“The Peril of Serving Two Masters”

October 2, 2014

Matthew 6:24
Note: Due to weariness and a very busy schedule a podcast was not prepared with this message.

“The Peril of Serving Two Masters”

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13). “Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him'” (1 Kings 18:21).

I enjoy observing bumper stickers. You can tell a lot about a person’s values and outlook in life by the types of bumper stickers they place on their vehicles or sometimes through the driver’s personalized license plate.

Some are humorous such as “Honk if you love Jesus, text while driving if you want to meet Him”.

Others are thought-provoking such as one that states, “Don’t blame me, I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid”. Or this one:

"Sin would be less attractive if the wages were paid immediately"

Of course many are profane and that number seems to be growing. It’s amazing what people will allow to be seen publicly whether on their cars, their clothing, or these days it might be tattooed on their bodies.

Our hearts are uplifted when we spot a clear proclamation of faith in Christ. Here’s one that will make you think, “God without man is still God, man without God is nothing.” I suppose our favorites are those that merely quote a Scripture verse such as, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel”.

But yesterday we saw an SUV with a conflicting set of bumper stickers. One was a clear expression of faith in Jesus Christ, the other was a statement in support of one of the many Baal’s of our age. The two stickers essentially asserted loyalty to two masters. As I passed by I considered today’s first Scripture text and how we must heed these solemn words from our Lord. It’s a part of the Sermon on the Mount and is found in both Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels.

Vernard Eller rightly said, “One’s ultimate loyalty must converge at a single point. To try to go two ways at once will rip a person down the middle.” We cannot serve two masters!

Mammon can refer to anything in which one puts his trust (which is really just another name for an idol, which in turn is a “false god”; in essence anything that gets between us and God so that we lose our focus on Him. Greed for example amounts to idolatry). I find the expanded sense in the Amplified Bible helpful, “No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or anything in which you trust and on which you rely).”

1 Kings 18:21 Elijah’s question and forthright challenge on Mount Carmel rings true through the ages: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.'”

“God’s people have always faced a choice. Religious pluralism is not a recent development. There have always been plenty of other gods clamoring for our attention, yet God has always demanded our exclusive loyalty.” (Philip Graham Ryken)

The one true God does not give us the option of wavering. The challenge issued by Elijah is to all, “If the Lord is God, follow Him.” Jesus Christ and the New Testament preachers did not tolerate a wavering commitment. They never ran after people to accommodate their wavering beliefs or double-mindedness. The once wavering Thomas, when confronted with the evidence, exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” and went on to live and die for his Master.

Today let’s recognize that we cannot serve two masters. Let us wholeheartedly serve God and boldly declare, “The Lord is God and I will follow Him!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it seems in this pluralistic society that many people waver between two opinions, therefore dividing their loyalties. Elijah challenged the people of his day, “If the Lord is God, follow Him”. Father, help me to thirst and hunger for Your Living Word where I find convincing truths to assure me, “This is the way. Walk in it.” I want to keep my heart fixed upon You and my mind certain of Your truths in this age where false religions abound and the broad way continues to widen. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and I gain entry to You, my Father, only through Jesus the Son. I’ve got a made up mind and I’m going to follow You during the good and the bad times, the lean and plentiful periods. Whether I stand with many or stand alone, I choose to wholeheartedly follow You. In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Creekside farm stand near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
The Creekside Farm stand is an Amish run business near our home.

Creekside farm stand near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

Creekside farm stand near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Expect to see a lot of kids when you shop at these roadside stands!
Last time we were there they had eight.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

The story behind “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus”  Video  Powerful!

“Follow Me”  Video  Kelly Willard

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”  Video   Crabb Family (Inclides interview with George Beverly Shea

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”  Video  Dallas Holm  A rich vocal version

“I Have Decided”  Video   Elevation Worship

For further study on this verse see the notes in the Precept Austin online commentary.

A.W. Pink a British Bible teacher who died two years before I was born characteristically has a way of reaching deep into a Scripture’s meaning. He comments concerning this passage that Jesus “refutes the common persuasion that it is possible for us to seek both, and lay up for ourselves treasures on earth and treasure in heaven as well. Men think to compound with God and the world, dividing their affections and energies between them; but Christ here exposes the utter fallacy of such an idea and the impossibility of such a course.

Our minds must be fixed supremely upon God in Christ, and the world sought only in strict subservience to Him. Our hearts must he given to the Lord, wholly or without reserve, and the eyes of our soul be fixed upon Him alone. Here, then, is the reason why spiritual blindness must inevitably be our portion unless both our eyes are fixed steadfastly on a heavenly Object: a man’s affections cannot be divided; if he attempts to love the things of the world as well as love God, he will certainly fail of the latter, for “the friendship of the world is enmity with God: whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). The serving of two masters is absolutely opposed to the single eye, for the eye will be at the master’s hand: “Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eves of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that He have mercy upon us” (Psalm 123:1, 2).

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