Jesus and Money -Part 2
So, Hey guys, if you have your Bibles or your apps, we are walking through a series on the book of Matthew, that I've called the king and his kingdom. Matthew's gospel is one of four different gospels, that talk about in a narrative style, little bit of a historical style. In some cases, the life of Jesus, of Nazareth, and each one of these authors, my friends, they tend to focus on something different about Jesus.
Yes. They all tell some of the same stories, but they all have a different thrust, right? Because each one has a different audience and a different desire for why he's writing it. So Matthew is writing primarily to a Jewish audience, all right, up and down north and south, if you get that, okay, he's writing to Jews, not to Gentiles.
And he's writing specifically to help these Jewish people understand that the breadth of their religion, all of the Jewish scriptures, their whole sacrificial system, the moral laws, everything that they have experienced, from when God called them to be his people for himself has been leading up to Jesus.
So they've been awaiting a king that would come and deliver them. They have had a history and a life of oppression of slavery, of bondage, of wars, of wicked rulers. They have been scattered about through the dispo. And they've been saying we long for a king. They've had earthly Kings, even though God said, I'm your king, the theocracy.
They said, no, we wanna be like everyone else because they're cooler than us. Give us one. And then they get some really crappy guys like Saul and they get a few bright spots like David and his son, Solomon, and once or twice, they get some decent dudes. But for the most part, it's just oppression. It's burdensome.
So Matthew approaches the Jew and says, you guys are missing it. It's Jesus. He's king. And this is his kingdom. It's here. It's now when it's coming soon. So the thrust of this book is to present crisis king, and we're gonna get to do that this morning as we look at, the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of heaven through the lens of finances.
Right? So we looked at the beginning of this section, section of text last week as we started with the first 19 through 21. And we approach the topic of money in the sermon that's what we're looking at. Chapter five, six, and seven of Matthews gospel is the sermon of the Mo the largest discourse that's been recorded.
That Christ preached, obviously it's a longer sermon than what you have in your Bibles, but it is complete, not exhaustive. You see the difference. Yeah. You get that. Not exhaustive, but. And within this sermon of the mound that we're looking at over the next 18 years, we're looking at this one small section, it might happen.
Um, that's dealing with money. And my biggest desire was to preach this in a way that makes much of Jesus. That makes much of the great gift of salvation that helps us open our eyes to a greater kingdom and a greater wealth and a greater grace given to us, my desire was to try to stay away from preaching three weeks or four weeks on money.
Right. Um, I did not want to present this text or approach this text in a way that was a call to give more, right. I, I Don think that's ever been the heart of what Christ was trying to do in the text, nor I think that's what we need the most. I believe that when people understand the scope of the kingdom of God, when they understand the rule and reign of Christ over them, and when they grow to love him more what'll happen is generosity happens out of an overabundance of love and out of a new knowledge of Christ that shapes the way we have actions, right?
This is the difference between dead legalism and joyful living. You know what I'm saying? The, the husband that tries to be faithful to his wife legalistically is gonna find every reason to cheat that he can justify. Right. But the husband who serves his wife with joy and gladness won't even have that be an issue.
We can say the same with any type of, of biblical command. Don't lie. Well, I'm gonna find every loophole I can to stretch the truth, but when I love God and I desire honesty to glorify him, that won't even be something I desire. So we can continue to look at this. And I, and I hope as you sit under the teachings here, you guys realize what we're not trying to do is make you into moral people.
There's a lot of moral people going right to hell. Now, can morality be a side effect of a love for Jesus? Yeah. And I think it's far greater. Okay. So, if you have your Bibles or apps, I wanna invite you to stand with me as we look at what's happening this section of text this morning. I'll be honest with you guys.
This is the, this text is not really that difficult, but it's been the hardest one for me to write in probably about the last year. I just struggled with how to structure this, how to present this, how to limit what I have to say, cuz there's so much more that I wanna say. How do I, it's just, I don't know if I'm exhausted guys from teaching week after week praise gotta get a vacation next week and we have Bennett bringing us the word of God.
So he's terrified please. Be nice to him this week. Call him with encouragement. This would be his first sermon he's ever preached. And I'm gonna get to preach in Philadelphia at a church up there and I get to talk about love. So that'll be fun. Um, but I'm, I'm really just, I'm at about a zero this morning.
I was scrap this sermon last night. Like my wife, I said, can we just Crump it up? She's like, let's just talk it out and I don't want to, let's just, let's just, I don't know. Let's have Philippe, just keep playing music. We'll figure it out. So I'm gonna attempt in my inadequacies to try to bring you this text in a way that I think is at a fine to you guys. But I want you to know if this turns out well solely by the grace of God. Not that any other sermon has been me, but like, I think of the scripture, like my, my powers made perfect in your weakness. Right? Right. God uses foolish things to shame wise. I, I really believe anything good that comes out of this.
And if we walk away go, man, that was powerful. Praise God, because literally this is not good. What I have up here. Fair enough. Just being transparent with you guys. Is that cool? All right. So let's read the text because I know the text is good, right? The text is really good. The eye is the lamp of the. if your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.
But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. Then if the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness? I think kind of shifts and he gives another illustration. No one can serve two masters either. You will hate one, love the other. You're gonna be devoted to one despise the other.
You can't serve both God money, therefore, and underline that. Anytime you see a, therefore you gotta ask yourself where for the therefore and why for the therefore that's what Spurgeon said. And that's what gives us context. So therefore I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink about your body.
What you will wear is not life more than food and not the body more than clothes. And he gives us some examples to help us understand this. He goes, look at the birds of the air. They don't sew a reap. They don't St. Away in barns yet your heavenly father feeds it. Aren't you much more valuable than they are.
Okay. He gives us another one. Can any of you be by worrying at a single hour to your life? It's a rhetorical question. And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers, the field grow. They don't labor or spin yet. I tell you not even Solomon that's that's David's son. The, the great king of the people he goes in all of his splendor.
He wasn't even dressed like one of these, if that's how God closed the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow will start on the fire. Will he not much more close you of little faith? So don't worry saying, what will we eat? Don't worry saying, what should we drink? What you should wear for the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly father knows that you need them, but seek versus kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as.
