—From a talk on "Bible Economics!" at "Church in the Home," before the 'R' began!
(Transcribed & edited by: Beriah & Beth Wire.)
1. HERE'S THE STORY OF THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS: Matthew 4. The final & crowning temptation that the Devil offered Jesus was what? Let's begin at the 8th verse: "Again, the Devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain‚ & showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, & the glory of them."
2. THAT'S THE MOST RICHES ANYBODY HAD EVER BEEN OFFERED—the whole world! "And saith unto Him"—Jesus—"All these things will I give Thee, if thou wilt fall down & worship me." There was the final crowning temptation the Devil tried on Jesus. What did Jesus answer? "Get thee hence, Satan: For it is written,
3. "THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD‚ & HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE!" Satan says, "Fall down & worship me!" Jesus said, "Get behind Me. God says you should only worship God!"
4. SO THE WORSHIP OF RICHES OF THIS LIFE IS THE WORSHIP OF WHAT? It is Devil worship! Let me tell you something: The ultimate philosophy of Communism is pure materialism in its most self-righteous state. It's also the worship of riches‚ even if only a fair share of riches, it's putting those riches before God.
5. WE'RE CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE, AS CHRISTIANS, between the Capitalists & the Communists. Both are pure materialism & the worship of the material, which is the worship of the Devil. The Lord warned us about these things: Matthew 6:19,
6. "LAY NOT UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES UPON EARTH, where moth & rust doth corrupt, & where thieves break through & steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, & where thieves do not break through & steal."
7. THOSE ARE EXACTLY THE THINGS WHICH MOST THREATEN RICHES: Moth, rust & thieves. Did you know that? Those threaten all riches! If your riches happen to be wooden, the termites will eat them. If they happen to be metal, they will rust. And even if the termites & the bugs won't eat it, & the rust won't eat it, the thieves will. So they'll get it one way or the other!
8. THE 21ST VERSE: "FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO." He says don't bury your heart in those treasures‚ because those treasures will vanish away or get stolen, rust, corrupt or rot—along with your heart—they'll corrupt your heart! 24th verse:
9. "NO MAN CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS: For either he will hate the one, & love the other; or else he will hold to the one, & despise the other." It's impossible to serve two people equally! If you've got more than one boss, you're bound to like one of them better than the other one. In fact, you may get to he point where you love one & hate the other! "Ye cannot serve God & Mammon!"
10. NOW WHAT IS MAMMON? MONEY, pure & simple. Mammon was literally the god of wealth, the god of money. So really, Mammon is what? The Devil! So again, Jesus links them so closely together‚ that you can hardly separate them: Money & the Devil.
11. IF YOU SERVE MONEY‚ THEN YOU'RE SERVING THE DEVIL, right? If you love money, then you love the Devil more than God, & you'll hate God! But if you love God, you're going to hate the Devil! Mammon was a false god of the heathen, the god of wealth. He was one of their false idols. He literally was the Devil's representation‚ & those that worshipped him were worshipping the Devil!
12. NOT IF YOU ARE JUST USING YOUR JOB AS A MEANS TO AN END, in order to serve the Lord—just as one meat-packer in Chicago said, "Preaching the Gospel is my main business, but I pack pork to pay expenses." Now see, that's different. He didn't love his business, he didn't love the money, he was just using the money.
13. THERE'S MANY A MINISTER WHO HAS TO WORK FOR A LIVING, & there's many a minister going to have to work for a living in the days to come! If they are going to learn something, they'd better learn some kind of useful trade right now that will be useful in the economy that's coming, or they will be liquidated as the non–essential classes. They'd better have some kind of a manual trade that's going to be useful in a materialistic economy—if they expect to survive in the days to come.
14. (COMMENT: I GUESS EVERYBODY LIKES MONEY, but that doesn't mean they like the Devil!) You don't really like the money, you like to have the things that money will buy—but you can't love those either!
