Finances – Part II. Our Real Problem Is…

The title of this morning’s sermon is, “Finances – Part II: Our Real Problem Is…”

Before we discuss finances, we’re going to briefly discuss habits…

We generally think of the Bible discussing addictions or being enslaved to sin, but we should also keep in mind the Bible discusses habits. We can develop
habits, and those habits can be good or bad, productive or unproductive.

Here are a few habits mentioned in Scripture…

1 Tim 5:13 [says younger widows

get IN THE HABIT of being] idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought
not.

Younger ladies who have lost their husbands could develop a habit of going from house-to-house being gossips and busybodies.

1 Cor 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
It’s possible to spend time with evil company, believe it won’t negatively affect you, when in fact it will corrupt – or ruin – your good habits.

 

Heb 10:25 [Let us]
not [forsake] assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner
(or most translations like the NIV, ESV and NAS say “habit”) of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

The use of the word habit in this verse is perfect. You only need to think about your time in the church to see most people fall into one
of two groups:

· You have people who make gathering together w/ other believers a habit. Worshipping w/ the body of Christ on the Lord’s Day is part of their lives. They
plan for it and they plan around it.

· And you have other people whose habit is forsaking gathering together w/ other believers.

The point is we can develop habits, and w/ this understanding in mind, I want to submit to you that this relates to finances too. And this brings us to
Lesson 1…

LESSON 1: (PART I) YOU CAN DEVELOP THE HABIT OF WASTING OR SAVING MONEY.

Wasting money and saving money are both habit forming. You might notice the word “or” in the lesson, b/c you can’t do both: you can’t be in the habit of
wasting money while also being in the habit of saving money. This might sound a little unnecessary for me to say, but I’ve spoken w/ people who waste money
and they’ll justify their actions by telling you how much they’re saving. But the truth is you’re either in the habit of wasting money or you’re in the
habit of saving money. Saying you’re in the habit of doing both is like saying a plane can fly in two different directions.

For some people wasting money moves from being a habit to an addiction, or to use biblical language we would say they become slaves to wasting money.
Listen to these quotes, which are from women, but there could be plenty of men w/ the same problem:


  • “Michelle feared the day her husband might discover her secret stash of credit cards, her secret post office box or the other tricks she used to
    hide how much money she spent shopping for herself. She said, ‘I make as much money as my husband and if I want a $500 suit from Ann Taylor, I
    deserve it and don’t want to be hassled about it. So the easiest thing to do is lie.’ Last year, when her husband forced her to destroy one of her
    credit cards, she went out and got a new one without telling him. She also said, ‘I do live in fear. If he discovers this new VISA, he’ll kill
    me.’”
  • Another woman said:

    “Men just don’t understand that shopping is our drug of choice,” even while admitting that some months her entire salary goes to paying the minimum
    balance on her credit cards. She added, ‘Walking through the door of South Coast Plaza is like walking through the gates of heaven. God made car
    trunks for women to hide shopping bags in.’”
  • Another woman said:

    “Shopping is my recreation. It’s my way of pampering myself. When you walk into [a mall] and you see all the stores, it’s like something takes over
    and you get caught up in it.”

These women don’t just have a habit of wasting money, they’re slaves to wasting to money.

If you happen to be like one of these women – whether you’re male or female – I want to encourage you that your habit of wasting money can become a habit
of saving money. If we build on last week’s sermon, we can think of putting off wasting money and putting on saving money. Believe it or not, you can begin
to enjoy saving.

Let me describe a few things that can become very enjoyable even to people used to be in the habit of wasting money…

· You can start to enjoy watching the money in your retirement account increase. You will look forward to maxing it each year.

  • You can start to enjoy watching:

o The loan on your car…

o The balance on your credit cards…

o Or the mortgage on your house decrease!

o You will start to get excited about paying these off.

· You can get to the point where every purchase you make, you consider that this is money that you won’t be able to put toward:

o Paying off your credit cards, vehicles, or mortgage…

o Maxing your investment account…

o And hopefully fulfilling your financial responsibilities to give…

· You’ll even feel discouraged when you have to make purchases that take away from the money you want to put toward saving or paying off debt. Instead of
being excited about wasting money, the thought of wasting money will actually be discouraging!

The way shopping and wasting money were previously attractive, saving and paying off debt can become equally attractive. The thrill you used to feel
wasting your money can become the same thrill you feel saving and paying off debt.

