Sermon – This Sermon will Make You Rich (1 Timothy 6:17 – 6:21) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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1 Timothy 2023

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Sermon 18 of 18

This Sermon will Make You Rich

Tom Sweatman, 1 Timothy 6:17 - 6:21, 11 June 2023

Tom finishes our series in 1 Timothy. Tom preaches from 1 Timothy 6:17-21. In these verses Paul encourages wealthy christians to live their lives with humility and generosity. What does this text mean for us living in one of the wealthiest nations in the 21st century?

1 Timothy 6:17 - 6:21

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

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

We're gonna have an extended time of prayer at the end of the the sermon this morning. But we're gonna have our reading now, and you can find that reading in 1 Timothy chapter 6. We are coming to the the end of this letter that we've been going through. We're gonna read the whole of chapter 6 as it's the last a last hurrah.

So let's let's revel in God's word this morning. So you if you have a bottle 1 timothy 6 or you can follow along on the screen. Let's hear what God says. All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect 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 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 Melicious talk evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind who have been rocked of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain.

For we bought nothing into this 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 temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God who gives life to everything and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before pontius pilate made the good confession I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Which God will bring about in his own time.

God, the blessed and only ruler, the king of kings and the lord of lords. Who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, who no 1 has seen or can see. To him, be honor and might forever are men. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain but to put their hope in God. Who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Command them to do good and to be rich in good deeds. And to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age. So that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care.

Turn away from Godless chatter and the opposing ideas of of what is falsely called knowledge which some have professed and in doing so have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all. Thanks, Dean. Morning everybody. Lovely to see you.

And if you are if you're with us for the first time this morning, it's great to have you. My name is Tom Sweetman. I'm 1 of the pastors here at the church. And if it is your first time here, it's great to have you. You join us Literally at the very end of a series that we have been working through for some months now.

We've been looking at this book written by a man called Paul, who was an apostle of Jesus Christ and he wrote to a man called Timothy, who was a church pastor in ephesus. And we've just been enjoying together over these past few months and being challenged by All that the Lord has said to him. And we are looking at these last few verses, 17 to 21, and Paul is here returning to a a subject that he's already addressed in the letter and in this chapter and he's going to talk about wealth and riches. So it's interesting because at the end of verse 16, says to him, be honor and might forever, ever, amen. And then that feels like quite a natural place to end the letter, doesn't it?

It's sign off sentence. But then he returns to this subject of riches and wealth and how to think sensibly about that. And so those are the verses we're going to focusing on. And as we come to them, let's pray. Father, we thank you that this letter was breathed out and inspired by the Holy Spirit.

And was written down in history and has been preserved across the generations, and we thank you for the help and the encouragement that it has been to us over the past few months. We thank you that this letter was written so that people know or ought to know how we should conduct ourselves in the household of God, and you have been teaching us about that, how we ought to live as saved, redeemed, Christian people who have been placed together in this church. And we prayed as we finish off this morning and come to these last few words that father you would speak to each 1 of us here. We pray that no 1 would walk out the building not sensing or knowing that they have been addressed by you this morning through your word. And we ask this in Jesus name.

Amen. I'm sure many of you will have heard the story about the rich fool. Jesus tells his tale in Luke chapter 12 and to begin with, he was a man of great opportunity. His land was incredibly fruitful, and every single year, He would have more grain than he could manage. And so 1 year he made a plan.

And he said to himself, this year, I'm going to tear down my existing barns, And I'm gonna build bigger bonds so that I can house all of my surplus grain. And with that job done, with that mission accomplished, he would then be able to retire and to live his best life. And so 1 night, he goes up to bed, fully expecting that he will arise the next morning to begin his plans. But God says to him, you fool. This very night, your life will be demanded of you.

And then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? It's tragic, isn't it? Here he is. It's Friday night. He finishes dinner.

