We can so easily have other lovers ahead of God in our hearts. Our God is jealous and will not let covetousness reign in our lives . God’s heart for His people is to have us all to Himself and teach us that contentment and satisfaction are found in Him only. (Ezekiel 14:1; I Timothy 6:6; Malachi 3:7)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Sam Miles
Sermon # 11687
6:30 PM on 5/26/2019
Praise God. Amen. P. Mark is good at it, isn’t he? I just realized we have some visitors here, P. Larry from York, P. Dennis from New York and Albania, and P. Drew is here but the ushers could say P. Drew come sit up here on the platform. P. Dennis, would you like to come up and P. Larry come up. Then we have a little more connection with you. Any other pastor visiting from far away, come on up. P. Duke is here. Wow! Amazing! Feel free P. Duke, whatever works for you. We love you. Give him a wave and throw kisses. You have great sons and your wife Debbie. Praise God.
We are going to sing more. Let’s do a little loving. Love up on your neighbor. Give them a bit of a hug. Let’s take a moment and rehearse in our hearts and minds the greatness of God, P. Mark just mentioned.
Greatness. His love for me and you. The love of God. The greatness of God. How big God is. Great God. Mighty God. Our problem as human beings we reduce God. We make him small. Our God is so small. Compressed spring and your mind does that. Your mind starts to put on God who you are. This is me and I put it on God who I am. Praise is when we just reflect in our hearts and minds. In a way, it makes you speechless that I can be heard by God. Isn’t that amazing! I’m loved by God. Wow. We are actually cared for by God. Every footstep.
It’s a tragedy that the human heart would reduce God to something so small. Left to ourselves, we think of God in this way. When we are under the influence of the Spirit, the Spirit draws us to the doctrine and the doctrine enlightens the mind and we end up in awe at God. We are before God and become worshippers of God. Can God heal me? Do you believe it? No. I don’t believe that. Why? God is more like me. But God does heal. Does God carry you? Is he sovereign? Is he Almighty, powerful? Does God raise the dead and heal the blind, the leper? Does he care? Does he go to the woman at the well? Does he visit Paul and Saul? Does this change his life? I love to hear about the work of God.
Convention is coming at the end of June. People are coming. I got my ear. What is God doing? In Nepal? In India? Isn’t that good. Who is God?
Turn to your neighbor and tell them five things about God that blow your mind that are amazing. What are a few things? Who is God? The faithful one, Counselor, Wonderful. How about this one: Is God under my finger here? Is he under my foot? Is he in the deepest sea? Is he everywhere? Is he in the stars? Almighty God everywhere present. Does he know everything? How many hairs are on the top of your hair? Turn to your neighbor and ask them.
God is all powerful. He is holding this world together by the word of his power. These stars and moon, galaxies are declaring his glory. He is saying all the time to the human race, hello. I am here. Have you noticed how I put things together? Do you notice how wise I am? How holy, how powerful? Do you know who I am as God? I would love you and visit you and humble myself. I shed my blood so you can be with me forever. Do you know you are going to heaven? Do you know your name is in the book? We have so much to worship God over. It’s just beautiful, isn’t it? I love it.
Praise you, Lord.
P. Sam Miles
I feel far away. Can I just – let’s get a little bit closer? How’s that? It’s been really great hanging with you guys this weekend. I really appreciate it.
I want to trust the Lord to do something amazing, something impossible tonight. We would receive his word not in form but truth. We would receive the Word and it would take root and bear fruit. We want to trust God for that.
We pray wrong because we don’t believe right. We ask to fulfill the lusts of our flesh. That’s what James say. You ask amiss that you may consume it upon your lusts. We talked about that this morning. We saw a picture of that in the life of Israel. God gave them a promise. They were to go and take the land. There was a trial there. The giants were there. You guys remember, they got fe-fi-fo-fum phobia. They wet their tunics, and they came up with excuses for why God’s word couldn’t be made reality in their life. They came up with their own plan and then when they are praying, they’re praying because they got busted down. They’re not crying out in true repentance. They are not praying over an offended God. They are praying because they are not getting their way. We’re going to go fight. God says no, I’m not with you in that. You stand down, and you know the rest of the story. They were defeated. The picture there is a life that is a mess because the center of the will is self. It’s not the Savior. With many of them God was not well pleased and they were overthrown in the wilderness.
We don’t need our prayer life overthrown. We need to walk in victory. The only way that will happen is if we trust and obey. I want to call on God according to his word, according to his promises. I get to choose faith or fear. I either move forward in faith or I go a way that is right in my own eyes and the end of that way is death.
