A different kind of measuring device

Click on the above link to listen to the "Byrds"

Sundials are a very old invention.  Here are a few examples...

I was a little curious about sundials and found the following on the net...

The sundial is the oldest known device for the measurement of time and the most ancient of scientific instruments. It is based on the fact that the shadow of an object will move from one side of the object to the other as the sun “moves” from east to west during the day. 

5000-3500 BC 

The first device for indicating the time of day was probably the gnomon. It consisted of a vertical stick or pillar; the length of the shadow it cast gave an indication of the time of day. 

3500 BC 

Sumer becomes the world’s first civilization. (Sumer is an ancient region of southern Mesopotamia – which is now southeastern Iraq.) 

2500-2000 BC 

Babylonians and Egyptians build obelisks (slender, tapering four-sided monuments). Their moving shadows formed a kind of sundial, enabling citizens to divide the day into two parts by indicating noon. They also showed the year’s longest and shortest days when the shadow at noon was the longest or shortest of the year. Later, marks around the base of the monument would show further time divisions. 

800 BC 

More precise sundials are built in Egypt. The earliest known sundial still preserved is an Egyptian shadow clock of green schist dating from at least this period. It consists of a straight base with a raised crosspiece at one end. The base, on which is inscribed a scale of six time divisions, is placed in an east-west direction with the crosspiece at the east end in the morning and the west end in the afternoon. The shadow of the crosspiece on the base indicates the time. 

300 BC 

The earliest description of a sundial comes from Berossus, a Babylonian priest and author. His sundial is a cubical block into which a half-sphere is cut. A small bead is fixed at the center. During the day the shadow of the bead moves in a circular arc, divided into twelve equal parts. Because the length of the day varies with the season, these hours likewise vary in length from season to season and are thus known as “temporary hours.” (“Equal hours” were decided upon about 1300 AD, when mechanical clocks were invented.) 

290 BC 

The first sundial is set up in Rome. It has been captured from the Samnites. 

250 BC 

The Greeks develop and construct complex sundials using their knowledge of geometry: 
- Apollonius of Perga develops the hemicyclium by using a surface of conic section upon which the hour lines are inscribed; thus providing greater accuracy. 
- Ptolemy uses the analemma, a device that enables shadows to be projected geometrically onto flat surfaces inclined at various angles to the horizontal. 

164 BC 

The first sundial is constructed for the city of Rome designed by architect and engineer Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. He mentions many types of sundials, some of which are portable, in his great work De architectura. 

100 BC 

The Tower of the Winds is constructed in Athens. It is octagonal in shape and contains eight sundials. Sundials facing various cardinal compass points were in use at least since then. 

Birth of Christ 

100 AD 

It is discovered that the shadow cast by a slanting object is a more accurate timekeeper than a shadow cast by a vertical object. If the shadow-casting object is parallel to the earth’s axis, the direction of its shadow at any given hour of the day is constant regardless of the season of the year. 

150 AD 

The Greeks introduce trigonometry into mathematics, thus supplying the tool for plotting hour lines with simple arithmetic calculations instead of the more cumbersome geometric constructions. This method will be exploited by the Arabs and later by European sundial makers. 

1200 AD 

Ab û al-Hasan writes on the construction of hour lines on cylindrical, conical, and other surfaces and is credited with introducing equal hours, at least for astronomical purposes. 

1300 AD 

The first all-mechanical clock is made. It is a large iron-framed structure, driven by weights. The function of the first European clocks was not to indicate the time on a dial, but to drive dials that give astronomical indications, and to sound the hour. They are located in monasteries and public bell towers. The earliest surviving example, constructed in 1386, is in Salisbury Cathedral, England. Mechanical clocks utilize equal hours. 

1500-1800 AD 

The great age of the European sundial. Sundials with equal hours gradually come into use. 

1635 AD 

Galileo designs a clock using a pendulum as the timekeeping element. 

