Sortable Messages

Stop Striving to Make Money

Good morning,

The text that we’re going to be looking into today is in Matthew, Chapter 6. In particular, we are going to be looking at verses 25-34. So, if you could turn with me to Matthew 6:25, we will begin by reading through the text. If you are using the pew Bibles, the text begins on page 811.


So, here we are, Matthew 6:25-34:


25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,

29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


Let’s Pray.


Unfortunately, I believe that debt is a common problem for most of America. I myself struggle with it to some degree, as I own a house. I would bet that I am an not unique in this room in my experience dealing with debt. Debt is a difficult thing to handle. Composed of a relationship between a you and your creditor where you are obligated by law to make payments to the creditor to pay off your debt. The relationship between you and your creditor can often resemble a relationship between a slave and a slave owner. I believe that many of you know all too well the implications of what would happen if you stopped paying your creditor. Take your mortgage for example. What would happen if you stopped paying your mortgage? Your creditor would probably call you and demand that you pay your payments. If this continued for a season, the bank would end up kicking you out, taking your house, leaving you with nothing.


This is a problem. You need a house, you have a family. So what happens to you? You work. And you don’t just work, you work day and night. The relationship that once was so appealing to you now begins to feel like slavery because you don’t want to lose your house. In your slavery, you begin to clear out everything in your life that keeps you from working to keep your house. You give up time with your family. You sacrifice time with the Church. After all, your work is during church house and you can’t lose your house. You spend all of your time and energy working as hard as you can to make sure that you satisfy the demands of the bank so that you do not lose your house and put your family on the streets.


Can you see it? I am sure that many of you are like me and have experienced a measure of this in your lives. This is an example of what it is like to worry about money.


Thankfully, there is a remedy for this problem found in our text this morning. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus teaches us the cure for our worries and anxieties.


This morning I want to divide up the text into three main points. The first is going to be a couple prohibitions, the second is going to be an exhortation, and the third is going to be a question and an answer. So, I think it would be fitting if we begin with our first point:


Don’t worry about money. Stop striving to make money.

The text is very clear about the point of this passage. In verse 25 all the way through the text and ending with verse 34, Jesus commands His disciples not to worry. In particular, he tells them not to worry about what they are to eat, or drink, or wear. In other words, he tells them not to worry about money.


Now, in this text, I want to draw out something very important. Something that is absolutely essential in understanding this command to not worry and the overall meaning of this text. Let’s begin by reading verse 25:


25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?


Let’s look at this text again:


25 Therefore I tell you


Why? Why is he telling us not to be anxious? “Therefore”. What does “therefore” mean? Let’s look back at the verse preceding our text this morning, verse 24:


24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.


Right there’s our answer. Question: Why does Jesus not want us to worry about money? Answer: We are not able to serve two masters. We cannot serve both God and money.


Hmm, how does that work? I get that a rich or greedy person might be serving money rather than God, but a poor person? Someone who doesn’t love money and is barely surviving?


Right, this is a good question, and understanding how this concept works out drives us to the very heart of the text this morning.


I think that it would probably be most fitting for me to explain this concept using an example from my own life:


As many of you know, my family has recently been walking through a very blessed and trying time. In a single day, nearly all of the work that I had dried up before my eyes. This situation forced me to trust in God daily for our provision. However, living in this faith from day to day is something that is continuously a struggle. Constantly I feel the temptation to serve money rather than God. The temptation goes like this: When I don’t have money, I feel the weight of the needs on my back. I feel the pressure and shame like a whip lacerating my back, saying, “Get to work!” However, I hear God in the background telling me to trust Him. To pray with Him, to read His word, to love His church. And the temptation is to say: “I do not have the time God. I have to work to provide for us.” How damnable is that sentence. How much clearer can it be that at the point in which this word proceeds from my mouth, in which the actions go forth from my hands, that I am serving money, and not God. I think this concept is exactly how those who are poor and worry about their needs end up serving money rather than God.


