"THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL"
First Timothy 6.10
1. This evening I want to be simple
and practical. I think that Christianity, to be vibrant, must be extremely
practical. And to be practical you have to avoid being abstract and fuzzy
and get down to where the rubber meets the road.
2. I do not, this evening, choose
to deal with what might happen or what could happen, a series of
hypotheticals, but with what I have observed with my own eyes, experienced
in my own life.
3. But it is not the observations
with my own eyes that validates the truths I will deal with tonight, for
the Word of God needs no validation from me. My observations and
experiences simply bear witness to the truth of Godís Word, simply
illustrate the Word of God.
4. So, if you have difficulty with
what I say tonight, please do not approach me and ask me such questions as
"What if this?" or "What if that?" I care not for
"What if?" questions that are designed to escape the clear and
undeniable truths of the Word of God.
5. "Well, what if I disagree
with you?" Of course, you are perfectly entitled to disagree with me
about anything. I do not require that anyone agree with me. I only
recognize that Godí s Word binds you to listening to me, Hebrews 13.17,
and giving me a genuine opportunity to persuade you.
6. So, with those things said, let
me wage war against two practices that I believe are devastating Churches
and families all over the United States, after I lay a Biblical groundwork
for my assault.
7. Turn in your Bible to First
Timothy 6.10. Please stand when you find that verse and we will read
Godís Word together:
"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."
8. I once had a pastor while in
Bible college who had a reputation for being a Calvinist. So it was
understandable that as he preached through Romans verse by verse the
student body at the Bible college where this popular teacher plied his
trade became eager with anticipation to hear what he would say when he
preached on Romans 8.29-30, two verses where Calvinism shines forth and
the differences with Arminianism are stark and profound.
9. The Sunday night that he was to
preach on those verses the Church was packed with Bible college students,
even multitudes who were members of other Churches. They had all come to
hear what my pastor would say. And I was eager to hear him preach on those
two verses, as well.
10. Well, the song service ended.
He stood and approached the sacred desk. Then he preached on those two
verses. Afterwards we all went home. And as we went home we each wondered
what he had said. He had succeeded in preaching Romans 8.29-30 without
anyone getting anything out of what he had said.
11. But thatís not unusual these
days. Several years ago my wife and I attended a pastorís Christmas
fellowship at a Baptist Church here in southern California. The speaker at
the fellowship was a pastor I have known for many years.
12. When it was time he was
introduced, he then made some gracious remarks, preached for about 20
minutes, and then sat down. When it was all over our friend, Dr. Hymers,
walked up to me and asked me, "What did he say?" I said, "I
donít know. It didnít seem to me that he said anything."
13. Excuse me, but preachers these
days have fallen into the timidity trap of getting up, saying so many
words, and then sitting down. But they communicate no truth. They
challenge no hearts. They stir no souls. They prick no consciences. They
irritate and they anger no one. They fail.
14. Make no mistake about it, for
good or evil, for better or worse, I am not content to leave you the way
you are. As God is my witness, my desire is to encourage, to provoke, to
correct, to rebuke, to cajole, to do something other than leave you the
way you arrived.
15. Look at our text. Let us study
it, examine it, and then I will seek to apply it. The applications that I
will make tonight are not the only applications which could be made from
this text, but they certainly are valid.
16. But first, before application,
comes interpretation. Let us see what Paul, in this verse written to
Timothy so long ago, means. Three brief statements, each stacked upon the
1A. First, Paul States THE
"For the love
of money is the root of all evil"
1B. Argue with this declaration
if you want to. Pooh pooh it if you dare. But remember, this is Godís
Word, and it is the LORD Who searches the heart,
Who tries the reins, Jeremiah 17.10.
2B. Paul, here, does not speak of
money, but of the love of money. There is a tremendous difference
between money and the love of money. If you have money you have money.
If you love money then money has you. And what Paul speaks of here to
Timothy is not a Christian possessing money, but money possessing a
Christian, or money possessing anyone, for that matter.
