Childlike Faith, Childlike Giving
A sermon on Mark 10:13-31 by Coty Pinckney, Community Bible Church, Williamstown, MA, 3/5/00
Thank you kids [ages 5-11] for coming forward and singing with the praise team. Weíre so glad youíre with us this morning Ė would you stay up front a little while longer? Now letís read the first few verses of todayís passage together.
13 ∂ And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant
Jesus was greatly displeased. The disciples told people not to bring their children to Jesus Ė they probably thought, "Oh, Jesus has more important things to do than to spend time with children." But Jesus was unhappy with the disciples for doing this. Letís see what he says:
He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all." 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands upon them. (Mark 10:13-16 NASB)
Jesus wants to see the children! He wants to take them in his arms and touch them and hold them. He delights in these children.
Let me ask you children here a series of questions now:
Thank you for your answers. Listen to what the apostle John writes:
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12 NIV)
John says that those who have the type of faith you just expressed may become children Ė of God! By Godís power and love, you kids can become the children of God Ė and by His power and love, we adults can become children too. If we are to belong to God, we must come to Him as children.
Sometimes we adults get so caught up in what adults do, we neglect you. We send you off to watch a video or something. And sometimes Ė even worse Ė we get in your way when you are called to come to Jesus. Will you forgive us?
Each of you is as important as anyone else in this church. Furthermore, you are examples for us Ė thatís what Jesus says right here. We adults must receive Godís kingdom as a child, or we donít receive it at all.
So hold on to your faith, and may your love for God grow more and more as you learn about Him and mature. Those of you who can read, spend time reading part of the Bible every day. Pray to Him always. And serve and love others by the power of Godís Holy Spirit.
Thank you for your participation.
Receiving the Kingdom Like a Child
Jesus says, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all." "Like a child." What does He mean?
Does He mean:
(1) Children are perfect? If you believe that, I welcome you to spend one day in my house with six children. I guarantee your belief wonít survive for two hours. Right, boys?
(2) Does He mean children are innocent? Does He mean that while children may do wrong, they are not accountable, they are not guilty before God? But David writes in Psalm 51
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5 NIV)
Even before David did anything, he was sinful, he was tarnished by sin. Paul says we are "by nature children of wrath." If we are all by nature children of wrath, if we are all sinful from the moment of conception, then children are not innocent.
Letís look at verse Mark 10:15 more closely. Note that the verse does not say we are to "become like a child;" instead, it says we must receive the kingdom like a child. Indeed, elsewhere Paul tells us we are not to be like children in some ways:
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14 NASB)
So what do Paul and Jesus mean? How can we receive the kingdom like a child, but then avoid being like children in Paulís sense?
I believe there are three characteristics of children that Jesus desires in us. Think of four to six-year-old children. What are they like?
First, children are straightforward. My daughter, Erin, was not yet three when my first son was born. My older sister was pregnant at the time with her first, and my brother-in-law Ed, looking forward to getting some experience with infants, came over to see his nephew. Baby Jonathan soiled Edís shirt, so he was sitting on our couch, shirtless, with Erin on his lap. Erin was fascinated by the hair on his chest, and, starting to stroke it, said, "Uncle Eddie! Youíve got fur on you!"
Children of this age say whatever comes into their minds. They are not worried about social convention, what others will think, or about what every one else is doing. They are not self-conscious. They say what they think.
Second, children are trusting. That is, they believe that others are straightforward. They tend to believe what others tell them. For example, when I was four, we lived in Colorado, surrounded by mountains. My seven-year-old sister threw me in a hole one day, and told me she was not really my sister, but an Indian; she was going to kidnap me and take me over "that mountain" to her tribe. I cried and cried, begging her not to take me away. She relented, said she was just teasing, that she was really my sister Ė and I hugged her. Then the next day she did it again, and I believed her again.
This story brings out both what Jesus wants and what Paul warns against. I should have been suspicious of my sister Ė at least the second time she did it! But God in His great mercy provides us evidence that He is indeed trustworthy Ė and so we are to believe Him in that simple, trusting manner of a child.
Third, children have a sense of wonder at the world. The Christmas when Erin was two, we were driving around looking at Christmas lights, and came to a particularly gaudy house: Santa and reindeer on top, thousands of brightly colored lights blinking on and off. Erin took one look, and was overwhelmed, saying, "Oh, that house is so invigorating." To children, the world is full of surprises, full of things that they donít understand. They know that they donít understand everything, so they are frequently lost in wonder.
