|The Double Dip Life
Imagine you’re at a party. What’s always at a party? Lots of food! Chips, salsa and guacamole. The essentials of life! Maybe there’s even a veggie tray there with some celery sticks or something. I don’t know. But you grab a big old corn chip and dunk it in the salsa and take a big old bite and it’s so good! Then you have a problem because there’s half a chip left and nothing on it. So maybe subconsciously you start heading back towards that dip… and you might hear somebody yell… HEY! NO DOUBLE DIPPPING! Right? No double dipping allowed. Double dipping is bad. You can’t take a bite of that celery stick and then dunk it back in the ranch dressing. Somebody actually did a study about how bad this is. And let’s just say it was yucky! It turns out the more liquid the dip is, like salsa, it is really bad because all the germs get mixed around. If you have something firmer like guacamole, it’s not as bad. So my tip to you, if you go to a party, is to stick to the guac and leave the salsa alone.
Double dipping is bad. But if you think of the word double that is kind of a good word. If you go to the store and you buy a product and you get double the product for the same amount of money that‘s good. Anybody remember the old jingle for Wrigley’s gum? Double the flavor, double the fun, double mint gum! It was good! Who remembers going to the ice cream store and you used to get…out here you guys call it a scoop of ice cream. You get a scoop of ice cream. Where I come from it’s a dip because they dip into the ice cream so you get a dip and you get a double dip of ice cream. That was the best day when you got two. And we think of those as being good. I don’t know why all my examples today have to do with food but we’ll all be ready for lunch. But these days double dipping is not good. Sometimes as a Christian we’re living a double dip life not because we’re dipping the chips twice but because we’re dipping our lives twice. On Saturdays we come to church and we look like good little Christians. We have a printed Bible and an electronic Bible with us! We know all the words to the music. We don’t need to look on the screen for the words. We learned our memory verse from last week.
Whatever it is, we look like good little Christians but as soon as you leave it’s like Jekyll and Hyde. There’s a different guy that shows up. Maybe you talk excitedly with the person in front of you on the freeway as you explain their poor driving skills. Maybe you use language that was different than the language you used when you were at church. We might be cross or unkind with somebody. And all of a sudden for the rest of the week looks exactly like everybody else. The TV shows we watch, the radio stations we listen to, the logos on our t-shirts are exactly like the world and it’s a double dip life. It’s a double dip life. Today’s message is going to require a good deal of balance because as human beings we don’t do balance very well. We usually head way over here or way over there and it’s hard for us to find stability and balance so today’s message is going to require some balance. We’re going to talk about that as we go on. I want you to open your Bibles with me to Matthew 6 verse 24. This is a text that we are probably all familiar with. If you have spent any time in church at all, you have heard someone use this text. And I am going to tell you that most of the people that have used that text have used it wrong. We’re going to talk about that. You’re familiar with this, right? Let’s read it together. It says - No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Now some of you might have a different version of the Bible that doesn’t use the word money what else do you hear there? Sometimes you hear wealth? Mammon? What is mammon? It sounds like that weird ingredient you have to buy for some recipe that you got off the internet. You don’t know what it is. You spend 15 minutes in the spice aisle looking for mammon. Mammon is a thing we don’t have a good concept of in English. Money or wealth is not a bad translation of the word mammon but it’s an incomplete translation of the word mammon. The word mammon comes with the whole connotation of the ugly stuff that comes with money, the greed, the gluttony, the selfishness. All that stuff is bundled up in this word mammon. Sometimes in older texts when you see the word mammon with a capital M. It actually refers to evil spirits. Those evil spirits that would be greed -that would be selfishness -that would be gluttony, all that kind of stuff is in this.
When they talk about it in this text it’s not just money but all that junk that comes with it. And we don’t have a good concept of this in English that we can express it in one word. We’ve seen it happen. We know people that have given up everything for money. Maybe you have seen them in Hollywood. It just seems like all they’re chasing is the money and it seems they are often times not very happy. It seems they don’t have very complete lives. Now I don’t want to demonize wealthy people because that is real popular in society right now. Everything is the fault of the rich guys. I don’t buy that for a minute. And the Bible is full of rich people who seem to be able to keep God first. If they can do it, I think it is still possible today. So I don’t want to demonize wealthy people here but we need to be careful about this because some of us are double dipping.
