Sermon – False preachers and their love of money (1 Timothy 6:1 – 6:10) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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1 Timothy 2023

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Sermon 16 of 18

False preachers and their love of money

Pete Woodcock, 1 Timothy 6:1 - 6:10, 28 May 2023

As we continue our series in 1 Timothy, Pete preaches to us from 1 Timothy 6:1-10. In this passage we see Paul outlining to Timothy the teachings he is to insist on, the seriousness of the love of money, and what it means for us today.

1 Timothy 6:1 - 6:10

6:1 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Gonna read from 1 Timothy chapter 6 verses 1 to 10. All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.

These are the things that you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to Godly teaching, They are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies, and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between people of corrupt mind who have been robbed of the truth and who think that Godliness is a means to financial gain, but Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Those who want to get rich fall into a temptation and a trap, and into many fall and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil Some people eager for money have wondered from the faith and have pierced themselves with many griefs. Well, morning. My name's Pete Woodcock, and I'm 1 of the elders of the church here. If you're visiting, good to see you.

Please come and make sure you say hello afterwards I'll be at the door. We're going through 1 Timothy. This book that Paul, the apostle Paul, the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, so he's standing on behalf of the work of Jesus And he's writing to a younger minister called Timothy about how to set up church, how church should run, sort of things church should be involved with, And it's just an amazing document, but an amazing thing for us to hear how we should run church. So let me pray. Father God, we pray you will help us now.

There's all kinds of distractions in our way of hearing your word as we've already prayed. And we do need your help. So help us please help me to open up faithfully your word, help us to hear it, help us to apply it by your spirit, not just be heroes only. Help us to take the hard things, help us to rejoice in the good things. We pray that both those things would, by your spirit, be planted in our lives, in Jesus' name, amen.

There's a a rock group that are getting a bit dated now, but they're called the Manic Street Preachers. Don't know whether you ever heard of them. The Manic Street preachers. They're not a Christian rock group, although you might think they are, the Manic Street preachers. They're a sort of well socialist Yeah.

That's their issue. And the Manic Street preaches, they they had an album back in 19 98. Called, this is this is my truth. Tell me yours. This is my truth.

Tell me yours. This is a very good album, actually. But why I like that title is that that's a great definition of a thinking that is called relativism. This is my truth. Tell me your truth.

So relativism is the idea that there there is no absolute universal standard to what is true and good and right and wrong. Relativism is, you know, What is true for you is different for what is true for me. So it would argue that true and good and right and wrong values they have to be put in their place in their time to the individual person. So a sort of favorite phrase, if you like, summing up a relativist, is it all depends. It all depends.

Is this right? Well, it's all depends. Is that wrong? Well, it all depends. It all depends on where you are, who you are, when you are, what time you are.

And then living out relativism, it sort of goes like this, and you've heard this phrase, when in Rome do as the Romans. So you live out relativism like that, when in Rome is the Romans. What's the consensus? Whoa. What's the consensus?

What's what does most people do? Well, that's the right thing. That's the consensus is the way is way to live. When in Rome do as the Romans or wherever you are, do as they do. But as 1 Christian broadcaster, David Cook says, that all sounds cozy.

When in Rome, do as the Roman It all sounds cozy until you go and live amongst cannibals. Then you're not a relativist. Because when the cannibals are looking at you as the next juicy meal, then you start to say, I think there's right and wrong. I think there is truth and error and I think you might be an error mister cannibalist as he's coming towards you. For you now this is gonna sound like I'm an absolute manic street preacher fan.

I I like their older stuff. I haven't heard much of their newer stuff, but that that Manic Street preaches album, tell me your truth. I I'll tell you sorry. This is my truth. I'll tell you yours.

That 25 years old. And relativism has moved a bit now. It's it's not This is my truth. Tell me yours. It's this is my truth, and if you disagree with me, I'll cancel you.

That's where relativism is today in a sort cynical way. That's where we are. 4 years before they did that LP, the manic Street Preacher's LP was the Holy Bible. It's quite interesting, isn't it? After they did that LP, they had know your enemy.

