GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT IS GREAT GAIN
1 Timothy 6:6-12 (KJV)
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 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.
10 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.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
We need to flee the love of money, the root and life giver of all evil, and learn to be content with having food and clothing. The foolish and hurtful lusts that are engenderd by the temptations to seek riches are damaging to the godliness.
THE RICH YOUNG RULER LACKED ONLY ONE THING
Matthew 19:16-30 (KJV)
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 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.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Notice the hundred fold blessings, the sitting on the throne to rule, and the riches in reward from Jesus are promised ‘in the regeneration’. That means they are heavenly blessings, and we may not see all those now. Many have tried to get some Christians to be greedy and demanding that God give those here and now.
Many are interested in riches. Jesus has this rich man come to Him, and with this event, many were standing there to see what Jesus felt about riches, what He would say to this rich man. The teachings in this sermon are still not accepted by many in our day, but Jesus took this event, and preached a sermon for the ages. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this story in the ministry of Jesus. It had impact for them, and they wanted us to know.
The rich young ruler lacked contentment, and could not see being able to be content if he was lacking his possessions, his riches. We need to learn ‘contentment’.
Ephesians 4:28 (KJV)
28 ...let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Our riches are not for us to increase and increase. The Lord will show us places to invest in His work. We will give to the poor, not just to some preacher that promises a 100 fold return. That is not ‘giving’ that would be trying to buy God’s blessings.
How much more joyful is a life not spent in seeking to receive, but learning to give. The prosperity heresy being preached in many quarters emphasizes receiving, not giving. They say ‘give to them’ to ‘get’. We find the emphasis of the person gets ‘blinded’ by the thought of the 100 fold return, not on giving that return away. They build barns to hold more and more.
The carnal mammon is not satisfying. The rich young ruler who would not give away his fortune did not realize, that he would not have gone away ‘sorrowful’ if he had listened to Jesus.
BEING MALCONTENT IS A BLINDNESS
Ephesians 4:17-19 (KJV)
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
The ‘vanity’ or ‘worthlessness’ of the mind in many today is evident. They are not content with what they have, they are fearful of even staying the same in what they have. They want more and more, and are terrified at the thought of losing ground in their possession of carnal mammon.
The thoughts and concerns of people today is too much on things not on God’s teachings. They worry over the stock market, they fret their sports team record, they are concerned the lawn service may miss getting the June bugs. The souls of their loved ones may hang in precarious jeopardy, the church may be not seeing any revival or move of the Holy Spirit, the political decisions are based on economics and not on morals and ethics. Their minds may be filled with pornography, their mouths may be condoning abortion and perversions, instead of the Word of God. This ‘vanity of their mind’ has brought about a ‘darkened’ view of life, and they are blind to what God wants them to know and to do. They are not contented in the Lord. They are blind to what God is wanting in their lives.
The ‘blindness of their heart’ is a major problem in our day, as it was in Paul’s.
DEFINITION OF THE WORD, ‘blindness’
The words ‘blind’ and ‘blindness’, in the Greek, come from ‘tuphloo’ and ‘poroo’.
Tuphloo, is from the root word ‘tuph’ meaning ‘to burn, to smoke’, and speaks of the way smoke could be so heavy it would obscure and make it almost impossible to see. It speaks metaphorically of dulling of the intellect, making it difficult or impossible to discern. It is found in John 12:40, II Corinthians 4:4, I John 2:11, Romans 2:19, II Peter 1:9, and Rev. 3:17. In Acts 13:11, it speaks of physical blindness.
Poroo, is from the root word ‘poros’, meaning ‘a thick skin,’ or ‘a hardening’. It is sometimes translated ‘hardening’. It is like the scales of hard matter that can cover the eye area, and make it impossible to see. (See Romans 11:7, II Corinthians 3:14, Romans 11:25, Ephesians 4:18, Mark 3:5)
There is much blindness in Christianity today, as in all ages. In this age, it is especially prevalent, for the devil knows that his time is very limited, and he seeks to deceive even the elect, if he can.
The ‘smoke’ of sin in this world has blinded many in the church from the things they should be seeing. They are blinded because the truth is obscure, and impossible to see, due to the ‘smoke’ of the sinful world in which we live.
The ‘hardening’ of scales on the eyes of many in the church makes what the Lord wants them to see, impossible to be seen. They are blind. Paul faced that kind of blindness in the church in Ephesus then, we see it far too much in the church of this day.