Closes by saying, therefore don't worry about tomorrow guys for tomorrow. We'll worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. And we all say amen to that one guys have a seat. All right. So like I said, we are, we are breaking down this section, this section, if you're looked at your Bibles I understand that it breaks it up uniquely, but what I'm telling you is section nine is verse 19 all the way through verse 34.
This is one section of text dealing with, with wealth. Okay. Various applications, one interpretation, but it's all about wealth. And we can, we can take the principles that he speaks of, right. That, that we sometimes see, when, when it comes to dealing with wealth and living for a spiritual kingdom, we can apply these to other things.
Absolutely. We sure can. We can apply this to hobbies and other stuff, but primarily this is dealing with the topic of wealth. Okay. One interpretation, various applications. I'm gonna stick with one this morning. As I kind of opened in my lament to you over my inadequacies, with this sermon, I think there are many, many, many, many, many, many ways that we could break up this text.
Many ways that I could teach this text, all being faithful. Okay. But what I've chosen to do foolishly or not, is I've chosen to look at this text and draw out what I see Christ presenting as, three symptoms that we will experience when wealth is our treasure. And I see that in the text this morning, three different ways.
Jesus says, Hey, this is a symptom that can plague you. This is a symptom you're gonna have if in your life, you're someone who treasures wealth. Okay. Now we talked about wealth last week, and I did tell you guys, cuz if you're sitting here this morning saying again, doesn't apply to me pretty poor. You see my vehicle, right.
You know, I'm ride sharing here. I don't have much money. Doesn't matter. Uh, you own a sock, you got wealth. Not a lot, but it's something. Okay. So we can almost say material possessions now, obviously with the more we have, uh, the greater, the temptation. Amen. You get that? Yes. Okay. But no one is excluded. The poorest person in the world can covet wealth and be controlled by wealth.
Right? I, I think of growing up, my mother one time was, she drove me to the store. I did not know. They didn't share their finances with me. That was a taboo thing to talk about with your father, your mother. But I remember we just sat in the driveway. She scratched off lottery ticket after lottery taken out.
I mean, hundreds of dollars worth didn't have much money, but she was seeking more and more and more and coveting coveting. So we can, we can find ourselves being guilty of this, even when we have nothing. Does that make sense? Okay. So we're gonna look at these things, but Christ doesn't just present the symptoms.
He also graciously presents the cure for each one of these. So each one of these, as we approach each symptom, I'm gonna present to you within the text where we see the cure and then how we can have that in our life to live in a greater state of spiritual health. Are you guys tracking with me? That's what we're doing this morning.
Yes, yes. Good. Okay. My hope my friends is that you guys will be people after just kind of merit in on this text, having this information and, and reading this that you'll be people who have a worldview that is shaped and influenced by, by scripture. Not by the culture, not by your depraved flesh.
Secondly, I pray that we become people who have an allegiance to Christ, not simply as a passive saving savior, but as an active in ruling king. And lastly, my friends, I pray that you guys. Become people. And hopefully today will be the catalyst, that have a steadfast trust in a sovereign God, understanding that he providentially cares for all the needs of everyone who's been adopted as his children.
And I think those are three great hopes for you guys. Let's jump into our first symptom. But I'm gonna invite you to pray with me one more time. As we seek God's, help over this sermon, father, as we said, you are a sovereign God, you are a God who providentially cares for your people. And we are, we get a chance to be able to joyously look at how you do that in a material sense this morning.
But right now, Lord, we collectively come together as a congregation of people who love you. And we're asking that you'd be sovereign over this message that you providentially fill in the gaps. And Lord, I guess I let me. It's not even right to say, Lord, I don't ask that you fill in caps. I ask that you just take complete control over everything.
There is nothing that I ever have to offer any Sunday that is, sufficient to give you the right type of glory without you, apart from you. I can do nothing apart from your goodness. I have nothing to offer this church apart from you, a personality, a capacity to speak well and make illustrations falls flat and does nothing, , Lord.
So we are desperately seeking you. Holy spirit to speak boldly. We ask Jesus that you would roar like a lion this morning, present yourself as king. Love us, correct us and courage us. Holy spirit, I would ask that you would have grace, on this congregation and spare them from my words and rather impute to them what it is that you desire for them to hear so that they can glorify you more in their life.
We are here seeking to know you more. We're not here to be entertained. We're not here to have a good time. We're here to know you more so that our life can be called truly good, so we can have joy, abounding, peace, surpassing, and delight unimaginable in you and you alone. Lord. So father, please, do what it is that we are asking.
This is a good request as your children. We're, we're, we're seeking to know you more. Thank you for the privilege of leading your people. Thank you for the position you're allowing me to have this morning behind this pulpit. It is with fear and trembling that I turn it over to you trusting in your Providence and your sovereignty Christ name.
Amen. All right, well guys, let's look at this first symptom this morning that comes from having money as your greatest treasurer, I should say wealth. Uh, and that first symptom is double vision. Okay. Um, We can find this one in verse 22 through 23. So if you have your Bibles or your apps, go ahead and turn to that.
Let me go ahead and read this to you. Here's what it says. It says the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness? Okay. Now this first section of this larger section, the one that I just read to you, these two verses, I think they're a bit hard, when it comes to trying to understand them, and maybe you read that and you're like, well, this is weird.
And trying to think of some spiritual way to understand this. I I'll tell you you're not alone. This continuously poses the challenge to both readers and commentators alike. And let me explain to you why I'm gonna try to show you up here. I'm gonna take a little bit of time and just look at the words here to help you understand why this can be difficult.
If you look at the NIV translation, which is what we read this morning, I just read a different one, but it says this, the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. Now that's the NIV. Now, if you look at the ESV, you're gonna see a change happen. The ESV says the eye is the lamp of the body.
So if you're eye, you already start noticing a difference. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. So there's a small shift between the NIV V's translation of the Greek and the SV. We see that, that once plural eyes, which we go, yeah, Uhhuh is now I, and that really will make a lot of sense to you.