15. YOUR CONSECRATION TO THE LORD SHOULD BECOME SO PURE THAT YOU WOULDN'T EVEN WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY FOR ANYTHING THAT ISN'T NECESSARY, or for anything that doesn't help you or help somebody else. That's the ultimate: That you only spend your money for that which is necessary to help yourself or other people.
16. A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK THEY NEED THINGS THAT THEY JUST WANT! If you keep getting things & wanting things that you don't really need, then you love those things!
17. IF YOU GET THINGS THAT YOU JUST WANT & YOU DON'T REALLY NEED, THEN IT'S BECAUSE YOU LOVE THOSE THINGS, & look out, you may be loving them more than God! You can't serve & labour & work for both! You'll love one & hate the other. If you hate your job in a way‚ at least you don't love it as much as you love the Lord, then you're on the right track. Some people actually love their jobs more than they love God.
18. JESUS SAYS: "I SAY UNTO YOU, TAKE NO THOUGHT FOR YOUR LIFE, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body‚ what ye shall put on." What's He saying? Don't worry about whether you're going to have anything to eat or enough to wear. He doesn't even say house!
19. NOW THERE ARE TWO THINGS THAT GOD KNOWS YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY DO WITHOUT for very long, & what are they?—Food & clothing. Jesus said don't even worry about the things that you really have to have, much less the things that you don't even have to have, that you just want!
20. HE SAYS DON'T EVEN WORRY ABOUT THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE! "Is not the life more than meat, & the body that raiment?" He says, "Listen, don't you know that I know that your life is more valuable than your food? And your body is much more valuable than the clothes that you put on it! I know it!
21. "I MADE YOUR BODY‚ I GAVE YOU LIFE. DON'T YOU THINK I'M GOING TO TAKE CARE OF IT! If I went to all the trouble to make something as valuable as your body, & as priceless as your life, don't you think I'm going to give you enough of your necessary food to eat, so it will keep you alive? And some raiment, some clothes, to wear to protect the body!"
22. IF GOD MADE YOU & YOUR LIFE, HE'LL CERTAINLY MAKE FOOD & CLOTHING FOR YOU. He'll certainly take care of that body & that life He gave you‚ won't He? Except, perhaps, when He may allow you to give it up, as a martyr for His glory.
23. "BEHOLD THE FOWLS OF THE AIR: FOR THEY SOW NOT, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them." They don't have to reap & store up for the future. "Are you not much better than they?" He said, "Listen, if I can feed the birds, don't you think I'm going to feed you?" Don't you think that you're important enough that God will give you what you need!
24. "AND WHICH OF YOU BY TAKING THOUGHT CAN ADD ONE CUBIT UNTO HIS STATURE? Why take ye thought for raiment?" Don't worry about your clothes! Keep them clean‚ but don't worry about whether you're going to have any. He says‚ "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin." He's talking to the servants of God who want to serve God.
25. "AND YET I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT EVEN SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY WAS NOT ARRAYED LIKE ONE OF THESE." He says‚ "Here, look at the lilies, look at these nice pretty flowers: God makes them, God clothes'm, & they didn't even work for it!" So, certainly God's going to take care of you—even if you can't work for it!
26. IF YOU WORK FOR HIM, HE'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU. 30th verse: "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, & tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" If He's so careful to take care of the grass which only lasts a little while & somebody mows it down, casts it in the oven & burns it,
27. DON'T YOU THINK HE'S MORE CONCERNED ABOUT YOU? He takes care of the grass, He'll surely take care of you, won't He? "Therefore take no thought"—that means fretting, anxious thought. It doesn't mean never to prepare. We don't go in there & sit down to the table, & say, "Okay now, God‚ feed us!"
28. SOMEBODY HAS TO TAKE A LITTLE THOUGHT, AS FAR AS PREPARATION IS CONCERNED. That's not the kind of thought it's talking about! It's talking about worrying—lack of faith, afraid that you're not going to get what you need! Don't worry about: "What shall we eat, or what shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles"—the world—"seek."
