Hello and welcome to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. We pray that God uses this message to strengthen your faith. And if he does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give. Many of us try to separate what we believe in our hearts from how we behave with our finances. In the message, is your checkbook converted? Skip expounds on one of the clearest theological statements about how money can be a tool for God's glory and a gauge of your spiritual maturity. Now, we invite you to open your Bible to Philippians Chapter 4 as Skip begins.
We're going to finish out the Book of Philippians today.
You've had a great journey on this study, Technicolor Joy. And today we finish that book. So let's turn in our bibles to Philippians Chapter 4.
Let us prayer together. Father, before we look into your Word and apply it to our lives, we just want to thank you, Lord, that you have not only inspired it but preserved it through history so that we have a copy. With so many different types of scripture written, but it's your Word to our hearts, to our lives, for us to meditate on, to apply to glean, to grow with. Thank you for the incredible resource of the Bible. And thank you, Lord, for a church, a group of people that are willing to come out and read and study and apply and live by these truths. What an honor to be with such a group as this. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
It was Martin Luther, the great reformer, who said, there are three conversions that are necessary-- the conversion of the heart, the conversion of the mind, and the conversion of what he called the purse, or the wallet, the pocket book. And probably of all three, the third one is the hardest to convert. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, we are-- with some Christians, the last part of their nature that ever gets sanctified is their pocketbooks.
Well, for some people, money is a huge issue. And for other people, it's a driving issue. And it's a driving issue either because they don't have it and they want it or because they have too much of it and it gets them into trouble. I heard about an elderly gentleman who had married a beautiful young girl, but he was worried that perhaps she married him because he had so much money. And so, one day, he said, tell me the truth, sweetheart. If I lost all my money, would you still love me? And she said, reassuringly, oh, honey don't be silly. Of course, I would love you. And I would miss you terribly.
Well, the Bible has a lot to say about finances. In fact, it surprises many Christians just how much the New Testament and the Old Testament speak about this topic. Here's an example. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it's estimated that one out of every six verses deal somehow with money. Of the 29 parables that Jesus told, 16 deal with the person and their money. Look at it another way. The Bible has 500 verses thereabouts on the topic of prayer, fewer than 500 verses on the topic of faith, yet more than 2000 verses on money. Jesus taught more on the topic of money and possessions than all of his teachings on heaven and hell combined.
So the Bible has a lot to say about it. Now, any people who know me know that if there's one thing I'm not good at is talking about the subject of money. There's one thing I shy away from. Maybe I've been guilty of-- people have told me that, at least-- is that I don't ever mention or I hardly ever mention it unless the Bible mentions that I do. So the Bible talks a lot about it. But there are some preachers who talk about it even more than the Bible talks about it.
So when we first came to Albuquerque, we had heard reports about how different evangelists had come through town and were coming through town. And, you know, because Albuquerque is like the crossroads. It's always on the way to somewhere. And so, they'll stop here and have an event. And they would take up offerings. And when we first come here, somebody came to town, and they had their little evangelistic event. They decided to take the offering with trash cans, demanding that they be full by the end of the night.
We had a guy from our Bible study. We were just starting a church, and he went to this event to watch this. And the offering went by, and then it didn't fill up. And so, he sent the trash cans around a second time. They didn't fill up. He sent around a third time. He just sort of kept doing this. And it's so aggravated this gentleman, who's now in heaven, that he got up, and he walked out.
Well, as he was walking out, the evangelist called him out, and said, hey, you wouldn't leave a restaurant without paying for the meal, would you? So he just had enough. And he stormed out. There's even a story of Mark Twain who had gone to a service and was so disgusted by the way the offering was being announced and being taken that he said he wrote, not only when the offering plate came by, did he not give what he had planned to give, but he actually took some money out of the offering as it went by. I would not recommend that practice, by the way.
But Jesus said this, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." That's quite a statement. You can tell a lot about a person's spirituality by what that person does with money. Just take a tour of the checkbook and find out what is recorded in there, what is spent, what is important, what are the values. Well, the church at Philippi was a model of sacrificial, generous giving.
