With the Rich and Famous

Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:10, Deuteronomy 8:17-18, John 3:1-15
Date: 02/22/2014 
Lesson: 8
"Christ neither resented nor revered the social elite. The Savior recognized that financial prosperity could not supply peace, personal contentment, meaningful relationships, or deep-seated purpose."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church right here. Today it's sunny here in Sacramento, California and we are so glad that you are tuning in with us, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live at our web site 'saccentral.org', or watching on the various television networks, it doesn't matter. We're just glad that you're tuning in and you are going to join with us for 'central study hour' today. We always start our program with singing your favorites and this, today, is a great song: 'mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord'. Pull out your hymnals if you have them at home.

Here in the sanctuary, we're going to sing - 'mine eyes have seen the glory' - #647. We'll sing all three stanzas. This comes as a request from Joseph in australia, jerilyn in saudi arabia, paige and sarina in england, george in Pennsylvania, Timothy in tennessee and there were some more from around the world. So let's do our best. Sing that nice and loud - all three stanzas.

I love that song and I love it when it's a huge choir and they do that key change on that last verse and there's a crazy descant going on and the orchestra is going crazy. Oh, it's a wonderful song! But I like it even if there is no orchestra and big choir. It's just a good song. If you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it's very, very simple. Just go to our web site at 'saccentral.

org', click on the 'contact us' link, and you can send in any song that's in the hymnal and we will do our best to sing that for you on an upcoming program. We are switching gears and going back to The Songs that we don't know and that we're all learning together. Today it's #84 - 'God the omnipotent' - and it is a russian hymn so everyone in russia, we're singing this for you today. It is actually - I looked at the history behind this song and it was written for the russian czar, nicholas 1. I guess - and I want to do some more research on this - but I - something about they were using the english national anthem tune for their national anthem? Don't quote me on that, okay.

I'm going to do more research but that's what it looked like from what I was reading. And so they decided that they wanted to have a different tune. I love the english national anthem. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but they wanted it their own tune, obviously, so they wrote this one. So I thought that was very interesting.

So we're going to sing 'God the omnipotent' today - #84. This is from joyann in New York and joyce in kenya and we'll sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas. Beautiful song. Thank you for picking that. And next week we know 85 so let's - and we know 86 - let's do 87.

So you can be learning along with us, #87 is next week's song. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for loving us, for bringing us here today to worship you, and we just thank you for reminding us, through the words of The Song, that you are God the omnipotent. Please be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together. Be with our speaker and each person here and our extended family around the world.

Be with each one. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, yes, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Morning. Thank you to our singers and musicians and - yeah, I enjoy learning those new songs.

How is everybody? Happy Sabbath. It was nice to finally get a little rain here in California after, what did they say? Days of no rain. That's normal in the summer. It's not normal in the winter. And we are continuing our study dealing with the subject of discipleship and today we're going to be dealing with lesson #8 with 'the rich and the famous'.

And I didn't pick this as the free offer. I just want you to know, but the free offer that our studio picked to give away is 'the richest caveman'. This is actually my testimony. It's a dvd of that and we'll share that with anybody. It talks a little bit about fame and fortune issues.

But we'll send that to you. Just call the number on the screen and then after you watch it, give it to someone else. And that number is -study-more - 866-788-3966 and when you do call, ask for offer #807 and we'll send you the dvd of 'the richest caveman' and hopefully you'll be encouraged by that. Our memory verse today comes to us from 1 Timothy and that would be chapter 6, verse . I appreciate it if you want to say it with me.

In your lesson it comes from the new king James version - Timothy chapter 6, verse 10. Are you ready? I think most of you know this, "for the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. The love of money is the root of all evil." Now does the Bible say that money is the root of evil? Money can be a very good thing. Money is really, I mean, what is money? What is gold, silver, dollars, deutsche Marks, pesos - take your pick - ruples - rupees - whatever your currency is, what is money? It's a means of taking influence to buy things or to pay for services and so it represents a power of influence. That could be used for good and it could be used for bad.

Somebody wrote - and it says this in the beginning of the lesson, "people spend money they don't have for things they don't need, in order to impress people they don't even like." And that's true. And they do it - they mount up their credit cards and go into great debt to do it. Now the Bible says that, 'blessed are the poor in spirit' and that 'it's harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven. But if you were to ask the average Christian, 'would you rather be rich or poor?' What would most people say? Well, given the option - that's why it's so amazing that when The Son of David, Solomon, God appears to him and says, 'what can I do for you?' Instead of saying, 'well, I'd like a swiss bank account with a billion dollars in it' - you've probably heard that story about the man who found a genie and he rubbed the bottle and out popped the genie and he asked for three wishes and he went through the typical wishes, you know. He said, 'first I want that swiss bank account with one billion dollars.