29. THE WORLDLY PEOPLE, THAT'S ALL THEY LIVE FOR, that's all they care for, that's all they work for! That's their life: To have something to eat, drink, wear & live in. They're slaves of things!
30. I REMEMBER A FRIEND OF MINE, WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE: One day, while he was out, some guy came in & stole his camera, typewriter & everything else. You know‚ he had a better attitude about that loss than most Christians do. He acted relieved, believe it or not.
31. HE SAID, "I'M ALMOST GLAD! I WAS GETTING TO WHERE I BELONGED TO THOSE THINGS! I was a slave of those things, instead of them belonging to me & serving me!"
32. I WONDER HOW MANY PEOPLE OWN A CAR, OR HOW MANY PEOPLE CARS OWN? I'm wondering: How many people own houses, & how many houses own people? I'm wondering: How many people own food, & how much food owns some people?—Slaves to food!
33. YOU CAN BE A SLAVE TO YOUR HOME, you can be a slave to your car‚ a slave to your job, a slave to your family! You can be a slave to things! They can own you, instead of you owning them! You can be working for them, instead of them working for you!
34. "FOR AFTER ALL THESE THINGS DO THE GENTILES"—THE WORLD—"SEEK." They slave for those things! Those things own them! "For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."
35. WHAT YOU NEED: GOD KNOWS YOU NEED IT‚ doesn't He? What are you slaves to it for? Don't be a slave of those things! Let them be your slave. Let'm work for you, don't work for them!
36. IT'S NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH MONEY, riches or wealth—there's nothing wrong having money, riches or wealth. It all depends on whether you own money, or the money owns you! It's your attitude toward it. Do you get the point? It all depends on how the money is used. Whether the money or the wealth is using you, or whether you're using the wealth!
37. "BUT SEEK YE FIRST"—TO SLAVE FOR THESE THINGS, SO THAT YOU CAN SERVE GOD? NO! "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, & His righteousness; & all these things shall be added unto you!" Now what does that mean? Put God's Kingdom first!
38. WHAT IS GOD'S KINGDOM? Jesus said it's within you. What's it composed of? What is a kingdom? It's whatever the king reigns & rules over‚ whatever he governs & controls. What does Jesus govern & control? What does He reign or rule over? He rules & reigns over the Church, & what is the Church?
39. IT'S SOULS, PEOPLE, HIS PEOPLE! The Kingdom of God is not a building nor a denomination nor an organisation! It's not the United States of America, it's not Russia. It's not this earthly ball. It's the people who live on it who love Him! It's the children of God—they are His Kingdom! People are God's Kingdom!
40. NOW IF PEOPLE ARE GOD'S KINGDOM, & if you're going to seek first God's Kingdom, what are you going to seek? You're going to seek souls for God's Kingdom! You're going to witness—seek souls for the Kingdom of God. You're going to do that which helps the Kingdom of God: Be a witness & soul-winner yourself, or help others to witness & soul–win‚ right? You're going to help the Kingdom of God in some way.
41. TO HELP HIS KINGDOM IS TO HELP PEOPLE. In helping people, you're helping God—because He wants to help people.—And the way He helps people is through you & me, right? Then how are you going to seek first His Kingdom? Getting God's Kingdom in you to begin with, & then getting other people into His Kingdom. That's seeking first the Kingdom of God: By loving God first of all, & then loving your neighbour as yourself!
42. IT SAYS, "SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD!" NOW THAT ISN'T JUST YOURSELF ALONE, that includes helping His Kingdom in every respect! Now what does it mean by: "Seek first the Kingdom of God"? How can we seek it first?
