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Lesson 13: Mammon or Jesus? Crisis Of The American Christian (Matthew 6:19-24)

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I. Intro and Recap:

a.       Recap—Things to keep in mind as we go through this sermon on the mountain.

      1. Seek the Kingdom!
        1. One of the key statement in this sermon is: Mat. 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom…”
        2. This is the overarching priority of the Sermon on the Mount.
        3. There are two things that can rob you from seeking first His kingdom:
          1. Money.
          2. Worry.
        4. They are to seek perfection (5:48) and the kingdom (6:33).
          1. As they do this, there will arise some competing concerns and challenges.
          2. Wealth and worry.
      2. Jesus is interested in internals, not externals.
        1. Jesus challenges our priorities, our vision, our security, and our very lives in this section.
        2. Jesus warns against public prayer that is merely external.
        3. Jesus also warns against an external life that is just concerned with material things.
    1. Outline:
      1. Two Kinds of…

II.                      Two Kinds of Treasures (6:19-21)

a.      Earthly Treasure (19).

i.  What is earthly treasure?

1.      This is a broad term.  It includes a lot.

2.      It could be anything from applause from people, recognition, status, earthly security, property, possessions, money, clothes—which were expensive, but could be ruined by moths.

ii.                        Earthly treasure doesn’t last.

1.      Clothes were extraordinarily expensive. Silk was worth its weight in gold.  Only the wealthiest could afford it.  It was mostly for royalty.  Some people would save for years to reach the status of purchasing and wearing some purple silk.

2.      But the larva of the moth could destroy it in one night’s sleep.  Or someone would just break in to your house through the clay wall and take it.

3.      It doesn’t last.  It’s fleeting.

4.      All this world has is going up in smoke.

iii.                      Earthly Treasure has a tendency to distract your heart away from God.

1.      It will pull your heart away from God.

2.      When the stock market crashed in 1929, J.C. Penney lost almost all of his material assets. Worry and anxiety set in. He became physically ill and deeply depressed. As a result, he had to be hospitalized.

a.       His earthly treasure had consumed him and distracted Him from a different kind of treasure.

3.      Penny became so sick that on one particular night he thought he was dying. When he woke up, he realized he was still alive. As he walked down the hospital corridor that day, he heard singing coming from the hospital chapel. The words were “God will take care of you, through every day, o’re all the way.”

4.      That marked a complete life turnaround for him, actually.

iv.                       Earthly treasure appeals to our base nature, and pulls us away from God.

1.      A couple years ago I tried my hand in the market and attempted to trade stocks.

2.      I quickly learned that, (although not quickly enough) not only was I incompetent, it was a major distraction.  I would wake up in the morning in a cold panic and look at the futures market.

3.      My heart became divided.  I found my heart pounding harder for the Dow Jones than it pounded for the precious gospel entrusted to me.

4.      I’m not saying those who invest and trade need to follow my lead.  Obviously some people do quite well in the market.  But trading, for me, was wrong, and it divided my heart.

5.      Money has a tendency to create problems…

a.       Marriage counselors say that the number one issue in marriages is money.

b.      There may be heavy hearts in here right now because of the way some have gained money and used money.

c.       People have been DESTROYED by money!

d.      Money can ruin you.

e.       Money has the power to ruin your life, your marriage, your future!

f.        Satan sticks his claws into us regarding money than maybe anything else.

g.      Money tempts us into pride, arrogance, self-sufficiency, self-indulgence.

6.      Puritan Richard Baxter said, “When men prosper in the world, their minds are lifted up with their estates, and they can hardly believe that they are so ill, while they feel themselves so well.”

v. Earthly treasure has a tendency to foster greed and covetousness.

1.      Money, possessions, land, are all good things.  They aren’t bad things.

2.      But our flesh has a tendency to love ourselves and prefer ourselves more than we love God and more than we love our neighbors.

3.      A little boy was walking to church with two quarters in his hand, one for the offering and one for a candy-bar after church.  When he was crossing the street he tripped and fell and one of his quarters went rolling out of his hand and went right down into the sewer, ker plunk.  He told his dad what happened and his father asked him if he “put the other quarter in the offering.”  The little boy said, “No, God’s quarter went down the sewer.”

a.       Truth be told, God’s quarter usually gets thrown down the sewer.  He is usually the last one to be given to.  He gets the left-over’s.  Our priorities lie else ware. And that’s exactly the point Jesus is making.**

b.      And the end of the day and at the end of our lives, the monopoly money gets put back in the box and it goes up in smoke.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.