1656 AD 

The first pendulum clock model is completed by Christian Huygens in Holland. The use of the pendulum improves the timekeeping of clocks so much that all new clocks incorporate it. 

1777 AD 

French general Lafayette wants to express his respect and admiration for his ally and friend General George Washington during the American revolution. He chooses as his gift a silver Explorer sundial. 

1700’s AD 

Clocks and watches begin to replace sundials. They have the advantage of not requiring sunny skies. They are, however, often unreliable and depend upon sundials to set the true time. 

Early 1800’s AD 

Mechanical clocks become accurate enough and inexpensive enough to displace sundials as the timepiece of choice. 

Because of the earth’s rotation, a town 20 or 30 miles east or west has it’s clock set slightly differently. Your noon arrived somewhat before that of your western neighbor but sometime after that of your eastern neighbor. This made little difference because a resident might never travel to either of his neighboring towns. 

1884 AD 

Railroads are the preferred method of travel. Railroads demand schedules and schedules require “true” time. Along a 100 mile stretch of tracks there might be 6 towns with 6 different town clocks all different from the others. Passengers need to know when the train will arrive and depart and railroaders need to know when to send the next train in order to avoid accidents. 

A conference is held and an agreement reached to divide the United States of America into four time zones, each 15 degrees wide – Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific, and all stations in a time zone would carry the same time. In fact, train time which is rigorously held to by the railroads becomes the time that cities and citizens set their clocks by. The train whistle becomes the signal for setting clocks. 

1979 AD 

The founder of Accurate Sundials, LLC starts designing, building and testing many types of accurate sundials. He designs a computer program for each major type of sundial to make the 174 calculations which go into each custom design. 


The knowledge gained by Accurate Sundials, LLC in 24 years of research, along with expert support in computer aided design and machine shop technology, results in the attractive offering of elegant and accurate solid brass, copper and aluminum sundials you will find in it’s catalog. They also offer build-it-yourself site-specific layouts and directions for educational experience and project enjoyment. 


Check back often to see new and exciting accurate sundials added to the offering of Accurate Sundials, LLC. 

All this started with the very unusual picture of a sundial at the top of this page and the haunting memory of the Byrds singing "Turn, Turn, Turn" from the late sixties.  Of course their lyrics would naturally remind most people of the first eight verses of Ecclesiastes chapter three, but it also reminded me of 1 Thessalonians as well...

1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5
 1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that anything be written to you.  2 For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.  3 For when they are saying, “Peace and safety,” then sudden destruction will come on them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman; and they will in no way escape.  4 But you, brothers, aren’t in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief. 5 You are all children of light, and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night, nor to darkness,  6 so then let’s not sleep, as the rest do, but let’s watch and be sober.  7 For those who sleep, sleep in the night, and those who are drunk are drunk in the night.  8 But let us, since we belong to the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation.  9 For God didn’t appoint us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,  10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.  11 Therefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as you also do. 

That there is a time for everything is obvious, but what most people don't enjoy contemplating is judgment.  Philosophical concepts are fascinating, but when it gets "personal", well, that is different!!!  There will come a time when we all will have to answer for what we do and its not an "if", but a "when".  Want to know what time it is?  Don't even think of looking at a watch or a clock or even a sundial.  Instead, take a moment and think about how you are living your life.  If you can't say you are living as a Christian-- its time to change things.



