A Troubled Land – Part 1

2 Chronicles 29:1-8

by Paul George

Our nation and the Church have some serious problems. Before we can fix the problems, we need to know why they exist, the source or sources of the problems, and why we are not solving the problems. We are not solving the problems in our nation because we are looking to the government, the educational system, and the judicial system for solutions to the problems. These are useful tools when used properly. However, they do not have the final answer. We are not solving the problems in the Church because we are tolerating them hoping they will go away. History has proven this will not happen.

Before we can fix the problems, we need to accept the fact the problems of the twenty-first century are not new. The source of the problems is not new. The solution is not new. The source of the problems is rebellion against God and the rejection of the truth concerning the source of the problems. A second source of the problem is a rejection of the biblical worldview.

Writing to the Roman Christians Paul said, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). The source of the problems in the societies prior to Paul writing this was the suppressing of the truth. The source of the problems when Paul wrote this letter was suppressing the truth. The suppressing of the truth is not an act of ignorance it is a deliberate attempt to destroy the foundation of truth. The same people who were suppressing the truth in the past are the same people who are suppressing the truth today and will suppress the truth in the future. The suppressor of truth is the ungodly and unrighteous men and women who live as if there is no God and no truth.

The suppressor of the truth uses the legislative system, judicial system, the media, the entertainment community, and religion. Through these mediums, millions are deceived and imprisoned in darkness.

Most Christians, and there are professing Christians seeking other sources, use the Bible to define what the truth is and what is morally right or wrong. In the secular community, the biblical definition of truth and morality is not acceptable because it is a contradiction of society’s definition. The biblical definition has been set aside as outdated, a definition that has served its purpose by the suppressers of truth. They claim only the narrow minded and those out of touch with reality would accept such a limited view of reality and the world. This is not some new attitude. The people who were first given the Law turned from the truth and rejected God’s Law.

The problems in our nation and in the Church involve a worldview that is not biblical. . The biblical worldview rests on the belief of a Creator God. The secular worldview rests on the knowledge and wisdom of man. This view sets man as the center of the universe. All events in the world revolve around him. He determines the destiny of humanity and the universe. He is a god unto himself. This view contradicts the biblical worldview and the worldview of paganism and the more recent worldview of the New Age Movement. From the dawn of history, man has believed there is a Supreme Being or force behind all that exists in both the supernatural world and the natural world. These supernatural beings and forces influence the events in the world and humanity’s destiny. The sacrifices of ancient people were to appease them.

It is often difficult for some people to separate the difference in the biblical worldview and the secular worldview. There seems to be a connection between the two. The biblical worldview rests on the existence of a Creator God, the word of this God, and includes spiritual beings that have an important role in the affairs of humanity. According to the Bible, God is a spiritual Being that has no beginning or ending. There are spiritual beings that have a beginning but no ending. There are good and evil spiritual beings. Man is both a physical and spiritual being through his creation in the image and likeness of his Creator.

Unlike the pagan religions of the world and the New Age Movement that search for something to base their beliefs on the supernatural and the creator of the physical world the Bible does not offer an explanation for the existence of God. The prophets and the apostles did not try to convince the world God exists. Jesus never tried to convince the world God exists. According to the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth.” Since He created the heavens and earth He existed before the heavens and earth. He existed independently of all that He created. He does not depend on what He created. What He created depends on Him for their existence.

It is a good thing we remember what the palmist said, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalms 14:1) This does not mean it is wrong when we ask how we can know there is a God who has created the heavens, earth, and all that exists in the universe. There is nothing wrong when someone asks us how they can know there is a God who created the heavens, earth, and all that exists in the universe. If we are honest and have an open heart when we ask the question, we will accept the biblical evidence for the existence of God. If the person who asks us how can know the truth about is honestly and with an open heart seeking the truth he will accept the biblical evidence for the existence of God. God has no problem with us asking Him questions. He has a problem with our doubting Him.

Why should we have a biblical worldview? Biblical evidence for the existence of God is overwhelming. The apostle Paul stated the reason why in his letter to the Christians in Rome. He wrote the following, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).

The rejection of the biblical evidence of the existence of God is the rejection of the truth. The rejection is a heart condition, the fallen human nature. It is the revolting of the human nature against the divine nature. It is man placing his will above the will of his Creator and following in the footsteps of the enemy of both God and man.