If you find yourself in a room full of like pirates, right? You're like, listen guys, if your eye is healthy, you're be like, ah, it is right. That's terrible. But like, if you're in a room with people that got two they're like, this is weird, right. It just, it. Starts becoming a little bit difficult. Well, then you see more difficulty as you look to one of the older translations.
I'm gonna pull up the king James version. We don't use this rarely ever, but there's also another one. The Darby's, , literal, new Testament. You can also look at the Young's literal, new Testament and they do it a little bit differently. The light of the body is the eye. Okay. That's pretty much the same.
If therefore thine, I be single right on, right. The whole body shall be full of light. So this gets weird. The eye is no longer called, right? So we've already shifted from a, a two eyes to one eye and it's no longer one eye that's healthy, but it's one eye that's single. right. So, so this could pose some challenges and I think it does to a lot of us, we're trying to understand what is Jesus talking about?
And we go, well, I can't seem to find a consensus in the translations and, and they all give us different ideas. Well, the Greek word that's typically translated as healthy my friends, right? If V I, we know it's gonna be singular, be healthy. So that word healthy, it's a word that more accurately means in the Greek, uh, singular, but singular in the context of motive or singular in the context of your focus, does that make sense?
So healthy really is not the best translation of that word. A better way to understand this is if your eye, the singular eye that, that you have, we'll get to that. That's weird is singular in focus. If it has one focus, one motive, one vision. Okay. So what that means my friends is we're we're not dealing with the physical eyes.
Okay. Uh, not at all. Again, we see that because he's not saying plural, let's talk about one. So we know this is not dealing with your physical eyes. Um, it's if this one eye has a single focus and that helps us because it's keeping us from trying to make weird connections to this as if Jesus talk about what we're looking at, right?
What we're viewing as if this is something to do with bouncing our eyes and some sort of visual purity, rather this eye should be understood as the seat of the will, the seat of the individual, the center of their bean. We could oftentimes, um, look at that illustration that he's using here, which is a common saying as how the Greeks would view the word heart.
Right? I love you with all my heart. We don't mean literally. I love you with this muscle. That's pumping blood through my body, right? We, we, I hope you guys know that we at least get that part, right? Like the heart does not have you, but we, we use it as the seat of it. So here's, he's using the eye as the seat of one's being the center of their being.
So he now takes this, this expression that hopefully is a little bit more clear and he contrasts that with verse 23. That helps us understand well, what the focus is, right? Because we get the center of our being has a single focus well on what? And he goes on here to say, if your eye is bad, your whole body's full of darkness.
If the light and used darkness, how great is the darkness? Well, again, let's go back to the Greek and the word bad that's used here is a word that has a implication to it that is often missed by the casual reader and the implication to this word bad is that it it's referring to a stinginess. That one has monetary.
And not just a stinginess, but a wickedness where you covet and want what others have. And not just that you want one of those have, but you don't want them to have that, which they have that is sheisty, right? That's what the, that bad is talking about. So now we take what this bad means. That's contrasted with what this healthier single means, and we put 'em together and we get this idea that this is an admonishment by Jesus to have a single focus in our lives.
That's not obscured by the love of wealth. Does that now make more sense? Like, yeah, absolutely. Why can't we just have that in our Bibles? I understand. But then what am I gonna do on a Sunday for an hour? Right? yeah. Now I said the symptom here is double vision, right? That's the symptom. and I say that it's double vision because that's exactly what happens.
I believe when a Christian gets caught up in, striving for material wealth, they develop this double vision. Now, I don't have double vision. I have contacts and by God's grace, I I'm turning 42 on Tuesday. things have started happening with my body that are unspeakable. They're they're just, if you're over the age of 40, you'll understand some of 'em and I don't wanna scare the young children here with what's gonna happen to them, but, but things start falling apart and sagging and moving to different places.
Things start growing that you didn't have before. It's very fluids hairs. First off ear hair. I don't understand how that just age 40, just Bing right. Going off topic. But I bought readers for the first time. It was very, the women's group. Got to hear me talk about 'em for about 20 minutes. Very excited for them.
Um, my kids would put things right here and I would just think how stupid are you? Like who does that. And then I realize, oh, that normal people can see that. And I find myself constantly doing this, so I don't have double vision. I just, I got old people vision now. Um, but I would assume that people that do have double vision, it's not a pleasant way to live.
Right. Because I literally, one eye is at war with the other eye. Right. They're like I'm France and you're Germany or whatever, right? Like your eyes are just like, we're not best friends anymore. Right? Like it's not a good thing. It's not a good way to live. It's, it's probably not the most functional way to live.
So when you have this, you go, well, you know, step one immediately, correct vision, you know, don't pay cable bill fix vision because that's probably your biggest priority. Right? We don't wanna live that way. But this is actually, I believe how so many Christians are living today, not with the physical double vision, but with this spiritual double vision, meaning their focus for a lot of us, a lot of Christians, maybe you here today, your focus, your will, your motives, your desires, their divided between this kingdom of God that Matthew is speaking of.
And this kingdom of men that's dominated by wealth in the pursuit of wealth. Right? A lot of Christians have this division here and we're not even speaking of the believer who is solely rooted in the kingdom of man. But even those who have been delivered still struggle with this. and this is a problem that is so common and so rarely addressed.
I think many of you guys are living like this today, and you don't even realize that you're living with this double vision. but you experience the symptoms of it, right? Cuz there's symptoms of double vision, double vision is the symptom of treasury and wealth. But double vision itself has symptoms that you experience.
You don't know why you are, but you just look at your life and you go, why do I lack peace with God? So often.
Why do I always feel unrest in a spiritual sense? Why am I lacking great joy? And maybe you find other people that have great joy in their life. Not, not superficial joy rooted in things, but you look at some of these people who have this, this peace and this joy, that surpasses circumstances and situations, and you go, how are you fully content in Christ alone?
How, how, how do you seem to have a greater delight in him than I do? And, and you see that and you go, man, I, I really do want that. And you don't know how, and the reason why you don't know how to do it is cuz you don't understand the problem. And the problem is you'll never have what these other Christians seem to have because your, your vision is constantly constantly obscured and it's no longer singular.
