Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on June 14, 2015
Open your Bibles to Philippians 4:14-20. Today is our second to last sermon in this series from the book of Philippians. Next week, I will be wrapping it up, and on the 28th I will be preaching about Church Membership with the hope that I will convince many of you to become committed members of Cornerstone Church. Not because we want to put your name on a list, but because the Bible encourages deep partnership within the local body.
Then starting in July, I will be beginning a two month series that I am entitling, a “Summer of Psalms,” where each Sunday I will be unpacking a Psalm. With that said, I would ask that all of you pray for me as I start to wade into those waters, for it is new territory for me to preach from the Psalms, and I want to above all handle the word rightly. But today and next week, let us choose to finish strong in the book of Philippians. Let us read our text, pray, and allow God’s Word to work on our hearts.
Let us begin by way of review. The book of Philippians is written by Paul to the Saints in Philippi. This relationship between Paul and this local Church began with the conversion of Lydia. This event is documented in Acts 16:14.
Catalyst to Giving
Why? Why was this local body of believers so radical in their giving? Why did they stand out amongst the dozens of Churches when it came to their sacrificial partnership in proclaiming the Gospel? I believe that over the last 6 months we have been answering just that question.
The catalyst to giving can be summed up with one word, the Gospel. The Church in Philippi had been radically and forever changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God had begun a work in them. They had become partakers of Grace. They were filled with the fruit of righteousness. They accepted the battle cry that to live is Christ and to die is gain. They did nothing out of selfish ambition. They emptied themselves and took the form of servants, working out their salvation with fear and trembling knowing that it was God who worked in them to will and work for his good pleasure. And while doing so they held fast to the word of life, and poured themselves out like drink offerings. They were brothers, fellow workers and fellow soldiers of God. They counted everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, specifically knowing the power of his resurrection. Because of the Gospel they no longer set their minds on earthly things, but recognized that their citizenship was in Heaven, and because of that they rejoiced in the Lord always, which flowed into a peace with God that surpassed understanding. Producing a life of contentment due to the power of Christ working in their weakness and making all things possible.
It was out of this gospel transformation that they gave. When no one else was giving, the Philippians gave. They were not concerned what others Churches did, they gave from a heart that was bursting with the Spirit of God.
And this is what happens when Christ takes up residence in your heart. You give. When you repent and turn towards Jesus, and place your faith in the sufficiency of his sacrifice, and you commit your like to him as your Master, Jesus comes and lives in you heart. This morning we talked about this is Hebrews 8.
John the Baptist says this in John 3:30 about Christ, “I must decrease and he must increase.” You see it again in the apostles John and James who left their boat and their father and followed Jesus. You see it in the apostle Matthew upon Jesus saying two simple words “follow him.” Without hesitation, he quit his job of collecting taxes and lining his pockets with the dust of this world and instead gave of himself to the point of martyrdom. You see it in the conversion of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8 when Zacchaeus pays back fourfold of what he had taken from the poor. You see it in the women with the alabaster jar in Matthew 26, pouring it on the head of Jesus in sold out sacrificial worship while those around scoffed at the waste. You see it Joseph of Arimethea, a rich man who gave his grave to bury the Author of Life. The list could go on and on, for every time someone goes from death to life, the life they live is one of love. Love for God and love for others. In fact, one sign that you may not be saved is your lack of giving.
This was the reality for the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. Jesus, the Great Physician, was examining his heart and told him to give up everything and follow Him. The rich man walked away sad for he had great wealth and Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle then for a rich man to get into heaven. Folks, I have some bad news, if you own your home you are richer than 90% of the world's population. You are the rich young ruler. However, don't lose heart, for Jesus said perhaps the most Calvinistic and perhaps the most precious words every to be spoken. The disciples said, “Who then can be saved?”26But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
What is the power of God that makes rich men give up everything to follow Christ? It is the Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation, a salvation that produces radical, reckless, self-sacrificial giving. It was a Gospel that touched the hearts of the Philippians, and they couldn't help but give. It was their new spiritual DNA.
The question for us today, is it ours? Is the DNA of Cornerstone consumption or Gospel giving? Are we the rich young ruler, or are we the Philippians Church? Do we spend our money on ourselves, or do we lay it at the feet of God? Do we work our 40 hours to line our pockets, or do we work as if working for the Lord? Are we spraying the perfume of our wealth upon our necks, or pouring it on the head of our Savior?
