In today’s sermon we’re examining how we honor the Lord with our wealth (cf. Proverb 3:9-10). First, we must remember that honoring the Lord starts by treasuring his word in our hearts not by doing something with the wealth in our hands. Then, we see that Proverbs continually calls us to realize money is secondary and temporary. Finally, we honor the Lord with our material possessions by giving generously.
However, those are not the only themes present in the book of Proverbs when it comes to honoring God with our money and possessions.
Another theme you come across when reading Proverbs is the repeated call to work hard. We’re repeatedly told to not make excuses and not be a lazy sluggard.
- 10:4-5 – “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.”
- 12:27 – “Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.”
- 13:4 – “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”
- 14:23 – “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”
- 19:15 – “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep,and an idle person will suffer hunger.”
- 26:13-14 – “The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed.”
God is not opposed to hard work; in fact, he ordains that we should work (cf. Gn. 2:15). So God is not honored when we continually make excuses or are marked by laziness. With the abilities and opportunities God has given us, we’re called to work; otherwise, we won’t have anything to eat (cf. 1 Thess. 3:5-15).
Yes, under God’s sovereign hand, things may not work out and we may find ourselves in dire circumstances of severe material need, but that should come from excuse making or laziness.
And as we work diligently, we’re called to work honestly.
- 10:2 – “Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.”
- 15:27 – “Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live
- 17:23 – “The wicked accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice.”
- 21:6 – “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.”
- 28:18 – “Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.”
The greatest commandment is to “[L]ove the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ’The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (cf. Mk 12:30-31). Therefore, if we want to honor God with our material possessions they must not be gained at the expense of others or at the expense of justice.
Restoration Church may we honor the Lord by working hard so that under God’s sovereign hand we might provide for ourselves and others; but may our hard work never come at the expense of others, or at the expense of truth and never in a way that causes us to compromise God-honoring morals.
[For those who want to study even further, Proverbs has a theme of honoring the Lord with your finances by stewarding them wisely (cf. 6:6-11; 10:4-5).]
“1 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; 2 keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; 3 bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend, 5 to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words”
In yesterday’s sermon, Nathan mentioned that we need to go to God’s word not simply as a helpful book to assist us in beating sin, but rather to meet with the Living God. Too often we read treat the Bible like Wikipedia; we read about mosquitos but then wonder why we still get bit. We need to know the word of God like not like a scientist knows chemistry – as a stale proposition – but as a husband knows a wife – with warmth and intimacy.
How do we go about doing that? Nathan suggested 5 ways…
Go to God in prayer and BEG Him to grow your appetite for the word
Read the Bible, as much and as often as you can. Like a fine wine you will grow an appetite for it in so far as you go to in order to MEET with Christ and be satisfied in Him. Don’t go to the Bible to just to meet an obligation or get some theological answers.
Memorize and MEDITATE on passages that cause you to delight in Christ (e.g. Ps. 16:11; 107:9; 90:14; Mt. 5:6, 8; 13:44; John 15:11; 1 John 4:10). It’s fine to memorize passages that teach you to run from sin, but its better to find passages that remind us of and point us to the Treasure of God himself. We fight sin, not primarily saying “No” to something bad, but by saying “Yes” to Him who is better.
Meet with others regularly for the SOLE PURPOSE of talking about the glories of Christ in what you both have read. Don’t just get together and talk about work or even talk about your failures. As the Puritans used to say, for every look at sin take 10 looks at Christ – you can help each other do this in community.
Come to the Gathering of the Saints on Sundays EXPECTING TO HEAR from God. Most of us wake up & come to church on Sundays because that’s just what we do. We roll in late because we hit the snooze button because we stayed up too late on Saturday nights. Without even hardly praying or preparing yourself you sit down 15 minutes after service has already started and hope God will speak, never preparing yourself. Wake up, pray and expect to hear from God. A good way to do that would be to show up for prayer at 930a.
Remember, the idea is not to read the Bible like medicine to fix your problems. The idea is to Come and Meet with Jesus and learn about Him and His love. As you do, slowly your appetite will be satisfied, and you wont listen to the seductive words of adultery that’s what Wisdom tells us: Fill yourselves with the Word of Christ and Live.
Heavenly Father, we confess that we too often walk in a manner that is unworthy of the calling to which we have been called. Forgive us for our lack of humility, doing things out of selfish ambition or conceit. Forgive us for how we fall short of being gentle and patient with one another, and when we don’t bear with one another in love.
Forgive us for the ways in which we failed to put away falsehood this week, ways in which we did not speak the truth with our neighbor. Forgive us for the ways in which we let corrupting talk come out of our mouths, instead of desiring to build each other up with our words.