Take particular note of this: When I am worried about my money and our needs, I feel my hand forced to tell God no. Who is the true master over me in those times? God? or money? Who am I obeying in those times? God? Or money?


This is the reason why Christ is commanding us not to worry: We cannot serve two masters. It is either God, or its money, but not both.


Now, this is not the only reason that Jesus gives us the command not to worry.


There is another reason that Jesus gives in verse 25. Let’s read it again:


25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?


In this verse Jesus is saying that there is so much more to life than food; so much more to the body than clothing. But whenever people worry about these things, they make it seem like their entire existence is revolving around being fed and being clothed (i.e., having money). Let me give you an example of this. Take your smart phone for instance. I don’t think that any of you would say that the purpose of your smartphone is to be clothed in a beautiful case. You would say, “Of course not!” Your smartphone is to be used for so much more than simply sitting in a beautiful case. You did not buy the smartphone to fit the case. You bought the case to fit your phone! There is so much more to the phone than the case!


In the same way, there is so much more to the body than clothing. There is so much more to life than food! But what a shame! People live their whole existence wrapped around the concept of money! Most of us have been taught that we need to get a good education to get a high paying job and a nice house. To work our lives away to make as much money as we can for a good retirement. Lee has preached a few years ago about the reason people move to a new location. When people ask them why they are moving, they often reply, “I got a higher paying job.” To which we then respond, “Oh ok.” As if that makes sense!


Life is more than money! Life is more than a good job, nice house, and a retirement! You were made for so much more than making money.


Jesus also tells us not to worry because worrying about these things does no good. Look at verses 26-27:


26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?


In verse 27, Jesus is communicating that our anxiety is not able to help us in achieving what we want. This is made much clearer when we look at a parallel text in the Gospel of Luke. In the Gospel of Luke, Luke records what appears to be a parallel of this passage in Luke 12:22-34. Look at the similarities in this passage between Luke’s Gospel and Matthews. In particular, I want you to notice the extra text that Luke’s Gospel adds that helps give clarity on the meaning. Luke 12:24-26:


24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.

25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?


In other words, our anxieties don’t help. Our fears, with all of the list of reasons why we feel like it would be helpful to keep them around, are all lies. Fear doesn’t help us at all! Far from being helpful to us, fear keeps us from trusting in God which, results in our harm.


Finally, Jesus gives us a second prohibition. This prohibition is not as explicitly stated in the text as the command not to worry, but it is still very much a command in the text that we need to see and apply to our own lives. Here is the command:


Stop Striving to to make money


This is the command that I think will hit hardest to most of us. Especially since we are in a society so focused on self and money. Everywhere we go, the culture and our internal desires encourage us to seek after things, and in the end, we make it our top priority to make money.



But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the text to see what the text has to say. Look with me at Matthew 6:31-32:


Matthew 6:31.


31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”

32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.


So, in this text, the command given to us is not to be anxious. Jesus then proceeds to tell us a manifestation of our anxiety, namely, that we would be asking the questions, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”. And finally, Jesus gives us two reasons why we should not be this way:


  1. Because the Gentiles seek after all these things.
  2. Because God knows that we need them.

In this text, I want to focus on the first of these. So, my argument is that we should not be those that seek these things. But there is a problem with this in the text. The text doesn’t say that. The text says, “Do not be anxious” and “For the Gentiles seek after all these things.” The text does not say, “Do not seek after all these things.” Nevertheless, the command is there, we just have to open our eyes to see it. Let me give you a few reasons why I believe that Jesus wants us to refrain from seeking to make money.


First, Jesus uses the fact the Gentiles seek these things as a reason why we shouldn’t worry. By showing us that this is something that the Gentiles do, and by contrasting that with our temptation to be anxious, Jesus is explaining to us that we should not be like the Gentiles. We should not be characterized by seeking after these things!


Second, when Jesus lists out the questions that exemplify our anxiety, the questions are “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”. We can easily pass over these questions, without thinking into them too much. But I think that the key to understanding this instruction is found in asking the question, why? Why would we ask these questions? What is in the text that might show us the reason behind why we would be anxious, being tempted to ask these questions? I think there are several possibilities that this text could give us as to why these questions would be asked, but I think that one of those answers is really helpful in understanding this passage.