How do these characteristics apply to the way we receive the kingdom?
Start with wonder: We need to be overwhelmed with the wonder of His love and power. "He created this world around us! He can do anything! And He came for me! He loves me!"
Second, we need to be straightforward with regard to our sinfulness, as the kids on stage were this morning when I asked them.
Third, we need to trust in Jesus, believe Him with the simple faith of a child, knowing He is so far above us that we will never understand Him Ė but we can trust Him.
So will you wonder as a child? Will you admit your sinfulness like a child? Will you trust like a child?
Before we go forward to consider the next section of Mark 10, letís go back and remind ourselves of a few points from the previous chapter and a half. At the end of chapter 8, Jesus announces to His disciples for the first time that He must die, and that His disciples too must lose their lives in order to save them. They must give up their own desires and wants, their plans and hopes; when they do so, they will become what God intends them to be. In chapter 9, the disciples are arguing about who is the greatest. Jesus does not reprimand them, but instead teaches them that the way to true greatness is different from what they believe; one becomes great, in part, through service to others. Look at 9:36:
And taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me." (NASB)
Jesus uses this little child as an example of the type of person the disciples should serve in Jesusí name in order to become great: someone who is unlikely ever to pay them back, someone who is weak and powerless, someone who will do nothing for their social standing. This is one way we actualize our faith, and show that God dwells in us.
Then the first twelve verses of chapter 10 discuss marriage and divorce. Think about the issues we discussed last week in terms of the verses concerning children. First, clearly we can hinder our childrenís coming to the Lord through problems in our marriages. On the other hand, if we in our marriages are living out the one-flesh relationship that God desires, if we are faithfully representing the relationship between Christ and the Church, then we are helping our children to see the living reality of Jesusí work in this world.
Second, if we are struggling in our marriages, we need to have that faith of a child, a faith that believes that God really does work together all things Ė even our serious problems Ė for His glory and our good.
The Rich Young Ruler
Letís now turn to verse 17:
17 ∂ And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (NASB)
Who was this man? In verse 22, we discover that he is wealthy; in Lukeís account we are told that he is a ruler of some sort, perhaps a magistrate. Why would a prominent, rich man run up to Jesus and then kneel before Him? This is an unusual, demeaning act for someone in his position.
Something stirred him. Picture him seeing Jesus about to leave. This ruler feels compelled to talk to Him, he feels he may never get another chance. He thinks, "Can I really do this? Can I humiliate myself in front of all these common people, and kneel down before this carpenter from Nazareth? I must! I will! I will!" And so he runs Ė not so much to catch up with Jesus, as much as to get there so fast that he cannot change his mind. He throws himself at Jesusí feet and cries out, "Good teacher! What shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
What does the ruler mean and imply by his question?
First, he implies that some people donít have eternal life. If everyone had eternal life, he wouldnít have to ask the question; there wouldnít be anything to do to get it.
Second, the ruler says implicitly, "I know I donít have eternal life Ė and I want to change that!" This is interesting because, according to the Pharisees, this man already is doing all that is necessary; heís keeping the commandments, but he knows something is missing.
Why does the ruler use the words "eternal life?" Note that although this is the first occurrence of the phrase "eternal life" in the gospel of Mark, Jesus has used the words previously. Perhaps the ruler was present when Jesus spoke after the healing at the pool of Bethesda:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24 NASB)
Or maybe he heard Jesus speak the day after the feeding of the 5000:
He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:54 NASB)
Or perhaps he heard Jesus speak the words recorded at the end of Mark 8:
whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it. (Mark 8:35 NASB)
The two verses from John make clear that eternal life begins now, not after death. He has eternal life, he has passed out of death into life. This ruler sees something in Jesus that verifies those statements: Jesus is living on a different plane of existence, He is living life as God always intended. And the ruler knows that for all his own obedience to the law as he understands it, he does not have that type of life. Nor is he confident of what is in store for him after death.
So he desires this type of life. He knows everyone doesnít have it, he knows he doesnít have it. And heís willing to demean himself to find out how to get this true, eternal life.
[he] began asking Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. (Mark 10:17-18 NASB)
Surely this is a strange response by Jesus. What is he doing here?
First, He is drawing the rulerís attention to Jesusí identity. Jesus says, "Who am I? Who are you speaking to? If Iím good then Iím God."
Second, he is questioning the meaning of the word "good." Does someone become good by obeying a list of rules? Or does goodness come only from God, only from following Jesus?
