The Annual Sermon on Money – 1 Tim 6:10 08/15/21

The Annual Sermon on Money – 1 Timothy 6:10 08/15/21


There are few topics a pastor can address that will generate more angst than the topic of money. There’s a good reason for this; for those who heed the message, it almost always involves a tangible decrease in disposable cash. Today, I’d like to consider this with you. In the process, I hope to show you that making “your” money available to God results in having more, not less. (Maybe not more disposable cash, I’m not talking about giving to get, but more blessings, more joy, etc.)


The funny thing about money is, although we obsess over it, God sees it for what it really is; it’s simply a tool. My hope is that, by the time we’re done, you gain a different perspective on wealth and how we should be handling it. Our text is 1 Timothy 6:10 ~


10 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.[1]


In context, Paul starts off by addressing the relationship between masters and servants, noting that they’re to consider each other beloved. Christianity, done right, removes all economic, social, and racial, divisions. Following this he transitions to teachers, addressing those who see the Gospel as a means of personal gain (Always a bad thing!). From there, he moves on to our attitude towards wealth (In other words, he begins to meddle with our lives!). At the end of the day, what’s being exhorted is a life that operates on a different set of standards from the rest of the world. We’re called upon to honor Christ in every single thing we do.


Now, there’s a danger to living and working in this way. I life lived to honor Jesus tends to produce wealth. Why wouldn’t it, what employer doesn’t reward the person who always does their best, and is completely honest and reliable? But we need to be cognizant of the fact that money, wealth, can quickly capture our hearts, and the craving to get rich, to have more and more, will soon enslave us.[2] Therefore, it’s necessary to consider the implications of how we handle wealth in the context of godly living.[3]


So, let’s start to examine the passage; “For the love of many is a root of all kinds of evil.” “For” indicates that Paul is explaining something; he says that desiring to be rich can be disastrous. It produces the growth of a specific (ῥίζα) “root.” Here, (ῥίζα) “root,” indicates the beginning from which something grows.[4] What grows from that root? Evil. Apparently the church in Ephesus was experiencing this; instead of pursuing godliness they were pursuing wealth.[5]


Most biblical scholars will quickly clarify what’s being said by noting that the topic under consideration is not wealth per se, rather it’s addressing the love of wealth. The problem begins when we undertake the pursuit of wealth at all costs.[6] It becomes a problem when we replace love for God with love for things, here, specifically money. As a commodity, money is morally neutral.[7]


The expression “love of money,” (φιλαργυρία) is a compound word joining of φιλία, “love,” and ἀργύριον, “silver.[8] This combination is found nowhere else in the New Testament.[9] This (φιλία) “love” is friendship love.[10] It denotes fondness, sometimes extending to an abnormal fondness, or an inclination toward a specified thing.[11] Hence an abnormal or unhealthy love of silver, i.e. money.


Why is this such a problem? The uncomfortable reality is that a driving desire to have ever increasing possessions, specifically money, is sin.[12] In fact, it is a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments[13] given in Exodus 20:3; “You shall have no other gods before Me.”[14] It happens when our desire for wealth, comfort, or security eclipses our desire to be in relationship with God. Once this takes place, there is virtually no limit to the sins people are prepared to commit.[15] It drives the sex industry, human trafficking, slavery, corruption… and in the end it will not go well for those who have fallen into that trap.


Now, one of the things that makes this whole issue so tough is there’s no avoiding it. But we must use money; we use it to provide for the needs of our families and for our mission in the world. [16] God expects, even requires, this of us.[17] The world needs godly women and men who will assume the responsibility of directing the world’s wealth for use in furthering Kingdom agendas.[18]


So, recognizing the risks associate with wealth, along with the necessity of using it, what can we do to protect ourselves? As it turns out, there’s a Spiritual Discipline that can, rightly practiced, provide the kind of protection we need. That’s the Spiritual Discipline of Stewardship. You don’t see that word much in our world, but it means the management of property by a servant on behalf of their owner.[19] As Christians we need to wrap our minds around the fact that we are owned, according to 1 Corinthian 6:20.


So, as God’s possessions, we manage His stuff. That brings both privilege and responsibility as we honor God through how we handle the things we’re entrusted with. That includes our finances.[20] Through this spiritual discipline God actually uses wealth to train us in godliness,[21] assuming we’re ready to cooperate. Part of the immeasurable value of this Discipline is it requires simple obedience in the face of the pull of the flesh.[22] It requires self-discipline as we manage the resources God makes available to us.


It is common to hear people ask, “How much should I give to God?” The better question is, “How much of God’s money should I keep?”[23] That amount is between you and the Lord.[24] Some pastors teach the tithe as the standard. The tithe is 10%. I think that’s too simplistic. The Law, given to the Jews, required specific amounts. Most of us aren’t Jews, and none of us are under the Law. The Apostle Paul avoided giving a specific amount, or even a specific percentage.[25]


So how do you get started if you haven’t yet practiced this Spiritual Discipline? I think a reasonable approach is to sit before the Lord, with your checkbook, and ask Him. Seek His will. What do you feel He’s directing you to give? Then, simply be obedient. For some the amount will be relatively large, and for others the amount will be relatively small. What you give is, frankly, not my business. God, on the other hand, is looking. But He’s not concerned with the number of zeroes or where they might be placed, He’s interested in the heart.


In our current culture the emphasis, in fact virtually everything we do, is built on the drive to accumulate wealth.[26] Pursuing these things is not be safe, nor is it innocent.[27] Having acknowledged this, we also need to be aware of the fact that wealth in the hands of Christians, rightly handled, can produce much good.[28] It can be used to alleviate suffering, deliver from poverty, save the starving, care for orphans, heal the sick, lead people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the list is endless.[29]


It’s time that we Christians stopped trying to fit into society. We don’t, and we cannot, and still remain faithful to Jesus. So, if you have not settled your thinking regarding the Spiritual Discipline of Stewardship, I encourage you to do so. Not because we need the money, but because it is part of what God calls you to do.


[1] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Ti 6:10. [2] A. Duane Litfin, “1 Timothy,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 746. [3] Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christina Life, (NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO.: 2014), 159. [4] I. Howard Marshall and Philip H. Towner, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, International Critical Commentary (London; New York: T&T Clark International, 2004), 651. [5] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), 348. [6] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), 346. [7] Donald Guthrie, “1 Timothy,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1303. [8] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), 347. [9] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), 347. [10] Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, revised and edited by Frederick Danker, trans., F. Gingrich and William Arndt, (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.: 2000), 1057. [11] Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). [12] Richard Chenevix Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., 1880), 81. [13] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), 347. [14] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ex 20:3. [15] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 2358. [16] Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christina Life, (NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO.: 2014), 169. [17] Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christina Life, (NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO.: 2014), 169. [18] Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, (Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.: 1988), 202. [19] F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1553. [20] Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, (Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.: 1988), 202. [21] Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christina Life, (NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO.: 2014), 169. [22] Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christina Life, (NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO.: 2014), 169. [23] Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christina Life, (NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO.: 2014), 171. [24] Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christina Life, (NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO.: 2014), 174. [25] Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christina Life, (NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO.: 2014), 178. [26] Knute Larson, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, vol. 9, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 245–246. [27] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 2358. [28] Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, (Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.: 1988), 202. [29] Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, (Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.: 1988), 202.

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