Your vision is no longer fixed solely on Christ. Maybe it never was, it's squarely fixed or at least obscured by the desire for wealth or materialism. And I see that a lot. Don't even understand why, because it's such a common thing that the world celebrates. Why is my spiritual life so miserable? I think many of you today, you see wealth as a means to obtaining, happiness or you see stuff and you equate stuff with contentment and satisfaction, right?
So this view that you have on life and wellbeing is constantly obscured by your desire to get more and keep more and gain more and hoard more, in your declaration that you might have. If you're in Christ, you say, well, I have this declaration, that Christ is enough. I'd say it's oftentimes contradicted by your striving for Christ and stuff.
You feel me on that? A lot of you today, you're proclaiming verbally Christ is sufficient, but then you look at how you're living and what you stress about and you see that really your internal desire is Christ plus stuff. Yeah. It just doesn't work. Guys. A, a Christian who was double vision is gonna struggle to see wealth.
And we talked about this last week. Wealth is solely a tool given by God to further the kingdom. And, and if you have this problem in your life, you're never gonna see wealth or material possessions as a tool to be used to further the kingdom. you'll never see that because you'll have a, this divided heart, this bad eye, that'll constantly be at war with what scripture proclaims and in turn things like giving things like sharing things like being generous, things like being charitable will always be a war because you'll see this, you'll read this.
You'll say I should do this. But then for some reason go, why can't I do this? It's because your flesh is at war with your spirit and you have this double vision, and there's never an ability to act on that, which you want because your body says, no, you're a prisoner. You got double vision right now. I, I think there's gotta be some semblance of being able to be convicted in, in all of us by this.
I don't think any of us are perfect. We're all further along in our sanctification where I shouldn't say further along, we're all at different places in our sanctification. Right. We're all becoming more like Christ, but I think this could be something that all of us can say. Yeah, I can see. A symptom of this in my life.
The good news is Jesus does present a cure. Now he poses the problem three times in the text and he gives us a cure every single time. The cure for this is found in verse 22. And we already touched on this. He says, the cure for double vision is having a singular eye, or I, I think a better way to say this is simply a kingdom world view.
Does that make sense that single eye, that single focus for our motives in our heart? Right? I think a better way to look at this is just simply saying cultivate a kingdom worldview. Everyone has a worldview. Some peoples are more thought out than others. Some peoples are stupid, go on social media. Right.
But we all have a worldview. And the, and the cure for double vision is to have a kingdom worldview. And I think a lot of us here today go check. I got a kingdom worldview. Like yeah, you. Yes. But. Right. you know, like yeah, you do, but yeah, I mean, but it's not really great. Like I think some of us have a kingdom world view when it comes to things like adultery, human, sexuality, evangelism, stealing the sanctity of human life, you know, easy ones that we all go.
Yeah, we can agree on that. Like kingdom worldview on this, it's in the 10 commandments and, and we embraces kingdom worldview on some of these big, easy ones that, that, while we are depraved, our depravity is not so great. We actually don't go into that one. Like murder. Yeah. Cool. Kingdom worldview on it.
Don't do it in favor of not right. But oftentimes I think money material, possessions and wealth is not folded into this quote unquote kingdom world. We, we have. So here's where we can get into a little bit of a difficulty. And I think one. I understand, but I don't think is as helpful as the other, I think we can try to from the pulpit this morning, encourage you to somehow start trying to view money differently.
Right. But I don't think that's what Jesus is getting at. I don't think the goal is to try to fold money into your current kingdom worldview. Like, okay guys, let's just take money. I want you to view this all differently so that you can place it into this kingdom worldview. I don't think that's really what Christ is doing nor do.
I think that's what we should do. I don't think that's most helpful whether I think the solution here or the cure here to this symptom is to simply expand what the kingdom of heaven is to expand our worldview of the kingdom of heaven. The way we do this is by simply looking at well, what is our definition of the kingdom of.
See if I can, if I can help you understand what the kingdom of heaven is, biblically, how, how powerful, how awesome it is. It will in turn, expand your kingdom worldview. And if I expand your kingdom worldview, that crap that's over there. That's not in it. It just kind of gets encompassed by it. Do you see what I'm saying?
I can let you try to keep this kingdom worldview. That's very narrow because your kingdom of heaven is a very narrow understanding and say, let's put this in there. Nah, let's understand the kingdom of heaven. Cause if we do this worldview that we have, that's shaped by it, we'll get so big. So broad that all the crap over here just kind of folds right into it.
You see how that could be more helpful, right? So we gotta say, well, what is the kingdom of heaven? I think the best way to look at it is, to take a look at Luke 1720, and here's a scripture. It says, now this is Jesus. Luke is recording what happened on a particular occasion and said once. On being asked by the Pharisees that's the religious leaders, right?
These are the hypocritical religious leaders. So they asked him when's the kingdom of God gonna come. And Jesus laughs doesn't say that, but it's implied. He goes, the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed nor will people say here it is. Or there it is because the kingdom of God is in your midst.
Right. He, why does he say that? He says that because my friends, the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God, right? This is what we need to have expanded. So we can have a better worldview. The kingdom of heaven, my friends, Jesus says this because it arrived on earth with the birth of the king. Amen. You get that.
It's in your midst. Why? Because I'm literally standing in front of you speaking to you. You're looking at the kingdom of heaven. It's here now. Right. The kingdom arrived on earth with the birth of the king. The kingdom showed its power through the miracles of the king. It proclaimed its authority through the teachings of the king.
It firmly established its victory over the kingdom of man with the resurrection of its king. So my friends, the king is not waiting to reign some time in the future. Hear that very clearly. But the king is currently ruling and reigning from his throne where he sits in glory at the right hand of the father right now at this very instant.
Amen. You get that. You say amen to that. Now you're trapped. right. See the kingdom that Jesus has has established that's past tense. He's already established it, brother. The kingdom that he's brought to earth is now seen, it's now felt it's now experienced when the people of God are doing the will of God through the power of God for the glory of God.