3B. What does Paul mean when he
speaks of the love of money being the root of something? He is speaking
of the love of money giving rise to something, the love of money causing
something, the love of money being that from which something else
springs. So, when you love money something happens, something springs
from that root, something grows and is nurtured by that love you have
4B. What? "All evil."
Now, by "all evil" we must not understand that all instances
of evil can trace their origin to the love of money. Thatís
preposterous on the face of it because we know that there was no money
in the garden of Eden, and yet Eve sinned, and so did Adam. So, Paul
does not here refer to every instance of evil having as
its source the love of money.
5B. What he is saying here is
that "all kinds of evil" is produced by the love of money. The
love of money is the root of every imaginable kind of evil. The love of
money is the root of all sorts of evil. My friends, you canít imagine
what sorts of evil springs from the heart of someone who loves money.
6B. You do know that men have
killed for the love of money. You do know that woman have sold
themselves into prostitution for the love of money. You do know that
mothers and fathers sell their own children for the love of money. You
know that for the love of money men will traffic in child pornography.
But what beyond this the love of money produces, we cannot fathom.
2A. Next, Paul States THE
some coveted after, they have erred from the faith"
1B. Here Paul illuminates our
understanding of what, precisely, the love of money is and what damage
it can do. The love of money is covetousness, pure and simple. This word
"covet" means to stretch our for something, to reach as far as
you can to grab hold of something, to long for it, to desire it.
2B. And here is the danger: You
want money so badly that it causes you, your love of money motivates
you, so that you actually err from the faith. That is, you will stray
from the Christian faith in your pursuit of, because of your love for,
3B. I know men who have left good
Churches to attend bad Churches, simply because there were business
prospects in the bad Churches they had not worked, after they were
finished working all the prospects in the good Churches they were in to
4B. Let me tell you something,
folks, if something results in you erring from the faith, itís bad.
Recognize that the greatest evil is that which deprives you of the
greatest good. Somethingís badness, itís wickedness, is not to be
evaluated by how heinous you think it is, how nasty you think it is, but
by what good it takes from you and deprives you of.
5B. What, then, can remove you
from the Christian faith? What will pull you away from Godís people,
from Christís Church, and from the Gospel? The love of money. Youíd
better watch out. Itís worse than you think it is. More subtle. More
dangerous. Soul damning.
3A. Finally, Paul States THE
themselves through with many sorrows."
1B. What does this phrase refer
to? It refers to the damage that is realized after youíve erred from
the faith. This can occur either before or after youíve dropped out of
Church, but it certainly takes place after you dismiss the importance of
2B. You see, people think their
marriages are strong, until they depart from the faith. People think
their parenting is sound, until they depart from the faith. People think
they have a grip on the things that make them happy, until they depart
from the faith.
3B. Now, the tragedy is that when
someone departs from the faith they donít think they have departed
from the faith. They think they have made adjustments or become more
sophisticated, but almost never do they believe they have departed from
the faith. So, the fall of their daughter into the gutter, the departure
of their son into the pig sty, the ruination of their marriage, the
complete breakdown of their value system, is never attributed to
departing from the faith. Those things happen to everyone.
4B. Right. And there is no
correlation to your daughterís slutty behavior and your love for
money, or your sonís whore mongering and your craving for money, or
the loss of your wife because she has finally gotten fed up with it all
and your love of money. Such tragedies as Iíve mentioned can happen
for other reasons, to be sure. But do not deny that such things as these
can happen for this reason.
5B. Between the time you fell in
love with money and you were pierced through with many sorrows you
departed the faith. But most who love money and who depart from the
faith and who are then pierced through with many sorrows never connect
the dots. They never see cause and effect. To them life is a series of
unconnected and unrelated events that have nothing to do with each
other. But Godís Word says different, and a direct look at your own
life shows different.
1. My friends, the love of money is
the root of all evil, causing some to depart from the faith, piercing
themselves through with many sorrows.