This all fits. To me, I was desperately looking for an introduction to relativism, and this all fits. Because if you go to the Holy Bible, you will know that we do have an enemy and that the enemy is not about truth. So the bible is showing us that that there is a real enemy and every truth the enemy says in in fact is a lie. He twists and distorts or exaggerates or or minimalizes truth.

And the bible says that actually there is a truth, and not everything is equal, and not everything that everybody says is equally true or true for themselves, and not everything is equally significant. The trouble is with the verses coming to, and this is why I'm introducing it this way, is you hear Paul absolutely blasting people that don't agree with what he's saying. It's the strongest language you can get. And then what people do with Paul is to say, well, that's not very nice. Doesn't he know that Jesus said, do not judge and you will not be judged.

And yet when you look at what Jesus is saying, he's not saying you don't have discernment. He's saying, you don't condemn someone in a self righteous way. Because in the very same sermon, he says, watch out for false prophets, they come to you in sheep's clothings, but inwardly they're ferocious wolves. Buy their fruit, you will recognize them. So Jesus is telling us to judge.

And so judge that actually there are people coming and they are liars. They are pretenders. They dress up as sheep but actually the ferocious wolves. And actually, if you just listen to them and look at them, you'll see the fruit. You'll see that they're massacring the sheep all over the place that they're just about taking from the flock, not giving.

So the bible talks about a devil, an archenemy, himself can appear as an angel of light. Paul even says in Galatians, if we, that's him, the apostles, if we or an angel from heaven, should preach a gospel other than the 1 that we preach to you, let him be eternally condemned. So we need to judge preachers. We need to put them under the microscope. And here is Paul in chapter 6, and he's saying that everything should be judged by the light of look at verse 3.

Everything should be judged by the light of the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching. That is the light, and that is the only light we have To judge whether a preacher, a teacher, a book writer, or whatever, is false or true. Paul opened his letter with warnings about false teachers in chapter 1. Paul demonstrates some of the dangers of false teaching in chapter 4. And now at the close of his letter, He returns to the subject and he wants people to see the characteristics, the more characteristics of false teachers.

He's not let that subject go. He wants to show the motives of false teachers, and he wants to show the fruit, the results of false teaching. You see, relativism is stupid because really genuinely, genuinely, false teaching on any subject is dangerous, isn't it? But if it's false teaching, about God and Jesus and your life and your destiny and heaven and hell and what God wants us to be about. It's disastrous if it's wrong.

So Paul's showing us again. He wants to define false teachers. He wants you to know your enemy He wants to show you that there is a truth and any other thing that claims to be truth and this truth. Is going to do you great harm. So here's my first point then, false teachers.

Look at verse 2, the second half, through to 6. Let me just read those verses again. Of 1 Timothy chapter 6. These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to Godly teaching, They are conceited and understand nothing.

They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words, that result in NV strife, malicious talk, even suspicions. And constant friction between people of corrupt minds who have robbed who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness means financial gain. There's some very strong language there. And in my experience, if you say things like that about people, if I start putting names to those verse those those sentences, Very uncomfortable. Who who's he to say this stuff?

I want to get out of here. Aren't we in a world where Tell me, you know, this is my truth. Tell me yours. Let's identify some of them. What's going on?

First of all, he says they have a different teaching verse 3. The ESV version puts it this way and maybe a little clearer says, teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of the lord Jesus Christ. A different doctrine Not just otherwise, but a different doctrine. Paul's very, very clear on this.

This is the truth. There is no other truth. It's not this is my truth, tell me yours. It's this nonsense. People are wrong.

There are false teachers. Be aware of them. The word sound he uses there is the word healthy wholesome. It comes the English word hygiene comes from that. It's clean.

It's hygienic. It's fresh. It's healthy. It's it's it's wholesome. My son is a chef, and he showed me in the past some little YouTube clips of Gordon Ramsay.

I don't know whether you've seen them, I'm sure you have, where he goes to a restaurant. He always seems to be in America for some reason. But he goes to a restaurant and he he orders stuff from the menu and then and then he sort of makes his judgment. And always, when when the waiter comes, he says, is this fresh? And as far as the clips I've seen, the waiter always says, Yeah.

The the the chef says it's chef. It's fresh. Then he comes, and he always says, oh my goodness. Then he tastes it and normally spits it out. I think that makes good good videoing, good YouTube clip.

