Summary: This sermon is a test to check our attitude towards money and the test of money love. A very practical sermon on money with scripture and illustrations. Also titled Godliness with Contentment.
What is your attitude towards money? What are the means you use to make your money? What is your motive behind making money?
Money is an integral part of human life. We deal with money all the time. Everything in our life is related to money. The Bible also lays a great emphasis on money. In the gospel of Matthew, the Lord talks about money 109 times. In the gospel of Mark, He talks about it 57 times, in the gospel of Luke He talks about it 94 times, and in the gospel of John He talks about it 88 times. The Lord talks about money 5 times more than He talks about any other subject in the Bible. I guess He figures we’re a little hard of hearing when it comes to that theme.
The Bible has instructions regarding the right attitude towards money.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9Those 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. 10For 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.
The key statement here is 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Well Paul had just in verse 5 been talking about false teachers who are motivated by gain. He said they think their fake godliness is going to bring them material gain, that’s their motive. And then he transitions and says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
In this epistle Paul is correcting issues in the church at Ephesus where Timothy is now laboring. So when he brings up a subject, it is a subject that is being abused in the life of the church. Obviously, looking at these verses we can conclude in the Ephesian church that there were some people who were suffering the terrible tragic results of loving money. That’s not, however, isolated just to that church, it’s a problem of equal concern in this age as well.
The Scripture is replete with injunctions against loving money. Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. In other words, “Go through your bank statement and find out what you really care about.” Your spiritual life can be measured probably better by what you do with your money than any other thing.
Illustration: Experts tell us that the average person thinks about money 50 percent of his daytime. Amazing isn’t it? How to find it, how to get it, how to keep it, how to save it, how to spend it and so on. So, what should be our attitude toward money?
1. Right attitude towards money.
a. It is not wrong to have money.
Money is not bad, having money is not wrong. God says in Proverbs 8:21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full. So, it’s not wrong to have money.
b. We have not gained our money.
Money is the providence of God. The Bible says that we are not to imagine that we are the sole reason that we have money. Deuteronomy 8:18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.
1 Corinthians 4:7 What do you have that you did not receive?
c. Dot not cling to money against God’s will.
Peter says in Matthew 19:27 We have left everything to follow you! We are not to cling to it if in God’s will He wants to be generous.
d. Do not be partial to people who have money.
The scripture says in building our attitude about money we are not to cater to people who have it for some selfish reason. James 2:2-4 2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? And the truth is we ought to show more favor to the poor because their need is greater.
e. Do not put hope in wealth.
1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. If we are rich we are not to be conceited about our riches.
Proverbs 11:28 He who trust in his riches will fall.
f. Do not seek to be rich.
Proverbs 23:4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich.
However, we are to seek the Kingdom: Matthew 6:33 Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.
Psalm 122:2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat. For he grants sleep to those he loves.
g. Do not hoard money.
Proverbs 11:25 A generous person will prosper.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you.
Generosity, sacrificial generosity should be a mark of every believer.
Illustration: Money is very dangerous, it’s like a gun, it can be used to kill an animal for food, it can be used to protect you against an invader, or it can be used to harm somebody or even take a life. It’s a dangerous thing and you go around, as it were, with money and you go around with a loaded gun by which you can accomplish good ends or by which you can accomplish disaster. The issue is your affection. The issue isn’t money, the issue is how you feel about money. And the sin here is the sin of greed. Another way to say that is the love of money.
Now Paul says the love of money is the root, and by that he means the source, of all kinds of evil which become the branches and whatever is hanging on them in this metaphorical tree. The root is the love of money and it produces all kinds of evil fruit.
2. The Test of Money Love
I just posed some questions to myself this week as I sat in my study.
a. Think a lot about money.
Do you spend more time thinking about how to get money or how to do a good job? In other words, are you more concerned on your job with how much you make or the quality of your service? Are you into excellence or into money? When you spend more time thinking about how to get money than you do how to do a good job, you love money.