4.      Martyn Lloyd-Jones tells of a farmer who reported happily to his wife that his best cow had given birth to twin calves, one red and one white.  He said, “You know, I have been led of the Lord to dedicate one of the calves to him.  We will raise them together.  Then when the time comes to sell them, we will keep the money from the one calf and give the money from the other to the Lord.”

5.      His wife asked which one he was going to dedicate to the Lord, but he answered that there was no need to decide that now since he was going to treat them alike.  Several months later he came into the kitchen looking very sad.  When his wife asked what was troubling him he answered, “I have bad news.  The Lord’s calf is dead.”  “But you had not decided which was to be the Lord’s calf,” she objected.  “Oh, yes,” he said.  “I had always determined that it was to be the white one, and it was the white one that has died.”

vi.                      Earthly Treasure tends to be accumulated—turned into greed.

1.      A 2012 article from The Atlantic observed that over the past 100 years and how we have turned luxury products into necessities.

a.       In 1900, less than 10 percent of families owned a stove, or had access to electricity or phones

b.      In 1915, less than ten percent of families owned a car

c.       In 1930, less than ten percent of families owned a refrigerator or a washer.

d.      In 1945, less than ten percent of families owned a clothes dryer or air-conditioning.

e.       In 1960, less than ten percent of families owned a dishwasher or color TV.

f.        In 1975, less than ten percent of families owned a microwave.

g.      In 1990, less than ten percent of families had a cell phone or access to the internet.

h.      The article concluded by noting, "Today, at least 90 percent of the country has a stove, electricity, car, fridge, clothes washer, air-conditioning, color TV, microwave, and cell phone. They make our lives better. They might even make us happier. But they are [never] enough."

i.        Derek Thompson, "The 100-Year March of Technology in 1 Graph," The Atlantic (4-7-12)

2.      Our hearts are prone to wander.

b.      Heavenly Treasure (20).

i.  What are treasures in heaven?

1.      Treasures in heaven should be defined very broadly.

a.       It’s basically anything you can take with you into paradise.

i.  Holiness, humility, love to the saints, discipleship, faithfulness to the Word.  Souls won to Christ. 

ii.                        Righteous deeds of love and selflessness.

2.      Your growth in prayer.

3.      Your growth in evangelism.

4.      Your growth in holiness.

5.      Your attempt to faithfully share the gospel with your friend.

ii.                        Heavenly Treasure are never corrupted, lost, or stolen.

1.      It’s a guaranteed investment.

2.      They are treasures that don’t get taken away.

3.      They are true riches.  They are better.

iii.                      Heavenly Treasure pulls your heart towards God and away from the worldliness.

1.      If I am invested in something, I take a vested interest in it.

2.      If I am investing in the market, then mostly naturally I will want to follow the news of the market.

3.      If my life is dictated by the ups and downs of the Dow Jones, S&P, and the NASDAQ, then I will wake up every morning and check the paper and read the news.

4.      This is the normal behavior of anyone who is vested.

5.      But if my investment is in heaven, then so is my heart!

c.       Here’s the Main Point:  Where’s your heart?

i.  Your heart is the center of your affections and commitments.

1.      How you use money says a lot about you and your heart.

2.      What you think about says a lot about you. 

3.      What you daydream about says a lot about you.

ii.                        If this passage is a heart monitor, then the American Church is on life-support.

1.      This passage is a rebuke of American materialism.

2.      It is the responsibility of the Church to call out and identify the cultural idols that lure and tempt and tease the Lord’s people.

3.      It is the responsibility of the Church to call out the idolatry that creeps in to the church unnoticed.

4.      Let’s not pacify the words of Jesus here.

5.      He is confronting and exposing the hearts of Christians and churches.

iii.                      Where is our heart!?

iv.                      Where are our affections!?

v.                         Where is your treasure!!!!!