' Poof! He had the bank account. He said, 'then I was the red - newest, fastest maserati car.' Poof! He got the maserati car. He said, 'last wish,' he said, 'I want to be irresistible to women.' Poof! He turned into a box of chocolates. So - pierced himself through with many sorrows. But that's typical, you know, and Solomon, instead of asking for those things, 'I want the fame and I want the fortune', he said, 'Lord, I want your spirit.

' He said, 'I want a wise and understanding heart.' And God said, 'because you made this your priority,' - Jesus said, 'seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness' - and this is what Solomon did. His first concern was for the kingdom of God. He said, 'you made me ruler. All these people - they're your people. It's your kingdom.

I'm just your servant and I don't know how to judge between right and wrong. Give me a wise and understanding heart.' He was seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And because that was his priority, God said 'I will give you everything else.' And he could trust him with that. Now later, it wasn't so much the riches that became a problem for Solomon - it was the wives. He had too many wives and they drew his heart away.

But fabulous wealth, fabulous fame, and for the first oh, at least, 40 - 60% of his life he was faithful to God. In the latter years he began to be manipulated. He drifted away. So the Bible tells us - and this is our first section - there are many examples in the Bible of people who were blessed with riches and it did not always hurt them, though it could. Somebody look up for me Genesis :5 and 6.

We gave out some slips with some Scriptures on it. If you got that one hold your hand up. Here it is. I'm looking right past you. Let's get you a microphone.

We'll get to you in just a moment. And in the meantime, I'm going to go to Deuteronomy 8, verses 17 and 18. Deuteronomy 8, verses 17 and 18 and here Moses is speaking here in his final sermon. "Then you say in your heart" - when you come into the land that God has given you and you move into houses you didn't build and you drink from cisterns you did not dig and you drink - you eat from fruit trees you did not plant. In other words, when you have all of this abundance - keep in mind, they were moving into existing communities and they just - they had, basically, pre-packaged prosperity that God was giving them when they conquered these kingdoms.

"Then you say in your heart, 'my power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore to your fathers, as it is this day." Now, the Bible is telling us that God can give power to get wealth. If you have power to get wealth, is that a blessing or a curse? Could be either. Sometimes the devil will cast prosperity into a person's path to get them off track. But God can bless with wealth. Alright, you're going to read for us, I think, Genesis chapter 13:5 and 6.

"And lot also, which went with abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together; for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together." You know, the beginning of the Bible tells us of many faithful characters that had an abundance of wealth. Not only do you have this example here of Abraham and lot that had so much they couldn't even stay together because they filled the land. You read the first chapter of job - it says, in job 1, verse 1, "there was a man in the land of uz, whose name was job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one that feared God, and shunned evil." Is he a good man? Righteous man? "And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.

" - He was a virtual billionaire by today's standards - but what kind of relationship did he have with God? He sought first the Kingdom of God. He rose up every morning. He offered sacrifice. He prayed for his children. He was a Godly man.

So much so that God held up job as exhibit a of Godliness. He didn't pick a poor person, he picked the richest man - very rare - and he said, 'have you beheld my servant job?' Even though job was very rich, he was a servant of God. You know, the Lord - the Lord knows that he can bless some people with prosperity and they can handle it and some can't. And if you knew that prosperity was going to take you off the path to heaven, would you still pray for it? So have you ever thanked God for your poverty? Sometimes that's good that you have - sometimes it's good to say, 'Lord, maybe you just know I have more than I can handle right now' - or - 'I have as much as I can handle'. And, you know, there's a proverb that says, 'don't pray for too much lest you forget the Lord and don't have too little either.

' I'm trying to - someone might look that up and quote it to me. But it talks about, you know, you can have too much and you can have too little and you can pray that God gives you the right amount. Nebuchadnezzar - what happened when he had too much? And it says, "all this came upon king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months. He was walking about the royal palace of Babylon.

the King spoke, saying, 'is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?' While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: 'king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the Kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the most high rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he chooses.'" So Nebuchadnezzar found out the hard way - like God warned the Israelites when they came into canaan, 'beware that you don't say 'I have gotten this wealth myself.'' Sometimes - I remember who - I don't remember, I should say, who it was, but there was some very wealthy man - probably a billionaire - that was being interviewed and they asked 'to what do you attribute, you know, your great wealth and your - your knowledge of stocks or finances?' And they shocked the interviewer by saying, 'to tell you the truth, I just was lucky. I was in the right place at the right time and bought the right thing and the Market went the right direction. I just was lucky.' And, you know, that's not like most people because, you know what money does to a lot of people? It inflames our natural pride. Like Nebuchadnezzar.

