Finances – Part I. What to Put Off and Put On

The title of this morning’s sermon is, “Finances – Part I: What to Put Off and Put On.”

Aside from a few things like health issues or issues w/ our children, there are very few things in life that:

  • Stress people out…
  • Keep people awake at night
  • Or cause anxiety…

More than financial problems.

Often when you ask people about their greatest regrets you’ll hear something related to finances:

  • They’ll tell you about some purchase…
  • They’ll tell you about some financial decision…

· They’ll tell you they wish they would’ve started saving earlier…

Regret over finances is one of the most common regrets people have.

We’re coming to the end of our Marriage & Family Series, and along w/ in-laws and child rearing, finances constitute one of the three most common
problems in marriages.

Poor financial decisions negatively affect families as well as the body of Christ:

· You might have men who have to work two jobs or lots of overtime…

· You might have families who have to have two incomes w/ the wife working…

· These sorts of situations affect a family’s ability to spend time together…

· These sorts of situations affect a family’s ability to serve the Lord, serve the Church, and serve their brothers and sisters in Christ.

So my hope for these sermons is we can learn financial principles from God’s Word that will…

  • Prevent us from experiencing all that anxiety…
  • Help us avoid unnecessary regrets…

· And most importantly: allow us to serve the Lord and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ better.

Let’s look at Lesson 1…

LESSON 1: MONEY IS AMORAL, BUT WHAT WE DO WITH IT IS SPIRITUAL.

We need to have a biblical view of money, and I thought we should establish this toward the beginning of the sermon.

Money – like many things – is amoral or spiritually neutral; it’s neither good nor bad. But what we do w/ money is spiritual:

  • It is good or bad.
  • It is moral or immoral.

Unfortunately, sometimes people don’t see finances this way. They might hear about a sermon like this and think, “Why would you preach on that? Shouldn’t you be dealing w/ spiritual issues like prayer, forgiveness, or love?”

The reason this is an unfortunate view for people to have is the Bible has a lot to say about finances. And if the Bible has a lot to say about something
it becomes a spiritual issue, and it becomes an issue we need to discuss. If the Bible makes something important, we need to make it important.

Dennis Rainey said,

Every financial decision you make is actually a spiritual decision. For many, that’s a revolutionary concept. How you manage your finances is a pretty
good barometer of the condition of your spiritual life.”

James Moffatt said, A man’s treatment of money is the most decisive test of his character – how he makes it and how he spends it.”

So while money itself is amoral or unspiritual, what we do it w/ says a lot about us spiritually or morally.

The difficulty w/ money is since it can be used morally or immorally, it’s not a black-and-white issue like adultery, stealing or murder. With those, very
little wisdom is required. It doesn’t take a lot of wisdom to know not to commit adultery, murder or steal.

But when we’re talking about money, an amount of wisdom is required b/c of the balance that’s involved. For example:

  • We’re to save money, but not hoard it.
  • We’re to spend money, but with discretion and self-control.

· We’re to make purchases, but we’re not to purchase trivial things or be extravagant.

· We’re to be generous and giving, but w/ discernment and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

  • We’re to give to the Lord, but joyfully and sacrificially

All of these truths reveal the management of finances requires wisdom.

My desire in these sermons is to hopefully provide us w/ some of the wisdom necessary to manage our finances well. And since the desire is to obtain
wisdom, you can probably guess which book we’ll be referencing the most: Proverbs, the book on wisdom.

—-

Now as I was working on this sermon, I noticed something fairly early w/ my lessons: they seemed to fall into two categories:

  • There’s what the Bible tells us NOT TO DO w/ money.
  • And there’s what the Bible tells us TO DO w/ money.

· And what I noticed is what the Bible tells us NOT TO DO is often the exact opposite of what the Bible tells us TO DO.

  • Here are a few examples:

o The Bible warns us against going into debt, and it encourages us to save.

o The Bible warns us against obtaining money quickly, and it encourages us to obtain money slowly.

o The Bible warns us against impulsiveness – which often leads to financial problems – and it encourages us to be patient.

o The Bible warns us against covetousness and greed – which often leads to financial problems – and it encourages us to be content.

o The Bible warns us against feeling entitled – which often leads to financial problems – and it encourages us to be thankful.

