June 05, 2022 Grace United Church

All things belong to God

All things belong to God

As Jesus’ popularity increased, the religious leaders and culture influencers tried to trick him into saying something to turn the crowds against him. 


Mark 12:14 They came and [with false flattery] said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. [Then they test Him:] Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay or shall we not pay?”  


If Jesus said do not pay the tax, He’d’ve been arrested by the Romans. If He told the Jews to pay Rome, He would’ve turned the crowd against him for they considered paying Roman taxes to be funding their oppressors.


Mark 12:15… But Jesus, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.” 16 They brought one. He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus said to them, “Render [lit, give back] to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 


And we remember that we bear the image of God. Clearly then, we belong to God. Plus, Jesus with His own blood. So we conclude with the apostle Paul,


1 Cor. 6:19 So you are not your own, 20 for you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  


When God’s Son, Jesus, says, “Give to God the things that are God’s,” He says God’s wants YOU, your heart, a relationship with you. Not perfect you, so do your best. But YOU—baggage and all. Pain and all.


God our father wants you to know Him and love Him as fully as He knows and loves you. Out of the abundance of His love, He wants to pour into you, heal you, to overcome your worries with His goodness, and your fears with His power.


So hear this in Jesus' words. Give to God that which bears His image, His love. Give Him your heart and mind and body.  


What else belongs to God? You're right. Ultimately, everything does.


Deuteronomy 10:14 Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. 


Yet specific things belong to the LORD, too.  


1. Righteousness belongs to the Lord


We all justifies ourselves, hide our problems, virtue signal our goodness—in God’s terms, we try to make ourselves righteous—to feel good about ourselves, to gain approval, applause. Yet Daniel wrote,


Daniel 9:7 Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame…”


That’s the starting point: God is the Righteous One. Not me. Not you. 


While that sounds like bad news it is good news. For being good enough, being accepted, favored doesn’t depend on us. But God is our Father who loves us and He is righteous and generous to share His righteousness with us.


For God gave us His Son—the Righteous One—yet we killed Him. Yet God raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His side. And Jesus shares His righteousness with all who acknowledge their need and trust Jesus for it. 


For it is not to the righteous who rely on their good works, But to the one who does not work, yet believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, your faith is credited as righteousness (Romans 4:5).


So because you believe, you can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have no faith in any righteousness of my own, particularly not by any works that I have done. Yet by His grace, I bear the righteousness of Christ which God has given me on the basis of faith in His Son."


2. Psalm 3:8 Salvation belongs to the LORD… 


Salvation does not belong to Moses, Peter, or any of the world’s religions. Buddha cannot save. Mohammed cannot save. Mary cannot save. Spirituality cannot save. Atheism cannot save anyone. Being kind does not save.


Salvation—the forgiveness of sins, a favored relationship with God, eternal life—belongs to Christ Jesus our Lord. And He gives it to all who believe.

And not just eternal salvation. But any time you need saving…


Your cat is in a tree. You’re called on in the classroom. Your facing a temptation. Salvation belongs to the LORD! Even if the cat jumps down, even if you've given into temptation before. He’ll provide a way out. You’re dealing with anxiety, fear, worry, grief, depression, salvation belongs to the Lord. I.e., turn to God and hear Him, know Him, trust Him, and let Him be God to you! 


Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.


Whatever you’re facing, things at work, in the home, or even in your head,


Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. 


3. Similarly, victory belongs to the Lord.


Proverbs 21:30 There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the LORD. 31 The horse [today, the F-16 fighter jet] is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD.


We have our weapons prepared for battle. We have our guns, our technology, our votes. I have friends in high places. I know how to get my way. 


That’s fine. He may even use your weapon. He may use your vote. Or He may have a completely different goal. But victory belongs to the LORD.


Even if you have none of these, victory belongs to the LORD. Turn to Him.


However many times you tried and failed. However insurmountable the odds.


Gideon and his 32,000 men were arrayed to fight an army of 135,000. They were outnumbered 4.5 to 1 when the Lord said Gideon has too many soldiers. So God reduced Gideon’s fighting force to 10,000 men. They were now outnumbered 13.5 to 1. Still too many. His original 32,000 men got pared down to 300 men. That’s 450 enemy soldiers to every man.


Then God had Gideon’s men divide into three units of 100 each armed with trumpets, breakable water pots, and lit torches.


Judges 7:20 When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled. 22 When they blew 300 trumpets, the LORD set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army…


Whatever you face, however impossible, temptation, anger, resentment, abide in God’s love and face it as a favored child of the most powerful being in the cosmos. Victory belongs to the Lord. And faith is the victory…  


4. God says one other thing belongs to Him too.


Christians from different churches were boasting in their pastors, preferred their teachers. We belong to Paul. We belong to Peter. Or to Apollos.


So Paul wrote, cut that out... Let no one boast in men. For All Things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the WORLD or Life or Death or things Present or things to Come; ALL Things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)


How rich we are. All things belong to us in Christ. All things serve us in Christ.


Romans 8:28 For we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 


You don’t belong to Peter or Paul. Peter and Paul and Apollos and John and David and Daniel and Mary and the woman at the well ALL BELONG TO YOU.


Then he lists five specifics that might totally surprise us.


The world belongs to you. Enjoy it. God made it for your sakes. Your enjoyment. It is not your master. It is your servant. It’s where you abide in God’s love and grow in His grace.


Death belongs to you. So the Christian can say, "To live is Christ, and to die is a gain." Let the whole world fear death, but not us.


Because you are in Christ you need never to fear death—for death belongs to you. Death serves you. God will use death to heal you. Death will rid you of sin. Death will usher you into God's presence.


Rev 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, crying, or pain.”

 

The present is belongs to you. God gives the present to serve us. Grow us. Draw us to Him. Every boring moment, happy moment, angry moment, every moment of regret. When is the best time to forgive? NOW. When is the best time to love? NOW. To turn your heart to God and abide in His love? NOW.


Finally, the future belongs to you! People worry about the future. Retirement. The environment. What if Trump runs again. But the future belongs to you. The resurrection. The rapture. The kingdom. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb belongs to you. The new heaven and new earth are yours. A glorious body like Jesus’s is yours. The future belongs to God, thus it belongs to you.


Dear Christian, do not lament what you lack—for all things belong to you and you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.


Don’t be long distressed by hardship or stress, grief or death. Do not face any of these alone. But look to Christ, for all of are used by God for your sake. For all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.


Out of the abundance of what you now possess in Christ, sure, give to Caesar what is Caesars. And of His love, we can love others. And we can forgive as we are forgiven. We can bless others with the acceptance they need because of the acceptance we have received in Christ. May He bless you as you trust Him.