He was born in the palace but he said, 'I've done all this.' And God said, 'oh, really? I can take it all away in one day.' Did job lose everything in a day? And can God give it back? And job said, 'the Lord has given and the Lord has taken away.' And some of you are still waiting for the Lord to give you your millions, right? But we can't always handle it. I mean, even good men - many of them fell in this area. Turn, in your Bibles, to Isaiah - another similar story - and here's the story of hezekiah. Hezekiah - good king or bad king? You know all through Israel and judah - they had some good ones and they had some bad ones. Some were in between.

Some were really bad and some were really good. Hezekiah is usually listed as one of the really good Kings. Verse 39 - Isaiah 39. By the way, you not only find this story mentioned in Chronicles and in 2 Kings, but it's also listed by the prophet Isaiah and that's where I'm reading it right now. Start with verse 1 - it's a quick story.

"At that time merodach-baladan The Son of baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered." - They heard about the sickness - he prayed and the sun went backwards ten degrees and all the astronomers and astrologers there in Babylon said, 'what caused this sign?' 'It's from the King of judah." And they went to find out about the God that had power that could reverse the cosmos and they're coming - just on the edge of their seat - to hear about jehovah and what does hezekiah do? - "And hezekiah was pleased with them," - 'Babylon? Really? For me?' It kind of tickled his pride that 'they came to see me?' - "And showed them to the house of his treasures - the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory - all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that hezekiah did not show them." What's happening in hezekiah's heart? I mean, he just was terminal. He prayed and God healed him. And I would think he would have been so happy and humble, but God - the Bible says God left hezekiah to test him to see all that was in his heart. It's not that God could see, it meant so hezekiah could really see what's in his heart.

He thought, 'boy, I must be pretty special. God made the sun go backwards for me. God worked this great miracle and healed me.' And maybe it was a spiritual pride - 'look at all my treasures. Look at all my blessings.' Hezekiah, at this point, might have been ready to join a prosperity-preaching church. You know what the prosperity preaching - the name it and claim it doctrines are? Any of you seen any of these pastors? They call it 'blab it and grab it' - 'name it and claim it'.

They've got all these different names for this idea that if you really love - you got enough faith, you'll be rich. No, God blesses some people that way, but the Bible doesn't teach that. Anyway, "then Isaiah the prophet went to king hezekiah," - I'm on verse 3 - "and said to him, 'what did these men say, and from where did they come to you?' So hezekiah said, 'they came to me from a far country, from Babylon.' And he said, 'what have they seen in your house?' So hezekiah answered, 'they have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.' Then Isaiah said to hezekiah, 'hear the word of the Lord of hosts: 'behold, the days are coming when all this is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,' says the Lord. And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylon.'" - Their names were Daniel, hananiah, mishael and azariah. All this prophecy came true.

The Babylonians came and carried it all off. They came to find out about God. How different history would have been if, instead of thinking about his riches, he had thought about being a witness. Now, this lesson about discipleship is really talking about several things. It's talking about if we're going to be soul winners, we need to know how to witness to the rich that are lost.

We need to know how to welcome rich that are in the churches and not scorn them and say - be jealous. The Bible says that, you know, that the Lord has blessed some people that way. We need to love and respect them as brothers and sisters and sometimes those that don't have riches in the church, are resentful and jealous against those that do. It addresses that in the lesson. It also talks about those that are rich being willing to distribute.

And then it talks about how do you witness to the rich - good and bad? Then being willing - the day may come when we need to let go of all of our resources and follow Jesus - like the rich young ruler. So discipleship, really - you know, in the judgment everybody is going to give an account to God for two things - two principle areas that we will all answer to God for. Here it is: what did you do with the time that you had? Because we've all got a certain amount of time. And what did you do with the means that you had? We have influence over our time and we all have a certain amount of resources we are stewards over that we are to manage. And we all have different amounts but, typically in America, and most of those who are viewing live in this country, by the standards of much of the world, we are very well off.

