INTRO: I wonder how many of us suffer under the illusions of materialism? Now some might want to take issue with me, but I believe that virtually all of us suffer some effects of these illusions! But I would guess those effects have not become debilitating to our lives and relationships. Still, in the society and culture in which we live the illusions of materialism can be tragic in their effects. The pursuit and promise of plenty and prosperity too often only delivers broken dreams, lives and homes. I would like to spend a few minutes in very honest and concerned discussion of what is becoming a very serious problem for too many of us.
I. SOME OF THE ILLUSIONS OF MATERIALSIM
A. Theres a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
B. Things will solve my problems
C. The amount of things I have determines my value
D. Living beyond my means is no problem - everyone does it
E. I have plenty of time to save for a rainy day - so eat, drink and be merry is my motto
F. My family understands my time for them is brief; later, Ill make it up to them
G. If I can have ______, Ill be satisfied
II. I HAVE NO ARGUMENT WITH HARD WORK, HAVING THINGS
A. Scripture does not condemn wealth, prosperity
1. 1 Tim 6:17-18 - the rich are not told to take vows of poverty
2. 2 Cor 8:13,14 - taking care of each others needs would not be possible without some degree of prosperity
B. Scripture exalts work
1. Eph 4:28 - working, not only to provide for ones own, but to be able to give to him that needeth
2. 1 Thes 4:11,12 - work...that ye may have lack of nothing
III. BUT THOSE ILLUSIONS ARE DANGEROUS WAYS OF THINKING
A. There is absolutely no pot of gold at rainbows end
1. any idea of some easy acquisition of wealth is daydreaming
2. get rich quick schemes are a quick way to poverty
3. yes, some people may be fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time; but most of us must depend on work
B. Things will not solve your problems
1. money would get me out of debt - ah, but would it solve?
2. money would let me get some needed things - ah, but are our needs too often really only wants? can we live without them?
3. consider 1 Tim 6:8 - problems usually require changes in the way we think, in our approaches, genuine self examination, etc.
C. Greater possessions do not increase our value
1. yes, I know the world looks at net worth as ones value
2. listen to Micah 6:8 - this is the true measure of value
3. another truth? 1 Tim 6:9 - possessions can be troublesome ... I firmly believe that often our possessions possess us
D. Living beyond our means is a serious problem, failure
1. there is always a day of reckoning - a pay up day!
2. living beyond ones means is a practice which can be destructive - it becomes an explosive situation - it is living a lie
3. easy credit is one of the most deceptive and damaging illusions of materialism!!!! - Heb 13:5 with 1 Tim 6:6
E. The eat, drink and be merry view is irresponsible
1. can Jas 4:3 speak to this life philosophy?
2. could we compare Rom 14:17? what is important here?
3. the word stewardship comes to my mind at this point, too - are we wasting our substance with thoughtless living?
F. Can you make up for the time not given to your family? No
1. yes, we do have to go to work - yes, it is so time consuming
2. but do we make career choices which put us into those sorts of rationalizations?
3. a family absolutely requires a commitment of time ... quantity and quality ... against which the emptiness of materialism works
CLOSE: Among the sobering words of Jesus are these at Lk 12:15: Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he posseseth. Are we convinced of this?
Cecil A. Hutson
03 August 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)