To Be Rich In Good Deeds!


Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / September 17, 2017

What is it that makes a man or a woman rich?

Biblically-speaking, is RICHNESS to be measured with dollar $ign$?

Some people are fixated on money.

An online news provider carried a story just this past week of husband who died.

This husband was consumed with greed and considered his money to be the most important thing in his life.

He instructed his Christian wife:

“When I die I want you to take all my money and place it in the casket with me. I want to take all of my money to the afterlife.” 

Being a good and faithful wife (Eph.5:22), she honored his request.

She combined all of his monetary funds, and placed them in a shoebox in the coffin just before it was sealed.

When a friend probed discreetly, “you didn’t honor his request did you?”.  She acknowledged that she did.

She smiled and said, “I wrote him a check”.

While this story is fictional, it’s makes a good point on several fronts.

Some people (the husband) are “eat up” with money.  They are possessed by their possessions.

And some people (the wife) realize that there are truly not pockets in a shroud - - you can’t take it with you.

This comical story reminds us of the teachings of Jesus on the subject of riches.


A certain ruler questioned (Jesus), saying, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good?  No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments,

‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.’

And he said, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.’  And when Jesus heard this, He said to him,

‘One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven;

and come, follow Me.’  But when he heard these things, he became very sad; for he was extremely rich.

And Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!

For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’


Someone in the crowd said to (Jesus), ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’

But He said to him, ‘Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbiter over you?’  And He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does life consist of his possessions.’

And He told them a parable saying, ‘The land of a certain rich man was very productive.  And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I so, since I have no place to store my crops?’  And he said, ‘This is what I will do:

I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to

my soul, ‘Soul, you have many good laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool!  This very night your soul is required of you; and nnow who will own what you have prepared?’

So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

These teachings are important for us to revisit and re-engage.  Most of us a stricken with some degree of AFFLUENZA.

Not influenza, but affluenza.  This word is actually now appears in our newer dictionaries.

Extreme materialism and consumerism associated with the pursuit of wealth and success and

Resulting in a life of chronic dissatisfaction, debt, overwork, stress and impaired relationships.

Whether unwittingly or with awareness, we are being squeezed into the mold of the gods of this world.

The apostle Paul warned the early Christians not to be conformed to this world (Rom.12:2).

The “this world” to which Paul referred was the Old Covenant world in contrast to the New Covenant realm.

In many ways the siren call of that old covenant age was very similar to the lure of our current non-Biblical world.

Both worlds emphasized the wrongs things. 

Later this winter, I am planning an expository sermon series from the book of Amos.

In Amos 5:1f, God sings a dirge to Israel.  A funeral song:  She has fallen, she will not rise again.

In a nutshell, ancient Israel, like modern-day America had become infected with affluenza.

I want to return now to two phrases used by Jesus in Luke 18 & Luke 12.

In Lk.18:22, Jesus speaks of having “treasure in heaven” and in Lk.12:21, He speaks of being “rich toward God”.

Both of these expressions echo an Old Testament proverb (Prov.23:4) - -

Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it (NASV).

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich; be wise enough to control yourself (NCV).

In Matthew’s account of the sermon on the mount (Mt.6:19-21), Jesus spoke these words - -

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break

in or steal.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…You cannot serve God and mammon.

(This word “mammon” is archaic and is best translated by “worldly riches”).

We Christians of the 21st century are witnessing first-hand a war between two worlds.

The central players are not the US and North Korea … Not the US and Iran … No the US and Russia or China.

Rather, it is a war between GOD and MAMMON.

One is the only true and living God, Jehovah, and the other is a false god called, Mammon.

Whether we like it or not, we are engaged in this war between two Gods.

Let’s pause here and summarize a bit before we conclude.

The only thing harder to endure than a sermon on money, is a l-o-n-g sermon on money.

So I trying to be brief.

How can we lay up treasure in heaven ?

  How can we be rich toward God ?

Matthew Henry once wrote:  “The riches we impart are the only wealth we shall always retain.”

This rather profound statement is based on the words of Christ Jesus and the apostle Paul.

The New Testament epistles give us guidance as to how to interpret and apply the spoken words of Jesus.

Jesus tells us to lay up treasure in heaven?  We ask, what does this mean, and how do I apply these words.

Likewise, for being rich toward God.  What does this mean and does it apply to me as a disciple?

We have read anew the words of Jesus, now let us close by reading anew the words of Paul.

1Tim.6:7-10 & 17-19

For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.

And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.  But those who want to get rich fall

into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith,

and pierced themselves with many a pang…Instruct those who are rich in the present world not to be conceited

or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves

 the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

If we want to have the treasure of a good foundation for the world to come - - eternal life with God and Christ,

then we must be rich in good works, generous and ready to share in this world.

In the book of Titus, Paul underscores these thoughts with a four-fold repetition.

Titus 2:7 / be an example of good deeds

Titus 2:14 / (be) zealous for good deeds

Titus 3:8 / be careful to engage in good deeds

Titus 3:14 / let our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs

Last week we began our sermon by asking, “How does a man or woman become great?”

The path to greatness is found in living a life of humble service to others.

The path to richness is not found in getting and hoarding but rather in giving and sharing.

In Paul’s farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he uttered these words (Acts 20:32-35) - -

And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give

you and inheritance among all those who are sanctified.  I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes.

You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me.

In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and

 remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

I want to plant a seed in closing.

Sometimes I worry about the future of the church.  I know I shouldn’t but I do.

Jeannie and I are planning soon to make a will. 

I don’t know what might be left, if anything, when we both come to the end of our lives.

But of whatever is left, the Lord’s church will be the primary beneficiary.

I would like to encourage others of us to think along these lines.

We’ve all seen the bumper sticker (sometimes on a big camper):  “We’re spending our kids’ inheritance.”

You who are older don’t have to spend it all on yourself, just tell the kids, “of what’s left, the church comes first.”

If Jeannie and I both died tomorrow (well -- after the will is made), our church will have funds for a

new addition: perhaps a fellowship hall and several classrooms and a good-sized walk-in baptistry.

Mark, and our siblings might get a little, but not much.

I hope this announcement doesn’t cause you to start praying for our sudden passing.

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