The Fruit that Increases to Your Credit
Now here is the interesting thing about Gospel giving. It is not really giving to lose, but it is actually giving to get. Look at verse 17.
The real question when it comes to giving for the fruit that increases to your credit, is do you believe it? Do you trust God enough to implement it in your life? Do you trust that will hold up His end of the bargain? Many people do not. They are not willing to take the risk, they instead want to maintain the control that they have in their life and build bigger bins. This however is foolish, for we are chasing dust instead of the eternal riches our our Maker. Perhaps Jesus said it the best.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on March 1, 2015
Turn with me to Philippians 2:14-18. Over the last several weeks we have been unpacking what it looks like for Christians to progress in our faith. We began by understanding that our walk as Christians should be one that match the gift of our salvation. Meaning that we should outwardly display the reality within. Or to say it another way, if we talk the talk, we should walk the walk.
Last week, we examined how this progress in our faith is one that involves both our working, and God working within us. That we are to be actively pursuing Christlikeness, however our pursuit is driven from within by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us. This process of transformation is what the Bible calls sanctification. The end of our sanctification occurs upon our death or upon Christ's return, for at that moment the Christian's work is done and we enter into the final rest of our Father and we be like our brother Jesus Christ.
Today we are going to get more specific regarding this process of sanctification. We are going to look at a specific sin, a specific purpose, a specific solution, and a specific result. So with that said, let us read out text, pray and unpack these four verses.
In verse 14 we see Paul exhort the Philippian Church to “do all things without grumbling or disputing.” I think it is important for us to recognize that this statement is not disconnected with the first part of Paul's letter. Therefore you could say, progress in your faith without grumbling or disputing, or count others more significant than yourself without grumbling or disputing, or be obedient like Jesus without grumbling or disputing, or work out your salvation without grumbling or disputing. Pual has spent a significant part of his letter exhorting the church at Philippi, and his desire is that they do all these things, not as a burden, but with joy.
As I thought about this text this week, I have to admit that I felt the weight of my sin. I confess I am a grumbler. I wouldn't necessarily use that phrase. Instead I would call myself analytical or critical, perhaps I would even go so far as to admit that I complain about things, but those are just words. The reality is that when Paul is saying don't grumble or dispute, he might as well use my name right after his rebuking.
This week I have felt like grumbling about the weather, my work, my to-do list, the lack of progress in certain areas of my life, the gas tax, the apathy of others, my sleep habits, food, the list could go on an on. This is not to mention the constant sighs that I express throughout my day, as if I can't bare my circumstance one minute longer. The bottom line is that this week I have felt like one giant baby, whining about every little thing that comes up.
And this is the sad part, I was not rebuked one time for my whining. As I went about complaining and grumbling, the world joined in on the conversation. In fact, many times the more I complained the more worldly fellowship I had. People were mesmerized by my poisonous tongue. Why? Because people love the darkness. The world loves sin, and grumbling and disputing is sin.
Many of you, however, may be saying, really? Is it that big of deal to vent once and a while? Or perhaps you are saying, aren't I entitled to my opinion? Can't I stand up on my soapbox? Can't I express myself and let my voice be heard? The answer to this is no, you can't, at least you can't if you are a Christian.
I want to direct your attention to verse 15. Paul uses a phrase that is not arbitrary. He calls the world a “crooked and twisted generation.” This is not the first time this phrase is used in the Bible. It is used by Moses in Deuteronomy 32:5 to describe the nation of Israel during the time they wandered in the desert.
For any of you who have read about those 40 years, which I hope that all of you have, you will know that there is one word that describes those people, complainers. No matter what God did for them, they whined and complained. They grumbled and disputed. This began almost instantly upon Israel's leaving of Egypt. They complained about being led to the Red Sea, they complained about the lack of water, they complained about food, they complained about not having the right food, they complained about Moses, they complained about the people who occupied the promise land. Complain, complain, complain. This was the display of their hearts after God led them out of Egypt. God had chosen these people to be His people out of all the nations of the world, and how did they respond, they grumbled and disputed.
What was God's response to Israel's complaints? Yes he did provide, but also He killed a fair amount of them. He sent a plague, he swallowed some up in the ground, he gave Miriam leprosy, and he kept all of the adults, including Moses, from entering the Promise land. Why was God so angry about their complaining? Because their complaining was a provocation towards God. Their complaining was an assault on God's Sovereignty. Their complaining was the exact opposite of what they should have been doing, trusting in God, having Faith in God. God desired to use them to display himself to the nations, but what they were displaying is discontent, disunity, and disobedience.