Just to give you the background, they had supported Paul 10 years before. They had supported him on a couple of occasions. They lost touch with him. Now, they hear he's in Rome in jail. And they send a man by the name of Epaphroditus, 800 miles, from Philippi to Rome with a very lavish gift, a sacrificial gift from that church-- once again, some kind of a care package and financial offering. And it gets to Paul.
So when it comes to how we are to look at money or deal with money or our financial responsibility, this text is a good one to look at. And it's interesting that Paul closes out his book with that. We're going to look at verse 14 to verse 23, which completes the book. But you know me. I do love context. And the context of this begins back what we looked at last week in verse 10. So I'd like to just read it all together. Verse 10.
"But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly--" you can follow along. Verse 10. "I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well that you shared in my distress.
Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you did send aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, am acceptable sacrifice while pleasing to God.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every Saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the Saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
In looking at the verses we just read, I want to share with you four insights when it comes to our finances, our money. First of all, generosity is commended. Paul commends them for their generosity. In verse 14, he says, "Nevertheless, you have done well in that you shared in my distress." Now, he had just gotten through saying, I am content no matter what I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.
If he would have ended there, maybe they would have thought, well, if he's content with anything, a lot or a little, why did we just sacrificially give so much money and then send a guy 800 miles to give him this gift? So he closes off by saying nevertheless, I'm content no matter what. Nevertheless, you have done well. He's commending them. He saying, what you did is good.
Now, I want to clear up an issue. And unfortunately, it's been a thought that has been around Christian circles for a long time. Money is not evil. Money is neutral. Money is amoral. That is, it has no moral value attached to it, either good or bad. It all depends on how it is used. Somebody will say, but the Bible says money is the root of all evil. The Bible does not say money is the root of all evil.
The money-- the Bible says 1 Timothy Chapter 6, "The love of money is a root," not the root, "a root of all kinds of evil." Well, that puts a whole different spin on that. You can love money if you have a lot of it or if you have none of it. You can do is love, love, love. I got to get it, gotta get it. So it's the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. If you know your Bibles very well, you understand that there were many people in the Bible that were very wealthy and yet very godly.
Let me name a few-- Abraham. The Bible tells us Abraham had 318 servants in his own household, trained servants. They became a militia for him at one point. They were paid staff, 318 of them. Abraham had the kind of wealth that was on a par with the kings of Canaan and often interacted with those kings. That's one. Then you have another example in the Old Testament-- Job. God blessed him with land and with flocks and with buildings et cetera, et cetera. And you might say, yeah, but he lost it all. Yet it says at the end of the Book of Job, "the Lord bless the latter days of Job more than at the beginning." So whatever wealth he had and lost, God actually gave him more.
And then another example is Joseph. Joseph, who is really a true rags to riches story, right? He ends up as the second richest man on earth, as the prime minister of the largest, wealthiest nation at the time-- Egypt. He becomes second in command of Pharaoh. So here you have a guy who's godly and wealthy.
Then, Proverbs 24 says, "Through wisdom, a house is built. By understanding, it is established. By knowledge, its rooms are filled with precious and pleasant riches." So money isn't evil. Riches aren't evil. Wealth isn't evil. It's amoral. It has no moral value attached to it. It all depends on how a person uses it. I love what J. Paul Getty said. He said, money is like manure. You stack it up, it stinks. You spread it around, it makes things grow.
So giving for God's work is good. They had given to Paul. They were giving to God's work, and it's good. And there are many examples of that. David amassed wealth and property to build a temple. He didn't get to do it. His son did. But at 1 Kings Chapter 8, the Lord said, "Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my name, you did well-- and have-- because you have this in your heart."
Then in the New Testament, there's a book called 3 John. It's the smallest book in the Bible. 3 John, John writes to a guy named Gaius saying, you: You doing a good work for God when you take care of traveling teachers who are passing through, even though they are strangers to you." And then finally, Paul the Apostle quoted Jesus in Acts Chapter 20 by saying, "It is more blessed to give than it is to receive." So all of those verses speak to the, it's good. It's commended. Generosity is a good thing. Be a generous person. It's a good value to have. And the honest truth is that very few things will ever get done in ministry without the generous support of people.
