"THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL"

First Timothy 6.10

 

EXPOSITION:

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 previous one.

1A. First, Paul States THE INSPIRED DECLARATION

"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 for money.

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 ENTICING DANGER

"which while 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, money.

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 begin with.

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 INFLICTED DAMAGE

"and pierced 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 the Bible.

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.

CONCLUSION:

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.

INTRODUCTION:

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 evening.

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 together?

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 the problem.

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 God?

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 it.

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 grace.

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 protesting.

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 Christ.

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.

CONCLUSION:

1. Letís wrap this up with some concluding remarks.

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.

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