Why is this important to us? Why should we care about Israel of 4,000 years ago? Aren't we different as followers of Jesus? Yes, we are different, but that doesn't mean we are perfect and without sin. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2.
The Old Testament is not irrelevant. The nation of Isreal while wandering in the wildernss is not irrelevant. It is to be an example to to us. We are to take heed, lest we fall. We must recognize that grumbling and disputing kindles the wrath of God, it does not please Him. In fact, God killed his Son on the cross to pay for your sins, not just adultery and murder, but also grumbling and complaining.
Every time you complain about your food, your job, your circumstances, your life, you are complaining about God's providence. Just like Israel, you are questioning the Sovereignty of God as he unveils the plans that he has for you. This is what Paul is trying to get across to the people of Philippi as they work out their salvation, as they obey as Jesus obeyed. He wants the Church to sojourn with rejoicing and not with grumbling.
And don't forget Paul's condition as he writes these words. Paul writing these things while he is chained to a Roman guard. His circumstances are way worse than most of you will ever experience. In this letter do you see complaining? No you see Paul rejoicing, proclaiming, edifying, but you never see complaining. With each step Paul takes, no matter how difficult, he uses it for an opportunity to glorify God, not to grumble against God.
Shine as Lights in the World
Which leads to my second point. Our purpose as disciples is to shine like lights in the world. This is why you live in your neighborhood. This is why you work where you work. This is why you go to the school you go to. This is why you have facebook friends. Your responsibility, your call, your purpose is to shine with the light of Jesus Christ into the darkness that surrounds us.
When you grumble and complain, you are not shining. Instead there is a dark cloud that descends over your testimony. You look just like the world that you are sent to save. As Paul says, you are acting twisted and crooked. Instead of acting like Christ, you are acting like Satan. Do you think that your complaining is going to cause one of your friends or family members to say, “Wow, tell me about your faith. I want know more about the God that you seem not to trust.”
We as followers of Jesus Christ are to be radically different. We are to stand out. We are to be salt in this decaying and tasteless world and we are to be light in the midst of the darkness. And this is to be true in all circumstances, and especially true in difficult circumstances. For when your circumstances are the darkest, your light can shines more brightly. For example, think about the cross. It is the darkest day in all of human history. Creation is killing the Creator. This is the most depraved and wicked act imaginable. However, it is with this backdrop of darkness that we see the light of Jesus Christ shine most gloriously. Did Jesus grumble and complain and dispute with his father? No. He prayed “Thy will be done” and “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” For the Joy that was set before him Him endured the cross.
We are called to be like Christ. We are to be his disciples. We are to follow his lead. When our circumstances are not up to our standard of selfish entitlement, we need to check ourselves before we vent, before we give our two cents on God's providence, before we grumble about the circumstances God has ordained for our lives. So how do we do this?
Hold Fast to the Word of Life
Look at verse 16. What does it say? It says we are to “[hold] fast to the word of life.” What is the word of life? It is the gospel. It is the message of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the promise of God that through the death of His Son, your sins are forgiven and you will have eternal life.
I want you to feel the weight of this. You and I deserve to go to Hell. We deserve to have the wrath of God come crashing down upon us. But God, because He is love provides a way that the price of our sins can be paid and so that we can be reconciled to our Maker. That way is that he kills his Son Jesus. He did this for you! Instead of punishing you for your wretchedness, he punishes Jesus for your wretchedness. And if that was not enough, not only does he forgive you but he adopts you into his family and promises you that you will receive the inheritance of being a child of the Almighty God. And if that is not enough, you will get to enjoy this inheritance forever and ever. Meaning that in a billion years from now, you will still be enjoying the unlimited joy of being a child of God.
And if you have repented of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, this is yours right now.
Paul is telling us that we must hold fast to this gospel truth. We must not be casual about it. We must cling to it violently. Never letting these promises slip out of our mind. E must keep our eyes focused to these words, and they must be the anchor of our life. We must hold it, as it holds us.
The question is, are you holding fast to the words of life? Are you clinging to the words of Jesus with white knuckles. Are you soaking, and meditating, and delighting, and cherishing the word of life?
This week I saw a quote from Charles Spurgeon that was somewhat aggressive. Spurgeon said, “There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write “damnation” with your fingers.” Does this describe you? Does your Bible sit on the shelf day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year with almost no attention? Instead of holding fast to the word of life, are you holding fast to facebook? HGTV? ESPN? Your business?