Basically, as I was looking at my lessons, it seemed to me like we were supposed to put off a number of things and put on a number of opposing things.

Putting off and putting on is an important biblical principle that applies to most areas of our Christian life. I’d like us to try to apply it to our
finances as well. The principle looks like this…

· When God commands us to put off something, He also commands us to put on something else.

· When God commands us to stop something, He also commands us to start something else.

· When God commands us to sever something from our lives, He also commands us to replace it w/ something else.

And this brings us to Lesson 2…

LESSON 2: UNDERSTAND THE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE OF, “PUTTING OFF AND PUTTING ON,” “STOPPING AND STARTING,” OR “SEVERING AND REPLACING.”

The Bible isn’t all about, “Stop this, stop this, stop this.” It’s also about, “Start this, start this, start this.”

Please listen to me when I say this – I have experienced this in my own life and I have seen it take place in other Christians’ lives: the reason many
people fail is…

· They obey the command to stop something w/o obeying the corresponding command to start something else.

· They put something off w/o putting on the correct behavior.

· They attempt to sever something from their lives w/o replacing it w/ the appropriate action.

I don’t want you to think this is my opinion, so please turn to Eph 4. Let’s start w/ verse 25…

  • 25
    Therefore, putting away lying (this is what you put off, stop or sever, and then this is what you put on, start or replace it with…), Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.”

· Look at verse 28 Let him who stole steal no longer (this is what you put off, stop or sever…), but rather let him labor, working with his hands
what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. This is what you put on, start or replace it with!

· 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth (this is what you put off, stop or sever, and then this is what you put on, start or replace it with…),
but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

· Look at verse 31 as Paul sums it up: Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice (so stop all this,
put off all this, sever all this, but then be sure to put on, start or replace it with everything in verse 32…). 32 And be kind to one another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Briefly turn two books to the right to Col 3:8

 


Col 3:8 Now you are to PUT OFF all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you
have PUT OFF the old man with his deeds

. Put off, stop, sever all this. Now look at verse 12 to see everything to put on, start, or replace it with: Therefore, as the
elect of God, holy and beloved, PUT ON tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving
one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things
PUT ON love, which is the bond of perfection.

So we see this principle of putting off and putting on, and as I was looking at my lessons, I noticed they very much fell into two opposing categories:

  • Don’t do these things…
  • Instead do these things…

· And the things we’re not supposed to do are basically the opposite of the things we’re supposed to do.

Now I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “Okay, well how do we apply this principle of putting off and putting on to our finances?” I’m glad
you asked that, b/c that’s what we’re going to be talking about for the rest of the sermon…Lesson 3…

LESSON 3: APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE TO YOUR FINANCES BY: (PART I) PUTTING OFF A LOVE OF MONEY.

We’ve all heard, “Money is the root of all evil!” That’s not true: we’ve already discussed that money is amoral. More than likely this saying
comes from misquoting 1 Tim 6:10 which in the KJV and NET says the love of money is the root of all evil and this isn’t a
good translation b/c it makes it sound like all evil in the world relates to money which simply isn’t true: there’s plenty of evil that
has nothing to do w/ money.

A better translation – which is how it’s translated in most Bibles – is THE LOVE OF MONEY IS A ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL. But you need to notice
the verse doesn’t say anything about money itself being evil; it’s a love of money can produce a manner of evils…which is why we need to be on guard
against having a love of money.

J.C. Ryle said,

Let us all be on our guard against the love of money. The world is full of it in our days. The plague is abroad. Thousands who would hate the idea of
worshiping [an idol] are not ashamed to make an idol of gold. We are all liable to the infection, from the least to the greatest. We may love money
without having it, just as we may have money without loving it. It is an evil that works very deceitfully. It carries us captives before we are aware
of our chains. Once it becomes master, it will harden, paralyze, scorch, freeze, blight, and wither our souls. It overthrew an apostle of Christ:
Judas. Let us take heed that it does not overthrow us. One leak may sink a ship.”

Here are some other verses warning against a love of money so we can see it’s a theme in Scripture:

· Luke 16:14 criticizes the Pharisees for being lovers of money.