2. After brother Isenberger comes
to lead us in a song, my sermon will apply our text to two evils that have
their root in the love of money. And if these two evils are not rectified,
they will result in those who do them departing from the faith and being
pierced through with many sorrows.
1. Before I begin to share my
observations and present to you these applications, allow me to confess
that I am guilty of many sins. There have been very foolish episodes in my
life and there have been very carnal episodes in my life.
2. So please do not conclude by
this message I am casting stones at others as if I am a man who sees
nothing wrong with his own life. There are many shortcomings in my life. I
am a work in progress, by Godís grace. But I have suffered from one of
the things I will bring to your attention, while observing it in otherís
lives, rather than cause the things I will bring to your attention this
3. The love of money is the root of
all evil. Two practices that exhibit the love of money. And please feel
free to correct me after Church if you think I am wrong, but one of these
things I have suffered and the other I have observed.
1A. First, There Is The Practice
Of WORKING ON SUNDAYS
Let me examine this practice as
honestly and as objectively as I know how:
1B. First, There Is The Motive
For Working On Sundays
1C. Is it not clear in Godís
Word that He wants His people to gather together for worship and
service to Him? Does not Hebrews 10.25 show, clearly, that Godís
will for His Own is that they not forsake the gathering
2C. Now, if God wants you in
Church on Sunday, but you work on Sunday, then there is a problem. Is
there not? "But pastor, I work on Sunday." I know. Thatís
3C. Why do you work on Sunday?
"I think itís important." You are mistaken. Nothing is
more important than the saints gathering on Sunday.
4C. "My position is more
than a job. Itís a calling." Again, you are mistaken. Your job
is only a job. When one receives a calling it comes from God, and the
result is that he ministers to those who gather together on Sundays.
5C. Godís Word and Godís
will are never at cross purposes, so it is never Godís will for you
to work on Sunday. Never. Therefore, when someone works on Sunday it
is never to obey God, it is never to glorify God.
6C. Rather, it is to earn
money, because I promise you, if you werenít getting paid to do
stuff on Sunday you wouldnít do stuff on Sunday.
7C. Now, perhaps I am wrong.
Perhaps I am naive and misguided. But I am persuaded that it is almost
certain that a person who works on Sunday works for the money such a
job pays him. And if you are willing to work on Sunday for money then
it must be the love of money that motivates you to so disobey God and
to so abandon His revealed will.
2B. But Thatís Not All. There
Is Also The Means That Are Abandoned By Working On Sundays
1C. Though little attention is
given to the concept in contemporary times, the Puritans were
absolutely on target in their designation of certain activities and
practices as means of grace.
2C. By means of grace, they
referred to involvement in certain things, participation in certain
practices, that God would use to impart saving grace to the lost soul
and would impart sustaining grace to the saved soul.
3C. I have something for you to
consider. Is there anything which is more obviously a means of grace
than the gathered meeting of Godís people for the preaching of
Godís Word? My friend, nothing is more important an activity for
every human being to involve himself in, for her to immerse herself
in, than the preaching of the Word of God. Itís the means of grace.
Not the only means of grace, but certainly the preeminent one.
4C. Yet when one works on
Sundays he abandons the means of grace. He forsakes it for work. He
lowers its importance relative to earning money. That is at least
foolish. And it is very likely prideful. Because we need Godís
grace. Canít do without it. Itís necessary for life.
3B. As Well, Consider The Mess
Created In Families By Working On Sundays
1C. What mess is created in
families by working on Sundays? The mess of confusion. Utter
confusion. Confusion enough to prevent them from getting converted?
Confusion enough to persuade them that they wonít need to go to
Church when they reach adulthood? Yes.
2C. You see, Godís desire is
for you to love Him with all your heart, mind and soul. And to love
God is to obey God, Second John 6. As well, to love God is to give Him
glory, which means to treat Him as if He is most important.