I echo what Paul says in verse 16, I do not want to stand in the day of judgment and realize that all of the labors of Cornerstone were vanity. That they were worthless. That my preaching and teaching has fallen on deaf ears. For we know that on the day of Judgment, everything will be revealed. At that time we will not have to look at the dust of our Bibles for God will reveal the dust on our cold dead hearts.
And it only makes sense, for those who who do not have the words of life implanted in their heart, of course they will act like Israel. Of course you will whine and complain and grumble and dispute with God. For that is your nature. You are a rebel, an enemy, an antagonist of God.
But this should not be true for real, authentic followers of Jesus Christ. We must heed the warning of Israel, for we have hope. The hope of eternal life through faith in Christ. And this hope should spring up into our joy.
Be Glad and Rejoice
And that is exactly what we see in verse 17 and 18, “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.“
If God has begun a work in our hearts, and we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ, and we trust in the promises of God, then first we should love to be reminded of these things. And each time we saturate ourselves in the good news of Jesus it should produce in us good feelings. Not feelings that are rooted in our circumstances, but feelings that are rooted in the cross.
This is why Paul could rejoice despite his imprisonment. This is why the Church in Philippi could rejoice despite the threats of their opponents, and this is why you should rejoice when the gas tax goes into effect next week, and when the temperature is negative 24, and when you get laid off from work, and when you get a call from the doctor with bad news. Because our joy is in the word of life.
Let us commit ourselves to stop complaining and start proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Let us work our our salvation without whining. Let us act like we have actually received the greatest gift ever imaginable. And Let us rejoice.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on September 7, 2012
Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 7:7-11. We have been walking through the Sermon on the Mount now since January 5th, eight months. That is a long time. Granted we have taken a couple breaks along the way, but nonetheless, this has been more of a marathon than a sprint.
As we reflect on this, I want each of you to ask this question, “What seems to feed your soul better, rushing through the Bible or soaking in it?” For me, it is hands down soaking in it. The more I push into the word of God, the more it seems to push into my heart. It is amazing.
With this in mind, I want each of you to consider this as you read your Bible daily. Don’t rush through the meal, savor it. Be willing to read a verse, close your eyes, and dwell upon the implications, the power, and the truth of these words. Think about other verses that may be connected, use a cross-reference. Many of you use the ESV translation and have study Bible. Those bibles have a cross-reference that will direct you to other verses that are similar or relevant. I encourage you to take time to do so, you will not be disappointed.
Today, we are going to examine a passage that I believe will mean a great deal more to you if you have labored through the last eight months with us. We have spent week after week at the feet of Jesus listening to how to live life as a child of God. In a way it is overwhelming. It leads us to say, how can we possibly become what Jesus requires?
This text we will look at today will be like finding a cold stream after a long journey through a thick forest. It will quench the thirst that Jesus has created throughout the Sermon on the Mount. It reminds me of Isaiah 55:1
However, in doing so, He sets the bar substantially high. In fact, some would argue that he sets the bar out of reach. Verses like Matthew 5:48 do not help.
And this is what Jesus has been leading us to throughout the Sermon on the Mount. He wants us to listen to His Words and come to one singular conclusion, I can’t do it. Jesus wants us to come to the realization that we cannot reach the bar of Holiness that is required by a Holy God. He wants us to reach the end of ourselves.
This begs the question, why can’t we achieve God’s standards? Why can’t we be good enough for God? Why can't we make ourselves not get angry, not lust, not get divorces, not get anxious, love our enemies, help to poor for the right reason, pray for the right things? Because, apart from Jesus, we are dead in our trespasses and sins. Apart from Jesus, nothing good dwells in us. Apart from Jesus, we are sinners. Apart from Jesus, we are spiritually bankrupt and have no capacity to live in accordance to His will. This is why we can't be perfect. This is why we fall short of God's way to live.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is leading us through the wilderness of our sinfulness and is creating a hunger and thirst for a righteousness that is outside ourselves. And this is when he brings us to the satisfying waters of God’s grace.
Jesus’ solution to the problem is to ask, seek and knock. Jesus tells us if ask, seek, and knock, we will receive, find, and it will be opened. So let’s start with who are we asking?
Who do we ask?
Take a look at verse 11.