19 "You know the commandments, 'DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'" 20 And he said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up." 21 And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Mark 10:19-21 NASB)
The ruler claims to have kept all the commandments. Jesus doesnít question that statement, though clearly he could have. Matthew includes in the list of commandments, "You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself;" Jesus might have replied, "Look! You slipped up here!"
But Jesus wants to change his entire conception of goodness. He doesnít want him to continue to try to earn salvation through obedience to a set of rules. Instead, the ruler needs a relationship with Jesus Ė a relationship of slave to master, that will control all aspects of his life.
The ruler is an example of the Jews Paul discusses in Romans 10:2-4. Paul says his heartís desire and prayer is for them:
2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Given our context here, we might add: "everyone who believes like a little child." This ruler is zealous for God, he is trying hard to please God, he is trying to become righteous by obedience to the law Ė but he has not submitted to Godís righteousness; he has not yet believed like a little child.
How does Jesus handle this situation? How does he confront the ruler with the need to believe?
First, He loves him, and shows it by his look. If Paulís heartís desire is for the salvation of his kin, how much greater is Jesusí heartís desire for His people! The ruler has seen something of the quality of Jesusí life; now he sees something of the quality of Jesusí love.
Second, Jesus points out the manís fault. For love is not love if it covers up the truth, if it pretends that all is well when it is not. So Jesus shows him that he falls short. As James says,
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. (James 2:10 NASB)
Jesus says, "One thing you lack," or "In one way youíre falling behind," or, drawing out a connotation of the word used, "One thing is keeping you from winning the victorís crown in the race."
Now, Jesus says "one thing;" but then how many commands does He give? Count them! There are five imperative verbs in this sentence:
go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
Go! Sell! Give! Come! Follow!
So does the ruler lack one thing or five?
The ruler must do one thing to have eternal life; he needs to follow Jesus. But he canít follow Jesus while still a slave to his possessions. As Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, "You cannot serve both God and money." "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." The rulerís problem is one of the heart; he sees the attraction of Jesus, he knows Jesus is living out life the way God intends Ė but heís used to his way of life, he loves his wealth and canít imagine life without it:
But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.
What were his thoughts at this point? Perhaps something like this:
Note carefully: The fact that something is difficult, or completely impractical, has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not it is Godís command. One of Jesusí most explicit statements is one of His most impractical: "Be ye perfect as your father in heaven is perfect."
Living the Christian life means following your Lord, no matter what. So, as we saw last week, he asks us to stay in tough marriages; he asks us to love the unlovable, to forgive the unforgivable; he tells us to yield all our life to Him; he tells some to give away all their possessions.
Far from promising us an easy life, Jesus promises us trials and troubles: "In the world you have tribulation," Ė but praise God He doesnít stop there Ė "but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). Godís promise to us is that He is in control, and that He will strengthen us and enable us to live lives worthy of His calling, as He works all things together for His glory and our good.
Letís finish with the ruler: In our first sermon on Mark, I indicated that there are certain hints in this chapter about his identity. While the evidence is by no means conclusive, he may very well have been John Mark himself. If so, then verse 22 is not the end of the story. He did eventually obey Jesus Ė he did go, sell his possessions, give to the poor, and come to follow Jesus. He stumbled several more times, as we noted in that sermon Ė but God used him mightily.
Pity the Wealthy
Jesus now provides some vital teaching for ourselves and His disciples:
23 And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!" 24 And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus *answered again and *said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26 And they were even more astonished and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?" 27 Looking upon them, Jesus *said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:23-27 NASB)
Note that Jesus calls the disciples "children." Remember that Jesus is only about 33 years old; some of these disciples are older than He is. Although He uses a different word than the one used in verses 13 to 16, calling them "children" emphasizes that they, indeed, have become like children in a positive sense, having faith like children, believing Him Ė while the ruler has not.
And this leads to a fourth characteristic of many children: generosity. Jesus told the ruler to sell all his possessions and give them away Ė yet despite his longing for eternal life, despite his willingness to demean himself by running to Jesus and kneeling before Him, he could not bring himself to part with his possessions. But a child, lost in wonder at the beauty of Jesus, not enslaved to possessions, would not find that hard to do. My son Jonathan exhibited this when he was six. As we were discussing his allowance, and encouraging him to decide for himself how much of it to give away for the glory of God, he asked, "Why canít I give it all?"
