Summary: 4th of Jul fireworks are bought each year. The amount spent is staggering. People are starving around the world yet we still spend on such things. What could be done with that kind of money in Haiti, the Sudan,India....etc? What does God say about it?
Sermon: 1 Tim 6:19
This message in no way is intended to bash people of wealth. Many people of wealth are very wonderful Christians and they contribute greatly to the church.
ILLUSTRATION: A man invited Charles Spurgeon to a country church as the guest speaker. Spurgeon was asked to give his "best sermon", because the church had a debt that needed paid. The man thought Spurgeons celebrity status would move the congregation toward retiring the debt in short order. The man wrote in the invitation: "Please come and feel at home. You may use my towne home, my country estate or my seaside villa". Spurgeon wrote back...."I'll not accept your invitation".... "sell one of your homes and retire the debt...."
The Apostle Paul was giving many instructions to Timothy throughout this letter. Toward the end of Paul's letter, He brought up the subject of money. Now put yourself in the shoes of the wealthy during that period. For many wealthy folk, this was the first time they would have heard anyone suggest they give their money away, or in this case to place any "hope" in riches. Nothing has changed since those early times. Many people are never challenged to "share" nor are they taught the truth about money....and who owns it all....and who blessed them with it......or how much destruction money can cause in this life.
Here's what Paul says: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 - "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (18) Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (19) In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
Let's examine this passage. Let's dissect it carefully.
First, we find Timothy (who was one of Paul's closest companions) was sent to the Ephesian church for a specific purpose. The church was practicing false teachings and Paul needed Timothy to go back to it (which Timothy probably was a leader there in the past) and "preach" the truth about various topics. Paul brought up numerous other topics that needed addressed, such as public worship, prayer, church leaders (overseers and deacons). He addressed the issue of pastoral care to the young and old, widows and such. It appears Paul urged Timothy to stand firm in the faith and be above reproach.
Ephesus was a wealthy city. It stands to reason....... that particular church likely had many wealthy members, otherwise why would Paul speak about money? Paul wanted Timothy to remind the rich people that wealth had a responsibility attached. First, they must thank God for their good fortune. Don't trust money for eternal destiny, and if you got it....spend it to do good. Be "rich" in good works. Share! Don't let money control you....let God control you.
Now, we come to the scriptures and the money issue. Apparently Paul had his fill with all the wealthy people who were selfish and misguided about their wealth. This would have been a tough topic back then.....as it is today.