Turn on Christian television and watch, listen. How long before the ‘on’ was pushed, and some ‘blind’ doctrine is preached? It does not take long on many of those stations, on many of those programs. The greed and false words and dreams, that is proclaimed in the name of the Lord, but errant from the truth of the Word is easy to find. They proclaim personal visions from God that disagree with the Word of God, and are therefore evil. Yet, the crowds cheer, hoping the message of prosperity is for them, they give their offerings, and go home still blind. The are so discontented that they cannot see the truths of God.
JUDAS WAS NOT CONTENT, THOUGH HE HAD BEEN WITH JESUS FOR THREE YEARS
Jesus saw the potential for Judas to have been a great apostle, and for a while, he was. Judas had preached, had cast out devils, had laid hands upon the sick and seen them healed, and once had devotion to the Lord.
Yet, it was a divided loyalty, part love for Jesus, and part love for money.
Judas had a chance, for he had three years watching Jesus heal the sick,
resurrect the dead, teach the ignorant, and love the unloved. Judas had seen marvelous and miraculous deeds, had witnessed miracles uncountable.
His discontent was due to a love for money, the filthy lucre of the world.
That lack of contentment lingered in his mind. This seed of wickedness overcame all the teaching of Jesus that he had heard. Judas allowed his tainted relationship with the Lord to make him become a damned soul. He had not destroyed every ounce of sin in his life. He held onto one vice, a manageable vice, he thought. Judas was wrong. That one vice that he hated to give up, damned his soul to hell-fire.
Some in ministry today, are facing the battle of sins unconquered in their own lives. The constant battle between their love for following Jesus, and their desire to yield to that temptation to sin is a seemingly never ending battle. Ministers are human, are normal people, with normal temptations.
All have and all will fail in this life, Peter did, James and John did, etc. So will ministers in our day. Yet, what will be the ultimate winner? Jesus or our sinful self? Are we going to be content with what the Lord provides for us, or is our lack of contentment going to blind us to the right paths we are to walk?
Judas did not profit from his hearing of Jesus teaching. He did not profit from seeing the marvelous deeds of the Lord. Like many today
who sit through sermon after sermon, attend Bible study after Bible study,
and still do not allow the teaching to change their life enough to make them stay committed to the Lord.
Judas had seen the feeding of the thousands with a few loaves and fishes,
the Lord Jesus walk on water, Jesus show the disciples the Old Testament prophecies concerning Himself, Lazarus hop out of the tomb, but he still betrayed the Lord to be crucified.
There were repeated warnings. Jesus warned the disciples over and over
against the love of money. Matthew and Judas both heard those messages,
and as men who formerly had a great love for money. Both were admonished similarly. One listened, and the other did not listen.
"he that hath ears to hear, let him hear..."
Judas did not sin in ignorance. Neither do many today sin in ignorance. Judas still allowed small bit of greed, a discontent with the life of giving to the poor, and living frugally himself. This discontent lingered in his mind despite the often-repeated warnings of the Lord.
"When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in the Spirit, and testified and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me."
The ingratitude of Judas Ischariot toward the loving ministry of Jesus was enormous. Jesus had said more than once: "The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men..." and still Judas did not repent.
Due to his discontent, Judas, a FRIEND of the Lord Jesus, sold Him for the price of a slave!
his chance for eternal life,
his chance to have one of the foundations of the New Jerusalem named after him his eternal mansion in such city.
all for 30 pieces of silver! He was not content with all the aforementioned, but needed, he thought, more silver than he had.
When Jesus said, during the last supper, "ONE OF YOU SHALL BETRAY ME!"
the disciples answered: "IS IT I?" If Jesus had said "YES" to other of the disciples they would have repented. But one was turning a deaf ear to the discussion. When Jesus said it was “the one who dips his bread in the broth at the same time as I,” the only disciple who was not listening carefully enough to avoid doing so was JUDAS. He had a spiritual-willing-deafness
at the end. His mind was on the discontent with his current financial status, and he missed the warnings of the Lord.
Many in church congregations today have such a DEAFNESS of spirit. They sit in sermon after sermon, being warned of sin and its damning consequences. They hear, but they do not hear well enough to do anything about it.
Jesus foreknew the fall of Judas. Although Judas had preached, prayed,
and done miracles as the other disciples, Jesus knew that someday Judas would betray Him.