I think the answer to this question lies in the following verse, “For the Gentiles seek after all these things”. In other words, I think the flow of the logic goes like this. You are actively trying to provide for your needs. It is a top priority on your list and you are actively seeking it. Jesus comes along and says to you stop seeking it. Stop putting this at the top of your priorities. And then you get angry and anxious. You begin to say to Jesus, “Lord, if I am not making these things a top priority in my life, then what am I going to do? What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? If I am not actively pursuing these things, we will starve! We will be thirsty! We will be naked!”


Do you see that? Do you see how the questions were the same? When you, a person that strives with all your might to make money, come to Jesus and He says to you, “Stop. Stop seeking these things.” Then you, in your sinful and anxious heart, respond with the questions we see here in the text.


Third, if you look at the parallel of this text in the Gospel of Luke, Luke records Jesus as having given the command directly. The text parallels Matthew’s account so closely, but Luke has things worded a little more directly. Let’s take a moment to look at the parallel text in Luke 12:29. I want you to be on the lookout for the parallel of the passage portrayed clearly in the form of a command.


Luke 12:29-30


29 And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.

30 For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.


The command is much clearer in Luke’s Gospel: Do not seek these things! Stop seeking to make money!


So… If we are not supposed to seek after money. If we are commanded to even keep from worrying about money. For both of those lead to becoming a slave to money. What are we to do?


Here is the admonition:

Seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness

Let’s pick up this concept by reading Matthew 6:31-33. Turn with me there and we can read it together.


Matthew 6:31-33


31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”

32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


The text makes this command very clear. Jesus is calling us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”. This command is a key hinge on which this text hangs. This text is one of the main reasons in which it is essential that we interpret this text in light of the verse on serving two masters, verse 24.


Jesus wants our entire lives. He wants to be our entire focus, not money. He makes this very clear that His goal is our obedience to Him in verses 32-33.


32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


The main point in this passage is not about worrying. The main point of this passage is about seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness. The main point of this passage is about getting out from underneath slavery to money and getting up under the wings of our Lord.


So please do not be deceived! Jesus wrote this entire passage to tell you that he wants you to belong to Him. If you serve other masters, whether it is the approval of man in verse 1 or money in verse 24, you have no inheritance with the Father. Jesus makes this very clear in verse 1. Look with me at Chapter 6 verse 1:


1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your father who is in heaven.


Jesus makes this concept very clear throughout Chapter 6. It is an either or situation. Take a look at verses 2, 4, 5, 6, 14, 15, 16, 17, 24, 32, and 33. It is all over. Either man’s praise, or God’s. Either earthly reward, or heavenly. Either forgive and be forgiven, or withhold forgiveness and be condemned. Either serve God, or serve money.


But how. How do we keep from seeking or worrying about money? How can we possibly do that? We have needs! I have needs, you have needs! How can we seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness first? We don’t have that kind of time! We don’t have that kind of money! If we don’t work, if we don’t save, we will be on the streets and die!


This leads us to our final point:


Question: How can I possibly serve God and not money? Answer: God grants us freedom to obey Him through faith in His gracious promises


Remember the illustration that I gave at the beginning of the sermon? The one about being unable to pay your mortgage? In that example, your funds to be able to pay your mortgage fell out from under your feet. Your stability crashed to the floor. And what were you forced to do? Work. Hard. All day long. And to what cause? To work for money to keep your house.


But what if you didn’t have to work this way? What if someone that you loved came alongside you and said they wanted you to work for them? What if they promised you that if you worked for them that they would take care of your mortgage payments? Not only would they take care of your mortgage payments, but they would also buy all your clothes? Not only would they take care of your mortgage payments, and your clothes, but would also provide you with every bit of food and drink that you might need? And if that is not enough, what if they told you that they would take care of all of those thing and provide you with a salary of $250 Million dollars for your efforts, and that money will never be able to be stolen or tax deducted?


