Financial Shalom


Pastor Jerry Gillis - November 13, 2022

Community Group Study Notes

1. Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture passage(s) and main idea of the message.

2. How would you describe what financial shalom would look like in a person’s life?

3. Read Matthew 6:19-24. What does it mean to serve God and not serve money? Why can’t we serve both simultaneously?

4. Read 1 Timothy 6:9-10 and 6:17-19. Why is the idolatry of money (or, greed) so self-destructive? How can we make sure that we don’t fall prey to greed’s destruction in our lives?

5. What is one action step you can take in light of this sermon and our discussion? Pray as a group for one another to take these action steps.



Sermon Transcript

- Well, good morning to you. So glad that you are here. If you are joining us here on any of our campuses or online, we're so thankful that you are here. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever been stressed out before about money? I assume by your reaction that the answer to that question is yes. Probably all of us have at some point. Some of us are feeling that even now, depending on the scenario of life that you are in. I remember that feeling well. I have had that feeling in my life. I've felt the stress of finances before. I actually remember a particular time when Edie and I were just married for just a handful of years, maybe two, maybe three, I can't remember exactly, but I was headed out on a mission trip and I left and we had, when I left, I literally left, we had less than $10 in the bank. So that I left the country and my wife was at home and could not even go to the ATM because you have to have at least $10 to be able to get something out. I remember that. And I remember how that felt. And I remember kind of where I was in my world at that point. And it was just, it was stressful, right? It felt stressful at that time. I know what it's like, and maybe you do too, to feel that sometimes there is more month than money. You ever felt that way before? There's more month than there is money. People have experienced that. Maybe it's something you experienced when you were younger, maybe it's something you're experiencing now, but everybody seems to have, at times, some stressors that are around the arena of finances. I'm imagining that if you are somebody who is saving for retirement and you've been paying attention to that, since the beginning of the year, that's not been going awesome. Just in case you're wondering, right? The market hasn't been great if that's something that you've invested in at the very beginning of the year. Some of you're saying, well, that's not just pieces of paper to me. Like, I'm retired and this is affecting me and I've experienced this and I understand it because, I mean, the margins are like somewhere 20% or more maybe of loss that's happened over the course of the year. It's done a lot better here real recently, but hasn't made up for that. And so, some people get really stressed out when they're looking at things like that. In my preparation for when I was looking at the message that I was going to be talking about today and the words of Jesus in Matthew Six that we'll be taking a look at in just a few minutes, I actually came across a couple of two different surveys that were done. One by the American Psychological Association that was called Stress in America and the other one by Northwestern Mutual, which was their planning and progress kind of study that they had done. And the interesting thing was, in both of those studies, they came to the same conclusion. That the greatest one singular, particular issue in American society that causes the greatest stress is money and finances. That is the single greatest stressor. Now, why is it stressful? Well, we can probably think of a million reasons why that's the case, right? Why money and possessions and stuff causes a lot of stress in our world. Maybe it's because we feel like, presently, like right now, that, you know, we don't have enough. And so, if we feel like we don't have enough, then that can feel very stressful. With inflation and the cost of goods. You've probably seen the cost of gas and the cost of food which has gone up. Am I the only one that's seen that? Everybody has probably felt that and seen that, right? Or maybe the cost of healthcare. Those are things that weigh us down and give us a sense of stress. Or maybe our stress is not about right now, it's about looking into the future. And we feel a sense of stress looking into the future and what that feels like for us. Do we have enough when that time comes? Are we gonna be able to be cared for as we get older? All of those things can cause great stress. Or maybe it's the mountain of debt that you feel like you are kind of swimming under. And it feels like it's overwhelming at times and you can't get