Now, I love to look at statistics from time to time and the Gallup organization as sort of a go to source, the Gallup polls. So according to the Gallup organization, in the average church 17% of people say they tithe. 17% people tithe. You go, boy, that's slow. Well, he's not finished. He said 17% say they tithe. Only 3% actually do. 40%, according to Gallup, will give nothing in a year. 91% percent will say they make more money now than they ever have in their life. And in the same set of Gallup poll statistics, 71% of the pastors believe that church members have changed from stewards into consumers.
Enter the church at Philippi, a refreshing, different animal, giving generously on one and then two and then now, at least-- this is the third occasion-- generous to Paul. And Paul says, it's good. Church at Philippi believed what Jim Elliott, that great missionary to Ecuador who was martyred, would later say, when he said, he is no fool who gives away that which he cannot keep in order to gain that which he cannot lose. They were generous. And generosity is commended. Let me give you a second insight. But before I do, I want to show you reasons why it is so good.
First of all, one of the reasons generosity is good is that it turns people into partners. Now hear me. It turns people into partners. Back in Chapter 1, Paul begins his book of Philippians. And he says, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making my request for you all with joy for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. That's how Paul viewed them. We are partners in this together. You are there. I am here. You are doing what only you can do. And I am doing what only I could do. We're partners.
Now with that, look at verse 14. "Nevertheless, you have done well that you--" look at the word-- "shared in my distress." And then again in verse 15, "Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only." Twice he uses the word shared. The word is [INAUDIBLE]. And it means to be a partner together in something. So what Paul loves more than the present that they gave to him was the partnership.
We're partners together. And that's the way it is in church work, in mission work, in God's work. Some are goers. Others are senders. But all are partners. It's a partnership. So in-- remember, I just mentioned 3 John and that guy named Gaius who is supporting itinerant ministers. John says this, "So we should support them that we may become partners with them for the truth." Now I'm drilling that in because I want you to hold on to that thought for a moment that we are partners because I'm going to show you in a minute how that partnership works.
One of the reasons, though, generosity is good, it's commended, it's because it turns people into partners. There's a second reason that it's good. It's the highest reason. Because God likes it. It pleases God. Look at verse 18. "Indeed I have all and about. I am full because I have received having received from Epaphroditus the things that are sent from you, a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice--" now look at this last phrase, "well pleasing to God."
That's the highest motivation to do anything, to give anything. Because it is well pleasing to God. Did you notice in this verse the language that the apostle uses is the language of the temple? Sweet smelling aroma? If you were to walk in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, it smelled very different than it does today.
First of all, if you walked in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago during the time that they would have morning or evening sacrifices, it would smell like BBQ to you, like a massive BBQ. Because they were taking that animal and putting it on an altar. And the smoke was ascending up to God, and you'd walk through there-- oh, man, I've got to get some of that. Where's that? That was going on in the temple. Add to that the incense that was going up that represented their prayer. So the incense and the animals on the altar made this wonderful aroma. And what Paul is saying here is that's what giving is like to God. It's like the purest, best sacrifice, where he goes--
Ahh. I like that. It is well pleasing to Him. And again, this ought always to be our highest motivation. It's not, we'll, I'm giving because the church needs it. It should be, I'm giving because God is worth it. It is well pleasing to Him. Now notice that he says in this verse, he calls it a sacrifice, an acceptable sacrifice well pleasing to God. Just the fact that he uses the word sacrifice means that the person who offers it has got to feel it, right? I mean, I'm missing something here. I'm giving it away. It's sacrificial.
It's like David said. I will never offer to the Lord anything that doesn't cost me something. But I always get asked the question about amount. Well, how much should I give? Are Christians supposed to tithe? And if we tithe, should we tie on the gross or on the net? And we get really complicated about it.
Well, first of all, tithing is not even a New Testament concept. It's an Old Testament concept. That's where the tithe came from-- 10%. But if you were to actually study the tithes, you find out that Israel didn't have one tithe, but they had two annual tithes plus a third one every third year. Add to that the giving of a temple tax. Add to that letting their fields be uncut on the edges, ungleaned so that others could glean it. The poor could glean it. And you have the children of Israel giving out of their annual income between 25% and 30%. Now about now, you're going, well boy, I'm glad I don't know the Bible that well. Because that's already a lot, just 10%.