He's just put the finishing touches to his project. And he turns out the living room light and he walks up the stairs into his bedroom and he lays his head down upon the pillow thinking, when tomorrow comes? I'm gonna get started on my new barn. When tomorrow comes, my best life is gonna begin. But Jesus tells us that he never woke up, and tomorrow never came.

And so the question is, what was the what was the problem with this man? What was his heart like? What was the issue? And the surprising answer that the bible gives might be surprising to you, is that his wealth was not his main problem. The moral of this story is not that it is wrong or evil to have riches.

And to be wealthy, and to have a land or a business that is fruitful. This story is about the condition of his heart. In Luke 12, verse 17 to 19, his plans are recorded for us. He thought to himself, what shall I do? I've got no place to store my cross.

Then he said, this is what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. And there I will store my surplus grain, and I will say to myself, you have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Now take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him, you fool.

You see that in all of his speech, and all of his plans, He doesn't refer to God or to other people at all. He lives in a world where his plans and his life and his bonds and his wealth are the only things that matter. In his mind, tomorrow is always gonna come, and when it does, I will be safe. And I will be satisfied for the many years that I have left. And for that reason, not for his wealth, but for the pride of his life.

And for his arrogance, He is known as the rich fool. You see, Paul, in verse 10 of chapter 6, doesn't tell us that money is the root of all kinds of evil. He tells us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. In verse 17, Timothy is told to command those who are rich in this present world, not to be he could end the sentence there, couldn't he? Command those who are rich in this world, not to be.

Command them to give it all away because in so doing, they will become closer to God. The poorer they are, the more righteous they will be. But he doesn't say that. He says, command those who are rich in this world, not to be arrogant. See, the Christian faith is not opposed to people being rich, but it is vitally concerned.

With the condition of our hearts. Jesus doesn't really mind what color your credit card is. But he minds very much about the condition of your heart. In verse 17 to 19, There are 2 types of rich people. There are the rich people who are actually very poor, and there are the rich people who are really truly rich.

And what makes the difference It's not what car they drive or what house they live in, but what they believe about the Lord. And other people and themselves and their wealth. So let's have a look at them each in turn. Let's first look at those who are rich, but are actually very poor. Verse 17, command those who are rich in this present world.

Now, some of you might be thinking, well, that is a relative term, isn't it? Rich compared to what? Rich compared to who? Rich compared to Elon Musk. Rich compared to people in this country.

Rich compared to those who live on my street. And of course within those broad categories of rich and poor, You will have the very poor within the poor, and you will have the very rich within the rich. Paul understands all of those distinctions. But broadly speaking, in every culture, There is something that we recognize. A difference that we recognize between the rich and the poor.

And in today's terms, Broadly speaking, I think we would all find ourselves in verse 17. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant. That literally means not to be of a high mind. Command them not to be high minded. Now, how would that look?

Well, it can work both ways actually. Just look at those rich believers. Maybe the slaves might say something like this in verse 1. Just look at those rich believers in my church. They should step out of their palaces.

And work a day in my shoes for once. They're bigger homes, nicer gardens, better clothes, further away holidays, They should step into my world. I'd like to see them just do 1 day in my shoes. That's reverse snobbery. It's high minded, arrogance.

But the emphasis here, you notice, falls on the rich verse 17. Command those who are rich in this present world, not to be arrogant. Those slaves in verse 1. They're the kind who drive me around all week. They're the ones I pay to clean up after me.

They serve my drinks. They make my food. You now telling me that I've got to serve their drinks in the church. I've got to put out chairs for them that I can even learn something spiritual from them. See, the beauty of the church is this, that in the church you have the slaves in verse 1, and the rich in this present age in verse 17, sitting together on the same row, those distinctions forgotten, and they praise the Lord Jesus Christ with 1 voice together.

The temptation in the church Is this attitude? I am more than you because I have more than you. I am more because I have more. But it's hard to see How any Christian who talks like that can have even began to understand the first thing about the gospel. It's arrogant.

