In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: Philippians 4:12
Memorise This Verse: 1 Timothy 6:8
Afterwards Talk About This: How can we know we are living a simple lifestyle.
Something To Do Before Next Time: Ask God to reveal to you if there is anything in your life that could be sold and the money given to the work of God.
Written Diploma Work: Discuss whether the bible suggests that Christians shouldn’t have luxuries.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: 1 Timothy 6:6.
The bible consequently gives some very stern warnings about greed and we have seen several examples of people who embraced greed and as a result attracted the judgement of God. As Christians we are called to a lifestyle which resists greed and embraces simplicity where luxurious possessions are not our ultimate source of happiness but contentment with the basic necessities of life and seeing what is left over invested in the work of God is our source of happiness. We should be aiming to obtain much, much more pleasure from spending our money seeing lost people saved from hell and world mission being funded, than from spending all our money on ourselves. Set out below are three main areas that the scriptures indicate we should seek to imitate in the way we live our lives.
- Live your life with as few material luxuries and possessions as possible
- If you do have a lot of possessions be open and willing to give these up for the sake of the Kingdom, if you feel that is the will of God for your life.
- As a result of the two points above, you should have plenty to give to the work of God.
Firstly if you were stripped of all the luxuries in your life what would happen to your happiness? Have you found happiness with the basics of life? have you found contentment in God alone or do you need lots of luxuries to provide you with happiness. Listed below are 4 very precious scriptures which all contain the word ‘CONTENTMENT’, and every last one of the scriptures is speaking in the context of money. Carefully read these scriptures as they are God’s will for your life – God calls us to find contentment in him and with the basics of life.
Philippians 4:12 ‘ I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation’
1 Timothy 6:6 ‘ But godliness with contentment is great gain’
1 Timothy 6:8 ‘ But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that’
Hebrews 13:5 ‘ Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have’
The second aspect of living a simple lifestyle is that we should be open and willing to surrender our possessions if we feel this is the will of God and whatever excess we have above the basic necessities of life we should be willing to give to extend the Kingdom of God. Sadly, many Christians in the West have their money tied up in luxury cars, furniture and clothes instead of being tied up in the gospel just as Jesus warned against in Luke 12:15 ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions’.
Can you imagine what would happen if every Christian was to decide to live on the basic necessities of life and sell their excess possessions and give into the Kingdom of God? – billions would be released to see people saved from hell.
The case has been argued previously that we are merely stewards of the money and possessions that we have as they ultimately belong to God. Consequently since we have no claims upon our possessions we should have no hesitation or argument to be willing to surrender them for the sake of the Kingdom if we feel that is what God is saying to us. A brilliant example of someone applying this to their lives is the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19: 1-5 where this rich, unsaved man is greatly converted and immediately convicted of the need to break the power of wealth from over his life. As evidence to Jesus that he had decided to follow him, Zacchaeus says in verse 8, ‘Look Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount’.
Jesus himself spoke much about surrendering our possessions – to both those who were his disciples and those who were not his disciples alike.
To those who were following him he says ‘Sell your possessions and give to the poor’ (Luke 12:33) To those who were opposing him he says ‘But give what is inside the dish to the poor and everything will be clean for you’ (Luke 11:41) And to a rich ruler wanting to follow him he says ‘Sell everything you have and give to the poor’ (Luke 18:22)
Moreover the Book of Acts shows the early church being owned by Holy Spirit and one area in particular that was owned of Holy Spirit was the believer’s possessions. As the believers on the whole had relinquished any claims of ownership they had on their possessions there are several example of possessions being sold and the money going to the work of God.
Acts 2:45, ‘Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need’
Acts 4:32, ‘No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own’
Acts 4:34, ‘There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had been. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the Apostles feet’.
The third and final area is that as a result of the two previous points we will have an excess of money and this should be invested not in the things or fashions of this world but in the eternal work of the Kingdom of God. 1 John 2: 15-17 speaks about the desires of sinful man and the cravings for more and more verse 17 draws a contrast when it says, ‘The world and it’s desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever’. The contrast is that we can spend our money on earthly desires and goods which we can’t take with us, and one day will pass away, or we can spend our lives (and our money) on the eternal work of God of seeing souls saved and lives transformed. Where are you investing your money? in the fleeting, temporary things of this world or the eternal Kingdom of God.
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Guyana
861,334 people, 33% Hindu
Despite atheistic onslaught pre 1985, church is still growing.
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.