He normally spits it out and he says, that's not fresh, that's old, that's frozen, that's been microwaved, that's disgusting. So 1 clip I saw last week was the super the day. He tasted the super the day, spat it out, and said, when was this soup made? And the chef came and said, oh, I made it 2 weeks ago. That's the soup of the day.

The soup of 2 weeks ago, it should have been called. It's not fresh. It's not wholesome. It's not nice. There's something wrong with it.

Unpleasurement. There are people coming around, and they're serving you microwaved heat up, unfresh food. The verse 3 could be translated like this, and it just takes it a little deeper. If anyone teaches differently and does not come over to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and does not come over to. Not just agree to but come over to join us that means.

That's what the word means. If anyone teaches differently and doesn't join us with the sound teaching. See, it's stronger than agree because lots of people agree with the lord Jesus Christ. Particularly in a relativistic age. Do you agree with Jesus?

Of course, I agree with Jesus. Who agrees with Jesus? Anyone disagree with Jesus? No one's gonna put their hand up and say, I disagree with Jesus. Not not much.

And so everybody agrees with Jesus. But this is, have they come over to the teacher? Of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are they standing on the truths like Luther said, here I stand. Are they putting their life into these truths?

Are they feasting on the fresh truths of the Lord Jesus Christ? Or are they in their life serving up frozen bad microwave food? Do they too quickly explain away Jesus relativistically? Yes. Well, that's what it meant in the first century But no, it it can't mean that today, not in our our age.

It's very interesting. I have met a number of young blokes that if you say do you agree with the Lord Jesus Christ, I'm talking quite a number. They say, of course, I agree. I'm a full on, evangelical, reformed Christian, whatever it is, you know, whatever words you want to put in front. I really believe the bible.

But I'm keeping it quiet for the interview with the man in this denomination that's going to get me a job, Because if I keep it quiet, I might get a job, but if I really say what I believe I won't get the job. That's a that's a disaster for those young people. If they're starting their ministry saying that, they'll end up false teachers. It's a disaster. They're not coming over.

They're not standing on the truth. Verse 2, the second half. These are things you are to teach and insist on. When a person rejects the sound healthy, fresh teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, then sickness will result. And look at the sickness, verse 4, the second half, they have an unhealthy, a sickening.

Interest in controversies and and quarrels about words, the result that result in evil strife, malicious talk, etcetera. So 1 of the marks that Paul is saying that you've got to watch out for, be very careful is this other teaching. It's other than the Lord Jesus Christ. It's cheap. It's frozen.

It's microwave. There's no cross at the center of it. There's no cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and his wonderful sacrifice at the center of it. They won't stand in that position and give their lives for the Christ of Christ. Isaiah, a prophet of old, says, If anyone does not speak according to this word, and he's talking about the word of God.

If anyone does not talk speak according to this word, They have no light of dawn. There's no light of dawn. There's no light coming. Teachers take people into a dark place that will ruin them. There's no sound, freshness, There's no practical teaching.

So when we've gone through 1 Timothy, we see how practical it is. How practical it is when we were looking at slaves last week and freedom last week. It's so practical, but this unhealthy food that that only brings darkness is is never helpful. It's just arguments about words. So that brings me on to the second thing.

There's another message But then secondly, they're conceited and understand nothing. That's what he says. I mean, these are these are not words you're meant to say in our relativistic society. They understand nothing. The word conceited means pride.

They're full of pride. They're proud of themselves. And the word can that word comes from the root word smoke. They fill up the room with smoke. They're like a cloud of smoke.

They hide things. It's all smoke and no fire. If the Bible is the Word of God, And you're a preacher of the word of God, and you'll and you don't preach the word of God, you has to be conceited. If you preach what you think, you has to be conceited. 2 Peter puts it even stronger in 2 peter chapter 2 verse 17 listen.

These people are springs without water. There's nothing there. They're dry and mists driven away by the storm. It's a puff of air and there's no substance. Listen to this.

Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty boastful words, and by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people. That's the false teacher. Black is dark, this is reserved for them. And while they're waiting for for their you know, reservation in the blackest darkness.

