Community Bible Chapel Podcast
4/28/19 A Different Way To Live – Living Generously
Jack was out with his friends.
-Over the course of the evening, Jack dominated the conversation.
-He talked about how God had blessed him with a new boat, how great his job was, and you would have thought his kids all got full scholarships to Harvard.
-He talked about how great his stocks were doing and that God blessed him with a great vacation in Europe this year.
-He seemed to have it all together.
-And when the check came, he suddenly developed alligator arms.-He couldn’t reach the check nor his wallet.
-And that would have been okay except that you have treated him to dinner every week for the last year.
-The world is full of people like Jack and you probably know a couple of them.
Today we continue the series we began last week.
-We introduced the series with the Hope of the resurrection.
-Because of the resurrection, we have hope for eternity and that hope gives us something of far greater value to live for than what this world has to offer.
-The rest of the series will focus on common ways that we all struggle with our sinful hearts and because we are in Christ there is A Different Way To Live.
I invite you to join me in Luke 11. Page 736 – You version
-Today we want to focus in on a greedy heart and how to live generously.
READ Luke 11:37-45
-Jesus just finished speaking and the Pharisee invited him over for a meal.-But when the dinner progressed, the Pharisee’s heart was revealed.
-He took note that Jesus didn’t wash his hands.
-The Law required a ceremonial washing before eating.
-Jesus was breaking the Law and that was a “surprise” to the Pharisee.
-A legalistic heart is one that is always noticing what others are/aren’t doing.
–There is always a focus on the outside of the cup.
The Problem v. 37-41
-The problem that Jesus reveals is that the Pharisee’s were motivated by the greed in their hearts.
-We are not told exactly what the Pharisees were greedy for, it may have been money, but more than likely were greedy for righteous reputation as the six “woe’s” that Jesus admonished them for point out.-We would consider greed as very similar to a Heart idol that demands our allegiance—- demanding constant attention and devotion.-Biblical definition of a heart idol = Something I must have so much that I’m willing to sin in order to get it, keep it, or because I can’t have it.
-The Ten Commandments call this “coveting” in the 10th Command.
-Coveting, greed, and heart idols are sisters that walk hand in hand.
-Like the Pharisees, we hide them because they don’t play very well in public.
-Jesus makes the point that our efforts to hide our greedy hearts might stem from bad Theology as He reminds the Pharisees.
“the One who made the outside made the inside also.”
-He calls the Pharisee’s “foolish” because they paid careful attention to the make sure the outside of the cup was clean and paid no attention to the inside.
-They went to church, put money in the box, served in ministry.
-They followed all the rules, but not for the glory of God, but so others would exalt and look up to them.
-People are easy to fool.
-But God sees, not only the things we do on the outside, but He sees the reason – the motivation of why we do them.-Much like our culture today, we can be “outside the cup” focused rather than heart focused.
-Modern Psychology has no clue how to fix our heart, and so focuses on the outside – behavior modification.
-But here is the problem – it doesn’t fix the problem.
-It looks fixed when I stop beating my wife, but that doesn’t fix the anger I have from a father that abused me.
-It looks fixed when I stop drinking, but that doesn’t fix the hurt I experience daily at the bitterness of my own sin.
-Only Jesus can fix the heart, but when I focus on the outside of the cup, I will be offended if you direct me to the heart.
-You will be questioning my heart motives.
Jesus then turns to reveal the hearts of the Pharisees
-I can’t imagine the task of counting all the leaves on my herb plants to make sure that God gets every leaf that is due Him.
-Who does that??????
-We would all be in awe of someone who did that – thinking they must be super dedicated to God.
-Now, Jesus doesn’t condemn them for doing it, but for what they were not doing.
-They were not “just or loving” toward others.
-Yes, by all accounts, they were keeping the Law, but their hearts were greedy.
-They were wanting people to see their dedication to the Lord.
-They were all about doing all the little things that the Law demanded, but not what the Law pointed too – loving God and loving others.
-They were greedy for praise and stealing praise from God.
-The Pharisees sought the prestigious seats at the table.
-They wanted people to recognize them on the streets.
-Being recognized is something that makes us feel good and there is nothing wrong with being recognized for the good things we do.
-That’s human nature and not a problem if we reflect that back up to God, but the text tells us they “loved” being recognized.
-That crosses the line where recognition of others becomes more important than the recognition of God.
-Ed Welch wrote a great book on that “When people are big and God is small”
-Fantastic book that gets to the heart of people pleasing.
-One thing that drives that heart is being greedy for reputation.
-The love of being recognized and exalted by others is what Jesus is getting at.
-And that love pushes them to a constant desire for more – greed.
-We might wonder that Jesus is talking about as He calls the Pharisees “unmarked graves”?
-Jewish Law made it unclean to come in contact with a grave, so just as we do today, they marked graves with a headstone or such marker.