By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will once again be history. As I consider that thought, expressing it as "history" has a regrettable ring to it. Since when should the giving of thanks be a matter of the past? Should a day in our lives pass without the acknowledgment of the rich blessings we enjoy?
When the Pilgrims settled into their newfound home, it was appropriate for them to set apart a day of thanksgiving. The sparing of their lives on the long and unpleasant voyage, their safe landing at Plymouth Rock, their being befriended by the indians and the sustenance which had been freely shared by those native residents that welcomed them - all of these circumstances which led to their ultimate colonization - were worthy of much thanksgiving. Their long-sought freedom did not come without cost. Many died, never to enjoy with family and friends this feast in celebration of their blessings. Was there any sadness? As surely as there had been trial and suffering and death - there was sadness. Was there any joy? Their giving of thanks is clear testimony to their joy.
Abraham and his family were also pilgrims in a strange land. Of him it is said that "he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Heb. 11:9) Their lives were associated with suffering and disappointment as is common to us all. However, their faith sustained them as the focus of "things not seen." Of them it is therefore said, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland." (Heb. 11:13-14)
We see a much different picture in the lives of the Israelites who had escaped Egyptian bondage and was on the threshold of entering the land of promise. Unlike Abraham, whose vision looked beyond the moment and focused on the eternal promise, the freed Israelites failed to see beyond the bleak picture of ten faithless spies who expressed doubt in that which God had promised. Their reaction tells the story of their lack of faith. "Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmered against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, 'If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?'" (Num. 14:1-3) Stephen spoke of their attitude and disobedience in this way; "...And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt." (Acts 7:39)
The resulting years of their wandering in the wilderness were filled with complaining. Paul urges us to learn not to "murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer." (1 Cor. 10:10) As they continually murmured in complaint of their immediate plight, they failed to consider their blessings along the way. Upon their arrival in Moab, before finally entering the land of promise, Moses reminded them of their past experience. "You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land- the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day. And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet." (Deut. 29:2-5)
The contrast between Abraham and those Israelites is obvious. While both were wanderers, and neither obtained the physical promises of inherited soil, they were diametrically opposed in their attitudes. Abraham looked beyond the moment, while the Isralites could not see beyond it. When Moses told them that God had not given them "a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear" (Deut. 29:4), it reminds us of Paul's quoting Isaiah as he addressed the unbelieving Jews in Rome. "Go to this people and say: 'Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.'" (Acts 29:26-27)
We should not misunderstand that Israel's inability to see and hear and have a receptive heart was the fault of God. On the contrary, it was a matter of their choice by virtue of the fact that they had allowed their hearts to become "dull" (unfeeling or uncaring), and they had closed their own eyes, resulting in their inability to see the blessings of God's care. In so doing, they failed to see beyond the moment, reinforced their faithlessness in their continual murmuring, and became thankless and miserable.
How richly blessed we are! But if our conception of such blessings do not go beyond the abundance of the physical bounty that we enjoy, we too are failing to look beyond the moment. While we may be very comfortable pilgrims, we must not fail to be mindful of the incomparable eternal blessings that await those who look beyond this life, as well as the supreme sacrifice in Christ who has made that promise possible. It is all too easy to become "dull" in heart and become "blind" to the important things of life. When that happens, we will become unthankful.
There is such irony in the fact that the day following Thanksgiving has become the busiest shopping day of the year. As people make a mad dash for the stores in their "buying frenzy", is there any rememberance of heavenly treasures, or are we caught up in the moment? Hear the words of David; "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." (Psm. 100)