So here is Jesus contra culture, going against almost every culture that has existed, ever, in our world: the rich, says Jesus, are not to be envied; they are to be pitied. The rich can acquire virtually anything they want -- except what is most important. Entering the kingdom of God is especially difficult -- indeed, impossible -- for the rich.
Jesus' statement leads to two questions that we must answer: Who is rich? In particular, am I rich? Second, Why is it impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom?
Four years ago in the series on money (first, second, and third sermons), I suggested that everyone worshiping at Community Bible Church is rich in the sense Jesus uses the term. Nothing has changed in the interim. Put yourself in the position of those who are listening to Jesus say these words. How would they label someone who:
Imagine! Wouldn't such a person be considered rich indeed? So in comparison to those listening to Jesus, we all undoubtedly are incredibly rich.
But even in comparison to our fellow Christians around the world today, we are rich. The poorest person among us this morning may be in the bottom 20% of US income; nevertheless, that person is better off than at least 4 billion people around the world.
So when Jesus says, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God," he is speaking to you and me.
This makes the second question that much more important: Why is it so hard for the rich to enter the kingdom?
The advantage of poverty is that the poor know they are not in control of their own destiny. If my family's welfare depends upon the weather -- as it does for so many poor farmers in low income countries -- I clearly am subject to forces beyond my control. If one out of every five children in my community dies before reaching the age of five, and there are no medical facilities available to provide care, I know that I am powerless.
The rich, on the other hand, can live for long periods of time under the illusion that they are in control. They have it together. They can plan their lives and accomplish what they set out to do, with no help or assistance from others.
Furthermore, possessions enslave us. "You cannot serve both God and money." We become used to our possessions; we start calling our desires "needs" -- and then we won't even consider following Jesus in a way that would lead to:
We begin to require God to support us in the manner to which we have become accustomed.
Sometimes we justify this attitude by referring to our children: "I can't do that; what would become of my children?" But what do our children need more than a parent who follows Jesus, wherever He may lead?
Ray Stedman uses an apt phrase to describe our condition, saying we are "addicted to comfort and ease." Surely this is true of the Church in America today.
Gaining True Life by Losing False Life
Jesus concludes this section with one of the most important promises in the Bible
28 Peter began to say to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You." 29 Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, 30 but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 "But many who are first, will be last; and the last, first." (Mark 10:28-31 NASB)
Some commentators berate Peter for this statement, suggesting that he is bragging about what he and the disciples have done. I disagree. Peter here is being like that straightforward child. Jesus had said, "Follow me!" And Peter, Andrew, James, John, and the others had done that. They had left everything to follow him. I don't think Peter had ever thought that this was a great thing to do; it hadn't even seemed hard. He just did it. Now, to his surprise, he sees Jesus give the same, loving look and command to this ruler -- yet the ruler walks away.
This week, I ask you to focus on the profound statements made in verses 29 to 31. Meditate on them. Pore over them. Let them sink into you. Listen again now, carefully:
Jesus says, "Whatever you give up for me now, you will receive one hundred times as much now -- and billions times as much in the age to come."
I think we expect Jesus to make the eschatological promise, the promise of future joy in eternity with Jesus. We don't comprehend all that entails, we certainly can't grasp what that will be like, but we know the promise is made many places in Scripture:
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (NASB)
1 Peter 1:4 [we have] an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven (NASB)
We know, furthermore, that we are better off risen with Christ than we can ever be in this life; as Paul says, "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."
Clearly the eternal joy that is ours should be our primary hope. But Jesus says more than that here. He says that whatever we give up, we will receive one hundred times more in the present age. What could he possibly mean by that?
Does he mean that if I give the church $1,000, I'll get back $100,000? Some health, wealth, and prosperity preachers speak like that. But clearly if that's what Jesus meant, there was no reason for the ruler to walk away. Jesus could simply have said, "Look, give all this away, and within a few years you'll have one hundred times as much money, wealth, and prestige. That's quite an investment!" Such a promise would appeal to his greed -- the very problem he faced, and we continue to face.
Part of the promise surely is that we have eternal life right now. We have "joy unspeakable" because of our relationship to God; we have the love, joy, and peace the world longs for because the Spirit dwells in us. We have a true intimacy, a true fellowship with one another because He has made us brothers and sisters in Him, He has made us into one body. And, as we saw at the end of chapter 8, we are fulfilled as we become what God intends us to be. All this is much more valuable than anything we may give up.
But Jesus' statement can't mean only that. Note that Jesus includes material goods in His promise: farms and houses. Our brothers and sisters multiply in the family of God; what about our material possessions, our farms and houses?
