Discipleship #12 Investing in Heaven
As Jesus taught His disciples, not only in Luke 12, but throughout the Gospel accounts; He challenged them with the wise stewardship of money as a test of whether they were prepared for greater responsibilities. His teachings, of course, apply to all Christians.
BIBLICAL MONEY FACTS
Before we proceed with this lessons from Luke 12, let me share some foundational Biblical facts concerning money.
1. God, the Creator of the earth owns everything. Psalm 24:1
2. Wealth, as well as life, comes from God. Deuteronomy 8:18
3. We are stewards of our resources: time, talents and finances. Matthew 25:14-39
4. Don’t be lazy. Work and save for a rainy day. Proverbs 6:6-11, 10:5, 12:11,
5. Parents are to provide for their children. II Corinthians 12:14 By preparing for our own old age, we avoid putting an unnecessary financial burden on our grown children.
6. Nevertheless, sons and daughters are responsible for the care of their aged, infirmed parents. I Timothy 5:8 To ignore this responsibility is to be “worse than an infidel”.
7. Money, property, and material possessions are uncertain. They can vanish overnight. Psalm 62:10
8. Learn to be content with what you have. Philippians 4:10-19
9. Don’t love money for the love of money is the root of all evil. I Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19. The best antidote for the sin of loving money is to love God.
BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLES
Jesus continues training His disciples by giving them these stewardship principles In this 12th chapter of Luke
1. Take responsibility for providing for your own needs, but at the same time, learn to trust God for all your financial and material needs.
2. Worrying over our finances is futile, sinful and dishonoring to our Heavenly Father.
3. God expects Christians, those in His Kingdom, to devote their time, talent and resources to the furtherance of His Kingdom; not legalistically nor by compulsion, but in response to God’s grace poured out on us.
4. By all means avoid credit card debt. Proverbs 22:7 says the borrower is servant (slave) to the lender. If you use a credit card to pay some bills, make sure you pay it off on time each month so you NEVER carry over a balance and pay interest. In fact, our credit card pays us each month for using it, hoping of course, that we may not fully pay it off and have to pay interest. This also saves us the cost of postage stamps for paying our bills and we even pay that monthly bill by automatic withdrawal from our bank.
GAINING VICTORY OVER MATERIALISM
In Luke 12:22-30 Jesus devotes His teaching to the futility of worrying and to our need to trust God.
There is no sin in saving and investing some of our income for the future. God does not require that we spend every cent we earn. At the same time, we are encouraged not to worry. God knows our needs. Luke 12:30 Matthew 6:7-8, 32 and He promises to supply all our needs. Philippians 4:19
Be prudent and prepare for your future, but leave the future to God who provides for birds and cares for the wild flowers of the field. In previous articles in this series, we reminded you that our needs are His concern. So don’t be concerned to the point of worry. Leave those concerns with God and devote yourself to His concern, seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness.
Though we live in a material world and have need for money and the things money can give us, we Christians are not to be so wrapped up in material things that they become everything to us. Beware of being snared by advertisements and the “I’ve just got to have it” mentality.
The word seek in Luke 12:30 could better be translated crave. Jesus tells us that the
Gentiles or the heathen crave money and the things money can buy. So much of what we buy is physically and spiritually unprofitable. Much of it tends to be a liability to us rather than an asset.
How can we gain victory over a materialistic heart? We can gain victory over craving things by craving God. In Psalm 42:1-2 the Psalmist tells us how he craves after God. He likens it to a running, tired, thirsty deer panting for a brook where his thirst can be quenched. In Psalm 27 he speaks of his one great desire to know God and enjoy fellowship with Him. When we thirst to know God intimately, the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
In this same 12th chapter of Luke Jesus warns us to beware of the sin of worry. When we worry, we evidence little faith in God. Three reasons why we need not worry are:
1. God knows our needs Luke 12:30
2. He cares for us. I Peter 5:7
3. He has promised to provide for every need. Philippians 4:19
Instead of being consumed by the sins of worry and materialism, let us focus our attention, our strength and our assets on building the Kingdom of God. That is, we should focus our attention of winning the lost to Christ and building up believers in The Faith.
FEAR NOT, LITTLE FLOCK
Note that He encouraged them and He encourages us with the words, “Fear not little flock.” 12:32 Why did Jesus refer to His disciples then and to His Church now as a “little flock”? He refers to us as a little flock because Satan’s Kingdom, so glamorous and attractive, is in the majority today. We, Christ’s Church, are the despised, hated and seemingly insignificant minority in the world today. To us Jesus promises that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. That Kingdom promised to us is the prophesied Kingdom of the future. Study our series on PROPHECY to learn more about this.
As Moses, mentioned in Hebrews 11:24-27, we live and serve God by faith in anticipation of the coming glory in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
By faith we see our sacrificial offerings and service to the Lord in this age as a safe, profitable investment. Note how Paul viewed this investment in II Timothy 1:12
Read Matthew 19:27-30 and Luke 12:33 to learn of the high rate of return on these investments.
One more reason for investing in Christ’s cause is that our investments affect our hearts. Both God and Satan demand our all. We can’t split our heart’s devotion. Winner takes all. As Jesus taught in Matthew 6:24, You and I belong 100% to either God or Satan.
As Noah, Abraham, David and the other saints listed in Hebrews 11, let us see ourselves as Heaven-bound pilgrims.
Let us see ourselves as stewards of all God has given us. Let us recognize our responsibility to be wise stewards of our time, energy and resources.
As Paul, let us see ourselves as a bond-slaves of Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 6:19-20.
As Moses, recorded in Hebrews 11:24-27, saw Christ by faith, so let us recognize Christ as our Lord and as our whole purpose for living.
HAVE YOU BOUGHT SALVATION?
If you are not a Christian, none of this applies to you. You need make only one investment. Isaiah 55:1-2 invites you to make the greatest purchase of your life without money. Buy Jesus as your Saviour. His is a totally free gift offered to sinners who see their need of salvation. Trust Him freely right now, then return to this message and read it again and determine to invest your life in Christ and His Kingdom.
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