Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain!

October 9, 2022

Nick Pappathopoulos

1 Timothy 6:6-10

1 Timothy 6:6-10

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 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. 10 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.

If you were to start handing things to a child, maybe your own, a niece or nephew, or a grandchild, things like toys, games, stuffed animals, snacks, crayons, bubbles, bicycles, scooters, etc. for them to keep for free, it would take a long time for them to ask you to stop. If the child would ask you to stop. And now picture a similar scenario for an adult. Picture giving an adult a car, house, clothing and accessories, hunting gear, tools, vacation destinations, experiences, etc. for them to keep for free, and think how long it would take for them to ask you to stop. If the person would ask you to stop.

Rarely would someone come up to you to give you more and more things for you to keep for free. Instead, you need money to get what you want. In our Old Testament reading from Amos 8, we hear how important getting more money had become for the Israelites, who were 5 saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?” The New Moon and Sabbath were days when Israel was to stop work and worship God, but their greed brought them to question the benefits of stopping to worship God when there was money to be made. Along with this sinful attitude, they also took advantage of the poor and needy, price gouged, cheated and forced people into debt. Then Amos wrote 7 The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.” Their sinful greed was a serious matter to God. The description Amos gave of Israel would be like today saying, “When will this Bible Study or sermon end, so that I can get back to work?” Or like skipping, avoiding or cutting short Bible Study, worship and personal time reading your Bible or devotions to make more money and buy more things.

You want too much. The sinful truth is that we all want too much. The danger of greed, coveting, wanting and loving to get more is revealed in our New Testament reading from 1 Timothy 6,

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. 10 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.

1 Timothy 6:9-10

It is the desire to get rich. It is the love of money. These are attitudes and come from your heart. These desires are so dangerous because they can lead you away from faith. The remedy for your wanting does not stop at saying, “Stop wanting more.” Your wanting is not an intellectual flaw that once realized can be rationally outwitted. The remedy for your wanting is also not another list of things to do or a change in your lifestyle or career. It is not downsizing or quitting your job. You want too much because you have a sinful heart. Your wanting and your love for more are a spiritual problem. It is the attitude toward God that he has not given you everything you need. It is the belief that there is something more than and beyond God that will bring joy, peace, security, fulfillment, satisfaction and contentment. Again, the danger in this wanting is that you leave faith in God behind only to plunge into temptations, traps, foolishness, harm, ruin, destruction and grief.

God wants you to have contentment. Contentment is the opposite of wanting, greed, coveting and a love for money. In Philippians 4:11-13, we get a definition for contentment from Paul who was in prison at the time he wrote this letter with plenty of worldly reasons not to be content,

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:11-13

Contentment is not an attitude we generate within ourselves or being in the right circumstances. Instead, contentment comes from God and is a reliance on his strength to give us what we need. In our New Testament reading from 1 Timothy 6, we read, 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Your sinful wanting for more cannot be stopped by you. God is the only one who has the remedy for your sinful wanting and all your sins. Earlier in 1 Timothy 3, we hear why contentment is possible with godliness,

16 “Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”

1 Timothy 3:16

This is a description of Jesus. Jesus is the remedy for your sins through his coming in the flesh to be a human being like all of us, to live without sin, to live content with what God provided him each day, to give his perfect life on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, to rise from the dead for our justification, to give us righteousness and pay the price for our entrance into eternal life in heaven. Faith in Jesus and godliness bring you contentment because it takes away your sin and the power of the devil and your sinful nature over your heart. When you are tempted to want to get rich, to love money and want more, recognize those desires as sin, and run to the remedy for sin as we hear in 2 Timothy 3,

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:14-15

When you are tempted to want more, make the “more,” more Jesus, get more of him in Scripture and you will be content.

Godliness and contentment must go together. When you have godliness without contentment, there is a problem. When you have contentment without God, there is a problem. We hear how these go together in these words from our New Testament reading from 1 Timothy 6, 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. With faith in God, we recognize the order of God’s creation. He made us. He provides for us. We are his creatures. We cannot claim to have any part in being born or that we brought anything into this world. Nor can we bring a U-Haul full of stuff with us into the afterlife. With faith in God, we humbly look to God with awe at his power to give us life and his love to provide us with what we need for life. He provides us with food and clothing. Plus, he has provided us with eternal life in heaven through our Savior Jesus when left on our own we would be lost to death and hell.

Godliness with contentment leads us to look at money through God’s eyes. Jesus teaches us how to view God and money in our Gospel reading from Luke 16, 13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” We serve God, not money. Therefore, our money serves God. And with our hearts freed from sin and greed, we now want to learn how to serve God with our money. God teaches us how to use our money to serve him in the following passages:

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:8

Serving God means we use our money to provide for our family. This looks like paying the rent or mortgage and utilities on a place that provides shelter and providing food.

On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

1 Corinthians 16:2

Serving God means providing for the various ministries of the church. In this context, the believers in Corinth were saving money to send to the church in Jerusalem that was in need. When you give an offering here at Divine Peace, the money goes to pay for the mortgage and utilities of this facility, to pay musicians, to pay pastor, to fund the Good Samaritan fund which helps those in need, to fund future building projects and expansions, and even a portion of our offerings are sent to our church bodies’ headquarters where the funds go to support new churches and mission work in our country and internationally, and provide a decrease in the cost of education for people training to be pastors, teachers and staff ministers.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

1 John 3:16-18

Serving God means using your money not just for your own family or the church, but for anyone in need, the poor and anyone unable to support themselves whether in the short term or long term.

Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Romans 13:7

Serving God with your money even means paying taxes. God wants there to be government to provide order in this world and those who give their full time to governing, and your taxes support them.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Mark 6:31

Serving God with your money also means using it to get rest. In this context, Jesus wanted to give his disciples rest. It is good for you to use your money to have time for your mind, body and soul to rest. At the same time, your contentment in God may lead you to want less and work less so that you are less tired from working too much. Godliness with contentment leads us to look at money in through God’s eyes, so we say to ourselves, “What does God want me to do with my money, not what do I want to get with it?”

When you want to get rich. When you love money. There will only be ruin and destruction. The Bible has the remedy for your sinful heart, even your greed. Jesus paid your debt to sin and has credited to your account his righteousness, his godly, sinless life. You have all you need for life now and for eternity. If you want to be rich in something, be rich in Jesus because godliness with contentment is great gain. Amen.

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