This is the key: If you give all you have to the Lord, you will receive one hundred times more joy and pleasure from the material possessions you have than you would have received from the entire hoard if you had given nothing away.
Think about that statement. Some of you might be thinking, "Oh, is that all He means? I thought by giving I was going to get more!"
You are going to get more -- more of what you really want! Why do we want possessions anyway? Because of the joy, pleasure, and security they give us, right? God promises us complete security; nothing can harm us until we have completed His work for us in this world, and then we will be received by Him with great rejoicing. And in this life, He promises us the joy and pleasure we really want, that we try to get from hoarding possessions.
Why will we get more joy and pleasure from a few possessions when we follow Jesus, than we would get from vast hoards of possessions if we don't follow Him? Consider these reasons:
(1) As stated above, our possessions become our master. We worry about losing them, we devote time and energy to amassing them, and, in the end, they can make us miserable. Many wealthy men have been among the most miserable who ever lived.
(2) Even more importantly, we get more enjoyment from our few possessions because we know they are gifts from someone who loves us dearly. Think, now: What possessions do you value most? For many of us, we value most not the expensive item we bought for ourselves, but some little trifle that was given to us by a loved one. Perhaps a picture drawn by a three-year-old, perhaps a ring, or necklace, or a letter from your husband; perhaps the gift your parents gave you when you left home. These may not be worth much monetarily, but they are most valuable because they represent the love of another.
The Christian knows that everything we own is a gift from the One who loves us more than we can imagine. So even a few possessions can generate in our hearts unspeakable joy, because they all represent His love. So instead of considering these possessions as things we've earned, as things we deserve, we consider everything a special gift of love from the King of the Universe. We deserve nothing -- yet look what He gives us! His love and generosity overwhelm us!
Furthermore, we know that much more is coming! I commend to you the study of Philippians 4:10-19, which we can't explore now, except to quote the last verse: "My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory." And how large are His riches in glory?
John Piper puts it this way:
There is one hundred times more joy and satisfaction in a life devoted to Christ and the gospel than a life devoted to frivolous comforts and pleasures and worldly advancements. . . . as J. Campbell White said in 1909 when the Layman's Missionary Movement was at its peak, "Fame, pleasure, riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of his eternal plans."
So we are back to the theme of the end of chapter 8: Everything around us tempts us to pursue a type of life that, in the end, will never satisfy. Jesus calls us to give up that false life so that we might find true life, true joy, true love in a relationship with Him. And when we do that, we find that we now have all the love, joy, peace, and security that we used to seek through the ways of the world.
Do you have ears to hear? You have heard the truths of Godís word: What will you do?
Do you believe like a child? Do you trust God's word?
Do you really believe that whatever you give up for Christ and for the gospel you will get back one hundred times more in love, in true joy in this world, and a billion times more in the age to come?
What if God calls you to give up all you possess Ė is He?
What if He calls you to devote yourself to ministry Ė full or part time. Is He?
What if he is calling you to devote your vacation, two weeks, to a short term missions trip. Is He?
Are you ready and willing to follow Christ wherever He leads -- whether it is working on translating the gospel for a people group that does not have the Scriptures in their language, or serving AIDS orphans in Africa, or spreading a passion for God in this community in the Berkshires -- are you willing?
In the story of the sheep and the goats, Jesus says:
"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? 38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 'And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' (Mat 25:37 NASB)
Do you really believe that whatever service you render to the weak and lowly in Christ's name is rendered to Christ himself?
Do you consider yourself a stranger and alien in this world, on your way to your true home with Christ?
Are you willing to give much, much more financially than you ever have before? Do you really believe that all you have comes from God, that you are a steward of His gifts?
Oh, brothers and sisters, whatever you have, may you use every last penny of it for the glory of God. That's why He gave it to you -- to be used for His glory. Certainly, use part of it for your enjoyment, because our enjoyment with our families, our fellowship with other Christians, and our reaching out in ways we enjoy to non-believers can all bring glory to Him. But,
Then I will give and give and give Ė like 6 year old Jonathan and his allowance. And after giving, I will reap one hundred times more joy and pleasure and peace in this present age, and a billion times more treasure in heaven.
This sermon was preached at Community Bible Church in Williamstown, MA on 3/5/00. Ray Stedman's sermon on this passage was helpful; that is the source for the idea that the rich are to be pitied rather than envied. For more on Campbell White see this sermon of John Piper.
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