Amen. Do you get that? The kingdom of heaven is seen, felt inexperienced when the people of God are gathered together in the presence of God, filled with the power of God and doing all for the glory of God. Then we see the kingdom in such a better, more tangible way. I would add though that while the kingdom is here, it's not yet fully here.
Okay. It's it's we could say that it's fulfilled, but it has not yet had its culmination. See, because the, the day will come when Christ will come back and this spiritual kingdom that we can, that we can see in some way, when people of God are doing his will for his glory will be physically experienced and seen as that king establishes a physical throne in the new heavens and the new earth.
And he rules for an eternity with the people of God. So the kingdom is here yet. Not maybe fully here. It has not reached its culmination. Now, why do I say all this? I want you to grasp what the kingdom of heaven is, so that you understand that the kingdom of heaven guys listen very clearly. It's not exclusively a future kingdom.
If you've had that view, you need to eradicate it immediately. The kingdom of heaven is not an exclusively, a future thing that we're waiting on at all. It's not a kingdom that we hope to someday become citizens of. It's not a kingdom that we hope someday we get folded into. It's not a kingdom that we get to compartmentalize and see is distant or separate from my current life here on earth.
Like right now I do me with a little bit of Jesus, right. And someday it'll be all Jesus. And then we just say, just by saying sin. Like if we see it that way, we'll never have single focus. We'll always have double vision. Right? What we need to grasp is that the kingdom of heaven is right here right now.
And if you are in Christ, this is a very spiritual, but a very real kingdom. And as such, since it's here right now in, in, in a sense of its fullness, that kingdom, that kingdom mindset, by understanding what the kingdom is, it should dominate every aspect of our natural life, because there is no place on earth.
You can go, no moment. You can escape from the King's rule, the King's reign or the King's borders. There just isn't. When I go my home, my kingdom, you just dumb. No, it's not. When I go into my bedroom, my kingdom, no, you're stupid. Like even your bathroom. right. Like every aspect of your life is unfolded into this kingdom because it's a present ruling reigning kingdom with the kingdom.
That's here. So my friends, we, we can't fold money into a narrow world view, whether we, we expand this view in the kingdom. So all things fold into it. Naturally, we need to see the kingdom now live in the kingdom. Now display the glorious radiance of our king to everyone who's living in darkness. So friends, when you wake up Monday morning, you're gonna be faced with a choice, right?
You can either wake up on Monday, understanding cognitively accepting deeply in your heart that the kingdom is all around you. Right now, you can recognize the King's rule and reign over everything that you're an encounter. Every thought, every deed, every action. And in turn, you can see this and live, gratefully, joyously, and obediently as a citizen of this kingdom.
Or you can choose to ignore the King's reach in all aspects of your life. You can choose to do that. I think a lot of us do, we can, we can wake up and say, I see this as the King's rule, and this is my rule. And as such, you have this double vision. This is mine. That paycheck is mine. That's not part of the kingdom.
You dumb. That's part of the kingdom, a hundred percent. Part of the kingdom. One of these ways of living is gonna cause you to live generously joyously, charitably, delightfully, with satisfaction and contentment. The other one's gonna cause you to live a life of absolute conflict, your heart, and, what you know, to be true will constantly be at war with one another.
You will not have peace. You will constantly find yourself striving unrest. You'll wonder why you don't have what others have. It's because you have failed to understand the scope of the kingdom of heaven. And your kingdom worldview is very narrow. You will have double vision until the day that God graciously convicts you so much that you repent and you come to a knowledge of what it.
So there's hope. And I think having that right worldview is wildly helpful. Let's take a look at what this second symptom that we find in the text is. So this is a loss of freedom.
We see this at the beginning verse 24 guys. So if you got your Bible's apps, go ahead and put your head down. Take a look at 'em. I'm not gonna put up here on the screen. But here's what Jesus states in verse 24, he says no one can serve two masters since either he will hate one, love the other, or he'll be devoted to one and he'll despise the other okay.
A little bit easier to understand than our last one. But I think at least for me, the first time I read this, I thought it sounded odd because I'm like, Jesus, this seems like a very unsound argument, right? Like his premise is based on, I think a faulty conclusion. It's bold place to be. Right. So I go, I know I'm wrong.
so Jesus, show me how you're right. That's just FYI. Like if you ever come across difficult text, like don't think you're right. The Bible's wrong. Just assume you're always wrong. The Bible is always right. And then figure out why you're wrong. I just think that's a better way to do it. Oftentimes what people do is they pick up the Bible and they read some that really offends them and they're like, well, that must be wrong.
I'm like, no, no, sweetheart. What we should do is like, anytime the Bible's in conflict with, with our worldview, our worldview needs to change. Right. Not the Bible. Right. We just, we don't do that. Be painful, but praise God. It's good. So I, you know, my first thought was like, I think you very well can serve two masters.
I mean, there's two parents in, in, in a house, right? Like as a kid, I was kind of serving two masters, like two parents. Right? And like, if maybe you have a job, like praise God, if you do. And you're like, I got, I got five bosses, Bob. They're like five yeah, five Bob , it's a quote from the office space. Somebody gets that right.
Like he had five bosses and, and you can very well serve bosses, just TPS reports to everybody.
So, you know, to me, it seems like that's really not true. But what Jesus, my friends is presenting here is he's presented a conflict with between two masters who have opposing wills. That's, that's how we should read this, that you can't serve two different masters who have two opposing views. So that, that really kind of helps that out.
And then we can tell the kid to listen to both of us, which is good. But there's also a little bit of a issue because the reading itself is a little bit soft. I would say the translation from the Greek is a little bit soft. And it lacks a little bit of courage. See if we look at what the word for, serve is, the word serve is coming from dolos and dolos is the word for slave or a bond servant.
So this would be understood as someone who is a legitimate slave bought into sold into slavery. Right? So this isn't like your kid, right? Right. This is a slave. That's how you be your kid. Like we have parenting classes. You should, you should go to. Quickly. So they're referring to a slave, someone who's in bondage to the will of another and bound to be obedient.
That's the threat of, of violence and, and, and, punishment. So the scenario that Jesus is presenting is a slave being owned by two different masters with two opposing wills, thus obedience to one master will result in absolute disobedience by necessity to the other. That's why he says love and devotion, right?
