Summary: People are rich in what they ARE, not what they HAVE. In the “materialism” that fills American society and the American church, we have become addicted to debt and don’t mind it’s abuses.
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1 Timothy 6:6 – 10
Healing from Debt
Premise: People are rich in what they ARE, not what they HAVE. Godliness is the truest riches.
(Ill.) “Two ardent fishermen met on their vacation and began swapping stories about the different places they had fished, the kind of tackle used, the best bait, and finally about some of the fish they had caught. One of them told of a vicious battle he once had with a 300-pound salmon. The other man listened attentively. He frankly admitted he had never caught anything quite that big. However, he told about the time his hook snagged a lantern from the depths of a lake. The lantern carried a tag proving it was lost back in 1912. But the strangest thing of all was the fact that it was a waterproof lantern and the light was still lit. For a long time the first man said nothing. Then he took one long deep breath. "I’ll tell you what I’ll do," he said slowly. "I’ll take 200 pounds off my fish, if you’ll put out the light in your lantern."” [Jacob M. Braude, Braude’s Treasury of Humor, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1964)]
Bragging rights. Bigger is better. Beat the Jones! (Never mind keeping up with them.)
In the “materialism” that fills American society and the American church, we have lost our moral compass. In our quest for stuff we have become addicted to debt and don’t mind it’s abuses.
1. “Godliness” – the internal relationship with God, expressed outwardly.
2. “Contentment” – the satisfaction with what one has, expressed outwardly.
3. “Debt” – the desire to have more, expressed outwardly as a lack of trust in God.
I. The problem with debt.
A. Debt is a symptom of DISCONTENT in life.
1. We want what we want and we want it now!
2. Like the baby who acts likes it’s the center of the universe. It cries loudly until it gets what it wants.
B. Debt is a symptom of DESIRE for more.
1. Not happy with what we have, with what God has provided....
2. Develop a haste to have more, now.
C. Debt is a symptom of “DISTRACTED SPIRITUALITY.”
1. The love of money sits in the driver’s seat of life.
2. We forget what we have.
The Bible says: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. [Hebrews 13:5]
3. Notice the context of the promise that God will never leave or forsake you. It is about the love of money and contentment contrasted with the promise of God.
4. Christians who become materialist are saying things like:
a. “There is more in life than God”
b. “God is not enough.”
The Message puts it this way: “A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”
(Ill.) “If you’ve ever seen pelicans in action, you know they’re great fishermen. These pelicans were hanging out near a fleet of fishing boats. The fishermen on the boats would pull into the little harbor, and clean the fish right on the spot, throwing the heads and the rest into the water. The pelicans picked up on this, and began eating the leftovers without having to go out fishing. And if you’re a pelican, that’s good eating. So for weeks, they just sat by the harbor and waited for the fishing boats to come in. After a while, the fishermen found out they could sell the fish waste, and so they stopped chucking it into the water. The pelicans were caught unprepared. They continued to sit and wait for the fishing boats to come in and throw free food in the water. And they grew thinner and thinner and seemed able to do nothing about their situation. Wildlife officials came to check out what was going on, and concluded that the pelicans had forgotten how to fish. So what they did was to bring pelicans in from another area to join the flock and teach the starving birds how to fish again.” [The Reverend Dr. Gary Nicolosi]
***** Our society has provided so much stuff for us that we have forgotten what it means to live by faith and depend on God for our daily bread. *****
II. The issue is the cost of the pursuit not the amount!
A. (v 7) Reality check: we physically brought nothing into the world, we physically take nothing out.
1. All this stuff is temporary.
2. (Ill.) The man who decided to take it all with him... He made his wife promise to put all his money in the coffin when he died. So at his funeral she dutifully wrote a check and put it in the coffin.