Summary: We know that Godliness with contentment is great gain but what is great gain in the life of a Christian?
Great gain. What IS great gain?
The world attempts to define the meaning of great gain for us every day.
What are some things that the world uses to influence people?
(Use a whiteboard to write them down - divide the white board into two columns and write these in the left hand column)
TV and other media - Advertisements - Peer pressure - Teachers - Parents - Billboards
Let me give you an example of how I’ve been influenced in the past. Now, this influence was not one that would lead to sin but it did influence my actions at a time of decision.
Back in the last millennium when I was 16 years old I was riding my little Honda CB100 motorcycle down the road for the first time (legally). I had just placed the gas valve on reserve so I knew I needed to get some gas soon. As I approached the center of the metropolis of Newark Valley I knew that I would have a choice of all two gas stations and what popped into my head?
“You can trust your car to the man who wears the star; the big, bright Texaco star!”
Yes, I had been influenced by the multiple repetitions of that jingle on the TV and in my head.
What are some of the things that the world outside of the church would say we need in order to have a successful life?
(Write them in the right hand column of the whiteboard. i.e. money, pretty wife, youthful body and face, status, power, education, etc.)
Those are some pretty great goals but what do they have to do with
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Is there any connection at all?
All of these desires will bring gain but in the light of eternity will it be true gain or false gain?
In Matthew 16:26 Jesus asks the question:
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
The St. Lawrence river is a huge river which flows to the sea. One night I saw a huge freighter which was heading toward the sea stop and anchor for the night. The next morning the ship was facing upriver instead of down river. This gigantic freighter weighing thousands of tons had slowly been turned completely around by the gentle pressure of the flow, the influence, of the SLS.
When the ship was first anchored it was pretty much aligned with the flow of the SLS so the affect of the current on the vessel was almost unnoticeable but at some point it almost imperceptibly started drifting to one side but with no correction the ship was soon broadside to the current and being driven around to the opposing orientation.
Beware of the influence of the world. The devil will try to turn you around and destroy you little by little.
Jesus said it this way in Matthew 16:6, 11-13
“Be careful … be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees … How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread?”
“’But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ Then they understood that He was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”