Chapter # 1  Paragraph # 4  Study # 11
June 20, 2004
Lincolnton, N.C.

<075> Thesis: As a part of the powerful rich, we stand in grave danger of living with emptiness. Introduction: There are two characteristics which typify our culture.  We are rich beyond the imagination of every generation prior to the second world war, and, because of that war, we are powerful beyond the imagination of even most of the people who live in the world today.  If we put the mentally and physically handicapped outside of our considerations, there are no citizens of our culture that could not live at a level beyond the pleasures of the Caesars of Rome if they would practice diligence, integrity, and self-discipline.  Since diligence, integrity, and self-discipline are characteristics of those who walk by the Spirit, there is no good reason for any believer to not be well on the road to wealth and the power it produces.  This is considered to be a good thing by everyone, with only a very small number of exceptions.  But, it is not a good thing if we understand Mary's words in Luke 1:52-53 within their context.  That there are only a very few exceptions to the desire for wealth and power among the peoples of a nation that is identified as "Christian" is a statement of just how "unChristian" this nation is.  There is a huge danger in being wealthy and powerful and even the experience of the threat that hangs over everyone that is wealthy and powerful has proven to be unproductive in stemming the tide of the lust for wealth and power.  As we approach Mary's words this morning, we are in serious danger because the words are going to cut across some of our most fundamental desires and we will be sorely tempted to just dismiss them and, then, continue to experience the consequences of being wealthy and powerful.