Coins with God’s Image (Camp Meeting, 7/8/18)

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in Pitman Camp Meeting, Sermons, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

Jesus’ response to the trap was brilliant:”Whose image is on that coin?  Then give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but give to God what belongs to God.” The answer blew away the questioners.  Jesus totally defused their trap.

But what does this statement mean?  What is “Caesar” in our own day and age?  Is Caesar a good thing?  Everything belongs to God; so what does it mean to “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.”? 

In his message during the 7/8/18 Pitman Camp Meeting, Lay Speaker Larry Bakely explored these questions…

 

The entire sermon is presented below.  Audio recordings and the complete text are provided under the “drop down boxes.”  Click on each box to follow along.

For easier reading,  the sermon is broken into sections, with each section having its own text and audio recording. Open the box, click the “play button”, and follow along. 

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Images…

Each face in a crowd bears the marks of a life of experiences.  Each face represents a person who has relationships, knowledge, hopes & dreams that he or she can share.  What’s YOUR story?  What has God given you and what can you share?

Part 1- Introduction

One of my favorite things to do around the church is to maintain the church website.  And so, whenever I come to an event I’m always wearing my “reporter’s hat”, and I usually bring my camera.  Last summer I was on a bit of a mission with the Camp Meeting services; I wanted to get a picture of every speaker that I could use in the website article about the Camp Meeting schedule.  And so, I actually was able to attend every service last summer and I got a picture of all of the speakers.

In addition to the Camp Meeting services, another thing that makes summer summer is this flyer. Tom gets it printed sometime in the spring, and along with the corresponding poster, it announces the upcoming schedule.  And it has a picture of each speaker.

And so, at one of the services last summer I offered to Tom that maybe he could use some of the pictures I was taking for the next year’s flyer.  Just to bring it up to date a bit.  And so, back in April I gave him my pictures and he used some of them in this year’s flyer.

And then on one Sunday, he said that one of the speakers he was trying to line up wasn’t able to make it.  And he asked me if I would be willing to take a Sunday.  Well I kinda took a gulp as I realized that all of the speakers pictured on that flyer were named “Rev.”  And some of them even had a middle name of “Dr.” I’m just a lowly Lay Speaker.  But, knowing that it’s the Holy Spirit who is actually giving the message, I accepted.

But then Tom came out with something that took me back.  He said that he needed a picture of ME for the flyer!  The irony was hard to miss.  I spent last summer collecting pictures of the speakers, and now I had to take one more.

So I began to think about these pictures.  What do they mean?  What’s the story behind each face?  Beyond the name, each face represents a different set of experiences, a different set of gifts. 

All of us has a picture somewhere.  It might not be on a camp meeting flyer, but it’s in your church, or family, or workplace.  What gifts, talents, and experiences are represented by your picture?  And how are you using them?

 


Whose Face is on that Coin?

Our experiences, gifts and talents are like coins that we can spend on life.  Jesus told the crowd to “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but give to God what belongs to God.”  But everything belongs to God!  What’s the difference between “Caesar coins” and “God coins”???

Part 2- Luke 20

They often talk about “3 point sermons.”  I remember my lay speaker teacher telling us to not worry about making 3 points;  just make one point and make it well.  Anyway, this won’t be a three point sermon.  Instead it will be a three passage sermon.

The first passage I want to lift up is from Luke 20, verses 20-26.

Luke 20:20-26

20 Watching for their opportunity, the leaders sent secret agents pretending to be honest men. They tried to get Jesus to say something that could be reported to the Roman governor so he would arrest Jesus.

21 They said, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You sincerely teach the ways of God.

22 Now tell us — is it right to pay taxes to the Roman government or not?”

23 He saw through their trickery and said,

24 “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.

25 “Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to him. But everything that belongs to God must be given to God.” 

26 So they failed to trap him in the presence of the people. Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they were silenced.

NLT

Just like the pictures on the camp meeting flyer, our lives are filled with a lot of coins.  And each coin has an image on it.   But if everything belongs to God, shouldn’t we give everything to God?  What is an “image of Caesar” and what does it mean to be giving things to him? 