away from it. All of these things can pile up and cause us a great deal of stress and anxiety when it comes to finances or money or possessions or stuff. I completely understand and I know where many people are. But I want us to understand very clearly, my friends, my brothers, my sisters, my countrymen, I want you all to understand real clearly that we are not the first generation that has experienced stress over money and possessions and stuff. Like, this has been around as long as money and possessions and stuff has been around. And, in fact, when we hear Jesus actually speak to this, what we have to realize is this, is that Jesus is the God of shalom in the flesh. And He knows what He's saying when He talks about things like money and possessions and stuff. Jesus is not just talking. Jesus is not just a good teacher. Jesus is God in the flesh and He has things to say to us about how we view money and possessions and stuff. And when He's teaching in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Chapter Five, Six and Seven, we're gonna be looking at Chapter Six, Jesus actually addresses this topic and I want us to hear what He has to say. Understanding that this is the God of shalom in the flesh. And shalom, for those of us who haven't been tracking with us, shalom is a Hebrew word that talks about, we in the English language translate it normally as peace, but it's much bigger than that. It's wholeness, completeness, wellness, sincerity, serenity, peace, absence of conflict. It's all of those things kind of rolled into one. And God himself is shalom. God is completely whole and harmonious, right? God is completely at peace. And Jesus is God in the flesh showing us what that looks like. And now when He speaks to the issue of money or finances, possessions and stuff, we've gotta understand that this is the God of shalom in the flesh speaking to us about these things. And here's what He said in Matthew Six beginning in verse number 19. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy." Vermin, just that word's translated to eat away. That's actually the translation in the Greek language, to eat away. Some of your translations may say rust, right? Because rust eats away at things. Vermin eat away at things, right? Like rats and stuff. So, that's what he's talking about. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 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! 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." You see, what Jesus, the God of shalom, is teaching us is that even when it comes to money and possessions and stuff, that we can have some sense of financial shalom in our lives. That that is something that we can see happen. Now, it's primarily going to be a heart issue. You can certainly put some competencies with that, that you can learn about structuring your life, but it has to begin in a place in our heart. And I would summarize this whole text of Jesus saying simply to us, financial shalom only comes through serving the right master. It's really pretty straightforward. Financial shalom only comes through serving the right master. Now, to better understand whether or not we are serving the right master, based on what Jesus has told us and what he has taught us, I think we can ask a few simple questions to be able to get at that. And what I'm going to do is I'm going to exegete this text of what Jesus just taught us, but I'm gonna do it backwards. I'm gonna start not at the first verse that we read, but I'm gonna start at the last one. I'm gonna work backwards and I'm gonna ask three questions that help us to understand what master we're actually serving, right? So, the first question is really simple and straightforward. It's this, who do you love? Who do you love? Notice again how Jesus phrased this in verse 24. "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you'll be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Jesus says here that love can only be given to one master. Now, some of you're saying, well, you know what, Jerry, look, he says, you can't serve two masters, but I've got two jobs. I'm trying to, you know, make ends meet and I've got two jobs. Jesus is not talking about two employers. You can actually work for two employers and like them. You can work for three employers and like them. Jesus is talking about what rules us. Masters, right? Not employers. And Jesus says that our love can only be deposited in one master. You will love the one and despise the other. Because we know what happens, don't we, when we give our love to the wrong master? Jesus said you can't serve God and money. And if we give our love to the wrong master, we know what happens, don't we? In fact, the writers of scripture tell us very clearly, and we know by experience because I'm guessing all of us, at some point in time in our lives, have given ourselves over to money love and we have found it unsatisfactory. 