Jesus was tempted to take the easy way out and offer material benefits to everyone who would follow him. He didn’t do this because he knew the defects of materialism, instead he took the way of sacrifice and the cross.
Read Matthew 25:34-40
In this passage of scripture, Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God and the righteousness of its members. How did the righteous act toward those who were:
Read Matthew 25:41-46
Can anyone who does not show this kind of righteousness enter into the kingdom of God? (Yes/No)
All members of Jesus’ kingdom ought to seek to show justice just as their Master did (Luke 4:18, 6:20, 7:22, 14:13-14).
Read Luke 7:22 once again. In this verse we see Jesus caring for both
In the human kingdom, materialism feeds hatred and strife between men in different social classes because it only seeks justice for man’s bodily needs. In the kingdom of God things are different. The members of the kingdom care for the whole man, body and soul. For this reason the Kingdom of God reaches out in love for those who are poor (Luke 8:43-44) and those who are rich without exception (Luke 8:41-42).
Read Matthew 6:33 once again
The kingdom begins within the person, with the kingdom of Christ in the heart. The kingdom of God cares about both, but beginning with a change in man’s heart and then extending justice to all men as it also improves the environment.
The Kingdom of God and His justice:
Read Revelation 11;15 (Lasts/Does not last)?
Romans 14:17 (Satisfies/Does not satisfy)?
John 3:3 (Changes the heart/Does not save the soul)?
1 Peter 1:9 (Saves the soul/Does not save the soul)?
The underlying sin of materialism is that it tries to make men’s condition better by changing the environment in which men live without.
On the other hand, the Kingdom of God solves man’s problems by changing the heart of man first and then by changing the environment with help.
Too often the members of the kingdom of God have taken the attitude that the government ought to take care of the physical needs of people while we “save their souls.” Now that you know what kind of justice the kingdom of God offers to men, what do you think about this? Should your congregation be doing anything to make the physical life of people any better?
You know the story of Peter, the first sailor. Let me tell you about the second, whose name was John.
In his early twenties, he made his way to Africa, where he became intrigued with the lucrative slave trade. At age twenty-one, he made his living on the Greyhound, a slave ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
John ridiculed the moral and poked fun at the religious. He even made jokes about a book that would eventually help reshape his life: The Imitation of Christ. In fact, he was degrading that book a few hours before his ship sailed into an angry storm.
That night the waves pummeled the Greyhound….
John worked at the pumps all night. Finally , when his hopes were more battered than the vessel, he threw himself on the salt-water-soaked deck and pleaded, “If this will not do, then Lord have mercy on us all.”
John didn’t deserve mercy, but he received it. The Greyhound and her crew survived.
John never forgot God’s mercy shown on that tempestuous day in the roaring Atlantic. He returned to England where he became a prolific composer.
You’ve sing his songs, like this one:
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound.
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I see.
This slave-trader-turned-songwriter was John Newton.
Along with his hymn writing, he also became a powerful pulpiteer. For nearly fifty years, he filled pulpits and churches with the story of the Savior who meets you and me in the storm.
(From In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado)
The Lord hears our prayers and shows great mercy. Take the troubles you face today and wrap them in prayer: “Lord have mercy and teach me to see your way through the storm.”
On the surface of things it seemed like a good idea: All Jesus would have to do is jump down from the temple and all the masses of Jerusalem would fall down in devotion and worship. He would fulfill the deepest messianic hope of the Jewish people! But, Jesus over came this temptation and stayed on the road which led Him to suffering and death. The same kind of temptation destroys more Christian leaders today than any other Satan uses. Do you know the secret of Jesus’ victory?
Read Deuteronomy 8:11-17
What does this passage of scripture say will happen when Israel comes out of the desert into the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey? They would be tempted to feel proud about “their” accomplishments. What then is the danger for us in having material possessions? We will be tempted to become
Read Philippians 4:11-13.
Paul and we can overcome temptations in both of these human experience situations. Whether he and we are in the desert or on the temple, in shortage or in abundance, in defeat and in victory, we can expect to be tempted. Believers must learn from the Lord’s example to overcome temptation in both kinds of situations.
