Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Discipleship #4: Covetousness

Master, make my brother pay up!

As Jesus continues His teaching,  primarily to His disciples; suddenly He is interrupted by two brothers who press toward Him. Luke 12:13-15  One of them is quite perturbed  by the other. He  demands that Jesus settle an  argument over an inheritance. “Master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me.” 

Jesus refuses to settle the score.

Jesus refused to get involved.  He said,  “Who made me a judge or divider over you?”  Then He used the occasion to teach about covetousness. Before we  get to the theme of covetousness, would you note an interesting sidelight. By not getting involved in settling the dispute, we learn something about Jesus’ agenda and ours.  It was not Jesus’ purpose then nor is it our purpose now to deal with the moral issues of the world and try to set the world straight.  

Yes, we can personally get involved in dealing with social and moral issues as the Lord leads us individually as Christians.  Certainly we as citizens can make our voices heard by voting.  Letters to the editor of a newspaper may be effective in some case; but  keep in mind that we are not attempting to Christianize sinners nor bring in the Kingdom of God now.  That will take place in the Millennium.  Then we will rule with Christ with the force of an iron rod.

Our only responsibility to sinners now 

But in this present Church age,  our responsibility is not to bring in Christ’s Kingdom. Rather, our business is to give people the Gospel. As sinners are converted and surrender to the Lordship of Christ,  Christ’s spiritual Kingdom continues to grow. When we do everything under the sun but give people the Gospel, we are disobeying Christ and not fulfilling His Great Commission of preaching the Gospel to the world and making disciples of those who believe.   That was Paul’s only agenda. Listen to him state this in I Corinthians 2:1-2. And I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency  of speech or of wisdom, declaring the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  That is the only agenda of  the Apostles in Acts and throughout the New Testament Epistles. We have no other agenda as a church in this Church Age.   Certainly we are to be salt and light in this present evil world system.  We are in no position to preach to others of a changed life,  if our own life is not changed and reflecting Christ. According to II Corinthians 5, our only agenda is to be Christ’s Ambassadors and take His message of salvation to the lost world around us. 

True, we are to have the reputation of the early Christians of  “turning the world upside down”.  That describes, not political or social revolution on our parts;  but simply  giving people the Gospel and allowing  God’s Spirit to make the revolutionary changes in the lives of those who receive Christ as Saviour and Lord.

The sin of covetousness.

 Rather than get involved in the dispute between the two brothers,  Jesus takes the occasion to warn about the sin of covetousness.  

Covetousness  is a sin.  It is the last of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20.   It is the sin that convinced Paul he was a sinner. Romans 7:7  It is the sin of desiring that which does not belong to me.  In fact, it is the sin of considering all my money and possessions as MINE, when in fact everything I own belongs to God.  I am simply a steward to use “my” money and “my” possessions  and “my”  time  and “my” energy in a way that brings glory to God.   Covetousness is desiring THINGS more than GOD.

Who is guilty of covetousness?

All of us are guilty of covetousness.  

The wealthy are guilty.  Jesus makes that point in the story He tells  in  Luke 12:16-21.    The slothful are covetous. See Proverbs 21:25-26  Able-bodied men and women  sit all day watching television, wishing they could be rich, but they won’t lift a finger to work to try to get ahead.  They would rather sit at home and depend on others to support them. 

False religious teachers are motivated by money. The false prophets of the Old Testament and the false teachers in our own age are motivated by money. Jeremiah 6:13-15  They, as the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, support their lavish life styles by devouring widow’s houses.  Matthew 23:14   II Peter 2:1-3  

Shame on preachers who set a price on their ministries.  They are a disgrace to the cause of Christ and cause His name to be blasphemed by Christ rejecters.  We will learn the way to conquer covetousness and materialism in our next message. 

September 11, 2006 - Posted by | Discipleship

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