The second point in the biblical evidence of the existence of God is the preeminence of God. The Bible consistently pictures God as preeminent in every way. He is set apart from all other living beings. The preeminence of God is stated in Acts 17:25-25, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things.”
In First Timothy 6:13-16), Paul told Timothy “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time– He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”

In Revelation 4:11 it is written “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

Paul recognized God’s preeminent position as the sovereign ruler of all created thing. Together with the following verses these scriptures reveal God’s preeminence as sovereign ruler. The Bible is consistent in describing God’s preeminence as the only true God.

Today, we are told God takes on many forms or can be known in and through many different paths. This idea is not in harmony with a biblical worldview. In fact it is in direct opposition to the biblical world-view. It is direct opposition to what Jesus prayed; “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:1-3)

The apostles also taught the preeminent nature of God when they referred to Him as “The Only God.” Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17). Jude wrote the following, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen”
(Jude 1:24-25)

Finally, God Himself through the prophet Isaiah declares Himself the only true God calling all men to turn to Him for salvation: ) “Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance” (Isaiah 45:22-23). “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

The Bible is always consistent in its declarations of the moral perfection of God. In First John 1:5, it is written, “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” Light and darkness are used in the Bible to contrast the difference between good and evil. Light is associated with righteousness, goodness, love, purity and truth along with behavior that is proper. On the other hand, darkness is associated with wickedness, lawlessness, hate, sexual immorality and other destructive and disgraceful behaviors. When considering the perfection of God He is light, and that there is no darkness in Him.

Moses and the psalmist summed up the absolute moral perfection of God when they wrote, “For I proclaim the name of the LORD; Ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:3-4). “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You” (Psalms 5:4).

The reason why there are serious problems in the nation and the Church is a lack of a biblical worldview.

Trouble in Ephesus

First Timothy 1:1-20

by Paul George

First and second Timothy along with Titus were written to two pastors and deal with the life of local churches. Three subjects are addressed in the apostles Paul’s letters to Timothy; false teachers, church government; adherence to the teachings of Jesus and Paul.

Timothy was the son of a Greek Gentile and a devout Jewish mother named Eunice. His association with Paul began during the time of Paul’s second missionary journey. Paul called Timothy his son, because he became a Christian through the preaching of Paul and looked up to Paul as a son looks up to his father for guidance and advice. Timothy filled the role of a faithful son and Paul the role of a loving and caring father. Paul probably wrote the first letter to Timothy from Macedonia while on his way to Nicopolis.

Timothy wanted to go to Nicopolis with Paul but Paul wanted asked him to remain in Ephesus. There was a mission to perform in Ephesus only a faithful servant of Christ could perform. Although Paul had the authority to command Timothy to remain in Ephesus, out of a heart of love, he asked him to remain in Ephesus. From the context of verse three, it appears Paul did not tell Timothy why he wanted him to stay in Ephesus or he is reminding Timothy why he wanted him to remain in Ephesus; there was a problem in the church that needed fixing.

Before leaving Ephesus Paul warned the elders, “After my departure savage wolves will come among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, spreading perverse things do draw away the disciples after them.”

In the Ephesus church, as there were in other churches founded by Paul, there were Jews and Gentiles who gained positions as teachers who brought Judaism and paganism into Christianity. The Jewish teachers were adding Jewish fables and endless genealogies to the teachings of Paul. The Gentiles were adding pagan practices and rituals. The additions to the teachings of Paul and the pagan practices were undermining the foundation of the foundation of the church and the Christian’s hope and filling his mind with perplexing doubts and fears. They were not accomplishing the true goal of teaching, encouraging Christians to improve in godliness and godly behavior. This was a major problem in all the first century churches.

Teachers, as well as pastors must not teach and preach subjects that lack Scripture support and cause fruitless discussions. They must avoid subjects and discussions that draw the mind of the student, the congregation, away from the truth. They must avoid subjects and discussions that do not promote practices and obedience that is vital to spiritual growth as well as faith.

Timothy must not only see to it that he does not preach any other doctrine except the doctrine taught by Paul, he must charge others that they do not teach any other doctrine except the doctrine taught by Paul. Timothy must keep his preaching pure and uncorrupt and it is his responsibility to see to it that the teachers in the church keep their teachings pure and uncorrupt.