43. THERE'S A GREATER & MORE IMPORTANT MEANING OF THE WORD FIRST!—Meaning foremost & above all!—Before everything else, above everything else, beyond everything else & more than anything else! Do you get it? That's the all-inclusive meaning‚ the most important meaning!
44. THAT YOU'RE SEEKING GOD'S KINGDOM MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE ON THIS EARTH! First & above all! First! It will come in time order too, you will put God's business before your business! But it means you're working for God more than you are for anything else!
45. IT MEANS WORKING FOR GOD & OTHERS MORE THAN FOR YOURSELF, more than for money, more than for riches, more than for pleasure, more than for health, more than for government, more than for anything else! That's seeking first the Kingdom of God & His righteousness!
46. WHAT'LL HAPPEN IF YOU PUT HIM & OTHERS FIRST?—Seek them first? He says, "All these things shall be added unto you." All these purely material things—which God's got plenty of!
47. IF YOU NEED IT & HAVE TO HAVE IT, HE'LL GIVE IT TO YOU! If you need these things: He knows you need it & He'll give it to you, provided you do what?—You don't seek them first!
48. PROVIDED YOU'RE NOT WORKING JUST TO GET THOSE THINGS! Providing you're not working just for your health, your wealth or your pleasure‚ but you're working for God & others, He'll give you health, wealth & pleasure.
49. WHAT WAS IT SOLOMON WANTED MOST OF ALL? Wisdom. He wanted God most of all, because Wisdom is the Spirit of God. So God said, as a result, He'd give him riches, power, glory & honour as well—because he wanted God most!
50. IF YOU PUT GOD FIRST, WON'T HE GIVE YOU ALL THESE OTHER THINGS?—If you need them? He might not give you everything you want, He might not give you everything you'd like to have‚ or not even, sometimes‚ the things you think you need to have, but He will give you what He knows you actually have to have for the sake of His Kingdom!
51. IF YOU'RE PUTTING HIS KINGDOM FIRST, everything you want, everything you'd like to have & everything you need will be used for what? To keep on putting His Kingdom first! To keep on using if for His Kingdom.
52. JESUS SAID, "SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD & HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS." What do most people do? Bible economics is utterly contrary to the economics of man. God's economics is at war with man's economics! Did you know that? Man's economics says: Self-preservation is the first law of nature.—I'm going to preserve myself first!
53. THE FIRST LAW OF MAN'S CARNAL, EVIL, HUMAN, WICKED NATURE IS: I'M GOING TO LIVE FOR MYSELF! First, I'm going to take care of myself. First‚ I'm going to get mine!—Self-preservation!
54. WHAT'S GOD'S LAW OF ECONOMICS? "He that would come after Me, let him deny himself, & take up his cross, & follow Me. For he that loseth his life for My sake & the Gospel's, shall save it; but he that saveth his life"—self–preservation—"the same shall lose it!" (Mk.8:34&35)
55. IF YOU SPEND YOUR LIFE TRYING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE, YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE YOUR LIFE & lose eternity, too! Spend your life losing your life for others—that's the secret of saving it!
56. GOD'S ECONOMY IS A DIAMETRICAL OPPOSITE FROM MAN'S ECONOMY! God says, "God first, & I'll take care of you afterwards." Man says, "Me first, & if there's anything left over, I'll give it to God. My time first, & if I've got a little left over, I'll give it to God. My money‚ my needs, my bills paid first!"
57. GOD'S ECONOMY SAYS, "SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD & HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!" These things that people slave for & are slaves of, don't you be a slave of them! Don't you slave for them! You slave for God!
58. BE GOD'S SLAVE, & GOD WILL GIVE YOU THESE THINGS!—If you'll work for Him! "And all these things shall be added unto you."
59. "TAKE THEREFORE NO THOUGHT"—NO WORRYING, DOUBTFUL THOUGHT—"FOR THE MORROW: For the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." Don't worry about tomorrow! Tomorrow isn't here yet! Why worry about it? You've got enough to worry about today! "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof!"