Faith & Ownership

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online-giving-picMatthew 13:45-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

When I was in seminary in Dallas, I remember getting gas at a station that had a sign with big letters that said FREE CAR WASH. When I paid for the gas, I asked about the free car wash and quickly found myself in an argument with the attendant who insisted it was not free. He affirmed that the sign did not say FREE CAR WASH but rather said TOUCH FREE CAR WASH. I can sometimes miss things so I looked again. Sure enough, just above the giant letters outside the colored starburst that framed them in significantly smaller print was the word “touch.”

He was right and wrong at the same time. He was right about the details. The advertising, like much advertising in our world, was dishonest at the core. Makes me glad Jesus doesn’t treat us that way. He tells us the true price of life in him. John 3:16 is the bottom line truth, “whoever believes in Him has eternal life.” Yet what does it look like to believe in Him?

This is the questions that lies behind much of the teaching in the Bible. We have hundreds of examples of people that got it and those who missed. Last week’s message focuses on one of those hard saying of Jesus that helps clarify what it means to trust your life to Jesus. In Luke 14:33 he says, “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” 

His words can throw us off. It is true that all we have to do is trust Him. But Jesus defines what that trust looks like. What is the world is he talking about? The answer to three questions will help us get it.

What is He Asking? Surrender Your Ownership of Everything to Jesus.

We try to add Jesus to our current materialist lifestyle. Kind of like diversifying your crops to reduce the risk of loss. Jesus won’t tolerate this. It isn’t the faith he is looking for. The cost of really following Jesus is trusting everything you have to Him. This is why he told the rich young ruler to sell everything he had to follow Him. He didn’t way that to everyone but he knew this man’s faith was really in his wealth. He needed a true change of heart to find real faith. This leads to the next question.

Why Does Jesus Ask This? Following Jesus Requires First Place Faith.

Mark 4:19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Matt. 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We trust many things to make life work through our own means. The world tells us there are many ways to make life work and that we only need follow what our hearts tell us. Without Jesus, my heart can be like an undisciplined toddler Disney World. It want’s everything RIGHT NOW!

Following Jesus means embracing Him alone as master. If we try to follow more than one master, there will always be conflict and we will choose one over the other. Might as well decide if it is going to be Jesus or not.

What Does it Look Like? Live Your Life Like Jesus Owns It.

1Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 

Get rid of the things Jesus asks for. When there are things in our life that truly keep us from Jesus, he may well ask us to let them go completely. Could be a destructive addiction, a controlling hobby, a sinful relationship or conflicting path. I was pursuing a career path in professional music when the Lord begin calling me to ministry. I had to let one go to embrace the other. It want’s easy, then, but I’m so glad I followed Him.

Repurpose what He allows you to keep. Giving ownership o Jesus could mean allowing Him to direct the resources he allows you to handle. Instead of using your talents for yourself, He is likely to ask you to use them for His purpose of seeking and saving the lost, of helping others discover a deepening relationship with Him. He told the original disciples who left the fishing careers that they would now become fishers of men.

Practice radical generosity under His Direction. This truth is the core reason why God commands believers to give. The biblical principles of the tithe meant giving God the first best 10 percent of one’s income as an act of grateful faith. Faith the God was the true provider who would continue to provide. It also included a recognition that everything one has belongs to God and is given to be used as He directs.

This habit both strengthens and proves our faith. If you aren’t sure whether you have given ownership of everything you are and have to Jesus, then consider how you feel when the offering plate is passed and it’s time to give just a bit of what you have to Him.

What Do We Get in Return? We Gain Eternal Life through Jesus Starting Now.

Luke 18:28-30 And Peter said, “Look, we have left everything we own to follow you!” 29 Then Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of God’s kingdom 30 who will not receive many times more in this age – and in the age to come, eternal life.” (NET)

Those who surrender all to follow Jesus gain even more in return. Eternal life in Jesus is worth everything else we could ever have. It would take the rest of m life to describe what the blessing of following Jesus has meant to me. I could not imaging existing in this world without following Him.

What About You?!

You can find the full message at http://www.parkviewfamily.com. Please join us this weekend as Brent help us us understand how following Jesus transforms the way we love.

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