In other words, while wasting money used to be your habit, saving can become your habit.

—–

And I want to tell you this lesson applies to everyone regardless of age…

We know as parents we have a responsibility to teach and train our children:

  • Deut 6:7
    and 11:19

    You shall teach [God’s commandments] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when
    you lie down, and when you rise up.
  • Pro 22:6
    Train up a child in the way he should go,

    And when he is old he will not depart from it.

  • Eph 6:4
    Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

We talked last week that money is amoral, but what we do w/ it is spiritual; therefore, since finances are spiritual, they’re one of those important areas
for us to teach and train our children…and this brings us to Lesson 1, Part II…

LESSON 1: (PART I) YOU CAN DEVELOP THE HABIT OF WASTING OR SAVING MONEY (PART II) AND YOU PASS THIS ALONG TO YOUR CHILDREN.

I’d like to say this to the parents…

Whether you know it or not you are teaching and training your children to be wasters or savers, and you are doing this two ways…

First, you’re doing it by what you’re teaching your kids…or by what you’re not teaching your kids. If you aren’t teaching your kids to be savers, then
you’re teaching them to be wasters b/c that’s what comes naturally:

  • You don’t have to teach your kids to lie…
  • You don’t have to teach your kids to be selfish…
  • You don’t have to teach your kids to be mean…

· These are things that come naturally as part of their sin natures: you have to teach them not to do these things.

And it’s the same w/ finances: children will naturally – b/c of their sinful natures – incline themselves away from God’s principles. If you don’t teach
your kids to save, you’re teaching them – by your lack of instruction – to follow what their sinful natures entice them to do and that’s waste money!

The second – and more important – way you teach your children is by your example. Like most things we do as parents, our children are watching us and
they’re learning by the way we live and act:

· If you’re wasteful, if you embrace debt, if you make poor financial decisions – whether you know it or not – you’re teaching your children to be
wasteful, embrace debt, and make poor financial decisions themselves.

· If you save, if you’re frugal, if you’re wise w/ your finances, if you’re giving, if you’re a good steward of what God’s given you, your children will
learn from your example.

Since we’re in our Marriage & Family Series, I’d like to give you a practical way to get your children excited about saving. Have them open savings
accounts and begin putting money in them. Even at a young age your children can develop the habit of saving money. When your children get some money –
whether from allowances or gifts or their birthdays – have them put that money in their accounts, show them how their accounts are growing, and you’ll
probably see them get excited about saving. I’m not guaranteeing they’ll never want to waste money, but I believe it’ll help.

Here’s a situation that took place w/ us recently…

We were at the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago and when we were about to walk out a nice man handed each of the kids a dollar. I’m assuming so they could
purchase something: we were at the Dollar Tree, he gave them a dollar, that’s probably what he had in mind. Nothing really gets by me!

The kids were all excited. They were literally jumping for joy: “He gave us a dollar, he gave us a dollar!”

I said, “This is so exciting, isn’t it?” They were like, “Yeah, this is great!” I said, “Now we can go put those dollars in your savings accounts!” And all of their joy immediately disappeared.

I asked the kids,

“Do you want to spend that dollar on some worthless toy in here that you’re going to forget about by tomorrow or do you want to put that dollar in your
savings accounts?”

And they all looked right at me and said,

“Dad, we are so thankful you are teaching us these wonderful, godly, financial principles. We want to walk right across the street to the bank and
deposit this money in our accounts.”

Oh wait, that’s not what happened! They said, “Dad, we want to buy something at the Dollar Tree.” I said,

“I know you do, but this is why God put me in charge of you so you wouldn’t ruin your lives throwing money away on cheap plastic toys. Now let’s go put
that money in your savings accounts.”

Now at this point, there are two questions or objections I want to briefly address…

First, I know some of you might be saying, “Wow!?!? You are such a cheapskate. You wouldn’t even let your kids spend a dollar at the Dollar Tree? It’s just a dollar!” And others of you are
saying, “Those poor children. Someone call CPS.”

I’m going to address this in just a moment when we reach Lesson 2, but for now let me say: those people who say, “It’s just a dollar” are the same
people who when they’re older are saying, “It’s just $10, or $20 or $100.” We want to teach our kids from a young age that every dollar counts.

