Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How Much Do You Need? The Danger of Coveting, Part 55 of 60

TEXT: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17).

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

IDEA: Godliness with contentment is the way to live.

PURPOSE: To help listeners see why godliness and contentment go together.

If you were to ask the average Christian what would be the most satisfying life you might imagine, what would it consist of?

Do you think that many people (if they weren’t being pious) would say that godliness with contentment is the most satisfying life?

Would you agree that godliness with contentment makes you rich? 1 Timothy 6:6.

I. What does Paul mean when he says that “godliness with contentment is great wealth”?

“Godliness” refers to the genuine Christian life–our relationship with God and our trust in Him as the basis of a whole new way of life.

“Contentment” is not used much in the New Testament. It is found in only two other places:

2 Corinthians 9:8–"God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work."

Philippians 4:11-13–"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

When Paul says that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, what is he referring to?

He’s saying that external circumstances (good and bad) do not determine his settledness with life. Why? Because we can handle anything that comes, good or bad, because of Christ, the focus of our lives.

Our contentment cannot stem from things.

II. Why is it important for us to have that view of life?

Things are temporal: “We brought nothing into the world.” So we ought not attach our lives to something we can’t take with us into eternity. Use them, but don’t get attached to them.

Food and clothing ought to be enough. Paul is not saying that real contentment and material prosperity have nothing to do with each other. He is saying that a spirit of acquisitiveness has nothing to do with godliness.

How can the Christian learn to be content with simple living?

Not by taking regular walks through the mall.

Not by fooling ourselves that to be well off is to be better.

If you have an eternal perspective, the dependence on material things to make you happy will decline.