What Light is in Your Eye?

I was on facebook not too long ago and came across a video of a preacher who was speaking on the love of money. His name is John Piper and he has a website called desiringgod.org. I encourage you to go look, and listen, and be encouraged by this preacher. I was listening to him and as he was preaching, I had to examine myself. The scripture tells us to guard our hearts with all vigilance… (Proverbs 4:23), and one way that we as followers of Christ guard our hearts is by examining them and searching them to see if we are following what is prescribed for us in scripture. To see if we are in fact heeding what God commands of us in scripture. Paul says to examine ourselves also (Philippians 2:12 and 1 Peter 1:10). The book of 1 John is a letter to those who call themselves Christians and is a litmus test to examine our lives by. We are to examine ourselves to make sure we are of the faith. So, when I heard John Piper’s sermon I immediately began to examine myself because of the things he began to bring forth from the scriptures. This is a healthy practice for all Christians and I encourage you to do the same…
 
The remainder of this article is some of my thoughts mixed with some of what John Piper exegetes from the scripture.
 
In 1 Timothy 6:10 Paul says, “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.”
 
Do you love money? Do you love possessions? Do you love the things that money can buy you: sex, popularity, prestige, education…? Are you always thinking about retirement? Are you always thinking about how can I make more money? You may ask the question, “Is money bad? We have to have it to survive right? Surely saving for retirement and thinking about the future isn’t a sin.” I don’t think that the Bible paints a picture that money is bad and yes, we need money for basic needs. It’s not a sin to plan and be smart about your money. But at the heart of what Paul is getting at here is your faith. What does it lie in? Who do you trust? Another way to ask it is, “Where and Who is your allegiance to?” Money is a quick indicator and spotlight of what we love, what we desire, what we really want.
 
Jesus is speaking to the disciples and the Pharisees overhear Him in Luke 16. Jesus says in Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” This infuriated the Pharisees. They sneered at Christ. They ridiculed Him because of this statement, because we learn in verse 14 that they were lovers of money. But what is the love of money? Why is it so detrimental to our faith? The love of money is a condition of the heart that makes you more happy with, more satisfied with, more desiring of, more secure and hopeful in the riches of the world and what it it can buy you, than the closeness and fellowship and faithfulness of God. You trust money not God…This is not good because anything done outside of faith in God is sin (Romans 14:23). Jesus polarizes the issue when He says you can’t serve God and money…You will hate or despise the one and love the other. There is no splitting hairs on this issue. We see the Pharisees and how they hated Christ and according to Luke 16:13-14 we see how they loved money. In Mark 7, Jesus is addressing the Pharisees and He says to them that they reject the commandment of God to honor their father and mother when they say Corban. This word meant that whatever money or possessions that would have been given to honor their father and mother instead went to God. But the problem was that they did this out of their greed and self interest, so they could keep what could have been used to bless their families. They cared nothing for God or His commandments because they had faith in their man-made traditions and what they could gain from them. They loved their money and their possessions.
 
This is not just an isolated incident with the Pharisees though. We see this also with the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22. This man who was one who presumably was a religious man, who was eager to follow Jesus it seemed, who looked to have a desire to do the right thing, had a heart that was shown the polarizing truth of Christ’s message: You cannot serve God and money. You will hate the one and love the other. This man walked away sad because he loved his money. He placed his faith in money. He had a heart condition that caused him to love money and the things it could afford him rather than Jesus. This man’s song was not, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.
I’d rather be His than have riches untold. I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land. Yes I’d rather be led by his nail pierced hands.
Than to be the king of a vast domain and be held in sins dread sway. I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.”
 
He was rather singing,
“I’d rather have money than forgiveness.
I’d rather have wealth than God’s fellowship.
I’d rather be the king of my domain than to be poor and looked down upon today.”
 
There is no gray area here. He walked away sad and disheartened because He couldn’t give up what He treasured most for The Supreme Treasure–Jesus. You either love money or you love God. No in between. Again, money is not bad and the Bible doesn’t paint that picture, but when you love money and your faith and hope are put in it, money becomes your master and you serve it.
 
Another example would be Judas who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26: 14-16) This man walked with Christ and was a part of His ministry. He saw Jesus heal people and forgive them of their sins (Luke 5:17-26; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:43-48; John 8:1-11). This man saw all that Christ had done and loved money more than Jesus and betrayed Him for it.
 
Ananias and Sapphira would be another example (Acts 5:1-11). They both plotted to keep some of the proceeds from the property that they sold rather than give it all to the Christ’s church. They chose money over Jesus. They both dropped dead from their sin.
 
This is not just an issue that we should just brush over but one that we should weigh and ponder and think over. We should examine our own hearts and repent if we are found to be in sin. Because, here in America we are some of the richest people in the world. Even if you belong to the bottom tier in America, you are rich compared to other nations in the world.
 
So what is the remedy to this? How do we overcome the deceitfully wicked lure of money that fights for our faith? We must be engulfed and enamored by the beauty of God!
Saul was a Pharisee which means he would have been like those who despised Jesus in Luke 16 when Jesus talked about how you can’t serve two masters. Remember that it says they sneered or ridiculed Jesus because they loved money. This was Saul! He hated Jesus because He he loved money (the prestige it brought him, the stuff that he claimed as Corban, his possessions). But Saul had an encounter with the true treasure of the universe and his eyes were opened. And Paul writes this in Philippians 3:5-6, “If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Paul tells us that he was a Pharisee and I believe that with that title he takes on the full weight of what Pharisees did, what they thought, and what they taught.
 
Paul tells us how he had learned the secret to being content…Content in what? Content with not having money, clothes, food, fame, approval of men. He tells us how he overcame the lure of everything it meant to be a Pharisee even the love of money. In Philippians 4:11-13 he writes, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. The Lord’s strength showed Paul that he could be content without all that he had when he was a Pharisee.
 
In Philippians 3:7-8 Paul says, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him… When Paul saw Christ as the treasure that He is, it changed his understanding of what was beautiful and this is because of the power of Christ in him. He now considers all those things rubbish compared to Jesus!!
 
Are you gripped by the beauty and majesty of Jesus? He says the eye is the lamp of the body. What light is shining in your eye? Is it the light of the gospel that portrays Jesus as worthy, beautiful, and glorious? Or is it the darkness of the light of money that affords the world? How great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23) Jesus is worthy of our lives and outshines any riches, possessions, or comforts that this world will give us. I pray that you are gripped by Jesus and His unsurpassable worth.
 
Love you church,
Powers
 

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