"Godliness with Contentment"
This section teaches a view of riches that often make us uncomfortable. How does a person love money, and why are riches often a pathway towards evil?
Godliness with Contentment
(1 Tim. 6:3-10)
A. What really drives you? I mean, what is it that causes you to do what you do, to long for what you long for, to achieve what you desire to achieve? What motivates you each day when you wake up and keeps you going all day long until you lay your head down to sleep at night?
B. What made a widow, who did not know Jesus was watching and judging, give her last two mites to God? What made a boy, who had nice lunch, give it to the disciple who gave it to Christ to feed 5000 people? My belief is that these types of people live by faith and not by the amount of money or the food they have.
C. The Bible gives us these huge contrasts in how we think. How we program our heart, soul, mind and strength. We get these great stories of faith that convict us and help us to see victory in the face of trials. Like that of Job. Remember this man whom Satan attacked. Satan brought forth a wind that caused a house to collapse where Job’s children were. They all died. Satan brought forth thieve that took all of his wealth leaving him destitute. And then we read this response: Job 1:20-22
D. “Father in Heaven, give me such a heart. Let the words of Job be found in me.”
I. Godlessness Is Not Gain
A. An honest assessment of the Christian world would tell us that not everyone who professes to be a Christian is a Christian. Paul understood that in the first century church and you and I understand it in the 21st century church. So how do you know the real Christian from the fake?
B. Jesus gave one litmus test, “You shall know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:16) Paul follows the Jesus test and calls upon Timothy to look at the fruit of Christians, especially those who are in paid leadership roles.
C. The text really starts back in verse 3. Listen to the beginning part (READ 1 Tim. 6:3-5). There is doctrine in the church. Doctrine set down by Jesus through the moving of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and writers of the NT. But in that early church, just like today, not all Christians agreed upon doctrine. Paul describes “doctrine” as “agreeing with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness.”
D. In fact, part of the test Paul uses is how people who call themselves Christians behave. The warning given is for Timothy to be aware of Christians who are conceited, desire controversy, which, Paul says, only produces envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions and constant friction. That is fruit you can see. That type of harm in a local congregation has to be dealt with.
E. He summarizes these types of people as being “of depraved mind and deprived of the truth.” And what fuels this type of action? The love of money. These people see being a Christian as means to financial gain. It is not about God, it is not about people, it is simply about self and how I can get more in this life.
II. Godliness Is Gain
A. Now flip that coin over. If the attitude of the depraved and deprived is about money, what is the opposite mind? It is one that views money as God’s; one that sees money as a tool to work in God’s kingdom for God’s purpose. It is a mind that understands contentment.
B. Listen again to verses 7-8. This way of living is of great value. It changes lives. It gives freedom and peace in a world that only teaches materialism as security. So when I learn to live above the greed I gain something that is of such value that I am a different person. That gift that is given is contentment.
C. So Jesus teaches to not worry about what we will eat, drink or clothe ourselves with. It is not that those things are unimportant – God knows they are necessary for life. The teaching of Jesus is (Matt. 6:33).
III. Examine History
A. I would like to end with asking you to examine history. If we would make a list of the greatest people in history, we would most likely list people of great wealth, power, knowledge or fame. Now, do an honest evaluation of the majority and seek to find out if they were content. We often confuse happiness with contentment. They are not the same, but I don’t believe that many of the most rich and powerful people in history were either content or happy. Why do I come to that conclusion? They kept on seeking after more. What they had didn’t satisfy them. They were in bondage to the desire for more.
B. So Paul describes so many in that group of the rich and powerful like this (1 Tim. 6:9-10). How many lives have actually been destroyed by the corruption of greed? How many people have physically died simply to get more? The idea of riches appeals to most every person in this room. We think that we would not go down the path that many of the rich have walked. But the love of (the lust for) money drives a person away from God.
A. Jesus asked this question: Mark 8:34-37. Think about those last two questions: (1) What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (2) For what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
B. Which is more valuable to you: this life or the life to come? If we answer, “the life to come” than contentment in this life is found in godliness; living a holy life. For it there, when we rise above the lure of this life that we find the peace, joy, and grace of living a life in honor to God.
C. Is that you? Can you be described as one who is content because you live in godliness? Is your spiritual walk with Lord so wonderful that this world has lost its hold on you? I am not talking perfection, but I am talking contentment. If you need prayers to simply let God of the hold of this world and walk in godliness, then come as we stand and sing.