Title: What it means to put God first

Focus: God will send his son back again to collect the produce of his vineyard. We must be fruitful and understand that the fruits we produce belong to God. This means everything we produce and have belongs to God. Therefore, we need to use the produce to honor God by serving others.

Function: To motivate the hearers to put God first, and as a part of putting God first, put serving others first.

Text: Mark 12:13-34

1.  Sarah greiving over loss of Concho belt mother gave her
	a.  Friend told her the real blessing was her mother, not the belt
	b.  Then said, do not cry over “things” that cannot cry over you
2.  The fruitlessness of the temple dominates Mark 11-13
	a.  The withered, fruitless fig tree stood as an object lesson
	b.  The parable of the vineyard owner hinted at what would happen
3.  The builders rejected the stone, which was our Lord, and tried to keep
everything for their own selfish purposes
4.  Jesus has made it clear that he will destroy the fruitless temple, and rebuild it,
and he himself will be the cheir cornerstone
5.  Jesus builds a new temple, and that temple is us
6.  How can we avoid the fate of the fig tree, vineyard, and original temple?

Proposition:  Since a day of collection is coming, we need to be fruitful and render
the produce of our lives to God.  How?  Ways.

I.  (v.13-17) By rendering what is due to whom it is due
	A.  The question they asked was a volitale one
		1.  3 kinds of taxes
			a.  Ground Tax - 10% of grain, 1/5 of wine and fruit
			b.  Income Tax - 1% of income
			c.  Poll Tax - A Denarius (a day’s wage)
				- Everyone from 14-65 yrs old had to pay
				- It was a tax for the right to exist
		2.  They could deal with paying taxs to the Herod’s
			a.  After Herod died, sons took over
			b.  However, Archaleaus was removed and replaced with
			     a Roman Governer
			c.  Many could not accept paying taxes directly to Romans
		3.  It became a theological question
			a.  If land belongs to God, how can they pay taxes to Rome
			b.  They saw it as slavery to Rome
			c.  A man name Judas the Galilean incited a revolt
			d.  He was captured, but his movement began the Zealots
		4.  The way Jesus answered could cause him trouble
			a.  He could suffer the fate of Judas if he said it not lawful
			b.  If he said it lawful, he could lose favor with the people
	B.  Jesus showed a good understanding of the issue, in spite of their 
	       insincere flattery
		1. They tried to trap him - Shall we pay, or shall we not pay
			a.  Jesus refused to answer the question as it was put
			b.  Jesus knew their hypocrisy
		2.  Whose face is on the Denarius?  Why this question?
			a.  Minted under Ceasars authority, it sign of authority
			b.  They already pay tribute to him and his authority by using 
			      his coin, which expresses Roman ideals
			c.  Since they acknowledge Ceasar by using his coins, they 
			     ought to give him his due
		3.  (1 Pet 2:13-17) - Christians are called to honor government
			a.  1 Peter written to encourage persecuted brethren
			b.  Yet, he says to be in submission to kings
			c.  Live by laws, show respect and honor, pay taxes
		4.  But Jesus also says give to God what is God’s
			a.  The coinage had Cesars image, so let him have it back
			b.  Whose image do you have?
	C.  ILL:  First time I met _______ I knew whose son he was - Looked alike
		1.  Could tell which family he belonged to
		2.  Gen 1 - Made in the image of God
		3.  (Rom 8:29) - We to be conformed to the image of his son
		4.  Heb 1:1-3 - As Jesus was the reflection of God so we are the 
		     reflection of Jesus
	D.  What does this mean?  Render to God what is God’s
		1.  Let the human institutions have their “things,” but God have you
		2.  Jesus bore his image, how did he live because of that?
		3.  We will come back to that question at the end of this sermon

II.  (v.18-27) - By living the resurrection
	A.  The Sadducees try to make Jesus look foolish with their question
	B.  The Saducees did not understand the scriptures or God’s power
		1.  God “IS” the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
			a.  Not God “was” the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
			b.  Not God “is” the God of the “deceased”
			c.  They not understand God’s power or the scriptures
		2.  God made a powerful promise to the Patriarchs
			a.  Beginning to see that the promise involves “life”
			b.  Bible often calls this “eternal life”
		3.  Bible often speaks of “life” as a present posession
			a.  Not about length (would eternity in hell be eternal life?”
			b.  (Jn 17:3) - What is life?  “Knowing” God
			c.  Life is not about length, it is about depth
		4.  What does it mean to “know” God?
			a.  (Jer 22:15-16) - Is this not what it means to “know me?”
			b.  (1 Jn 4:7-13) - Love one another = knowing God
			c.  (1 Jn 3:14) - We know we live, how?  Love.
	C.  ILL:  Who is your best friend?  (May not have a “true” friend)
		1.  Knows you through and through, what you thinking
		2.  When have friend like that, you affected by him
		3.  Take on character traits of that person
		4.  That is how it is with God when we “know” him
	D.  Eternal life is about “knowing” God
		1.  When we raise, God accepts those who “know” him
		2.  Those who “know” him know that he is God of justice and mercy
		3.  God “is” Love, so we who know him “love” others

III.  (v.28-34) - By Observing the Greatest Commands
	A.  Is one command of God greater than the other?
		1.  Some have said the 10 commands are the greatest
		2.  I have heard some say that one is not greater than the other
		3.  However, Jesus clearly says these are the greatest
		4.  He also said that there were “weighter” matters
			Mt 23:23 - They tithed their spices but neglected the weightier matters 
			of the law, like justice and mercy and faithfulness
	B.  (1 Jn 3:14-24) - John says the same thing
		1.  We know we have life because of Love for brethren
		2.  His commandement = 2 things
			a.  Believe (have faith in) the name of Jesus
			b.  Love one another
		3.  Jn 13:34-35 - Mark of discipleship - Love
		4.  1 Cor 13 - Faith, hope and love, the greatest is love
	C.  ILL:  The one thing that shows our faith as legitimate is love
		1.  If you truly love God from your heart, you will love others
		2.  Visited a church that had grown from 30 to over 600 in the 
		      last 25 years.
			a.  Was it dynamic singing or preaching?
			b.  Was it beautiful building, dynamic programs?
			c.  They had made a lifestyle of the ministry of love - 
			     benevolent ministries
			d.  People knew they were for real, took faith seriously
		3.  Love is much more than all burnt offerings or sacrifices
			a.  Allusion to passages such as
			b.  Mic 6:8 - “what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love 
			       kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
			c.  Hos 6:6 - “I delight in lovingkindness rather than sacrifice, And in the 
			       knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
	D.  This is what it means to render to God what is God’s
		1.  Ironically, the Pharisees rendered to Ceasar, but not to God
		2.  You cannot NOT love others and claim to love God

1.  So life is not about “things,” life is more that food and clothing - Life is “knowing God”
3.  There is a resurrection coming, and he will check your accounts
	a.  He wont be checking for “things”
	b.  He will be checking your “heart” did you give it to God?
	c.  A true heart will be evidenced by kind service you render to others
4.  Ask:  Have I given my heart to God?  Will show in how you treat others
5.  If you have given your heart, and have strayed, time to return
6.  If never given your heart, today is the day.