The Spiritual Economy

Posted on 01/25/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

I'm in need of a new job. I just can't take any more of people walking on me. I need a good paying job, and one where the people will treat me like a human being. Please agree with me that the Lord will grant my request and speedily. Thank you.
   –Arella Springvale

Please pray for me because I am about to be homeless in RL. Pray that God will intervene and not let that happen. Eviction papers will be filled out on Monday 1/26/09.
   –Arella Springvale

Please pray for me that the diagnosis of cancer that was given yesteday will be found to be something different with more testing. Pray that I can find strength and courage to deal with the pain and fear that are now in my life. Thank you. ~Leann
   –Leann Roecastle

My prayer request is that I submit to JESUS' authority completely and whole heartedly. That I "worship" and "serve" only HIM. Thank you very much for praying for me!!! I love you all !!! GOD bless you all!!!
   –KLU


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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HIS BANNER OVER ME

He is the vine and we are the branches
    His banner over me is love       (x3)

His banner over me is love

He calls us to his banqueting table
    His banner over me is love       (x3)

His banner over me is love

YOUR WORD IS A LAMP

Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path

No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness

For you have called us out of darkness
    into your marvelous light
We turn our backs on what is wrong
    and choose to do what's right

Your blood is flowing through my veins
to cleanse until all that remains
is clay that's molded through the pains of life

Your Spirit blows into these bones
to claim this temple as its home
and starts a fire that soon becomes a blaze

YOU ARE MY ALL IN ALL

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all

Seeking you as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again I bless your name
You are my all in all

When I fall down you pick me up
When I am dry you fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name

I LOVE YOU LORD

I love you Lord
    and I lift my voice
To worship you
    O my soul, rejoice!

Take joy, my King
    in what you hear
Let it be a sweet,
    sweet sound, in your ear

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


How many of you know today that God is in control. He is sovereign over all. He's not worried about the future. And he's not worried about YOUR future, because he sees all your days, and he has a carefully written plan for every single one of them.

He hasn't left you all alone. He hasn't forgotten about your needs. And he hasn't forgotten his promise to meet all your needs according to the measure of his endless riches in glory.

For so many of us, these are very frightening times. We see our country quickly moving down the road of socialism, as more and more of the world's economies begin to fail. The era of personal choice and opportunity to either succeed or fail is giving way to the age in which personal responsibility is replaced by government intervention.

Capitalistic economies have always had an ebb and tide, and only by persevering through the recessions can we expect the next wave of prosperity to come. Socialism is quite a different story, and will destroy what we call "The American Dream."

Microsoft has made an announcement that has Wall Street very concerned, that they are planning extensive lay offs for the first time.

Most of us here today have felt the effects of our economic condition in one way or another. Perhaps you've been layed off, or know someone who has. You might be in foreclosure, or be facing reposession or eviction.

And I'd like to assure you that it's going to pass, and that things are going to get better. I'd like to tell you that if you only claim your prosperity and speak it into being, you will be spared the pain that is coming upon the earth.

But these times are foretold in Scripture. How can one man rise to power over the whole earth, unless some world-wide disaster reveals to us our need for a savior? This is already happening, in a much smaller sense, as people are making statements such as this one, from a women whose car is being reposessed:

"we're not rich like you are, but later this year we will be, because we have Barack Obama."

Psalm 146:3-6 says this:

3 Do not put your trust in princes, nor in the offspring of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 His breath departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
5 Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God;
6 Who made heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps truth for ever;

You see, those we trust and in whom we place our hope, are those we give power over our lives. When we trust and hope in someone, it's only natural to say, "Do what you want in my life, because I know that only good will come from it."

But if we put our hope in a man or a government, we will be sorely disappointed. This woman who thinks Obama is going to make her rich, is in for a very sad awakening, as are many others who believe the new president will put an end to their real or imagined poverty.

1 Timothy 6:8-9 tells us this:

8 And having food and clothing, let us be content with these.
9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in ruin and destruction.

