Intro. This past week they had a lottery drawing in which the pay off was 195 million dollars. It is interesting to follow up on those who have won the lottery in the past, most of the people tell how the sudden riches have upset their lives. Some of the couples have gotten divorces after winning. We fantasize of how great it would be to have these sudden riches, but would it? Solomon the richest man who ever lived had a few things to say about riches.
A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
He that hasteth to be rich [hath] an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
A [good] name [is] rather to be chosen than great riches, [and] loving favour rather than silver and gold.
I. THE BIBLE HAS SEVERAL WARNINGS ABOUT RICHES.
A. In verse nine Paul warns, "And they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition."
1. The first example I can think of is Baalam.
a. The children of Israel were passing through Moab and king Balak sent messengers to the prophet Balaam with the promise of great riches if he would come and curse the people of Israel.
b. Over and over the Lord warned him not to go beyond the word of the Lord.
c. He made three attempts to curse them, but they all turned into blessings.
d. Finally the king in disgust clapped his hands and told him, I called you to curse my enemies, and you end up blessing them three times, I intended to promote you with great riches, but the Lord has kept you back from the riches.
e. Balaam was not willing to see the riches go so he gave wicked advise to king Balak whereby he could cause a curse to come upon Israel.
f. Balaam received the rewards for his wickedness but was killed a few days later.
2. I am reminded of Gahazi the servant of Elisha.
a. Naaman the Syrian general had leprosy and had come to Elisha to be healed. Elisha told him to go dip three times in the Jordan river and he would be cleansed. Naaman was first angry at the command, yet later thought, I might as well try it, what can it hurt? When he came up out of the water the third time his skin was like a baby's. He came back to Elisha and sought to give him a large reward, but Elisha refused.
b. As Naaman was returning home, the servant Gahazi thought to himself that he would chase down Naaman and collect a part of the reward for himself, which Naaman was more than happy to give him.
c. When he returned Elisha called to him and said, "Where did you go?" he answered "No where." Elisha said to him, "Did not my heart go with you when the man turned from from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money, to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and menservants and maid servants? You will become a leper, and he went out from the prophet with leprosy."
d. What is interesting is that there is no mention of Naaman giving him sheep or oxen or olive orchards or vineyards or servants, these were the things that Gahazi was thinking in his mind that he could purchase with the money he had taken by fraud. The prophet was reading his mind.
e. In a proverb Solomon said, "The getting of treasure with a lying tongue, brings an emptiness to those that seek death."
3. I cannot forget Judas Iscariot who for thirty pieces of silver was willing to sell his Lord.
4. There was also the case of Ananias and his wife Sapphira who sold a parcel of land and held back a portion for themselves though acting like they were giving everything.
B. Jesus warned how hard it was for a man who trusted in riches to enter the kingdom of heaven. He said a camel could go through an eye of a needle easier than a rich man could enter the kingdom of heaven.
C. Jesus said not to lay up for yourselves treasure on earth.
1. Moths can eat your expensive clothes.
2. Thieves can steal your money.
3. Lay up your treasures in heaven, they are safe there.
4. Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.
D. Jesus gave the parable of the rich man who had just had a new influx of riches.
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] be merry.
But God said unto him, [Thou] fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
So [is] he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
1. Are you rich toward God? Those are the true riches.
II. The Bible speaks of true riches.
A. Jesus said that if you haven't been faithful with the money He has has entrusted to you here, who will commit to your trust the true riches.
1. James said,
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
2. The true riches are those eternal riches, rich in the things of the Spirit.
3. Jeremiah said,
Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches:
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight, saith the LORD.
II. WHAT ARE TRUE RICHES?
A. Godliness with contentment is great riches.
1. These are true riches.
2. Having Godly characteristics.
a. Love, joy, peace, patience, self control, kindness, mercy, grace.
b. I often think of how rich I am.
c. When I drive around all of the expensive homes in Newport Beach, and I think of how much they have to pay in taxes every year just to live in those houses, I think of how rich I am in that I do not have to live in a fancy estate.
3. Contentment is a rich asset.
a. Paul said that he had learned that in whatever state he was in to be content.
b. Some of the richest people I ever knew, as far as worldly riches, were some of the most discontent people I ever knew.
c. A man who retired right after he wife died as he was being interviewed at his retirement dinner, said, I decided to retire when I had enough to live on. My wife said that I should wait until we had enough to be content. I received mine a long time ago, we never were able to obtain hers.
IV. YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU.
A. I heard of a lady who loved her pink Cadillac so much that her dying wish was to be buried sitting at the seat of her Cadillac. As the crane was letting the Cadillac into the ground, a workman was heard to remark, "Now that's real living."
B. "For we brougt nothing into this world and it is certain, we will take nothing out."
1. You have never seen a hearse pulling a U Haul trailer.
2. Job said, "Naked I came into this world, naked I will go out."
C. A wealthy farmer died, and someone asked his son, "How much did your old man leave?" "Everything" was the answer.
D. You can't take it with you, but you can send it ahead. You can have treasures in heaven, Jesus encouraged that.
E. The true riches are eternal. Godliness and contentment are great riches here, and they will be yours forever.