Now, I want to be clear about something. God is not everyone’s Father. In fact, very few people are on this planet are God's children. And I want us to understand that sitting in these chairs today does not make God your Father. Taking communion today, does not make God your Father. Being religious does not make God your Father. There is only one way that God will be your father, and that is through adoption into his family through the blood of Jesus. Therefore to drink from the waters of God's grace, you must come to the fountain of Jesus Christ. Listen to what Jesus proclaims in John 7:37-39.
If today, you do see the treasure that is Christ and repent of your sin and place your faith in Christ alone for you salvation, you are adopted into God's family. You are his son, You are his daughter, and for the first time, these words of Mathew 7 are meant for you. So let us ask, what do we, God's children, receive if we ask, seek, and knock on our father's door?
Second, no matter what life throws at you, if God foreknew you, he predestined you; if he predestined you, he called you; if he called you, he justified you; if he justified you, he will glorify you! This is an unbreakable chain. This means that no matter what is going on in our life, it is a light momentary affliction compared the the eternal weight of glory that is waiting for us. Our darkest days are but a grain of sand on the beach of God's eternal goodness that he will lavish upon us for all eternity.
Third, God loves us. Not with a wishy washy love, but with an unbreakable love. A love that is more powerful than anything that we may be experiencing. When the world is crashing down around you, who stands by your side and whispers I love you? The Sovereign and Almighty God of the Universe. If the infinitely powerful, holy and awesome God, our Father, loves us, then we can weather any storm of life.
So what do we receive when we ask, seek and knock? We receive the good gift of the amazing riches of God's forever grace, and it flows to us through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus is the fountainhead of the good things of God. And the water of God is sweeter than any water that has ever touched your lips, and if we pursue it we will be satisfied.
River of Love that Flows Through Us
But we are not done. There is still more. Is this where God's gifts end? Are we a reservoir of God's grace? Are our hearts to be a damn collecting God's love? No.
So how would I summarize what Jesus is telling us in these verse today? God is saying, when you are empty of yourself, and you come to me through my son, I will lavish you with unending rivers of my grace, so not only will you be blessed, but you will bless others. What an amazing God that we have.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on August 17, 2014
Today marks our third and final week on the topic of money. My goal from this short sermon series was to put money in its proper place and God in His. As I stated last week, I believe that we in America have reversed their respective roles. We have used God to serve our love for money instead of using money to serve our love for God. If the self-proclaimed Christians would recognize that money is a gift from God to be used for the glory God, we would start to move some major mountains in this fallen world; even us, tiny little Cornerstone. If you don’t believe me, listen to this text regarding the poor and afflicted Churches in Macedonia.
In light of this goal, today we are going to explore one of the major obstacles that prevents us from giving, fear. Because of the uncertainty of what tomorrow may bring we cling to every last cent that we have. However, today I am not going to limit myself to talking about anxiety as it relates to money only, but anxiety in general. So lets is read our text, pray and turn our eyes to God's Word.
This week there has been a flurry of tweets, posts, blogs and articles written about the death of Robin Williams, with everyone grasping for straws seeking answers and solutions. Many of these people never once thought about what God says about the topic. I don’t believe it is an accident that today we here at Cornerstone arrive at a text that provides the solution. However, before we get there, I want to us to understand something about Jesus.
In verse 34 Jesus says, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” This understanding of trouble is not a distant understanding. Jesus is acutely aware of the difficulties of life. He knows what it is like to be hungry. He knows what it is like to have enemies. He knows what it is like to have burdens. Why? Because we have a God who came down from his throne and dwelt among us. Listen to Hebrews 4:15-16.
First let us talk about God's will as it relates to anxiety. In our text we see Jesus say three times “do not be anxious”, verse 25, 31, and 34. This word anxious in Greek is merimnaō. It means to be troubled, worried, concerned, to overly dwell upon something. I think we can all agree that all of us have been troubled, worried, or overly concerned about something in our lives. Perhaps as I speak right now you are only half listening because something is weighing heavily on your mind. Perhaps you didn’t sleep very well last night because you were worried about your finances, work, kids, your marriage, school, politics, the economy, insurance, your health, the middle east, etc. The list can go on and on. The bottom line is that we are worriers, and therefore this scripture is extremely relevant to our lives.
In our text Jesus makes it abundantly clear that God’s will for your life is for you not to worry. His desire for you is that you not be anxious about any of those things I just listed. He does not want you to lose sleep over money problems, food problems, and relationship problems. God wants you be free from the slavery of anxiety.
