1 Timothy 6:3-21
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INTRO: HOW TO HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED
In August last year a middle-aged dad from Blacktown spent $10 on Lotto tickets, the next day he woke up and checked the results and guess what, he was $40 million richer. What are you thinking right now? If you’re thinking, “Why can’t that happen to me??” then you’re not alone, that thought came into my mind briefly! But it’s that attitude to money God wants to fix, if you think that you need a bit more money or a lot more money to be happy, then God’s going to challenge you today to re-think what true wealth is, let’s read vv.6-8…
HOW’S YOUR CONTENTMENT (3-10)
There are some false teachers where Timothy is and they’re trying to make money through their fake godliness, for them “godliness is a means to financial gain/wealth”. That’s how you know there’s something wrong with their godliness. Then Paul plays with the words, he says yes, godliness is great gain, or great wealth, but only when it produces its proper fruit in your life, contentment. Godliness with contentment, that’s true wealth.
So the question we need to ask here is this, what exactly is Godliness? There’s clearly a right and a wrong understanding of this word. Here’s what the Bible says, Godliness is the complete life change that happens to you when you believe that Jesus loves you so much that he came into this world and died to save you from the penalty for sin. Knowing that and believing that completely changes your life, so Godliness is life change, and the first change that comes, the first aspect of godliness is this, when you have Jesus you realise that you now have everything. When you have Jesus, you have the greatest gift of all, Jesus puts a $40 million cash prize to shame, he makes it look like nothing, because in comparison to Jesus it is nothing. So, Godliness leads to this beautiful contentment, but the contentment comes from knowing exactly what God has given you in Jesus.
So, in case you don’t know, when you come to Jesus in faith, here’s what you get, you get forgiveness of your sins and a washing away of all your guilt and shame, you are a new you. You also get God himself now loving you and powering you and guiding you through all the ups and downs of life, and he does it in such a way as to grow you through it all, he’s committed to growing you up. You get the loving, sacrificial, all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal creator of the Universe with you every minute of every day, and what he owns is now yours because you are now his beloved child. Angels protect you; the Holy Spirit grows you in Godliness, God now speaks to you in His Word and God the Father and Jesus the Son have a place reserved for you in Heaven, right there with them where you’ll enjoy all of eternity. I want you to just bask in the glory of that gift for a moment.
How does that make you feel? It should make us feel incredibly thankful, happy assured and content shouldn’t it? Now let me ask you – has Godliness led to a contentment in your life? What Godliness does is this, it opens your eyes to the truth, it helps you to see things through God’s eyes, Godliness helps us to see things the way they really are. So if you still think that you need more money to be happy, or a bigger house to be happy, or a shinier car to be happy then let me ask you? How is your growth in godliness going? If Godliness is the greatest gain, the most valuable thing then are you focusing your eyes and your efforts and your time on that, are you becoming more Godly with the passing of time?
If you are the tell-tale sign will be your contentment, you won’t be scrambling around trying to fill your house with more stuff in order to keep you happy, you won’t be buying lotto tickets so you can win 40 million dollars so you’ll then be happy. Godliness with contentment means that you are happy just the way things are.
Here’s how God describes that Godly contentment in Philippians 4:11-13,
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
One of the older ladies in our church has this sign in her kitchen: “Contentment is knowing that if I am not satisfied with what I have, I will not be satisfied with what I want, either.” The secret of contentment is to be satisfied with Jesus Christ. If you aren’t, you’ll never be satisfied. That’s why Godliness with contentment is true gain.
Paul goes on to give us 3 very practical reasons why this is true, the first is that you can’t take it with you, verse 7, “For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it.” I was at a funeral for a very wealthy man and one of the men giving the eulogy very proudly boasted, “He died a millionaire.” And I thought, the moment he died he left everything to his family and he now has nothing because he died without Jesus.
The second practical reason to be content is something we never like to think about, what you have is probably enough!. Verse 8, “But if we have food and clothing we will be content with that.” If you come into the world with nothing and you leave with nothing, then what do you need in the meantime? Not much. Food, clothing and a simple roof over your head.
Let me just make a point about the roof over your head, you may have noticed that the passage doesn’t mention shelter, but the Greek word for clothing here actually means “covering” and that includes the 2 types of covering humans need, clothes and shelter.
I think the point God makes here is that when your true wealth is found in a relationship with Jesus then it’s easy and right for us to actually live quite a deliberate Spartan existence, simple, no wastage just the necessities. When you’re satisfied in Jesus you should see the luxuries as a real waste of resources. I love that prayer in Proverbs 30:7-9,
“Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: 8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.”
I think God designed us for a Spartan lifestyle, not a lavish one. The third and final reason to be content with what God has given you is that discontent leads to disaster, look at vv.9-10…
God wants us to consider what it is that we desire and what is it that we love, if its money and more possessions then be careful what you wish for because that ends in disaster, not only pain in this life but pain in the next.
So let me take you back to our opening illustration and the 40 million dollars. If your heart really wants that then you’re going to fall into temptation that leads to ruin, and to make it worse, you’ll potentially wander away from faith, the greatest treasure of all. Remember what Jesus said, “No one can serve 2 masters.” You either love God and use money or you love money and use God to get it. What do you really love? That’s the first point – how’s your contentment? The second point asks another question – what are you Pursuing? Let’s read vv.11-12…
WHAT ARE YOU PURSUING? (11-21)
When I was 21 I was playing rugby for the Newington Old Boys Rugby Club, one Wednesday night training was a 10km road run around Marrickville and Stanmore. At about 8pm we approached Stanmore train station, and way up ahead we saw a woman get bashed by a young guy who then grabbed her handbag and took off. We went after him, all 20 of us! He saw us coming and panicked, he jumped across the train lines and ran to the road on the other side, we went after him, we were focused, he was not getting away, and then it was a matter of endurance and because we were much fitter than he was we ran him down and liberated the handbag and had a few words to him before handing him over to the Police. We pursued this bloke because we wanted to get him.
The way to combat this desire to get rich is to pursue the things of God – righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Aren’t they beautiful things? This is what the men and women of God focus on. I want you to think about the word Pursue for a moment. It means to chase, to hunt, to go after, there’s a relentlessness to this word.
It’s the same relentlessness that Jesus showed when he went to the Cross for us, he was single-minded and focused as He deliberately made his way to Jerusalem and then died for us. He could’ve bailed out, called down his angelic army but he never did. Why? Because he loves you and is committed to you and will never give up on you.
So how do we respond? By pursuing Godliness, by not putting our hope in wealth but in God, by doing good, being rich in good deeds, by being generous and being willing to share. That’s how we lay up true treasure for ourselves and take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 – wake up determined to pursues the things of God, be motivated for God.
2 – Don’t waste the limited resources that you have, use them generously. For us: Smoking, drinking, gambling.
Godliness with Contentment, that’s true wealth.