· 1 Tim 3:3 discusses qualifications for elders and it says they shouldn’t be lovers of money.

· 1 Tim 6:9 warns against loving money. It says those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful
lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

· 2 Tim 3:2 says one of the behaviors characterizing the wickedness of the last days will be a love of money.

· Heb 13:5 commands us to keep [our] lives free from the love of money.

So here’s the question: how do we know if we have a love of money? Alistair Begg said, I am guilty of loving money when:

1.
Thoughts of money consume my day.

2.
Others’ success makes me jealous.

3.
I define success in terms of what I have rather than what I am in Christ.

4.
My family is neglected in my pursuit of money.

5.
I close my eyes to the genuine needs of others.

6.
I live in the paralyzing fear of losing money.

7.
I am prepared to borrow money [putting myself] in bondage.

8.
God gets my leftovers, rather than my firstfruits.”

So if we have a love of money, how do we repent of it? How do we put it off and what do we put on instead? We have to put on a different view of money, and
this brings us to Lesson 3, Part II…

LESSON 3: APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE TO YOUR FINANCES BY: (PART I) PUTTING OFF A LOVE OF MONEY (PART II) AND PUTTING ON A VIEW OF STEWARDSHIP.

To prevent having a love of money, we have to understand our money isn’t really our money. It’s God’s money: Hag 2:8 ‘The silver is Mine, and the
gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts.

1 Cor 4:7
asks an important question, “What do you have that was not given to you?” The answer is: nothing! We should recognize everything we have
is given to us by God; everything we have is a stewardship.

We know Solomon built the temple, but when David was told he couldn’t do it he did everything he could to see it built, stopping only short of actually
building it himself. One thing he did was collect the material – including the silver and gold – to be used. After the people gave a huge amount – even
more than what was needed – David prayed and I want to share part of the prayer w/ you…


1 Chr 29:14 But who am I, and who are my people,

That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?

FOR ALL THINGS COME FROM YOU,

AND FROM YOUR OWN HAND WE HAVE GIVEN [TO] YOU.

He says, “We’re giving back to You what already belonged to You.”

16
“O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build a house for Your holy name IS FROM YOUR HAND, and IS ALL YOUR OWN.

What a wonderful prayer fathers could – and should be praying w/ our families – recognizing everything we have is from the Lord!

Dennis Rainey said, God owns it all and [you] are stewards of His resources.”

If we understand our money isn’t really our money we won’t have the same attachment to it: we won’t have a love of it. We’ll hold it loosely. The best way
to NOT love money is to see your money not as your money, but as God’s money: Deut 8:18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.

Money is like other possessions – like our homes or our vehicles – in that it’s a resource that can be used to further God’s Kingdom or it can be used
selfishly or sinfully. We should think of money as a stewardship where we have the potential to be faithful or unfaithful. This is what makes money
spiritual; this is why money – while amoral – is moral or immoral in how it’s used.

Randy Alcorn said,

If God was the owner, I was the manager. I needed to adopt a steward’s mentality toward the assets He had entrusted – not given – to me. A steward
manages assets for the owner’s benefit. The steward carries no sense of [ownership] of the assets he manages. It’s his job to find out what the owner
wants done with the assets and carry out his will.”

 

Now if we can adopt this view of a stewardship:

· We’ll be wiser w/ our money. We’ll be less likely to waste our money, b/c we’ll understand it’s really God’s money we’re wasting.

· And we won’t hold our money so tightly, b/c we’ll recognize it’s not really our money. This view will help us destroy any love of money we might have.

LESSON 3: APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE TO YOUR FINANCES BY: (PART III) PUTTING OFF DEBT.

There are only a few things the Bible presents negatively that Christians are willing to openly and easily embrace. Debt is one of those things.

While the Bible presents money amorally or spiritually neutral, it definitely doesn’t do that w/ debt. Debt is not ambiguous or unclear in Scripture. At
best we’re warned about having debt, and at worst it’s pictured as a curse that makes us slaves…

Pro 22:7
The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant – or slave – to the lender.