The big question is, “Can we apply what Paul wrote to Timothy to local churches of the 21st century?”

We are living in a time when people are trying to establish unity and harmony in the world and the church. This is not a bad thing. In the church unity and harmony is necessary if the church is to achieve the goal Jesus has set for it. Can we honestly say there is unity and harmony in local churches and in Christianity? The major problem in local churches today is the same problem that existed in the Ephesus church. The Christians were tolerating doctrine that was undermining the gospel message. Paul deals with this in detail in his letter to the Ephesians.

We can, as the old saying goes, cut a little slack. The first century Christians did not have the advantage we have. They had to depend upon the spoken word and not the written word. They were the pioneers of Christianity. They were entering hostile territory. They had obstacles to overcome we have never been called on to overcome. Nevertheless, they were doing what many are doing today. They were putting their confidence in human knowledge and wisdom.

The source of the problem in the Ephesus was the same source in local churches today. It was both external and internal. There were men who came into the church and men who were part of the church when Paul left Ephesus who were like savage wolves. They were drawing the people away from the truth, the gospel message. They seemed like honest and sincere men. They wanted to be teachers but lacked the ability to be teachers. These men did not understand there is a call from God involved in the filling of the position of teacher or pastor. There must be a love for the truth. There must be a dependence on the Word of God and not speculation, the words of men, which result in fruitless discussions. Fruitless discussion takes us farther and farther from the truth. Paul did not tolerate false doctrines in the churches he established and we should not tolerate it today.

It is a difficult thing to admit, there are pastors and teachers who are perverting the Word of God. Instead of addressing the issue as Paul did, there is a tendency to hide behind the “you shall not judge” commandment. Instead of trying to justify the toleration of the perverting of the Word of God, we need to remember what God told Ezekiel. He told Ezekiel to stand on the wall and warn the people of coming danger. If he did not warn the people, their blood would be on his hands. If he warned, the people and they did not heed the warning their blood would not be on his hands. I do not want Jesus to find any blood on my hands do you?

Jesus spoke out against the religious leaders of His day because they were driving people away from the kingdom of God with traditions and perverting of the law. Paul would not tolerate the false doctrine in the church because it was undermining the Christian’s hope and faith. In this generation, it is undermining the Christian faith as well as the foundation of the nation. It is the duty of every true believer in Christ to stand firm in the faith and earnestly contend for the faith, it is our duty to speak out against false doctrine.
False doctrine is one of the favorite weapons of the enemy. It enables him to create division, confusion, strife and contention in the church.

We need to also understand if we do stand firm and earnestly contend for the faith that has been handed down to us the ungodly and even some professing Christian will label us narrow minded, out of touch with reality, judgmental. If we truly love Jesus, we will not tolerate unsound doctrine and will earnestly contend for the faith regardless of the judgmental attitude of the enemy of the gospel. If we want to protect those who are not established in the faith we will not tolerate unsound doctrine.

The ungodly of this world, inspired by their master, are working overtime for him. They are using every resource available to destroy Christianity. They are busy trying to drive a spike into the heart of the church and kill her. In the heat of their hatred, they do not know what destruction they are bringing down upon themselves and their master does not care.

There are times when I look back into the late 1950’s and 1960’s. I watched a spiritual revival take place in the United States sponsored by the enemy of God and man. On the most part, the church was silent as thousands of souls slipped into the pit of darkness many never to return. This revival was dismissed as merely a fad that would go the way of all fads. Today we are reaping the harvest of that fad. We cannot do anything about the past. We can make a change in the present. We can make an impact on the future.

As Adam and Eve may have asked themselves standing outside the Garden of Eden, where do we go from here? We need to ask ourselves where we will go from here. Let us pick up the Christian banner, follow our great Captain, Lord Jesus Christ, go out, and meet the enemy head on. When do we begin, today in this service, in our living room.

Laying Up Treasures

Matthew 6:19-34

by Paul George

The Lord Jesus told the disciples, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

A preoccupation with hoarding earthly treasure makes little practical sense. Eternal investments, investments in the kingdom of heaven, are far more profitable. They are certain, and the benefits long lasting. Earthly investments are short-lived.