- Gary V. Womack - November 2003   


Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan


I wish to put this much earlier piece up again.
If the Church of God in the world offers nothing but more advice on how to live right, if it offers nothing more than a call to treat one another right, if it offers little or nothing more than ways to make our groups and congregations bigger and more attractive, if it offers nothing more than seminars on interpersonal relationship skills and how to make our marriages and families better—if that's it, we ought to close up the church shop. We ought to close it up and quit pretending that we're offering something distinctive, something that can't be got anywhere else! We ought to close it up because on those terms we'd only be offering what every other socially useful group is offering [we're using their materials, for pity's sake] while they deny the Gospel of God in and as Jesus Christ!
And what's more, the churches aren't any more successful in producing sustained uprightness than the host of non-church and secular movements and there are people whose lives are every bit as morally fine as the church-going folk. The business of the People of God is not to compete with others in a pursuit of moral excellence—it's business as the Body of the Lord Jesus is to be the bearer of GOD'S Story !  
The business of the Church of Jesus Christ is not to help societies and nations to live up to some generalized moral code that we would all be better off if we clung to and that we would be more prosperous and peaceful if we kept to. The master-stories that get all the attention, whether they are "The war in Iraq" or "The war against terrorism" or "Global warming" or "The AIDS epidemic" or "Let's abolish Poverty" or whatever—these are the stories around which nations structure their lives and respond to. And however morally appealing or urgent we think them (or elements in them) to be, they are not the stories on which the Church is built!
When God called Abraham out of one of the centers of world-power, literacy and social success and established a covenant with him he spoke his mind on all "non-church" efforts of making the world better. It is nonsense to think that God chose Israel because everyone else in the world was corrupt! Whatever moral goodness there was in the world the fundamental need of humanity wasn't supplied in or by places like Ur! THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD ARE NOT THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
In choosing Israel God was not dumping the rest of humanity as if he didn't care for them (that notion is moral lunacy and it is moral lunacy because it is biblical lunacy!) but he did covenant with Israel as with no other nation. The master-stories of other nations, whether they were based on their gods, their military might, their economic shrewdness and social wisdom and obvious "success" or a combination of all those and more, were not Israel's story! And Israel was not to buy into them and this, in part, explains God's blunt insistence that Israel was not to enter into covenants with the nations around them.
This does not mean that no one outside of Israel loved their families or practiced social righteousness or possessed (God given) wisdom. Itdoes mean that in Israel alone God was making himself known in a peculiar and definitive way not only as the sovereign Lord of all but—if anyone was to be redeemed—the Redeemer of all!
In choosing Abraham and his descendants God was creating a new thing in the world (see Isaiah 40-66 and how often we're told that God "created" and "made" and "formed" Israel). There was decency in Egypt, there was love of family and honesty in business but there was nothing like Israel in Egypt—there was nothing like her in all the world! She was God's people by his creation and covenant choice and he insisted that his creative acts, by which he brought Israel into existence, were to be remembered and proclaimed before the entire world. Israel was not only God's rejection of the world's attempts to reject him and build a counter-world without him (compare the tower of Babel affair in Genesis 11:1-9); Israel was God's offer of hope to the world and it was Israel's business to point the human family to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Redeemer of the entire human family).
Israel wasn't chosen because it was especially righteous nor was it chosen because God knew that after a while it would become righteous—the contrary was true (see Deuteronomy 5:23-29 and 9:4).
As soon as Israel in their minds wandered from God—either in suffering or in prosperity, and more especially in prosperity (Deuteronomy 32:15-18)—they sidelined their Story and substituted for it all manner of lesser and injurious stories, making covenants with other nations, buying into their agendas, forgetting their business in the world and even becoming more and more religious. And when the prophets came thundering, calling them to repentance, they constantly called Israel back to the Exodus, the Wilderness, the Passover and the God who was their God "since Egypt" (see Hosea 12:9, for example). They called them to moral righteousness, of course, but that was always andunceasingly connected with their relationship to Yahweh, their redeemer, and never as a call to obey some generalised moral code. Everything was relational! The Torah and the commandments issued in it are saturated with truths imbedded in God's own action in his redeeming work (see here). The prophets preached the meaning of these events and called Israel to live out the meaning of them as they bore witness to the historical reality of them.