3C. Okay. You say God is most
important, but you act like the job is more important. You say God
should be glorified, but you behave in such a way that He is not
properly glorified. And you expect your children to fear the Lord your
4C. Itís a joke. Itís not
going to happen. A God Who is feared is a God Who is obeyed. So if
your kids do not see you obey God it is quite clear that the message
you send to them by your actions is that God is not really a God Who
is to be feared, not really a God Who is to be obeyed.
5C. I am afraid that people who
work on Sundays have perhaps erred from the faith. And though I do not
want this to happen to you, I expect that someday those who work on
Sundays will be pierced through with many sorrows as a result of this
sin of loving money so much that they will even work on Sundays to get
6C. So, what do I think you
should do? If you work on Sundays, quit your job. But what is the
first consideration that enters your mind when you entertain the
notion of quitting your job so you can go to Church on Sundays? You
wonít make as much money at any other job. So, itís the money that
keeps you on a job that works you on Sundays. Sounds like love to me.
2A. As Well, There Is The
Practice Of UPROOTING THE FAMILY
For some reason, Americans think
nothing of picking up their families and dragging them from place to
place, ripping apart networks of family and friends, dislodging children
from friends of a lifetime, cursing them with the necessity of trying to
reestablish themselves in a strange place, tempting them in ways
unimaginable to fit into a new crowd and to acquire new friends.
And everyone knows that there are
good Churches everywhere. So there will be no problem finding a sound,
Bible believing, Gospel preaching, Christ exalting, God honoring Church
wherever they happen to relocate.
Excuse me, but I think the whole
notion of uprooting a family is utter nonsense unless that father is
moving his family from a place where there is no Gospel witness to a
place where his family can sit under Gospel preaching. For any other
reason, why rip extended families apart? Why dislodge children from
their grandparents and their aunts and uncles? Why must children be
uprooted from the Church they hoped to grow up in, from the members who
have known them and loved them from birth, from their pastor who knows
them better than any other pastor possibly could? What is the spiritual
benefit of moving to a location where you become just another anonymous
face in the crowd and have no human connections?
But enough of this. Let me
approach this subject more systematically.
1B. First, The Motive For
Uprooting The Family
1C. What is the reason why a
guy will uproot his family and drag them across the country? Is he not
doing it to get a job thatís better than the job he could get where
he is at? Or is he not doing it because he got a promotion and a
raise, or because it will lead to a promotion and a raise?
2C. We had one Church member
come to me and he informed me that he and his entire clan were moving
across the United States. Want to know why? Because he discovered that
the state he was uprooting his family to move to had no income taxes
on retirement income.
3C. Hereís another one: A
family moves to Timbuktu because the housing is cheaper. But does this
guy even consider the cost of driving, the wear and tear on his
vehicle and tires and insurance, and the value of his personal time?
No. To get a cheaper house he uproots his family and moves them what
might as well be a million miles away.
4C. Folks, whether it be a
transfer in the military, a transfer on the job, an attempt to get
cheaper housing (and read here a big house, not a sufficient house),
or a new job, the motive for uprooting families is today quite
different than it was when Pilgrims and Puritans came to New England.
They moved from England and came to the new world to escape
persecution and to worship God freely according to the dictates of
their own consciences. Nowadays families fragment and disintegrate for
the love of money.
2B. So, The Motive Is Wrong.
Consider Also The Means That Are Abandoned By Uprooting The Family
1C. Are we so naive a people
that we think there are good Churches scattered all across the United
States? Is the condition our country is in the result of good Churches
and godly pastors sprinkled throughout the countryside? Is that how
weíve come to murder 40 million unborn babies and tolerate a Supreme
Court that has effectively legalized virtual child pornography?
2C. The fact is that there are
very few good Churches anywhere to be found in the United States. A
recent telephone conversation with a pastor revealed that in one of
our nationís most conservative and fundamental Bible colleges there
is only one professor who disagrees with John Mac Arthur on the
subjects of lordship salvation and his terrible error regarding the
shed blood of Jesus Christ. And if one of the very best Bible colleges
is in that kind of lousy shape, what do you think the Churches are
like who are pastored by guys who have been trained in such places?