'Cause every time you try it, that's what you'll find out. Maybe not initially. You're like, no dude, like I'm rolling in it and it's good times. Maybe for a little bit, but I promise you it will not last. Listen to how the writer of Ecclesiastes said it. "Whoever loves money never has enough. Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income." How many of us know that's true, right? We know that to be true from real life experience. And then, listen to what Paul told Timothy in First Timothy, Chapter Six. "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." And we know this to be true. That when we choose the wrong master, we end up in a bad spot. Why does loving money hurt us, you might ask, right? Because we need it, right? We need it to live, to pay our bills, and God supplies us everything He gives us. Really, it's a wonderful thing, right? God provides for us and He gives it to us for our ability to use that. But it's not given to us so that it can rule us. It's given to us to serve us and to serve His purposes. That's the point, right? And so, why does money love, why does the love of money hurt us? Why is it bad for us? Here's why, listen. Because of the idolatry behind it. That's why. Because it becomes an idol to us. This idea of money becomes idolatrous. Jesus obviously knew that and He referenced that when He said you cannot serve two masters. He said basically it's this, it's God or money. Now in some of your translations it says mammon. Now mammon is a confusing a little bit word. You're kind of going, I don't really know what that means. It's kind of taken from an Aramaic root. But what it's referencing is Jesus's personifying money as an idol. He's personifying it as a little G god that people will serve and be willing to give themselves over to. He says, you've got a choice here and it's binary. You either are going to serve the one true God and let Him be your master, or you are going to serve another little G god called money or mammon. And I can promise you that the outcome of serving that little G god is not going to be the life of shalom that God has intended for you. You see, ultimately, this idea of money, love or greed, maybe we would use that term, right, money, love or greed, it is idolatrous. Now, this isn't just Jerry kind of trying to play with the text. This is Jerry talking about what other things are in the New Testament. Paul said it very clearly. Listen to his words in Ephesians, Chapter Five. "For of this you can be sure, no immoral, impure or greedy person, such a person is an idolator, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." He said it point blank. Greedy people are idolatrous. Now, he says it to the church of Colossae as well. "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry." Right? So, we don't have to guess, I'm not having to do any guesswork. Jesus has talked to us about this. The apostle Paul has talked to us about this. And says very, very clearly to us this becomes idolatrous. Now, listen. Money love is an idol because it tries to make us believe that it can give us things that God can't. That's why. See, that's what idols do. They make you believe that they are worthy to be worshiped and can give you what God cannot. Money will try to promise you that it can give you peace. Money will try to promise you that it can give you safety and security. Money will try to promise you that it can give you life. Money will try to promise you that it can give you happiness. Functionally, money will try to promise you that it can provide shalom. But it can't. It can't. I promise you it can't. And Jesus says we need to declare and we need to pledge our allegiance to one master. And it's either God, the one true God, or it is money. This. Why would I let this tell me what to do? This. Whatever you say, Andrew Jackson. I will, right? It seems ridiculous when we talk about it, right? Seems stupid. But you know what sometimes we have to do? We need to tell it some stuff. Let's do. Men, you got wallets on you, pull 'em out. Pull your wallet out and just hold your wallet in your hand. You don't have to open it up. Just pull it out, hold it in your hand. Ladies, you got a purse, you got your money in there? You don't have to take your money out. Just hold your purse in your hand. Maybe you do all of your stuff, maybe you do all your financial stuff on your phone. Take your phone in your hand. We're gonna tell it some stuff. I'm not even joking. Some of you're gonna laugh your way through this because you're laughing your way through your own deception. How is that for busting up the party? But it's true. And I'll get to that in just a second. Just take that wallet in your hand, take your phone in your hand, take your purse in your hand, whatever it is, and say this. You are not my master.

