Dear Student of the Word,
It's time for another dose of God's word in the form of my Bible studies, this one in our latest study of Luke. I call these studies devotional studies because my goal is to help you apply the Word, not just read and study it. In this week's installment, we take a look at Jesus' public teaching ministry with stories that are not found in the other gospels. This is seven-part study that you can download below, but here is a sample from part one:
Study Twenty-Four, Part One
13 "No servant can serve two masters. 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 both God and money." 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.
16:13 – Jesus made a simple but profound statement: No man can serve God and something or someone else. God must have first place in your life or He has no place, and it seems money has a special pull that causes it to command attention and even worship. Why is that? Probably because we use money, in most cases, to obtain the necessities of life, so it is easy to think that money is what we need to survive. God is the source of money and our Provider, however, and we must not let what He uses to bless us to become the object of our affection, attention, or even worship.
When I say “worship” money, you may picture someone bowing down before a dollar bill. That’s not how the worship will be expressed. Instead, it will be a life that is given to obtain the dollar, investing time, energy, and creativity to get and protect money. Are you giving to your career what you should be giving to God? If so, then there is the danger that you are serving money.
What does the Bible say about money? Here are a few highlights:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10).
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:4-5)
“’The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the Lord Almighty” (Haggai 2:8-9).
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:11-13).
Where do you stand where money is concerned? Are you serving it, or does it serve you? Are you uptight about money? Too tired to be involved in your church because of what you give to make a living?
16:14 – The Pharisees sneered at Jesus. Can you imagine? They did so because they were in love with money and not with God. I know of leaders today who are in love with money, and that is easy to do in our modern culture. The word of the Lord is clear: You cannot love God and money at the same time.
16:15 – This is quite a statement! What is valued with men is despised in God’s sight, and that includes money. What do men value? Men value money, power, prestige, and outward appearances. What does God value? God values generosity, humility, service and a clean heart. It is easy to justify yourself or make yourself look good before men, but it impossible to fool God, because He knows the heart. The choice is yours. Do you want to look good before men or before God? Your choice will determine what you pursue and who or what you worship.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled The Leadership Walk. Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Luke's gospel from God's word.