Let’s have a little prayer. Lord we just come to you as your children today, and there is so much going on in this world today especially in the United States and the financial system that is disturbing, at the least frightening, so we know Lord that you are the rock, and as long as we have you, we have everything we need. Great is your faithfulness Lord to us. You never let us down. So Lord comfort our hearts now. Help us to have listening ears and a listening heart. Quiet us Lord from the week and the worries now and may your spirit reign supreme in our lives. And everyone said Amen.
Well this is the first message of a series of messages called Discovering God’s Way of Handling Money. Take out your sermon notes. I want you to have those in your hand. I want to tell you something. I almost brought a whole stack of newspaper articles and then I thought no. I’m not going to bring them. I don’t want to overstate this issue but we’re in a crisis in the United States. And as you know, there are financial institutions that are failing. You know that. You also know that the congress right now is at work debating a $700 billion bail out they call it of financial institutions. You know that is happening. And I just read this morning that Washington Mutual has been acquired by Chase Bank so what happens is the FDIC came in and looked at Washington Mutual’s books and said we’re taking you guys over, and that has happened. I don’t want to overstate this. I don’t want to understate this. But I want to tell you something right now at the beginning of this message. What we’re studying about discovering God’s way of handling money is providential. This could not come at a better time in our lives. This is something that is not just about how to handle money. You’re going to get some really good pointers, tips, and direction about your money, how you budget it, and how you handle it. You’re going to get some of that but the majority of this study is about giving yourself to the Lord completely and totally whether that is every aspect of your life including the financial aspect. And the financial aspect is a very sensitive aspect to all of us. I want to tell you something. I’m glad I’m in church today. I’m glad Ginny prayed for the congressman, senators, representatives, our president, banking executives. They’re coming together to work this economist trying to work this thing through. But you know what we learn from this? We’ve learned over the past two weeks we cannot put our trust and faith in the institutions of man. I’ll say it again. You cannot put your faith in the institutions of man. But we can put all of our faith in the Savior and God who is our rock. His name is Christ Jesus. Because when you build your house on the rock, the winds blow, the storm comes, and the house stood. But when you’re building a home on the sand, the winds came and down came the house, and great was its fall and we’re seeing that right before our eyes. That’s why this study is so important, so significant, so timely. It is prophetic. You know to have a study like we’re doing, and to plan it, and prepare for it, order all the books, and do everything you need to do its months ahead that this is selected. Who would know that the very day that we kick this thing off the whole United States is focused on money. People will lose some of their savings from the Washington Mutual takeover. Some people have already lost money on the Indy Mac takeover and we need to stop right here to stop right here, right here, and say you know because I’m pretty sure most of you – don’t raise your hand – anybody worried about their assets today? We need to stop right now and say as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Turn to your neighbor and say as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Go ahead. We’re going to stand on the rock that is Christ the Lord. Christ is the rock and that’s where we are going to stand.
So today I’m having a call to receive Jesus you know. Now I do this a lot. I’ll do it every week that I preach. This is an important one though. Did you know that as people come to know Jesus they make the first decision yes I want to be a Christian? But you know what? They have a little bit to learn. Isn’t that true? And as we learn, Christ confronts us with our lives to give him more access to certain areas. You know there are certain areas in all our lives that we’ve got the old closed door, big old pad lock on that, and the Lord comes on, “Can I come in?” And we go yeah. I would like to Lord but we’ve got the padlock on that one. This is the day we’ve got to take the padlock off and open up that door because if we’ve been looking at financial institutions to help us there aren’t any more. They are built on houses of cards and on the sand. Now we’re probably going to get over this some day years from now probably but it proves to us that we can only trust in the Lord and not in man. We’re going to stand on the rock. We’re not going to be afraid. But we are going to learn from this study so many things about finances and we’re going to learn that there are principles in God’s word, 2,350 of them, that we can apply directly to our finances. And for us who have said well Pastor I would like to be at church today, now I know you’re at here today, but I mean this is something I was going to say, there are some folks that are saying, I would like to be at church today but I’ve got to work. I’ve got to work, work, work see. These are the principles that I’m going to show you because working on days when we should be resting is not the way to approve all of the benefits that God wants us to have. That’s not investing in heaven. Thank God we’re here today and pray for those who are not here.