How many of you have lived in or visited a third-world - what we would call a third-world country? And some of these third-world countries are rapidly becoming second and first-world countries. Things are changing around the world in many places - and you know what I'm talking about - where people are really poor. Now, we all know that we have some people who are really struggling here in America - many that are homeless - and I don't want to understate that. I also share with you, coming from the perspective of somebody who has dug in garbage cans for food. I have panhandled on the street for money.

I have slept on the ground before. I have slept on the streets before and so I understand those street people and homeless people that you see panhandling were all of my friends. Those were the people I hung out with so I understand that. But still, having said that, I haven't met too many people in this country that are poor like the poverty I've seen in the countries that have no welfare program. That they will die of hunger on the streets and their bodies will get carted off.

There are countries like that. And so, when we think, 'wow, I'm just really struggling. I can't make my tv payment.' We don't understand poverty. We're coming from the American - 'man, I'm so poor my car's broken down.' We don't understand. You go to some of these countries, you tell them you have a car and they go, 'wow, you've got a car?' It was embarrassing for Karen and I when we went to - well, I won't tell you where - one country and somehow we mentioned we had three vehicles and I was ashamed.

I saw the reaction that it caused. You know, Karen's got a car, I've got a car, and we've got a pick-up truck in the hills. And we said something like - I don't know how it came out - and once it got out I saw them all look at each other like 'he's a millionaire!' And I was embarrassed. So, be thankful for what you do have. Most of us, you know, I've noticed something that - we are happy with our ten thousand dollars until we find out there's someone that has a hundred thousand.

And the hundred thousand dollar person is happy until they find out there's someone who has a million. And even millionaires become dissatisfied when they think about bill gates and warren buffett. It's never enough. Someone was asking nelson - was it - it may have been nelson rockefeller - one of the rockefeller family was being interviewed and they said, 'how much money does it take to satisfy a millionaire?' He said, 'a little bit more. Always a little bit more.

' You never get to the place where you think it's enough. A man's life, Jesus said, does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. The love of money can be the root of all evil.' Alright, someone look up for me Proverbs , verse 6. Who has that? Right here. Manjeet? Let's get you a microphone.

Where is the mic? Microphone on this side? There we go. And hold your hand up. We'll get to you in just a moment. We're going to talk about a nighttime rendezvous. In John 3, we read about nicodemus.

Somebody else look up for me John 19:39. Who has that? John 19:39 - did we give that verse to somebody? Don't see a hand anywhere. Who would volunteer? Someone on this side - read 19 - let's get you a microphone. John 19, verses 39 and 40 - John :39 and 40. We'll get to you in just a moment.

Alright, I'm going to read John :1-3, "there was a man of the pharisees named nicodemus, a ruler of the jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, 'rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.' Jesus answered and said to him, 'most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.'" Now, nicodemus, the Bible tells us, was very wealthy. Have you noticed that sometimes pastors, when they're talking to the wealthy, they might soft pedal a little bit the person's sins or their need for reform or transformation? Instead of calling it sin we say, 'well, you know that there are some areas that need improvement.' Did Jesus mince words with nicodemus or did he tell him, 'you need to be born again.' 'I'm a teacher! I'm wealthy. Don't you know who I am? I can make a donation to your church. And now, since you hurt my feelings, I'm not going to do it.

You know, I think I've shared with you before that I am - constantly kind of go through a little moral dilemma in my mind because Amazing Facts is entirely supported by people that give, you know, there's no denomination or organization that underwrites us, it's just everyone watching or reading and they donate. And, periodically, often gets a big donation and we're really excited about that and that's understandable. And I will call and thank these people and we really appreciate it - not always, but as often as I can. But when I do I think, well, this person that just donated $5,000 to the ministry - for them, they might have ten million - they're not going to miss it at all. And then you read about someone that takes a piece of their social security income and it was a great sacrifice for them.

They're actually deciding they're going to do without something so they can send to spread the Gospel. And you wonder in your heart, maybe the person who sent the twelve dollars gave more than the person who sent the $5,000 - because it was a bigger sacrifice. And I've always got these things going on in my mind. I never have figured out how to resolve it except - I try to thank everybody but you can't personally call everybody, you know what I mean? And so, it's just a struggle because I think we need to keep the perspective. What did Jesus do when that widow came through and put her two cents in? Was Jesus impressed by the rich that were blowing the horn and making big donations with a lot of fanfare and announcements and speeches and people ooing and ahhing and they'd make sure the gold went 'clank' when it hit the bottom? And this one widow went by and she had two little coins that were so small that you couldn't even hear them hit the bottom of the box and Jesus said, 'look at that! Everybody look at that!' And, for him, it was a big deal.

