to ceasar

Real Quickly, 5 things about money.

  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. 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.
  4. God said something alarming, it’s the practical application to giving, 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.
  5. 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 3:9  As 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.

Last week we opened our ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s’ series. We said that we live in two kingdoms at one time. The two kingdoms have two different Kings, different agendas and they are at war with each other. You will feel the pull of both kingdoms. The kingdom of earth and the kingdom of God. Over time, you will begin to love one of those kingdoms and hate the other. That’s why Jesus said, 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

I asked the questions: Which kingdom is becoming boring to you? The kingdom of earth and all it’s pursuit of bigger, better, more, safety and security. Or the kingdom of God and the mission of advancing His kingdom?

This week, I want to read 5 stories out of the Bible. I want us to see what happens when God’s grace smashes into the heart of people.

Story #1: 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? The grace of God dethroned money in Zacchaeus’ heart. There was an immediate link between the God’s grace and money.

Story #2: Acts 2:43-45 43 Everyone around was in awe – all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! 44 And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. 45 They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met. MSG

What happened? The grace of God dethroned money in the hearts of people. There was an immediate link between the God’s grace and money.

Story #3: Acts 19:18-20   19 All kinds of witches and warlocks came out of the woodwork with their books of spells and incantations and made a huge bonfire of them. Someone estimated their worth at fifty thousand silver coins. 20 In such ways it became evident that the Word of the Master was now sovereign and prevailed in Ephesus. MSG

What happened? There was a move of God that all the people experienced. The grace of God radically changed their understanding of God and they did everything they could to denounce their evil ways. Regardless of the cost, they wanted to get rid of all their evils ways. There was an immediate link between the God’s grace and money.

Story #4: Mark 12:43-44 43 Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. 44 All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford – she gave her all.” MSG

What happened? There was a difference between the people giving. One was led by grace, the other was led by showing off. There was a link between the God’s grace and money.

Story #5: Matthew 19:16-23 16 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Good master, what must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “…to answer your question, you can get to heaven if you keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied, “Don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, 19 honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself!” 20 “I’ve always obeyed every one of them,” the youth replied. “What else must I do?” 21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sadly, for he was very rich. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “It is almost impossible for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven!” TLB

What happened? God’s grace did not dethrone money and greed from the rich man’s heart. The result is the young man walked away sad.

Do you see the difference between the stories? There is a clear link between experiencing God’s grace and how we handle money. What sits on the throne of your heart? When God’s grace impacts you, does it change you?   Or, do you walk away sad like the young rich man?