The O’Jays song, “For the Love of Money”, was the #9 song for the year 1974. It later became the theme song for Donald Trumps “The Apprentice” tv series. This song sounds a warning concerning our society’s obsession with material riches. If you would like to hear the song, in its entirety, take a listen here… For the Love of Money
Materialism seems to be running rampant in our society. Some say that materialism is the “engine” that drives our economic system. Others would say that an insatiable desire for wealth is playing a huge part in the economic ills that our society is now facing. Should a Christian embrace or reject materialism? The Apostle Paul addresses this subject in Phil 4:10-13 & 1 Tim 6:6-12. Let’s see what he had to say about it….
Phil 4:10-13 (KJV)
10) But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.
12) I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
1Tim 6:6-12 (KJV)
6) But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7) For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out.
8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
In our text, Phil 4:10-13, we find the proper Christian attitude toward the riches of this world.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
The Apostle Paul was writing from a prison cell, having been arrested by the Roman government opposed to his preaching of the gospel message. During his stay in prison, Paul’s needs were supplied through the love offerings from various churches. The church at Philippi was one of Paul’s supporting churches. For a period of time, the Philippi love offerings had ceased, and then began once again. Paul understood that the church had always cared for him, but, at times were unable to send him offerings.
It was during these “lean” times that Paul had learned a very important lesson. It was in this context, that Paul began instructions concerning the need to be content with what we have.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.
Paul was not writing this to try to “beef up” his support. He had learned an important lesson he wanted to share with the Philippians… it was a lesson about contentment. Paul had learned no matter what his monetary situation might be, he needed to be “content”. The Greek word for content means “your self has enough” or simply “to be enough”
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
In Paul’s life he knew how to be humbled and to be overflowing. In every area of life, Paul had experienced fullness and satisfaction as well lack and hunger. Yet in all these conditions, Paul knew he needed to be content. He viewed each situation with the attitude…. it is enough.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
How could Paul ever say that when hungry… it is enough? How could he possible look at times of lack as “I am content”? It was only through the strength that Christ had given to him.
This verse is a very well-known and highly quoted verse. Let me quickly say that I do believe through Christ we can do all things… there is no limit to what we can accomplish with Christ’s enabling.
However, clearly in the context of this verse. By “all things” Paul is describing all types of conditions of want and need. What he is saying, contextually, is that he can be content in any area, through the strengthening of Christ.
Paul also addresses the subject of contentment in 1 Tim 6:6-12
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Paul understood that a Christian will greatly profit if a their life is a testimony for Christ and they are content with that Godliness.
In other words, being content with a Godly life is having our priorities straight. Living a godly life for Him is what is important.
For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out.
The material possessions of this world have no lasting value. Their only value is of an earthly nature. But living a life for Christ has eternal value.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
We need to be content with the blessings of food and raiment. This is all we need to live a Godly life… we need nothing else.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Those who have an overflowing of possessions are open to sinful opportunities and traps. They have more occasion to fulfill sinful lusts of their flesh. It is these lusts that can overcome men causing them to perish or ruin their lives.
Increased wealth demands increased self-control and increased submission to the will of Christ.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Once again sinful desires are in view. When a Christian places their heart on selfish gain, all types of sin will take place. Love and selfishness are two exact opposites. Selfishness for the Christian. results in a departure from the teachings of the Lord and brings upon themselves remorse for their sin and wasted life.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
As Christians we are flee the selfish desires for heaping up unneeded, overflowing wealth. Instead we are to follow the path that leads to:
- righteousness – just, aligned with law
- godliness – portraying God in our lives
- faith – belief, commitment
- love – self sacrifice
- patience – to bear under
- meekness – gentle, humble
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
What are Christians to do?:
- fight the good fight of faith – fight the Godly war against the powers of darkness in this world.
- lay hold of eternal life – Assure ourselves of the truth that eternal life awaits us. Then serve Him now realizing the temporal things of this world are of little value, but the spiritual things are eternal!
- whereunto thou art also called and hast professed a good profession… – live like we are called to eternal life. Live a Godly life and declare to others the Lord that we serve.
For those who are saved …
By concentrating on our service to our Lord, we are putting first things first and “laying up in store” that which is eternal. 1 Tim 6:17-19
For those who have yet to be saved..
That which is of most value cannot be purchased nor gained through the work of our hands. It is a free gift coming from a gracious Almighty God. By coming to Him, willing to leave your sin and selfishness behind, you too can receive this gift.
1Pet 1:17-21 (KJV)
17) And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear:
18) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers;
19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21) Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
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