Now let’s get to this. We’ve put up a couple of things here and I want you to see your notes and have your notes. I want you to open your Bibles to Mark chapter 10 and you’ll need your Bibles today because I don’t have the scriptures on the screen but I have them in your scriptures in your Bible so turn to it. Mark chapter 10 and let’s take a look at this together for a few minutes. Would you look up at the screen here with me and read this with me? The Problem, here’s the problem, here it is. Read it with me. Are you willing to surrender all to Jesus? Write in the word “surrender.” Are you willing to surrender all to Jesus? Now please don’t go and say, well Pastor I have already surrendered all to Jesus. Praise the Lord! That’s great! But you know I’ve been surrendering to Jesus since 1970 and I did some more this morning. Surrendering to Jesus is a process. Yeah it’s a one time choice but every day I get up and say, Lord come into my life. I want to surrender even more to you today. That’s where we are coming from today. So are you willing to surrender all to Jesus? Over there on your sheet of paper just write “yes” or “no.” Go head before we enter in.
Now I want you to see this. Would you read this with me up on the screen? The rich man came running up to Jesus and asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Mark 10:17 (NIV) Okay. What must I do to inherit eternal life? I want you to circle the word “do.” Okay circle that word “do.” What must I do to inherit eternal life? Now in your Bibles open to Mark chapter 10 verse 21 because here is the only way you’ll see the answer is in your Bible. Mark chapter 10, verse 21. Would you read it with me? Here we go. Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” I want to focus on the last four words. Look back in your Bibles at the last four words. What do those last four words say? Then come, follow me. Now listen. Jesus didn’t say that to everybody. Those are particularly important words, and when he said them, he said them to his disciples; to his apostles. I’ll show you that in just a minute. So this rich young man, this rich man here, is not only talking to the Lord about what his needs are but Christ is saying come and follow me. Let’s start the whole thing off on the right foot. Wow! He loved this man. He saw the potential in this man, and the man was sincere and earnest when he came up to the Lord. And the Bible says the Lord looked at him and loved him. Isn’t that amazing? You know the Lord loves all of us but the Bible writer said the Lord loved him. What Jesus was about to propose to the man you know he is going to tell him to go and sell everything. He is going to tell him to go and sell everything he had. What Jesus was ready to propose to him was not because he wanted to humble. It wasn’t to hurt him. It wasn’t to send him into poverty. It wasn’t to send him into the poor house. Jesus simply wanted to give him more than what he could possibly ask for, and earn, and achieve in his own way. You know what I’m talking about? If Jesus is saying to us, sell everything believe me he has something in its place. The Bible says the Lord knows your needs even before you ask him. Amen. That is true. So he said to the young man come and follow me and be a disciple. Wow! That’s pretty cool. Unfortunately, the rich man refused the Lord’s offer. Can you believe that? I mean that is shocking. It’s really shocking but you know now that I’m thinking about it it’s not shocking because money and possessions are an area of the life where wealth was more important to him than Jesus. Wow!
Now you know the Lord said, write this down – Matthew 6:24 – you can look that up, Matthew 6:24, and basically it says you cannot serve two masters. Right? You can’t serve two masters. You’re going to serve God or money. Wow! In this case, we’re seeing a man who is asked to be one of the apostles, one of the disciples, who refused. Why did he do that? Because he was caved in to the money master and he walked away the Bible says. Now when he walks away, I want you to see something. You’ve got your Bibles open still? Okay in verse 21 it says, “Go, sell everything you have, follow me. Verse 22. At this the man’s face fell. Wow! Ever seen somebody’s face fall become sad? He went away, what’s the word? Sad, because he had great wealth. Now that word “sad” is a word “grieving.” Wow! We don’t usually use the word “sad” about money issues. I mean I’m sad. I lost $10.00. We usually talk about sadness and grief in terms of when someone in the family dies. That’s when you get sad. This man is grieving sadness over the loss or the potential loss even the thought of losing his money. Can you believe this? This is the power that finances and money have on people.
Now listen just because Jesus says come and follow me doesn’t mean that you must sell all and give to the poor. Remember a guy named Nicodemus? Nicodemus met the Lord. Wealthy man. A ruler. A leader. John chapter 3. Just write John chapter 3. Nicodemus came and met the Lord in the evening and basically started talking about things, and the Lord got right to the point, and said, Nicodemus you must be born again. You want to – you know you must be born again. And he didn’t say to Nicodemus, now Nicodemus if you want to be born again, go and sell all, and then you can be born again. He didn’t say that to him. This is important you guys. Because see there are some people that should keep their wealth when they come to Jesus. They should keep it. Why? Because God knows their heart. God knows what they are going to do with that wealth. God knows that they are going to apply it to his kingdom like Nicodemus. God also know that there are some people coming to him that need to divest yourself. Get rid of it man. Get away from that stuff. It is corrupting you because what corrupts is not money but the love of money. Did the rich man love money? And when I say that, you guys say yes. Did the rich man love money? Yes. Thank you. I want to tell you something. Deep down this man identified with his money. His money shaped who he was as a human being. His money was part of his personality. In fact, he is called the rich man. He isn’t just called a man. He’s called a rich man. And I’ve seen people, and you have too, where they have actually taken the identity of their funds, and their resources, and they feel good about themselves because of what they have. That’s too bad because all things change at one time or another.