"Jesus knew from the beginning who should betray Him..."
The knowledge of the Lord, about such betrayal, did not make Him love Judas less. Jesus did not mistreat, abuse, or shame this Judas, but patiently loved, counseled, called into private session this soon-to-betray-Him saint.
Judas did not make an open break with Jesus when he decided to betray Him.
DEMAS WAS NOT CONTENT SITTING IN A PRISON CELL WITH PAUL, AND HE WANTED PLEASURES OF THIS WORLD, MORE THAN TO BE IN THE PLACE THE LORD WANTED HIM TO BE.
After the burning of Rome, Nero made it illegal to be a Christian. Paul could not stop talking about Jesus, just because the ruler of the known world said it was wrong, crazy, and illegal. No, Paul kept preaching Jesus, and was put into a Roman prison. There in a cold, unheated prison, Paul spent the winter, without a coat. Since it was a crime to be a Christian, and it would be "crazy" for anyone to associate with this criminal, Paul and Luke, his companion in ministry, spent a lonely year, deserted by their more "sane" friends, forgotten.
II Timothy 1:15, 4:10
"they which are in Asia be turned away from me... For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed."
Paul's Christian friends discarded him. Seeing Paul in disgrace, they lost their interest in his ministry. They had their own desires, their own items that they thought would make them ‘content’.
Paul felt this discontent, and its resulting desertion. One especially close comrade, named Demas, who was a minister also, a fellow laborer with Paul (Col. 4:14, Philemon 24), grew discontented, and began to look elsewhere for fellowship and friendship.
God gives all of us free choice, and Demas exercised his to choose the pleasures of the world, the excitement of freedom from the calling and commitment to the Lord that Paul had, and Demas could no longer share. Paul felt deserted, alone, and died before Demas could be restored to fellowship with the Lord and with Paul.
Politically incorrect, socially treated like a leper, too fanatical for many others to try to defend him, Paul waited in this cell, writing to churches far away. Soon, he was beheaded on the Ostian Road, just outside Rome.
This man, Paul, was unlike most Christians today. For most so-called Christians, try to be like the world as much as they can, and many succeed. The Paul's of today, are shunned, ignored, and discarded. The Paul of that day, was shunned, argued with, attacked, hated, discarded, and forgotten!!!
Demas was not content with that kind of life, he wanted more pleasures, less suffering for the Lord’s sake.
Some things have been forgotten about how Paul was treated. We like to think that he was loved, cherished, and respected; but in reality, he was not.
The blessings of living the life that Paul did has great blessings, but to be discontented with these sufferings leads to greater loss than one ever imagines.
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you."
Paul was content with whatever persecution came. He had learned the value of contentment.
Philippians 4:11-13 (KJV)
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
God said that we should be happy, "Blessed" when men "revile", or "persecute" us. God knew, as it was with Paul, it would be mostly the religious who would so treat us. Paul was happy, despite the discarding of him by those he had ministered to, or ministered with. Paul was happy, blessed, and joyful in all his tribulations, and faced God on the day of his beheading with great joy and contentment!
THERE MAY BE TROUBLED TIMES AHEAD, WE NEED TO LEARN TO BE CONTENT, AND TRUST IN THE LORD. DO NOT TRUST IN RICHES, BE CONTENT WITH GOD’S PROVISION
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (KJV)
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;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
LEARN TO ‘DENY’ YOURSELF, AND TAKE UP YOUR CROSS
‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me...”
Satan will work on the discontent in Christians. As Peter, we will be most likely to fall in areas we are sure we will not fall. Proverbs tell us that the one who ‘thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.’ So, we should not be overconfident in our own strength. Satan will and has been making an offer for your soul. He holds it before you, and encourages you to not see it as selling your own soul for eternity to him, but will make it look like just a momentary resting, a short diversion, a short vacation from our calling. He holds it before us, and tempts.
‘Choose you this day, whom you will serve,’ we are told. To choose Christ, we will have to deny satan, and even deny ourselves. The choice will not come to us as ‘choose Jesus or satan’. We would all choose Jesus at that point. The choice comes ‘this is best for you, and you must make yourself number one sometimes...’ The devil will make it look like that choice is best for you. Do we have a price like that, for which we would sell out?
FOR WHAT ARE PEOPLE DISCONTENTED ?