III.                   Two Kinds of Eyes (6:22-23)

a.       What does this example of “eyes” mean?

i.  Jesus is really saying the exact same thing as He said in vv. 19-21, but he is expanding it a bit using a slightly different metaphor.

ii.                        The heart has to do with the emotions and priorities.

iii.                      The eye is illustrative of the whole person.  It represents the entirety of a person.

iv.                      He compares our eyes to a lamp.  And says that if your eyes are good, your whole body is filled with light and if your eyes are bad, your whole body is filled with darkness.

v.                         If we lose our vision, or if our eyes go bad, then everything goes gray or black, and we stumble and flounder.

vi.                      But if we see things as they are.  If we see things clearly.  If Jesus is our vision, then it will inform all of our life.

vii.                    A.W. Tozer asked, “What do we value most? What would we most hate to lose? What do our thoughts turn to most frequently when we are free to think of what we will? And finally, what affords us the greatest pleasure?”

viii.                  Jesus is our spiritual optometrist.

b.      Bad eye:

i.  The bad eye is blind to the things of God.  Blind to God’s Kingdom.

ii.                        If your eye is always looking to materialism it will blind your whole life!

iii.                      If your eye covets, then you are blind.  And an idolater, Paul says.

iv.                      If you have one eye on material riches and another eye on the kingdom, you have double-vision.  Divided interests.

v.                         It is blinded by material possessions. 

1.      It is blinded by money. 

2.      It is blinded and distracted by the pleasures and entertainments of this world.

vi.                      When it looks at an opportunity for God, it doesn’t see it.

1.      It looks, but it can’t see.

vii.                    When it looks at an opportunity to store up treasures in heaven, it sees right through it.

viii.                  When it looks at an opportunity to speak up for Christ, witness for Christ, suffer for Christ, serve for Christ, it misses it, because he can’t see it.

ix.                      His eyes are blind, and so is his whole life.

x.                         Blinded and distracted and ignorant of what really matters.


xii.                    The bad eye is lulled and distracted by the worthless TV shows that make you dumber and more worldly every time you watch.

xiii.                  The bad eye is lulled and distracted by every kind of entertainment and amusement that keeps you and your family away from prayer and the Word.

xiv.                  If you eye is gazing and obsessed with the next car, or the next iPad, or the next purchase, you have bad vision.

xv.                     Covetousness and greed blinds people to a kingdom vision.

      1. A.W. Tozer said, "Money often comes between men and God. Someone has said that you can take two small ten-cent pieces, just two dimes, and shut out the view of a panoramic landscape. Go to the mountains and just hold two coins closely in front of your eyes--the mountains are still there, but you cannot see them at all because there is a dime shutting off the vision in each eye."

c.       Healthy eye:

i.  The healthy eye can see the things that matter.

ii.                        The healthy eye can perceive what really matters in life.

iii.                      The healthy eye is single-minded and focused on eternity.

iv.                      The healthy eye sees an opportunity to store up treasure in heaven.

v.                         The healthy eye sees an opportunity to speak up for Christ, witness for Christ, suffer for Christ, serve Christ, and he does it, because he sees it.

vi.                      His eyes can see, and so His whole life is directed and led by a clear vision Christ and His Kingdom and what really matters.

vii.                    He sees things in light of eternity and he sees things in light of making Jesus look good and attractive and compelling, as He is.

viii.                  “Stamp eternity on my eyeballs!” Jonathan Edwards.

1.      In other words, may my vision be Christ and His kingdom!

2.      Lord, give me spiritual eyes!

ix.                      Good eyes at work

x.                         Good eyes at home

xi.                      Good eyes in self-discipline.

xii.                    May God grant us good eyes so that Jesus is our vision.

d.      Main Point:

i.  “Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.”

ii.                        Jesus and His Kingdom are to be our Vision!

iii.                      If He is not, then we will stumble through this life completely missing the things that matter, like souls, and sanctification, and salvation.  Church, discipleship, fellowship, and love.

IV.                    Two Kinds of Masters (6:24).

a.       The third illustration that Jesus uses is that of a Master and Slave.

i.  Slaves in Jesus’ day did not work for two different masters. 

ii.                        A slave was the property of the master. 

iii.                      He did the bidding of the master day or night. 

iv.                      It was a full-time, all-consuming job. 

v.                         He did not have the luxury of doing something else. 

vi.                      He was totally dedicated with single-mindedness to his master.

vii.                    “Master” speaks of something that requires total allegiance and loyalty.

1.      Jesus dials in on our loyalties…

a.       All of us are loyal to something.

b.      All of is idolize something.

c.       Everyone has an ultimate loyalty to someone or something.

d.      We all idolize something.  Either God, or something else.

e.       Our loyalties tell us a lot about ourselves.

2.      Is it possible to love both material things AND God?

a.       Jesus says no.

b.      One of the two will ultimately be neglected or prioritized.

b.      The Bad Master: Mammon.

i.  I like the word Mammon, even though no one uses it.  It’s slightly broader than just “Money.”