Why? Because he saw how big the sacrifice was. She was a widow - may have had children. It was everything she had that she gave. So in our world - let's admit it - our concept of the rich and the famous - the magazines are filled. Look at the tabloid magazines.

Don't look at them but, you know what I mean. Don't buy them. Look at them in the checkout stand. Who is typically on the cover? It's the rich and the famous. Why? Because in our carnal hearts, many of us wish we could be these people.

We vicariously dream, 'oh, I wish I could have that kind of money and that kind of fame and praise.' Now some wealthy people can handle it. Sometimes it's a blessing. Go ahead, read for us, manjeet. I think you've got Proverbs :6. "In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.

" So there's treasure in the house of the righteous. Can God bless the righteous? Nicodemus was a good man. There's nothing wrong with that. Someone said that the - I think it was John wesley - and sort of the methodist motif of life was 'a Christian ought to work and earn all they can. They should save all they can.

And they should give all they can.' Now where to draw the lines there - you have to pray about, but we ought to be a people that work all we can to earn all we can. God wants us to earn - don't do it at the expense of never having time with your family but we should be hard workers. Christians should be known, not as slothful but as diligent. Right? We should save. The Bible talks about storing - an ant stores up - know how to save some for a rainy day - and yet, we should be generous.

And so there's that balance that we need to pray for. Now nicodemus had a lot, but he was willing to share. Who's going to read for us? John 19:39 and 40, I think. You? Go ahead. "And there came also nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the jews is to bury." What would have become of Jesus if it wasn't for the rich and the famous when it was his time to die? Wasn't it Joseph of arimathea, a wealthy man, that gave him - he said, 'here. Take my tomb.' - And that wasn't like he just said, 'here's my pine coffin.' He had a wealthy tomb where you had to pay slaves to carve a hole back in solid rock and it was very expensive and they - it says 'he made his grave with the rich in his death.' And so here you have Joseph of arimathea and then you've got nicodemus, who buys the ointment for a king and comes to anoint him. There's a statement in your lesson and it's from 'the Desire of Ages' page 177. "After the Lord's ascension, when the disciples were scattered by persecution, nicodemus came boldly to the front. He employed his wealth in sustaining the infant church that Jesus had expected to be blotted out at - the jews had expected to be blotted out at the death of Christ.

In the time of peril he, who had been so cautious and questioning" - he came quietly to Jesus the first time, nicodemus - "was firm as a rock, encouraging the faith of the disciples and furnishing means to carry forward the work of the Gospel. He was scorned and persecuted by those who had paid him reverence on other days. He became poor in this world's goods, yet he faltered not in faith which had its beginning in that night conference with Jesus." Nicodemus, when he first came with Jesus, he was very wealthy and he began to give towards the cause. And during the early days of the church he gave liberally until he died poor. So some really did, unlike that rich young ruler, give everything to spread the Gospel.

So whenever you read about nicodemus - Jesus said, 'you must be born again' - he was born again and he did invest everything he had in proclaiming the Gospel. 'The rich and the infamous' - Luke 5:27 and 28 - somebody look up for me Ecclesiastes 5:10 - who has that verse? Alright, right here. We'll get to you in just a moment. And I'll read Luke 5:27 and 28, "after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named levi, sitting at the tax office and he said to him, 'follow me.' And he left all, rose up, and followed him." Now he's a publican, a tax collector. Tax collectors, in Bible time, were not state employees or federal employees now, where they're on a set salary.

They actually were something like part of organized crime back then. You know, the mafia used to control the shipping docks in New York harbor and so they got a cut of everything that came in and they had neighborhoods they would protect but they got a cut of that and they became very wealthy. Well, that's something like what the publicans were - they were like the mafia. They basically had permission - they had a contract from the Romans to charge their own people taxes. They were hated by their own people but they had the roman soldiers behind them and they would also take out a little extra for themselves and they became very wealthy.

Matthew gets up and walks away from all of that to follow Jesus. But the publicans - publicans, their names were mentioned - it was just - when Jesus wanted to tell a parable and show a contrast between who the people thought was the ultimate righteous person and the ultimate wicked person, here's how Jesus did it. 'Two men went up to the temple to pray; one a pharisee and one a publican' - right? Because one was considered the pious and the holy and the righteous and the other was considered the - just the scabs of society. And Jesus said, because of the way they prayed, the pharisee went home unforgiven and the publican went home forgiven. And that was a scandalous parable as far as the people were concerned.