Well, what you need to realize when it comes to percentages is you don't own anything. It's not yours. It all is His. 100%. In the prophet Hosea, God said, all the silver and all the gold is mine, saith the Lord. It's all His. And then in Deuteronomy 8, the Lord said, for it is God who gives you the power to get wealth. So if God happens to give you anything or let you keep anything that's already his to begin with, that's where you thank him for, instead of saying, oh, my goodness. I have to give 10%? How about this? God let you keep 90%. That's the way you look at it. All belongs to Him. So when it comes to amount, the New Testament says nothing about amount.
It would seem that these Old Testament believers who get saved in the New Testament began as the baseline with a 10%. But then Paul said this in 2 Corinthians. Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly nor out of necessity, for God loves a-- tell me-- cheerful, literally hilarious, giver. The Lord loves a hilarious giver. The New Testament, the only thing it talks about in terms of amount is proportion, that we give in proportion to our income. So if you make a little, you give proportionately. If you make a whole lot, you give proportionately.
So Peter Marshall-- somebody I've always greatly admired in his writings; he was one time a chaplain for the United States Senate-- said this, give according to your income less God make your income according to your giving. I laughed when I saw that. And so, I actually thought about that. What if God took your financial offering, multiplied it by 10, and made that your income? How would that be? Would anything change? How much would you make? So generosity is commended. That's the first insight.
Second one, interest is compounded. Now this is where it really gets good. Verse 17. He says, "not that I seek the gift. But I seek the fruit that abounds to your account." Now we are getting insight in this verse into heavenly accounting procedures. This is how God works the heavenly account books. Because verse 17 is filled with financial language from the ancient money market. And when he says, "not that I want the money or seek the gift. But I seek fruit that abounds to your account," that literally refers to interest accrued on the credit side of the ledger. Interest accrued on the credit side of the ledger.
So here's how it works. Paul would go out and preach the gospel. They, in Philippi, would support him. And of all the fruit that came because of Paul's ministry, they would get the eternal credit. God would accrue that, mark that, on their credit. That's some wonderful implications with that. That means when you get to heaven, how would you like this? Somebody walks up to you and says, thank you. And you go, who are you? I've never met you. Why are you thanking me? I know you've never met me, but you supported that ministry where I heard the gospel that day or that night or that book or that tract or that crusade or that church. I heard the gospel, and I'm here in part due to your faithfulness. That's fruit to your account.
Now, when Paul says, I don't seek the gift, I seek fruit that abounds your account, there's something else implied by that. And that is we need to be careful where we invest our finances. We need to ask this question, is this ministry or whatever minister am considering supporting, are they being fruitful? Are they producing fruit? We should not approach it by saying, well, I want to find out which ministries really, really need it. Which ones are really struggling?
No, that's not how you're going to do it. You want a good return in your investment. You want to find those who are producing fruit. That's just good business sense. Jesus said, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." Right? So you want to look for fruitful ministries because you want a good return on the investment.
There's a great old story about George Truett. George Truett was a pastor in Dallas, Texas years ago-- First Baptist Dallas. And at Dallas, Texas, you probably know. This is a lot of wealthy people. And he was at a home of a very wealthy gentleman who had a lot of land. And they went up to the top verandah of the house. And the man pointed in a direction where there were grain fields with oil drills on them. And he said, everything your eye can see in that direction, I own. And I own everything in that direction. I own everything in that direction. And I own everything in that direction.
Pastor George Truett put his hand on the rich man's shoulder and said, let me ask you a simple question. How much do you own in that direction? How much are you laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven? So generosity is commended. Interest is compounded. That's a second insight. Third insight is that giving is rewarded, not only there in heaven on your heavenly reward ledger, but here and now.
Verse 19. "And my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." What a comforting verse, one that you probably know well. Unfortunately, it's a greatly misunderstood verse. It has been taken out of context largely. That's how I've heard it over the years, and it has become sort of a blanket promise. And I've heard people quote it as if to say, you know, if you're a Christian, no matter how you live, no matter what you do with your finances, that's up to you. But God will just automatically care for whatever you need. Well, that's not what the verse means.