Read Proverbs 30:8-9
What amount of bread (material possessions and money) is the right amount for a person?
Two kinds of people are described in this verse. Which one is in the Kingdom of God? (poverty, rich, neither)
Read Isaiah 14:13-14
These verses show the sin of trying to get prestige without God-that is the sin of the temple.
Read John 5:14, 12:43.
When someone looks for constant praise from others and seeks after prestige he has fallen into the sin of Pride (vain glory, self-glory, haughtiness, boastfulness, arrogance, stiff-necked).
Some of the people who fell into the temptation of Pride. Read Genesis 11:4, 2 Chronicles 26:16, Acts 8:19. Pride comes in many different ways:
Proverbs 26:12-Our own opinions (What I think)
Psalm 49:6-Our own possessions (What I own)
Luke 14:7-Our own position in life (Who I am)
1 Peter 3:3-Our clothing and adornment (What I wear)
We are making a special point about the sin of Pride because the Christian Leader, in a manner of speaking is also in a temple. Because of this he is especially open to the temptation of Pride. Even the disciples of Jesus fell into this sin (Luke 22:24).
One of the ways in which Christian leaders fall into the temptation of pride is by attempting to show off as being more “spiritual” than the other people in the congregation.
To be proud of:
Our own prayers-Matthew 6:5
How many times we fast-Matthew 6:16
Our own offerings-Matthew 6:2
Read Matthew 23:5
The more responsibility of a Christian leader holds in the church, the greater the danger is of falling into the sin of being proud of “one’s own ability” and “one’s own spirituality.”
Read Galatians 6:3
As a matter of fact, even enrolling in a Leadership course such as this one can be used by Satan to tempt you to fall into the sin of pride.
Read 1 peter 5:3
In what way is it possible for the Christian leader to fall into the sin of Pride as he tries to minister to the needs of the people in his congregation?
Here is some of the other areas in which a Christian leader is particularly exposed to the temptations of Pride:
To show off as being more “spiritual” then others
To want to be the first and greatest in the church.
To be bossy with other members of the congregation.
To do everything so that it will be noticed by others.
To think that he is someone special because he studies the Word of God a great deal.
Read Romans 1:21.
When we become proud and glorify ourselves, we are tempting our God by taking away from Him the glory which only He deserves.
There are two steps we must take everyday in our quiet time with the Lord in order to overcome Pride. The first of these two steps is exaltation, and the second humility. (Psalm 108:5-1 Peter 5:6).
According to Psalm 99.5, who must be exalted?
Now read James 4:10. According to James, who is to be Humbled?
Read James 1:17-18.
For the sincere believer this exaltation of the Lord and humbling of one’s own self is to be a continual act. Giving praise to God and refusing it for our-self is logical and natural for us. Why is it natural for a believer to exalt God and humble our-self?
Read 1 John 4:21
True victory over the sin of pride will result in better relationships with other people. How will our relationships with other people be improved?
Pause for a moment of prayer and ask the Lord to show you any areas of your life which are full of pride. As a Christian Leader, ask the Lord to make you sensitive to the dangers of Pride in your ministry and to give you victory over pride as you apply the two steps we have just learned.
If you are successful in overcoming pride you should see;
Constantly praying for your enemies
Trying to help others, even those people you don’t really like.
Recognizing the gifts of other leaders and being thankful for their ministry to him.
Learning from the experiences of others.
Rejoicing over the success of other Christian leaders.
Witnessing of the Lord’s salvation in the face of opposition.
I wanted to be loved. Nothing unusual about that, nothing to separate my generation from any other.
But I wanted something deeper. Down among all the foolishness in my diary, thoughts like chaff which the wind of the Spirit can drive away, there was some wheat. There was an honest-to-God longing for the “fixed heart” that the collect speaks of. A thousand questions cluttered my mind, the same ones I find today in the letters I receive. I had thought some of mine were new. My correspondents think the same. They aren’t. But the question to preceed all others, which finally determines the course of our lives, is What do I really want? Was it to love what God commands,…. and to desire what he promises? Did I want what I wanted, or did I want what He wanted, no matter what it might cost?