Second, I know up to this point we’ve been talking a lot about saving money, and it can start to sound a little selfish. I want you to know next week we’re
going to talk about what to do and what not to do w/ the money we’re saving. We don’t save simply to have money so we can be selfish w/ it and spend it on
ourselves. And next week we’ll talk in detail about what we should and shouldn’t do w/ the money we’re saving.

—-

For now, I want to discuss the real problem most people face. When people are struggling financially, they’ll often blame their income. They’ll claim that
if they just made more money then everything would be okay.

But the truth brings us to Lesson 2…

LESSON 2: MOST PEOPLE DON’T HAVE AN INCOME PROBLEM, THEY HAVE A SPENDING PROBLEM.

I’d like to ask you to please make sure you notice the word “MOST” in the lesson. I want to be clear that some people are legitimately struggling b/c of an
income problem. I don’t want anyone to walk out believing I’m insensitive to people who genuinely have an income problem.

But most people don’t have an income problem: they have a spending problem. The title of the sermon is, “Our Real Problem Is….”, and most often
our real problem is spending.

And there’s a huge problem associated w/ thinking you have an income problem when you have a spending problem: the problem is you’ll never fix the problem:

· You’ll continue to blame the wrong thing: you’ll blame the amount of money you make when you should be blaming yourself.

· You’ll waste your time an energy complaining about your lack of income, never recognizing the real issue, and therefore never making the appropriate
changes to fix your problem.

We live in the wealthiest nation in the world. People will talk about not having enough money while being able to enjoy plenty of commodities that would be
considered luxuries in other countries: multiple cell phones, multiple cars, multiple computers, multiple televisions:

· Most people have more than enough money…if they’ll control their spending.

· Most people could live comfortably on a smaller income…if they would stop wasting money…

So let’s talk about how we waste our money. Let’s talk about what our spending problems are a result of…and this brings us to Lesson 3, Part I…

LESSON 3: SPENDING PROBLEMS ARE OFTEN A RESULT OF (PART I) SMALL PURCHASES THAT ADD UP.

If you’re one of those people who said, “Wow, I can’t believe you wouldn’t let your kids spend a dollar?” This lesson is for you! J

Sometimes people struggle b/c of large purchases costing thousands of dollars. But just as much – or I would say probably even more often – people struggle
financially b/c of lots of small purchases that add up. Many people are struggling financially b/c of the frequent small purchases they make w/o giving a
second thought to how it hurts them.

And there are two reasons people get in trouble w/ small purchases:

1. First, they’re easy to justify. People can tell themselves, “It’s only $5…or $10…or $20” and they don’t consider that over the years they have
literally thrown away thousands and thousands of dollars on these purchases.

2. Second, people don’t think much about how these purchases add up. While most people recognize the terrible decision it is financially to waste money on
something costing thousands of dollars, it’s much tougher for people to believe small purchases of $5, $10, or $20 could really hurt them.

But all these purchases add up. My suspicion is most of us would be really surprised if we actually knew how many thousands of dollars – or even tens of
thousands of dollars – we’ve wasted on small purchases that we thought had little to no effect on our finances.

There are certain things that aren’t necessarily bad – in other words I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t do these things – but we need to understand these
things add up:

· It’s amazing how often people who are struggling financially will eat out.

· It’s amazing how often people who are struggling financially will go to the movies.

· It’s amazing how often people who are struggling financially will go to Starbucks.

Often these are $5, $10 or $20 purchases – and again, I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t do these things – but I am saying:

· You shouldn’t do these things if you don’t have the money to do these things.

· You shouldn’t do these things – or at least you shouldn’t do them often – if you don’t want them to become habits.

· You shouldn’t do these things – or at least you shouldn’t do them often – if you want to save money.

And here’s what you really shouldn’t do: you shouldn’t do these things often and then turn around and complain about having an income problem, when you
really have a – say it with me! – spending problem.

Let’s say there’s a guy named Joe…

And on Joe’s way to work each morning he stops at Starbucks…which should really be called Fourbucks. And he does this each day he drives to work, but when
you talk to Joe about this he says, “It’s only four bucks.” If Joe does this for five years, his $4 habit will have cost him and his family
$5,120. It’s not just $4!

And this is just coffee:

· Imagine adding in the number of times his family goes to the movies.

· Imagine adding in the number of times his family eats out.

· Imagine adding in any number of other small purchases.

It really adds up, and sadly if Joe and his wife start struggling financially, they will more than likely tell you they have an income problem.