Illustration: One of the things that I decided early in my ministry from the very beginning was that I would never put a price on my ministry. By God’s grace all through these years there has never been a time in my ministry when I have told anybody that I charge a certain amount to do anything. I never ever wanted to be a position to look at ministry with a price tag. So I would rather ask for nothing and be surprised. And if nothing comes, then nothing was expected.
Once I was called to minister 600 KM away from Bangalore, 14-hour train journey. They said they will book my train tickets. I said, “It is okay I will book my tickets.” They were insistent and said they will at least book the return journey. I reached there, did three days of ministry, pastor’s conference, church meetings, and evening conventions. While I was leaving, the church offered me a small amount and said their finances are a bit tough. I willingly gave it back and said, “Let it be my contribution back to the church.” As I was packing to come back, I asked for the ticket. They said they had failed to book my tickets. We quickly rushed to the station, stood in queue, and I paid for my unreserved ticket, and traveled the whole night without even a seat.
My first thought was, “They should have at least booked a ticket for me, or else I would have booked myself.” My second thought was, “I’m not worth that. I have nothing to offer but that which God has given me and if anybody ought to be rewarded for it it should be Him, not me.” Every time I’m right, beloved, it’s God. Every time I’m wrong, it’s me. So the glory is His.
b. Never satisfied with what you have.
You are not content with your money. 1 Corinthians 6:10 …nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Joke: Two friends met in the street. One looked sad and almost on the verge of tears. The other man said, “Hey my friend, how come you look like the whole world has caved in?” The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me 1 Lakh Rupees.” “That’s not bad at all…!” “Hold on, I’m just getting started. Two weeks ago, a cousin died and left me Rs. 50000/-.” “Well, that’s great! I’d like that.” “Last week, my grandfather passed away. I got a house.” “So why are so dull?” “This week – nothing!”
c. Want to flaunt your money.
In order to be admired, some people flaunt their things. If you get some kind joy out of what it provides, you’re loving money. You want to show off to others that you have money. People who are obsessive with buying dresses, gadgets, accessories etc fall into this category.
The king of Babylon sent a messenger with a gift to king Hezekiah during his illness. King Hezekiah got up from his bed and showed the guest messenger every treasure and precious things of his kingdom. God was angry. 2 Kings 20:15-17 15The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?” “They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.” 16Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord.
d. Resent tithing.
It kills you tithe because you’re in the mode of using all your money to make sure you get something for it. And the idea of giving to God is very distasteful. A person who loves money holds it for his or her own gratification.
Joke: Rs. 100/- and Rs. 2000/- were great friends. One day they met with an accident and both died. On reaching heaven’s gates, the angel Rs. 100/- to freely enter heaven and Rs. 2000/- was stopped. Rs. 2000/- asked the gatekeeper, “I am not 20 times more valuable tan Rs. 100/-, then how can he enter heaven?” The gatekeeper answered, “Rs. 100/- and his siblings, Rs. 50/-, Rs. 20, Rs. 10/- always come to church but you are always present in IPL, restaurants, and shopping malls. So disappear, I don’t want to see you.”
e. Sin to obtain it.
You will lie your house tax and income tax so that you can have more. You will write wrong bills to claim more money. Anytime you sin to get money, it is a heart that loves money more than it loves God.
People who love money will take bribes. They will distort justice. They will manipulate. They will take advantage of the poor. They will lie. They will cheat. They will extort. They will deceive, steal, rob. They will abuse. They will commit every sin like fornication, adultery, if it will gain them money. They will do bodily harm. They will kill for money. They will teach false doctrine for money. Every imaginable category of sin can flow out of loving money because if you are consumed with the love of money then that’s the driving force of your life, you will do whatever it takes to get that.
Paul says if that’s your attitude that will produce all manner of evil. And may I suggest to you, you can have a lot of money and not love it and you can have none of it and love it? I know people who have a tremendous amount of money and don’t love it. They will never sin or compromise to get it. But God in His sovereign choice has determined to give them much.
And I have met people who have absolutely no money and are desperately in love with it. Spend all their time trying to figure out how to get more of it. That’s the danger and it has nothing to do with what you have.
Conclusion: What is your attitude towards money? Do you love it more than you love God? Commit your finances into God’s hands and ask God to give you a right attitude towards money.