There are, as we know, various kinds of wealth, and Jesus reminded His disciples how each form of wealth was subject to loss of value. Clothing was considered one form of wealth in the near East (Joshua 7:21; 2 Kings 5:22). In some cultures today clothing is a form of wealth, or at least a symbol of wealth. However, such wealth is short-lived. Just one of the destructive forces at work in this area is the moth. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, the moth gets into our most precious and valuable clothing and eats holes in it.

Rust can and does consume any metal forms of wealth. That is one reason why you and I have to keep buying new cars from time to time. It is doubtful, however, that rust is the primary image in our Lord’s mind. “Rust” is literally that which “eats” or “corrodes.” More likely one’s wealth would be, in those days, in the form of grain that would be stored until the price was high enough to make a good profit. Any foodstuff would be the target for vermin to get into and to contaminate or consume.

The indestructible forms of wealth such as jewels or silver or gold are not so secure either. Burglars and thieves could, in those days, quite easily “break in” and steal them. Literally, this expression, “break in” meant to dig through. This was easily accomplished when walls were made of sun-dried bricks or mud. Even today, our most secure vaults are not burglarproof.

In verse 21, Jesus tells us why we should not store up treasures on earth. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Generally, we are inclined to think just the reverse of this. We suppose that a man will first fix his heart on something and then his money naturally follows. However, our Lord says that our heart follows our pocketbook.
Where we spend our money, where we appropriate our material goods and our personal time, is where our heart will be. We might apply this principle to marriage. To the extent that we invest heavily, both in time and in money, we will find our affections more and more developed and committed.

To store up treasures on earth is to set our heart on earthly things. It is difficult, even impossible, to desire the return of our Lord when we have made all of our investments in earthly things. Not only this but we also tend to put our trust, our confidence and hope in our investments. The great difficulty of the rich is that they are deceived into “fixing their hope on the uncertainty of riches” (1 Timothy 6:17).

Jesus is not telling us we are forbidden to enjoy many of life’s pleasures, but that we view them as temporary and, in the long term, unsatisfying. Consequently, we choose to deny ourselves of some things in order to gain that which is greater.

In verses 22 and 23 Jesus tells the disciples, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness.”

To the ancient mind, the eye was like a window that let light into the body. The condition or health of the eye determined the amount of light that entered the body. An unhealthy eye clouded or dimmed the entering light, subjecting the body to darkness. In the Bible, the eye represents a man’s character (Deuteronomy 25:12; 28:54, 56). A man with an “evil eye” is one who is greedy and miserly when confronted with the need of another:
“A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth, and does not know that want will come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22).

The one whose heart is set on worldly riches has an evil eye. In looking out for himself, he neglects the needs of others. The one who is generous with others has a healthy eye. His vision of the needs about him is not distorted. He views his material wealth as belonging to God, and he quickly and willingly employs it to help those in need.
The point of this principle is the love of money is not some minor flaw in the thinking of man. It is like a virus that has entered into the bloodstream. It affects the whole person. The love of money has far-reaching effects. Where we store up treasures is where our heart is drawn to and we invest most heavily.

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Put in its simplest form, “Money is either your slave or your master.” Money is like the fleshly desires. Either we will master them, or they will be our master. One may try to deceive himself into believing that he can pursue both goals simultaneously, God and money. However, our Lord said only one will be our Master.

It is difficult for the Western mind to grasp the meaning of our Lord’s words. Many of us have second jobs. We may leave one job in the evening and go on to another at night. However, the language our Lord used was that of slave and master. A slave was the exclusive property of one master. He had no time of his own. His master could dispose of him as he wished.

Perhaps an analogy that might be easier to understand is that of drug addiction. At first, a man begins to use drugs, but eventually they use him. His body builds up a tolerance for a certain quantity of a drug and he finds he must have more and more. Finally, the drug is his master and he is its slave. The more money one gets, the more one desires. This is what our Lord is saying. Storing up treasures on earth is dangerous and destructive because they take complete control over the one that should be the master.

In His instructions to the disciples, Jesus warned us we should not view our material possessions as a means of ensuring comfort and security in this earthly life. Instead, we should invest in eternal things, for such an investment is secure and the benefits everlasting.