They're enticing you by lusts. Inflated view of themselves, not hesitating to say what God has said without going to the Word of God. Using the scriptures, but never under the scriptures. They know nothing Paul says. They know nothing.

You can learn nothing from them. Don't start saying, oh, there's some good stuff there. No. If they're teaching like this, blackest darkness, empty mouthing words. Both don't go near these people.

They don't listen to scripture. They don't under scripture They're always manipulate scripture. Third thing, look, they cause division, obviously. They're gonna cause division in the church. Verse 4, They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words.

They're constantly going on. So the false teachers in in the church in Galatia had come into the Galatian church. They're talking about circumcision. I mean, you if you were standing there having a coffee, this this group would they were known as the circumcision group. They'd sidle up to you and say, oh, it's you like your coffee quite strong.

You've been circumcised? What? What? How do we get onto that subject? Always the most important subject, you know?

You know, you go to the toilet. I don't know. See you haven't been circumcised, you know? We can do it here now if you like. What are you talking about?

I thought we were praising the Lord Jesus Christ. I thought it was all about what he did for us on the cross. Oh, yes, of course, it is. It is about Jesus. But circumcision is really good for your health and wealth and prosperity.

Yeah? That's a hard 1 to argue, but that's what they would say. No, it is Jesus, and he's wonderful that he died on the cross but it's Jesus plus. You need to do this. And as you start following them, then you start doing whatever it is they say Jesus plus, Then it's very easy to look out on others that aren't following you and condemn them, and it brings division.

Because I'm a better Christian than you, because I've been circumcised, or I follow these food laws, or I don't eat that food, or I eat this food. And I'm following these rules and laws of the old testament. And Paul says, in the end, what does that do? Jesus plus means that there's envy and strife and malicious talks and frictions going on. And if you dabble with false teaching, then verses 4 and 5 is your future.

You'll find yourself, envy, strife, malicious talk, looking out for people, seeing if they're following the rules that you follow rather than seeing if they love the Lord Jesus. And they're robbers, They thief, the very precious thing, truth. It's interesting that in the in the first century, in the first century Greek Roman sort of world, there were traveling speakers called Sofists. And they would travel around. They were professional arguers.

And that you could employ them to argue for your for your subject. This is quite amazing. Or they would bring a big audience together because some of them are very, very famous. And you could shout out a subject, and they would speak on it. It's a bit like the the comedy shows, you know, where they shout out a subject, and something that they do they do a joke on it.

That's that's exactly what the sophists were like. They didn't care about truth. They cared about winning the argument, the applause they got, because that showed you how you won the argument, and the money they got. They were in it for money and applause. Yeah?

And they would travel around and get arguing about a subject, and there were Christian versions of these sophists. They didn't come and expound the word. They didn't put a lot of energy in, and it does take this, I I have to say, in reading reading the bible and understanding it and putting energy into it and being a little bit scared and nervous about preaching the very word of God and you think Can I really preach this? Do I know enough? Testing?

Making sure that what you are saying that other brothers in history of agreeing with you that you're not coming out with some new silly idea. It takes a lot of work to to to to do that. But these Christian sophists, they didn't do the expounding of the Word of God. They just used words that would titillate. They would come out with secret words that God had given them in their head and they titillated it for money, and it robbed people of not only of their money, but robbed them of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And Paul is saying there's loads of these people around. The gospel has to be preached like 1 Timothy chapter 1 verses 5 and 6 says. This is what he says to the preachers. The goal of this command is love. 1 of the things that We preachers pray, not enough sometimes, but I do find myself sometimes saying, lord, just before I stand up, Help me love.

Don't let me just be angry. Help me love. Help me love the audience. Help me love the congregation. Help me so love that I'll speak truth, even if some people won't like it.

Help me love. So the goal of this command is love which comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. And some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they're talking about or they so confidently affirm. They're robbers.

We'll come back to that verse in a minute. But then they preach as a means of financial gain. Look at verse 5. They think that godliness is a means of financial gain. I mean, you had that right back in the book of acts when a man called Simon wanted to buy the Holy Spirit so that he could have power over people.

