FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou my vision,
O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me,
save that Thou art
Thou my best thought,
by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping,
Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my wisdom,
and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and
Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father,
and I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling,
and I with Thee one.
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Food For Thought!
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. - Luke 12:32-34
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. - 2 Corinthians 8:9
Confession of Sin:
Prayer of Confession
Heavenly Father, your love brings life to dead souls, light to darkened minds, and strength to weak wills. Depending on our own strength we stumble; proclaiming our own goodness we sin; glorying in our own righteousness we corrupt everything we touch; indulging in self-pity we blind ourselves to the needs of those around us. Help us to believe and trust that no wrong we have done, and no good we have failed to do, is too great for you to forgive through the merits of Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Words of Grace
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Confession of Faith: Westminster Shorter Catechism (1646)
Q. 29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration andrenewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Sermon Text: Mark 10:13-31
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
1. The hidden objection of wealth (v. 22)
2. The relational hostility of wealth (v. 21-22, 23-26)
3. The gift of a new kind of wealth (v. 26-27, 29-31, 2 Cor. 8:9)
There are any number of objections to Christianity that people tend to put forward. However, one that doesn't often make that list is the hidden objection of wealth. As Jesus says in Mark 4:18-19, there “are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” Enter the Rich Young Man. Though he comes to Jesus with a concern for life's biggest questions (v. 17) and an impeccable moral record (v. 20), the true loyalty of his heart remains hidden and invisible to everyone but Jesus.
The Rich Young Man is a powerful illustration of the danger of wealth, especially for the religious: those who care about God's answers to life's big questions and try to live as God commands. In other words, it is possible to profess deep desire and longing for the things of the Kingdom and yet reject Jesus for other lovers, especially money and possessions. No less than three times Jesus teaches us how difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God! (v. 23-25) What do we do with that? That danger is real and it is nigh impossible to overcome.
How do you know if you are in danger? First, look at your response to the love of Jesus (v. 21). Ask yourself this question: Does the gospel of free grace seem irrelevant or inadequate? Does it fall flat with you? If so have you ever seriously considered the place of wealth in your life? Jesus looks at this Rich Young Man and loves him with wounding words of truth and promises of heavenly treasure and fellowship with him. (v. 21) Yet he will not give up his wealth for Jesus and his Gospel. Second, look at your attitude toward the poor. In Proverbs 19:17we read, "whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed." And in Mark 9:37 Jesus says, "whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, andwhoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me." Here Jesus uses the status of a child as a metaphor for the lowest and the least in the social order...the poor, the helpless, the vulnerable, the powerless. What's the point? Whatever we do to the poor, we do to Jesus. (Mt. 25:40)
Jesus is not saying wealth is wrong. Nor is he holding up poverty as an ideal. He is doing heart surgery with the upside down values of the Kingdom! The heart follows whatever it treasures. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Lk. 12:34) I don't believe Jesus is calling the Rich Young Man or any of us to a life of asceticism, of self-inflicted poverty. He is speaking hyperbolically to make a trenchant point. Who are you serving? What has captured the deepest affections of your heart? Following Jesus isn't a both/and. It is an either/or. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." (Mt. 6:24) So then what does it look like to serve God with your money? Consider Paul's instruction to the church in Ephesus to do honest work with their own hands, that they might have something to share with anyone in need. (Eph. 4:28)
So are you in danger? If so, what should you do? "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." (v. 25) Don't make the mistake of thinking you can overcome this danger on your own. "And [the disciples] were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, 'Then who can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.'” (v. 26-27) If only God can save, then how does he do it? How does he overcome this danger in our lives? In a word, it requires an exchange!
An exchange needs to take place. The heart must discover a better treasure, a more beautiful, desirable treasure. It's not enough to simply manage your money better or become a wiser more compassionate philanthropist. The love of wealth must be displaced by the love of Jesus! How does that happen?
The answer is there is another exchange that has already taken place that alone can produce the first kind of exchange. It is the gospel! The only thing that can dislodge our love of wealth (whether you have it or not) is the self-sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. You need to see on the cross Jesus doing for you what the Rich Young Man should have done for the poor! You need to become like a child (v. 15) and receive the devastating but glorious news of what Jesus gave away in order to give it to you! "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, thatthough he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." (2 Cor. 8:9) Do you know this grace? Do you know the gift of this new kind of wealth?
When you discover the riches of the gospel, how will it look in your life? Freedom! Freedom to spend your life and resources on others because that's what Jesus has done for you. And if you belong to him you will inevitably do what he does. But let's be honest, this is scary. What assurance does Jesus give us for the here and now and the there and then? “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life." (v. 29-30) In short, he will more than make up for any loss we suffer for his sake and the gospel! He promises us a truer home, the comfort and safety of his family, a land of promise, and even victory over the grave! This is the life of faith! Following after the King of the Kingdom who for our sake became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich...in him!
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
- What questions does this passage raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- How would you compare and contrast the question of vs. 17 with the question of v. 26?
- What makes it so difficult for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom?
- Why is the gospel the only way to overcome the danger of wealth?
Songs for this week:
All Glory, Laud and Honor
Hail To The Lord's Anointed
Hallelujah! What A Savior
Come, Ye Should By Sin Afflicted
The Strife Is O'er, The Battle Done
Sermon passage for this week: Mark 10:32-52
Until next time,
Be Thou My Vision
Riches I heed not,
nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance,
now and always:
Thou and Thou only,
first in my heart,
High king of heaven,
my treasure Thou art.
High king of heaven,
my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys,
O bright heaven's sun!
Heart of my own heart,
Still be my vision,
O ruler of all.