We carry coins that help us do the day to day things of life in this day and age.  We know how to say hello to people, we know how to operate a microwave oven or an ATM machine, we’ve learned how to drive a car and we know that a red light means stop.

But we also carry coins that have deeper purposes:  things we’ve learned through experience, advice from friends, family, and teachers.  Knowledge of scripture.  Times in the valley that gave us a chance to grow closer to God.  Inspiring worship services or music.

Everything comes from God.  Even the mundane things like brushing your teeth ultimately traces back to God.  Every coin belongs to God.  And yet, while some of these coins are spent on earthly needs and responsibilities, some of them are specially groomed for heavenly needs and our relationship with God.

 


God’s Provision…

Is there anything wrong with buying a new pair of shoes?  How about getting an oil change?  What about paying your water bill?  Jesus told us to not worry about what we will eat or what we will wear.  Seek the Kingdom first, and God will take care of these things…

Part 3- II Corinthians 9

And that led me to the second of the three passages I want to share tonight. 

2 Corinthians 9:6-11…

6 Remember this — a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.

7 You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.

8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

9 As the Scriptures say, “Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.”  

10 For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

NLT

In Matthew 6 (31-34) Jesus told us to not worry about what we should wear, drink, eat……  

Instead, seek first the Kingdom of God.  Look for the coins that bear God’s image.  And all of the other things will be added to you as well.  In other words, like the manna that God gave the Israelites in the wilderness, God supplies our basic needs.  Then He gives us even more so that we can give them back to Him.  The things we give to Caesar are our basic needs.  The abundance of spiritual gifts is what we give to God.

Jesus is saying, go ahead. 

  • Pay your taxes. 
  • Go to Shop Rite and buy the food you need.
  • Pay your Electric bill. 
  • Pay your water bill. 
  • Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. 
  • Participate in the world’s economy to fulfill your material needs.

That’s why I gave you those coins!

But then He says “I’m going to give you much more than coins with Caesar’s image on them.”  Don’t worry about what your wear.  If you depend on Me for your temporary human needs, I’ll give you gifts that will fill your eternal spiritual needs.  I’ll give you coins with God’s image on them.  In fact, I’ll even transform your image so that it looks closer to Christ’s image

Yes- Give to Caesar what you need to give to Caesar.  But give to God the gifts that He’s invested in you.

 


God’s Investment…

In addition to providing your material needs, God invests even more in you so that your spiritual needs are also provided for.  He’s given you coins that you can buy things with, but He’s also given you “coins” that will help you grow closer to Him…

Part 4- Luke 19

And that led me to the third of the three passages.  Luke 19:11-27….

11 The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.

12 He said, “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return. 

13 Before he left, he called together ten servants and gave them ten pounds of silver to invest for him while he was gone. 

14 But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say they did not want him to be their king. 

15 “When he returned, the king called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what they had done with the money and what their profits were. 

16 The first servant reported a tremendous gain — ten times as much as the original amount! 

17’Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’ 

18 “The next servant also reported a good gain — five times the original amount. 

19’Well done!’ the king said. ‘You can be governor over five cities.’ 

20 “But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘I hid it and kept it safe. 

21 I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’ 

22 ” ‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Hard, am I? If you knew so much about me and how tough I am, 

23 why didn’t you deposit the money in the bank so I could at least get some interest on it?’ 

24 Then turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who earned the most.’ 

25 ” ‘But, master,’ they said, ‘that servant has enough already!’ 

26 ” ‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘but to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away. 

NLT

 

The people who received these gifts were servants of the king.  Their basic needs were already cared for.  They had a roof over their heads.  They had food to eat.   

This king took care of his servants, but he gave them even more.  Ten pounds of silver was worth about 30 days wages. He invested in them.  While He was gone He expected them to use those gifts to invest in Him.  

In Psalm 23, David wrote that because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything that I need.  God takes care of His sheep.  But He goes further than giving us food and quiet streams.  He knows us by name.  He loves us.  He has poured His very self into us.

God.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have invested in us.

1- God the Father, our Creator…

We were created to be in fellowship with God.  Genesis 1:26-28 tells us that God invested in us when He created us…

 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”     

 

God the Father entrusted His good creation with us.  He created us in His image and reserved a special place in our hearts that can only be filled by Him.