And Peter really goes for him and condemns him. But these false teachers, you'll notice, they they will commercialize religion. It's out for profit. They usually name the ministry after themselves to some degree. And They're preaching, not out of a vocation, not out of a calling, not out of a humble commitment to the word of God, and not out of fear, it's out of a career, and it's out of a business, and it's out of making a name.

The laborer we're told, and we saw that a few weeks ago, is worth his hire, but his motive is not that money. His motive is the public service to preach the word of God. These preachers do it financial gain. It's not a true ministry if they do it for that. It's a business.

It's a religious business. Watch out for that. Think of the prosperity gospel, 1 of the things I've tried to hold back this week is just going through a whole list of names on those prosperity gospels. It's very easy to do, but it gets a bit boring. But if you only go onto the internet, you'll find prosperity gospel, people, and they're awful.

They that that in 1 in 1 Timothy chapter 1 verse 7 it says they want to be teachers of the law. That's the sort of old testament. But they do not know what they're talking about or what they so confidently affirm. That's largely the prosperity preachers. Saying that you'll be rich now.

They don't understand the old testament and the new testament and how it works together. They'll go to an old testament verse and rip it completely out of joint that is a verse for Israel, a theocracy. And they'll say that verse means this for you, and they don't go through Christ, and they don't go through fulfillment, and they don't understand the prophecies and fulfillment. They take the law of God, they take a line and they preach that line out of context, and they basically say, They were to be rich, you were to be rich. And the way you get rich for some reason is that you give money to them.

I've never understood that. They they're telling me to have faith that if I have faith, I would give them all my money It sounds like a gambling thing to me. That's exactly what the gamblers say. Put your money on this, and then you'll win this. What I never understand is, why can't they give me their money and show me their faith?

So you know, why? You've got billions and jets and everything. Give me all your you say, when you give your money away, God will give you more money. Well, give me your billions, and then God will give you more billions. I'll be happy, you'll be happy.

We're all happy. Why do I have to have faith in you, don't? I have said that in a prosperity gospel meeting once, and I got took taken out. My first date with Anne. I took Anne to a prosperity gospel preacher, Anna healer.

And I was she didn't know what she was covering. She's a lovely sort of joyful Christian girl. And I stood up and I was shouting at this bloke, and 2 blokes came and carrying me out and I was And Anne was just following on. And I said, do you want to marry me? She said, yes.

I mean, she must have been mental. But it's ridiculous, isn't it? It's just that they they they miss they misapply the gospel. They're judases that are following Jesus for money, and they'll sell him when they can. There's the false teachers.

Be aware of them. There's loads of them. We could name them. Be careful of people. This is why internet preaching, you've got to be careful.

You really have because you don't know how they live. Here's a second point then, true true teachers. So in chapter 3, we saw the elders and teachers in the church are not to be lovers of money, and they're not to pursue dishonest gain. So go to our treasurer. Ask questions about us as staff.

We're more than happy for you to do that to see whether we are up to this no good stuff. If we're ciphering money off or whatever it is. Go and ask. You could ask about our wages. You can do that and see what we what we get and whether we'll rip off merchants.

So we want to be open there. So Phil Cooper is the treasurer. He's on holiday at the moment, in Florida. It's probably listening to prosperity gospel preachers. But when he's back, you can ask him.

Yeah. So we're not to be like that and do that. If you ask me about money, I don't know about even giving. I don't want to know what you give to the church. Because I don't want it to influence me when I have to speak to you strongly.

Because if you give lots of money, And then I have to come to you and say, now you're out of order mate. I've got to think, Bruce, are we gonna lose that money? This boat won't like So I don't know how much you give. That's why I can speak to you straight, yeah, if you give anything at all. So teachers are not to be about money.

We're being about the sound teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostolic word. True teachers are to be humble about their own attainments and aware of their own many faults We're humble. We're supposed to be humble about who we are and aware of our sins. But actually never shy in preaching the bible, asking God to give us give us that lack of shyness. My third point though, great gain or great pain.

Now this is the thing that Paul has just put in this little section to really help us to give us confidence really in good teachers. So let me just read it. So it's great gain or great pain versus 6 to 10 But godly this with contentment is great gain. See who are the ones who have gained and see who are the ones who are paying. But godliness with great godliness with contentment is great gain.

