Your Money or Your Life
I Tim 6:3-10
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
In this letter to Timothy, Paul has dealt with church life. They receive instructions concerning worship order, concerning leadership selection and concerning bad teaching. Here toward the end Paul returns to the issue of false teaching and he underscores how to avoid their bad teaching and then he identifies their motives which would help us to avoid them altogether.
But when Paul gets to the part about false teachers being motivated by money he goes in depth into the issue of greed, so this will be a very helpful passage to us today!
- False Teachers False Motives False Life
- Insist on Biblical standards
Garbage in, garbage out
One of the things that I have noticed over time is that some interpretations of Scripture get passed down from one preacher and sermon to another as folks listen to each other. I think we should be very rigorous in determining that what we believe and teach is actually scriptural.
In Acts 17: 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
Scripture has authority. It is the Word of God to us! It judges the thoughts and intents of our hearts. It corrects, rebukes, teaches and trains us so that we are fully equipped for every good work.
Why would folks want to short circuit that authority?
- Driven by pride
Conceited to think that they can add to Christ v.4
Dr. Inch’s story: “You don’t need the Bible any more, you have me.”
It can be frustrating to get the context correct etc. in interpreting Scripture, but that is the work that needs to be done.
And just as this passage points out, the motivation of personal pride will lead to arguments and conflict. (There is a little Gnostic is all people) And there has been plenty of this in the church. Presbyterians arguing about whether God predestines based upon His foreknowledge.
At some point perhaps we in the church should exercise some humility concerning our opinions, especially when there is broad discussion over time without a lot of agreement. Usually other people have a balancing point.
- Driven by financial gain v.5 There is nothing new here.
In our culture, what is the church criticized for? Asking for money? Not being transparent about how money is spent. In Paul’s day, the traveling teachers (Sophists) commanded respect commensurate with the amount of money they could charge for their services. This will create a culture that is prone to greed.
In Phil 1 Paul mentions preachers who preach from wrong motives.
- Godliness With Contentment is True Riches
And so Paul transitions to the issue of greed and gives us one of the clearest warnings in Scripture about it.
Paul contrasts greed with what creates true riches.
“Money can’t buy me love.” “Money doesn’t buy happiness”
What do people want money to do?
- Godliness creates perspective
Godliness means being like God. We are all fundamentally created in God’s image. When we do things that are truly meaningful, we are acting like God. Creativity, responsibility, acting in a truly loving or truly sacrificial way. Godliness is what we need to invest in that will, as we said last week, cause us to lay hole of that which is truly life.”
Commercials on TV do not promote Godliness. Except for Mean Joe Green and his coke add.
- Godliness attracts God’s blessing
(this is the fundamental message of the Bible)
God delights to bless. And as we function as we are intended to as a part of God’s created order, we experience His blessing. God creates. God blesses. God instructs.
Then as we maintain our relationship with God through trust and obedience, then the blessings flow. So, Godliness is the source of true life, not money.
And then there is the issue of contentment. Contentment is necessary to keep the blessing of God.
- Contentment stops life from leaking away
Is it possible this is enough?!
We are the wealthiest generation of people ever!! Do you feel it?
We can always want more and new and better!
We live in a culture rich in money and in suicide.
How do we gain contentment, just telling someone to be content isn’t very helpful in restraining the heart.
- Be grateful. Intentionally grateful. Another way to say this is to count your blessings.
- Pray about areas of discontent. And really believe that God is at work.
- When you see that you are struggling, make a sacrifice. Give when you are feeling greedy. Simplify your life when you see things getting away. Don’t buy until God gives you permission.
III. Loving Money is a Trap
Trusting Money is a trap too. It’s really the same thing. Don’t make money the motivating force in your life that drives your decision making.
- Do not strive to be rich
Temptations come- you fall into sin- bad thoughts, bad decisions, bad priorities, and bad habits and a bad life. Look at Romans 1 cycle of sin.
Romans 1: 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Traps come: you get STUCK!!
Many foolish and harmful desires come!!
- Loving money fosters evil
Matt 6:24 You can’t serve two masters
Matt 6:24 You can’t serve God and money
Matt 6:22-23 Your perception of how you are doing can be clear or cloudy.
Therefore, Store up treasures in heaven, NOT on earth!
- Loving money is apart from faith
At the very least it is apart from faith in God. The way we treat our finances speaks to whether or not we are trusting God to be our provider.