1Ti 1:18-19 "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:"
When you set out on a journey you want to enjoy the trip. Unforeseen problems arise that tends to slow you down along the way. Traveling this past summer we ran into a number of areas where road construction brought our journey to a stop. At times there were a few roadblocks and detours that made the journey extremely difficult. Had I known of some of them beforehand, I could have avoided them and my trip much more enjoyable!
As we all begin the New Year, it is as we are beginning a journey into new territory. There will be some roadblocks along the way. Tonight I want to remind you of some areas to avoid getting stuck.
I. The Area of Finances
(1 Tim 6:10-11) "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. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
A. The Statement. "The love of money is the root of all evil."
1. "The love of money"
a. The phrase is talking about greed.
b. Money isn't evil; it is a tool.
c. As such, it is neutral.
1) It can be used for good.
2) When the money is used for the work of the Lord in the program of the church, or on the mission field, then it is good.
3) But when it is used to work against the work of God, such as, taking us away from God and His work, then it isn't good.
2. "The love of money is the root of all evil."
a. Note: Two articles about lottery winners.
b. Note that Paul said this was the 'root' of 'all' evil.
c. When evil is investigated the root, the motivation, will be tied to the love of money.
d. Someone said, "It is not evil for you to have money, but it is evil for money to have you."
e. When money has us then we are no longer thinking first of God and His kingdom.
f. Neither are we living by faith.
g. Instead, the possession of money governs our thinking.
(Deu 8:18) "But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day."
3. The love for money controls the world today.
a. Interview with Gov. O'Bannon concerning his approval rating.
b. If the economy is tight then the political leaders are judged as failures.
c. Let's be honest, the situation with the Middle East is about money (oil).
d. Money makes the world go 'round!
B. So what? This is a warning!
1. The area of finances can become a problem.
2. "...which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith..."
3. Notice the strength and force that the word "coveted" adds to the validity of this phrase.
4. The Tenth Commandment tells us, "Thou shalt not covet..."
5. This Scripture doesn't say that all will covet, just some.
6. There are some that God can trust with money.
7. They will use money for the right purpose.
8. Money will be a tool for them to use to help build the kingdom of God.
C. The consequences: "pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1. Note "they pierced themselves."
2. This is one of those areas that we have no one else to blame…
3. Problem in the area of finance is one of the major reasons families are destroyed.
4. We can allow ourselves to become so deep in debt that we cannot respond to the needs of others as God directs.
5. Many folks have tried to convince me that they couldn't afford to tithe and give to missions, but in reality it is because "they pierced themselves".
6. The solution:
"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
II. The Area of Family and Friends:
Mt 10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
A. This is a hard truth to accept.
1. Please, do not misunderstand me in this.
2. I love my family with all my heart, but I know that this is an area that can detour us on our journey of service to God.
3. They will often try to talk us out of giving our lives to the Lord.
a. Many have surrendered their lives only to run into the roadblock of their family and friends.
b. It happened to me, and to countless others.
c. As a matter of fact we have families here in our church that are living illustrations of this truth.
B. Family and Friends are not evil.
1. But they often become roadblocks to our service to God.
2. Wives who will not follow their husband's leadership…
3. Husbands who will not be leaders of their families.
4. Friends who have little or no spiritual discernment, but will counsel and instruct Christians concerning service to the Lord.
5. Jesus speaks of this very issue in our text.
6. Note: Mt. 10:35-39
C. Christ is to be preeminent in our lives!
1. And that means before our family and friends.
2. One can go wrong here without a biblical frame of reference.
3. We are commanded to take care of our families and provide for them.
1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
4. But never are we to allow our family to keep us from our service to God.
5. Also, we are never to use our family as an excuse for not serving God.
III. The Area of the Flesh:
(Rom 8:8) "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
A. What does 'in the flesh' mean?
1. Obviously all of us are in the flesh bodily.
2. "In the flesh" means to be controlled by the flesh; our fleshly appetite.
3. The flesh will be our master if we permit it, and it will always lead us away from God.
4. The flesh brings death.
(Rom 8:13) "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
B. We must deal with the flesh on a daily basis.
Ga 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
1. Anything we do that is not in the fullness of God's Spirit is efforts done in the flesh and God opposes that.
2. It will be contrary to God's will for us.
1 Cor 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Gal 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunken-ness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
3. Pride, selfishness, and ambition are products of the flesh.
4. When we begin to talk about our 'rights' we are often in the flesh.
1Co 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
5. We need to listen to ourselves when we discuss our interaction with others in the church.
6. Most of our people problems are because we respond in the flesh!
7. How do we deal with it? Paul said, "I die daily."
Ro 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Here are three areas that will become roadblocks if we are not watchful as we begin our journey into the New Year.
Certainly there are others, but if we will avoid these areas, our service to God will be more effective and the journey will be much more enjoyable. Shall we pray and ask God to direct us as we lean upon Him?