I am more than you, because I have more than you, is arrogant, high minded nonsense. Nothing to do with Christianity. The rich, who are really poor, have a wrong attitude towards other people. But they also have a false security. See that in verse 17.

Command those who are rich in this present world, not to be arrogant, nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. Now, in what way is it uncertain, in what way is wealth certain. Well, it's uncertain in terms of its value, isn't it? On my desktop, on my computer, there's this little icon in the bottom left hand of my screen. It's not something I downloaded, and I don't actually know how it got there.

But several times throughout the day, a little green arrow or a little red arrow will pop up in the corner. And that is telling me how the pound is doing against the Euro. Which as I say, I don't know how it got there. But every so often, I'll get a little green arrow to tell me the pounds are doing quite well, and then a few hours later, a little red arrow will tell me that the pounds gone down a bit. And it's always going up and down.

The value of wealth is always going up and down. And just that's just in a little way, but of course it's true in a big way as well, isn't it? I might go to bed on Friday night with a house and a bank balance and a business that is worth something, worth 1 thing. But then over the weekend, war breaks out, or 1 of the banks collapse And in real time, I can watch the value of my money sink like a stone. We all will know something about that.

10 years ago, the pound would have bought us 1 thing. Today, it buys us another thing. It's very uncertain in terms of its value. But it's also uncertain in terms of its durability. Jesus says, do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.

It's a point about durability. Thieves can take it very quickly. Rust can take it very slowly, But either way, he's not gonna last. And so the Lord says to us, don't put your husband hoping that. But it's also uncertain in terms of what it promises us.

Adam Petey, who's who's a British swimmer with an amazing record. He's a swimmer with a he's a 3 time Olympic champion. He's got 8 world championship gold medals. He's won 17 golds at the European championships. He's won 4 golds at the Commonwealth games.

He basically, he has dominated breaststroke swimming. For many, many years. But he has also been very open about his own struggles with his mental health. And how in all of his success that he has enjoyed, he is still searching for something more. There was an interview with him that was published on the BBC this week, which if you Google his name in the BBC, you'll find.

And he said to the journalist, I was on this endless search of a gold medal or a world record, and I looked into the future and I said, Okay. If I do get that, is my life fixed or any better? No. A good friend of mine said to me, a gold medal is the coldest thing you will ever wear. It's the coldest thing because you think it will fix all your problems and it will not.

That's an extraordinary thing to say, isn't it? There is nothing as cold as gold. A gold medal is the pinnacle of athletic achievement. It's what so many young people in our country are doing right now across the country. It's what they live for, it's what they train for, it's what they sacrifice in order to get, and it's what they dream of.

And this man has won all of them many times, and he's only 28 years old. But it cannot deliver the security that he needs. Wealth is like that. It is so uncertain in terms of its value and its durability and in what it promises us, which is why God says, don't put your hope in that. Don't put your hope in that.

Don't get your value from how much you have. Much better to be truly rich and to put your hope in me. So we've had a look at the rich people who are actually very poor. And now he's gonna talk about the rich, who are truly rich. And what makes them different?

What's the main difference. If bank balance isn't what distinguishes them from the rich poor. What is it that makes them different? Well, have a look at me at verse 17 again. Command those who are rich in this present world, not to be arrogant.

Nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. He says, those who are truly rich have put their hope in God. That's what makes them different. They cannot be high minded. Because they believe a gospel which says, just like everybody else in my church, I am a sinner.

In need of grace. What right do I have to be high minded? I am not more than you Because I have more than you, I have nothing, and I need everything from the generous hand of God. My life does not consist in what I have earned. It's not how I identify myself.

That's not my boast. My life is defined by what I have been given by the free grace of God. In other words, these rich who are truly rich. They know that in Christ, they are rich beyond their wildest dreams, that they have been forgiven, and they've been died for by the son of God, and they've been raised in his resurrection, and they have been loved and adopted, and they will live for him, live with him 1 day in a glorious inheritance which he is keeping safe. These truly rich people, they look past the teaching of the false teachers.