You know, every text has a context. And I've always gone by this rule-- any text taken out of context can easily become a pretext. You can make the Bible say anything at all you want to. You can just take it out of context. You can make it say anything that suits your fancy. But every text has a context. And the context of these verses betrays that idea. What Paul is saying to the Philippians is, to you, Philippians, who have been so generous with your finances, my God will supply all your need.
You see, he didn't write this promise to the Thessalonians. He didn't write this promise to the Colossians or to the Corinthians. He wrote it to the Philippians, who had time and time and time again been faithful with their finances. And by the way, just in case you might be thinking, well, Philippi probably was a rich town. And they could-- they had a lot. The opposite is true.
Paul bragged about the Philippians to the Corinthians. And this is what he said about them. He said, out of their most severe trial and extreme poverty, they have welled up in rich generosity. He said, they're a very poor congregation. And yet, they are very generous. In fact, Paul even used the word, rob. He said, I have robbed other churches to minister to you. He was referring to the Church of Philippi, the Macedonian churches. What he said is, I felt bad, taking the money that they had sacrificially given. It was as if I was robbing them.
Now look at verse 18. He said, "indeed I have all and about." This is what the offering that they have provided has done. "I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things which are sent from you, a sweet smelling aroma, acceptable sacrifice well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need." Now there's two words I want you to join together. In verse 18, the word full and in verse 19, the words supply. You see those two words? I am full. You made me full. Verse 19. God will supply. In Greek, it's the exact same word. In English, it's two different words. It's the same word in Greek. Pleroo. It means to fill up or to fill to the brim.
So here's what Paul is saying in the Greek language. You've filled me up. My God's going to fill you up. You made me full. My God will make you full. Beautiful. The principle, then, is God generously treats those who treat others generously. And I hope you know that that is a scriptural principle over and over and over again. Greatest authority we have, the Lord Jesus Christ, himself, said this. Luke Chapter 6 Verse 38. "Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will be poured into your lap. For with a measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
That agrees with Proverbs 11:25. "The generous soul will be made rich. He who waters will himself also be watered." And that agrees with Proverbs 22 Verse 9. "A generous man will himself be blessed." And Proverbs 3 Verse 9. "Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first fruits of your increase so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine." Same principle over and over again. You've been so generous. My God will supply all your need. He'll fill you up. So generosity is commanded. Interest is compounded. Giving is rewarded.
Let's close this off with a fourth insight. And that is family is extended. If you think about more and more people coming into the family of God, it becomes a worthwhile investment. Now look at this. Verse 20 to 23, where we close. "Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen." Say, wait a minute. He said, amen, but he's not done yet. Well, that's Paul. He's going to say amen the second time. Then he'll be done. So between the first and second amen, he has more to say. "Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the Saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
So this is a farewell. It's a family farewell. It's saints greeting other saints. Saints not being dead people with halos, but live people. You're a saint. I'm a saint. Here's the implication though of these versus. The Philippians' generosity enabled Paul to share the gospel and reach-- listen-- unreachable people. Unreachable people. What do you mean unreachable people? Well, notice what he says, verse 22, "All the Saints greet you, especially those who are of Caesar's household." That's the imperial family, including the Praetorian Guard that he was chained to 24 hours a day, in 6 hour shifts. They were part of the imperial family. But it could also mean even family members of Caesar were coming to Christ.
Now, why would this be important to Philippians? Because Philippi was a colony of Rome. And probably as a colony of Rome, the idea is if you come to Philippi, it's going to be like Rome away from Rome, right? Well, it's going to be like little Rome to you. So as Roman citizens in a colony of Rome, probably at the end of church services, the leader or the pastor would say, hey, you know we're supposed to give our allegiance to the government of our land. And so, let's just pray for Caesar's household. Probably thinking, yeah, right. Never happened. Nobody from there is going to get saved. But let's do it. Let's just pray that somehow they'd be reached with the gospel.
Now Paul writes from jails, goes, oh, by the way, there are saints here, believers here, from Caesar's household that want to give you a special greeting. So the very unreachable people are now reached because of Paul's faithfulness and their generosity. Have you ever thought, by the way, what it would have been like to be chained to Paul? Talk about a captive audience.