-If a grave was unmarked, you could be defiled without knowing it.
-The Pharisees were like unmarked graves as they were passing on their faulty view of the Law.
-When you sat under their teaching and followed them, you could be deceived and defiled, yet wouldn’t ever know it unless the truth came to bear on it, just as Jesus is doing here.
-And the teachers might have even been deceived themselves.
-But Jesus exposed their hearts and rather than turning to Jesus and saying,
“Wow, thank you for exposing our hearts so we can turn around and be the leaders God wants us to be”, they are “insulted” and “oppose Jesus fiercely.”
-Jesus posed a threat to their greed for more success.
Now, there are three more “woe’s” which we will not dig into today because I want to tie this together for us as we consider A Different Way To Live.
-Greed is a heart issue – one we all share.
-Somewhere in our lives, there is something that we want more of – greed is brewing!
The Solution: A Different Way To Live – Generosity
-Jesus offers a solution. V. 41 “give what is inside the dish to the poor and everything will be clean for you.”
-In the Law of Moses, certain portions of the harvest were given to provide for the Levites (priests), some for the strangers, the fatherless, and the widow.-We see the beauty of God’s instructions because it provides for the poor and at the same time helps us with our greedy hearts.
-We guard our hearts from greed by consistently practicing generosity.
-We saw that in Nehemiah 8:10, at the festival of rebuilding the wall.
-They read the law and the people were convicted by their sin and Nehemiah encouraged them because of their broken hearts:
“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared (share). This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
-Jesus is drawing on that same convicted heart in v. 41.
-When you have willingly shared what God has provided with the poor, then what is left to you is clean for you.
-Go ahead, you are free to pray for God’s blessing, but God will never bless a greedy heart.
-But it’s more than just doing what is required because we can give with a grudging heart.
-And don’t forget that greed can be more than just money.
-We can be greedy for more in our relationships.
-We can be greedy for more time.
-We can be greedy for more in recognition.
-We can be greedy for more of a million things.
-It’s scary to me that just like the Pharisee’s, we can fool ourselves and fool others with our outward appearance.
-I can be zealous to see people saved, and that looks great on that outside.
-Until I search my heart and find that I really just want more people in my church so I look like a success.
-Our hearts can be very deceptive.
-So, how do we get to the heart of greed so we might bear the fruit of generosity.
-I could just stand up here and tell you to be more generous, but that would just be pasting good fruit on a rotten heart.
-That fruit will eventually fall off.
-Getting to the heart of greed . . . .
-So, often we mope around like the world is coming to an end – it is!
-But our hope isn’t in the world, it’s in God.
Psalm 37:4 “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
-Why would we not delight in a God like that?
-The answer is that we take far too much delight in the things of this world.
-There are things we want or demand, and when we don’t get them, we complain about God and fight to get them. (definition of an idol working).
-We see that in Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42
-Martha was complaining about Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet while she was doing all the work by herself.
-But Jesus commended Mary for doing what was best – delighting in her Savior.
-When we look to the world to fill our needs, it will always disappoint and we will always desire more of it.
-God says for us to take delight and joy in Him alone.
-And rightfully so – he is our Creator and our Savior.
-Only in Christ is our guilt and shame taken away.
-Only in Christ are we made new.
-Only in Christ are we adopted as sons and daughters of the King.
-Only in Christ do we have eternal hope.
-Only in Christ are we accepted.
-When we are in Christ, we have all we need.
-So, we are filled and overflowing in Him.
-And in our fullness, we are satisfied in Him and that creates a different way to live.
-Through the Working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will live differently.
-We will live differently by being generous in justice to the poor.
-That is a group of people that is generally treated unjustly.
-And not just to those who love us, but even our enemies.
-We will live differently by generously recognizing God’s working in others.-So much better than expecting to be recognized.
-We will live differently by generously giving grace to our differences.
-Practicing the major relational requirements of loving one another.
-We will live differently by generously being slow to criticize.
-And then generously coming alongside to help when someone is failing.
-We will live differently in generosity with our time.
-We will live differently in generously encouraging others.
-We will live differently by being generous in our thanksgiving. Delighting in the joy of the Lord.
We return to Jack and see a different way to live.
-The next time you go out to dinner with Jack, it’s a total different experience.
-Jack, instead of talking about himself, is asking you questions.
-Not only that, but as he listens to you to talk, he offers to help with something you mentioned that you were struggling with.
-Through the course of the discussion, he mentioned how his life group was so helpful to him in helping him understand and begin to overcome his desire for more.
-Through a deeper study of God’s Word, he began to see the fullness of the riches of God that were given to him in Christ.
-And on top of all that, Jack picked up the tab for dinner and thanked you for how generous you have been with your time, finances, and listening ear.
As followers of Christ, we can live differently than the world and even from how we lived before.
-God has a different way for us to live, and it’s in Him alone.