Now I want to make it really clear about our study you guys. This is why I believe it’s providential because the study is not a nuts and bolts thing about pay your debts, and do this, and you know it has some of that in there but the main component about what we’re talking about is learning at the feet of Jesus how to approach money, assets. Learning how to handle assets. Learning what God requires but mainly trusting him over anything you have. That’s what this study is about. Money is a powerful tyrant. You ever think of money as a tyrant? It can make people work overtime. It can cause people to stay up all night. It can cause people to say honey love you. Like to go on a vacation but got to work. Money pushes people around. Money is a bully. It’s never satisfied and the deal of it is all of us are tempted by it. In this case, the rich man is simply controlled by his assets. Can you believe he basis the most important decision in his life on his bank account? Wow!
Now most of us are not rich in worldly terms. We don’t have a couple a hundred thousand sitting in the bank over there; $300,000 or $50,000 or $10,000. So it is easy for us to look at this rich guy or any rich guy and go yeah they are a bunch of losers. You know a bunch of rich guys and . . . hey wait a minute. The point of the narrative here that we are talking about isn’t how much you have but it is a condition of your heart toward what you do have so it’s not how much you have. It is a condition of your heart toward what you do have, and is that heart open to God in that area. See if the Lord says I want you as my children and you come into my family, I’m going to receive all of you. You know you just don’t you know hey I’m going to put my foot in my family Lord. You’ve got the foot. God says no, no, no. I want the feet. I want the hands. I want the heart. I want the whole person. So today we have to think in our terms. Are we surrendering in this area of finance? Now don’t raise your hand you guys. Don’t raise them. Don’t raise them. Who in the room is fighting this now? Oh Pastor you always talk about money. You Pastors can’t go one Sabbath without saying one thing about money. You know what I’m saying. There is fighting going on in your heart. Well the reason I work is . . . And the reason I’m wealthy is . . . you know underline. If you’re fighting like it is good, it’s a good thing. I want you to fight because you’re not fighting with me. You’re fighting with the big man.
Now I want to show you something. This is what God is calling us to do. Would you read this please? The Solution: (read it with me) Hand over a portion of your life each day. See the deal about following Jesus is that every day we hand over something of our heart to him. We hand especially those closets that are closed I talked about earlier. You know the door is closed. That means I don’t want to hand it over to you Lord. Today we’re making a decision to say Lord I want to hand over my heart to you. I don’t want any area of my life that I’m trying to control whatever it is.
Now I want to show you something. Turn in your Bibles – now let’s see if I have it up here. Yes I do. Matthew. Turn your Bibles to Matthew and we’re looking at Matthew – what is it? Four. Please turn your Bibles over there quickly. Now don’t start reading Matthew 4 just yet. Hold on. Look at me please. Thank you. Now we need to choose to follow the Lord. I want to show you something. See those who answer the call of the Lord know that when Jesus calls it’s the beginning of their life. Now you’ve heard me say it time and again that when a person is baptized, it’s the beginning. It’s not the end. It’s the beginning and today is a new beginning. And you’ve heard me say at communion it’s a new beginning because with the Lord he always gives us new beginnings so that’s what today is. Now Jesus calls disciples like us and he knows our imperfections. He knows our temptations and our weakness yet he calls us. Remember when he calls you, and you say yes Lord, he doesn’t go get up on a missionary journey now for two years. Jesus doesn’t do that because you need to learn at his feet first. So Jesus starts with his disciples right where they are at and then they begin to grow.
