Lesson 101—February 14, 2016
The Master of My Life
Scripture: Matthew 6:24
Lesson Goal: To learn the meaning of serving one master—Jesus.
Introduction: Jesus uses terminology and concepts which were familiar to His followers as He speaks of undivided loyalty in verse twenty-four. He uses the idea of a slave serving two masters and the impossibility of the idea. “A slave could belong to two partners but not to two separate individuals because his or her loyalty would be divided” (Rienecker). Slaves had no part in choosing an earthly master. Their master was chosen for them. Jesus is making a spiritual point to His followers that they have the opportunity to make a choice. They have the opportunity to make their own individual decision concerning the “master” of their lives.
What are some decisions you have made that reveal who you truly are?
(V24) “No one can serve two masters.” This would result in disloyalty. The word “serve” is the Greek word douleuō, derived from doulos which means “slave.” The word “masters” is Kurios from which we get our English word “lord.” The literal meaning of Kurios is “absolute owner.” Jesus is helping His followers understand that just as a slave cannot have two owners, we (His followers) cannot have two masters (lords). Jesus’ point of emphasis is that we cannot make material gain the Lord of our lives. “You cannot serve God and mammon.”
As defined by the Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, “mammon” taken from the Aramaic (the spoken language of Jesus), means “possessions, earthly goods, riches.” We, His followers, must make a decision on “what” or “who” will be given the greatest allegiance in our lives.
As with the entirety of the Sermon on the Mount, here Jesus’ speaks to the purity of an individual’s heart. Verse 24 ultimately speaks of the subject which rules the heart. Will the love of money or material possessions rule our hearts? If so, our life’s focus will be upon things of this life (V19). Or will Jesus rule our hearts? If so, our life’s focus will be upon eternal investments (V20). There is no easy, comfortable straddling-of-the-fence position. And straddling the fence is never comfortable (V21).
In your own words, what do you believe Jesus meant when He said, “No one can serve two masters”?
My wife, Cindy, after earning her R.N. degree at the University of Texas, Arlington, practiced in the medical field for a number of years. She continued her education and became one of the first Nurse Practitioners in Lawrence County. After working as a Nurse Practitioner for ten years, she felt the Lord’s leading to become a high school science teacher. For the last ten years, she has taught at Lawrence County High School. She has often been asked: “Why would anyone leave the medical field to become a teacher? Why would anyone make such a change of profession? Did you not like the medical field?” To all the questions, Cindy’s answer has remained constant. She enjoyed the medical professional and helping her patients. She enjoyed being a part of God’s healing process. It was not a dissatisfaction or dislike of anything in the medical field; it was simply her heart’s desire to make an impact and investment into young people’s lives. She felt in her heart the place where she could make the most difference was in the high school setting. It was not about the difficulty or ease of a particular job. It was not about salary, or monetary gain or loss. It was about investing in young lives that in some way, somehow, could have a lasting, positive influence and would make a difference for eternity (see Matthew 6:19-20).
Warren Wiersbe gives us some insight into this section of “The Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 6:19-24): “If God grants riches, and we use them for His glory, then riches are a blessing. But if we will to get rich and live with that outlook, we will pay a great price for those riches.”
Jim Elliot, Christian missionary who was killed January 8, 1959, at the age of 28, while sharing the Gospel with the people of Ecuador, wrote this in his journal on October 28, 1949: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Take a moment and check out the artifacts case in our sanctuary hallway. Have you heard their story?
Explain this quote in the light of Jim Elliot’s life and death: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
What makes a person rich?
How does a follower of Jesus Christ gain true riches?
How does the world view riches?
Cindy and I were very blessed to know a great servant and warrior of Jesus Christ, Ms. Carrie Buford. When we first met and became acquainted with Ms. Carrie, she was in her eighties. She was a dear and precious saint of God. Ms. Carrie was one of twenty-one children and was the daughter and granddaughter of slaves. She lived to be just over 100 years of age. Her home literally consisted of a one-room wooden house. In the center of the room was a pot-belly stove. She used old newspapers as wallpaper. (Only by the grace of God was her house kept from catching on fire.) But if I have ever known a true “War Room,” this was it.
No doubt, Ms. Carrie’s background and life are quite unique. The point of her life, which I want to testify concerning, was her walk with Jesus Christ. She lived in sweet fellowship with Him every day. Ms. Carrie walked so close to Jesus. She found a blessed peace and contentment in Jesus Christ. She did not possess great riches or material possessions, but she was probably the richest lady I have ever known. She knew the Scriptures with little formal education. For her, the Word of God was more than words on a page. God’s Word was the light and lamp of her life. Her spirit was the very Spirit of Jesus Christ. Her prayers were prayed with an honesty and sincerity from the depths of a pure heart. She never knew great riches from the world, but I can only imagine what her mansion in heaven must look like. I look forward to seeing her again one day.
What made Ms. Carrie rich?
Please explain how it will be possible for your pastor to see Ms. Carrie again.
In your own words, what does it take to make one rich?
Please read and explain Matthew 16:26.