Summary: A sermon on greed from Ephesians 5:3-14
Sermon for 11/15/2009
Greed from Ephesians 5:3-14
An old preacher was dying. He sent a message for his banker and his lawyer, both church members, to come to his home. When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room, the preacher held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The preacher grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled and stared at the ceiling. For a time, no one said anything. Both the banker and lawyer were touched and flattered that the old preacher would ask them to be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled; the preacher had never given them any indication that he liked either of them. They both remembered his many long and uncomfortable sermons about greed and covetousness that made them squirm in their seats. Finally the banker said, “Preacher, why did you ask the two of us to come?” The old preacher said weakly, “Jesus died between two thieves and that’s how I want to go.”
A. WE are talking about greed today.
B. Another way to describe greed is with the word covetousness. Last of the 10 commandments. (Deu 5:21 NIV) "You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
C. The dictionary definition of “covetousness” is “grasping for more.” This is the sin of selfishness. You’re never content.
Thesis: Today we are going to discuss three forms of greed: Greed for money, greed for sex, and greed for power
1. Greed for money
A. This is the most common form of greed and at one time or other we are guilty of it.
B. (1 Tim 6:9 NIV) People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. (1 Tim 6:10 NIV) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
C. Some people are greedy to increase their savings, but most are greedy so they can buy more stuff. (Luke 12:15) Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
D. Greed is the reason consumer debt has doubled in the last 10 years and why most Americans go into debt at a rate of $400 per paycheck. It is why credit card debt in US stands at $1.6 trillion.
E. Ephesians 5:5- While all of these are included, it is especially the money hungry person who is identified as an idolater. It becomes these people’s god or idol and they give their all to it. It is a harsh taskmaster, never satisfied. Just one more dollar!
F. A successful businessman and his friends were talking and laughing together and enjoying success. The businessman told of his childhood of poverty. Someone had given him a big coin. To have a coin was rare for children then, and his little sister begged to hold it. He laughed over the memory of all the chores he could get her to do for him just to get to hold the coin. He told of a day when she minded the cows all day for the privilege of holding the coin, only to have to give it up at the end of the day. All of the men laughed again at the childishness of the sister. Just then, one man not laughing reminded the businessman that all he was doing now in labor and service was for the privilege of holding onto a few possessions. “The end of the day is coming, and you will have to give them up like your little sister did.”
G. That is exactly how it is with all of us. Jesus warned, (Mat 6:19 NIV) "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.(Mat 6:20 NIV) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
2. Greed for sex
A. Sexual immorality can definitely be a god or an idol- Ephesians 5:5. Never have enough. Steve Shepherd- In 1968 I ordered a new Pontiac Firebird with a 400 cubic inch, 330 horsepower, 4-speed transmission, 160 mph on the speedometer. It was nice. It was powerful. It was fast, but the thrill didn’t last. Eventually the thrill fades away. People want something more exciting, more thrilling. Same thing is true in sexuality