So when it says that he's got a publican that's one of his apostles, that's like saying, you know, we're going to start a new church and we're going to get a former mafia member in the witness protection program - he's going to be one of our associate pastors. It's just - you can see how that went over. It didn't make sense. Someone read - who has it? Ecclesiastes chapter 5, verse 10. "He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver, nor he who loves abundance, with increase.

This also is vanity." So when we think about Matthew, what was one of the reasons he was willing to get up and follow Jesus? Did he have money? But did it satisfy? He was unsatisfied. And that also explains many of his companions. Notice - Matthew 9, verses 10 through 13, "now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house," - and this is probably the house of Matthew - invited him over - "that behold, many tax collectors and sinners" - tax collectors' names were often used, not only as sinners, they were used with prostitutes - so just to give you an idea it was just not a good name. And Jesus goes to this home of this person who's a tax collector and he's hanging out with all these people of ill repute. There were sort of like the scoundrels and the druggies of society - the crime culture - "as Jesus sat at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

And when the pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, 'why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'" - He'll be defiled - "when Jesus heard that, he said to them, 'those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.'" Did Jesus just come to call poor sinners? Or did he also come to call rich sinners? All kinds of sinners. Yes, it's hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven, but you shouldn't shrug your shoulders and say, 'well, I'm kind of jealous they have money. I'm glad they're lost.' But that's the attitude of many churches. 'We don't want to have them in.

It serves them right. They're rich. The Bible says, 'if you're rich in this world you'll be poor in the next.'' You know, like the poor man - the rich man and Lazarus? Right? Lazarus, the poor man, he goes to heaven. The rich man, he goes to hell.' 'They're all lost anyway. We don't need to worry about them.

' Are the souls of the poor worth more to God than the souls of the rich? Then should we have concern for them? Now, it takes - it takes a special group, sometimes, to reach them. You know, I don't know that I've had great success, but there are some people - and you probably know some, or you've heard of some that, because of the way they've grown up, they're sophisticated, they've had breeding, yet they're dedicated Christians and they know how to reach out to this class of people and to win their affection and to reach them. And that's part of discipleship - knowing how to reach people everywhere. Did Jesus do it? Alright, one more story. Luke 19:1, "then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

" Matter of fact, I'm going to turn to this real quick. I think I've got time. "Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich." Now, you know, I've shared before so I don't think it's new that, growing up with my mom - mom is what you might have called middle class. I mean, compared to the world she was probably rich, but compared to North America she was sort of middle class.

We went to public school - went to some private schools but went to public school and she struggled sometimes between jobs. Sometimes she'd have a good payday and we'd be alright for awhile and then she'd run out of that money and we'd be poor for awhile and we'd eat beans. When I lived with dad - mom and dad divorced so when I was living with dad, dad was very wealthy. Most of dad's great wealth actually happened after I left home. He continued to make money and, you know, near the end of his life he had millions and millions of dollars and set up a foundation.

He was very wealthy. And one thing I noticed is that when you have a lot of money, people don't always tell you the truth because folks often think you have so much influence through your means - they always want something. And you don't know who to trust so you get to where you don't trust anybody and I found that with my father. And it's also a problem with a lot of people when they got wealth - anyone starts acting like a friend you wonder, 'are they wondering what's in it for them or do they just really like me?' And I'd be around dad sometimes and I'd see people just begin - they'd just slather on these compliments and this stuff and they always had some ulterior motive and it just got to where he didn't know who to believe, didn't know who to trust, and it was a miserable existence not knowing you had any real friends. Everybody always wanted something.

So a lot of people in this condition are empty and zacchaeus, the Bible says, was very rich and he was very unhappy. Not only that - because zacchaeus came by most of his wealth by extorting his own people so they had several reasons to hate him. They hated him because he was rich and they were jealous and they hated him because they felt he unjustly took their money. And he thought, you know, 'life has no purpose. Money doesn't satisfy.

Power doesn't satisfy. I'm getting old. I'm going to die. My life will be a waste. I'm forsaken by God.