We’re trying to get all the stuff that Christianity has to offer - the peace, the hope and the satisfaction. The eternal life! We like that one. But at the same time, we’re trying to dip in all the stuff the world has to offer. The fun! The excitement! The money! We want to do what we want to do when we want to do it. And that’s really the problem. That is really the problem. See money tells you, you don’t need God. If you make enough money, you can do whatever you want to do. You can have the biggest house. You can have the nicest car. You can go on the best vacations as long as you’re not hurting somebody else and you have the money, go for it! This is embedded into our society. What do we learn about our founding documents of our country? -The pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you have some money you can pursue that happiness. See money can’t buy you happiness but it’ll park you right next it. We embrace this whole heartedly. If you have the money, go ahead and buy the big boat. It doesn’t matter. We allow our desire for worldly comfort and pleasure to compromise our lives. And we don’t mean to, we don’t make a conscience decision for this. No one wakes up in the morning and says today I’m going to trade God for money. Nobody ever says that or very few of us do. But it just kind of happens. Just all of a sudden it kind of seems that’s what happens and we sometimes we don’t even realize it.
I’ll tell you a story. I don’t know if it’s true. There’s a young man named Jocko. That just tells you right there that it’s not true, right? Who’s named Jocko? And Jocko goes to the pastor as a young man and he says I have a promise I want to make to you and the church and to God. I’m going to promise to pay tithe no matter what happens. And the pastor says, “All right. Thank you very much.” Sure enough he was true to his word and he makes $10,000 the first year and he pays tithe. Soon he is making $50,000 a year and he pays tithe. He’s making $100,000 a year. He is still a faithful tithe payer. Years later he is making a million dollars and he’s still paying tithe. He’s making ten million dollars and he’s still paying tithe. Eventually he’s making one hundred million dollars a year. What is tithe on a hundred million dollars a year? It’s ten million dollars. And Jocko shows back up in the pastor’s office. He says, “Pastor I need you to release me from this promise. I cannot pay ten million dollars in tithe.” And the pastor drops to his knees and begins to pray. After a few minutes Jocko says, “Are you praying for me to be released from my promise?” Pastor said, “No I’m praying for you to go back to making $10,000 a year.” Because… it’s never enough! It’s never enough!
They did a study where they talked to people who made all these income levels. Some people made $50,000, some people made $75,000 and some got $100,000. And they talked to all these different levels of people. And you know what they all had in common? They all thought their lives would be perfect if they could be in the next level. If I could make it to this level everything would be perfect. These people are not saying everything is perfect. They’re saying if I can be on this level everything will be perfect. And so on and so on. It’s never enough. We never have enough. Now remember I talked about balance. There is no sin that I know of in having a nice car and having a nice house or taking a vacation, provided you’re doing the things that God has asked you to do in your life. If you’re following God and you’re giving him your time and your talents and your effort and your money as he has asked you to do, there is no sin in that. I don’t want to demonize that because sometimes it’s hard for us to find balance there. But sometimes it seems like we act like we think we can just give God a little shout out. And everything will be okay. Do you guys like to watch the award shows? Like the Grammys, the Emmys, the? - it seems like there are 70 different award shows that happen people are getting awards for stuff you’ve never heard of before. Often times you see them and what is the first thing they say? I’d like to thank God. I know we’re not supposed to judge but you look at that person and what they’ve been nominated for and it doesn’t look like anything God would want his name associated with. But you think if I can just give God a little shout out everything will be okay, regardless if I’m singing a song that’s full of vulgarities and whatever. And sometimes we do the same thing. It doesn’t matter how we live our lives the other 6 days. I’ll come to church for an hour or so and dip my toe in Christianity and give God a little shout out and everything will be okay. I don’t think it’s supposed to work that way. I don’t think it’s supposed to work that way.
If you have been around a number of years, you’ve probably heard this saying - We say: We are in the world, but not of the world. Have you ever heard anybody say that? What does this mean? We’re born into this horrible terrible world. Poor us! -Heavy sigh- but we’re not of the world! We’re of something better. Sometimes we take this to extremes and we think –hey, you know what we are not of the world so we’re going to move out to the country and live in caves and grow our own food and wear fig leaves and it will be glorious. And it won’t… because most of us don’t look good in fig leaves. But this is what we say but when I look at what Jesus says, he doesn’t say that at all. Turn in your Bibles to John chapter 17. Now John chapter 17 is a prayer that Jesus prays the night before he was crucified. Now have you ever noticed that when someone is very sick and on their deathbed and they want to say something, what happens? Everybody listens! You want to hear - what is this important thing this person wants to say at the end of their life. This is Jesus right before the end of his life, the night before he is crucified. The whole chapter is a prayer and we would do well to study this and see what was important to Jesus.
We’re not going to look at all of it today. We’re going to look at one little part. In this part of the prayer Jesus is praying for his disciples. Remember he’s praying to God and he’s talking about his disciples. Let’s see what this says - I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. Now Jesus does say they are not of the world, I am not of the world. He says it twice. But Jesus is not gathering the saints around him so they can sing another chorus of Kumbaya. Jesus was calling the saints around him so he can call a play and we can move the ball down into enemy territory. Football season is coming and Jesus is calling a play to move the ball down field. He says I am not of the world. They are not of the world. But what does he say? They’re sent into the world. While we say we are in but not of. Jesus says: We are not of the world, but sent into the world. These are almost the same words but really different meanings. Because Jesus doesn’t end with not of the world. He starts with not of the world. He says we’re not of the world we’re sent into the world.