If that sounds like something that is too good to be true, truly, truly, I tell you that this text says something even greater. In this text, Jesus gives us promise after promise, grace upon grace, in order that we might be freed from slavery to money and able to serve Him.


This concept is one of the greatest truths of this text, and Christ illustrates it beautifully. Let’s look at the text again in order to see the gracious promises that Christ gives to us.


Look at verse 26.


26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?


Look at this text, how Jesus uses the analogy of the birds. Jesus not only tells us that He will take care of feeding us, but He does it by telling us about how God feeds the birds.


This argument is called an argument from the lesser to the greater. It works by establishing a principle applied to something really small, and then showing how it must be true for something that is greater. In this case, Jesus is trying to show us in an overwhelming way that God will indeed provide for our needs.


A good example of this would be with a car. If I have a friend named Tim, Tim loves his car. I mean Tim takes such good care of his car. He spend about $10,000 dollars a year investing in improving his car. He has big chrome wheels, leather seats, and a moon roof. Whenever he pats his car, he parks on the line between two parking spaces and still puts out cones to keep others away so that it won’t get a scratch. He cleans and waxed it every day and makes everyone riding in it use coasters. If I were then to ask you whether or not Tim is willing to give his car the gas it needs to run you would think I’m stupid. You would probably say, “Of course Tim is willing to give his car gas, he spends so much time and money making sure to keep his car functioning well in all the things that don’t really matter. If he does that much for what doesn’t matter, of course he would take care of something that is so essential to driving the car.” The concept that Jesus is applying is the same: If God feeds the birds, who are so insignificant and who do so little to feed themselves, how much more will feed us, who are far more important.



Jesus applies the same concept in verse 28-30 in regard to the lilies.


Look at verses 28-30.


28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,

29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?


The concept is the exact same. God takes care of the little things, and He wants to show us in an overwhelming way that He will take care of us.


So this is what Jesus does. In looking at our poor condition and temptation to worry and seek after money, looking out for our own self interests, Jesus gives us promises. Promises to take care of us. Promises that free us from worry, from slavery to money, and allow us to completely serve God unhindered. Look at His command and promise in verse 33:


Matthew 6:33


33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


Therefore we can have hope, we can live in faith that God will make good on His promises and be motivated, in our every thought, our every word, our every deed, to submit to the Lordship of our new master, Christ Jesus. Jesus obtains our obedience by providing for us all we need in order to follow Him completely.


But I would like to take a minute here. There is a problem with a view on the text. Do you see it? The question might be rising in your head, “If God promises to take care of our needs if we seek and serve Him, then why have so many Christians through the ages gone hungry, naked, and thirsty?” This is a good question Church, and, unfortunately, I do not have this one completely figured out. I understand that there are times in which God allows us to go hungry or thirsty or naked because it is our time to die, and I don’t think that this text is nullified in those times. There are other times in which God allows us to go hungry or thirsty or naked in order to learn a lesson.


However, one of the commentators that I was reading on this passage posed this same question. In his mind, he believed that this question might be best answered in light of Luke 12:33.


However, before we go there to answer that question, I want to take an aside to ask this question: What does it look like to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness?


Recently, as my family has been walking through this time of testing, I thought to myself about how God was going to fulfill this promise to me. As strange as it sounds, I had thought that it needed to be miraculous. In other words, I go to the mail one day and all of a sudden there is a check for the exact amount that we need. But as I thought about it, I realized that this obviously wasn’t the case. I remembered back to the passages in the Old Testament law, and how God had given certain commands to the Israelites as to how they were to take care of their poor brothers and sisters. In particular, you can see this in Deuteronomy 15.


Note verse 11.


11 “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’


Then it hit me, in that moment, that one of the primary ways in which God would answer His promise to provide for us is through our brothers and sisters.


Therefore, I believe that one of the great ways in which we fulfill the command “to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” is by giving to take care of our brothers and sisters in need.