Most people are inclined to think storing up earthly treasures as the inordinate desire to become wealthy for selfish ends. In other words, storing up earthly treasures is equated with financial ambition and prosperity. We who are storing up heavenly treasures often do not think storing up earthly treasures is a problem to us. However, storing up earthly treasures has two distinct forms. The first and most obvious is that dealt with in verses 19-24, the love of money that becomes the dominant and all-consuming passion of our lives. Most of us are not as close to the fire of this temptation as we are its opposite side. Rather than being absorbed in the hoarding of the material things we possess, we are consumed with concern about that which we do not possess.

However, most Christians are more concerned about those things that are not optional, but mandatory, not the luxuries, but the necessities. Notice what Jesus told the disciples, “do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not your life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

In His instructions to the disciples, Jesus addresses the distracting and devastating worry that undermines our faith and diverts our spiritual energy. Faith is not contrary to sound thinking; rather it is to be rooted in thought. In fact, our Lord is urging us to use our heads and not to panic. We are to consider the birds of the air (v 26) and the flowers of the field (v 28). We are shown that worry is both illogical and unprofitable. Worry is not to be confused with thinking and planning to meet future needs. Worry is not to be confused with genuine concern. Rather, worry is the preoccupation and dissipation of our mental and physical powers with things that are future, hypothetical, and beyond our control. Worry is the opposite of faith. Faith perceives potential problems with a view to the infinite power and fatherly concern of the God who has saved us. Worry sees only the obstacles, (actual or imaginary, and meditates on all the possible disastrous possibilities, while neglecting the fact of God’s divine care and control in our lives. In verses 25-32, our Lord outlined the reasons why worry is both foolish and faithless.

“Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25).

If God is our Creator and He has given us life, will He not also provide the incidentals such as food and clothing? This is the kind of argument Paul employed in Romans chapter 8: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

This is a valid argument, but this is not the main point in Jesus’ instructions to the disciples. Jesus is focusing upon the issue of priorities. Storing up earthly treasures is a reversal of priorities. It places the temporal above eternal things. It is shortsighted, and misses the long view of matters. It is this world centered. Jesus wants us to rethink our priorities. Worry is preoccupation with matters of lowest priority. Worry is a symptom of reversed priorities, and our Lord calls this to our attention. Worry is a failure to see things as they really are.

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (v 26).

Look about you. Look up in the skies and look at the birds. Do they spend hours in worry and anxiety? No, even by instinct they live their lives in thoughtless dependence upon God. Has God failed to care for insignificant birds? If He cares for birds, which are creatures of much less value than man, will He not care for you? To the birds, God is both Creator and Sustainer. To the Christian, God is our Heavenly Father. Dare we doubt His care? Worry does not see matters clearly. It allows our vision of our Heavenly Father to be obscured. It overlooks the providential care of God for insignificant creatures, such as the birds.

Worry is a waste of energy, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

Worry is the most unproductive use of one’s time. It accomplishes nothing but unbelief, doubt and fear. It distracts our attention from matters of higher priority and paralyzes us from doing what is needful now. It fears what could be rather than what should be done. It is a proven fact worry can shorten life and undermine our health.

Worry is an act of unbelief, worrying over what we will wear is surely unfounded. Look around; consider the wild flowers of the field. Do they fret and fume? Look at their beauty. Even Solomon’s clothing was no match. Indeed, good clothing can do little but to attempt to imitate nature’s beauty. The beauty which God has given these wild flowers is all the more impressive when you realize how temporary and expendable such flowers are. They are magnificent in their beauty for a short while and then they are gone. Men value them so little that they gather handfuls of the dried grass to throw into the ovens to increase their heat. If these flowers are so insignificant and yet God gives them such beauty, will He not care for His own?
The issue, then, is more than one of mere lack of knowledge; it is lack of faith: “will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30). Worry is a serious sin because it doubts the goodness and the integrity of God. In effect, we disregard the word of God and call Him a liar when we worry. We question His sovereignty, His omniscience, His omnipotence, His tender love and care for His own. Worry is very unbecoming to the child of God. It completely forgets that God is our Heavenly Father.

Jesus told the disciples, “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things.”

Jesus said that when we worry about what we will eat, drink, or wear we are acting just as the pagans do. These things dominate the thinking and the striving of the non-believer, if you do not believe this just look at the media and its advertising. They try to sell us deodorant to cover our body odor, after-shave lotion to make us irresistible, toothpaste that gives our mouth sex appeal, and clothing that makes us look suave and sophisticated. Food, drink and clothing these are the priorities of the world. When we become preoccupied with these things, we are just like unbelievers.