- [Congregation] You are not my master.

- I don't love you.

- [Congregation] I don't love you.

- Jesus is my master.

- [Congregation] Jesus is my master.

- I am Jesus' servant.

- [Congregation] I am Jesus' servant.

- Not yours.

- [Congregation] Not yours.

- You will do what I tell you.

- [Congregation] You will do what I tell you.

- Because I will do what Jesus tells me.

- [Congregation] Because I will do what Jesus tells me.

- Imagine if we believed that. Imagine if we actually believed what we just said. Like we really meant it. Do you think that would change the nature of how we experienced money and possessions and stuff? Do you think it would change the nature of our peace when it comes to our money and possessions and stuff? Do you think it would change maybe even the priorities that we have around money and possessions and stuff? I think it would. But we've gotta ask that question first. Who do you love? Secondly, here's the second question. Have you been deceived? Who do you love? Have you been deceived? Look at what Jesus has to say in verses 22 and 23. He says, "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!" See, Jesus uses an illustration here, and it's, on the surface level, we get it, right? If my eyes are good, and my eyes are good, then I have the ability to be full of light and my body's not in danger because I know where I'm going, right? I can walk around this platform. I'm not worried about bumping into stuff. I'm not worried about walking off of the stage, right? Because my eyes are good and my whole body is filled with light, therefore I can see where I'm going and what I'm doing. If my eyes are unhealthy, if my eyes are bad, then my whole body's in danger, right? I can't see where I'm going. I don't know where the end of the stage is and I could hurt myself that way. I could run into things. That makes sense as far as it goes, right? Makes perfect sense. But, actually, for the culture that was living at that time, they understood this phraseology of good eye and bad eye in a very specific way. In fact, one of the parables that Jesus taught later on in the book of Matthew made this more clear because he used that same idea. Some of our translations don't pick it up the same, but that's the exact same thing he did. It was a parable about a man who was an owner of a field and he wanted to hire some people to come work for him. And so, he went and he found some people that were looking for work and he hired them at the beginning of the day and he negotiated with them and said, hey, if I pay you a denarius for a day's work, are you willing to do that? And they said, absolutely, that's fair. We'll come and work for you for the day. So, he loads them up in the truck and he takes them, there weren't trucks back then, he loads them up in the truck and he takes them and they go to work. But then there were some people there, in the middle of the day, he needed some more workers, and he hired them for the same wage that he promised the guys that he hired earlier. And then, when the day is almost over, he actually hires some additional people to work and he decides he's gonna pay them the same thing that he paid all the rest of them. Now, when it came time for the pay at the very end of all the day, like, he's gonna pay everybody, and everybody starts realizing, wait a second. Who do you think was upset and who do you think was happy about this, right? The people who worked from the very beginning of the day made the same amount as the people who worked the last hour of the day and the people who worked the last hour were like, I thought this was a really good deal. And the people that worked for the whole day were like, I think this deal stinks. And listen to how the owner responded when everybody started complaining. "He answered one of them, 'I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?'" Listen to this statement. "'Or are you envious because I am generous?'" Or do you have a bad eye because I have a good eye? That is what Jesus was actually saying. It can actually be translated that way. Or is your eye bad because I'm good? Could be a literal translation of that passage of scripture. You see, in that cultural context, they understood good eye and bad eye. Here it's translated as unhealthy eye or healthy eye. But it's good eye and bad eye. A good eye is an eye that's able to see the grace. And, as a result of the grace of generosity, is able to be generous. And a bad eye is one that cannot see. And, as a result, becomes stingy and hoarding. That's what Jesus was getting at in this particular context. And He was basically saying this. Some of you will be deceived. The light within you is darkness because you have a bad eye. You haven't been able to understand how good and generous God has been to you. And, as a result, you won't be generous. You are walking around in darkness even though you think you are walking around in the light. It is only those who have a good eye that can see it clearly. The grace and the beauty of grace that results in generosity. You see, many of us have been deceived into thinking that everything's fine in our world when, in actuality, we don't have good eyes, we have bad eyes. And if that's the case for us, we need to ask the Lord to help us to have good eyes, to be able to see. In fact, I wonder if we just evaluated our own lives and asked some questions. Like say, for instance, say for instance this could talk. You know, it's in my possession right now, right? Say, for instance, it could talk and everything in my wallet could talk, and my bank account could talk, and it went ahead and took the stand and said, I want to testify about how Jerry and Edie use us. What would it say? What would Andy Jackson, it's Andrew Jackson, you know him, what would he say? Like, what would be the testimony of our own lives? Would it be a testimony of, like, hmm, I can't really tell what or who you love by this? Or I can really tell who or what you love by this? Like, what would it actually say? This is where we have to evaluate our lives and orient our lives back into the nature of who God is and what he would say. Because, here's the thing, if our money could testify, that would be great. But I have a a tendency to think that our money and our stuff and possessions has a one word vocabulary. Goodbye. Goodbye. That's really the testimony of our money and stuff. Goodbye. One word. 'Cause it doesn't stay. It's not forever. It's temporary.

