OceanSide church of Christ

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Materialism – Part I

Victor M. Eskew


A.             There is no doubt that we live in a rich nation.

1.                Gross Domestic Product.

a.         The overall output of good and services of theU.S. economy on the continental United States.

b.         $12.4 trillion in 2005

c.         Since 1930, the GDP has seen a steep incline.

2.         For the second quarter of 2008, Exxon Mobile reported a record breaking profit of $11.68 billion.

3.         As far as Americans are concerned, the average holiday shopper has spent $850 to $1050 for gifts during the holiday season for the last 5 years.

B.              Most of us in this audience live in nice homes, drive relatively new cars, wear fashionable clothing, have plenty to eat, have many luxuries of life, take vacations, and go out to eat and to see a movie from time to time.  We are a rich people.

C.              The battlefront that we face due to our riches is materialism (Matt. 6:21).

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

1.                If your treasure is on earth, your heart is on earth.

2.                If you treasure is in heaven, your heart is in heaven.

D.             Materialism defined.

1.                Dictionary.com:  “preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a decreased interest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.”

2.                NOTE:  Materialism is not merely being rich (e.g., Abraham, Job, David, Martha).

3.                When we are materialistic, we can manifest several different attitudes toward our material possessions.  In this lesson, we are going to look at these attitudes.

I.        MAMMOM BECOMES OUR MASTER (Matt. 6:24).

No man can serve two masters:  for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

A.             Mammon:  wealth, treasure, especially personified and opposed to God.

B.              Jesus declares that service is an “either/or” proposition, either we serve God, or we serve mammon.  Some believe that they can serve both, but such is an impossibility.


A.             Jesus said that one “loves” the one and hates the other.

B.              Paul taught Timothy that it is possible to love money (I Tim. 6:10).

For the love of money is the root of all evil…

C.              Rather than a medium of exchange or a tool in one’s hand, money becomes a friend, a buddy.  There is a brotherly affection for the dollar. 


A.             I Timothy 6:17

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.

B.              Twice in Proverbs it is written that the rich man’s wealth is his strong city (Prov. 10:15; 18:11).

C.              Trust is place in the apparent strength, prestige, and sufficiency of wealth.

D.             Proverbs 11:28

He that trusteth in his riches shall fall:  but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.


A.             The rich young man had this problem (Matt. 19:21-22).

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:  and come and follow me.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful:  for he had great possessions.

B.              The problem is departing from riches for “godly purposes.”

1.                Giving to the church, the needy, mission works, church programs is not done with a cheerful attitude, if done at all.

2.                However, if a carnal purchase for self arises, one does not hesitate.


A.             Luke 12:15

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness:  for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

1.                Riches do not make the man.

2.                Riches do not sustain the man.

3.                Riches do not satisfy the man

4.                Riches do not complete the man.

5.                Riches to not preserve the man.

6.                Riches do not save the man.

B.              These were the lessons that the rich man learned in the parable that follows our Lord’s words in Luke 12:15.  He had much goods laid up for many years.  These things, however, could promise him nothing (Luke 12:20).

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee:  then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?


A.             The materialistic love their stuff, their things, and their toys. 

B.              They believe the delusion that if they can just get a little more, they will be happy.

C.              Self-indulgence brought a woe upon the nation of Israel (Amos 6:1, 4-6).

Woe to them that are at ease in Zion…that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music like David, that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with chief ointments:  but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.


A.             The church at Laodicea thought they were rich, but they were destitute (Rev. 3:17).

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest no that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

B.              The materialistic person has his eyes in the wrong place.  He looks below instead of looking above (Col. 3:1-2).  His relationship is with things instead of having a relationship with the Creator of all things.


A.             Riches tempt a person to do evil things.

1.                To earn more wealth in sinful endeavors.

2.                To use wealth to satisfy the demands of the flesh.

B.              I Timothy 6:9-10

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the root of all evil:  which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.


A.             NOTE:  An intense focus in just one of the areas that we have discussed can point to a heart that is ruled by materialism.

B.              The key is the heart.

1.                Psalm 62:10

…if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

2.                Proverbs 4:23

Keey thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

C.              In next week’s lesson, we will be teaching about some things that we can do that will help to safeguard us from materialism and its evil effects.