The word for servant is `ebed (pr: eved). It means “slave, servant.” It’s the word used for slave throughout the OT.

Debt makes us a slave to the one we owe. Rod Rogers said,

“What does God have to say about the impact of debt on His people? He tells us in Proverbs 22:7: debt makes you a slave to your lender. In the Old
Testament world if you couldn’t pay your debt on time you became the slave of the lender until you worked off your debt. In our day, if you borrow
money you become the lender’s slave by giving much or most of your income back to the lender.”

Please listen to these important words from Jesus…

Matt 6:24a

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.

Now at this point we’re saying, “Yup. You can’t serve two masters. Makes sense.”

But if you had never heard this verse before, you would expect Jesus to go on and say, “You cannot serve God and some other master.” But
that’s not what He says. He says…

6:24b You cannot serve God and mammon
(or money or wealth as it’s translated in most bibles).

Why does Jesus talk about not being able to serve two masters, and then turn around and say you can’t serve Him and money? Because He’s warning that money
can become your master; it can make you a slave.

This is why Paul said: Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another.

This is a command and it’s a powerful statement about God’s view of debt: the only debt that’s presented as acceptable in the NT is owing someone love.

There are people enslaved to creditors just as strongly as people enslaved to pornography, alcohol or drugs. There are people who dread going to the
mailbox each day b/c they don’t know how they’re going to pay their lender; they don’t know how they’re going to pay their master.

If you ask some of these people about the worst mistake they ever made, they’ll often tell you, “We made this decision and it introduced debt into our lives and we’ve never been able to recover from it.”

The only way to avoid this kind of slavery – the only way to avoid this kind of regret – is to avoid debt.

—-

Now it shouldn’t surprise us when the world has a view of something that’s opposed to God’s Word, but here’s what should surprise us…

There are some Christians who live like debt is a blessing: they live like it’s wonderful to be able to buy things w/ money they don’t have. But we need to
remember our standard is not other Christians, it’s God’s Word.

Maybe worse than this is there are some churches that act like debt is a blessing. I don’t like to talk about this b/c I don’t like to criticize other
churches, but I feel obligated b/c I have a fear some of you might walk out saying, “Well, I think debt is okay b/c I remember when that church went into debt.”

Churches don’t always do what’s right. Churches don’t always make decisions that agree w/ God’s Word. While I’d like to be able to encourage you to look at
what churches do, we need to remember our standard isn’t even what churches do; it’s what God’s Word says.

It’s sad how many churches are willing to go in to debt to supposedly accomplish the work of the Lord…when the same Lord they’re claiming to serve has
spoken against debt in His Word.

This often relates to churches embracing huge loans for buildings, which is a fairly ironic and sad situation: they want to have a building to worship the
Lord in…the same Lord who speaks against the debt they’re embracing to have that building.

The even worse situation that takes place is this…

Churches justify their actions by saying, “The Lord led us to do this.” As soon as you can attach the Lord’s name to something then it can’t be
criticized; now it’s supposedly God’s will.

Then the church starts struggling to pay their debt, so they turn to the congregation and plead – or guilt – the people into giving more money…for the
cause that God supposedly wanted. Perhaps they’ll even rebuke the people for not being more giving, when it was really the fault of the leadership for
acting against the principles contained in God’s Word.

The main reason this is so bad is when the leadership of a church says, “The Lord led us to do this”, but then they don’t have the money to
continue the work God supposedly wanted…

· It makes God look like He called His people to do something, but then didn’t give them what they needed to do it.

· It makes God look like He led His people to step out in faith, but then didn’t honor their faith.

  • Basically it makes God look unfaithful.

—-

Now I’d like to provide a little balance to this…

There could be some situations that put people in debt:

· It could be health issues and the bills that pile up as a result…

· It could be the loss of a job and an inability to pay expenses…

  • It could be some other unforeseen accident or trial…

But you notice something w/ all these situations: they’re out of our control! People in these situations didn’t choose to be in debt.

I would say most often it seems like people choose to be in debt, and while I wouldn’t say it’s always sinful to be in debt, I will say what often
motivates people to be in debt is sinful: covetousness, discontentment, materialism, self-entitlement.

