want to talk about. Let me ask you, does talking about money interest you? You wonder what the Bible says about it because as a follower of Christ I want to do what Christ says. Or does it rub you the wrong way. Kinda like watching your parents kiss making you feel like, “I gotta get out of here.” Maybe it’s even worse than that. It’s almost like a rebellious thing rises inside you, “Don’t you dare read scripture to me and if you do, I’m not going to change anything… boom.” Got to be honest, you are in a spiritual dark spot.

The other reason it can be weird is we tend assume the worst in everything. We have seen the abuse of it on the news.

Let me share with you six quick things and we will jump into talk.

  1. We offer the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course. Why? Because financial freedom is a step towards spiritual freedom. Financial chaos does not lead to spiritual peace. To choose to stay in financial chaos is choosing to stay in spiritual bondage.
  2. We are walking through the “Give to Caesar” series. Why? Because the number #1 thing that competes for God’s love in our lives, is money. This series is about the condition of our heart and how we view money.
  3. When God’s grace fully impacts someone’s heart, that grace dethrones money from being our ‘god.’ Grace places God on the throne of our hearts. That’s what grace does. It leads us to forgive, to love, to give, etc.
  4. Money is not evil. The love of money is evil. So work hard, give, save, enjoy life. If you don’t like to work, please read the curse put on man in Genesis.
  5. God said something alarming, it’s the practical application to giving. This is explains God’s view of us giving 10% back to Him. 9 You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. NIV Malachi 3:8-11    The Jewish people were beginning to forget their absolute dependence on God so they failed to bring the 10% God asked for. Money had become their ‘god’ and it deeply hurt God. They cared more about building their houses and personal wealth and began to ignoring God.

6. We are talking about the spiritual implications of money. That being said, at MRC, and the church you attend, if God has impacted your heart here, if this is your community, we ask that you give on purpose and consistently. Many times, at the end of the month people say, “We just ran out.” That’s not giving on purpose or consistently. That shows there is no plan and no desire to place giving as a high priority. That’s why God specifically said, 9 Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines. TLB Proverbs 3:9As the leader of MRC, I set the tone. Giving 10% on purpose. It’s a myth to say, “Well, I get paid here, so it would be like paying myself.” No. My giving is about my heart condition.

Today I want start with a story. It’s a story when religious people were trying to trick Jesus.

15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away. NIV Matthew 22:15-22

Jesus was saying there are two kingdoms on this earth. We live in two kingdoms at one time. The kingdom of this earth and the kingdom of God. Who is the king of this earth? Money. What do we focus on and care about in this kingdom of earth? Money. Who is the king in God’s kingdom? God. What do we focus on and care about in this kingdom? God. The problem we have is we live in two kingdoms and we begin to love the one kingdom and the other kingdom becomes boring.

When Jesus talked about it, it said it like this. No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. NIV Matthew 6:24

Let me ask you, which kingdom is becoming boring to you? The reason I ask is because Jesus taught, over time, you will hate the one and love the other. You’re going to be devoted to one and despise the other. Because here is the deal. You can’t serve both. You can’t date two girls at the same time and love them both. So which kingdom is beginning to bore you?

For you, is it church? Has the whole church thing has become boring. The activity around church is a burden. I wish I could do nothing or at do the least possible. You love it when you have a week off. The idea that you would bring your best to serve the mission of Christ is great, when someone else does it.

If the kingdom of God is becoming boring, maybe, that means you are falling deeply love with the kingdom of this world and its king: money. You begin think, if I had more money I would be safer, happier, more secure and independent. The truth is, you would still be you. If you struggle with money and are in debt now, you would be more in debt with more money.

Scripture tell us The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, nor the one who loves wealth with big profits. More smoke. MSG Ecclesiastes 5:10

Jesus said, The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced. NLT Matthew 13:22-23

Jesus was saying, if you are in love with money, when God plants His love and grace deep into your soul, it won’t stick. Actually, the love and that grace is choked out like weeds choke out plants. Why? Because of our fear, our worries, our doubt as we think, ‘I need more money.’ And it shows up in our lives. Never satisfied scripture says. In control of 100% of our money and miserable. We can’t produce grace and love in our lives because our love of money chokes it out.

Sadly, many times, church people try to fake it. We are left with attending church and doing a few things but love and grace for others isn’t growing. Over time, church and the advancement of God’s kingdom is a bore.

Which kingdom is becoming boring to you? Which kingdom are you beginning to despise?

We need to understand this is a spiritual conflict. There are two kingdoms. The kingdom of on this earth and God’s kingdom. They are at war with each other. Both kingdoms will pull on your heart and both kingdoms have two different agendas.

The kingdom of earth has one agenda; consumerism. Consumerism says, “I love me and God’s money serves me because I am absolutely dependent on me.”

The kingdom of God has one agenda; love of God. Love of God says, “I love God and I manage God’s money and I recognize I am absolutely dependent on God.”

So God places His good news of love and grace into your soul. Is God’s love and grace growing inside of you? Or, have your money fears and worries chocked out God’s love and grace? You need to understand we are living in two kingdoms with two different kings with two different agendas. You need to decide, who is the God of your life? And the number one indicator of who you love, shows up in how you deal with money.

5 When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” 6 Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. 7 Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”  8 Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor – and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.” 9 Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! 10 For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.” MSG Luke 19:5-10

What happened to Zacchaeus? He once served the kingdom of this world, he met Jesus and he changed. He began to serve God’s kingdom. How do we know? It was how he dealt with money.

Let me ask you, which kingdom is becoming boring to you? Money or God’s kingdom?