The scribes and the pharisees say I'm lost.' Then zacchaeus got word that there was a Jewish rabbi that actually invited a publican to be one of his disciples and apostles and he became very interested. 'You mean there might be hope for a publican to be saved?' And then he heard Jesus share this parable about the publican that goes home from church forgiven and the pharisee does not. He thought, 'wow, maybe there's hope for me.' And when Jesus was on his last journey to Jerusalem he went through Jericho - zacchaeus thought, 'I've got to see this man that tells me there's a God that might even forgive a publican.' And that's why he went to such extraordinary effort to climb a tree. I mean, you know, usually rich people wearing those very expensive clothes bought at nordstrom's don't climb trees and here he is huffing and puffing and tearing his robes and he's going up on this tree so he can just get a look at Jesus. And then Jesus comes under the tree and he knows him.

He says, 'zacchaeus, make haste and come down for today I must eat at your house. I must abide at your house.' How many of you would like Jesus to abide at your house? Now what made the difference? Draw near to God and he'll draw near to you. Zacchaeus made an effort to see Jesus. Jesus knew he was searching - seek and you'll find - and he revealed himself to him. He had no idea Jesus knew who he was all this time.

So Jesus not only had a ministry to the poor, but he also had a ministry to the rich. Anybody that was searching for him, he was interested in. And you know what's amazing is after zacchaeus is accepted by the Lord - you read on here and you go to chapter 19 - when the crowd saw that he made haste and came to Jesus - verse 7, "and when they" - the crowd - "saw it, they all murmured, saying, that he was gone to be a guest with a man that is a sinner." Is Jesus willing to come into the hearts and the homes of sinners? There's no hope for us if that's not true. And look at what happened to zacchaeus' heart when Jesus accepted him. "Then zacchaeus stood, and said to the Lord: 'look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.

'" By the way, he's getting that from Exodus 22:1. It says if you steal something you pay it back fourfold. So zacchaeus knew the Bible. He probably went to Sabbath school growing up. He had drifted from the Lord.

Zacchaeus was probably a c student. C students usually become billionaires. The a students end up coming back and becoming professors at the university. And I don't know what the b students do. They run for public office.

Anyway, so zacchaeus - he's another example of the rich and the infamous that God forgave. And then in the last section here it talks about the gold-plated message - or not quite the last section - the gold-plated message - Luke :13, "no servant 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." It does not end well if we think that we're going to find happiness in money. Someone look up Proverbs 23:4 and 5. Who has that? Over here.

Okay. Proverbs 23, verses 4 and 5 and we'll get to you in just a moment. In the parable of the four different kinds of soils Jesus said, some of the seed falls on a certain type of soil and it says, "these are the ones who, when they hear the word," - it springs up - "and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." Why does it say the deceitfulness of riches? What's deceitful about riches? If you're led to believe that riches are going to bring you happiness, you've been deceived. I'll tell you another deceitfulness of riches. There are many Christians who think 'I can strive after money during half of my life and the other half of my life I'll serve the Lord and I'll give to God.

But I'm going to earn' - you know, when my dad died there was a big battle in florida over his estate and I'll admit I was tempted to get into the fray because people came to me and they said, 'doug, if you just take a few years off right now' - it was going to be years in court - 'if you take a few years off and fight now, you could get something and then you could give it to God.' And you know, I heard the devil. I mean it was - it was a very cleverly clothed deception and then I remembered an evangelist I knew that said, 'you know, I'm so tired of working with the church - the organization - I just want to be a self-supporting evangelist. I'm going to leave public evangelism and I've got this means to make a lot of money. I'm going to make a fortune and then I'm going to go back and do evangelism and be self-supporting.' And he did go into this business and made a lot of money and never went back into public evangelism. The deceitfulness of riches - and I had to decide at some point - a Christian friend of mine who's an attorney said, 'doug, this is going to suck you in.

' He said, 'you've got to decide if God called you to do this or he called you to preach.' And I was very convicted that I should just not get involved in all that and drop what I was doing - well, the main thing I needed to do is make sure - somebody was trying to take over my father's foundation. He set up a foundation to give money to humanitarian and educational, medical and environmental purposes and somebody was moving in and they were going to use it selfishly and so I fought that and got them out of the way and then I walked away and just said, 'I'm going to preach the Gospel.' Because - and I'm happy. So isn't that the bottom line? No, your happiness is not the bottom line actually. Your holiness is the bottom line. But, you know, really, compared to most of the world we are rich.

We've got so much. Look in our closet someday when you come over. We've got so much and yours is probably that way too, right? You know, I heard an amazing fact that 86% of u.s. Homes have two-car garages. % Of those two-car garages have no cars in them because they're stored with stuff.

They've got junk in their garage. They can't put the car in there. We have so much. I want you to know we have two cars in our two-car garage. It's because I'm a fanatic.