 

2- Jesus the Son, our Savior

Secondly, God the Son gives us salvation and restores our relationship with God.

Without the cross.  Without the restored fellowship we can have through Jesus’ sacrifice, we would not be ale to fill that hole in our hearts.  The Bible gives us wealth of familiar verses to speak to this truth:

John 3:16.   Here’s how Eugene Peterson put verses 16 and 17 in The Message..

16 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

17 God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

The Message

In Ephesians 2:8-10. Paul reminds us…

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  

NIV

And finally, God has invested His Holy Spirit into us.

 

3- Holy Spirit

In Acts 1:8 Jesus told His disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. In 2 Corinthians 1 (21-22) Paul called the Holy Spirit a “down payment”; a deposit that God put into our hearts to guarantee the eternal life which is to come.  The Holy Spirit helps us pray (Romans 8:26), the Holy Spirit reveals the things of God to us (1 Corinthians 2:10), the Holy Spirit gives us love, joy, and peace (Galatians 5:22).

But this gift wasn’t free.  Jesus told us that  “Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7-8).

Without the cross we wouldn’t have the Spirit.  God has invested Himself in us. 

And beyond that, He has given us the Bible, Spiritual Gifts, friends, family, the Church.  He gives us mountains and valleys; He takes us through experiences that help us know more about Him.  He protects us and makes all things turn out for good that we may be formed into the likeness of His Son. (Romans 8:28 AND 29)

He gives us moments of worship.  He gives us music.  He guides us in prayer.  As David wrote in Psalm 139, “Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.

God has invested in us.  We are carrying coins with God’s image on them.

 


Give to Caesar, Give to God…

How’s this work out in “rubber meets the road” terms?  Who is “Caesar” and what do we give to him?  And what belongs to God?  What do we give to Him?

Part 5- Conclusion and Application

 

So what does this really mean:  Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give to God what belongs to God. ???

Caesar isn’t a bad thing.  Caesar represents the government and other institutions that help us humans work together.  Notice that Jesus didn’t say that we should ignore Caesar; He said that we should pay the tax.  And yet, the gifts that grow us closer to God and help us to obey Him, have a higher degree of importance.

There are many areas which include our responsibilities to Caesar and to God.  As we wrap up tonight, I’ll quickly suggest four of these parallels.

—1—

  • C– We give to Caesar by voting, studying the issues, and even serving in the military or other organizations. We have a responsibility to participate in our democracy.
  • G–  But we give to God by investing in our relationship with Him.  We participate in that relationship by worshipping, praying, studying, and serving.

Paul told Timothy to….

 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 

NIV (2 Timothy 2:15)

 

—2—

  • C– We Give to Caesar by respecting the law and obeying police officers.
  • G– But we give to God by recognizing sin in our lives and doing our best to turn away from it.

 

In Psalm 51 (4, 6, 7, 9) David wrote:

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,  so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.   

NIV

God called David “a man after His own heart.”  Can we give our heart in the same way that David did when he wrote these words?  We buckle up, use our turn signals and stick to the speed limit.  But do we hunger and thirst for righteousness?  Do we plead for God to blot out our iniquity?

 

—3—

  • C– We give to Caesar by working, paying our taxes, and participating in the economy.
  • G– But we give to God by participating in the Divine economy.  This means that we trust God to supply our needs so that we’re free to be generous to help other’s needs.

 

—4—

  • C– We give to Caesar by taking care of our body and possessions.  Yes- go to the dentist, paint your house, change your car’s oil.
  • G– But we give to God when we nurture our relationships with His people.  Share your experiences, support your church, even listen to your friends when they hold you accountable.

As you look in the mirror.  As you think about what you’ve experienced or what you’ve learned.  As you think about your friends and family.  Whose image do you see?  On each area of your life- on each “coin”, God has placed an image.  God has minted all of these coins and He’s graciously supplied them to you.  Some are for your basic needs, but some are for eternal life.  We may be paying our bills and giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.  But are we giving to God what belongs to God?

 


 

 

 

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