3C. That means it is
approaching a certainty that an uprooted family will relocate in a
region where the Gospel of Godís grace in Jesus Christ is not
preached faithfully, is not declared strongly, is not applied
carefully. In short, the uprooted family is deprived of the means of
4C. A tragic example of this is
a friend of Jackís who moved to Atlanta. God was dealing with him
about his soulís salvation, but he went ahead and moved anywhere. I
donít know whatís happening now, but last I heard the guy had
cooled off, had not attended Church, and seemed to once again be
unconcerned about his soul.
5C. And why did he go? What was
the motive? A great job opportunity. Why is it that we always phrase
it "a great job opportunity" instead of calling it what it
is, "the love of money"?
3B. Finally, Consider The Mess
Created By Uprooting The Family
1C. I am not bitter that may
dad uprooted my mother from her home in Wheeler, Texas when I was two
weeks old to take a job in South Dakota. But that doesnít mean I
like what happened.
2C. Then, when I have 5 years
old, we moved to North Dakota. Then, when I was 10 years old, we moved
to Florida. Then, when I was 15 years old, we moved to Oregon. In each
case my dad moved to obtain a promotion or to curry the favor of his
boss. And on several occasions we were uprooted while vigorously
3C. Understand that my dad
didnít know any differently. And he is of the generation of men who
grew up in the Oklahoma and Texas dust bowl during the depression, so
he has never been willing to take a risk when it came to his job. So,
I am not mad at him. I just know firsthand what happens to a kid who
is uprooted, and who is uprooted, and who is uprooted. And what
happens is not good.
4C. "Oh, think of the
experiences of meeting new people and living in different
places." You think of meeting new people and living in different
places. I think of leaving friends and loved ones, and abandoning
plans that I made for my life even while I was a child.
5C. Think about being far away
from your grandparents and your aunts and uncles. Think about being
disconnected from the people who are your people, your kin, your
blood, your heritage. And think of what loss they suffer by being
removed from you and your godly influence, from you and your stand for
6C. Of course, the danger that
comes from preaching a sermon like this is if some spiritually
immature Christian starts thinking foolishly of going back home. I
strongly considered going back home right after I got saved. But then
I realized that God located me here to save me because He wanted me
here. He moved me from my family to remove me from their influence and
to put me under different influences, because they were unconverted.
7C. So, if you came here and
got converted stay here. There is a reason you didnít get converted
there. "But what if I came here because of the love of
money?" Thatís why I came to LA, folks. But once here I stayed
here. And looking back on my life I realize that had I gone back to
Oregon I would have abandoned the means of grace, I would have put
myself into a terrible situation by returning and being under the
influence of family members.
1. Letís wrap this up with some
2. It is highly unlikely that you
will find the right answers to lifeís questions unless and until you ask
the right questions.
3. As well, it is highly unlike
that you will find the right answers to lifeís questions unless you go
to where the answers are found, the Word of God.
4. I am sure there are exceptions
to the applications I have made to our text for this evening. And I am
sure that the exceptions to the applications I have made will always be
those individuals who work on Sundays, who would never work on Sundays for
the love of money, and those people who uproot their families and drag
them off, who would never do such a thing for the love of money.
5. "I think of my job as a
calling, pastor." Sure. "To me, this is a ministry,
pastor." Right. And even though Paul warned Timothy about people
being overcome by the love of money, thatís not your problem. Okay.
6. Look folks, Iím just the
pastor of a small Church in the San Gabriel Valley who loves his people,
who wants to see Godís blessings on his ministry, and who wants to see
the people he loves spared from being pierced through with many sorrows.
7. No, let me rephrase that. Iím
just the pastor of a small Church in the San Gabriel Valley who loves his
people, who wants to see Godís blessings on his ministry, and who wants
to see the people he loves spared from piercing themselves through
with many sorrows.