We saw last week that we are to always have an eye toward helping the poor—but not helping to their detriment. That if someone goes out to the club on Saturday night, and they’ve got $2 left until payday, then maybe they need to think about where their money is going before they spend it. BEEN THERE—DONE THAT. It’s not wrong to help that person—don’t misunderstand me. If you are lending in order to show true Christian charity and to perhaps witness to them and show them how Christ is so much better than their current lifestyle—that’s great, and God will reward that. But listen to King Solomon’s advice to the lazy person, the one who can work but won’t. Proverbs 6:6-9—Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? But for that brother or sister who is in serious, actual need, then if we have it in our power we should do all that we can to help them. And above all, whatever we give we should do so with the right attitude—not looking to puff ourselves up, but to bring glory to God. Today we’re going to continue our look at giving with the right attitude, and the reward we receive from our Father in Heaven. Turn with me to Matthew 6. A passage many of us are familiar with. It speaks of God providing all that we need whenever we need it.
Matthew 6:25-32--"25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things."
Verse 25. What’s the first word? "Therefore". When you see the word ‘therefore’ you ask yourself “What is it there......for?” The word ‘therefore’ is always used to link the previous thought with the next thought. What does the verse prior to verse 25 say? Matthew 6:24—“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Again, the verse divisions are helpful, but they also tend to interrupt the flow of thought. “You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or put on.” The phrase translated “do not worry” (KJV—“take no thought”) is one Greek word that comes from a root that literally means “to be torn apart.” He’s saying, “Do not be torn apart about these things.” Around here, we would say “Don’t get all tore up about it.” The implication Christ is making is this: if a person’s thought life consists entirely of what they will eat, drink or put on, then they are trying to serve God and mammon. And you can't do it. A person will either love God and hate the world—or hate God and love the world.
James 4:4—Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 1st Timothy 6:9-10—But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. And that is the most correct way to translate that passage. Proverbs 28:20-21—A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. To show partiality is not good, because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. And, as Job said, Job 1:21—“YHVH giveth, and YHVH taketh away. Blessed be the name of YHVH.”
When we begin to worry about food/shelter/clothing—when our thinking is consumed with, “If I don’t wear the right clothes, and drive the right car and if I don’t live in the right neighborhood, my life will be worthless”—when our thoughts are consumed with these things—we take our eyes off of God, we set our eyes on our circumstances, and we become like Simon Peter, when he was walking on the water. He was walking right toward Christ, and he takes his eyes off of Christ, starts looking around at the wind and waves, and what happened? He starts sinking. Christ was telling Peter to come to Him, but the wind and waves were saying he needed to sink. But what does Jesus tell us to do in Matthew 6:33-34--"33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Where do all things come from? God! Does God last forever? Yes! Does money last forever? Eh, not so much! Proverbs 23:5—Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven. BUT!! Matthew 7:7-11--"7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Before we got saved, did we know how to give our kids what they needed? Yes. Were we evil before we got saved? If you answer “No”, then we need to talk. We were evil. Yet we gave our kids what they needed. And we’re talking earthly things—food, shelter, clothing. Which is more important—the things we need in this life, or the things that pertain to eternal life? The greatest gift we could ever get is the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. To be freed from slavery to sin, and be made slaves to God. Will a good master give his slave the things that slave needs to do the master’s will? Albert Barnes once said:
“The promise is, that what we seek shall be given us. It is of course implied that we seek with a proper spirit, with humility, sincerity, and perseverance. It is implied, also, that we ask the things which it may be consistent for God to give—that is, things which he has promised to give, and which would be best for us, and most for his own honor. Of that God is to be the judge. And here there is the utmost latitude which a creature can ask. God is willing to provide for us, to forgive our sins, to save our souls, to befriend us in trial, to comfort us in death, to extend the gospel through the world. Man “can” ask no higher things of God; and these he may ask, assured that he is willing to grant them.”Now, what does that mean for our text today? That God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. God does not simply give to us out of His riches in glory—but according to His riches, or in proportion to His riches in glory.
Our pastor has used this illustration I think about 8000 times: Imagine you're walking down the street. You look down, and you find a wallet. You open it up, and there are fifty $100 bills. You take out the driver’s license and lo and behold this wallet belongs to Bill Gates. You take it to the police station, they call him, and he comes knocking on your door to thank you and give you a reward. He gives you a reward of…$25. You’re glad to have it, but it'd be nice if it was more. He has given you a reward out of his riches. BUT—suppose he gives you $25,000. That would be a reward according to his riches—that will probably be a lot more pleasing.
Now, when God gives us food/clothing/shelter, He is giving to us out of His riches. I forget who it was, but one of the fellows at Together for the Gospel said that there is not one square inch in all the universe that does not belong to God. Amen. As it says in the Psalms, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He doesn’t just want to give us a hamburger—He wants to give us a whole stockyard. And if we are faithful in helping the poor, He will! Flip over to Matthew 25. Another passage many of us are familiar with. Let me set the scene for you. This is one of the last long sermons from Christ that we have recorded in the gospels. It is part of what is called the “Olivet Discourse.” This was about two days before His arrest-trial-crucifixion-burial-resurrection. He gives this discourse in response to His disciples asking Him “What shall be the sign of Your coming at the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3).
In this particular passage He is teaching about the two great judgments—the Judgment Seat, or Bema, where those who are saved will be given their rewards, and also the Great White Throne, where the lost will be read their final verdict and cast into the Lake of Fire. And really, that passage in James 2 that talks about faith needing works to be complete—that was simply taking this long statement and boiling it down into a few verses. Matthew 25:31-40--"31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’"
What He’s saying is that if you have the kind of faith that spurs you on to do good works, and to give to the poor, and to consider others before yourself—then you have done those things to Christ. Much like that proverb we read last week, Proverbs 19:17—He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given. Kinda sounds like what Jesus just said, doesn’t it? That when you help the one who is hungry or cold or naked or in prison—you are doing those things to Christ, and He will reward you.
Now, what about the person that simply believes facts and doesn’t have any fruit to show for it? Jesus says of them in Matthew 25:41-46--"41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Just like James said, James 2:18-19—Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! Talk about an indictment on many people’s faith! That the faith they profess isn't any better than the faith the demons have. In fact, the demons fear God more than many people sitting in church pews this morning. When you neglect the one who is hungry or cold or naked or in prison—you are neglecting Christ, and He will neglect you. What were the first words that the risen Christ spoke to Saul of Tarsus? "Saul, Saul; why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4).
When God rewards us, He doesn’t simply give us some trifling little pittance. If we are faithful, He will reward us according to our faithfulness and according to His riches in glory. BUT—it may not be material wealth. What He does give, however, will be far better than anything we could ever ask for. He gives good gifts. James 1:17—Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights. Ephesians 3:20-21—Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Next week, we will discuss that glory of God, and what it means to give glory to God.
Jesus Christ is Lord.