- Who do you love? Have you been deceived? But then, lastly, who gets your treasure? Who gets it? Listen to what Jesus said, verse number 19, He said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Now, what I find interesting is that Jesus uses not the regular word for money here, he uses a word for treasure. That word for treasure, when we translate it, it's actually, it's the same root as to where we get our word thesaurus. Do you know what a thesaurus is? A thesaurus is a treasure chest of words. And Jesus uses a term here in this language, in the Greek language, when we translate it that way, that gives us a picture of everything for us. Like, our treasury of our dreams and what we hold dear. It's not just the word for money, a dollar bill, right? It's much bigger than that. It's about our dream repository. It's about all the things that we hold precious. And here's what we have to understand is that if we have the wrong treasure, we will have the wrong dreams. Like, if you treasure the wrong things, you will dream the wrong dreams. See, in the world that we live in, in the world that we live in, everybody tells you to follow your dreams. Oh man, if you dream it, you can be it. Just follow your dreams. Here's the problem. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, and if you treasure the wrong things, you're gonna dream the wrong dreams. We've gotta be a people who allow for the very things that we treasure to be the things that God teaches us to treasure. Because if money is what we treasure, if the love of money and stuff and possessions is what we treasure, we are going to be pierced and stricken with many griefs, the scripture says. That's where we're going to be. My friends, we should listen to Jesus. Do you know why? Listen, because He's the son of God. Because He's God who is shalom in the flesh. We should listen to Jesus. Let me tell you why else. Because where Jesus came from, there is no money. That's where He came from. Jesus came from the glory of eternity with the Father and the Spirit. He came into this world and where He came from, money is irrelevant. And He comes into a world in which money is something by which that we have provision that God provide. All of those things are wonderful, they're fine, they're good. But Jesus is trying to teach us how to view them and what they look like. Could you imagine? Why would we treasure stuff that is temporary, that can be stolen, that can be rusted, that can be eaten away, that is transient, that is always saying goodbye, that can rot? Why would we put our hope and our treasure and our worship into that? When Jesus comes from a place that says to us, you know, where I'm from and where you're headed, this stuff is irrelevant. It's irrelevant where we're headed, but it's not irrelevant to how we get there. It's irrelevant to where we're headed, but it's not irrelevant to how we get there. But I'm afraid that we put too much emphasis on storing up for ourselves treasures on earth. Adrian Rogers, who's since gone to be with the Lord, the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee area, he was telling a story about a man named Charlie Dobson, who's from Ontario, Canada. And this was from many, many years ago. And he told the story of Charlie Dobson, who was a little frustrated that his garbage pickup happened really, really kind of, it was real spotty. They didn't pick up his garbage very often, right? He was just in one of those places where he lived and they got to it when they got to it. And he was just like, oh, come on. So, he decided to get a little creative. Charlie decided that he would take his coffee grounds and his, you know, lemon peels and, you know, his rotted vegetables and his thrown out meat and all the gross stuff that we have in trash cans, he would put it in a box and he would wrap it in wrapping paper and he would put a really nice bow on it and he would put it at the curb. And then he would go in his house and, behind the curtain, he would just watch and people in his neighborhood would be driving by and stop and get it and take it. They did not realize that they were picking up gift wrapped garbage, but that's what they were doing. And he's behind the curtain watching, just going like Like, he's gotten rid of his trash and his neighbors have picked it up thinking that it was some wonderful gift, right? I often wonder, in the world that we live in, and hearing that story, I wonder even more, if maybe the enemy of our soul is doing the same thing to us. He's behind the curtain gift wrapping stuff for us all the time that's temporary, that won't last, that's gonna get thrown out. But we look at it on the curb and we think to ourselves, man, this is it. I'm taking this with me. And we don't realize, we think it's treasure and it's really trash. I just upgraded my phone. It's the worst. My phone, I had one from like, I don't know, I had iPhone negative 62 or whatever I had. And then, and finally, you know, I've been due for an upgrade for a bazillion years and I finally upgraded my phone. But then you upgrade your phone and you're like, okay, I got a new phone, what about the other phone? Well, whatever, you know, it's old, nobody's gonna use it, so it's trash. Okay, cool. And I'm like, great, so I'm just gonna put my case on this and all that stuff. Sorry, sir, your case won't fit your new phone. Your old case won't fit your new phone. I'm sorry, what? That's a perfectly good case. Yeah, but now with the camera, we've got some additional camera things and now you wouldn't be able to use it, and so you gotta use a new case. Okay. Well, I'm just gonna take it home, plug it in and charge it. Well, you're not gonna be able to use the same charger. What? Yeah, this charger's specifically for this phone. And so, your old charger's not really for that. And I'm just, in my mind, I'm going, it's all trash. It just goes away. It just departs. We put all of our trust and our hope in these things that just depart and fly away and go away. Sometimes I feel like we've just got gift wrapped garbage and we put all of our hope and our trust in that. But if money won't last, if treasure's on earth won't last, then what are we supposed to do? Jesus says, don't store up for yourselves treasure's on earth where moths and vermin and rust destroy and where thieves can break in and steal. But, instead, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Okay. Okay. What is that, right? That's what we kind of look at and we go, okay, what is that? I don't know exactly. But I do know that Jesus is actually moving through a process, when he's talking in the Sermon on the Mount, I want you to at least pay attention, in that same chapter, a few verses earlier. I wanna show you something. Matthew Six, beginning of verse number three. "When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be done in secret. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Notice what he goes on to say in the next verse. "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." And then, watch this, verse 17 and 18. "When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it won't be obvious to others that you're fasting, but only to your Father who is unseen, and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Did you catch it? Three different times, he says that what will happen is that when our lives, listen, in the secret place, in the place of our devotion to God, in the secret place, when our lives are fully devoted in the secret place to God that results in generosity, He will reward you. That, I think, is part of the idea of what Jesus is talking about when He talks about treasures in heaven. And the reason that I think that Jesus is talking about generosity and doing works for the sake of the good of the glory of God and the kingdom of God as treasures in heaven, is because Paul understood Jesus teaching the same way. I'm not just reaching, Paul understood this the same way. Listen to what he said in First Timothy, Chapter Six. "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." Paul was talking about the very ultimate same thing. That an inner life of devotion to God that ultimately understands the grace of God leads to a life of generosity. That this is about treasures in heaven. What are those treasures in heaven? I don't know. But I sure know this, treasures in heaven last. Treasures on earth don't. Sign me up for that which endures, which lasts. You see, because all of this is actually motivated by the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ because of what Jesus has done on our behalf. And, do you remember, Paul actually speaks of this gospel and he uses monetary value to describe what Jesus did. Listen to his words in Second Corinthians, Eight. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich." This is the glorious news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That what God has done for the world in Jesus dying on the cross for our sin, rising from the grave to conquer sin, death, hell in the grave, that now Jesus, listen to this, He came from all of the richness in the entire cosmos. He made it all. He set it aside. He became one who had nothing. To die in the place of people, many of which who thought they had something but really have nothing. And He died, rose from the grave so that, now by faith in Him, we who are poor could now become rich with the good news of salvation and life in God. This is the glorious picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And what we do should be motivated by that. You see, eternity matters. It matters. And where we're going, money is irrelevant, but it's not irrelevant to how we get there. Because if people choose for money to be their master, they are choosing to live separate from God. And that can carry them all the way into a crisis/Christless eternity. It matters. When our eyes are on eternity, our eyes are good because we understand the generosity that we've been given. Because you do realize this, money can't save you. You will not be able to somehow stand before God and go, hey, yeah, Jesus, come over here a second. Could you get me a table right over there in the corner? Could you do that? It's irrelevant. It'll have no effect. Listen to how the writer of Proverbs said it. "Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death." Wealth is worthless. Because it's irrelevant in eternity. You've probably heard the old saying before, but it's true. There are no U-hauls behind hearses. You can't take any of this with you. There are no banks or parking garages in heaven or in hell. Because money is irrelevant where we're going, but it's not irrelevant in how we get there. See, friends, financial shalom only comes through serving the right master. Because what it does is it reveals where our treasure actually is. Let's bow our heads together. We'll be gone in just a moment, but in this moment, I hope that you will do a couple of things. I hope that you'll allow the Holy Spirit to ask these questions of your own heart and allow the words of Jesus to sink deeply into your heart. Because that's what we wanna do. We wanna listen to the words of Jesus, and we wanna respond to them because they're the words of life. They actually teach us what the shalom, the life of God, the beauty of walking in God's life looks like. And that can actually be the case even in our financial world. So, would you let God do what only God can do? But maybe you're here and you've never before received Jesus. You've never actually been someone who's come into the kingdom of light from the kingdom of darkness. You've never turned from your sin and put your faith in what Jesus has done through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. And if that's your need, then I pray today that you'll take an opportunity to respond to that. There'll be people that'll be up front, love to take a moment and pray with you, help you in that journey of faith. They would be honored to do so. So, I hope that you will. Father, I pray in the name of Jesus, that you would give us everything that we need in our hearts to recognize your grace to us. It's overwhelming. And when we begin to understand your grace to us, we begin to live out the shalom of life. And that will affect everything, including our financial world. 'Cause it's really about choosing a master. And we want to declare that we choose you, God. Not money, not mammon, not stuff, not possessions. We choose you. Our love is for you. May that be true of our hearts, and may we align our world around that truth. For your glory, we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

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