Now I want to give you an example of this. See you just don’t become a Christian and boom presto that’s it. I know everything. I love Jesus. I love you. Everything is hunky dory. No, no, no. That’s not the way it is. You say yes to Jesus, and then you start walking progressively step by step surrendering more, surrendering more. Now the more you surrender, the more power you get because if you’re counting on your resources, no power. You’re counting on God’s resources all power. So here is an example of good old Peter. Let me just show you how this works. Peter is called by God, and I’m going to read that with you in just a minute. Peter is called by God. He says, yes I’m going to go with you Lord. I’m going to be a disciple. He is with him almost three years. So you would think would he learn something after three years? Do you think he would learn? Yes, he has learned a few things but when push comes to shove on the night that the Lord is arrested, he goes to where the Lord is at in handcuffs, and the young woman sees him, and he denies the Lord three times. You know the story. That was an area of Peter’s life that he had not surrendered to the Lord. He kept that baby closed shut. That was a prideful part of Peter. I’m going to . . . I will kick their um if they come over and try to get me. I’m going to use my sword against these guys and Lord I will go to death for you. You know what? Was that the Holy Spirit talking through Peter or was that Peter? Yep. And often times that’s who we are. We are like Peter. All of us are. Because see surrender to Jesus is progressive. It’s step by step. Step by step and it is always of your free volitional will.
Now we’re ready to read Matthew 4. Look at verse 18. I want to show you this. I want to show how the call goes down. This is how the call happens. You’ve got your Bibles open. It says, As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. Verse 19. Would you read it with me? “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Okay verse 19. Same words. Come, follow me. Come and follow. Those are technical words. He is just not saying you want to be a disciple. He says you want to be an apostle. You want to be one of my twelve. Now look what happens in verse 20. Verse 20. Now so Peter and his brother are called. Come, and follow me. They didn’t go hey what do you think? Hey, we’re fishing. Should we go over there? What are we? What does the Bible say? The Bible says, At once, what happened? At once they left their nets and followed him. They dropped it. Boom. Bye dad. That was their livelihood by the way but they didn’t go hey Jesus. Jesus who is going to pay my house payment? Jesus who is going to take care of the kids and the wife? Who is going to take care of my dad? They didn’t ask that question. That question has already been answered because if you follow Jesus, who is taking care of you? I’d rather have God take care of me than me take care of me. Wouldn’t you? That’s what this is about. So here is the call. And at once they left and in verse, check it out. Verse 21. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, okay called to them. What did Jesus call to them? Come, follow me. Verse 22 says they sat around and talked it over for a couple of days. Nope. And it says, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. So look it. So when Jesus calls, we just drop it. We drop everything and say where do you want me to go Lord. Here I am. Ready to go. Ready to go.
You know I want to tell you this. I just want you to know from my heart I’m telling you this because this is something I always told my kids. It just seems to work out now. Given the fact that financial institutions are having difficulty, and they are turned upside down now, a lot of people’s retirements are affected one way or another. From the beginning I would tell my kids you know Ginny and I save a little bit each month like you guys. We save a little bit each month. Can’t save much but we save a little bit. So I would tell the kids. Yeah I’m saving a little bit and they are running the math. Well are you going to have enough? The answer to that is the little bit of money that I save each month is not my retirement. If they ask me, why you saving your money dad? I would say well that’s for my retirement. But you know the savings was not my retirement. You know what my retirement is? Jesus. He is my retirement. So to me it doesn’t matter which way things go in my life. You know obviously I’m a human being and I’m going to be affected. Don’t get me wrong but I made my choice a long time ago that that retirement deal is Jesus. I’m not counting on if I had a gazillion dollars in the bank. It doesn’t matter to me. What matters is I’ve got Jesus. See that is the important thing. That’s the important thing. I want to share that with you today. I want you to see your life in a way that is given over to the Lord. Sold out. Everything belongs to him. Nothing belongs to us. Everything belongs to him. That’s why this is so timely. That’s why this study is so important.