Until the will and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone to accept, His lordship. The Cross… will reveal the heart’s truth. My heart, I knew, would be forever a lonely hunter unless settled “where true joys are to be found.” …
(From Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot)
Decide what you will desire most in life. Make your choice. Bring to mind the things, people, and loyalties that you have not yet given to Jesus. As you hand them over to his control, be glad for the opportunity of trusting him.
Stewards of God
The Bible says: :Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.” (1 Chronicles 29:11) According to this verse, who is the One who owns ALL things?
So then, how many things on earth belong to God?
God has made believers Stewards of some things. A Steward is much like the Manager of a grocery store. It is the job of the Manager to make sure that the groceries and other goods are put on the shelves and kept in good order. But, who do these goods actually belong to?
The Manager of a store takes care of the property For the Owner of the store. In the same way, we are Stewards of God’s property. It is our responsibility to take care of the things we have been given because they really belong to the Owner who is
Later in the book of Chronicles we read: “Everything comes from you (the Lord), and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (1 Chronicles 29:14) To be a Steward means that everything we have really belongs to and not to .
We are stewards of all the things that God has given to us. This includes all of our material possessions (things such as houses, cars, and money) as well as our time. Therefore, as good stewards, we should be using all of these things in a way which pleases .
Let us look for a moment at our Material Possessions, our house, clothing, money, and all that we own.
In our lesson about the responsibilities of church membership we learned that believers are to for the needs of the Lord’s work. Even those who are very poor can give a Tithe for the needs of the church since a Tithe is:
When believers give a Tithe to the Lord’s work they are giving One of all that they earn.
Before the birth of Christ, God’s people gave at least a tithe of their earnings to the Lord. If we are to be good stewards of the things which God has given to us, we ought to do the same.
God promised his people: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:8) According to this Old Testament verse, what kind of blessing did God promise to those who gave their tithe? So much blessing that
The Bible also says: “Now about the collection for God’s people: do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of the week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” I Corinthians 16:1,2)
According to these two verses, how would you decide how much to give as an Offering?
Look at the difference between a Tithe and an offering. The tithe is one of our wages. An offering, on the other hand, is what we wish to give above and beyond our tithe. An offering is given according to what we have
You may be thinking to yourself: “But, how will these tithes and offerings be spent?” One way is mentioned in the Bible when it says that there were some Christians who: “were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints (that is, believers).” Romans 15:26) (Example: To help a family which is out of work and has no food in the house)
The Bible also gives us another way for your tithes and offerings to be used. It says: “Anyone who receives instruction in the Word must share all good things with his instructor.” (Galatians 6:6) (Example: We should use it for our pastor who spends most of his time instructing us in the Word), Paul wrote in a book of the Bible: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not Reluctantly or under Compulsion (force), for God loves a Cheerful giver.” God is pleased when we give with a heart. So we must not give or under.
When he was writing to the Christians who had helped him with their offerings. Paul said: “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) What kind of attitude should we have when we give to the Lord?
In another place the Bible says: “Be very careful then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)
We must also be good stewards of our Time. Being good stewards of Time does not mean that we must spend the whole day reading the Bible and praying. Nor does it mean that we must always spend our time doing things for the church. It does mean that we must spend all of our Time doing things in a way which pleases thee Lord.
Time is one of the most precious things that God has given to us. As good stewards, we must use our time wisely in a way which brings honor to the Lord Jesus. (Example Work hard even when nobody is watching, Try to know the will of God and obey it in all areas of life.
BIO:Polycarp 69-155 Polycarp was born in Smyrna and later became bishop
there. He was a disciple of the Apostle John and also a friend of
Ignatius. He was a very dedicated student of the Pauline Epistles and
the Gospel of John. He had very little to say about sacraments or
ritual. He maintained that each church was independent of any outside
human authority. He never re- ferred to the ministers as priests, and
he never taught that water baptism had anything to do with salvation.
As a very old man, he was arrested, tried and con- demned. When asked
to renounce his faith in Christ, he re- plied, “Eighty-six years have I
served Him, and He hath done me no wrong. How can I speak evil of my
King who saved me?” Polycarp was burned alive, and when the flames
refused to consume him, he was killed with the sword and then burned.