Offer Them Christ
The Weblog Of John Franklin Howard

It All Belongs To God

Deuteronomy 10:12-14

12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

 

            Just this week we celebrated an ominous anniversary for our country. This past Tuesday (September 15, 2009) we commemorated the one year anniversary of the fall of the Leman Brothers Bank. In many ways, it was the fall of Leman Brothers Bank that became the first domino to down in what was soon an all out financial meltdown in the United States economy. On the day that Leman Brothers filed for bankruptcy the Dow Jones Stock Exchange fell 500 points, the single greatest one day decline since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  And with that, the whole house of cards began to collapse. We find ourselves today, one year later, still impacted by an uncertain economy.

            I want to begin a new series today called “Financial Peace In Turbulent Times.” Over the last year I have been reminded time and time again that the church has done a poor job in teaching people God’s principles of finance and money management. Oh, once a year or so we begrudgingly work in a message or a study on giving, which precipitates comments for the following several weeks about how all the church does is talk about money. Then we shy away for the next 51 weeks.

            I will be the first to tell you, that we have done the church a disservice by omitting the teachings of the Bible, in the areas of money management, and fiscal responsibility.

            Jesus talked about money management more than He talked about heaven. There are more than 1,600 verses in the Bible that speak to the issue of financial management. God filled the Scriptures, from the Old Testament to the New Testament with wise counsel of the proper use of money. And we have virtually overlooked everything that God has tried to teach us.

            The events of the past 12 months have been very revealing to me. So I want to offer this series to help us understand God’s financial principles and in the meantime, hopefully to experience financial peace in these turbulent times.

            Let me tell what got me thinking about this series. As the economic meltdown took place over the past year, I began to notice a pattern in comments that I heard, and situations that I saw. I noticed that the financial strain in our economy was starting to put a strain of marriages, families, and relationships.

            According to a survey asking the question, “Do finances create conflict in your marriage?” 82% of the people responding said “yes.” 11% of the people said “sometimes,” and only 5% said “no.” Do the math on that for a moment. When asked the question, “Do finances create conflict in your marriage?” 93% of those surveyed said, “yes, at least sometimes.”

            93%! That’s an epidemic!

            If 93% of the population came down with the swine flu, our country would be in a panic.

            But here we have 93% of people surveyed declaring that finances create conflict in their marriage.

            Is there any way to find financial peace in those situations?

            Is there a way for us to have financial peace even in the midst of our present economic downturn and an uncertain economic future?

            And one more question…and this is the important one…does the Bible offer us any wisdom to live by, in turbulent economic times?

            That’s what this series for the next few weeks is all about.

            So let’s dive in.

            The first principle that we are going to look at today, is the key to financial peace. Everything else in life is built on this one idea. Here it is:

(1) Everything Belongs To God.

Psalm 24:1-2

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.

            What belongs to God? “The earth, and everything in it!” When the Bible says “everything belongs to God,” what does that cover? It covers everything!

            The late Bishop Edwin Hughes once delivered a powerful sermon on “God’s Ownership” that got under the skin of a wealthy member of his church. The wealthy man took the Bishop to his elaborate estate for lunch, and then walked him through his elaborate gardens, woodlands, and farm. “Now are you going to tell me,” he demanded when the tour was completed, “that all this land does not belong to me?” Bishop Hughes smiled and suggested, “Ask me that same question a hundred years from now.”

            Someone said, “The surest way to prove that everything belongs to God and not to us, is to die.”

            No one comes into this world wearing diapers, and no one takes anything with them when they leave this world.

            We already know the answer to the question, “How much are they going to leave behind when they die?”

            “All of it!”

            In the Old Testament lesson from Deuteronomy this morning you read these words:

14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. {Deuteronomy 10:14}

            Everything belongs to God, the Bible says. And what does God say we are to do?

Trust God, and obey God. Listen to those words again:

12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? {Deuteronomy 10:12-13}

            Everything belongs to God. All we are asked to do by God is to acknowledge that truth, and to obey Him. He is in charge of all the rest!

 

 

(2) Everything I Have Belongs To God.

1 Chronicles 29:11-14

11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.  12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

 

Haggai 2:8

8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.

            At dinner one night this week, the discussion turned to one of our sons who had gotten his braces off this week. Family members were commenting on how his teeth looked. I made the comment that they were not “his” teeth. Since I had written the check for the braces, I said I felt like they were “our teeth.” They were in his mouth, but I was the owner of them.

            Then this discussion broke out about who really owned these teeth.