Let me conclude this part of the lesson by saying this…

If you’re ever considering a situation that involves debt, I would encourage you to use debt – or the absence of it – as a fleece to know whether to go
forward or not. Here’s what I mean…

Ask God to provide the finances necessary to avoid debt or reveal some other way for you to go forward w/o debt:

· If that happens, possibly view that as confirmation to go forward.

· But if that doesn’t happen, I would encourage you to take that as confirmation not to go forward.

Just think about this logically…

· If Scripture warns us against debt, is God going to lead us to act against something He’s warned us about in His Word?

  • If Scripture discourages us from having debt in our lives, is God going to have a plan that involves introducing debt into our
    lives?

—-

Now if we’re supposed to put off, stop, or sever debt, guess what we’re supposed to put on, start, or replace it with?

LESSON 3: APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE TO YOUR FINANCES BY: (PART III) PUTTING OFF DEBT (PART IV) AND PUTTING ON SAVING.

As poorly as the Bible speaks of debt, it speaks equally positively of saving…

Pro 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

Let me say this verse one more time: I want to make sure my parents get it written down J.

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

· ESV Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.

  • NIV The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

The idea is wise people store up their resources – or save – but foolish people squander or consume their resources instead: they spend every penny they
have.

We know the ant is applauded in Proverbs for being hardworking, but it’s also applauded for saving:

  • Pro 6:8 [An ant stores]
    her supplies in summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.
  • Pro 30:24
    There are four things which are little on the earth,But they are exceedingly wise: and here’s why the ant is exceedingly wise…

    25
    The ants are a people not strong, Yet they [store] their food in the summer.

Ants are applauded for their abilities to store up and save.

I’m going to move on from this part of the lesson now that we’ve established the importance of saving. In the next part we’ll discuss HOW the Bible says to
save or accumulate money…and how not to accumulate money. And this brings us to Lesson 3, Part V…

LESSON 3: APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE TO YOUR FINANCES BY: (PART V) PUTTING OFF OBTAINING MONEY QUICKLY

There don’t seem to be too many things more attractive to people than getting rich quickly. One of the most common dreams people have, and one of the most
common advertisements you will see, can be summarized w/ the words: “Get rich quick!”

But here’s what you need to know: striving to obtain money quickly is discouraged by Scripture:

· Pro 28:20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich (or seeks to get rich quickly) will not go
unpunished.

· Pro 28:22 A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him.

So don’t pursue ventures that look like they will allow you to get rich quickly. When you see things like this you need to remind yourself what God’s Word
says and not participate.

The most obvious way people attempt to “get rich quick” is through gambling. Gambling at it’s most foundational is an attempt to get rich quickly:

  • It’s a terrible stewardship of God’s money.
  • It holds strong potential for addiction or enslaving people.

And gambling is usually motivated by two compromises in a person’s life:

· Impatience: not being willing to wait and make money over time, which we’ll discuss in a moment.

· And the other flaw gambling reveals is laziness: a desire to make money w/o working for it.

But God’s Word says money should be worked for; it should be earned:

  • Pro 10:4 Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent
    (or hard working) hands bring wealth.
  • Pro 14:23
    In all labor there is profit.

· Pro 28:19 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread.

So we should put off obtaining money quickly, which brings us to what we should put on…

LESSON 3: APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE TO YOUR FINANCES BY: (PART V) PUTTING OFF OBTAINING MONEY QUICKLY (PART VI) AND PUTTING ON OBTAINING IT “LITTLE BY LITTLE.”

Pro 13:11 Wealth gained hastily
(or quickly as it’s translated in some Bibles) will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. The NLT actually says Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.

You have to put off striving to obtain money quickly, and you have to put on striving to make money over time. This refers to working hard and saving
week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year.

But I also believe it’s referring to something else: interest.

Jesus is a fan of interest. He wants people to invest their money so that it gains at least a LITTLE interest…

In the Parable of the Talents there’s a man who had received very little from the Lord – one talent – compared to the other men who had received two
talents and five talents. The man who received only one took his talent and buried it in the ground where it received no interest. Then he gave it back to
the Lord who wasn’t happy about the lack of interest! He said…

Matt 25:27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

Now the greatest way to gain interest on your money is through the stock market…and this brings up an interesting consideration since I just discussed
gambling…

I’ve heard people say they view investing in the stock market as a form of gambling. While I think you can use the stock market to gamble, I think it can
also be used to help us make money little-by-little as the Bible encourages.