In the Bible we're watching prophets and people make war against the establishment and we're seeing a refusal to accommodate to the stories of Assyria, Egypt or Babylon or Persia or Greece. In calling Israel to faithfulness to Yahweh the prophets ceaselessly call Israel back to its origins. This wasn't only a word of assurance (which it was!) that God could overcome present enemies as surely as he had overcome past enemies; it was a reminder of Israel's origin and destiny, of God's commitment to her and her commitment to him as against all gods and stories of gods. It was God through the prophets telling Israel he would not allow her to bury herself in the nations (see Ezekiel 20:33-36) because it was vitally important for the salvation of the nations that Israel remain separate from even while living among the nations.
They were not to forget, much less deny the Exodus! They were not to ignore the Passover or forget the Wilderness for to forget all that was to forget who and what they were. And that is why they were to rehearse their national faith, that was why their ordinances were of critical importance and that was why they sang and prayed and studied and taught their Story.
The life of righteousness they were to pursue was not an attempt to live up to a moral code shared equally by the entire human family—it was life in the image of God, life bearing witness to God. Their business was not to claim moral superiority over all the non-elect—God expressly denied that they were superior! Their business was not to claim that the non-elect were utterly destitute of truth or moral uprightness; God was at work in other nations also (compare Romans 2:12-15). Israel's message, that was to be embodied in their corporate and individual life by ordinances, liturgy and daily living, was not first about them, but about God; the God who in holy grace created them to be his witnesses (see Isaiah 43:9-13)!
Christians are not to deny their Exodus in Jesus. They are not to forget their baptism. They are to eat the Supper as Israel ate their Passover. It doesn't matter that the world jeers and that they have no political clout. They are God's chosen people who live out in Jesus-imitating righteousness their witness to the living Christ and refusing to be swallowed up in a sea of "niceness"!
The NT Church is the creation of God and in and through it (for all its many flaws) the witness of the Spirit of his Son (Galatians 4:6) is held before the face of all nations. They are not to accommodate and sink themselves so that they become another nice moral group, inviting people, "Come join us and your marriage will be better, your family will be more secure, you will find prosperity in life and happiness in our assemblies!" Even if all that was experienced on coming to Jesus in the new covenant Community—that isn't the Message that has been entrusted to the NT elect!
It is too easy for the People of God to drift into a generalised message: "Let's all be happy by being kind and good." It's too easy for the Church of God to listen to the world's felt needs (real needs!) and try to supply them by getting them to become members of our group. Read up on all the books about social and group dynamics, scour the materials about interpersonal relationship skills, dive into psychology and sociology and come up with new ways to "draw them in". Who can fault our attempts to understand and make use of truths that God has blessed the human family with? No one—unless. unless. unless in the process we're swallowed up in becoming curers of the world's ills with the world's wisdom while the creative work of God in and through the saving work of Jesus is sidelined.
The gatherings of the Church must not become exercises in social dynamics! Any joy and happiness and hope that is distinctively Christian rests on the Gospel of God and the NT Church like the OT Church (Israel) is in dire peril when that is forgotten. And not only will the Church suffer the loss of identity and purpose—the world will suffer loss because of it.
The Church of Jesus is a new creation that rests on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It didn't only originate in that way, it continues to be sustained in the same way. Its ordinances, liturgy, prayers, scriptures, faith and living (a Christ-imitating righteousness) are to centre in nothing and no one other than God and his faithfulness to his eternal creative purposes. [This is one reason why it is pitiable nonsense to belittle baptism or dispense with it altogether. Along with the Lord's Supper, baptism proclaims the new creation work of God, its meaning and historical reality.]
Bible study for Christians is not about getting more information or merely understanding what an ancient writer said; it's about being shaped and sustained in our identity as "the body of Jesus Christ". It is to strengthen us so that we won't be swallowed up by the drifts and cultures of the world. It is to teach us to speak in the presence of the entire human family God's gospel of judgment and salvation.
Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Matthew: Winning The War Over Worry (6:25-34) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                  Winning The War Over Worry (6:25-34)


1. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus exhorted His disciples to...
   a. Lay up treasure in heaven (by helping others)
   b. Keep your eye good (guard what you allow to influence your inner
   c. Make God your Master (and you will not be able to serve another
   -- Which we examined in the lesson "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon"
      (Mt 6:19-24)

2. But if we do what Jesus says, what about the future here on earth?
   a. If we lay up treasure in heaven instead of on earth, how will we
      provide for our future?
   b. Where will our physical necessities like food and clothing come
   c. How can we keep from worrying about such things?

3. Jesus' discussion concerning material riches (i.e., "mammon") did
   not end with verse 24...
   a. It really continues on to the end of the chapter
   b. In which Jesus addresses such concerns regarding the future

[Beginning with verse 25, Jesus gives several reasons why we should not
worry about such things.  In so doing, He establishes two important 
principles that are crucial to "Winning The War Over Worry". The first
principle might be stated as...]


      1. The word in the original means "distracted"
      2. I.e., don't let anxiety about food and clothing distract you
         from more important things in life (like Martha did - Lk 10:

      1. Is not life and body more important than food and clothing?
         - Mt 6:25
         a. This is an argument from the GREATER to the LESSER (similar
            to Ro 8:32)
         b. Life and body are certainly more important than food and
         c. Who provides our lives and our bodies?  God!
            a. If He is powerful enough to create life...
            b. Isn't He also able to provide food & clothing to sustain
               that life?
         d. "He who has displayed so great goodness as to form the 
            body, and breathe into it the breath of life, will surely
            follow up the blessing, and confer the smaller favor of 
            providing that the body be clothed, and that life 
            preserved." (Barnes)
      2. Look at the birds of the air, are you not more valuable than
         they? - Mt 6:26
         a. The birds are an example of God's ability to provide
            1) Through His providential workings in nature, God 
               provides for their needs
            2) This does not mean they do not work for their needs 
               (indeed, they are often very busy, gathering food, 
               preparing nests, caring for their young)
            3) But they are not guilty of overdoing a good thing (as 
               the rich fool was in the parable of Lk 12:16-21)
         b. We are certainly more valuable to God than birds!
            1) This is an argument from the LESSER to the GREATER (cf.
               verse 25)
               a) If God through His providence provides for their 
                  needs, will He not for you?
               b) A similar argument is found in Mt 10:29-31
            2) How are you more valuable than birds?
               a) You were created in the image of God!
               b) You were redeemed by the blood of His Son!
         c. Why, then, let concern over physical needs distract you
            from what is really important in life?
      3. Can you grow simply by worrying? - Mt 6:27
         a. This argument illustrates the helplessness of man
            1) There are many things in this life which we cannot 
               affect by "worrying"
            2) For example, worrying will not make our bodies grow any
         b. The implication of this argument seems to be:
            1) "Worrying" about food and clothing cannot guarantee that
               you will have them tomorrow
            2) As victims of "Hurricane Hugo", the "Great Quake of '89"
               and "Hurricane Andrew" have come to realize
      4. Consider the lilies, won't God provide for you also? - Mt 6:
         a. Another example of God's ability and willingness to provide
            1) Like the argument in verse 26 (the "birds of the air")
            2) It is another argument from the LESSER to the GREATER
         b. Look at how they grow...
            1) Without any "toil" whatever on their part, nor any 
               "care" bestowed on them by any human agency
            2) Yet their glory surpasses Solomon in all his glory! How?
               a) Through God's providential care!
               b) By so ordering the affairs of this life to assure
                  that they accomplish what they were designed to 
         c. Will God not much more clothe you?
            1) If God is able to so clothe the grass of the field...
            2) Is He not ABLE and WILLING to do so for you?
               a) You who are created in the image of God?
               b) You who are designed to spend eternity with God?

      1. If we worry about food and clothing, then we are "little 
         faith" - Mt 6:30
      2. We have "little faith" in God's...
         a. Promise to care for us!
         b. Power to deliver that promise!

      1. Don't worry about food and clothing - Mt 6:31
      2. People without God (e.g., the Gentiles) naturally worry about
         these things - Mt 6:32
      3. But we have God as our Heavenly Father, and He knows that we
         need such things!

[So we need to develop faith in God's providence, both in His ability
and willingness to provide for His children.  But the promise of His 
providence is conditioned upon our willingness to...]