This evening, I want to give you another example from the nation, the life of Israel. Idolatry in your heart hinders your prayer. Just like we said this morning, when you have idolatry in your heart you are framing God as your enemy. You say, pastor, that’s really harsh. If I’m rejecting God’s word, if I’m not listening to what God has said, that is me framing God as my enemy, but idolatry is me loving something else besides God. How many husbands would be okay with your wife having your neighbor as her best buddy? Not going to work, is it? Idolatry has you working to frame God as your enemy. God said when he gave the law in Ex. 20:2-5. Do you see how God views it? When we have loves ahead of our Savior, loves ahead of our Lord God, God says you are hating me by having another lover. By having another love, you are framing me as an enemy.
Is everyone with me? Are you picking up what I’m laying down? This is so critical that we get this. God says to reject him for another, to place another love ahead of him. To have other gods, other loves before him is to hate him. If my wife decides she wants to spend more time with my neighbor than me that is probably going to generate some animosity, isn’t it? Any dudes here feeling what I’m saying? You get the description, right? That’s a hard time. My neighbor, he is not that attractive. What does she see in him? Why does she want to spend time with him? I don’t play that. That’s not going to work. I’d have a natural jealousy over my bride. Guess what? God loves you. You are his bride. He doesn’t want you to have other loves. He doesn’t want you dating someone else on the side. He wants to be your one true love. To have other loves before your love of Christ is really in effect, we are saying, God is viewing it as hate, right? You see that? You’re framing God as your enemy.
Idolatry hinders our intimacy with God and prayer with God. I love my wife Cheryl. Just a disclaimer. Everything is going great. I’m really content, really happy. I’m just painting a picture for you. If I think my wife has another love in her heart and life before me that will hinder our communication. It’s going to put a cramp on our communication. Idolatry hinders our prayer before the Lord.
Ezek. 14:1-3, Should I listen to anything they have to say? vs. 4-5. Do you see what God is saying there? You got other loves ahead of me. Why should I even answer you when you pray? You’re praying but I’m not listening. If I regard iniquity in my heart, God doesn’t hear. He says talk to the hand. You got other lovers in your heart. Why would I listen to anything you have to say? God is offended for his people. He is offended for his bride. I’m going to speak to you according to the multitude of your idols.
Some fools do get answered according to their folly. Prov. 26. Answer not a fool according to his folly. Answer a fool according to his folly. Why? He needs to learn something. Let him see what his foolishness will get him. This is what God is saying. I’m going to answer you according to your folly. vs. 5-7. It’s that generation that hates him. God you are not first. I have other gods before you. He comes to the prophet. Listen to what God says. vs. 7-11, You want a lie? You don’t want my truth? You want your cake and eat it to? You don’t want to submit to my word. You don’t want to place me first in your heart and in your life. You want what you want on your terms. You’ll get it but you’ll regret it. Do you see God’s heart for his people? I want you first. I want you completely. I want you all to myself and I want it reciprocal. If you are not going to walk in faith and you set up idols in your heart, you are now framing me as your enemy and I’m going to let you reap what you sow and to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
To reject God is to hate him and so here’s God giving people who have other loves in their heart before him what they want to their own discipline. It will be according to the multitude of your idols and you will reap what you sow. Don’t be so foolish, brother, sister. Don’t think you can never raise up an idol in your heart. They are tricky and sneaky. It can happen in the simplest and littlest of ways. I would be happy if, what? I would be content if, what? I would have joy and peace if, what? If I could finally move into that neighborhood I would be set. If my relationship with God isn’t the answer that fits in those blanks, right? I learned contentment in Christ not in the bling I can amass or houses and lands that I can accrue.
My satisfaction can be realized only in the relationship I have with J.C. I don’t want to set up idols in my heart. I don’t want to say, Lord, I know that you love me and you know that I love you, but I love this other thing a little bit more. Could you help me step out on you? Don’t war with God. How do we land that plane on this stage tonight? Let me frame the beginning statement another way. Covetousness is idolatry. If we are covetous, it hinders our prayer. Here is the problem biblically. Let’s take some instruction and some warning. We’ve seen it in example, God’s complaint against his people in the Old Testament. Let’s look at what it looks like in 1 Tim 6:6-8, there is the instruction.
Here is the warning. vs. 9-10. Money itself is not evil but you coveting after it ahead of God is. Lord Jesus, thank you for your salvation but I don’t really want to walk with you. I want cash. Lord Jesus, I thank you for the finished work at Calvary but What I really need is a raise. What I really need is a better job. What I really need is the new Dodge Charger. Flee these things. vs. 11. The issue isn’t having money but loving money. The love of money violates the first commandment. You now have another love before the Lord.