I don’t want to repeat too much of what I said in last week’s sermon, but it served as a foundation for this week. So let me remind you of what I said
about saving:

  • Pro 13:22a A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.
    This is my parents’ favorite verse in the entire bible.

· We talked about how ants are applauded for being savers:

o Pro 6:8 [An ant stores] her supplies in summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.

o Pro 30:24 There are four things which are little on the earth,

But they are exceedingly wise…25 Ants are a people not strong, Yet they [store] their food in the summer.

  • Pro 21:20 There is desirable treasure,
    and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders
    (or wastes) it.

The point is, God wants us to save. The wise person is the person who saves, while the foolish person is the person who squanders what God has given him.
Being wasteful is the opposite of saving, and when we repeatedly throw our money away on small purchases that add up, we’re doing the exact opposite of
what God desires of us.

LESSON 3: SPENDING PROBLEMS ARE OFTEN A RESULT OF (PART II) WORTHLESS PURCHASES.

When I say “worthless” I don’t mean the item itself has no value or worth – if it didn’t have any value or worth hopefully you wouldn’t have purchased it
in the first place. I’m using the word “worthless” to refer to the value or worth it has for you or your family years, months, weeks or sometimes even days
after it was purchased.

Let me share a story w/ you that illustrates this…

After I became a Christian, I became as concerned w/ the character of my students as I was w/ their academics. I’m not sure the exact ratio, but I know for
as much time as I taught my students about math, reading and writing, I also tried to teach them about love, forgiveness, honesty, hard work and the list
goes on.

There were also a few times each year I would get to talk to my students about finances…and that’s when we went on field trips. When you take your students
to some museum, aquarium or tourist attraction there’s plenty of opportunities for them to throw their money away on overpriced junk…which the sellers try
to disguise by calling them “souvenirs.”

At this point I’d like to ask all the kids here to listen, b/c what I told my students completely applies to you too…

Every year, before each field trip I would tell the students the same thing: I would warn them about the overpriced junk they’d want to buy, and I would
even tell them,

“Some of you won’t listen to me and this is what’s going to happen. You’re going to buy some of the overpriced junk, you’re going to be excited about
your purchase for a very short period of time – probably a few hours, but more than likely only a few minutes – and before you know it you won’t have
any further interest in your purchase.”

When we used to get back to the school and the kids would exit the bus, I could walk down the aisle and see the stuff they had purchased and how they just
left it in their seats. They’d already lost interest in it. So these were “worthless purchases.”

But here’s the question: how much are we like this too?

· How much stuff do you think we’ve purchased in our lives that we’ve forgotten about a week or two later?

· How much stuff do we have in our homes that we purchased that we never use and never think about?

If we’re honest, I think most of us would be surprised – and probably embarrassed – by how many purchases we’ve made that provide no benefit – not just
years or months down the road – but even weeks or days.

And all these purchases add up: can you imagine how much money most of us would’ve saved if we hadn’t made all these worthless purchases?

Thinking again about the foundation we established in last Sunday’s sermon, we discussed viewing our finances as a stewardship. 1 Cor 4:2
says Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. When we spend our money on worthless purchases – purchases that have
no value to us, our families, or others – we’re being unfaithful stewards w/ the resources God has given us.

—-

And one final exhortation for the young people here: please remember…

· The money you’re saving now is money you’re saving for your future family.

· And the money you’re wasting now is money you’re taking away from your future family.

LESSON 3: SPENDING PROBLEMS ARE OFTEN A RESULT OF: (PART III) IMPATIENCE: DON’T BE AN ESAU!

Pro 21:5
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty,

But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.

This verse is saying that those who are diligent or hardworking will have plenty or abundance, but those who are hasty or impatience will surely come to poverty.

If we’re honest, most of us would have to admit there are four words that have led to lots of poor financial decisions. Those four words are: “I want it now!” It’s an issue of instant gratification.

Let’s briefly think about the premier example of this in Scripture. If I said, “Think of someone who wanted it now and it didn’t matter what it cost him”, Esau has to come to mind…

Esau came back from the field and it says he was tired and hungry. He wanted some of the stew his brother Jacob made and Jacob said, “ I’ll give you some stew if you’ll give me your birthright as the oldest son.” This was an outrageous request; it’s hard to believe Jacob would
even consider ask something like this, but his name means deceiver or heel catcher.

The only thing more outrageous than Jacob’s request is Esau’s response. He said, “ What good is my birthright to me RIGHT NOW anyway. You can have it. Just give me some stew.”