      1. This is the second key to "Winning The War Over Worry"
      2. We must make the will of God the number one priority in your
         life - Mt 6:33
      3. We do this by:
         a. Serving God instead of "mammon"
         b. Letting the "lamp" of our body be a "good eye" (i.e., 
            focused clearly on that which is good, true, and righteous)
         c. Laying up treasure in heaven (by using earthly treasure to
            help others - Mt 19:21; Lk 12:33-34; 1Ti 6:17-19
      4. Do this, and God will provide for your physical needs
         a. For He is certainly "able"
         b. And He is certainly "willing" 

      1. Today has enough trouble with which to concern yourself 
         - Mt 6:34
         a. We are not capable of handling tomorrow's worries
            1) We have no control over the future
            2) And worrying about the future only distracts us from the
               duties of the present
         b. Today's problems are all we are capable of handling without
            becoming distracted
      2. Let tomorrow take care of itself
         a. By trusting in God!
         b. By doing God's will today!
      3. Let your undivided attention be given to seeking God's rule in
         your life...
         a. Make His kingdom the number one priority in your life
         b. Concern yourself with His righteousness, not your riches


1. The motto of many is "Don't worry, be happy!"; but Jesus qualifies
   that motto by saying:

      "Don't worry, seek God's will first, and you will be happy!"

2. If we take to heart what Jesus says, then our lives will be like
   homes built on a rock (cf. Mt 7:24-25)...
   a. No matter what "storms" of life may come our way...
   b. ...our treasure is in heaven and our Father will provide for us
      during our earthly sojourn!

3. If we don't heed Jesus' teachings, if we allow ourselves to serve
   perishable "mammon"...
   a. Then we must go through life on earth without God's help
   b. And we have no hope of eternity with God when we die

That is why we must "Seek first the kingdom of God..."!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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Matthew: Gaining Mastery Over Mammon (6:19-24) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                 Gaining Mastery Over Mammon (6:19-24)


1. In writing to Timothy, Paul described the danger of seeking to be
   a. The desire to be rich is filled with temptations which have
      destroyed many - 1Ti 6:9
   b. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil which have led
      many astray - 1Ti 6:10

2. Jesus also described the difficulty of the rich entering the kingdom
   of heaven...
   a. When the rich young ruler asked concerning eternal life - Mt 19:
   b. Jesus said it was difficult, but not impossible - Mt 19:23-26

3. In Mt 6:19-24, Jesus taught how it was possible...
   a. For the rich person to have "treasure in heaven"
   b. For us to overcome "mammon", which can easily enslave us

4. According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, "mammon" is...
   a. A Chaldee or Syriac word meaning "wealth" or "riches" - Lk 16:
   b. By personification, the god of riches - Mt 6:24

5. Thus if not careful, wealth and riches can become our "god"...
   a. Paul called a covetous person an idolater - Ep 5:5
   b. He told the Colossians to put to death "covetousness, which is
      idolatry" - Col 3:5

[To prevent Mammon from become our "god", let's examine the teachings
of our Lord as found in His sermon on the mount.  Beginning with Mt 6:
19, we find the first of three keys to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon"...]


      1. On earth:
         a. Moth and rust destroy (material things are perishable)
         b. Thieves break in and steal (material things are subject to
      2. In heaven:
         a. Neither moth nor rust destroys (our treasures are
            imperishable - 1Pe 1:3-4)
         b. Thieves do not break in and steal (our treasures are
            securely guarded - 1Pe 3:4-5)

      1. If your treasure is on earth, your heart will experience much
         a. As things for which you have affection decay or are one day
            destroyed by fire
         b. As things in which you find your primary joy are suddenly
            gone through things like theft
      2. But if your treasure is in heaven, your heart will not suffer
         great disappointments
         a. For your treasure is "incorruptible, undefiled, and does
            not fade away"
         b. Nothing can take your treasure away from you, for it is
            1) "reserved in heaven for you"
            2) "kept by the power of God through faith"
      3. With treasures laid up in heaven, whatever happens on earth
         will not devastate you!
         - cf. the Hebrew Christians in He 10:32-34
      4. When these words of Jesus are taken to heart and applied, how
         true His words in Mt 7:24-27 will be!
         a. The "storms" of life will not overwhelm us
         b. Because we've built our foundation upon the words of Jesus
            found in our text!