The obvious question is, “How do you know if you’re using the stock market biblically or using it to gamble?” I would say the answer is in this
lesson:

· Are you using the stock market to obtain money quickly? Then that could be a form of gambling.

· If you’re using the stock market for long-term investing, patiently waiting for your money to grow little-by-little, then I wouldn’t see it as gambling.

Now this discussion of interest and the stock market brings us to the greatest asset we have when it comes to making money. What is your greatest asset
when it comes to making money? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not money itself. It’s time! Your greatest asset in making money is time.

FIRST SLIDE

— Consider these two examples…

1. Example 1: A 30 year old investing $200 per month at 7% interest will have $244,000 at 60 years old.

2. Example 2: A 20 year old investing $200 per month at 7% interest will have $525,000 at 60 years old.

— Starting 10 years earlier results in more than twice as much money: a difference of $281,000.

Over the last 25 yrs – including even the downturn from The Great Recession – the stock market has averaged almost 12%. This past week the Dow and the
S&P hit all-time highs.

I want to show you another chart using an interest rate of 12%, assuming the stock market continues the same pattern it’s shown historically…

SECOND SLIDE

PERSON A

PERSON B

Age

Invested

Total

Invested

Total

19

$2,000

$2,240

$0

20

$2,000

$4,749

$0

21

$2,000

$7,558

$0

22

$2,000

$10,706

$0

23

$2,000

$14,230

$0

24

$2,000

$18,178

$0

25

$2,000

$22,599

$0

26

$2,000

$27,551

$0

27

$0

$30,857

$2,000

$2,240

30

$0

$43,352

$2,000

$10,706

35

$0

$76,802

$2,000

$33,097

40

$0

$134,646

$2,000

$72,559

45

$0

$237,293

$2,000

$142,104

50

$0

$418,191

$2,000

$264,665

55

$0

$736,995

$2,000

$480,660

60

$0

$1,298,837

$2,000

$861,317

65

$0

$2,288,996

$2,000

$1,532,166

$16,000

$78,000

For any of you who are 19 or younger, you should thank me: I just showed you how to be multi-millionaires by the time you’re 65 J.

But I also want to tell you young people what I see as the biggest temptation you’re facing…

You have very few financial obligations. As a result:

· You don’t feel the pressure to be wise or frugal w/ your money.

· Since you’re young and you think you have plenty of time, you don’t feel much – if any -urgency to save.

So you’re going to be tempted to waste your money now and get serious about saving when you’re older…but by then you’ll have lost the one thing you need to
make money: time. So do yourself a favor: start saving and start being frugal w/ your money now!

—–

Now I want to transition in the sermon…

I want to continue talking about debt, but I want to talk about a different kind of debt.

I said we should do our best to avoid debt – or put off debt – and by implication we should do our best to pay off the debt we have.

But there’s a debt we have that we can’t put off. There’s a debt we could never pay off:

· No matter how hard we worked…

· No matter how much time we took…

· No matter how wise we were financially…

· No matter how much we saved.

I’m talking about a debt we all have:

· No matter how rich we are…

· No matter how young or old we are…

And that’s our sin debt: it’s our debt against God.

But Jesus told us how to handle this debt: in Matt 6:12 He told us to pray, “Forgive us our debts.” He didn’t mean our financial debts. He meant our debt
against God.

But first:

· We need to recognize we have this debt…

· We need to recognize there’s nothing we can do about it…

· We need to recognize it leaves us spiritually poor.

But listen to what else Jesus said: Matt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

This doesn’t seem to make sense:

· How could the poor in spirit be blessed?

· Why would the kingdom of heaven belong to [the poor in spirit]?

Jesus isn’t referring to a certain category of people who are spiritually poor as though there are some who are spiritually poor and some who aren’t: He’s
referring to people who…

· Recognize they’re spiritually poor…

· Recognize they could never do anything about it themselves…

And as a result reach out to Christ to have Him pay their debt.

