1) The first litmus test–Christianity is not a show. It’s not a performance. Don’t live before men.
2) Related to this, the second litmus test–a Christian knows how to cultivate a secret faith before God.
3) The third litmus test–a Christian is one who lives out his faith publicly in the world. As salt, as light so that men would see our good deeds and praise our heavenly Father.
4) A fourth litmus test for salvation–a Christian is consistent no matter the circumstance you place him in. There is integrity, wholeness, private life matching public life.
5) The fifth litmus test–a Christian is someone who is concerned about God’s name and His kingdom. Personally, wanting God’s name to be hallowed. Evangelistically, wanting God’s name and his renown to be spread among all the nations.
6) The sixth litmus test–a Christian is someone who has the ability to forgive others because he or she has already received a tremendous amount of forgiveness from God.
I want to end with v11.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
Finally, the seventh litmus test–a Christian is someone who humbly depends on God daily.
Daily bread refers to daily provision, things like food and shelter and clothes. We don’t often talk about finances. It’s an uncomfortable topic, but it’s in the text so I want to end by taking a moment to address it. Let me start by saying this. A Christian can be rich or poor. The key is not the size of your bank account per se. But if you look at the context, you can’t deny that there’s a link between finances and faith. Verses 19-21 talk about finances.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
In verses 25 through the end of the chapter, again, Jesus talks about finances. Jesus exhorts us not to worry about what you will eat or drink, or what you will wear. Why? Because God even feeds the birds of the air. Birds still have to go out early in the morning and find their food. It’s not like they’re just lounging around in their nests and God drops worms from heaven. They have to work. But they’re not stressed, why? Because even birds are taken care of by God. If you have a goldfish and you forget to feed it for a few weeks and he dies, oops, it’s no big deal. You flush him down the toilet and buy another one. If you are an animal lover, sorry if I am offending you.
But if your son or daughter is starving, it’s a big deal. If God cares for birds, how much more, you and I, as children of God, how much more God loves us and cares for us. Therefore, we don’t have to worry. Pagans worry about things pertaining to finances. But we, the people of God, we’re covered. God has taken care of our physical needs. Look around. Hasn’t he? Isn’t he faithful? We’re covered. Why? So that in v33-34, we can–
33 …seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
So we have the verses about not storing up treasures on earth but storing up treasures in heaven and these verses are followed by not worrying about physical provisions and instead seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. And in between, we have a sobering verse which connects these two sections together.
24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
God and Money. These are the only two masters in life. You’re either serving one or the other. It doesn’t say, God or Self. Or God vs. Pride. Or God’s kingdom vs. my kingdom. But God and Money. In life, these are the two masters. Have you ever thought about this verse? We all fall under one of these two. One Master will free you. The other will enslave you.
I know for a fact, few if any of us would admit, my god is money. We can easily justify ourselves, I am not greedy. I’m not trying to be a millionaire. I just want to be comfortable. I want to cauthion you–our hearts are more deceptive than we think. Anything we worship other than God is an idol and an idol can be something quite small. We think an idol has to be this huge thing that is so hard to surrender. An idol can be something as small as comfort. An idol is not defined by its size but by how tightly we are holding onto it. The idol can be small but if you are holding onto it with clenched fists and you are unwilling to let it go, then it’s an idol.
How do we know if we are serving God or Money? I bet few of us would believe that we would serve something as base as Money. The rich young ruler didn’t think money was an idol until Jesus exposed his heart and he was unwilling to let it go in order to be saved. For us, we don’t have the luxury of Jesus standing in front of us and revealing what idols are lurking in our hearts. So how do we know what our idols are? Specifically, how do we know if we are serving God or Money?
Jesus gives us a litmus test. Examine your prayer life. Do you pray like this, give us this day our daily bread? Do you pray with this attitude? With that kind of humble dependence on God? If not, could it be that Money is your god? In this country, we’re all rich. And because we live in such plenty, our lives can be propped up by so many things. And what’s the result? We don’t feel the need to pray with this kind of desperation day in and day out.
Where is your treasure? Wherever you invest your time and your energy and your desires, there your heart will be also. If you are focused on earthly treasures, could it be that Money is your god?
Or take the opposite of prayer–worry. Do you worry? If so, what do you worry about? I doubt for most of us that our worries are what to eat or drink or what clothes to wear. It’s our school, grades, career, vacation, luxury items. Wouldn’t those thing fall under the category of earthly treasures where moth and rust destroy? Could it be that worrying is a sign that we are bowing down to the god of Money?
How do you make important decisions? Who to marry, what job to take, where to go for grad school? Do you use worldly criteria–who is the best looking, what job pays the most, what school is ranked higher? Or do you seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness? Do you base these important decisions on kingdom values? How you make decisions? Depending on your answer, could this be a clue that your god is Money?
Throughout this chapter, there are only two choices. You either serve God OR Money. You either live before God OR you live before men. Either your faith is real, genuine, it’s a saving faith, or it’s fake, false, it’s a show. Either you live out your faith publicly to the world through good deeds and in secret before the church OR you are the complete opposite–you live in secret before the world and publicly before the church. Either your faith is consistent and whole or it depends on the circumstance and who’s watching. Either you are concerned with God’s name and His kingdom OR you don’t really care all too much about those things. Either you can forgive others or you can’t. Either you are saved or you’re not.
Please spend some time in your prayer closet this week examining where you stand. I encourage you to use the Lord’s Prayer as a model.