equally expensive furniture and enjoy all the lux uries which mark the lives of our unconverted neighbors. The evidence seems clear, therefore, that covetousness is not only the sin of America, but the sin of the Church as well. You disagree? I challenge you, then, to prove me wrong ! Let us show to our generation that the Kingdom of God and its concerns are more impor tant than the enjoyment of the pleasures o f a lux ury-laden society, by establishing a moderate stand ard of living and sticking to it. Be satisfied with more economical transportation. Purchase the next room full of furniture only when you need it. Get your next car when the one you have is sufficiently worn that a change is economically feasible. Put off buying that new T.V. until the one you have is too costly to maintain. Think twice about that $5,000 cabin cruiser, the $40,000 home, and the additional clothes you don’t need. Consider, too, that T-bone steak isn’t the only cut of meat worth eating ! Than, after making these and a hundred other sensible adjustments in your pattern o f life, calcu late the money involved and invest it wisely in ways that will enhance the ministry of the Gospel. Until then, don’t be surprised if your unsaved neighbors laugh at your “ religion” behind your back. Lest you misunderstand, this message is not an appeal for enforced poverty. The issue already has been made abundantly clear: covetousness is not just “wanting more money.” It is the desire for more “ for myself.” There is no limit to how much a man may have, or acquire, if he uses it wisely and expends it worthily for the glory of the Lord. My appeal is simply this: that we cease being victims of our age and begin to act as responsible children of God, accountable to Him for that which He per mits1us to have. This challenge deserves the attention o f each of us, for within the foreseeable future the vicious storm clouds which now hang threateningly on the horizon may break in fury over our heads and snatch from us by force that which we refuse to surrender willingly. If that time should come, two things will become immediately clear. We will learn how much we can get along without, and we will learn beyond any question that the one sin that most effectively deadens us and makes us insensi tive to the voice of the Spirit of God is the sin of covetousness.
the life of faith constitute an exact antithesis to the life of covetousness. They form a direct contra diction to the philosophy, activity and state of the covetous man. Philosophically, the covetous man says, “Life is worth while only if I have things.” The man of faith declares, “ I will not unduly con cern myself with the daily needs of life.” The covet ous man is active in “ laying up treasure” for him self. But the man of faith “ seeks first the Kingdom of God.” Regarding his state, the covetous man is “ not rich toward God.” But the man of faith has a “treasure in heaven that faileth not.” What a contrast! On the one hand is the life of covetousness; on the other, the life of faith. With unerring directness, Jesus pinpoints the latter as the only life worthy of His own. He says to His disciples, “Wherefore I say unto you . . .” His ex hortation concerning covetousness is, therefore, “ SHUN IT! Go in the opposite direction! Seek ye first the Kingdom of God. Don’t follow the example of the rich foo l!” I once viewed this man as a lost soul, doomed for a Christless eternity. Perhaps he was, although I am no longer sure. You see, God does not con demn this man to perdition. He makes no reference to his after-life. He simply tells him he is going to die! Then He asks the question, “Whose shall these things be?” It may be, therefore, that this man was a religious man and in terms of today’s Christian Gospel, a converted man, but one who lived by the standards of the world rather than by the stand ards of the Kingdom of God. If this is true, his descendants have increased and are with us today in record numbers. In no recent age have Christians been as “ afflu ent” as they are today in America. Nor need we be surprised! We live in what has come to be known as the “ affluent society” and the church, as always, has imbibed something of the spirit o f the age in which it exists. Instead of raising our voices against the evil of covetousness, we have defended our well-padded manner o f living with the argu ment that “God gives us all these things because we tithe.” As a result, often little difference is seen be tween the standard of living of “born-again Chris tians” and those who know not the Lord Jesus. We drive equally expensive cars, eat equally expensive foods, live in equally expensive houses, sit on
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