Which says that it's good for people to abstain from things God has made. That people shouldn't do things like get married. That they should resist certain foods. And in doing that, they'll be more godly. These rich, rich, they look right through that.

And they say, not only has God given me Christ. He's given me everything else I need, and not just to sustain me. He's given it to me, for my enjoyment. He's so generous. They know that nothing that God created is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.

Rather it's to be enjoyed because it's come from the hands of a generous God. They know that. And you see that knowledge frees them up to do 2 things. It frees them up to enjoy their money by using their money. See how he puts that in verse 18?

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. This passage is not just a warning. About the dangers of wealth. It is a positive vision for how it can be used Do you find that you have more than you really need in this world? That's fantastic.

Because now you're free to use some of it, for the sake of and for the enjoyment of your brothers and sisters in the church. You can use what you have been given to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and to be willing to share. Do you see what he's saying? There's nothing wrong with wealth in this world. But if we got it, Let's use it like God uses it, and richly give for the enjoyment of our brothers and sisters.

Because in doing that, verse 19, he says, in this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. And you know, this was where the rich fool made his biggest mistake. He believed that his best life, that his truest life was gonna be found in his bigger barns and his lifestyle of eating, drinking, and relaxation. That's what he believed. But Jesus says to him, no.

The life that is truly life is so much bigger than your barns and your plans and your bank balance. Life, he says, does not consist in the abundance of possessions. Life doesn't consist there. It isn't found there. That's not where true life is located in the wealth of this world.

The true life and the real life and the gospel life is to find freedom from the love of money and freedom to be generous for the glory of God. That's where real life is. Freedom from, and freedom for, something else. Those who are truly rich, Paul is saying, They look beyond this world and they ask themselves, what can I do now by the grace of God? Which will still hold value in a million years' time.

What can I do now with my wealth With uncertain value, an uncertain durability, and uncertain promises? What can I do with it now by the grace of God? That will never lose its shine even after endless millennia. What can I do? I can use my gifts to bless God's people for God's glory, because that sort of act will never, ever, ever lose its shine.

CT stud who was a British missionary. In China and and India and Africa. So he got around a base with his missionary efforts. He was born in 18 60 into a very wealthy family. So he would be in verse 17.

He would be 1 of the rich in this present world. And 1 day, he wrote a poem to help gain perspective and to help give perspective on what it means to be truly rich. 2 little lines, I heard 1 day, traveling along life's busy way, bringing conviction to my heart and from my mind would not depart. Only 1 life to have soon be passed. Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only 1 life. Yes, only 1. Soon will its fleeting hours be done. Then in that day, my lord to meet and stand before his judgment seat. Only 1 life to have soon be passed.

Only what's done for Christ will last. Yes, only 1 life. Twil soon be passed. Only what's done for Christ will last. The rich fool never saw it.

He believed that his life would never be passed. And he didn't consider what was truly going to last. But the rich, who are truly rich, have it written all over their lives. Only 1 life to have soon be passed. Only what's done for Christ will last.

And with that said, Paul is ready to end the letter. Verse 20, Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. And then he signs off, grace, be with you all. Not just gracely with you, Timothy, even though much of the letter has been written to him.

Not just grace be with you, Timothy, but grace be with you all, church family. Because in order to live out this truth and indeed the message of this whole book, that's exactly what we Let's pray together. Father, we pray that you would help us not to be arrogant. And not to put our hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put our hope in you. Who richly provide us with everything for our enjoyment.

Pray that you would help us to do good and to be rich in good deeds. And to be generous and to be willing to share. Because we know that in this way, we will lay up treasure for ourselves as a firm foundation for the coming age and that we will take hold of the life. That is truly life. We thank you father for all that you have taught us through this letter.