Esau was bough for a bowl of soup of pottage. He sold his birthright for a temporary cessation of hunger.
Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. The price of buying a slave in that day. The religious leaders bought Jesus for what one could buy a common slave.
Many today will sell out their calling, sell out their Christianity, for physical gain. How much will it take to buy you?
The devil does not make the choice easy to turn down. It is not, ‘choose heaven or hell’. Nor does he put it, ‘choose a million dollars or sin.’ He may put it, as ‘choose a life of cross bearing, or some pleasures that you deserve.’ He may say, ‘do you choose to starve to death, or have T-bone steak?’ For Judas, it was ‘choose watching your hopes of Jesus being the Messiah go down the drain, or at least get 30 pieces of silver to try to compensate you for wasting the last three years of your life following One Who will not listen to your advice.’
Some count money, job, position, reputation, popularity, prestige, pleasures as more valuable than their calling, their salvation, their relationship with Jesus. They may be godly otherwise, but they are discontented in their godly living. It leads to great sins, if we are discontented.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
“He that seeks things good for himself shall lose them, he that gives up things loved for Me shall find true happiness.’
The rich young ruler wanted a good life. He also wanted to know he would have eternal life. The choice came down to having and maintaining all his gained riches, or having to take up a cross and follow Jesus. The easier way seemed to be the ‘good life’ of earthly riches. The price for having those, was more than he would pay today, knowing what he knows now.
Crosses that we must bear in life may vary. The cross we are given may include sickness, poverty, unpopularity, rebuke, scorn, etc. Many of the army of prophets would find it tempting to eliminate those from one’s life.
Solomon tried all he could try, experienced many things, and was the richest man of the world. He tried all, but found that all was vanity and useless.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, 12:13-14
“I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure... unto wine... folly... great works... houses... vineyards... gardens and orchards... pools of water... servants and maidens... great possessions... great and small cattle... silver and gold... peculiar treasure... men singers... women singers... delights of the sons of men..musical instruments... whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them... my heart rejoiced in all my labor... all was vanity.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, and with every secret thing, whether it be good or bad.
NOT EVERYONE ACCEPTS DISCONTENTMENT AS THEIR MINDSET !
Abraham was offered the joy of life in prosperous Ur, and chose rather to live in a tent in a land unknown to him. Later, he could please God, or keep his son alive. He chose to offer his son.
Job said ‘though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.’ (Job 13:15)
Paul could have been a chief pharisee, and perhaps been the successor to Gamaliel. But he chose rather to suffer shipwreck, hardships, imprisonment, hatred, persecution, and finally was beheaded.
John was put into boiling oil, yet lived. He was exiled on Patmos. Yet, he refused to deny his Lord and Savior.
Daniel could have escaped the lion’s den. Yet, he would not choose to cease praying.
The three Hebrew children chose the fiery furnace over having to bow to a false god.
Stephen could have had friendships and stature in the religious community, but he chose to preach the truth. Therefore, he was stoned.
We will be tempted to be discontented many times in our lives. We need to withstand that temptation, and reject it.
I Peter 1:7
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold, that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto the praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.’
God brought Abraham to a great test. God asked for Isaac. Would Abraham trust the Lord? Abraham said to him, ‘My son, God will provide Himself a lamb.’ (Genesis 22:8)
“He staggered not at the promise of God, through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded, that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
Joseph faced a great test. How could he resist great temptation? Potiphar’s wife could cost him his life, his freedom, if he did not succumb to here seduction. But Joseph said ‘how can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 37:9)
Esther was under similar pressure. A man threatened her and her people. Her answer was ‘if I perish, I perish’. (Esther 4:16) She stood firm and refused to succumb to the selling out.
Job was pressured to succumb and ‘curse God and die’. But He said ‘though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.’ (Job 13:15)
Discontentment will try to bring us to failure and ruin. We need to be strong against it.
II Corinthians 4:17
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’
God wants us to prove true and strong. Jesus faced death for us, He warned us that to follow Him, meant taking up a cross too. Jesus dying meant great glory for this world, and if the army of prophets have to face death, it should also bring glory to the kingdom.
There is no reward without suffering. We are told that plainly, and yet many try to find a Christian experience that is wealth, health and fame, rather than suffering, sacrifice and cross-bearing.
“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal.’
I Corinthians 15:57
“But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.’
I John 5:4
“This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.’
Hebrews 13:5 (KJV)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.