This is why in Luke 4:18 Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor.” Jesus wants to preach the Gospel to those who recognize they’re
spiritually poor, b/c:

· They’re the ones who will embrace the Gospel…

· They’re the only ones who know they’re sinners who need their debts forgiven…

And the Good News – or the Gospel – is Jesus is willing to take us in our spiritual poverty, pay our debts and make us rich.

LESSON 4: CHRIST PAYS OUR DEBTS FOR US.

Now here’s the question…

What did it cost Jesus to do this? What did it cost Him to make us rich? It cost Him giving up everything for us. It cost Him giving up His riches to
become poor: 2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that
you through His poverty might become rich.

I want to briefly explain a Greek word. It’s teleō (pr: tell-ay-oh). It can mean, “to pay.” It’s the same word used…

· In Matt 17:24 when the disciples were questioned, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” The word for pay is teleō

· Rom 13:6 For because of this you also pay taxes. Again, the word for pay is teleō.

John MacArthur said the word teleō, “has been found written on papyri receipts for taxes, meaning ‘pain in full.”

Now there’s a time this word was used and it’s translated as three words in our Bibles. It’s the word Jesus spoke on the cross in John 19:30 when He said,
“It is finished.” It was Jesus’ way of saying, “I have paid your debt in full.”

Let me give you a beautiful illustration of this…my wife will get upset if I say this is one of my favorite pictures in Scripture, but I’ll say this: it’s
a beautiful, touching scene…

A man had a huge debt – larger than any debt we could imagine – and he found himself before a king who expected him to pay this debt…

Matt 18:23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

This man had more debt than anyone could pay given multiple lifetimes. For a moment think of the desperation and fear he felt standing before the king.

And this man represents us:

· His debt represents our debt.

· The desperation and fear he felt represents the desperation and fear we should feel.

He recognized he could never pay this debt, like we should recognize we could never pay our debt…so listen to what happened…

26
The servant therefore fell down before [the King], saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’

He fell to his knees and begged the King to have mercy on him. He mistakenly thought he could pay his debt, but even in this mistaken belief, listen to
these beautiful words that describe how the King felt and what he did as a result…

27
Then the master of that servant WAS MOVED WITH COMPASSION, released him, and
(listen to this…) FORGAVE HIM THE DEBT.

This king represents the Lord, and the compassion He felt for this man:

· Represents the compassion God feels toward sinners when they cry out to Him for mercy and forgiveness…

· It represents the compassion God feels toward us when we cry out to Him to have our debts forgiven.

And what did this servant do to be forgiven for such a debt? He did nothing more than acknowledge his debt, humble himself and cry out for mercy.

For any of you parents here, think of one of your children – maybe a child that has rebelled and sinned terribly – then you imagine that child comes to
you, falling on their knees, begging for forgiveness: it doesn’t matter what that child has done…

· How quickly would you forgive that child?

· How quickly would you embrace that child?

· How quickly would you be like the Father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:20 His father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his
neck and kissed him.

One of the main points in these two stories – The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant and the Parable of the Prodigal Son – is how much quicker God has
compassion on His children and wants to forgive our debts.

LET’S REVIEW THESE LESSONS:

LESSON 1: MONEY IS AMORAL, BUT WHAT WE DO WITH IT IS SPIRITUAL.

LESSON 2: UNDERSTAND THE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE OF:

· PUTTING OFF AND PUTTING ON.

· STOPPING AND STARTING.

· SEVERING AND REPLACING.

LESSON 3: APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE TO YOUR FINANCES BY:

· (PART I) PUTTING OFF A LOVE OF MONEY (PART II) AND PUTTING ON A VIEW OF STEWARDSHIP.

· (PART III) PUTTING OFF DEBT (PART IV) AND PUTTING ON SAVING.

· (PART V) PUTTING OFF OBTAINING MONEY QUICKLY (PART VI) AND PUTTING ON OBTAINING IT “LITTLE BY LITTLE.”

LESSON 4: CHRIST PAYS OUR DEBT FOR US.

Author: Scott LaPierre