#367 - TWO WAYS TO SEE (8/6/21)
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. Today, we consider the choice between two ways of seeing.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
How we see life reveals who we truly are. A Christian’s vision for life is transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit in them. They are ‘a new creation’ and see life in a new way now that they know the Father.
This metaphor of how we see, in context, is also about our attitude, use, and pursuit of wealth. Jesus tells us that the healthy way of seeing renders our body ‘full of light’, and the unhealthy way of seeing renders us ‘full of darkness’. We are full of darkness if we have an outlook that serves money- seeing life as getting as much as you can. Money becomes an idol when we serve it. Christians, alternatively, are to see life as serving the Father. They don’t take the paths of the greatest monetary return.
We have a choice between two paths; the first has an outlook that serves money and wealth. The second enjoys what the Father provides and serves Him with it.
The world, the flesh and the devil are continually seeking to inspire us with a vision of life that is centred around wealth. None of us is ever free from this snare. In fact, as we get older, we can become more vulnerable to a comfortable wealth-centred vision of life.
Vision is a picture of the future which motivates us to action. How do you keep your vision for living for Jesus hot? What fuel do you put on the fire of your heart? Reading inspiring biographies is a great cleanser to our spiritual vision. Anything by John Pollock, I’ve always found to be very inspiring. Here is an extract from his life of George Whitefield to inspire your vision for faith and generosity.
‘As he (George Whitefield and a friend road through the wild border country they came to a village where they met a widow woman whose goods were about to be taken for debt, so George gave here five gold guineas. His friend remonstrated, saying it was more than he could properly afford. He got the reply, with the affectionate smile which erased any impression of smugness: ‘When God brings a case of distress before us, it is that we may relieve it.’
They rode on into the hills. A highwayman sprang out at them, pistol cocked. They had no escape. The highwayman cantered off with the contents of their pockets. George could not resist a dig at his friend: ‘Was it not better the widow had those five guineas than that thief?’
Suddenly, they heard the gallop of hooves behind them. They reined in and to their dismay saw the highwayman again, who shouted at George: ‘Give me your coat. It’s better than mine.’ They rode on once more with George in a tattered garment smelling of whisky. About ten minutes later they heard hooves again, coming yet more furiously. This time they could see some cottages down below them, not far off, and fearing lest the highwayman meant to kill for their horses the two fled for their lives, pursued with blood-curdling yells, ‘Stop! Stop!’
They reached the cottages where the highwayman dared not follow.
When Whitfield took off the filthy coat he found why he had yelled to them to stop. A purse containing a hundred guineas was sewn into the lining.’ (John Pollock. George Whitefield and the Great Awakening)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - TWO PATHS
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What is the most enjoyable or memorable walk that you've been on and what makes it so memorable?
Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount.
Through Matthew 6:19-34 we will see that Jesus presents two choices using four different metaphors (two treasures, two ways to see, two masters and two attitudes). Each of these ways to live have the same basic idea: we can serve the Father or we can serve or be mastered by wealth, we cannot serve or be mastered by both!
i) TWO TREASURES - Please read Matthew 6:19-21
Knowing God as Father revolutionises what we treasure and how we use money. Jesus wants us to be clear, it's how we use our wealth that stores treasure in Heaven. Every Christian is to pray regularly "Your Kingdom, your will..." regarding their possessions, time and talents.
ii) TWO WAYS OF SEEING - Please read Matthew 6:22-23
Knowing God as Father transforms how we see life. As we come to know the Father, we see life through the lens of serving His Kingdom and will rather than money.
iii) TWO MASTERS - Please read Matthew 6:24
Knowing God as Father means that we no longer serve money as our master. In a slavery situation, one could not serve two masters. You cannot serve the demands of wealth whilst saying that you serve the Father. Wealth says, “Take this educational route… take this job…marry this person…live here…invest me like this…and you will be happy and safe!” The Father must be given rights over every decision and this may not make financial sense.
iv) TWO ATTITUDES - Please read Matthew 6:25-34
Knowing God as Father means we are free from worry about our needs. A poor view of God fills us with worry. When we know the Father, His perfect loves casts out fear. We are free to trust and be generous.
A simple application is to invest in your relationship with the Father through prayer out of His word. Making time to meditate and pray will deepen our relationship with the Father.
Secondly, pray about your use of money. A very practical application is to pray about your giving to your local church.
1. Did God Speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?
2. Which of the four metaphors do you find most challenging and why?
3. Why does knowing the Father revolutionise our relationship with money?
4. Please read Matthew 6:33. In light of what we've seen in this chapter of Matthew, what does this mean?
5. It might be good to pray for one another out of the message of this week's text.
Serving, Investing and inviting
1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting that you'd like to share?
2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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