Esau was hungry, he wanted some of his brother’s food, and he decided it didn’t matter what he had to give up for it – you could say it didn’t matter how
much it cost him – he wanted it and that’s all that mattered.

Esau’s impatience is shown two ways:

1. First, he wouldn’t wait for food. All he had to do was be patient and I’m sure he would’ve eaten again. He wasn’t going to starve. But he wanted Jacob’s
food and he wanted it right now.

2. Second, he wouldn’t wait to enjoy his birthright. If he would’ve waited, his birthright would’ve been a huge blessing to him later but b/c it wasn’t
doing anything for him at the moment, he didn’t want it.

Now let me share a few verses w/ you that reveal how much Esau’s impatience hurt him in the future:

  • When Esau realized he’d forsaken his birthright Gen 27:34 says, “

    When Esau heard the words of his father, HE CRIED WITH AN EXCEEDINGLY GREAT AND BITTER CRY, and said to his father, “Bless me – me also, O my
    father!”

  • Heb 12:16 Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing,
    he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance

    (that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be forgiven, it just means he couldn’t do anything about what he had done) , THOUGH HE SOUGHT IT DILIGENTLY WITH TEARS.

It really is a sad scene picturing a grown man sobbing over what he did, begging his father to give him something, anything.

 

Phil 3:19
talks about people whose god is their stomach. It means they’re controlled by whatever they want at that moment. They won’t wait. They
only think about the immediate desire they have…and Esau is a great picture of that.

But here’s the thing…

Esau can also be a great picture of us:

· He was impatient and impulsive and we can be impatient and impulsive.

· The regret he experienced can be a great picture of the regret we experience.

· Esau wanted to go back and undo what he did, and we can make decisions that make us want to go back and undo what we did.

Esau’s big problem could be summed up in the words: “I want it now!” and we need to ask ourselves:

  • Is this a big problem for me too?
  • Am I impatient?
  • Am I like Esau?
  • Is my god my stomach?
  • Am I an, “I want it now’ type of person?”

—-

Now contrast Esau w/ Jesus and I would say let’s contrast ourselves w/ Jesus…

Matt 4:2 [Jesus] fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward He was hungry
(so a similarity w/ Esau). 3 [The devil] came to Him [and] said, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.”

 

Jesus was going to eat again in the future; God’s plan for Jesus wasn’t that He starve to death. So what the devil was really saying was, “You don’t have to be patient. Eat now. You shouldn’t have to wait!”

But Jesus resisted this temptation to be impatient, and it sets a great example for us. I would say:

· Let’s learn from Esau’s example to know what not to do; let’s learn from his example of impatience

· And let’s learn from Jesus’ example of what to do: let’s learn from His patience.

The Bible discusses a number of benefits associated w/ being patient. I’ll share just a few verses w/ you:

· Being patient can be a source of strength: Isa 40:31 Those who wait on the Lord

Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.

· In the Parable of the Soils Jesus said patience is required for bearing fruit in our lives: Luke 8:15 [the seed] that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

· When it comes to speaking we’re encouraged to be patient and think first: Jam 1:19 Let every man be swift to hear, slow (or patient) to speak.

So there are all these benefits associated w/ being patient, and I’m convinced one of the areas we can really benefit from patience is w/ our finances…

A few years ago I mentioned the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. It was a series of studies conducted on children. Children were offered marshmallows and
they were told they could eat the marshmallow immediately, but if they waited until the person conducting the experiment returned about 15 minutes later,
they would receive two marshmallows. As you can guess, the children fell into two categories: those who ate immediately and those who waited.

In follow-up studies on the children when they were older, the researchers found the children who waited tended to have “better life outcomes as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index, and other life measures.” I really wish they would’ve
mentioned how these children fared financially, b/c my suspicion is their patience – or impatience – really affected their finances as well.

—-

I don’t have a verse to support the counsel I’d like to give you, so to avoid sounding legalistic, I’d like to be clear that this is only a suggestion;
it’s simply a practical way to apply what we’re discussing…

A rule we’ve tried to follow in our home is waiting a few weeks before making certain purchases. When you’re considering buying something of significance
wait two weeks – make it 4 weeks if you really want to save money – and see if you still want to make the purchase. I recommend this for two reasons:

1. First, if you still want to make the purchase, there’s a better chance it will be a purchase you really should make, that you will enjoy or be able to
use in the future.