            Finally someone said, “They belong to God. They are God’s teeth.” Someone else said, “The money that paid for those teeth came from God. God is the owner of them.”

            That was a good dinner table discussion!

            Everything in our lives takes on a new appearance when we realize that all we have belongs to God, and is a gift to us from God.

            When we begin to live by that truth, we appreciate what we have much more, and we use the things we have, much differently.

            The Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe is known for their high end, luxury watches. They are also known in Europe for having a catchy advertising slogan: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe; you merely take care of it for the next generation.”

            So it is with what we “own”: money, gifts, ministries, time, and our very lives.

 (3) I Belong To God.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

            Not only does the Bible tell us that everything we have belongs to God, but clearly we are taught that even our very lives belong to God as well.

            The Bible says we were both made by God, and bought by God.

            Once there was a young boy who spent many hours building a little sailboat, crafting it with care down the smallest detail. He then took it to a nearby river to sail it. When he put it in the water, however, it moved away from him very quickly. Though he chased it along the bank, he couldn’t keep up with it. The strong wind and current carried his boat away. The heartbroken boy knew how hard he would have to work to build another sailboat.

            Farther down the river, a man found that little boat, took it to town, and sold it at a pawn shop. Later that day, as the boy was walking through town, he noticed the boat in the store window.

            He quickly went into the store and told the owner that the boat belonged to him, it had his own little marks on it, but he couldn’t prove to the store owner that the boat was his. The man told him the only way he could get the boat was to buy it. The boy wanted it back so badly that he did exactly that.

            As he took the boat from the hand of the shopkeeper, he looked at it and said, “Little boat, you’re twice mine. I made you and I bought you.”

            All of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are twice God’s! God created us and on the cross, God bought us!

            In Disney’s animated movie Toy Story, Woody (a plush toy cowboy) confronts Buzz Lightyear (a toy astronaut) with the fact that he is only an action figure and not really a space hero. Early in the movie Woody shouts, “You’re not a space ranger! You’re an action figure—a child’s plaything.”

            Only after failing to fly, Buzz realizes the truth of Woody’s statement. Grief-stricken and disillusioned, Buzz hangs his head in resignation, declaring, “I’m just a stupid, little, insignificant toy.”

            Woody later seeks to comfort his friend by underscoring the love of the boy who owns them both. “You must not be thinking clearly. Look, over in that house, there’s a kid who thinks you’re the greatest, and it’s not because you’re a space ranger; it’s because you’re his.”

            As Buzz lifts his foot, he sees a label affixed to the bottom of his little shoe. There in black permanent ink is the name of the little boy to whom he belongs. Seeing the image of his owner, Buzz breaks into a smile and takes on a new determination to save the day.

(4) God Will Use His Resources To Meet All My Needs.

Philippians 4:19

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

            If you have lived much life at all, you are probably well aware that putting your trust in the economy, your employer, or your bank account is not a good idea. They are all fair-weather friends. They all can be helping you greatly one minute, and then the next everything has changed.

God, however is always faithful. That is why we should always be trust God, and God alone, as our supply! It doesn’t matter if there is a financial crisis, if you get laid off, or your 401k loses 37% – God will still supply all your needs, just like He promised.

            God’s message to us in good times and turbulent times is always the same, “Everything belongs to me…including you and all your needs. I will gladly use some of My riches in glory to take care of everything you will ever need. Can you trust Me to do that?”

            True financial peace comes when we transfer the title deed of all we have, and all we are, back to God who owns it, and who gave it.

            We say to God, “Everything I have belongs to You. I thank You for giving it to me. Today I place it back into Your hand and acknowledge You as the rightful owner, and I am blessed to be Your caretaker. I will trust You to take care of all I have, and all I need. You always have in the past, and You promise You always will in the future.”

            Do you think you could do that today?

            Do you believe if you did you could have financial peace, regardless of whether the stock market is on the way up, or on the way down?

            It is said that Queen Victoria, who reigned over England for over 63 years said, “I wish Jesus would come back in my lifetime. I would lay my crown at his feet.”

Would you be willing to do the same?

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2 Responses to “It All Belongs To God”

  1. this is a faith igniting sermon, all have to hear and understand the God owns everything.

  2. Hello Rev. Nanor,
    I have not fully read your article, but I am already sensing that it will be a blessing to me. I am in the process of preparing the weekly (Sunday Oct 1) bulletin for worship servie and our Pastor’s teaching will be on Stewardship. Your article is very timely. Thanks for your sevice to the Lord.
    Elmer Diggs
    Georgia Avenue Baptist Church, Maryland.


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