For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it, But if we have food and clothing, we'll be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish, harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. So there's a choice, he says.

There's the false teacher. There's the true teacher. There's great gain and there's great pain. There's a real choice, pain or gain. The false teachers motive Here is financial gain.

There's there's little concern about opportunities for ministry amongst the vulnerable or the weak or for building other believers up. It's all about money, making contacts, networking with people, for their name. They they don't care about truth. Their gain is in this world, it is money. And they'll rob the church They robbed the church.

I remember years ago, this was probably 30 years ago, maybe longer. When I was doing a lot of student ministry preaching in in universities. And the church I worked for never charged anything for me. I was always free. That's probably why people have had me.

But there was a bloke at the time who now is a full on heretic And he charged students 3000 pounds for a 3 day mission, 3000 pounds. Now this was this was 30 years ago, and that he wouldn't come and do a student mission unless they gave him 3000 pounds. It's ridiculous. That's what he charged. Well, this 1 university, well several universities rang me up and said, how much do you charge?

And I said, well, I'll have you then. And so I started getting in where this bloke didn't get in because he was charging 3000 pounds. It's it's a shocking thing if we're about it for money, for gain and fame and money. So the false teachers are infatuated with things of this world, with money. They're false teachers.

And they'll get you infatuated with the wrong thing. But there is great gain for the Christian. The Christian, the true preacher, has great gain. Look at it verse 5. The great gain is contentment.

And this is how to combat false teaching. But godliness with contentment is great gain. Notice it's it's not just contentment. Its godliness with contentment is great gain. Now Godliness, as we've already seen in this series, is not just about you being moral, it's not about you at all.

Godliness is the gospel. It's the Lord Jesus Christ is Godliness. It's He who makes me godly. So we saw in chapter 3 verse 16, Paul says, beyond all question, the mystery from which true Godliness springs is great, and then he talks about Jesus. Godliness is Jesus.

He appeared in the flesh was vindicated by the spirit. We're seen by angels. We preach this. Go back and hear the sermon. Godliness is Jesus.

I am in godliness if I'm in Jesus. So Jesus is the 1 that I need to bang on about. Jesus is the 1 I need to to be taken up with. Jesus is the 1 that I need to be feasting on, And as I feast on Jesus, there's a godliness in me, and there's a contentment. When we understand what Jesus has done for us, who he is, he's our savior, he's our lord, he's our lover, he's the son of the living God.

He's the 1 that gave his life on the cross to make me godly. He paid it all. He done everything. It's the Lord Jesus Christ. When I understand it's all about him and not about my morality or whether I'm better than you, or you're better than me, or circumcision or the food I eat.

It's all about him. It's all about him. My lover. He's the lover of my soul. When I am taken up with the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, I'm content in this world.

And he shows this by 4 things, and then I'm finished. In these last verses, when you're content in Christ 4 things will be in your life. First, what we have here is temporary. Your looks, your physique, your money, your house, your family. What we have here is temporary.

Look at verse 7. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. Everything in this world is temporary. You came in with nothing, you're going out with nothing. As someone said, nappies don't have pockets and nord a shroud.

No pockets in nappies, no pockets in shrouds. Yeah? You're born with nothing, you leave with nothing. The pharaohs, they didn't understand it. They bought those made those wacky great triangular things in the desert and they put not only their bodies but their goods and their servants in for the afterlife.

They thought you could take it with you. They thought the servants would serve them. They would have their gold and their money. But who's got them? They're in the British Museum in the center of London.

You can't take it with you. You come into the world with nothing, you leave the world with nothing. Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, Jesus says. Where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasure in heaven Who's in heaven? The Lord Jesus Christ, where moth and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal try and steal from the lord Jesus Christ.

For where your treasure is, your heart is also. Paul said, I've learned to be content, whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I've learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or 1. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

When the Lord Jesus Christ is the thing that you're looking at, When you're content because that treasure that will never fade and never be spoiled and no rat or vermin or rust can touch Jesus. And all his wonderful promises to us that he will take us to be with himself in a new world where there will be glory and glory and more beauty and more substance. Where this is a shadow land of the reality to come When Jesus is taking us up, we see that everything in this world is given by god, but it's temporary. It's here 1 minute, it's gone the next, and that's the power of God for a contented life. And so When you know the lord Jesus Christ, you have great gain because you're content.

