#368 - TWO MASTERS (9/6/21)
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. Today, we consider the choice between two masters: The Father or money.
Recently, I happened to overhear the numbers being called out for the National Lottery. As I heard the string of numbers I thought to myself, If only I’d known these numbers a couple of hours ago, I’d be rich right now! However, the reality is that I’m not God. I’m not outside of time. I can’t know a thing before it’s happened… but I know someone who does and He has told me all the ‘money secrets’ that we actually need!
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
This text makes it clear that serving money is a temptation for most people. In a slavery situation, one could not serve two masters. Likewise, we cannot serve the demands of wealth whilst saying that we serve the Father. Wealth makes demands of us. 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!”
Jesus is urging us to make the Father our master. The Father is to be given rights over every decision and this may not make financial sense. The Father is a good master who love’s us and wants the best for us. God warns us,
'Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.’ (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
If I were to be honest I would say, “Yes, I want to be rich”. Sorry if I’ve ruined your lofty opinion of me! The issue I believe is not about our wanting to be rich - that may be God’s path for us. The problem comes when I live to try to get rich and make wealth, rather than serving God’s Kingdom, my goal.
How many churches, charities and individuals have been blessed through wealthy people! To be wealthy is a gift and a great responsibility. God even calls it a gift,
‘We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.’ (Romans 12:6-8)
But you cannot serve two masters. We should all earn as much as we can and give as much as we can as we prayerfully follow the Father.
Are we prayerfully doing all we can with what we’ve got? Are we wasting money or putting it to good use? Are we using all of our wealth and capacities in service to the Father.
Our motives toward wealth are not always easy to discern. However, one thing I know for sure, If we’re not being sacrificially generous with what we have already, having more is probably not good for us and having more won’t make you more generous. Make the Father your master right now with what you’ve got!
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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