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Dr. Tony Evans Single Sermon – Sermon #3 – July 15, 2012 Summary God’s Kingdom in Society, Part 3: “Kingdom Capitalism” Deuteronomy 8:11-20 As Dr. Evans continues his series of sermons entitled “God’s Kingdom in Society,” he has been leading us in a study of how the reality of God’s ultimate, comprehensive rule over the world that He created should influence individuals, families, churches, and our society. In today’s sermon, Dr. Evans addressed the topic of how a kingdom agenda should impact our view of economics. In directing our attention to Deuteronomy 8:11-20, Dr. Evans proposed a kingdom economic agenda in which God is recognized as the owner of everything, the true purpose of wealth is acknowledged, and economic responsibility is necessitated on the part of the individual, the family, the church, and the government. 1. A kingdom economic agenda recognizes that God is the owner of everything. In today’s text, Moses was concerned that if Israel forgot the manna, the water, and the land that God had provided in the wilderness, Israel might mistakenly say when entering the promised land, “My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth,” (Deuteronomy 8:17). By remembering God’s provision, Israel would know that “it is He [the Lord] who is giving you power to make wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Psalm 24:1-2 states, “The earth is the LORD’s, and all that it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” Israel needed to remember that God created all things, and by nature of His role as creator He owned all things. This is no less true in our time. All wealth and the resources from which that wealth emerges can be traced back to something God has created. This means that God is the beginning point and ending point of all economic discussion; any economic blessing we have must be traced back to the generous hand of the Creator God who ultimately owns all resources. 2. A kingdom economic agenda acknowledges the true purpose for wealth. Moses’ reminder to Israel of God’s ownership of all things assisted them in understanding that God’s true purpose in giving them wealth was to “…confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18). The covenant that God had made with their father, Abraham, was that through Abraham and his seed “…all the families of the earth would be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). This meant that the true kingdom purpose of wealth was to equip the people of Israel to be a blessing to others. Any wealth that God gives us is, therefore, to function as a channel of blessing through which God’s benefits can flow to others. This is not to be confused with a prosperity gospel that names and claims a blessing from God as if He were a Divine genie in a lamp obediently granting the commands of His people. Instead, God gives the blessing of wealth with the expectation that it will be used redemptively for others in the world that He created. 3. A kingdom economic agenda entails economic responsibility on the part of the individual, the family, the church, and the government. Because the kingdom agenda operates through four covenantal spheres (the individual, the family, the church, and the government), a kingdom economic agenda also entails economic responsibility in each of these four spheres. The individual must take personal responsibility to give (by faithfully tithing and giving God the first fruits of his or her income, Malachi 3:8-9), to save (putting away money for future needs—see Proverbs 6:6-11), and, only after these two, to spend. The family must take responsibility to provide for its own members. Paul stated in 1 Timothy 5:8 that a person who does not take care of his own family “has denied the Dr. Tony Evans Single Sermon – Sermon #3 – July 15, 2012 faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” The church must assume the responsibility of training church members in biblical principles of financial stewardship and of teaching them a kingdom mindset in relationship to economic development. Finally, the government must take responsibility to remove tyranny from the marketplace so that the other spheres can fully flourish in a just and free market. In conclusion, Jesus stated in Matthew 6:33, “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” This means that in a kingdom economic agenda the spiritual and theological issues must be addressed first before wrestling with the economic issues. God does not view money and wealth (economic issues) as something dirty or something to be ignored. Our relationship and use of these things, however, must always be viewed and evaluated first through our relationship to Him. Are we seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness and utilizing our economic resources for the advancement of that kingdom agenda? A kingdom approach to economics will, therefore, recognize God as the owner of everything, acknowledge the true purpose of wealth in its redemptive use for the benefit of others, and take up the responsibility entailed in this kingdom economic agenda within each of the four covenantal spheres. Reflection 1. Are you acknowledging God as the ultimate owner of your economic resources? Take a moment to make a mental checklist of some of the resources that particularly treasure and offer them back to their true Owner in prayer. 2. How would the true Owner want you to use the resources He has given you? 3. How does tithing serve to remind us that God is the Owner of all our financial resources? 4. What are some ways you can use the financial resources that God has given you to be a channel of blessing to others? How can use your “wealth” whether great or small for redemptive purposes in God’s world? 5. Dr. Evans noted that two barriers to the redemptive use of the resources that God gives us is greed on one end of the spectrum and laziness on the other. Which of these two barriers is the greatest temptation for you? How does God’s ownership of your financial resources and God’s purpose for those resources challenge these tendencies? 6. Read Proverbs 30:8-9, which Dr. Evans’ called the “middle-class prayer.” Why can too many financial resources or too little financial resources become a spiritual or kingdom issue? Do you pray for “neither poverty nor riches” (Proverbs 30:8)? Dr. Tony Evans Single Sermon – Sermon #3 – July 15, 2012 Digging Deeper Additional Reading: 1. Dr. Tony Evans, The Kingdom Agenda. 2. Dr. Tony Evans, How Should Christians Vote? 3. Dr. Tony Evans, Oneness Embraced. 4. Eugene Merrill, Deuteronomy (New American Commentary). 5. Scot McKnight, The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. 6. Craig Blomberg, Neither Poverty Nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions 7. Ronald J. Sider, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity 8. David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream 9. Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving 10. Richard Bauckham, The Bible in Politics: How to Read the Bible Politically. 11. Wayne Grudem, Politics according to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in the Light of Scripture.
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