Ok, now, jump back to text. We are going to look at Luke 12:33.


Luke 12:33


33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.


After writing a passage directly parallel to that in Matthew 6:25-34, Luke demonstrates this command of Jesus: To sell your possessions and give to charity.


So, how do we fit this together with the passage in Matthew? I think Luke just answered it for us. Although seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness in this passage probably means serving God in whatever command He gives, it seems apparent that one of the important implications of that text is that we would take care of the needy and the poor among us. Not only this, but this has direct application to God’s promises that He gave in order to provide for our needs. One of the main ways that God will keep His promises to His children is through the direct hand of His other children.


In other words, as you trust God to provide for your needs, acting in faith, you then proceed to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. One of the implications of seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness is that you will extend your hand out to help your poor brothers and sisters. In extending your hand to help out your poor brothers and sisters, you are making good on God’s promise to them that He would provide for them. In seeing the faithfulness of God’s promise, they are then filled with an increase in faith to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and give in the same way.


In the end, God is faithful on all of His promises, and all of His children are provided for. But you might be tempted to think: Ok, that sounds great, but will that really work? The answer is yes, and the scripture says so. Take a moment to turn with me to Acts 4:32-35:


Acts 4:32-35


32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.

33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.

34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales

35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.


Notice in the text, verse 34, “there was not a needy person among them.” This is God making good on all of His promises to his children. But how did he do it? How was it that there was not a needy person among them?


34 “For all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales

35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.


In this text, we see what true obedience to the commands of Christ looks like. The disciples had listened to the words of Christ and obeyed them. Rather than just blowing over the weighty and difficult words of, “Sell your possessions and give to charity”. Through their faith in the promises of God, they were able to sell their possessions and give to those who were in need (i.e., seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness). In giving to those in need, God made good on His promise that he would take care of them all. And so the circle goes.


Isn’t it interesting to note that it was the passage in Luke that had the command calling us to sell our possessions and give to the poor? Seeing as it was also Luke who was the author of the book of Acts? It might have been that Luke was trying to give us a direct example of what obedience to Christ’s commands looked like in the early church.


Church. I want to be very clear to address some misconceptions about wisdom. It is not wisdom to store up for yourselves treasures on this earth. It is not wisdom to have a large savings account of money for yourself so that you can trust in it. It is not wisdom to trust in your job, your house, your savings, or your stocks.


As our family has walked through this season, I praised God for the opportunity to have our faith tested. The amazing chance to see whether or not our faith was truly built upon the foundation that does not move. The reality is, we often deceive ourselves into believing that our rock is Christ. That if everything that we have is taken away from us, we will still be solid, clinging to the one true anchor. But is this true? If we lose our job, will we still stand firm? Or will we cave? Will we be riddled with anxiety? Or will our trust be proven to be built upon the one who has always provided for our needs? I found myself at least partially deceived, trusting in the security of my job.


Let me preach this loud and clear for those of you who might be deceived. Contrary to your belief, your job is as trustworthy as a castle made of sand. When the wind and the waves come, and crash agains the castle, everything, everything falls apart! Then what is left? Is Christ our trust? What about your savings? What about your Dave Ramsey plan? Do you know what happens to your Dave Ramsey plan when you get cancer that is powerful and pervasive and you lose your job? And hurricane Harvey comes through and wipes away your house and all your possessions and all you have worked so hard for for so many years? Sand. The insurance won’t cover it? Sand. Your retirement stocks plummet to the ground? Sand. It won’t last! It washes away like sand! The question remains, a question that I praise God for the opportunity to get to answer: When the sand washes away, will Christ remain? Will your house still stand?


You can try it. You can build your house full of sand and hope that it stands on the day of trial. And you know the truth, it might just work. But let me tell you this truth, you will have no reward in eternity. None. But if, in faith, you pursue Christ, seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, freely and liberally giving to your brothers and sisters in need, not only will you have your needs provided for on the rainy day by the measurable promises of Christ. But you will have immense, eternal, unfailing treasures in heaven.


