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The Apostle Paul – Financial Advisor! 1 Timothy 6:17-19

01/03/2015

What to do with Your Wealth

Christians and Money!
Text: 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Proverbs 23:4-5
At the start of this chapter, Paul gave instructions to Timothy regarding the conditions and service of bond-servants. in, 6:1 Being a Christian should have an ethical effect on both the slave and his master, but what would be the financial effect of their conversion?

  1. THE SLAVE. Obviously, the slave would be working more productively, – doing his master’s bidding, and working hard and faithfully, demonstrating his loyalty to his master and also to his Saviour, for he would be working ‘as unto the Lord’, and to demonstrate a good testimony.
  2. THE MASTER. For the master/businessman, then, having a Christian servant, or even several Christian servants, would be financially advantageous. Better workers, more productivity, more profits, he would be financially blessed.
  3. THE CHRISTIAN SLAVE-OWNER. Again, what then if the businessman himself had been converted, and was now also living for Christ, and seeking to make a good public and open confession of faith? He would see changes in his lifestyle too. No more excesses that would have been financially crippling.
  4. THE ECONOMY. Add these factors together, a more productive workforce, motivated by a desire for service, and a more moderate lifestyle for the businessman, and what is the result? WEALTH!

Paul never tells these wealthy people that their wealth is evil, or wrong. He doesn’t tell them to give it all away. But he does have some very serious warnings and exhortations for them.

1. Get a Proper Perspective on Money! 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;
‘Those who are rich in this world.’ Who would that be? In Ephesus, it was people who had accumulated more money and possessions than the others. But nowadays, the people in the church who are ‘rich in this world’ are US! We are wealthy Christians, and there is great danger in that! Paul urges Timothy to speak to those wealthy Christians, and tell them:

  1. Do not let your money go to your head. Do not be high-minded! Our modern way of saying this would be ‘don’t get too full of yourself!’ Pride, arrogance, self-satisfaction, – The Christians at Ephesus were never to let their money go to their head, and make them think that they are something they are not.
  2. Don’t trust in your wealth – for a fool and his money are soon parted. It would be utterly foolish to place your trust in money, for like everything else in this world it will rot, and pass away. Luke 12:18 . There is no hope, and no happiness to be found in depending on our material wealth. So where should the Christian look for such hope?
  3. Depend only on God – life comes only from him. Remember who is the source of your blessings. God is the great giver, and we are to richly enjoy his blessings. He is the living God who gives us all things to enjoy.

So, while we are not asked to dispose of our hard earned cash, we are certainly required to have a correct attitude to money, to not let it go to our heads, or put our trust in earthly things, but to put all our trust in the living God. AND:-

2. Use Our Wealth to Bless Others! 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
In fact people who have some money can be a great blessing in a church. Paul gives Timothy some further advice for these wealthy Christians, by encouraging them to use what God has given them to practise kindness and goodness to others. He says:-

  1. Use your wealth to do good. Instead of being wealthy in this world’s goods alone, be rich in good works! Acts 20:33-35,
  2. Be generous. Distribute and share. The AV ‘distribute’ here is based on a well known Greek word, – it is κοινωνικους, – elsewhere we translate that as COMMUNION, or FELLOWSHIP. One of the aspects of our fellowship is sharing! We are to be generous and willing to share – and incidentally, that is about far more than our wealth. We are to share our friendship and our company and our love for one another.

3. Don’t Forget that This World Is Not Our Home! 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Now, let’s be clear, you can’t buy yourself a home in heaven. There is only one way to heaven and that is by salvation by grace through faith. These are people who are ALREADY SAVED – Paul is writing to CHRISTIANS, to people who already have an assured home in Glory, not because of their own good works, but because of Christ’s good work, for us, on the cross. Now, having been saved, God owns our righteous good works as His, and rewards us for them in heaven. cf Matthew 6:19
But in what way does this help us to ‘lay hold on eternal life?’ Because it demonstrates our perseverance! We realise that this world is not our final destiny, or our eternal home, and we give what we cannot keep, and in so doing gain a reward that we can never lose.

© Bob McEvoy

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