1.      The word essentially means money.  “worldly wealth” like property, stocks bonds, cash, real estate. 

2.      The NIV just translates is as “Money” with a capital “M” because it is an idol.  A competitor with God.

3.      His point is that we can’t have it both ways.  Our hearts have but one home.

ii.                        Warnings about Mammon and Money in the Bible.

1.      Col. 3:5, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

2.      1 Tim. 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

3.      2 Peter 2:3, “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

4.      Luke 14:18-20, “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’”

5.      Luke 8:14, “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.”

6.      Luke 12:15-21, “And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

7.      Luke 18:24-25, “Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

8.      Psalm 49:16-17, Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him.”

iii.                      The Master of Mammon is a mirage.

1.      Mammon makes you feel powerful.

2.      Mammon makes you feel secure.

3.      Mammon makes you feel independent and self-sufficient.

4.      Mammon feels good, tastes good, and looks good.

5.      Mammon is your best life now.

6.      Mammon is tied to shopping.

a.       There is a cycle of shopping, buying, consuming, accumulating, discarding, and more shopping.

b.      “In a discussion about what lies at the heart of American culture, scholar David Henderson says, "America's favorite tourist attraction, beating out Disney World and drawing nearly ten times as many people as the Grand Canyon, is the Mall of America outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, a shopping mall complete with more than four hundred stores, an amusement park, and a full-size roller coaster." In 2011, what some have called the "mecca of materialism" drew over 40 million visitors, while Disneyland drew just 16.1 million and the Grand Canyon just 4.2 million.

c.       David Henderson concludes, "America is a land of compulsive shoppers …. The mall is our home away from home and our national pastime."

d.      There is a cycle of shopping, buying, consuming, accumulating, discarding, and more shopping.

i.  And all of that complexity keeps us from the simplicity of One Master.

iv.                      Mammon ties us down:

1.      Property and wealth and pleasure have a tendency to tie us down.

2.      They can consume us and rob us from time and emotional energy.

3.      The person who has nothing is FREE.

4.      They don’t stay up at night wondering if someone will rob the boat they don’t own.

v.                         Mammon is a threat to discipleship to Jesus.

1.      “Many perceptive observers have sensed that the greatest danger to Western Christianity is not, as is sometimes alleged, prevailing ideologies such as Marxism, Islam, the New Age movement or humanism but rather the all-pervasive materialism of our affluent culture. We try so hard to create heaven on earth and to throw in Christianity when convenient as another small addition to the so-called good life. Jesus proclaims that unless we are willing to serve him wholeheartedly in every area of life, but particularly with our material resources, we cannot claim to be serving him at all.”  Blomberg

vi.                      Mammon can kill you (and your soul.)

1.      In 1923 a group of the world’s most successful financiers met at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago.

2.      Collectively, these tycoons controlled more wealth than there was in the United States Treasury, and for years newspapers and magazines had been printing their success stories and urging the youth of the nation to follow their examples.

3.      Twenty-seven years later…

a.       (1) CHARLES SCHWAB—the president of the largest independent steel company—lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life, and died penniless.

b.      (2) ARTHUR CUTTEN—the greatest wheat speculator—died abroad insolvent.

c.       (3) RICHARD WHITNEY—the president of the New York Stock Exchange—was released some time ago from Sing Sing.

d.      (4) ALBERT FALL—the member of the President’s Cabinet—was pardoned from prison so he could die at home.

e.       (5) JESSE LIVERMORE—the greatest bear in Wall Street—committed suicide.

f.        (6) LEON FRASER—the president of the Bank of International Settlement—committed suicide.

g.      (7) IVAR KRUEGER—the head of the world’s greatest monopoly—committed suicide.

4.      Quotes from the rich:

a.       John D. Rockefeller, “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness. I would barter them all for the days I sat on an office stool in Cleveland and counted myself rich on three dollars a week.”

b.      W. H. Vanderbilt said, “The care of 200 million dollars is too great a load for any brain or back to bear. It is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it.”

c.       Andrew Carnegie, the multi-millionaire, said, “Millionaires seldom smile.”

vii.                    We have competing masters…

        1. Our money says we trust in God, isn’t it ironic…
        2. Our national sin is that we trust, worship, and serve our money, not God.

c.       Good Master: Jesus

i.  The point that Jesus is making is painfully clear.  Jesus demands single-minded devotion.

1.      You cannot have two masters.

2.      It’s either money, or it’s Jesus.  But don’t pretend it’s both.

ii.                        Jesus is calling for a spiritual audit:

1.      Look at your bank account…

a.       What is it you prioritize?

b.      Dining, lattes, shopping?