Worry is no mere human failing; it is willful sin. It doubts God and dims our view of things as they really are. When you fall into worry, confess it as sin and ask for forgiveness and victory.

Worry can only co-exist with an unbiblical view of God. It cannot tolerate a Sovereign God who is all knowing and all-powerful. It refuses to acknowledge God as a loving Father who knows our every need, and who brings about every situation to strengthen our faith.

Worry, among other things, is the reversal of our priorities involving heavenly and earthly things. Jesus did not say, seek only the kingdom of God, but rather, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Heavenly things must come first in our priorities. We must see our spiritual lives as of primary importance and our physical life as secondary. Once we have our priorities in order, we shall not worry about those things in life that are beyond our control.

Every one of us is actively pursuing some goal in life. We are all devoted to one thing or another. If we have made our goal the quest for earthly treasures then we must redirect our efforts. The Christian life is not a matter of pursuing earthly treasures it is a matter of actively carrying out the will of God. Therefore, when it comes to the matter of worry we must not waste our energies on worry, but eagerly become involved in the task immediately before us. It is not wrong to be ambitious and aggressive. It is only wrong to pursue the wrong goals.

The Bible teaches us that we must live one day at a time. Christians who live godly lives will have trials and testing. That is a normal part of our Christian experience (Matthew 5:3-12; John 15:20; 2 Corinthians 1:3ff; Philippians 1:29-30; James 1:2ff; 1 Peter 1:6ff.). There will be trials and trouble tomorrow, but these things are beyond our control. God gives us grace and comfort in the time of need. Let us not seek an advance on adversity. We have sufficient troubles today. Let us see to it that we deal with them in such a way that God is glorified.

It is a difficult thing to come to a balanced biblical outlook on material possessions In this passage, the Lord has been dealing with our priorities as they relate to material possessions. Our security is in the Lord, not in our bank account or investment portfolio. Our preoccupation should not be with storing up earthy treasures but with glorifying God and seeking to further His righteous rule on earth.

It is not wrong to have material possessions, but with material possessions comes responsibility, to whom much is given, much is required. Those who have riches are inclined to find in them a false sense of security (1 Timothy 6:17). There is no particular virtue in being poor either. In such a condition, we are sometimes tempted to distrust God or to be dishonest; the right balance is probably best stated in Proverbs 30:8b-9), “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.’”

While we are to be free from worry, we are not exempt from work. Because of the fall, man is to earn a 1iving ‘by the sweat of his brow’ (Genesis 3:17-19). If a man does not work, he should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Many Christians are troubled by the fact that so many of their working hours are consumed by their jobs. How can I have God’s kingdom as a first priority if I spend so much of my time in secular employment. Such distinctions between spiritual and secular are not biblical. Our work is, largely, our ministry. Working is not or should not be the neglecting of our responsibilities to our family, it is meeting our obligation to provide for them (1 Timothy 5:8), and not a denial of the faith.

To seek first the kingdom of God is further explained by the phrase “and His righteousness.” In other words, seeking the kingdom of God is striving to extend and exemplify the righteousness of God on earth. There is no place where exemplifying the righteousness of God is needed than the world of work. Our work is not in competition with our ministry, it is the cornerstone of our ministry.

While hoarding money and material goods is sin, saving for future needs is not. Joseph demonstrated spiritual wisdom and maturity when he recommended the storing up of Egypt’s grain (Genesis 41:33-36, 38). The sluggard is instructed to study the ant, which prepares for the future (Proverbs 6:6ff.). The virtuous woman is commended for preparing for the future (Proverbs 31:21, 25). Christians are encouraged to set money aside to minister to the needs of others (1 Corinthians 16:2). The man who fails to provide for his family has denied the faith (1 Timothy 5:8). It is not the method of saving for the future that is condemned by our Lord, but the materialistic motive. Perhaps one of the most deceitful errors among Christians concerning money and material blessings is the false mentality that we are not to enjoy earthly pleasures. This attitude does not originate from God, but from Satan. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4).

Finally, although material possessions are insignificant things, a matter of low priority, the way we handle them is indicative of our faithfulness. Our proper handling of material things shows us to be qualified for greater responsibilities.

Jesus said, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Luke 16:10-11).
May God help us to be faithful in the use of material possessions.