So some of you are saying now, “Bill, you just spent 10 minutes talking about chips and dip and salsa and don’t double dip and now you’re telling us to be sent into the world. You’re driving us crazy. Make up your mind.” This is not my word. This is God’s word. God says don’t be of the world but be sent into the world. How do you do that? How does that work? It’s a big challenge. And this is different than what some of us have heard and learned our whole lives. But this might mean that some of us might need to make some changes. Some of us may have habits that need to be changed - language we shouldn’t use or things we shouldn’t watch on TV or the movies. I don’t know what they all are. Things we shouldn’t do on Sabbath. I don’t know. None of us are perfect and we all have our struggles. I have mine. You have yours but we need to be with Christ first. And to be with Christ first we’ve got to worry about some of the things that we do. I always like to think of the old thing What Would Jesus Do. You guys remember that from the 90’s or something. You know when everybody had the bracelets - What Would Jesus Do? It’s a great question to ask yourself. It really is when you think about should I do this or that? Would Jesus do this or that? It often adds great clarity to the decision and what you need to do.
How do we put Jesus first and still go into the world? To go back to Matthew 6 verse 33 it says - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Jesus is talking about the food, the clothes, the house and all that stuff. It says, man, everybody chases after that stuff. Don’t worry about that stuff. Seek my Kingdom first and all that other stuff will be given to you. Now he doesn’t say that you’re going to live like Donald Trump or Warren Buffet or whatever other rich person you can think of. He doesn’t promise limos and gold plated bathrooms or whatever these extreme things are. But he says these things will be given to you. I’ll take care of you. Do you trust God to take care of you for your basic needs? For the bread you have to eat? For the place you have to lay your head? That’s tough! We have been taught that we need to take care of that. Right? I’ll get a job, I’ll make some money, I’ll make a budget and I’ll pay for those things.
God says don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it. I’m not saying we should all quit our jobs but we need to have faith in God and that He can handle these things. Sometimes that’s tough. It’s tough to turn over that control to somebody else. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live a double dip life. I don’t want to be trying to have what the world offers and at the same time what God offers. I’m all in on what the Lord offers. Amen? I don’t want to be in the world but not of the world. I want to be not of the world but sent into the world. See we have been given light to help us be rescued from darkness. But not just so we can recue ourselves. It is so we can go back to help rescue somebody else. You’ve been given a responsibility to not only make sure you’re saved but that somebody else is saved. And that is what it means to go into the world. See if God comes to me and says, “Bill, I need you to go talk to that guy over there. The gates of hell are closing in on him.” I want to be able to say, “Sure, Lord, no problem. Let’s go.”
And I don’t think you can do that if you are struggling with addictions and if that person is struggling with addictions, how can you help them? You have to have God first in your life so you have the ability to do that. You have to be willing to put some of those things aside so you can help others be rescued. When you think of firemen or the coast guard or these people that put their lives at risk to save others, they have given things up so that they can be ready to rescue others. Right? They are waiting in a room somewhere for the bell to ring so they can go running out and go rescue somebody. You don’t think they would rather be at the movies or whatever else? They’ve given up things to be ready. We want to be rescuing the people around us we have to give up things. Nobody likes that! That’s not fun. Nobody wants to do that. That’s what God has asked us to do.
I talked earlier about graduation season. I’ve been to so many graduations I feel I should give everybody a challenge here today. So whether you graduated or not, here’s the challenge for today. We need to put God first. We need to be willing to use the light that God gave us to go rescue somebody else that’s still in the darkness. We need to be willing to look a little bit foolish. Somebody may make fun of us. Somebody may not appreciate it. We live in a very politically correct climate. Somebody may think we shouldn’t say that you shouldn’t do that. We need to be intrusive into other people’s lives… in a good way. But we need to intrude in some of our friends lives and say, “Man, there’s a better way. Let me show you. Let me help you out. Somebody showed me this and I want to show it to you.” It’s important stuff. Amen?
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, help us to be able to make decisions of when is the appropriate time to be intrusive in our friends lives. When is the time, Lord, when we should share the light that you have given us so we can help others? Lord, help us to be strong and to give up the things that are keeping us away from you. Help us to understand the things that the Devil puts in our way, the mammon that keeps us from being more like you and makes us afraid to share the light that we’ve been give, Lord. Help us to see clearly and to understand how simple it is to tell our friends that there’s another way, a better way. We ask that you be with us and that you bless us. In Jesus name, Amen.