Verse hate and despising. So when you obey one, you are essentially hating the other by disobeying him because their wills are different. So now this is a rhetorical statement that would never happen in a culture where slavery was prevalent. Right. They got slavery. Like it's just praise God. We. Deal with that right here in Jefferson county.
Right? Amen. Right. But this was very common. Slavery was common part of their culture and they would understand that this would never happen. No slave would ever be serving two masters people. Don't come together and say, I need this and I need this and let's share one, dude. It just doesn't happen. Right.
But Jesus presents this situation in a hypothetical way to illustrate what happens when someone tries to serve wealth or make wealth, his treasure, as well as serve God and proclaim God is his treasure. He's like, this is a great way to view it. It's absurd. It's stupid. No one would ever have a slave with two masters.
Why are we doing this to ourselves when it comes to the things of the world? And he's saying, if this is what you're trying to do, man, your loyalty is gonna be divided. You're gonna have a divided loyalty. And if you're you've been listening, you're like, well, that sounds a lot like the last one, right? The eye singular divided, double, double vision, right?
Yeah, absolutely. He's playing off of this. He's given another illustration, but I believe it presents a different symptom, right? I believe the symptom here is not simply just the division, but rather this symptom is truly a loss of freedom. And I would want you to think about it like this. As we talk about a slave serving two masters, think about this, biblically speaking, and this might be wildly offensive for you to hear if you've never heard this before, you're gonna be like, this sounds like a really, really bad thing.
I'm like, yeah, absolutely. Check this out. I'm gonna make this, this statement. And this is a truth statement. Every single one of you here this morning, we're born into bondage. Everyone here was born into imprisonment. Every single person in this room this morning was born into an oppressive, abusive, cruel slavery.
Yeah. Right. Paul writes about this in Roman six, six. I'm not making this up before we know that our old self was crucified with him. He's talking about dying to wear flesh. And the work that Christ did on the cross so that the body that was ruled by sin might be done away with that. We should no longer be what slaves to sin.
So without Christ, what, what is there every single person apart from Christ and the work of Christ done personally in their life is a slave to sin period, right? Like you can hate that. Like, don't call me a slave like bro, if you are not saved by the grace of Christ. Yeah, you are. You're a slave in bondage.
And not only are you born into oppressive slavery, but as such, you have a very will. That is corrupted and unable to serve your creator by your very nature because of your slavery and your imprisonment to this horrible master, you have a will. That is twisted, it's corrupted, and it's unable to even serve or choose, or please God.
And we see this in Romans three, 10. He says there's no one who's righteous. No, not one. He's not referring to people regenerated by the grace of Christ. Like in our natural nature. There's nobody righteous. Can be self righteous. You can be moral, you can do some good stuff, but in the view of God who views righteousness through the lens of the, of, of Christ, it's nobody righteous, corrupted, despicable, sinful people.
See, and this is great greeting card for when someone has a child. I mean, the moment of birth that little, that little eight pound six ounce bundle of joy is a prisoner chained in a cell of darkness. That's called sin from the moment of birth, from the moment of birth, willing desire. That which pleases us again.
If you think that's wrong, reproduce, like go get married, make a baby. And then watch that kid just do the worst stuff that you never taught him before. It can even like, hold anything. It just sits there poops and like arches back and yells it. It wants to do what please is it right? Like nobody's ever had a baby that just sought the please of parents.
If you do stop making babies after that one, cause it's gonna get progressively worse. Right? This is true. From the moment of birth, we only desire that which pleases us. We only pursue things that are flesh craves and, and here's the worst part. The world calls what I just said, freedom.
right. They're gonna tell you. Here's what the world says. Chase. After everything you want experience, all the world has to offer and then follow your heart. Right? We even write love songs about it that are stupid, but here's the thing, guys, if you understand the Bible, if you have a biblical worldview, if you know scripture, you're gonna say, wait a minute.
That sounds stupid, Jim. Why am I gonna pursue my heart? Like, well, cuz no experience the world, follow your heart, do everything you want. It's wonderful. Freedom. You go, well, wait a minute. You think of Jeremiah 17, 10, the heart is deceitful above all things beyond cure who can understand it. Surely I don't even understand my own heart, right?
Like why do you want that? That that's gonna kill you, Kevin, that's gonna spiritually destroy you. And the heart only longs to serve itself in defiance to its one true master. And according to the world, that's the height of human freedom yet? The truth is, is this heartbreaking slavery? So my friends let's bring this back to what Christ is telling us.
When wealth is your greatest treasure, you're gonna experience this great loss of freedom as your heart and your will, will find itself in bondage to cruel task master that rules you unrelentingly and does not let you choose to do that. Which pleases God will always be a conflict. You know, we call this hedonism, Caral secular hedonism and it's not freedom.
It's slavery. The world just has really cleverly marketed this type of slavery as abundant life, right? Commercials, advertising, social media through the way we talk. We, we believe that this is a good thing. But it's always gonna end and find ourself living a life of bondage that hinders you. And particularly as you live a life of bondage to the love of money, the control of money and wealth, and it drives you and beats you and whips, you never gives you comfort or relief.
Now, the person who treasures wealth, my friends is a slave to it. You don't believe me. I mean, just look around. This is what people talk about. Their emotions are controlled by the economy. Their fears are aroused when gas prices rise, their hopes fall when the housing market falls. Their joy or their hopes or their future dreams are based off of their bank account.
Their life is guided by what will increase that account or pad that account for the future. And, and if this is you, you're gonna find yourself. You're never free to rest in Christ. You're never gonna be free to fully serve Christ. You're never gonna be free to fully work, to expand his kingdom because anytime doing something to either serve or expand or glorify this kingdom of God is at odds with your desire to have wealth.
You're gonna find yourself trying to walk towards it and hindered by this chain. That's tethered you. And you're gonna see all your brothers and sisters in Christ going out and doing these senior. Say I long to do that. And why can't I really, you, you built a prison for yourself. You change yourself to wealth.