This week, we were jealous, sexually immoral, envious, drunk, idolatrous, and more. You have called us to be imitators of you, Father. Forgive us for the ways in which we fell short of being holy as you are holy. Though you have brought us near, we still walked in our old ways. Forgive us, Lord.
But, we thank you that there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus. That In Christ, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of your grace. Even when we were dead in our trespasses, you made us alive together with Christ. We rejoice that by grace we have been saved so that you might show the immeasurable riches of your grace in kindness toward us in Christ.
We thank you that you chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be HOLY and BLAMELESS before you.
Father, we rejoice that you reconciled us to yourself in one body through the cross.
Father, we praise you for this gospel message; and we come to you this morning declaring that you are our refuge and strength and very present help in times of trouble. Lord we pray for those here this morning that are hurting, those dealing with unfavorable circumstances, those reeling from the effects of sins committed against them. In the name of Jesus we ask that you would remind them of your all-sufficient grace, and fill them with a fresh joy in the Holy Spirit. We also pray for those here this morning that are filled with joy, for those where life seems to be going all according to plan. Remind them Lord that this is your all-sufficient grace; cause them not to trust in circumstances but to treasure Christ in any and every circumstances. Use them to be an encouragement to others.
Holy Lord, we ask that you would continue to use our church to exalt Jesus Christ. Use the preaching of your word to inflame our hearts and move our affections that Christ would be more desirable than gold and sweeter to us than honey. As we sing together, encourage our souls to look to Jesus. Give us the boldness to share the gospel with others in our lives. Father, for the hallowing of your name, bring someone to faith in Christ through our ministry this week.
For the hallowing of your name, use our church to advance the gospel. Use us to equip church planters in the schemes of Scotland; use us to encourage R and E as they labor among the Kurds; use our church to plant a Spanish speaking church in Columbia Heights. Father, we ask that you would providentially work to get our visa petition for A and his family approved soon.
Father, you word also tells us to pray for our government and those in charge. So we do that now. We ask that you would grant wisdom and a sense of justice to our elected officials, and to leaders around the world. Thank you for raising up men and women to serve as police officers and firefighters and other first responders. We thank you for their service to protect your image bearers. Show us how to use our freedom wisely and how to show proper respect to everyone, including those elected officials with whom we disagree. Above all, remind us that you, Lord Jesus, are the only everlasting king.
Holy Lord of Heaven and earth, we are mindful of just how great you are – your greatness is unsearchable. We give you praise that you are a God who redeems and takes delight in your people. Help us to savor your goodness that we might glorify you with our lives. We ask not for ourselves, but for your renown, and we ask in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
(354-430; Hippo [modern day Algeria])
(From Restoration Member Travis R: Correcting the Oppressor: Building A Biblical Theology for Advocacy; excerpt below)
Just this Sunday, my pastor gave a sermon on correction, focusing on the clear Biblical need for Christians to seek out and respond to correction and reproof. There’s an important flip-side of that: the Biblical need to provide correction and reproof. And often, that correction will be directed at our Christian brothers and sisters who need it. But as Isaiah shows, it can also be directed towards those deliberately instigating injustice, be it a factory owner refusing to pay his workers a fair wage, or a government leader restricting basic freedoms of speech, or corrupt law enforcers working more for their well-being than for the public good.
What’s difficult about this kind of correction is that it’s almost always unasked for, undesired, and unheeded. It’s the kind of correction that’s bound to return with an extra helping of bitterness and scorn, if it’s returned at all. One only has to look to interviews of Omar al-Bashir (President of Sudan), or Bashir al-Assad (President of Syria) to see how oppressors tend to respond to criticism. So why bother?
I’d argue that there are three reasons, and the first is plain as ink. The Bible tells us so. In no uncertain terms, Isaiah demands that the Israelite “correct the oppressor.” No matter how apparently hopeless advocacy directed at the unjust is, it plays a vital role in establishing precedent and expectations, and to ignore a tyrant’s misdeeds is to give them an air of approval. Silence has never won a battle.
Secondly, by voicing opposition to injustice we establish solidarity with the oppressed. One of the most powerful tools any dictatorship has is the ability to isolate its population, make them feel cut off from the world at large. Often, we facilitate that process by ignoring war crimes or oppression, but when we advocate on behalf of those affected, we establish connections to a world not defined by dictators, and that can be a powerful source of hope for both us and them.
Finally, advocacy against oppressors can start movements needed to unseat them. When William Wilberforce began his advocacy against slave traders, he set forth on a path that ended the British slave trade, and helped inspire generations of abolitionists after. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke boldly against racist institutions enshrined in the South and at a Federal level, and changed the American status quo forever.