And let's consider the meaning of this word "rich." This passage in 1 Timothy might be taken to suggest that worldly "richness" begins where our needs end. We need food and clothing. We don't need bigger houses, faster cars, and the latest fashions. Most of us don't really need computers, we don't need iPods, we don't have to have car stereos, televisions, and Nintindo or Wii.

Of course there's nothing wrong with these things, but we need to realize that all these things are worldly riches. And God is calling us to a place of maturity in which we will be content even if all these riches are taken away.

What you and I have that the world does not have is the assurance of God's promise that he will be with us 'till the very end, and he will provide for his own. Of all the security we could have in the world, that far exceeds them all!

Psalm 118:8-9 says this:

8 It is better to seek refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
9 It is better to seek refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.

So let's re-evaluate our affections, and let's re-discover our true needs and our earthly riches, as we seek refuge in the Lord, and put all of our hope and our trust in him.


The title of today's message is "The Spiritual Economy."

While the Bible speaks of very troubling times, and while we watch the economies of the world sink into the depths of despair, the Bible also speaks of a great outpouring of the Spirit of God, a time of great spiritual blessings which will come at a time of great spiritual need.

In Matthew 5:3, Jesus says this: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Lord, teach us to be poor in spirit, so that we can obtain true and everlasting riches!


In Revelation chapter three, Jesus is addressing one of the churches, and in verses 16 and 17 he says this:

Revelation 3:16-17

16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
17 Because you say, "I am rich, and have an abundance, and have need of nothing;" and do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;"

You see, they, like so many of us today, were focused on their earthly riches while being unaware of their spiritual poverty. They had grown "luke warm," thinking they had everything they needed. Jesus was warning them to wake up from their spiritual slumber and realize their desperate need to press in and seek diligently after God, his presence, and his will.

It's not when we feel comfortable and at ease that a great move of God comes, but when we realize that we are desperately needy, and we seek after the true riches: righteousness, Godliness, holiness, the presence and the kingdom of God.

And I believe that as things around us become more and more uncertain, and as things begin to crumble and make way for the rise of the antiChrist, God will use these things to strip away our false hope so that we, who are all-too-often luke warm, will see our desperate need, and will come humbly to the cross, laying down our own ambitions and pursuits in exchange for whatever he may bid us to do.


Joel 2:12-31

12 "Now, therefore," says the LORD, "Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning."
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.
14 Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him -- a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly;
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room.
17 Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, "Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ' Where is their God?'"

18 Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, and pity His people.
19 The LORD will answer and say to His people, "Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.
20 But I will remove far from you the northern army, and will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, with his face toward the eastern sea and his back toward the western sea; His stench will come up, and his foul odor will rise, because he has done monstrous things."
21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done marvelous things!
22 Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength.
23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you -- the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
24 The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
25 “ So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.
27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.

28 And it will come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions;
29 And also upon the male and female servants in those days I will pour out My Spirit.
30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.


Yes, our God is a God of abundance. He is a God of blessing. But how does this passage begin? "Now, therefore, says the Lord, turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mouring;"

Avoiding the negative is what our fallen human nature does. It's what we're doing as we bail out the banks and the automobile manufacturers; but just as we're going to just prolong and worsen the problem by refusing to let anyone fail and reset the market, so we only prolong and worsen our spiritual poverty when we constantly comfort ourselves with assurances that everything's just fine.

We don't hear many preachers calling a solemn assembly, and proclaim a fast, a time of weeping, a time of mourning. Some of us wouldn't know what to do if our pastor asked us to fast. "He doesn't know what he's asking! I'll let someone else give up their comfort, he doesn't really mean ME."

We prefer to start with verse 24, "The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten... You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God."

We just don't want to ponder what he means when he says, "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you."

We don't want to believe that God would send anything to consume our years. But according to this, he does. And because he loves you, anyone or anything that causes you to put your trust anywhere but in God, he will cause it to fail.

