First And Foremost
Be sure that money and things take their own secondary place as to be used for the glory of God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing all right? Well, I’m fine, thank you. Feeling great. Praise the Lord. No complaints. I’m glad, oh, so glad for the privilege of being back with you to share from God’s Word. You and I have been walking through the book of 1st Timothy. We’re now on the sixth chapter, coming down the stretch here and we’ll soon be finished with this book.
Now, last time we talked together, we were talking about Godliness with contentment. Contentment. I have a little Cookism definition of that in three parts: Number one, take all you get as from God. God sent it, you use it. Number two, use all you have for God. Your job is not to pile up treasures for yourself but to glorify Him. Use all you have for God. “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord,” Paul said, not just for people. And number three, achieve all you can with God. Your labor is together with God. And those three things will add up to real contentment and fulfillment. Paul uses this illustration. He said, “We brought nothing into this world, it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
I’m told that Alexander the Great gave orders when he was about to die that his hands be displayed as he lay in state, showing that he was taking nothing with him. Be that as it may, you and I know the sad fact is there. When Andrew Mellon died, someone said, “How much did he leave?” And someone else said, “He left it all.” We can’t carry anything out of this world, material. Yeah, you take your character with you, you take your memories with you, you take your responsibility for the life you’ve lived with you, and you take in the memories of others the effect that you had on other people’s lives. You leave a trail either of blessing or of ill and evil as a result of your life, and that follows, but nothing material. So he said, “Having food and raiment let us therewith be content.” Something to eat, something to wear, a roof over your head, a place to call home, that’s it.
Now, he goes on to discuss, and this is what will occupy us on this broadcast and maybe one other. He goes on to discuss what happens when money becomes your god. They that will be rich, they that, in other words, want above all things to be rich. The love of money, the root of all evil. God said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul and strength and mind.” But if you start to love money, that is a form of idolatry and money becomes your god. So our little talk today will be centered around the concept of what happens when money becomes your god. Well, the first thing that happens is that you expose yourself immediately to extra temptations. They that will be rich, in other words, that want above all other things to be rich, fall into temptation and a snare. Temptation is something that comes from inside of you. James said, “God tempteth no man but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own desires and enticed.”
You remember that passage in the first chapter of James? “Let no man say when he’s tempted I am tempted by God,” this is James 1:13. “For God cannot be tempted with evil neither tempteth He any man but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust,” that’s our word desire, his own desires, “And enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it brings forth sin and sin when it is finished brings forth death.”
So, the first thing that happens if you’re gonna make money your god and let it control your life, you expose yourself immediately to all sorts of temptations that arise from within your own fallen human nature. Not only that but, says he, “a temptation and a snare.” Now, a snare is something that’s set by somebody else. The bird or the animal that is to be trapped doesn’t set the trap, the hunter does that. “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” You have an enemy who’s out to get you. A snare.
Oftentimes in these various whodunnits that you read or view on TV, you’ll have the victim saying, “I was set up.” What does that mean? It means I fell into a trap. Well, it happens in real life often and often, doesn’t it? And so he says if you’re going to follow money, if you’re gonna make money your god, you’re going to give the devil a chance to set you up, to set a trap for you. And now, what’s the answer to that? Well, he said, “Humble yourselves in the sight of God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The way to get away from that is to humble yourself before God and put God back on the throne of your life. Whether it’s been money or a job or love or family or fame or popularity or influence, whatever it may have been that’s been running your life, the way to get away from the snare of the devil is to humble yourself before God, because He is the only one who can handle your adversary. You can’t, you’re not smart enough. But God can do that. This is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith.
“They overcame him,” they’re speaking of the devil in Revelation 12:11. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto the death.” The way to avoid the traps that the devil would set for you, my dear friend, is to humble yourself before God and put Him back on the throne of your life and let the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit start to run things once again. They that will be rich fall into temptation, that’s the tendency to evil that comes from inside. A snare, that’s the trap that’s set from outside. “Many foolish and hurtful lust,” that’s desires. Many foolish and hurtful desires. Strange, isn’t it, the more you get, the more you want? Did you ever see a little child who was completely satisfied with the toys that he or she had? No. The next thing I want is. The more you have, the more you want. Many foolish and hurtful desires. What do they do? They drown you in destruction and perdition. They kill off your spiritual life.
I’ve been saddened again and again through past years to observe people who once were on fire for God who lost that entire warmth and fire of soul and incandescent faith-they just lost that, it was gone after the years had passed. Why? Because they had been detoured off into other things. I arrived in a certain city about 6:30 one morning and found my minister friend just finishing an all night prayer meeting. Oh, his face had been washed with tears and his soul was blessed and he’d really met the Lord. He and another brother had been praying all night, I got there just as they finished their all night prayer meeting. Oh, they were so blessed and it was just a joy to meet them.
A year later I came to see that same minister and the first thing he said to me was, “Do you know something? I have taken up psychoanalysis and I have psychoanalyzed my wife and I’ve been having such a great time,” and he could talk about nothing else but this psychological new plaything that he had. No more talking about prayer, no more talking about seeking God for revival, no more talking about going for souls. No, now he was interested in psychoanalysis. It wasn’t long before that person was out of the ministry entirely. He had some fleeting political success and wrote some, I don’t know what he’s doing now. Sad, huh?
You see, what happens is, when you open the gate of your own nature and give Satan a chance to set some traps for you, it ends up in killing off the very spiritual life that made you what you were. Destruction. Drown men in destruction and perdition. Now, he says the love of money is the root of all evil, everything grows out of that. Compromise of every kind and the violation of every moral tenet, all grows out of the idea, “If I do this, I’ll have more for myself.” And so it says, “Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Now, there’s two results of all of this after you add it all up. One is, you err from the faith.
Now, the faith, oversimplified, is a dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ as your only hope and your Savior from sin, your passport to Heaven and His perfections and His righteousness your only claim to stand before a holy God. The faith has to do with your commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died a perfect atoning death, and was buried and rose again, and was with the disciples, the apostles and others for 40 days and then ascended into Heaven, He’s interceding for you and for me at the right hand of God the Father and He’s coming again for us in power and glory. Jesus our blessed Lord, He is the center and the cornerstone of our faith.
Now, when money and the things it can buy become the focus of your life and take up your attention and control your decisions, then you see you stray from that prime concept of dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why you have to watch all of this very carefully. Be sure that your allegiance is to Him. Be sure that your commitment is to Him first of all. Be sure that money and things take their own secondary place as to be used for the glory of God. “Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do,” Paul says, “Do all to the glory of God.” That’s one thing, they erred from the faith. Then the other result of this is it says, “They pierced themselves through.” This is a reflective verb. They did it to themselves. They pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Read some of the biographies that have been recently written about famous folk in show business and in the business world written, in some cases, by the members of their own family. How bitter, how critical some of those accounts are. Why? Why, because there’s nothing but sorrow that comes from the commitment of your life to money and fame and things. Pierced themselves through with many sorrows. You get more trouble if you make money and the things it can buy the center of your life.
Well, that’s what Paul had to say. He said, “Now, Timothy, thou, O man of God, flee these things.” A small thought here. Do you know there’s some times when it’s not time to have a prayer meeting but to run away? There are times when instead of talking or dialoguing, as they say, or having a prayer meeting, or whatever it may be, your job is to run away. “Flee,” said he. We’re told to flee immorality in another passage. And he says, “Flee these things.” What is it? Putting money and things ahead of God. Run away from that tendency. Run away from it and instead follow after righteousness and godliness and faith and love and patience and meekness. Dear friend, learn when to run away.
Dear Father, today help us to put thee first in everything. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing!
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