You're a slave to a master, and that master will not let you serve the other one. Even if aspects of your life, even, even if you're a regenerated believer, there's gonna be an aspect that goes I long for this, right? Because when you are saved in Christ, you do develop by the power of the holy spirit, new affections and heavenly desires, and you have those and you go, why can't I act on them?
How about it not chain myself to this disgusting, cruel master that's miserable.
We see a great example of that. Matthew 10, not gonna put up on the, the first part of it on the screen, but in Matthew 10, let me just kinda give you the scenario. What we have here is we have this guy he's called a rich young ruler, right? And he comes to Jesus. He goes, Hey man, how can I inherit eternal life?
Jesus goes. Here's the one thing you like, and he says, go and sell everything. You have, give it to the poor. Then you'll have treasure in heaven. Then once you've done that, come follow me. See, Jesus says that. Not because it's prescriptive, but it's descriptive of this person. And he, and he does this because he knew the guy's heart.
Right? He knew that man had made wealth, his treasure. So he challenges. Show me where your allegiance is. Show me what master you're willing to serve in verse 17. Here's what it says. And the man's face fell. And he went away sad because he had great wealth. Do you notice what it says there? This is interesting.
He noticed he didn't go away mad. How did he go away? He didn't get mad. Like Jesus you're mean you're telling me, what am I stuff? I don't like you, he didn't get mad because Jesus called him out. Like he got sad. Why did he get sad? Because in every single human depraved or not all mankind is created in the image of God.
And there is a, a longing to know this creator that's repressed by their wickedness. But there's this desire to go min. I know that there's something better and he gets a taste of it. He gets it, the, the kingdom offered to him and he's, and he's broken hearted. Cause he goes, I can't can't my master won't let me go that far.
Now that's the condition of the believer, but I think it's a condition for many Christians when offered to here's an opportunity to expand the kingdom of God. If you are generous. No, I don't want people in my house. I wanna share my stuff. I don't wanna let 'em borrow my car. I don't, I don't want to give, I don't wanna see a building.
I don't wanna, I don't wanna help out that widow. I don't. I just, I like my stuff. I don't want them to get their shoes on that particular thing over there. I don't, I don't want that group in our church building. They're messy and they're dirty. They,
sad. It's absolutely sad. So what's the, the cure for this? Well, we see that in verse 20. And in verse 24, he says you can't serve both God and money. Okay. So the cure is implied in this statement, he's making a truth statement. You can't serve both God and money. We understand this. Now we see the symptom, the truth, or the cure for this is found within this statement.
The implication that the cure for the loss of freedom that comes as a result of treasure and earthly wealth is found in serving God alone or more practically stated, seen Christ as Lord. That's the cure. Okay. The cure for the loss of freedom is seen Christ as Lord. Okay. Or I should say accepting Christ Lord.
And you're like, well, that's the most remedial statement you've ever made from the pulpit pastor Kevin. Right? Because I think like, almost, almost I'm gonna say everyone, but almost every Christian already cognitively accepts, and verbally proclaims Jesus' Lord. Right? Like everybody here, even some of you that don't even know Jesus, you did that this morning.
Cause we sang songs. We're like Christ Lord. And we sang it like you are Lord. Like, so we, we know that Jesus is Lord, we can accept the truth that he's Lord, we oftentimes verbally will say it. We even pray, right. Lord blankety, blankety blank. Right? Like we ex we, we say it and we're like, we must accept it.
I'm like, I don't know if y'all do
here's what I mean, this is rough. This is rough. I checked the house, cuz this is good. I think there are many people who have accepted Jesus as a savior, but rejected him as a Lord. Right. And this, this view of he's my savior exclusively is a very one dimensional view on Christ. It's kind of like this idea that people say, God is love.
And I'm like, yes. And.
God is love. And then this one dimensional view of God causes them to just shriek and horror. When we see his justice, his raft, his righteousness, his holy holy holiness. He is love, but he's also other things. Jesus is my savior. Oh, he's awesome, Lord. Right. But it's so popular. This very one dimensional view of Jesus' savior.
It's a very one dimensional view and it's very popular and it's very prevalent in our Western churches because we do these things we say, well, just accept. Jesus has savior. Trust is sacrifice for your sins and my friends. That is true. Amen. That's true. I'm not saying that's not true. That's wildly true, right?
He is a savior mankind. I want to just let me double down on that. His death in the cross was a sin offering. It, it was, and it still is a sacrifice that covers all of mankind sin. It still APPE, appease the wrath of God, right? Without the saving work of Christ, all mankind still will stand condemned before the father legally guilty and utterly hopeless in their own sin.
So this is all true. The savior work of crisis will be applauded and worshiped and celebrated and remembered. It's good. It's really, really good, but scriptures never present Christ solely as a savior and nothing else. All right. Scriptures also presents him as a Lord who rules that's part of the gospel.
The gospel message is, is not devoid of the Lordship of Christ, right? I mean it, in, in the very understanding of the gospel, there is a repentance of your sin and a subjugation to a higher authority. That's not yourself there there's no, no one can repent of their sins and trust in Christ without understanding that doing so implies his Lordship over you.
Otherwise, what are we repenting of? Who are we serving? Right. Jesus is not a get outta jail free card. He's not an escape from hell card. He's a treasure as your king.
His Lordship is a divine Lordship. And as such, it implies an obedience to his rule and reign. Now listen very close because this is, this is a life or death statement. I wanna be very clear. There is no salvation for anyone who has not made Jesus.
Be very clear on this one. Can we just get rid of all the stupid crap that I see in a lot of churches today, which is where we're gonna I'm I'm I see you come in through the door. You don't know Jesus. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna try to fabricate an emotional experience with lighting with, with music, with my words, with, with speaking quietly and powerfully and trying to draw you in.
So I can get you to a point where you will accept Jesus to save you from hell. And what have I done? I've just lied to you. Cause I never once told you, you also know something, man, he's king and he's Lord. And unless he is king and Lord in your life, there's no salvation. You don't get the saving work of the king without first submitting to the king.
That's the most ignorant fool hearted thing I've ever heard. And that is a dominant way. We present Jesus often. He is king and his salvation comes through accepting his kingship. I mean, the see from the cross says, what'd he say to Jesus? Hey, could you save me? Cuz I, it would be really great if I don't have to suffer more after I die.