2.      Look at your time and recreation account…

a.       How do you spend your time?

b.      Entertainment, leisure, pleasure…

3.      Look at your ministry outlet account…

a.       When do you serve?  Who do you serve?

b.      The point of this is not to crush us with more guilt.

c.       But we need to let the words of Jesus sting…because they do!

4.      Jesus is saying that there are competing forces, competing masters, and your life will display one or the other.  A mixture of devotion is a mirage of deception.

5.      You can’t have it both ways.

iii.                      Is Jesus better than money and possessions wealth and pleasure?

1.      That’s the (million-dollar) question.

2.      “You cannot serve God and Money”

3.      Money and possessions are a rival god.

4.      At the heart of this passage is this question, “What will bring you the most pleasure?  God or things?”

5.      Phil. 3:7-11, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

6.      Mat. 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

d.      You cannot serve God and Money:

i.  What Jesus is NOT saying:

1.      He is not saying it’s wrong to be rich.

2.      He is not telling them to give away riches or not make a profit.

a.       Paul acknowledges the rich people in the church in Ephesus. 

b.      He doesn’t rebuke them for being wealthy, and he doesn’t tell them to give all their money away.  But he does tell them to be generous to God’s people and the poor.

3.      He is not saying you cannot be rich and be a Christian and money is bad.

a.       Yes. Jesus isn’t rebuking rich folks.

b.      It is not a sin to have money, it’s a sin to serve money!

        1. Money is morally good.
          1. “Money is fundamentally good and provides many opportunities for glorifying God, but also many temptations to sin.”  Grudem “Business for the Glory of God:  The Bible’s teaching on the moral goodness of business.”
          2. Is money the root of all evil?
            1. 1 Tim. 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
        2. Money can be used for good.
          1. This is an understatement.
            1. The Creator God intended material things to be enjoyed appropriately and used constructively.
            2. You can do an enormous amount of good with money.
            3. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have generously used their wealth to alleviate suffering and hunger and Malaria.  This is good.  It’s not neutral, it’s good.
            4. “Nevertheless, most all people who are able to save and invest experience the temptation drastically to overestimate their genuine needs and/or to try to secure their futures against all calamity. Meanwhile, the truly destitute of the world continue to grow poorer.”  Blomberg

e.       There is one main point to this message that Jesus is preaching.  And it’s this:  Jesus needs to be prioritized above everything else.

i.  What are your priorities?

ii.                        Where are your priorities?

iii.                      Our Highest Priority NEEDS to be Jesus and His Kingdom.

iv.                      Hunger and thirst after righteousness.

v.                         Rearrange your lives to be focused on the Lord.

vi.                      What are your priorities?

vii.                    What should your priorities be?

viii.                  You can’t have it both ways:

1.      “I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please.  Not too much—just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted.  I don’t want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust.  I certainly don’t want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and contemplate missionary service in some alien culture.  I want ecstasy, not repentance; I want transcendence, not transformation.  I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I myself don’t want to love those from different races—especially if they smell.  I would like enough gospel to make my family secure and my children well behaved, but not so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged.  I would like about three dollars worth of the gospel, please.” D.A. Carson (commentary on Philipians)

f.        Challenge for LBC and for us as families and individuals: Confess the sin of materialism as a heart issue.

i.  Let’s reject it in our church building.

1.      We spend money on ourselves or our churches.

2.      50 million dollars spent on buildings?

ii.                        Let’s reject it in our families.

1.      Take an inventory:  Where has materialism blinded you?

2.      Examples:

a.       Women—is it in clothing.  Design.  Fashion.

b.      Men-- Technology.  Hunting gear.  Gadgets.

c.       Or is it in homes, furniture, cars, savings and retirement that looks more like hoarding than it does prudence.

d.      It’s amazing how easy it is to justify spending on ourselves or our family.

e.       It’s cloaked under the guise of “I’m providing for my family.” “I’m just showing love to my kids.”

iii.                      What’s the solution?

1.      Simplicity and contentment:

2.      Let’s reject materialism by being simple and being content.

iv.                      Let’s reject materialism by being sacrificial and generous.

1.      We can think about money and ask ourselves two very different questions:  God, how much do you get?  Or God, how much do I keep?

2.      It’s all His anyway.

3.      Let’s spend money in such a way that tells that world that God, not Mammon is our idol.

V.                       The Gospel:


Related Topics: Cultural Issues, Finance

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