Conclusion

Finally, brothers and sisters. I want to ask of you this question. Is the concept of serving God by resting in God’s gracious promises something that is unique to this text? You know the answer to this: no. This is the entire Christian life. The concepts presented in this text parallel so closely with the entire message of the Christian life it is astounding! Name some graces that Christ has given us. Everlasting life!

Everlasting love! Provision! Family! Friendship!

Acceptance! The whole world!


But why!? Why did He give us these things? You might answer, “To set us free from the slavery!” And you are right! But what does that mean!? Did He free us so that we might walk around willy nilly and do whatever we want? After all, Galatians 5:1 says:


1 “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”


May it never be! Christ set us free from the yoke of slavery so that we could serve Him! So that we could be His slaves! But look at 1 Peter 2:16:


16 “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.”


Brothers and sisters, let’s give God praise today for His great promises through which He has done everything necessary to make a way for our unhindered obedience to Him. It is through faith in those promises, and faith alone, that we are able to obey and follow Him as our Lord and Savior.


I have recently seen this magnificent lesson manifest in the great children’s series VeggieTales. In particular, this is manifest in the episode about Saint Nicholas. In this episode, Saint Nicholas is a young child with very generous parents. His parents are constantly helping others and giving of their time and money to help those in need. Saint Nicholas doesn’t understand this concept, rather, he thinks that they need to keep their food for themselves so that they will have enough. Nicholas’s father tried to teach Nicholas about the reason why they gave so much of their life away. Sadly, Nicholas didn’t listen. In addition, there is a time when Saint Nicholas’ parents leave him at home so that they can go take care of the sick and dying. Saint Nicholas remarks that he wishes that they stay home so that they don’t get sick. Unfortunately, his parents end up dying from the sickness that they obtained by helping those in sickness. After their death, Nicholas runs away in search of what will bring him happiness. After he unsuccessfully tries to find happiness, he finds a nun at the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem who is giving out bread to the poor. Surprised by her happiness, he asks her if she gives food away so that she can be happy. She then explains and sings to him a song that his dad had sung to him when he was younger. A song that explains one of the greatest truths manifest in the scriptures. The song goes like this:


I can love because God loves me.

I can give because God gave.

Jesus' love is why I'm smiling;

Why I'm giving every day.


When the clouds are dark above me,

When the world is cold and gray,

I remember how He loves me;

And again you'll hear me say:


I can love because God loves me.

I can give because God gave.

Jesus' love is why I'm smiling;

Why I'm giving every day.


To those of you who are not believers here this morning, I want you to see that the magnificent promises of God are held out to you this morning. But I want to inform you of a very special promise, the promise of salvation for all those who believe in Jesus. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, thereby incurring nothing from God but everlasting life and praise. Nevertheless, He chose to take wrath, rather than life and praise. In doing so, He was killed, and stood beneath all the wrath of God. You might ask, why? The answer is love. He knew that God is just, and that in order for us to be saved from the wrath of God, someone would have to be punished for all of our crimes. Wanting to save us, to keep us from having to endure the wrath of God, he took the punishment for us. And now, he has given us the most amazing promise: That if we believe in what He did, trusting in the truth that His sacrifice freed us from all of the wrath of God, and thereby we turn and repent from our evil deeds and love and serve Him, we might have everlasting life. If you will turn today, and believe, trusting, being moved to repentance and subsequent obedience, then all these promises will be yours. Please turn today. Take hold of the promises while they are extended.


For I want to also give you a warning. If you reject the promises. If you continue to be unbelieving and continue to live a life serving other things rather than God, then that wrath that Christ took will not be shielded from you. And you yourself will have to stand before the wrath of God on the day of judgement. And that wrath is horrible. And eternal fire burning those who are evil night and day for all eternity. The justice of God is not to be mocked, He will repay for all the evil deeds that have been done. For us, those deeds were repaid on Christ, as it stands, those deeds will be repaid to you. Please turn, and follow Christ, and rejoice in the God who gave His own life to save yours this morning.