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10/21/18 Sermon

Sermon October 21, 2018

Mark 10:23-31 

 

Heavenly Father, we come to bring You our heartfelt thanks. We come to be near to You to hear what Your word says to our lives. Teach us to love what You command, even when it is hard for us to understand, that we might show Your love to those around us. This we ask in CHRIST’s holy name. Amen.

Good things in bad hands are dangerous.

 

Take a scalpel, for example. In the hands of a skilled surgeon, it’s a good thing, a healing thing. But in my hand I’d probably inflict harm on you or myself!

 

A gun is another example. Not a problem in the hands of a responsible hunter, very bad in the hands of a criminal. Medications are good when taken according to Drs. orders, but dangerous and lethal when used for the wrong reasons. Even computers - what a blessing they can be to make our lives so much easier; but how harmful in the hands of those who would steal your identity.

 

And so it’s with wealth. Money, riches, great possessions are not bad in and of themselves; but put them in the hearts of sinful people, trouble is sure to follow.

We may not think of wealth on the same plane with guns, knives, drugs, and computer hackers, but consider the pain in families over as they fight for the inheritance.

Money often causes strife in marriages. People get trampled - and even killed - by hoards rushing to stores on Black Friday. Not to mention the temptation to gamble and the lure of the lottery and who knows how many other get-rich-quick schemes. How many parents spend less time with their children because they believe they need more money? How often does our relationship with God take a back seat to the pursuit of wealth?

Wealth is a deceitful false gods. We love it, we serve it, we fear not having it. The desire for more so easily captures our hearts and minds. We think it is the solution to all our problems.

That’s why Jesus said, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were in shock, when Jesus told the wealthy young ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor. The logical question: “Then who can be saved?”

 

In Ecclesiastes we heard about riches of King Solomon and the mistakes he made. Solomon wasn’t just rich, he was, as one commentary said, filthy rich. And so under the inspiration of the HOLY SPIRIT, Solomon warns: “he who loves money will never be satisfied … this is vanity.”

 

So what’s the answer?

The answer is to examine our hearts and lives and come clean with Jesus. People don’t have to have riches to love something else more than God.

Peter thought getting rid of everything might be the answer. Good ol’ quick fix Peter! “See, we have left everything and followed you,” he says. And Jesus tells him: “Whatever you’ve left for my sake and the Gospel, you’ll get back a hundredfold.” Our LORD doesn’t mean we must live in poverty. He wants us to enjoy and be thankful for what He’s given us. He wants us to willingly share what He has entrusted to us.

 

It's Jesus’ poverty that saves us. The eternal Son of God became poor for us, not even having a place to lay His head. Jesus left His throne and his royal court of angels to be surrounded by a dozen bungling disciples.

The One who bowed His head in death all because of our “me 1st” attitude, always wanting just a little bit more. He did so to make us a part of His kingdom…to receive His inheritance. By His perfect life, undeserved death, and triumphant resurrection, we receive the riches of His forgiveness. Jesus did only what God could do. He saved you and me.

So that’s where Jesus wants your attention. All this other stuff He gives us to enjoy, but not at the expense of Him. He loves you too much to let you fall victim to the temptation the evil one puts in front of you.

When we choose heavenly significance over temporal success, Jesus gives us whatever is best for us.

After calling us to live crucified lives, our LORD makes this promise: “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”. Whether the world knows us or not, our LORD will make our lives far more satisfying than we can make them on our own. Our Father promises us: “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Jesus taught us: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” if you have plenty, share with those in need. If you have little, rejoice that your life is free from the clutter. But in all things, give thanks. Amen