We thank you for revealing your own passion for the nations in this letter. That you are the God who sent your son Christ Jesus into this world to save sinners of whom we are the worst. We thank you father that your missionary heart extends all across this globe and that you desire that people from every nation would come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved. We thank you for reminding us what our church is. That we are the pillar and the foundation of the truth.

We are those who have been called to take hold of the truth. To be convinced of it, to grow in our understanding of it, and to preach it to the world. We thank you that this book has reminded us shown us how to be Godly that there is a mystery of Godliness that springs not from inside us but comes down to us from heaven in the person of your son. And we pray that going forward, you would help us to be a godly people who were rooted in Jesus. We thank you for how you've reminded us of the priority of the truth, and we do pray for the elders of this church and we do pray for this church that you would help us never to be ensnared by false doctrines.

Lord, we are foolish if we think that that could never happen to us. We pray that you would help us to keep loving the truth and preaching the truth and tackling error and not being drawn in by the falsehoods in the church or the falsehoods of our age. And we pray that you'd help us lord to look after those who are truly vulnerable. We pray as a church that we would not neglect Our own brothers and sisters who are in need of help and support and protection, please help us to move towards them in love, to look after them, to support them. We pray father as we've looked at this morning that you would help us not to have the love of money in our hearts.

It is something that none of us would really want but can begin to creep up on us so slowly And before we realize it, we've been overtaken by a love for the things of this world. We think of those thoughts in the parable of the sower which grew up and choked the words and what were those thorns. They were the deceitfulness of wealth. It can deceive us and choke us and stop us seeing the sunshine of your glory. Please keep that from our hearts.

We pray. We do pray for our king and we pray for all in authority and for the leaders over us. As Paul instructs us to do and we pray that you would help them to lead with increasing wisdom. We prayed that ultimately many more of them would bow their knees to King Jesus and realized that they've got no hope of leading without his wisdom. We pray that those who do lead would lead in such a way that we can live quiet and dignified and godly lives in this age.

That we would have leaders who allow for the growth and the flourishing of the church so that we can continue to live for you. We do pray father for those in the church right now who are going through very difficult times. And who are suffering either with their mental health or with their physical health or worried about their financial security or have any number of a hundred problems that they're dealing with. And we pray father that the words of this letter and the words of scripture would be a real comfort and a rock and a foundation for them. That where we are harboring ungodly attitudes in our difficulties, that you would help us to repent of those things which can only make our sufferings worse, that you would help our sufferings and our difficulties to make us more holy that you would teach us perseverance and faith and that, lord, you would bring relief where life is really difficult.

We pray father for some of the mission trips coming up and we thank you for the team that is soon to go off to Zambia. And we pray for them that you would give them safety in their travel and that you would help them to arrive and to love being there to enjoy being on that youth camp to seeing the work that is going on and we pray that as they go over there to teach your words you would give them the privilege of seeing it, do wonderful work in the hearts of those Zambian young people. We pray for their families who will be left behind as they go please bless them and give them strength as they miss the ones that they love. Father we pray as well for all of our children who are out now learning about you and for the sole youth group as well. We thank you for their leaders who this week have been trying to think alongside their regular responsibilities and their jobs.

They've been using their free time to pray for our children and to think about how to teach them in the best way they can. And we pray that you would bless them as they serve our young people in that way. And that our children would grow up to praise you. We pray that they would grow up to own the pillar and the foundation of the truth. That they would grow up to see Christ Jesus as the Savior from sin that they need and that they would go on and do wonderful things for your glory.

We pray that our children wouldn't grow up to be ensnared by a love of money and a love of things. Please help them to see through that very quickly. To treasures that are eternal and really worth living for. And we thank you so much again for all that you have taught us. And pray father that these lessons would really change our hearts and make us more like you in the years to come.

And we ask these things in Jesus' name. Oh, man.

Preached by Tom Sweatman
Tom Sweatman photo

Tom is an Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone and lives in Kingston with his wife Laura and their two children.

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