      1. First, by becoming children of God...
         a. Thereby becoming "joint-heirs with Christ" - Ro 8:16-17
         b. And the recipients of "every spiritual blessing" in
            heavenly places - Ep 1:3
      2. Then, by using material wealth we may have to bless those
         around us...
         a. As Jesus instructed the rich young ruler - Mt 19:21
         b. As He instructed His disciples, in order to have "a
            treasure in the heavens that does not fail" - Lk 12:33-34
         c. As Paul wrote Timothy to charge those rich in this present
            age, that they may be "storing up for themselves a good
            foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on
            eternal life" - 1Ti 6:17-19

[Through such generosity and liberality, then, we are well on the way
to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon."  At the same time, we need to make
sure that we observe the second key...]


      1. The "body" likely represents the "soul" or "inner man"
      2. The "eye" likely represents the "gaze of the soul" or the
         "heart of man"
      3. The word "good" in Greek means "simple, single, uncomplicated"
      4. The word "bad" in Greek means "wicked, evil"
      5. And in the Scriptures, the expression "evil eye" is used to
         mean "envious, covetous" - cf. Pr 23:6; Mt 20:15; Mk 7:22

      1. If the heart or gaze of the soul be "good" ("single" in its
         love of God and the things of God)...
         a. Then one is filled with "light"
         b. In other words, goodness, righteousness, and truth - cf.
            Ep 5:8-10
      2. But if the heart or gaze of the soul be "evil" (full of envy,
         a. Then one's soul is filled with "darkness"
         b. The opposite of light:  selfishness, wickedness, and

      1. To guard what goes in your eye
         a. I.e., what you allow your eyes to dwell upon
         b. Remember, there is such a thing as "the lusts of the eyes"
            (i.e., materialism)
      2. To be rich toward God, free from covetousness - Lk 12:13-21
         a. Note Jesus' warning - Lk 12:15
         b. Also His conclusion - Lk 12:21

[The third and last key to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon" is most
crucial, and will make it impossible for one to serve Mammon...]


      1. A "master" by definition demands "total loyalty", and we are
         unable to please two masters at the same time
      2. Such is certainly true with God - cf. Exo 34:14
      3. Mammon is evidently no different

      1. When wealth is coveted, and becomes the priority in our lives,
         it becomes a "god" - cf. Ep 5:5; Col 3:5
      2. So the choice becomes one as to whether we shall worship the
         One True God, or be "idolaters" following after a false god!

      1. As Jesus would later say, "Seek first the kingdom of God and
         His righteousness" - Mt 6:33
      2. Do this, and God becomes our Master
      3. Since we can't serve two masters, this effectively eliminates
         Mammon from being our "god"!


1. These are the three keys to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon"...
   a. Lay up treasure in heaven (by helping others)
   b. Keep your eye good (guard what you allow to influence your inner
   c. Make God your Master (and you will not be able to serve another

2. Why seek to gain mastery over mammon and serve God instead?
   a. Because Mammon...
      1) Is susceptible to decay and theft
      2) Will make us blind, selfish creatures
   b. Whereas with God...
      1) Our treasures are secure
      2) We will be kind, righteous people

3. By gaining mastery over Mammon we will also avoid...
   a. Falling into a temptation and a snare
   b. Falling into many foolish and harmful lusts
   c. Straying from the faith because of greediness
   d. Piercing ourselves with many sorrows - cf. 1Ti 6:9-10

But most importantly, Christians will be "storing up for themselves a
good foundation for the time to come", and "lay hold on eternal life"
(1Ti 6:17-19).  Isn't that what we really want?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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