Kingdom Privileges - Week 1

Investing in the Kingdom
by Richard Jones
Sermon Date:    April 24th 2016
Reading:              Luke 19: 11-27
Recalling our motto verse, we continue our consideration of what it is to live a life that is being transformed by the risen Christ.  This week we're going to consider how faith in Christ must affect our personal finances as we 'seek first the kingdom'.

Take a few moments to consider the blessings that we receive from God.
Study: (See Helpful Hints)
Read Luke 19: 11-27
1. A) What is the point(s) that Jesus is making in this parable?
B) How does this parable (an earthly story with a heavenly meaning) speak to us today?
(Remember that Jesus is making teaching points through his teaching. He is not describing a situation. Hence, we are not to read too much into the details of the parable except the teaching points. This helps us to understand that the character of the King is not meant to fully resemble God.)
2. If we accept that all we possess are actually gifts from our generous and loving God and if we accept that as a new creation in Christ, we are to honour God and live for the kingdom of God not the world, how ought this to affect our financial giving to the work of God?
3. What are some of the barriers to honouring God in our personal finances?
4. What are the consequences of failing to honour Christ in our finances – for ourselves and the kingdom of God?
5. Jesus taught that our attitude in giving financially matters. What is your attitude?
In the week(s) ahead, give time to prayerfully reviewing how you honour God financially and respond accordingly.
Returning to the blessings that we acknowledge receiving from God, consider concluding by praying prayers of thanksgiving together.
Helpful Hints:
1. To understand a passage, it’s always helpful to look at the context – what has happened before and the place of the scripture in the Biblical timeline.
Jesus has just restored Zacchaeus – the corrupt tax collector who was an outcast in Jewish society. He is transformed by coming to faith in Christ (19: 8-10). A new creation in Christ, Zacchaeus willingly gives his wealth to build the kingdom of God. His motivation is now to live fully “in Christ” rather than “in the world.”
From this encounter, Jesus continues on his journey to Jerusalem and the cross. The closer that Jesus gets to Jerusalem, the clearer his teaching about salvation and how his followers are to live as citizens of the kingdom of God becomes.
Verse 12 is important. Jesus knows that he will soon die, rise and ascend to heaven leaving his followers to continue the work of God – to build His kingdom. So in this parable, Jesus sows the seed in the minds of his hearers that they will be entrusted to continue his ministry after his ascension.
What’s more, by inference, Jesus is asking the question what do we value? If we truly value Christ, we are to willingly surrender and devote our lives to building the kingdom of God.

This links back to Zacchaeus. How we use our money must honour God i.e what we spend our money on. Secondly, the first call on our money must be to worship God. We are to willingly surrender our finances to God. This is because money is required to further the kingdom of God. Giving, and giving willingly, is a discipleship issue.
Verse 14 is interesting. Such an incident had occurred 30 years earlier. Herod Archelaus went to Rome to be appointed ruler of the Jews. A deputation of Jews travelled to Rome to petition Caesar not to appoint Herod. Commentators suggest that Jesus included this element in the story to engage his listeners and importantly, to warn the Jews against rejecting Jesus.

Richard Jones, 11/03/2016