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The Love of Money

Maul Road Church
Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 5:00am to Mon, Feb 25 at 10:00pm CST

Complacency vs. Contentment

Contented – defined by Webster’s dictionary – is “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possession, status, or situation.” This is the dictionary definition of complacency – “self-satisfaction, esp. when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” I know both of those definitions are mouthfuls – so I have included them on your outlines. Now – let’s look at similarities and differences. If we were to take cards – and label them content OR complacent – and put one card around each person in this room – here are some things we might find. All of us would be able to find rest from our labor. All of us would experience satisfaction where we are in life. And all of us would likely enjoy our current status in life. There would be – however – at least two key differences. Those of us wearing a “content” card would be ones who pause to thank God for everything. Along with contentment – from a Biblical standpoint – comes a spirit of thanksgiving. The complacent person is more likely to congratulation himself or herself on a job well done. Likewise, the complacent person rests on his or her accomplishments. He worked hard to get here. She sacrificed a lot to make it here. We’ve worked hard – now we rest. The contented person – however – while satisfied – has a spirit of excellence. Simply put, the contented person is not willing to stop – give up – quit – and settle.

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In Philippians 1, we get a wealth of background concerning Paul’s current status. Paul was imprisoned – under 24 hour guard. Paul was content in his current situation – and even made the most of it. He talked to every soldier that came along his path – they knew about him – and they heard the message of Jesus Christ. His future was in doubt as he wrote...

Philippians 1:19-21 NKJV

For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

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One of Paul's most personal comments came in Philippians 4.

Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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Just because Paul was content did not mean that he had given up.

Philippians 3:8-11 NKJV

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

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In I Timothy 6, Paul resumes this discussion on contentment – with a focus on material things.

1 Timothy 6:6-10 NKJV

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

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This is one of the excerpts from the Talmud. “Man is born with his hands clenched; he dies with his hands wide open. Entering life he desires to grasp everything; leaving the world, all that he possessed has slipped away.”

Job 1:21 NKJV

And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

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From the wise man Solomon...

Ecclesiastes 5:15 NKJV

As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, To go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor Which he may carry away in his hand.

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We recognize that material wealth has value. It allows us to purchase daily needs – such as food, clothing, and shelter. In Romans, Paul recognized that having money can be a talent – a gift – if used to help others.

Romans 12:6-8 NKJV

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

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We normally focus on verse 10 – but I believe verse 9 is key to our understanding of Paul’s concern here. This is where he outlines a four-step decline from godliness to sin. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

Paul begins with temptation – a word that literally means an experiment, an attempt, a trial, a need to prove something. We cannot live without it. Just try it once. Those are dangerous words and attitudes when it comes to the lure of material things. Temptations try our souls and frequently prove them weak in a given area. That’s why the Bible will use words like “flee” and “avoid” to describe how we should approach temptation. The desire to be rich begins a downward spiral with temptation. Paul mentions temptation – and then a snare. A snare is just that – it’s a trap. In Greek literature, the Trojan Horse was called a wooden “pagis” – the Greek word for trap. Just as one lie leads to a web of lies, so one compromise leads to a wholesale loss of integrity. What makes it worse is that the snare bites off our integrity bit by bit. We are falling – into temptation – caught by snares – which leads to man foolish and harmful lusts. Foolish is the word that we would use for mind or thing – except it is used with a negative thought in mind. Paul says this leads to foolish and harmful lusts. Lusts is a word that literally means “over-desire.” Throughout this passage, it’s important to notice Paul’s focus. He doesn’t point out one thing over the other. What he is concerned about it the desire of our heart. That’s the danger zone. Temptations – snares – and foolish and harmful lusts lead to a nasty fall. Paul says they drown men in destruction and perdition. We find ourselves in ruin and destruction. These two words pain the picture of corruption and corrosion. One points to the inward corruption followed by the outward – and utter – destruction.

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It’s often mis-quoted. We know that. Money is not the root of all kinds of evil – but the love of money is. The danger comes in the excess desire to have – to build – and obtain more.

1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

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