Every major social change began with ordinary citizens (often Christians) stepping out of their comfort zone and speaking against the unjust. That ability isn’t isolated to the charismatic or the influential – in the era of social media and organizations and existing movements dedicated to ending injustice, anyone can help contribute to the cause and amplify their own voice. And given the opportunity to do something so potentially impactful at so little a cost, everyone should.
On June 6th, some members of Restoration Church partnered with DC Family & Youth Initiative (DCFYI) to encourage meaningful relationships between adults and teens in foster care. This transpired at an event centered around learning how to paint on canvas using stencils. RC sponsored the purchase of acrylic paint, brushes, and canvases to allow for a successful day. Event organization and lesson planning were provided by members of our church, who were inspired by the presentation made by DC127 to minister to foster children.
DC 127’s mission is “to unite churches with organizations, government agencies, and businesses in DC around recruiting and supporting foster and adoptive families so that no child is waiting for a home.” Most people think the primary ways to support children in foster care are to adopt or become foster parents. These are certainly very important and critically needed roles, but there are many other ways to support the community that range in levels of commitment. Other ways include opening up your home for a month or two to a foster child in need of a safe family, babysitting, respite care, event planning, fundraising, and mentoring (DCFYI and other agencies).
DC Family & Youth Initiative builds a fantastic community for foster teens. They have a mentoring program, but unlike most organizations they do not “match” a teen to an adult randomly. The organization only allows the mentor process to begin if there is a mutual desire between the adult and teen to pursue a mentoring relationship. In order to promote these relationships, DCFYI frequently plans large and small group events. At these events, teens interact with a peer group of other foster teens as well as caring adults. Examples of events range from zip-lining, to Fruit Olympics, cooking, and in our case a day of painting using stencils on canvas.
The art event was held at The Corner Store Arts venue on South Carolina and 9th Street and was well attended. Several new adults and couples came, as well as a handful of new and returning teens. We laid out tables and colorful tablecloths, set out the canvases & paint, and lined up a wide array of stencil options from basketball players to cherry blossoms, tigers, and everything in between. A lesson on layout, technique, and color schemes was provided, and the group set to task! We watched as teens and adults interacted with each other, painting side by side.
One teen did particularly well with his canvas. He listened to the instructions and chose a hummingbird stencil, then carefully planned out his composition. He painted his canvas solid metallic gold, and with the upmost care he stenciled the hummingbird in black. The edges were perfect, and he was able to bond with one of the mentors over his success. The finished project was strikingly gorgeous, and he was very pleased. Moments like this are precious to witness. DCFYI’s events allow the teens to build trust with adults leading to mentoring, friendship, and sometimes adoption.
Thank you Restoration Church for allowing trust to grow in the lives of those who have had so little to trust in. Please pray for relationships that point to the only one who is truly trustworthy.
Great and glorious Father, we come to you this morning freshly aware of our brokenness and the world’s messiness. In the midst of pain and persecution, the middle of trials and tribulation, we praise you because we know you are good. You are sovereign and mighty. Your thoughts are beyond our thoughts; your ways better than our ways. Remind us of your unwavering faithfulness. We come to you this morning poor and needy; weak and wounded; sick and sore. On this Father’s Day, we praise you that you are a faithful Father; we praise you that you are a Father to the fatherless.
We praise you for our brothers and sisters at Charleston’s Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. What a vibrant gospel testimony they have been in the midst of horrific tragedy. Father, we praise you that the gospel has so gripped members of Emmanuel AME Church that they are able to look at the man who murdered their family members and say, “I forgive you.” Father, we praise you for the boundless, surpassing love found in the gospel of our Lord. We pray for this church family and the nine families dealing with the loss of loved ones this morning. Grant them to be strengthened Father; fill them with the Holy Spirit; give them the grace to grieve with hope; help them be patient in tribulation and constant in prayer. We pray for Dylan Roof. Use this grace shown to him to overwhelm him and see the beauty of the gospel.
Lord, we are daily bombarded with news of crisis and death and disease. We long for Jesus to return. Come, Lord Jesus, come. We long for the Day of no more hate crimes, no more natural disasters, no more terrorist attacks, no more death, no more waiting for hope to be fulfilled. Father, we rejoice in hope because of Jesus’ empty tomb; we will be patient in tribulation because Jesus has overcome evil; we will be constant in prayer because Jesus is on the throne of heaven. We praise, bless, and adore you, Father.
Father, we’re mindful this morning of our good you have appointed public rulers and government authorities. Give the lawmakers and law-enforcers of this land a sense of justice and wisdom. We pray for those in all levels of government – congress, mayors, governors. Have them to be men and women of integrity and honesty in all their dealings; let wisdom enter their hearts, and let knowledge be pleasant to them; make their hearts and ears attentive to godly counsel. Give all world-wide leaders and rulers a spirit of unity, a spirit that longs for best interest of the people as a whole.