The Bible instructs us to mortify our members, to put to death the will of the flesh. What are these members? Col 3:5, covetousness which is idolatry. You say I would not bow down to Dagon, some image made. I would never bow down to Dagon but we got brothers and sisters who will in services say “halleluiah, praise the Lord” but their heart is a lover of money. Their life is given to investment of wood, hay, and stubble, building a life for themselves and the kingdoms of this world. Eph. 5:5 it’s the lost who refuse God and are lovers of money. That’s not who God make you to be. You are a child of the king. You don’t have to settle for some half rate, half substitute god. You got the real deal. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And by the way, he’s rich. Right? Have you heard about his house? In my father’s house? It’s a big, big house. Sometimes I want stuff God hasn’t given me. Why would that hinder my prayers?
The Joneses have to be kept up and God truly understands that. So I need a bigger flat screen, a bigger house, a sweet ride, I got to get my threads up to speed. Covetousness, right? Why wouldn’t God understand that? He knows how I got to roll. People don’t see the problem with wanting what other people have. What’s the problem with wishing I had my neighbor’s wife? If you are lusting after what God hasn’t given you, you are out of bounds, and you are framing God as your enemy. What you said, what you promised is not enough for me. It hinders our prayer. We need to wake up because covetousness is a sin that shuts up heaven for the believer. One more passage before we close.
Look at Mal. 3. God gave us this great exercise to help us keep our heart in check. Everything I see how God sets us the dynamics of my relationships with him, I have to take my hat off and say, God you are a genius. How many know God is a genius?
vs. 7. Again God’s complaint. It’s always the same. You have not followed faith. You are rejecting my word. You are framing me as my enemy. What does he say? We need to repent. Mal. 3:8-9, you want money; you don’t want me. You get your money and look at what that really gets you. God’s people are saying if I tithe, then I can’t afford to put a pool in this year. God understands. I got to keep my tan. The problem was, they got the pool but no rain to fill it. Isn’t that crazy? You got what you want but it’s useless. It’s empty. The heavens were shut up to God’s people. Covetousness and its refusal to honor God first puts God’s people under a curse. They got the pool but no water to fill it. What do you think it will do to you when we have loves, other loves ahead of God?
John R. Rice said stealing, God robbing, covetousness is the same wicked sin in the New Testament times as it was in the Old Testament. Those who sing, “Oh, How I Love Jesus” but don’t give him a dime’s worth out of a dollar will not get very far in their praying. No Amen’s pastor! I may need to get out of town tonight! People will say if God has everything, if God is a big, big God, if he owns the cattle on the thousand hills, what does he care about the first dime out of my dollar? Because he’s a genius. Yeah, he does own everything. The beast of the forest is his, the cattle upon a thousand hill. If he was hungry, he wouldn’t tell us. The world is his and the fullness thereof. It’s his. Prov. 50. He is that rich.
God doesn’t care about your money. He cares about you. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. I have a treasure keeper, right here (wallet). It’s not super big because I don’t have time to keep track of it. As treasure is coming to me, if I keep my treasure to myself, where is my heart? You see that? God is a genius. He has designed it so every time he entrusted me with resources, the first goes back to me. You are my first love, my first investment. God, you take the priority and the place in my heart and life. There is no other gods before you. Every time that offering plate goes around, it’s worship. No amens! It’s a rough message. God doesn’t care about your money. He wants your heart. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
I don’t want my heart here on my own self, on my own flesh, on my you know what I want to say. I want my heart on him. He is first. God wants your trust, surrender, and willingness to give him anything, even yourself. Never forget, when God has you, you have him.
Here’s God’s promise of blessing. Look at vs. 10. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, vs. 10-12. Greater Grace World Outreach in Baltimore would be a delightsome land. That the provision would come out of this place in Baltimore and the nations would be blessed. God is first in this place. He alone is God. Thus saith the Lord of hosts. This is why we need to pray together. We need God’s hand of blessing on our ministry. If we have other loves before the Lord Jesus Christ, if we have other loves before our Father in heaven, if our covetousness is grieving the Holy Spirit, – covetousness is a prayer that shuts up heaven. What are we getting in life? We are getting according to the multitude of our idols. God’s attitude is, why should I answer you? Why should I be inquired at all of you when I’m not first in your heart? I know I’m preaching to the choir and the good kids tonight.