I think this understanding is extremely important for Christians. So many times, Satan convinces us that God doesn’t care about our day to day activities, baloney. God cares. He cares about the nervousness we feel as we drive down the interstate. He cares about the cold sweat we experience when we are interviewing for a job. He cares about the sickness in our gut when we are waiting for the phone call from the doctor. God cares. We need to know and be reminded that the Sovereign God of the Universe is 100% for you. He wants his children to be cured of this condition of anxiety, and this text is proof. So first of all we need to hear loud and clear that God’s will for your life is that you an anxiety free.
Let us now turn to the problem. Why do we feel anxious? Why do we work ourselves up into a frenzy, or become so overwhelmed about things that we can barely get out of bed? The answer is in our text.
No the source of our anxiety is not a world problem, it is a heart problem. We worry because we have “little faith.” Our lack of faith produces the anxiety, the worry, the concern. Our problem is a trust issue. Now when we hear faith, we should never let that word be an end in itself. For faith must have an object. Faith in what? Jesus is referring to faith in God. Now this is important, because many people when they say have faith, they are not saying have faith in God, they are instead saying have faith that everything will work out. This is the health and wealth movement of Joel Olsteen. God never promises a change to your troubles. But he does talk about a changed heart. They are talking about outcomes, not God.
We need to be clear hear, that Jesus is not talking about outcomes, he is talking about God. Our problem is that we do not have faith in the Sovereign God of the Universe. Turn with me to Mark 4:35-41.
This truth is important for us to know. Jesus, who is the Author of Life, has diagnosed our illness as a lack of faith in God. Now that we know the problem, we can figure out the solution. Now we can move forward. Therefore the next time you find yourself being anxious we can pinpoint that the cause is not the situation, but our little faith in God.
So if our little faith is the problem, what is the solution? This is what I love about the Bible, Jesus gives us practical advice that can easily implement in our life. Today we will very quickly touch on five ways to overcome anxiety. The first one is common sense, but important.
1. Worrying doesn't help.
Verse 27, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” No matter how long you stay up at night and trouble your spirit about your finances, it don't add a second to your earthly existence. God tells us that our days our numbered, and worrying doesn't change that number. You will die when you die. This is so important, we spend so much time worrying as if our worrying has power. It doesn't, so stop. Worrying is one of the most worthless things you can do.
2. God values you.
Verse 26, “Are you not of more value than they?” What an amazing verse. The God of the Universe who needs nothing, finds value in you. You are not some random collection of accidental cells floating through space. You are not a nobody, you are a somebody. God looks down from His Almighty throne and he cares for you. In fact he cares so much for you He sent his Son to die for you. Listen to this verse.
3. Life is more than food and clothing.
Verse 24, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
Why did God create you? It is not to look good. It is not to have a fridge full of processed food. God created you to glorify him. This is why we wake up in the morning. This is why we have jobs. This is why we have families. Everything we do is to glorify you. When we have this mindset, lacking things that are secondary to life start to take on a proper place. No longer do we lose sleep over our budget, for life is not about budgets, it is about God's glory.
4. God knows you and knows your need.
Verse 32, “For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
All of us have made God too small and too distant. We fail to recognize that God is sovereign over all creation. This is a God who is so awesome, that he feeds the birds, and clothes the lilies. He is in complete control over everything. Nothing happens in this life without him doing it. This is what Jesus is proclaiming. This is what Jesus was rebuking the disciples about in the boat. They didn't get that the storm is not outside God's plan, God orchestrated it.
This is also true for your life. God is intimately aware and in control of everything in your life, whether large or small. He is present in your life, and nothing happens to you without his permission. This means that if you lose your job tomorrow, this is not a surprise to God. This means if you get cancer tomorrow, there is a God ordained reason for it.
The truth of God's utter and all powerful control holds so much comfort in times of trouble. When we accept that God is in utter control of all things, we can stop worrying and start worshiping. We can turn to Him and say, I don't get it, but I trust you. And instead of tossing and turning when the storms are raging, we can sleep, just like Jesus did in the back of the boat.
All of these solutions, serve one purpose, to increase our faith in God. We must battle our anxiety with faith in God. The bottom line is that we need to understand that we are not God, but there is a God who holds the Universe in His hands and he knows you and loves you.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on July 27, 2014
Today we are going to begin a short sermon series on money. I am not sure how long I am going to preach on it, so bear with me as God leads me. Before I get too far into the sermon, I want share with you a book, the Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn. I have purchased 25 of these books and I want each family to take one and read it. It is only 120 short pages, so you could easily read it in a day if you were motivated. In fact, I hope you read it several times over the next couple of weeks. With that said, let us read our text, pray, and see what God has to say to us about His money.
