Thursday, October 12, 2006


Affluenza Matthew 6:19-24

“Don’t collect for yourselves treasureson earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness! 24 “No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. Those nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; and from dependency to bondage (Alexander Tytler, 1748-1813). We are the Coles-Myer society. We may have 52 different varieties of Heinz beans we can eat only one kind at a time. There are more "things" in our world today than ever before. 1,200 to 1,500 new commodities appear each. You can buy 11 brands of toilet tissue in one, four, six, and eight packs and in various colours and patterns, five brands of dried spaghetti, 13 colas, 31 cat foods, and 20 barbecue sauces. Let's not even talk about restaurants, running shoes, cable TV channels and magazines! We've been stricken with Affluenza! The myth is that your happiness depends on getting a share of all this new loot. Ad agencies hire very clever people and pay them six-figure salaries to think of ways to make you think you need all these "things"! "Who says you can't have it all?" Reality says it, but people aren't listening. "We now live in a world of. . . constantly-appearing new things. . . that promise to fulfil our dreams for freedom and meaning. Consumer goods and the entire culture of consumption have become the focal points for human desire" (Lendol Calder in Critique, Issue #8-1990, p. 7). What really matters in life. . . to you? If I asked you what you believe are the top three things that most matter in life, what would you say? Our parents generation might have said God, family, and apple pie. The vacuum cleaner salesman we just saw might say money, sex, and power. Those in the MTV age might say Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Days of Our Lives! Not many people would say that temporal things like sports and money-making and celebrities are the most important things in life--they just act like it.This is an important question because what you truly value in life is often what you'll wind up getting. Be sure, then, that what really matters to you is what really matters!

Jesus Christ taught us what really matters in Matthew 16.24- 27: Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

Do you remember when the Great Temptation was on TV, or Let's Make a Deal, especially at the end of the show when people who'd won big prizes were given the chance to risk their winnings for the really big deal behind door number one, two, or three. Some gambled and won--cars, vacations, and bankrolls. Others gambled and lost. They had already won a great prize, but forfeited it for a worthless joke. Each one of us is invited to play a cosmic game of Let's Make a Deal, only the stakes in this game are much higher. You're invited to believe Jesus Christ when He says that matters of eternity--of the soul and spirit--are what really matter in life. Or you can bet that He's wrong and trade your soul for the temporal perks of this world, hoping to cash in when the curtains part at the end of time.

There was one TV show I used to hate, and I was glad that they took it off. Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous.
Solomon knew wealth didn't satisfy.
Ecclesiastes 1 I also amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I gathered male and female singers for myself, and many concubines, the delights of men. 9 Thus, I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; my wisdom also remained with me. 10 All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them. I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles. 11 When I considered all that I had accomplished and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind. There was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Prov 15:16 Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure with turmoil.
Prov 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. 5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
Prov 11:4 Wealth is not profitable on a day of wrath, but righteousness rescues from death.
1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
The problem is in our Affections.


v. 22-23 The eye is the window that lets the light in. The amount of light that comes in is dependent upon the condition or health of the eye. Single = healthy Evil = blurred
The eye is the lamp of the body. If you eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.”
Here’s the principle: Greed blinds. The bad eye or “evil” eye was a Jewish idiom for miserliness or selfishness. So in this teaching, Jesus is saying that if your eyes are bad, then your eyes are, as it were, blinded by greed in materialism - that is treasure on earth. We become so focused on possessions and the circumstances of life on this earth that we are blinded to investment opportunities God brings our way. We’re so distracted by the here and now that we can’t see the forevermore.
Luke 12: 16-21 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
What’s the point of His story? It’s this: He’s saying, “This guy had a conflict of interest: His interests verses God’s interests; earthly priorities verses heavenly priorities; personal possessions verses heavenly treasures.” He was also saying, “Learn from this guy. He got it all wrong. He had the “evil eye.” He was blinded to eternal investments because he was focused on his earthly stockpile. It’s a foolish and short-sighted way to live.”
Question is: are you spiritually minded or materially minded? Clear vision means you are spiritually minded…seeing things in perspective, w/ eternal values in full view. But materially minded people have a blurred vision of what life is truly all about.
Psalm 86: 10 For You are great and perform wonders; You alone are God. 11 Teach me Your way, Lord, and I will live by Your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name. (Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. KJV)
I vow to thee, my Saviour, all earthly things above, Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love: The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test, That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best; The love that never falters, the love that pays the price, The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
The Problem is in our Perceptions
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If you eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light... Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
What do you see? Do you see what you lack? Or do you see what you’ve got?
Do you see how God has richl blessed you, with the love of the Father? With friends and family that love and care for you? I mean really, that’s what really matters. Or do you see what you lack? Do you see what others have got? Why don’t you enjoy what God has given you?
1Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 17 HCSB Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. Can you enjoy a beautiful summers day? Or do you need a boat to enjoy it?
In Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Napoleon is marching on Moscow in 1812. Within a few days, the city is doomed to fall, so all the people are busy packing their possessions to evacuate. One wealthy count has more than thirty carts loaded with furniture and valuables in the courtyard of his mansion. But also in the courtyard and lining the streets of the city are wounded soldiers, waiting inevitable death at the hands of Napoleon’s advancing army. Suddenly, the count’s daughter sees it: possessions on the carts to be rescued; wounded people on the ground left to die. With tears in her eyes, she runs to her father, pleading to put the wounded on the carts. The count, who has a tender heart as well, sees the shame of it. The count quickly tells the servants to take the possessions off and put the wounded on. The servants, who one minute before were doing “the only thing there was to do” – were now doing the “only thing that could be done” – taking possessions off the carts and putting people on.
Let me ask you a question: What’s on your carts? Possessions? Things that take up our time and energy and money? Things that are temporary, that moth and rust will decay? Or people? What will be your joy and your crown when you stand before God, if you know Him.

