Summary: A sermon based on Richard Foster’s Book The Celebration of Discipline pages 89-93. This is nothing new but it gives some illustrations.
Sermon for 3/6/2005
4 Things for the Simple Life
Last week I had influenza. However, there is a virus that has affected most of us and we don’t even know it. The name of this virus is affluenza not influenza. This powerful virus affects our wallets, our friendships, our families, our communities, and our environment. Untreated, this virus can cause permanent discontent. Were you to find it in the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition might be something like the following: Affluenza- a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.
A. If what we have received as a gift, and if what we have is cared for by God, and if what we have is available to others, then we will be free from anxiety. This was my sermon several weeks ago. This is the key to living a simple life.
B. Simplicity is only a personal thing is false. There must be outward expression of this or it is not true. Simplicity will affect how we live.
C. A man named Agur said in (Prov 30:7 NIV) "Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die:(Prov 30:8 NIV) Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.(Prov 30:9 NIV) Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ’Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
D. How many of us have prayed this way? This goes completely against our society. We want our cake and we want to eat it too. I want money lots and lots of money. I want my pie in the sky.
C. Now, any attempt to give rules and regulations for all cultures at all times on simplicity runs into the risk of legalism.
D. However, to refuse to discuss specifics would banish this teaching to be something ambiguous and unattainable. Richard Foster gives ten controlling principles for the expression of simplicity. Each one of these is just an attempt to define simplicity in our day and give us practical guidelines.
Thesis: This morning we are going to look at the first four principles for simplicity.
1. Buy things for the usefulness, not for their prestige.
A. Sometimes people buy things for the pride that they bring.
B. For Christians, our pride should not be in our possessions, but in the cross of Christ. (Gal 6:14 NIV) May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
C. C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity called Pride the great sin or the original sin. “It was through pride that the devil became the devil: Pride is the complete anti-God state of mind. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. Take for instance greed. Greed will certainly make a man want money, for the sake of a better house, better vacations, better things to eat and drink. But only up to a point. What is it that makes a man with $1,000,000 a year anxious to get $2,000,000? It is not the greed for more pleasure. $1,000,000 will give all the luxuries that any man can really enjoy. It is pride- the wish to be richer than some other rich man.
D. Cars should be bought for their usefulness, not their prestige.
E. A house should be bought for livability rather than how much it will impress others. Don’t have more living space than is reasonable.
F. Consider clothes. Most people have no need for more clothes. They buy more not because they need clothes, but because they want to keep up with the fashions. Stop trying to impress people with your clothes and impress them with your life.
G. In a Sears ad a few years ago, Maia Campbell tells girls, “You gotta believe in your dreams. You gotta stand up for yourself. You gotta be there for your friends. But hey, first you gotta have something to wear. You gotta have the clothes.” The ad shows Campbell modeling clothes collectively priced at $267.
2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
A. How do we know what an addiction is? If you cannot make it through your day without it, then it is an addiction.
B. Now there are some things that we need every day that are genuine needs like food but things like alcohol, coffee, tea, Coca-Cola, chocolate and so on are not needs of the human body.