In six hour shifts, you are chained to this man who can't talk about anything but Jesus and salvation. And if you've ever had a conversation with somebody where you've tried to tell him about your faith and they don't want to get spiritual-- I'm leaving, man. I want to hear this junk anymore, right? They couldn't do that. They're chained to him. That soldier is looking at his little sundial going, I got 5 and 1/2 hours left on the shift. I got to listen to this crazy bozo?
But eventually, that seeped into one or two or three. And they became saints, and they became disciples. And they were of Caesar's household. So the family is now being extended even to the unreached peoples. Because of Paul's preaching and their support. And that will be tallied up in heaven to their credit side of their ledger. Amazing. I'm want to close in one other passage. I want you to turn with me to Luke 16. We're going to close with this. And that will be my second amen. I'm going to close with this section of scripture because it's one of the parables that I mentioned that Jesus talked about money. Luke Chapter 16. We'll close here.
"He also said to his disciples, 'there was a certain rich man who had a steward. And an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his good. So he called him and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship for you can no longer be steward.'" So he gets fired. "Then the Steward said within himself, 'What shall I do? For my master is taking this stewardship away from me. I cannot dig. I'm ashamed to beg.
I've resolved what to do that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his master's debtors to him and said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' And he said, '100 measures of oil.' So he said to him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and write 50.'" That's fraud. "Then he said to another, 'How much do you owe? He said, '100 measures of wheat.' He told him, 'Take your bill and write 80.'" Now watch this. "So the master--" guy who owns it all-- "the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly."
Now notice what Jesus says. "For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. And I say to you. Make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon--" that is money-- "that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much. He who is unjust om what is least is unjust also in much.
Therefore, if you have not been faithful in unrighteous mammon--" money-- "who will commit to you your trust, true riches? If you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? 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 money."
This is a greatly misunderstood parable. At first, it looks like Jesus is commending a crook, but he's not. What he's doing is using a bad example to teach a good lesson on finances. And he's saying, here's a guy who is a fraud. He was a crook. He knew that he had to get bailed out of a bad situation. So he went, and it was $0.50 on the dollar for one. $0.80 on the dollar for another. Jesus uses this as an attention getter.
But the application for us is in verse 9. Just look at it again. "I say to you. Make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home." In other words, use your financial possessions for eternal dividends to win souls for Christ. The idea of friends is people won to Christ, those who are saved. So they become, in effect, your welcoming committee in heaven. Use your money like that. Be shrewd to use what you have as a steward to make sure that more and more people are gathered into His kingdom. That was always Paul's end game. Future. Heaven. Apart from just now and this. There and that.
Speaking of that, there are many things money cannot buy. Money can buy a bed but not sleep. Money can buy books but not brains. Money can buy food but not an appetite. It can buy finery but not beauty. It can buy a house but not a home. It can buy medicine but not health. Pleasures but not peace. It can buy a crucifix but not a Savior. It can buy a church building but not heaven.
We have been given whatever we have been given. We are stewards. God is the Master. God wants us to use wisely what he has placed in our hands. All of it belongs to him. And whatever we place in His hands for His glory, He'll make sure that he takes care of us now. He'll supply our needs. And whatever fruit comes out of our investment will be tallied up to our account in heaven. It's a great way to live, with your eyes fixed on that prize.
Let's pray. Father, we want to thank you for so many lessons we have learned in this series on Technicolor Joy. And the book of Philippians, this profound letter filled with joy from a prisoner possibly facing death or punishment or release-- he didn't know which-- but constantly filled with rejoicing and joy because his heart, his head was always in the right place, focused on eternity, focused on heaven. Yeah, he lived in the real world. But he knew there was a really real world coming up.
And so, Lord, we have bills to pay. We have children and grandchildren to care for. We have to be very practical and pragmatic about all of these things. They are necessary to live. But Lord help us in the realization that you have given, temporarily, these things to use. We don't really own them. We use them. And we thank you for what you allow us to keep. And we simply bring before you and pray what you want us to share, to give, that there might be fruit and that we would treasure up those treasures in heaven, laying them up now, making friends by using unrighteous mammon to fill the house, your house, your kingdom, your heaven. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Like the church in Philippi, do you put your money where your faith is? We love to know how you will apply the truth but you learned in this message. So email us at email@example.com. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church.