OceanSide church of Christ
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NEEDED: MORE BATTLES WON (7)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Last week we introduced you to the battlefront of materialism.
1. Materialism involves our attitude toward material wealth.
2. Materialism can manifest itself in many ways. We discussed eight of these ways last week.
3. Jesus taught that our relationship to wealth is a heart issue (Matt. 6:19-21).
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: for where your treasure is, there will you heart be also.
B. Recognizing the sin of materialism is important. Then, we need to develop strategies that will help us to overcome it. This is the purpose of this lesson this morning.
I. EMBRACE THE FACT THAT GOD OWNS EVERYTHING
A. Two passages of Scripture.
1. Psalm 24:1
The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
2. Psalm 50:10-12
For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof.
B. Acknowledging this might be easy because the Bible says it is so. Understanding the fact that God owns all and really embracing it is difficult because wealth and material goods seem to be ours.
1. We “earn” them.
2. We presently possess them.
3. We have control of how they are used.
II. FAITHFULLY DISCHARGE YOUR STEWARDSHIP
A. We do have many things in our possession. We are also in complete charge of them for a period of time.
1. They are not ours, however. We do not own them. God does.
2. He expects us to use them wisely and profitably for His best interests.
B. I Corinthians 4:2
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
1. In the context, Paul refers to himself as a steward of the mysteries of God.
a. He had been entrusted with God’s message.
b. What he did with that message was very important.
2. In like manner, we have been entrusted with God’s possessions. What we do with them is very important.
C. These two ideas, God’s ownership and my stewardship, help us to make responsible decisions about our wealth.
1. Should I make this purchase?
2. Would God approve of this use of His funds?
3. Should I be hording these funds?
4. Should I give to this particular cause?
5. Can I get a better grasp of my finances so they can be better used for God’s service?
D. We must get serious about our stewardship. We are presently stewards in the house of God. One day, He will return, and we will give an account of our stewardship (Matt. 25:14-15, 19).
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto the one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one: to every man according to his several ability; and straight-way took his journey…After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
1. At His coming, He will reward faithfulness.
2. He will condemn the lazy, indolent, indifferent, and wasteful.
III. DEVELOP THE PRACTICE OF GRATITUDE
A. We have a storehouse of wealth and goods at our disposal. These things bring us comfort and joy. They came from the God of heaven (I Tim. 6:17).
…who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.
B. We need to bow our heads in prayer and lift up our hearts in praise and give thanks regularly for the gifts God has given us.
1. Psalm 100:4
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
2. I Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
IV. LEARN TO BE CONTENT
A. Contentment is commanded in the Bible (I Tim. 6:6-8).
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1. Food and raiment are the essentials for life.
a. Food sustains life.
b. Raiment protects us from the elements.
2. Having these is enough. Having these is sufficient.
3. Having these, we should be able to say: “I don’t need anything.”
B. This disposition must be learned (Phil. 4:11).
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
1. We need to lessen our want and desire for things and stuff.
…we must, in doing, deny our carnal sense, we must settle our wild fancy and suppress fond conceits; we must bend stiff and stubborn inclinations; we must repress and restrain wanton desires, we must allay and still tumultuous passions; we must cross our humor and curb our temper… (Barrow).
2. We should do without for self so that others can have.
3. Experience the hardships and sufferings of others (i.e., reading stories, going into the mission field).
V. WE MUST GROW SPIRITUALLY, ESPECIALLY IN GIVING
A. One of the best ways to defeat materialism is by becoming a generous giver.
1. The rich man was told to go and sell all that he had and distribute to the poor (Matt. 19:21).
2. Zacchaeus determined to give half of his goods to the poor when he was converted (Luke 19:8).
B. Giving, however, is a growth area.
1. Individuals must be taught. As they absorb and apply the teaching, they mature in their giving.
2. Teachings about giving are found in many places in the Bible.
a. We know that God is a giver (John 3:16).
b. Jesus was also a giver. He gave Himself for our sins (Gal. 1:4).
c. We are commanded to give (II Cor. 9:7).
d. We are told that there are more blessings associated with giving than with receiving (Acts 20:35).
e. Many examples of generous givers are provided within God’s Word.
1) The poor widow (Mark 12:41-44).
2) The early church (Acts 2:45; 4:34-35).
3) The Macedonians (II Cor. 8:1-6).
C. When we become mature givers several things happen.
1. We release our riches instead of hording them.
2. We greatly extend the Lord’s work.
3. We do not place the temptation of materialism before our family that comes after us.
A. Oftentimes we are under the assumption that more wealth will alleviate our problems.
B. The fact of the matter is that just the opposite can be true. More wealth can create bigger problems. Many of them are spiritual in nature.
C. The word of the wise Agur found in Proverbs 30:7-9 are good counsel for all.
Two things have I required of thee; deny them not before I die: remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.