Sunday, 27 August 2006 00:00

Those Things Which Need to Be Broken in Us: Covetousness

I Timothy 6:9-11 (KJV)

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 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.

Last week we saw that when a person has not died to self, he then strives for things that bring fulfillment. God's people will only produce the life of Christ when self is broken and crushed. When Christ's life shines through us, life is lived abundantly and joyfully. Tonight, we begin a brief look at some of the things that need to be broken within us.

  1. God will break His people of covetousness for our good and His glory.
    Covetousness is simply defined as those "who desire to be rich" (v.9) in this world. "Some rich men are good men, and do much good with their riches; and are as free from temptations and snares, and foolish and hurtful lusts as other persons. Men like Abraham, Joseph of Arimathaea, Gaius, and others were like this" John Gill. The actual word "covet" is used in v.10. It means to stretch one's self out in an attempt to touch or grasp something. But this stretching out causes problems.
    1. One falls into temptation... notice the language. You "fall." Areas of moral conflict arise and, because you are stretched out to grasp money, you fall.
    2. One falls into a trap... called "a snare." (The same phrase is used in 3:7).
    3. One falls into trouble... "foolish and hurtful lusts" (cravings) that will sink and ruin even men and women of good character.
  2. God breaks us of covetousness because of the calamities associated with it.
    "For the love of money is the root of all evil... pierced with many arrows" (v.10).
    1. It causes peopled to be strangled spiritually (See Luke 8:14).
    2. It causes people to make foolish decisions (Luke 12:16-22).
    3. It causes people to be blind to their eternal state (Luke 16:19-23).
    4. It causes people to be occasionally consoled, but eternally cursed (Luke 6:24).

    Therefore, if God gives you riches, rejoice. If God keeps you poor, rejoice. It is covetousness, not the riches, that will destroy you, and God breaks you of it. "What good is having a fine suit with the plague in it?" Puritan John Trapp.

  3. Covetousness is broken when God's people can live godly and content lives.
    "But godliness with contentment is great gain" (I Timothy 6:6). When a person can come to the place of resting in the satisfaction of what God has given him, and resist the desire to "stretch out" for more, then great gain occurs! What gain? "He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment" (Proverbs 12:11). The gain is more than just spiritual, it is also material. "Man takes great pains to heap up riches, and they are like heaps of manure in the furrows of the field, good for nothing unless they be spread" Matthew Henry. Brokenness is the work of God to rid His people of those things that are not of Christ. "Riches may leave us while we live; but it is certain that we must leave them when we die" Thomas Fuller.

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