Part 5 of the Treasure Principle 6-part series.
“The Best Investment Advice You’ll Ever Hear”
The Treasure Principle (5 of 6): God’s Wisdom for Living in a Material World Pastor Dan Sarkipato
1 Timothy 6:17-19
INTRODUCTION… All the church ever wants or thinks about is money; That idea, feeling, perception, experience has chased lots of people away from the organized church. I’ll just worship God in my heart, on my own, with my family, in my own way. I believe in Jesus, I am a Christian, but I really don’t need this church thing, because it is all about money anyway. If you have ever had any of those thoughts, you aren’t alone. And you are buying into one of the most certain though patterns that will assure that you never become more than a spiritual infant, or toddler at best. Because the church is GOD’s institution, and he has meant it for his glory and your growth. Who is “rich”? Do you have shelter with less than 10 people living in it? Clothes to wear? A pair of shoes? More than one pair of shoes? Access to medical care? Do you own an automobile? A television? A telephone? From a world standard, you are among the rich. But we don’t really look at it like that, do we, from a global perspective. We look at the people around us, and the people who are presented to us on television and through marketing. Actually, we don’t look at everyone around us; we look at those who have more than we do—nicer car, and think, “Why do I have to drive this beater”; Nicer house or neighborhood, ”why should I be stuck here?” But we totally ignore the people around us with no transportation (thus, CHANGE A LIFE WITH YOUR CHANGE—need a ride just to keep a job) Or Those around us who are homeless, can’t even get an apartment. We do this “selective comparison” thing, and we look at people who are ahead of us in the prosperity line, and we envy them. And we think we are not so rich; that there are a lot of things we need. We are the rich of the world; that includes me and you, even if you are thinking… “Hey, but I’m struggling with my bills…” I’m not rich… now Bill Gates, HE’S rich We are those who are rich. WE are not all the same; lots of variety in income level in this room right now. But on a world scale, we are way over on the prosperity end of the scale. And I have some good news. God is going to speak directly to those of us who are rich, with some very clear advice. It is found in 1 Timothy. Let’s read it; 1 Tim 6:17-19… Stand… These are God’s Words. First, an overview of money issues, 1 Tim 5 & 6 Because there is a context for this teaching. Paul is writing to a Christian leader, Timothy, who is the pastor of the church in Ephesus, a VERY prosperous, but VERY pagan city. Extremely wealthy. I’ve been there. It will blow your mind. Let’s see what is said about money matters in ch 5 and ch 6, to set the stage. Provide for the poor and needy : I Tim. 5:3-16 Widows had no social security; if they did not have children, they really had no one to care for them and their needs. There are some detailed instructions for how to manage the care to be given to widows. There was to be discernment exercised; families were called to do their duty to any widow in their family circle. The point is—GOD CARES FOR THE WIDOW, THE ORPHAN; THE POOR AND NEEDY. In our culture, I believe God would have inspired Paul to address single mothers, and others who are often overlooked or neglected. Take care of those in ministry I Tim. 5:17-18 17”The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,”£ and “The worker deserves his wages.” The point here—give honor to your elders, and pay those whose life work is the ministry. Don’t neglect them or overlook them. Godliness is NOT for personal gain. I Tim. 6:3-6 Paul warns at the first part of ch. 6 against false teachers, those who distort the Word of God, and who make a claim that following God is a sure way to get rich, to financial gain. NOT TRUE! This week in my devotions, I read Psalm 37:16 “Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked.” In Scripture you can be righteous, you can be a follower of God, and you can have only a little. You can be poor and be godly. DON”T FALL for the teaching that following Jesus is guaranteed to make you prosperous. Then a warning to all: Beware of the power and pull of money. I Tim. 6:9-10 The love of money can really corrupt your heart: 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. 10”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.” DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN TO YOU Church leaders must be especially vigilant. I Tim. 6:11 Paul turns to Timothy and gives him this charge: “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” TIMMY, he says, RUN FROM THIS SORT OF THINKING AND TEACHING. Pursue God’s teaching and righteousness. And then, Paul comes to the teaching we will look at this morning. Words from God to those who are rich; who have significant money and possessions. GOD HAS SOMETHING TO SAY TO YOU! Be bold to instruct those who are wealthy. 6:17-19 Tim was young; it can be a little intimidating to talk to rich people about their riches and their money when you are young; and Paul says, TIM, DON’T HOLD BACK. SPEAK THE TRUTH LOUDLY AND CLEARLY HERE! We are going to hear: God’s Investment Advice The best investment advice you’ve ever gotten. None better. From God Himself! Here is an interesting note about our starting point: NOTE: Most of God’s direction is not about money! When God talks to us about our money, he starts by talking about something else; the attitudes of our heart. ATTITUDES CALLED FOR FROM GOD: Beware of pride “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant.” This has strong echoes of Deut. 8: Moses is warning the people of Israel about their coming prosperity. God is going to bring them into the Land of Promise, and they will accumulate possessions and wealth. BE CAREFUL God said. 10”When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” Watch out for pride. No different for you and me. Success, prosperity, is one of the biggest challenges to a good, strong spiritual life. Give me a little extra money, some extra stuff, and all of a sudden come all these extra things to pull me away from God. Some of you are prospering in your life more than you ever have. Be careful. It is all the more important for you to take care of your soul. Then another attitude warning. Make sure you correctly place your hope. “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.” THINGS MUST NEVER BE THE SOURCE OF YOUR HOPE. The thing that is the focus of your future. God is our hope. He is the source of security for our future. Then comes another attitude reminder that is truly wonderful, and may even surprise you. It is incredibly positive and encouraging. Something that those who have things MUST remember: if you have possessions, if you have ANYTHING beyond the bare essentials, then you are called to remember this: Remember that God provides everything for our enjoyment! V17… “put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” IF YOU ARE RICH, REMEMBER THAT IT IS GOD WHO GIVE US THINGS FOR OUR ENJOYMENT. Personally, I don’t think we make this point often enough. At least I don’t. YES, we need to be reminded about idolatry; about NOT letting things consume us or take over our lives. BUT WE ALSO NEED TO BE REMINDED THAT GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF JOY AND ENJOYMENT, AND IT IS PERFECTLY ALL RIGHT WITH HIM FOR US TO ENJOY THINGS. There is something pleasing to God about when we enjoy the things he has entrusted to us. If you are a parent, or a grandparent, and you have ever given a gift to your child, something they really loved, and got great pleasure from—what did you think about that? If you are normal, it brought you a kind of vicarious delight, didn’t it. When they enjoyed your give, YOU enjoyed it! I think God does that too, when we enjoy his gifts, as they are intended. Sure, we can overuse things, we can make them idols, we can focus too much on them; but don’t forget, WE ARE SUPPOSED TO ENJOY THEM UNDER GOD. Now, with these attitudes firmly in mind, let’s move on to the… ACTIONS REQUIRED BY GOD: Do all the good you can do with your wealth. V18 says: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds.” It is not an option. This is a command of God. If you have money and things, USE THEM TO DO AS MUCH GOOD AS YOU CAN DO! One of the goals of your life is supposed to be: HOW MUCH GOOD CAN I DO WITH WHAT I HAVE? How can I use what God has allowed me to have to do good? To help people, to honor God’s name, to serve the poor, to lift up the body of Christ. Let me tell you something, I have seen, I continue to see MANY examples of people doing exactly this within our fellowship, and it is a wonderful thing. People doing good with their possessions, their homes, their stuff. It is not just for you; you share it; you bless others through it, and that is great. Keep it up! Do it even more! For we are all called to do that. Be generous with your money and hospitable with your possessions. “…be generous and willing to share.” If you have money, practice giving it away. LOOK for opportunities to give it to others. Being generous is not just a good idea; it is not only something that pleases God; sharing what you have with others isn’t really an option, it is a command of God. See what it says? COMMAND THOSE who are rich in this present world to be generous and willing to share. I USE THE word “hospitable” in the outline, because hospitality is the idea of sharing your home, your possessions, your life with others. When we understand hospitality, we realize the joy that comes from making whatever we have available to others, to give them a welcome. And God says to those of us who have means, be generous and be ready to share. That is what a disciple does. So, if you are a person who gets squirmy when you hear about money in the church, if you get uncomfortable and think that the preacher is getting way to personal when it comes to talking about possessions and giving, well, what I have to say to you is: GOD IS TALKING TO YOU ABOUT THIS. GOD HAS THINGS HE WANTS YOU TO KNOW AND TO EXPERIENCE, AND IF YOU SAY TO GOD “THIS AREA OF MY LIFE IS OFF LIMITS; THIS PART OF MY LIFE IS FOR ME AND NO ONE ELSE”—if that is what you say, then you have not really come to know or understand what God wants from you. OUTCOME PROMISED BY GOD: A great return on your investment in eternity. A fulfilling life while we live here. JUST LIKE JESUS SAID!!! Verses to Ponder and Memorize: “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. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” 1 Timothy 6:17-18 PASTOR NOTES… #5 The Best Investment Advice You’ll Ever Hear Giving is the only antidote to materialism Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. It dethrones me and exalts Him. 2 Cor 8:7—excel in this gift of giving 2 Cor 9:11—you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously If “getting”, consumerism, is the mindset that causes our problem, then giving is the antidote. I want to add to this that it is more than just giving money, or giving things away, it is also faithfully using what we have for God’s glory and the good of others. This counts Too! Worship Planning Minutes… church wants nothing more than your money… video a couple who make comments… two skeptics… who believe that “all the church wants is my money…” new visitors… “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. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In 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.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19 The Message: “Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” New Living Trans “Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them.” “command” “tell” “instruct” Greek: == parangello “charge” “give the word” “order” (make sure you tell them…) ARE YOU RICH? WHO IS RICH IN THIS WORLD? You are Rich Material prosperity breeds arrogance and pride and a misplaced hope Make double sure your hope is in God God’s command for the rich: Do Good Be Rich in Good Deeds Be Generous Be Willing to Share THIS IS HOW YOU LAY UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN THIS IS HOW YOU FIND LIFE THAT IS REALLY LIFE! NOTES on 1 Tim 5 & 6 What does God say about matters financial here? 5—care for widows. Provide for them. But do it wisely and with good order. If you have a widow in your household, you have a financial responsibility before God to take care of them. PROVIDE FOR THE POOR AND NEEDY 5—pay your elders, those who preach and teach; Scripture directs this TAKE CARE OF THOSE IN MINISTRY 6—watch out for false teachers who think that being a godly person is supposed to make you rich. Stay away from people like that. GODLINESS IS NOT FOR PERSONAL RICHES AND GAIN 6—warning against wanting to get rich: it is a temptation and trap that plunges people into ruin and destruction. 6—loving money leads to all kinds of trouble and evil, even to wandering away from the faith! WATCH OUT FOR THE PULL OF MONEY 6—as a godly leader, stay far away from these things. YOU LEADERS BE SURE TO FLEE FROM THESE ERRORS 6—here is how to speak to people who have significant material assets, money, property, wealth. Beware of pride Beware of misplaced hope Keep your hope firmly in God alone—he is the giver of all gifts, and wants us to use and enjoy his gifts! Do good, in fact, be “rich” in good deeds Be generous, ready and willing to share what you have This is how you will prepare for eternity and find real life BE BOLD IN TALKING TO THOSE WHO HAVE A LOT OF WEALTH