Here at Cornerstone, we love the Bible. It is God’s Word, breathed out by Him. We believe the Bible is living and active. We believe that it will not return to God void, but will accomplish what it sets out to do. We believe it is food to our souls. We believe it is a weapon to use against Satan’s attacks. We believe that it will shape us into Christ-likeness. If we believe all these things then we should recognize the immense amount of attention that is given to money in the Bible. According to Randy Alcorn, fifteen percent of Jesus’ teaching is about money. He talks about money more than Heaven and Hell combined.
If Jesus preached on money, than I need to preach on money. In fact, if I want to strike a Christ-like balance of fifteen percent, than I should preach on the topic of money eight Sundays a year.
On top of that, we need to face the music. Money plays a significant role in our lives. Money is used to purchase food, clothing, homes, appliances, furniture, cars, phones, insurance, medicine, vacations, books, entertainment, toys, etc. Generally speaking, the way we receive from others is through the transaction of money. The reality is that money is involved in a majority of the decisions in your life, both big and small; therefore, how you relate to money is substantially correlated to how you live your life.
So to begin, I want to us to recognize that the topic of money should, and must be preached from the pulpit. Failure to preach about money is a failure to have the Word of God shine light on the path of our life. Show me a pastor who doesn’t preach on money, and I will show you a pastor who doesn’t love his sheep.
A Matter of the Heart
The next thing I want us to understand is that the topic of money is not about what is in your bank account, but it is about what is in your heart. Jesus makes this abundantly clear in verse 21.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will anyway, God does not want your money. God is the Sovereign Creator of all things. Everything that exists is His.
Fleeting and Eternal
The first thing He does is to point out the reality of fleetingness. Creation is cursed, and because of the curse everything decays. This will continue to happen until Christ returns and the curse is lifted. The house you live in will someday be dust, so will your car, phone, computer, clothes and everything else you own. In a thousand years the place we are currently in, along with everything in it will be nothing more than rubble, at best. Everything, that is, but you. You and I are the one tangible thing that will still be around in 1,000 years, in 1 million years, in 1 billion years. The stuff in your life will be a distant memory, but you will remain.
If you believe this, does your life match this alleged belief? Do you spend your time and your money in a way that reflects that your faith is real, or are you just fooling yourself? In my day job as a prosecutor I live in a world of evidence. People come into my office and lie to me all the time. My first thought is, “prove it.” Show me evidence that supports what you are saying? Jesus does the same thing. Look in your text at verse 21?
With that said, how many of you have ever heard the phrase, “He is so heavenly minded, that he is no earthly good.” Do you know who came up with this line? If I were to guess, I wold say Satan, the Father of lies, because this statement is just not true. Jesus is case in point. He was the most heavenly minded person to walk the planet and did more good that the entire world combined. Listen to what Jesus says about home owhership.
Like Jesus, we are just visiting. This is not our home. Earth is more like our hotel. This is a place we are merely staying for a moment. We are reminded in 1 Peter that we are sojourners on this planet, just passing through. Paul tells us this in Philippians that our citizenship is not America, as much as it is heaven, and he says some pretty direct comments about those people who live for this World.
Jesus calls the man who invested in this world a fool? Why? Because his actions did not make sense in light of the truth. If I were to ask you, do want a dollar now, or a million dollars tomorrow, you would be a fool to take the buck, but that is what we do every day when we live for the dot in our life. Here is another quote from CS Lewis, “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen; not only because I see it but because be it I see everything else.” God has revealed truth to us through Jesus, let us live in a way that is not foolish, but wise.
The reality is, no one knows when the dot of your life will end. It may be today, it may be tomorrow, but there is no doubt it will end, the question is what is waiting for you? Heaven of Hell? Treasures or regrets.
We cannot change the past, but today is a new day. Let us chose today, whom we will serve. Will it be the passions of our flesh, or will it be the Lord. Will we trust God's investment strategy or will we listen to deception of the world? Are we willing to accept the eternal rewards of God, or would we rather be like the prodigal son and eat the pig slop of this world?
Don't settle for this world, set your eyes on the prize that lies before us in Christ.