Beware. Idols are sneaky. Covetousness is sneaky. The way it always works is I just went through a trial. I just went through a hard time. I’m going to excuse some sin in my life because I want to. I’ve been frustrated. I feel like I deserve it. That break you are tempted to give yourself is a trap. It’s designed to steal your first love. Satan will put it in your heart to betray the Lord Jesus. We talked about that at the graduation on Saturday. Satan will try and put it in your heart to betray the Lord Jesus. Don’t be Judas, be John. Keep your head on the breast. Keep your hand on the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ. Be Mary. Sit at Jesus feet. Hear his voice.
Make sure we are keeping God our first love. In this very practical way, the first that everything God entrusts to you, we worship him and entrust it right back to him.
I love that message. Isn’t it good? That was so good. Pastor, could you come up for a second? I want to ask you a question.
How many of you have seen covetousness come into your heart? That’s normal. That happens to us. Something comes in and we love it too much. The money too much. He defined it very well. I want to think about it. When that happens, practically what do we do with that?
Mal 3, he says repent and return to me. When we recognize it’s happening, the beautiful thing about repentance is agreement with God. Lord, you see this first love coming into my life. And that’s wrong. So I’m breaking up with this other lover and I’m coming back to you. I’m breaking up with this thing that is getting between you and me. Just like God will deal with us according to the multitude of idols in our heart, he’ll also deal with us according to the sincerity of our heart. To be able to agree with God over sin. It’s so powerful. That is sin. Lord, I want to come back to you. I want to come back to your word. His mercies are new how often? It’s a new day. That is the beauty of Calvary. There is grace. There is forgiveness. Even in terms of besetting sins, I want to take that to Calvary. It’s the blood of Christ that washes my sin away. All I’m ever going to do in my flesh was look at life wrong and follow wrong and do wrong. A man or woman under grace isn’t going to freak out and say all hope is lost because I allowed some idolatry or some covetousness in our heart. What we want is the Lord to show it to us so we can eschew it now. Mortify. Remember what Col 3 says. Mortify. I want to put that to death.
Help me God by your grace and the promise of your word. For me to live isn’t that idol. I’m going to die to the Dodge Challengers because you know, I look pretty good in it. Right? Who wouldn’t want that? I don’t need that. I need God to use me in the lives of people. I need fellowship. I need closeness with the Lord. I don’t need some stupid idol. I don’t need some half rate, some second rate god substituting in my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, amen?
The prescription is in Mal. 3. Return to me and watch me bless me. And he does. I can’t tell you how many times I had some little idol. God loves me and always receives me. There is forgiveness at Calvary. Praise the Lord. That’s awesome.
How about when something gets – he mentioned Ananias and Sapphira. Peter said Satan has put it in your heart to lie against the Holy Spirit. Remember that verse? Acts. 5. Satan. Could Satan put in my heart some fascination with another woman other than my wife? It’s a question. Why aren’t you all answering me? Could Satan put it in my heart to steal money? Could Satan put it in my heart to lie to my brother? I may be deceived. I’m a Christian but Satan has put it in my heart and I’m lying. I’m dishonest.
What we heard tonight is this affects my prayer life. I go along my way and there is something in my life God is saying. It seems I should know that. I’m being deceitful or lying to God. It seems to me that the Lord would be faithful to show it to me but I don’t want to hear it. So I keep on going in my way. There are bad habits we can have and we consider it to be normal. Remember the message, The New Normal. It’s not my old life. It’s my new nature.
Would you like to do the rap tonight, pastor? We got you here. You can’t leave. That’s the way we roll around here! Once we catch ya, we got you. I’m preaching your message! I’m sorry!
Have you ever gone out in a field in a beautiful, spring day and roll over the stone and what’s under the stone? Worms, grubs, potato bugs, stink bugs. What happens to them? They leave because of the light. When I have covetousness in my heart and I roll the stone over and the light is there, God is faithful by his blood to wash me. If we walk in the light one with another, listen to that one. I need to be with you and you need to be with me. We are in the light and walking in the light. He said it. What do I do when I see the garbage come and the stuff surfaces? I bring it into the light and God is good to take care of me. I am no great person. I roll the stone over and say, hello. God is here. I’m going to the church. God is in the church. I’ll be under the word. God will show me. God will help me. I can be a Christian deceived sitting in the church refusing to acknowledge the fact I have issues going on in my heart. I hate someone. I’ve very judgmental with people. I have no patience. I’m angry about how God is treating me. I’m ready to leave. I’ m getting ready to get out of here because I’m not done.
God is not done with you. There is an easy way. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Let’s grow up. Bring on the light. Roll the stone over and all this stuff will be gone. God will clean us up. Then we will have power in prayer. Then we will have power in prayer.
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