Nov 9, 2014

Sermon110914

Sermon Questions 11-09-14

Today’s sermon is about our addiction to things in our American culture.  In Luke 19:1-11, Jesus meets  Zacchaeus and invites Himself to the tax-collector’s house.  In Jericho, there was probably no richer man than this tax collector.  He collected taxes for Rome, took a portion off the top, and sent the remainder to Caesar.  He probably lived in one of the richest houses in Jericho and was probably not liked at all.

The world is full of causes where the leaders take their skim “off the top”.  Can you think of any?

Our American culture is becoming more cynical about Christianity.  I believe they see the church as simply an organization that wants money and doesn’t do anything with it.  I remember many years ago the United Way used to take about 35% off the top for administrative fees.  According to their website, they now show that administrative fees are around 10%.  Of course, you would have to dig into the numbers to see if this is true.  What would you guess is the “administrative percentage” of Christ Lutheran Vail Church?  (i.e., what percentage of our budget is used for outside causes?)  Should we increase that? How would we?

Jesus said about Zacchaeus, “Today Salvation has come to this house”.  After meeting with Jesus, Zacchaeus found a deep and abiding relationship with God.  Did he have to sell half his goods and settle up with those he cheated?  Could he not have used his wealth for the “greater good” without giving it almost all away?  Then why did he?

Read Luke 18:18-23.  Zacchaeus is often paired with the rich young ruler.  Compare and contrast the two encounters with Jesus.

One does not necessarily have to give up our addiction with money to be saved.  But it might be helpful to look at Zaccheaus.  He was saved spiritually first. But then he was saved with respect to his addiction to money and things.  Many Christians are saved spiritually but still hold tightly onto things.  Is it safe to say that many Christians are one addiction short of being completely overtaken by their encounter with God?

Read James 1:17.  Where does every good thing come from?

Read Philippians 4:10-13.  How do material things factor into Paul’s life?

Read Proverbs 3:9-10.  Read Malachi 3:6-12.  The tithe was the first tenth of what a person harvested.  The offering was anything outside of the tithe.  What does God say about the first fruits? What would happen to a Christian’s spiritual life if they lived in this manner?  What would happen to the kingdom of God if Christians lived in this manner?

Read Proverbs 6:6-11. What does the ant know about preparing for lean times?  Are humans smarter than ants?

The church remains on this earth because God wants us to live in mission and bring the Kingdom of God to our community.  If Christ Lutheran Vail had money to spend, what are ways that we could use it to simply love our community?