Holy Lord, we praise you for the hope of the gospel. We pray this gospel message would spread among the Behdini Kurds and in the schemes of Scotland and among Haitian pastors and churches. We pray this gospel message would take root among the Spanish speakers in Columbia Heights. We pray for our brother, A, and his family this morning. Use them to faithfully build up their church in Venezuela. And we ask, for the glory of your name, that their visa would be approved soon that they might come to DC. Providentially work that your name might be increasingly hallowed in Columbia Heights.
Lord God Almighty, we praise you for the way the Holy Spirit is bearing fruit in our midst, among the people of our church. Give us the grace to continue to love one another sacrificially and treat each other better than ourselves. Help us not to fight for our own personal preferences, but to constantly rejoice in the gospel. Let us put away all bitterness and anger and slander, along with all malice. Cause us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven us. Use our church to be a visible representation of the gospel displaying your manifold wisdom and glory.
We thank you for the Nali family and praise you for the many ways they serve our church body. Give D the grace to lead his family well, and along with M, may they raise I, M and E in the gospel of our Lord. We pray for B. and L. K. Grow them in grace and continue to use their marriage to display Christ’s love for the church. We pray for F.D and J.J and J.K. and J. S. Grow them in their love for Christ, rooting and grounding them in love that they might build up the body until we all attain unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God.
Father, we’re mindful this morning of our sin against you and against each other. We have been impatient and disrespectful; selfish and immoral. We have been quick to lash out in anger but slow to forgive in grace. We have lied and deceived one another. We confess our sin and ask you to fill us with the Holy Spirit that we might forsake our sin. We praise you for the blood of Christ and the redemption and forgiveness found in him. We rest in Jesus this morning. We will arise and go to Jesus. It’s in the strong loving name of Jesus, we pray.
You are the Sovereign Creator of the whole earth. Your majesty and power are revealed in the mountain peaks and the vast oceans. We look up into the night sky and behold the moon and the stars and contemplate how great you are – and how small we are.
You have also revealed to us your love. We see this most clearly in your redemption plan – to reconcile all things to yourself in Christ. You have shown us the extent of your love in sending your son to give himself as a ransom for us. Redeemed from our sins, you have made us your children. We are members of your family and can call you Father.
This morning reflect especially how the light of your glory and grace will reach to the ends of the earth – that people from every tribe and language and people and nation will become worshippers.
You are gathering a people for yourself to display your glory.
Forgive us, Lord, that we are often so small minded. So much of the time we are motivated by goals and desires so much lower than your grand plans and purposes. We pursue the dream of a perfect family, a perfect house, a perfect spouse. We seek satisfaction in the good things that your give us and also the things you prohibit. Forgive us, Lord.
Forgive us too, where we do not care about those who do not know you. We see people both near and far who do not have the light of your glory shining on them – and we are indifferent. Help us to be jealous for your fame to be known and rejoiced in – whether in Washington DC or the cities of Northern Iraq.
To that end we pray for those who labor to bring your gospel to those who have not heard. Specifically pray for the family serving amongst the Kurdish people:
- As Ramadan begins for muslims, we pray that there would be many opportunities for them to talk about the gospel.
- Pray for their language learning – increasingly be able to explain spiritual truths.
- Pray for A – a neighbor who R knows. That their friendship would grow and that R would be able share the gospel clearly with him.
- We pray for unity amongst local Kurdish believers – that they would love and trust one another. Ask that you would birth a Kurdish led church.
- Pray for the family. Sustain them in the midst of the particular pressures of living in this context. Health and protection.
- Thank you for the family that is planning to join them – we ask that the preparations would go smoothly and that they would be helpful partners with the other workers in this city.
Pray for the 20 Schemes project in Scotland:
- Ask that the good news would reach the poor in these deprived communities and be a beacon of hope to many.
- Pray for those from our midst who plan to go out and serve this ministry in a few weeks – for opportunities to encourage the both the workers and the locals in the schemes.
Pray also for the Columbia Heights Spanish speaking church plant:
- Thank you for A and his family and their willingness to come and serve in this venture. Pray that you would help them to trust you as they wait for the VISA process and that you would prepare them for what lies ahead.
- For Spanish speaking community of CH. Ask you would be softening hearts and preparing people to hear about Jesus and put their trust in him. Opportunities for relationships to be built and good conversations.
Ourselves as a congregation:
- May we be faithful in obeying your mandate to bring the gospel to all nations. Whether this be our neighbors, co-workers, friends or family members.
- Provide opportunities for conversations this week we pray. May words be given to us that we would fearlessly proclaim the good news about Jesus. May our conversations be full of grace and seasoned with salt.
- Help us to be faithful in partnering with those who are engaged with Missions in a more full time capacity.