Now take your Bibles back to Mark please. Go back to Mark. How am I doing on time. I’m almost done. Mark 10. Are you guys in Mark 10? I want to show you something in verse 28. Check it out. Listen. When the Lord says come and follow me, he is not kidding. And he says to somebody sell all, he is not kidding because the Lord has things for us that is beyond our imagination if we will trust him, if we just trust him. You know what? I’m glad I talked to you guys today. I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to anybody else because I know you guys. I love you guys. I’m your Pastor. You guys are faithful. I’m just saying continue to be faithful. Be even more faithful. That’s what I’m saying today but I want to show you something. Jesus says, “Come, follow me,” this is what he also says. Check it out in verse 28. Mark 10 verse 28. Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!” It’s kind of like Lord yeah I’ve left everything. I could have been a brain surgeon. I could have been an astronaut. I could have been Michael Phelps. Maybe not Michael Phelps. I could have been an astronaut. I could have been . . . what do you want to name? Just name it out there but I chose to be a pastor. That’s kind of like Peter. And so Peter says Lord we just have given up everything to follow you. You know I want to tell you something. Is that prideful? Yes, it is prideful. It’s like Lord look at me. I’ve given up everything. I only have two cars. I have a house. I have 11 grandkids. I’ve given up everything Lord. See. That’s prideful. It can go the other way too. You can be prideful about all that you have or you can be prideful about all that you think you don’t have. And I’ll tell you something else. If you’re sitting up, taking food, and you’re healthy today, thank God for that. You are a rich person. Lets put everything on the table out here. So Peter says Lord we have just given up everything for you Lord. Look it. We’re just going you know everything is yours. Look at us. And the Lord goes okay Peter. Verse 29. He says “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields – get that fields – for me and the gospel will fail to receive – how much? – a hundred times as much in this present age – okay read it with me – (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” This is a guarantee. Peter is going hey Lord we have just given up everything for you. Look it. I just paid my tithes and offering. I’ve done everything Lord. And the Lord goes you know what there is not one person who gives their heart to Christ freely that doesn’t receive back a hundred times. You know when it is talking about how can you get a hundred moms? How do you get a hundred brothers? How do you get that? You’re going to have fellowship with a lot people, and you’re going to have, these people are going to love you appropriately as a brother a sister should you know, you’re going to have a lot of people around you. You’re not going to be hanging out there by yourself. And the Lord says I’m not going to give you brothers and sisters. I’m going to give you fields. Do you know what that translated from the first century to our century? It is what do you need? You want a house? You want a car? What do you need? Now don’t get me wrong. Don’t get me wrong. God is saying, I’m going to take care of your needs a hundred fold over what you think. You see what I mean and you’re going yes Lord. All right. Yes!
So I’m very happy to stand up here today and tell you about the Lord God who gives you and me a hundred folds what you could never expect to gain in your whole life. Now listen now. I’m not giving opening up oh good Pastor Mitch says let’s see. Let’s see. Pastor Mitch says if I open up my heart to the Lord then I get a hundred fold from the Lord. So I open up my heart and get a hundred fold. Hey that works out pretty good because I need a hundred bucks. Okay Lord I’m opening up my heart. Okay if you open up your heart predicated on getting on the hundred fold guess what? Are you giving your heart? No. You’re doing a deal. You’re cutting a deal with God. You’re signing a little contract. That doesn’t work with him. What happens is when you say honestly Lord I do want to surrender whatever is in my way, I want you in my life. I believe you want to take care of me, and my home, and my grandkids, a hundred times better than I can. I’m giving it all to you. That’s what he is talking about see. So that’s where we are at today.
On your sheet there are three questions at the bottom there to answer. Here we go. The first question is I want to follow Jesus today. Just write “yes” or “no.” See what it is if following Jesus starts with a decision, it starts with an intellectual accent, and saying yes I want to follow you Lord okay, does that mean you’re perfect? No. That mean you’ve got your whole act together? No. It means the opposite. You see your need of help. So you say “yes” or “no.” Okay on this one. Would you read this one with me please? I confess to the Lord there are areas of my life I need to hand over to Him.You mean there are areas of our lives that we haven’t given to the Lord. Yes. What area of your life do you need to give to the Lord today? It may not be the financial thing. It may be something else but that is why you are here today. Just write it down. If it’s a financial thing, write it down there. I’m worried about this. I’m going to give this over to you Lord. Okay. Would you read this one with me? The area of my life I want to surrender today is ____________________.Fill in the blank. What area of your life do you want to surrender to the Lord today?
My friend Jim Park was a pastor in our area here, and he has been here a few times years ago, he is over in the Philippines now, and he is working at the Philippine college there, and he sends out emails. And I got an email where he visited Eastern Africa and the Masai tribe in Eastern Africa. And the Masai people are tall, and beautiful people, and they have very colorful dress you know, and the thing is they only eat beef, and drink milk mixed with the beef blood. That is their diet. That’s their whole society. And so you never have to ask the Masai where’s the beef? So when you visit them, you get the Masai barbeque going at the hotel you’re staying at. And then you hear a little bit about the Masai history. And it just so happens that the Masai people because they are herders of cattle you know, they have a lot of cattle and stuff, and that’s how you tell how wealthy you are, they believed that there was a time in the distant past that all the cattle in the entire world belonged to them. That’s part of their thought. How do you like that thought? How many think that that may be stretching it a little bit? But you know so often we people try to accumulate, and accumulate, and accumulate thinking that all this stuff belongs to me. All the stuff in my house is mine. The house is mine. The clothes are mine. All mine. When you compare it to the Masai belief, it’s kind of silly isn’t it? The fact is everything belongs to God including us. Let’s pray.