2. Second, very often when people make purchases they regret, they regret the purchase within a week or two. If they would’ve waited that extra time, they
might have found themselves sitting back saying, “You know, I’m really glad I didn’t buy that” rather than sitting back w/ a bunch of regret
feeling like Esau.

LESSON 3: SPENDING PROBLEMS ARE OFTEN A RESULT OF: (PART IV) SELF-ENTITLEMENT.

I want to briefly share a few stories w/ you before we discuss the application for our lives…

When the devil tempted Eve in the garden, he said Gen 3:4b

“You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of [the fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing
good and evil.”

The devil was saying,

“God doesn’t want you to be like Him. He doesn’t want you to know as much as Him. God doesn’t want you to be happy. He’s always telling you what not to
do. BUT you deserve to be like God. You deserve to know as much as Him. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to do what you want to do.”

What the devil was trying to do w/ Eve could be summed up in one word: he was trying to make her feel entitled. The devil is all about entitlement. He’s
the master of the entitlement mentality. He has many names in Scripture: Prince of Darkness, Prince of the Power of the Air, Prince of This World, but a
really fitting title would be, “Prince of Entitlement.”

Now contrast the devil w/ Jesus who in Luke 9:23 [said], “If anyone desires to come after Me, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Here’s another story…

David had a son named Amnon. Amnon lusted after his half-sister Tamar. Amnon knew it was wrong to pursue her, but b/c he didn’t control his mind and take
his thoughts captive, he continued to lust after her until he made himself sick and even started losing weight.

At that point – in 2 Sam 13:4 – an evil man named Jonadab came to him and said, “Why are you, the king’s son, becoming thinner day after day? Will you not tell me?”

Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”

Then Jonadab gave Amnon a plan to have his sister.

What Jonadab did could be summarized in one word: he made Amnon feel entitled. He said, “You’re the king’s son. You shouldn’t be without. If you want her you should have her. You’re entitled to her.”

Here’s another example…

Two weeks ago we briefly talked about Ahab and how he wanted a vineyard that belonged to a man named Naboth. Naboth wouldn’t give his vineyard to Ahab, so
he went home and pouted. His wife Jezebel came to him and in

1 Kin 21:7 [she said], “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth
the Jezreelite.”

What Jezebel was trying to do could be summarized in one word: she was trying to make him feel entitled. She told him, “You’re the king of Israel. You shouldn’t have to go without. If you want this vineyard, you should have it!”

And all three of these people – Eve, Amnon and Ahab – all allowed themselves to feel entitled, and as a result they all gave in to temptation.

Now let me give you an example of someone who DIDN’T give in to the temptation to feel entitled…and the irony is if there’s anyone who really was entitled
it was this Person…

I mentioned Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness earlier. Take your mind back there again and think of how the devil tempted Jesus:

  • Matt 4:3
    the devil said to Jesus, “IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD you should command these stones to become bread.”
  • Matt 4:6
    the devil said to Jesus, “IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD you should throw Yourself down so the angels catch you.”

Often when the Bible uses the word “if” it means “since.” The devil wasn’t doubting whether Jesus was the Son of God, he was saying, “ Since you are the Son of God you should…” The devil was trying to make Jesus feel entitled. He was trying to make him
feel like:

· He should have something to eat…

· He shouldn’t have to wait…

· He shouldn’t have to be hungry…

· He shouldn’t have to go through this…

· He should be able to throw Himself down and be caught by the angels.

It’s almost identical to Jonadab tempting Amnon:

· Jonadab said, “Why are you – son of the king – becoming thinner day after day? You should have what you want?”

· The devil said to Jesus,

“Why are you – the Son of God – becoming thinner day-after-day out here in the wilderness? Turn these stones into bread so you have something to eat!”

Now what’s the application for us? The application is we’re all going to be tempted to feel entitled:

· It could be the devil tempting us like he did w/ Eve and Jesus.

  • It could be a friend tempting us like Jonadab did w/ Amnon.

· It could be a family member – or even a spouse – tempting us to feel entitled like Jezebel did w/ Ahab.

Often it can be our closest friends or family members who mean the best for us, but in their love and concern for us, they give us the worst advice. People
might mean well, but any time they tell you:

  • You deserve this…
  • You should have this…
  • You’ve earned this…
  • You shouldn’t be without…

You need to be careful, b/c more than likely they’re making you feel entitled.

