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2 Timothy 3.1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be…
lovers of themselves unthankful brutal
lovers of money unholy despisers of good
boasters unloving traitors
proud unforgiving headstrong
blasphemers slanderers haughty
disobedient to parents without self-control lovers of pleasure rather
than lovers of God
having a form of godliness but denying its power.
And from such people turn away!

We continue our study today learning to recognize this list of behaviors that characterizes those with a “form of godliness” but lacking power. Do you find your Christian walk to be feeble and frail? Perhaps one of these attributes has crept into your life.

Today, let’s look at “lovers of money”, certainly an undeniable concern in our age of prosperity and affluence. It has been said that for every hundred persons that can endure poverty in a Godly manner, maybe one person can become prosperous and remain faithful to Him. It does not help matters when an entire Christian movement today measures faith and godliness by prosperity and wealth.

Luke 18.24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Luke 8.14 Now the ones [the Gospel] that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

Money is one of the most taught subjects in the Bible; its attainment, its purpose, its use, its dangers and its power over us. A library of books could hardly exhaust the subject and many great teachers whose books I’m hardly worthy to dust off have written much concerning the Godly use of money and the ill effects of materialism. The Biblical conclusion is that money itself is not evil; but our attitude towards it and use of it very easily can be.

Let me turn your focus this morning to God’s Word and bring your attention to Psalm 49. Let’s refresh our minds about God’s perspective on money.

  • v. 2 Both low and high, Rich and poor together.
    • The first point we notice is that life makes no separation of the rich and poor. Death, ill fortune, chance… they occur for all men alike regardless of status. If you think your bank account or success means that you will escape the common destiny of man you are mistaken.
  • v. 6-9 Those who trust in their wealth, And boast in the multitude of their riches, None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him— For the redemption of their souls is costly, And it shall cease forever— That he should continue to live eternally, And not see the Pit.
    • No amount of money can buy your way out of the common fate of death and judgment. Nor can money purchase redemption for your family, friends or loved ones. We are all facing the inevitable Day when we will give an account for our lives and no amount of money can purchase God’s mercy.
  • v. 10-12 For he sees wise men die; Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish, And leave their wealth to others. Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, Their dwelling places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; He is like the beasts that perish.
    • All men die and take absolutely nothing with them. The rich and poor, the wise and foolish alike leave everything they have behind. But God has given His children an opportunity to send it ahead to heaven in the form of eternal treasure (Luke 16.1-13).

    There is a reason you never see U-Haul trailers
    being pulled behind hearses.

    • We live in a false security that our current prosperity will never end, that we will always have what we have now. In reality, it will all perish, whether through economic disaster, poor decisions, thieves, moths & rust or death… the result is always the same.
  • v. 16-20 Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lives he blesses himself (For men will praise you when you do well for yourself), He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see light. A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish.
    • We are not to covet or be in awe of one who becomes rich and it seems that everything in life is going their way. All wealth is doomed to the same end. Its not how much money we have or don’t have, its how we use it.

It’s not how much prosperity we have that is an indicator of faith, it’s how loosely we hold on to it and use it for God that indicates our faithfulness. One dollar, or a million dollars, spent with the sole thought of personal pleasure is symptomatic of a person who is a “lover of money”. One dollar or a million, given in sacrifice and obedience to God’s conviction is a heavenly treasure far exceeding its monetary value. (the key phrase being “sole thought”)

Let me close with some principles about money for you to consider:

  • It’s not how much you have or don’t have, its whether you truly believe it ALL (not 10%) belongs to God. (James 1.17)
  • You can spend it now on temporary short term reward (pleasure or comfort)… or you can send it ahead to heaven as an eternal investment by using it sacrificially for God’s purposes. (Luke 12.32-34; Luke 16.1-13)
  • No matter what your bank account balance is, if you are not content right now, with exactly what you have, you will never be content. (1 Tim 6.6-10)
  • The poorest man on earth is unimaginably rich if he has Christ; the richest man on the planet is to be pitied above all men if he is not a follower of Jesus Christ. (Eph 3.8)

Consider making this your prayer concerning material blessing and income:

Proverbs 30.8-9 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the LORD?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.

Lord, grant us integrity and honesty in all things financial. Give us this day neither poverty, that I might be tempted to steal and shame Your name; nor so much prosperity that my trust in You is diminished because I have no need to depend on You for anything. Teach me contentment today with exactly what I have, wanting no more and more than willing to give up what I do have. Amen.