I mean, walk through Kingston today. Shout out. I'm content. I'm content. It's a wonderful freedom.

Someone comes up to you and says, Do you want this wonderful Tesla car here? If you gave 5 pounds, you could be put in a draw, you could win this car. You I don't need that. I'm content. Yeah.

You say that to them, they don't know what you're talking about. What would I do with that car? I've done this. What would I do with that car? Well, you you could have it at home, but I've got a car.

I've got a van. Yeah? I've got a van. I go to dump with the van. What do I'm gonna do with that Tesla?

Well, you could you'd have 2 cars. But how can I drive 2 cars? I don't know how to say, well, 1 leg in white wood. I know where you could sell your old van and drive in the Tesla. But why would I do that?

I can't go to the dump with that. I tell you what you're trying to do. You're trying to make me discontent, and I'm content with my car and my van because I have Jesus. So do you know what you can do with your Tesla? Probably best to stop there.

There's contentment. Yeah? Temporaryies. Here, 1 minute. There'll be a rust bucket soon.

The battery will run out, and then you won't be able to get duricel battery to put in it. In the end, even the duricel rabbit runs out. It's temporary. Number 2. The list of what we need to be content in this world, the physical things, is very tiny.

Look at verse 8. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. It's all you need? You don't need a car. You need food and clothing, shelter.

That's all you need. Don't get your wants muddled up with your needs. As soon as you make your wants, your needs, you're in massive trouble. Contentment It's just having what you need, food and clothing, shelter, water, and the Lord Jesus Christ. So the list, to be content, if you're in Christ, is actually very very small.

Thirdly, desire for wealth is a horrible trap. Look at verse 9. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. That's what can happen so easily with wanting to be rich. Desire leads to temptation, leads to a trap.

It starts with coveting. I need this. My need is that. When actually you've got food and clothing, so be content. Once you start adding to the list, the tiny list of what you need to be content in this world, then you start coveting if you're not careful.

And the love of money is the root of all evil. You see it, don't you? In parents that sell their self to their work because they think that money is the good thing for their kids. And they're never at home. And it's a trap of destruction.

We know that. 4 thing, The love of money brings many griefs. Look at verse 10. For the love of money, is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money have wondered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

The love of money. Now if the Lord has given you lots of money, then you can enjoy it. Of course, as long as that isn't the love of your life. And the great thing about churches that we don't go around saying, well, he's richer than me and that's really nasty. Church isn't communism, It's a wonderful thing that you've got lots of money and a nice big house.

I'm really pleased for you. But invite me around, you know? Let me sort of enjoy it as well if I haven't got that or if I have. You know, let me invite you around. So there's nothing wrong in being rich.

He's not saying that. He's not saying money is false. He's saying the love of money, where your heart is, where's your treasure. And if God's given you money, then praise God. You can be very helpful to those poorer in the church.

Praise the Lord for that. So we're we're not so you could have the love of money and not have any money. And you're wondering why? And why why has he got that job? You know?

And if you're a preacher, it's very easy because you've talked to students and you've led them to Christ, and they're tiny little students and you're earning your money. And then within a year, you say, what job are you got? They're earning like treble. What you earn? You say, I've been doing this job for 40 years.

And you what? See, how the love of money can destroy you? Instead of saying that's terrific. Brilliant. Earn more.

Get more. And add to your house fine, but use it for the lord. Don't have a love of money because it will kill you. And when you've got all of those things in place, by looking at the lord Jesus Christ, you'll be content, and you'll be safe from a preacher that goes on about money and this life and the best life you can have is in this world. They're false, they're liars, If the emphasis of the preaching is on this world and what you get in this world, you can be sure that they're liars and they're false.

But we don't like hearing words like that today, because we're relativists, and it feels hard and uncomfortable and pretty nasty, doesn't it? But if we're not realists, we'll have an enemy that the Bible says, is a false teacher and behind the false teacher is an angel of light and behind the angel of light is Satan. Let's bow ahead and ask the Lord's help and over to Tom.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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