What if Obama could make us rich? Pay all our bills? Meet all our needs? Would God cease to send his locusts, his mighty army, to crawl, chew, and consume?

But he does this for a reason. He does this so the illusion of prosperity will be torn away so that we might catch a glimpse of our spiritual poverty.

The one who is rich in spirit is rich regardless of what he does or doesn't have; while the one who is impovrished in spirit must have earthly riches to conceal that poverty from human eyes.

And yet, you can't take anything from this earth with you when you die. Your few short years here in this mortal life are a passing mist, like the steam that rises from a cup of morning coffee. It is here but for an instant, then it vanishes away.

You can afford to lose every earthly posession you have. You're going to lose it all some day anyway. But you cannot afford to be spiritually naked and blind, because after a very short time, that's all you're going to have.


So first we see a call for us to turn to God with all our heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. We are called to rend our heart, and to return to God. We are to sound the alarm, and call a sacred assembly. We are to lay down even our best excuses, from the nursing baby to the newly-wed couple on their wedding night. We are called to weep before the Lord, crying out to him to spare his people.

It is then, and only then, that the Lord will be zealous for his land, and will pity his people. The blessing of the Lord are not poured out upon those who will not humble themselves and cry out to him, leaving behind all their comforts and searching after him as a drowning man would search for his next breath.

But to those who turn from their sins, humble themselves, and tear their hearts as a garment, weeping, crying out for mercy, searching diligently and desperately for the face of God, God will pour out his blessings upon them; and whether they are ever considered rich in the eyes of the world, they will have a wealth that cannot be swallowed by earthly lack, for they will partake of the Spiritual Economy, the everlasting riches not affected by the recessions and depressions of earth.

I don't know about you, but my daddy owns the cattle on a thousand hills. All the silver is his, all the gold is his, all the wealth of a million galaxies is his. He is greater than the greatest ruler, more powerful than the strongest catastrophe, and wiser than all the wisdom of a billion ancient sages.

And he has an inheritance for me. An everlasting inheritance. Not earthly riches that corrupt and destroy, but heavenly riches that bring everlasting joy. Are you a partaker of that inheritance too?

We continuously set our eyes on the things of this world, and we forget that it is all passing away. When we have plenty, we tend to forget our spiritual need. But when we seek the things that really matter, everything we need in the physical world will be added to us.


In verse 28 of Joel chapter 2, we read this: "And it will come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions; and also upon the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth."

Are you ready for this latter-day outpouring of the Spirit of God? Are you ready to have your spirit man washed and clothed, to have your eyes healed, to have bread and wine in abundance, and to be a partaker in unending wealth?

If you know your need, then you can know the answer to that need. His name is Jesus. And he's warning us, just like he warned the church in the book of Revelation, to not be luke warm, but to realize that we who are so surrounded by and addicted to earthly comfort are really naked and blind and poor.

Let's start seeking after heavenly riches. Let's humble ourselves before the Lord. Let's use this time of global economic disaster to help pull away the blinders of comfort from our eyes, so we see our spiritual poverty, and the spiritual desolation of the world around us.

Lord God, bring us to that place of repentance! Cause us to weep and mourn, to fast and pray, to set aside our comforts and, realizing our spiritual poverty, seek after you to meet our great need!


I'd like to ask the ministry team to come stand across the front.

And I don't think we need an altar call this morning. You know what the Spirit is saying to you today. And whatever he's saying to you, answer his call.

You're all invited to get out of your seats and come gather at the front, and spend some time on your knees, getting serious with God, surrendering everything to him, and seeking diligently for his presence and his face.

If you need to go, you're free to do so. After this time at the altar, you're all invited to meet us in the room to your left for a time of fellowship.

Come to the altar, and let's put our finger to the pulse of the spiritual economy, and the heart of God, as we seek first and central his Kingdom and his righteousness. Come.