I went to military school. Alright, go ahead. Read for us Proverbs 23:4 and 5. "Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven." A man's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. Can you think of a couple of church members that made a fatal mistake in putting money first? Acts chapter 5, verses 1 and 2, "but a certain man named ananias, with sapphira his wife, sold a possession.

And he kept back part of the proceeds," - not even 100%. They just lied and they wanted to look like they were giving everything but they really only gave half. What happened to them? They lied to the Holy Spirit and they died. What happened to gehazi? How many of you remember? Kings, chapter 5 - the servant of Elisha - when naaman was cured of his leprosy he tried to give - naaman tried to give Elisha some money to pay for his healing. Elisha said, 'no, I will not take anything.

It's a sign of salvation and baptism and cleansing. It's a gift from God.' But gehazi, as he saw naaman going back down the road with his chariots loaded with wealth, he said, 'my master's crazy. He should have taken something. I mean, he could use it for his church.' All these rationalizations and gehazi ran after naaman and he lied to him. He said, 'oh, my master changed his mind.

Some poor prophets just came and we'd like to give them a donation. So he gave him all this silver. And Elisha said, 'where'd you go?' 'Well, I didn't go anywhere.' - Gehazi lied. He said, 'my heart went with you when you ran after the man.' And he said, 'is this the time to get vineyards and orchards and male - and menservants? It says, 'therefore the leprosy of naaman will cling unto you and your seed forever and gehazi became a leper because the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And those that don't learn that, pierce themselves through with many sorrows.

Riches can be deceitful. The rich young ruler - probably just briefly touch on that story. We all know that story. You find it in Matthew. It's in Mark chapter 10.

It's in your lesson. Runs up to Jesus and says, 'good master.' - And he sees right after Jesus blesses the children. He's so impressed that this is the representative of God and he runs after him and he falls on his knees and he's very sincere. He said, 'good master. What good thing shall I do that I might have eternal life? And Jesus said, 'why callest thou me good? None is good but one and that is God.

But if you would enter into life, keep the commandments.' Keep the commandments? Are we supposed to keep the commandments to enter into life? I thought we were saved by grace? He said, 'which ones?' Jesus said - he begins to recite the Ten Commandments dealing with man's relationship with man - honor your father and mother, don't steal, don't lie, so forth - and he interrupts Jesus. He says, 'all these I have kept from my youth.' Every Jewish boy could quote the Ten Commandments - most church members can't, but every Jewish boy could. He said, 'what do I lack?' Jesus said, 'there's one thing left. Just one thing you lack.' Wouldn't you like the Lord to say, 'you know, you're almost perfect. You only lack one thing'? He said, 'go, sell what you have, give it to the poor.

You'll have treasure in heaven. Take up your cross and follow me.' The Bible says 'he went away grieved for he had great possessions.' I always thought that's such a paradox that he went away rich and grieved. He still had his money but he didn't have what he came to Jesus for. Now, is Jesus asking everybody to go sell everything they have and give it to the poor? I don't hear anyone saying 'yes'. He is asking everybody - when you take up your cross - to be willing to place everything on the altar right then.

When you accept Jesus, everybody needs to basically change - you need to give power of attorney of your bank account to Jesus. You need to put it all in his name. You need to realize everything you have belongs to him. You become his steward and if he says, 'I need means for this' or 'I need means for that' you say, 'Lord, it's not mine it's yours' - the Holy Spirit will guide you. You need to be willing to sell and to liquidate as he tells you.

This man, in particular, was being invited to become an apostle. You notice he didn't say 'sell what you have, give it to the poor. You'll have treasure in heaven and enjoy your life'? He said, 'and follow me.' Same thing he said to Matthew. Same thing he said to Peter, James and John he said to this man, 'follow me'. He would have been an apostle.

So he was asking to cut all ties and he didn't and he went away grieved. Could have been a Gospel named after him. We don't even know his name. How sad. What profit is it if you gain the whole world and lose your soul? So we've got to understand the relationship between being a disciple and how to relate to that, and worldly wealth.

And we want to be faithful. For our listening friends, we're about out of time. I want to remind you if you missed it, we have a free offer. It's the testimony video of yours truly called 'the richest cavemen' dvd. We'll send it to you for free.

Watch it and share it. Call 866-study-more - -788-3966 and when you do call, ask for offer #807 and we'll send you the dvd of 'the richest caveman'. And God bless you until we study together again next week. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week.

Now, each week millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who is behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit 'Sabbathtruth.com'.

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