Bob Dylan wrote in 1979 the words on a an Album, Slow Train Coming:

You gotta serve somebody
You may be an ambassador To England or France You might like to gamble You might like to danceYou may be the heavyweight Champion of the world You might be a socialite With a long string of pearls
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebodyWell it may be the Devil Or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebodyMight be a Rock-n-roll addict Prancing on the stage Money, Drugs at your commandWomen in a cage You may be a businessman Or some high DJV They may call you doctor Or they may call you chiefBut you’re gonna have to serve somebody Yes you are, you’re gonna have to serve somebodyWell it may be the Devil Or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
The Problem is in our Directions.
v. 24 Mammon = money or riches
“Serve” means to be a slave. And we all are ‘owned’ by someone or something. You may even feel you are your own boss…but you belong to someone, somewhere!
A man walked down street in Sydney wearing a sandwich board which read on the front, “I am a fool for Christ”. People walked by him and laughed, then looked back and saw the other side which read, “Whose fool are you?”
We all serve someone or something…and it’s a matter of our will.
I suspect that one of the reasons Christians are so ineffective in evangelism is that we are so much like the people around us that we have very little to which we can call them. . . As a result. . . Christianity is reduced to little more than a spiritual crutch to help us through the minefields of the upwardly mobile life. . .God has become a co- conspirator in our agendas instead of our becoming a co-conspirator in His. . . (Tom Sine).
Maybe a construction worker Workin’ on a home Might be living’ in a Mansion You might live in a domeYou may own guns And you may even own tanks You may be someone’s landlord You may even own banksBut you’re gonna have to serve somebody Yes, you’re gonna have to serve somebodyWell it may be the Devil Or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebodyMight like to wear cotton Might like to wear silk Might like to drink whiskeyMight like to drink milk Might like to eat caviar You might like to eat breadMaybe sleeping on the floor Sleepin’ in a king-size bed
You’re still gonna have to serve somebody Yes, you’re gonna have to serve somebodyWell it may be the Devil And it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
What does that mean in the context of serving two masters? It means simply this. There is no time off from being a follower of Jesus Christ in order to pursue things that are not consistent with being a follower of Jesus Christ. You belong exclusively to God OR you don't receive the benefits of belonging to Him.
You cannot claim to be a Christian and pursue things that are not consistent with the Christian faith, and hope to have a chance of getting through the difficult times of your life with God's divine light and help. It will not happen.
A follower of Jesus Christ cannot have divided loyalties. We cannot have the benefits of a love-relationship with God on our terms. A complete relationship with God is, in fact, conditional. It is predicated on a desire and a tangible effort on your part to strive for personal holiness as you learn about it from God's Word. To put it in modern terms, "it's God's way or the highway." There is no in-between. And Jesus said, you must choose which master you're going to follow–God or money.
Several years ago, construction workers were laying a foundation for a building outside the city of Pompeii. They found the corpse of a woman who must have been fleeing from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius but was caught in the rain of hot ashes. The woman's hands clutched jewels, which were preserved in excellent condition. She had the jewels, but had lost her life.
That's the bottom line, friends. Worldly treasures are not wise investments because you can't take them with you–they have no eternal value.
Jim Elliot, a missionary who was martyred for his faith, understood this reality when he wrote in his journal, "A person is no fool to give up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose."

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