And if it’s not the devil, a friend or a family member tempting us to feel entitled, our pride and our flesh have no problem telling us: “You deserve this…you should have this…you’ve earned this.” We need to be on guard against telling ourselves these kinds of things.

I hope the way this relates to finances is obvious: when we feel entitled, it very often manifests itself through the purchases we make.

· You wouldn’t believe what people feel entitled to…when they don’t have the money for it.

· You wouldn’t believe how many people are struggling financially, but they’ll purchase things and they’ll defend it by saying:

o I’m treating myself.

o I deserve this.

o I’m rewarding myself.

o I’ve earned it.

But all these people have really earned is a worse financial situation for themselves and their families.

There is a lot of money wasted under the sin of “self-entitlement.”

· There are a lot of people who are in debt…

· There are a lot of people who hardly have any money saved…

· There are a lot of people wasting their money, putting themselves and their families in worse situations financially…

Because they feel entitled to it.

—-

Now as we come to the end of the sermon, I’d like to talk a little more about entitlement but, I’d like to move away from finances…

Entitlement is really about our view of what we deserve and don’t deserve:

· We feel entitled when we think we haven’t received what we deserve.

· We feel entitled when we think we have received misfortune or trouble we don’t deserve.

So I want to briefly talk about what we deserve and what we don’t deserve…

Here’s what we’re really entitled to: here’s what we really deserve:

  • Rom 6:23
    says the wages of sin is death. Because of the sins we’ve committed we deserve death.

· Every day we live is an act of God’s mercy.

· Not only do we deserve death, we deserve punishment for the sins we’ve committed.

· We deserve to be eternally separated from God.

· We deserve to spend eternity in hell.

This is what we deserve – this is what we’re entitled to – but we don’t receive what we deserve. We receive mercy instead. And that’s what mercy is: it’s
not receiving the judgment or punishment we deserve.

And now let me tell you what we’re not entitled to; let me tell you what we don’t deserve:

· We don’t deserve forgiveness.

· We don’t deserve the righteousness of Christ credited to our accounts.

· We don’t deserve a forgiving, merciful God who would offer His Son as the sacrifice for our sins.

· We don’t deserve a loving, gracious Savior who would take the punishment meant for those sins.

This is what we don’t deserve, but this is what we can receive anyway. And this is grace: it’s unmerited favor. It’s receiving what we’re NOT entitled to;
it’s receiving what we don’t deserve and haven’t earned.

God doesn’t owe us anything, but He chooses to shower us w/ His grace and mercy b/c of His lovingkindness. Please listen to these beautiful words from
David…

Psa 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God,

Now here’s what David didn’t say: He didn’t say, “Have mercy upon me, O God:

  • B/c I deserve it…
  • Because I’ve earned it…
  • Because I’ve worked for it…
  • Because there are all these good things I’ve done…

He said…

Have mercy upon me, O God,

According to YOUR lovingkindness;

According to the multitude of YOUR tender mercies.

Think about Nineveh for a moment: this was a city filled w/ people who engaged in more wickedness than we could ever imagine.

· We would look at these people and say, “They deserve to be punished. That’s what they’re entitled to!” That’s what Jonah said!

· But in Jonah 4:11 God looked at those people and He said, “How could I NOT pity them? How could I NOT have compassion on them?”

How do we receive this mercy and grace from God? We can’t earn it. We can’t deserve it. But we can receive it b/c of what Jesus has done for us. Please
listen to these verses…


Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God…16 Let us
therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

This is the God we serve, and this is how we obtain the mercy and grace He offers: we embrace Christ as Lord and Savior. He becomes our
High Priest and He gives us access to the wonderful riches of God.

LET’S REVIEW OUR LESSONS:

LESSON 1: (PART I) YOU CAN DEVELOP THE HABIT OF WASTING OR SAVING MONEY (PART II) AND YOU PASS THIS ALONG TO YOUR CHILDREN.

LESSON 2: MOST PEOPLE DON’T HAVE AN INCOME PROBLEM, THEY HAVE A SPENDING PROBLEM.

LESSON 3: SPENDING PROBLEMS ARE OFTEN A RESULT OF:

· (PART I) SMALL PURCHASES THAT ADD UP.

· (PART II) WORTHLESS PURCHASES.

· (PART III) IMPATIENCE: DON’T BE AN ESAU!

· (PART IV) SELF-ENTITLEMENT.

Author: Scott LaPierre