I just, I think that'd be awesome. No, he goes, remember me when you come into your kingdom because I know you rule you reign. And because I know that you are the one who rules all things. I know that my rebellion to your kingship has caused me to fall under your wrath. Therefore, I want your forgiveness so I can serve you in the moments that I have left in the breath.
And my lungs salvation does not exist outside of kingship or Lordship.
See my, my friends, if you want freedom, it doesn't come from simply having a Jesus. That's exclusively a savior and possessions as your functional king, it comes from having Jesus as both savior and king. You don't get to have Jesus as your savior and money as your king. It's Jesus, as both it's Jesus, as both my friends
and it's hard, but it's unloving. If I don't say it, I think some of you might be here today with a very false assurance of salvation. You, you want the kingdom, but you don't wanna bend your knee to the king. And I, I with love implore you to see the absurdity of that statement and there's others of you.
You have salvation in. Absolutely. But you're letting wealth and the material world creep in near a throne that Christ alone has the right to sit on and that's affecting your peace, your contentment, your joy now that's you. I'm gonna beg with you. Please repent, plead with God to give you a single-minded focus, plead with God, to, to be your great contentment, plead with him, to give you a deep hatred over anything in your life.
That's in competition to him. Unless you find yourself absolutely useless in your walk as you strive to serve competing masters. Now, if there needs to be further reassurance,
FYI, we're only getting through two points today. I told you, I had no idea where the sermon was going. If you need further assurance, let me say this, because I think that that can frighten some people. I think when you hear me stand up here and so powerfully and passionately plead with you, that Christ has to be Lord.
And if he's not your king, there's no salvation. You might go, oh my gosh. And you look at your works and your sin, and you say, I have sin in my life. That must mean I'm not saved. I have made him king. It's possible. I don't know your heart, but I also know that all of us are on various journeys in our sanctification.
Okay. You, you, you are only, you can only be obedient to the point of your knowledge. Do you understand what I'm saying? You obedience cannot exceed your knowledge. You can only be obedient to what you know to be true. So all of us are growing by God's grace. All of us are killing sin by God's grace. If we're in Christ and some of us are further along and we look at our sanctification and it shows more of Christ Lordship than others, but that does not preclude those from the salvation of Christ.
He's just not simply. Broken their will over every area. I, I know for me, I'm 10, 11 years into my 12 years of my faith journey. By God's grace, the, I, I see his kingdom expanding into all areas of my life and there's still some that he needs to work on the end. Right. So what I want you to do is have assurance that simply because you have sin that does not preclude you from the kingdom, it does not mean that he's not your king, though.
It could, that's something that you have to wrestle with. But I think for the most part, for those who are in Christ, we need to ask ourselves where have I not submitted to him? Why have I not submitted this to him? What needs to change? And I would encourage you as you go about this hard work of doing a lot of self introspection, please don't get into the trappings of trying to be legalistic and just focus on the sin.
Apart from the love of God, sin is killed by a greater abundance of love in God. Sin is killed by greater joy in God. Sin is killed by greater desire in God, as your affections for God increase your detest for the things that are sinful will decrease, but it starts with understanding that Christ has every right and privilege granted him to be king, not simply savior.
Does that make sense? Be gracious to yourself, but also be truthful love abounds grace bounds. Forgiveness is a bounding right grow in grace, grow in sanctification, grow in holiness. But take this seriously and let's get rid of the silly notion that Jesus is just here to save, not also to rule and reign in the hearts of men and someday over the entire world from the physical throne, where in that moment, the greatest gift that I could ever have will be sitting there knowing that there is no sin within me.
I long for the kingdom of heaven because I hate my sin. I can't wait for the day that I get to be free of it completely and fully like a prisoner. Who's been chained to a wall, his whole life in a dungeon I long for the day that those chains are completely gone. And I know in Christ there's victory and I he's broken the bond of sin in my life, but I also know that I have a flesh that I wrestle with that oftentimes like a dog vomit goes back to things that I don't want.
So we long for the day that the kingdom comes to its culmination until then let's make war against these things, attack this problem of double vision, find freedom and, uh, understand what it's like to be a true kingdom citizen. My friends. Let me pray for us father. I thank you today. Just for your goodness, I thank you first and foremost for the work on the cross that saved us from a death that, is.
Horrible and bleak. We thank you and we praise you for your saving work father, but we also thank you and save you, and praise you for your kingship. And we thank you that you are a God who rules and reigns, who has unshackled us from the chains of, of slavery to cruel master and brought us into a life more abundantly with you.
Lord, I would ask for those, who are struggling this area, in your grace and in your mercy, show them the sweetness of being a slave to you. Show them the joy that comes from having a single focus on you from having a single master, a king, a Lord, and simply you and you alone. Father do a work in our hearts.
Give us courage to accept these hard things. Father, I, I know the kingdom of heaven is hard. The gospel message is. The Christian life is hard because it grates against our natural flesh and what the world is telling us. But father, it is so sweet. Help us to accept, these hard sayings help us to long for them and to love your scriptures, to love your yolk of obedience, to love your rule in your reign.
Continue to cultivate in us through the power of your holy spirit, as we submit to your word and through prayer and fellowship and teaching just a greater delight in you, Lord, deliver us from the trappings of legalism, self hatred, and loathing of shame and let us walk and freedom abounding in Christ alone.
Lord, I'd ask that, you would use what came of this message for your glory. I would ask that you would use, this time in a sweet way to convict and to encourage, to spur us onward in our holiness. Bond us together in our unity. Lord, I'm gonna trust, , you did what you wanted to do, father, if I could be so bold, I'd ask solely for myself at this moment that you would, free me from any fear I have of inadequacies, and trust that your power was made perfect and weakness this morning.
We asked for your blessings over this congregation, we ask for your guidance on Bennett. As he sets out to lead this congregation through the teaching of your word this week, Lord bestow upon him, great knowledge and wisdom. Speak to him through your text so that he can preach this congregation, my absence.
And we thank you for this time together in Christ name. Amen.