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Preparing for Eternity

1 Timothy 6:3-19

I.                  Put Your (Trust) in the Right (Person)

Wealth can be a deceiving thing.  It can cause you to put your trust in the wrong places.  For example, you can be tempted to trust in yourself. 

V17 reminds us not to be conceited.

1 Tim. 6:17

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited…

It can be tempting to think, “Everything will work out for me. It always does.  I can get my way out of anything I face.  After all, I’ve certainly been successful at making a living.  I’ve been a good provider.  I know how to stretch a dollar.  What else is there to worry about?”

But Luke 12:18-21

"And he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry." ' 20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' 21"So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Some people see their wealth as a sign that they’ve been accepted by God.  They reason that the reason they’ve been given so much is that they’ve found favor with God.  They say, “God must be pleased with me. He must like the way I’ve lived my life, because look at all that I have.”

And it is true that the reason you have so much is because God has blessed you, but rather than seeing that as a confirmation number that God has already accepted you, perhaps you should see it as a sign that tells you how to get to God.

Romans 2:4

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

So, it’s futile to put your trust in yourself, and it’s foolish to interpret your wealth as a sign that you have eternal life, and it’s even more pointless to put your trust in riches as if they will always be there to deliver you.

Your money can make you comfortable, but it can’t keep you alive.  Money can provide a living for you, but it cannot give you a life.  Money can buy this world’s goods, but it can’t make you good enough for heaven.  Money can purchase the best this life has to offer, but it cannot purchase eternal life.  Money can buy a house…but not a home!  Money can buy sex…but not love.  Money can buy a vacation…but not peace.  Money can get you into a university…but it cannot purchase wisdom.

Earthly money cannot be taken to heaven…and many times, it doesn’t even last on this earth.

Proverbs 23:4-5

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. 5Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

So, instead of trusting in money…The Bible comes to tell us to put our trust in God.  Look again at verse 17.

1 Tim. 6:17

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

Now, I want you to notice that putting your trust in God does not mean living in poverty.  The end of verse 17 indicates that God richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

ILL:  Have you ever had a friend who had a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend?  And that person consumes their time, energy, and attention.  Perhaps they have many good qualities about them, but they are so demanding! 

Many people have a view of God as if He were a jealous boyfriend.  Now, I know the Bible does say that our God is a jealous God…but when the scripture says that, it means that He is jealous for our worship…that there be no other gods beside or before Him.

But it does not mean that if we put our trust in the Lord, He will take away all of the things we enjoy.

ILL: As a parent, it’s so special when your kids come to you and say, “Oh, Mom and Dad, I love you.  I just want to be the best child I can be.”  But what do we say?  Do we say, “Oh, great,.  Let’s go take everything you have away from you…”  No!

Look again at the kind of God you’d be trusting…Verse 15-16

Verse 3 says He’s the One whose teachings lead to a godly life.

Verse 13 says He is the One who gives life.  That’s what was happening at the cross.  He gave His life, so that new life, eternal life, could come into our lives!

Heb 2:15 says that Jesus came that He…

Hebrews 2:15

… might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

And you can be prepared for death…prepared for eternity by putting your trust in Him, and saying in a simple prayer, “Lord, I’m taking you as my Savior…”

II.               Put Your (Talents) toward the Right (Purpose)

There is a double-edged warning to us in this passage.  On the one hand, we’re told, “Don’t make getting wealthy your focus.”

Look again at verses 9-10. 

Some people put their focus on trying to make money.  They have talent, but they are using it for the wrong thing. 

But there’s more to it really…You can’t be neutral…by virtue of the fall of man, we are all to a greater or lesser degree “trapped” and we’re told to flee from this  love of money.  Flee carries with it the idea of escaping…freeing yourself and running away…like a kidnap victim who has been tied up and taken hostage and the see their chance to get away and they seize it and they run as fast as they can.

By the way, that’s one of the great values of tithing.  It breaks the bondage of materialism.  In fact, the only way to escape the grasp of materialism is to give.

Instead of spending your time, talents, and energy chasing after wealth,  Verse 11 tells us what we are to pursue.

to pursue without hostility, to follow, follow after,” said of righteousness, Rom. 9:30; the Law, 9:31; 12:13, hospitality (“given to”) lit., “pursuing” (as one would a calling), the things which make for peace, 14:19; love, 1 Cor. 14:1; that which is good, 1 Thess. 5:15; righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness, 1 Tim. 6:11; righteousness, faith, love, peace, 2 Tim. 2:22; peace and sanctification, Heb. 12:14; peace, 1 Pet. 3:11; (c) “to follow on” (used intransitively), Phil. 3:12, 14, rv, “I press on”; “follow after,” is an inadequate meaning. [1]

APP: And perhaps this is  big problem in the American church…Not only are we NOT fleeing from the things that we should, but we are half-heartedly “following after” the things that we should be.

ILL: I don’t get the deer hunting craze…but I do ice fish….(You really just wait for a fish to come along…)  And you know it…but sometimes you fish without the hut and you can’t tell it…so when do you know that one of these good things has come around that you can pursue it?  It’s usually when there’s a crisis…

So, the Bible says, “Put your time and your talents to sue…not in chasing after money, but in getting away from the love of money.” 

That’s the negative command.  But if we stop there, that’s not enough.  We are to.d:

Make sure you are being Rich in Good Deeds.

How do you prepare for eternity?  You make sure that you are diligent in doing good unto others.  That’s where the verses we see in our outline emphasize.

Ephes. 5:16

making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Galatians 6:10

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

ILL: People who were not members and their spiritual lives declined…That’s why we’re giving you a chance to pick up some eternal fruit!!!

ILL: Alfred Nobel…mistakenly read  his obituary.  Changed his life.

III.            Put Your (Treasure) in the Right (Place)

Matthew 6:19-21

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Now, here’s the problem with storing your treasure on this earth.  Certainly you have to feed, house, transport, and clothe your family.  But the Bible says that beyond those obvious necessities, it isn’t a very smart thing to put your treasure here.  Why?  It can’t last.

(1) You can lose it to thieves.  (2) You can lose it the moths of inflation, or (3) You can lose it to the thief of rust.  What does he mean?

Let’s just suppose that this bag of money is my treasure.  I have a treasure and every paycheck, I get a little more and a little more…but the Bible says that putting it all here is like…well, it’s like flushing it down the toilet.  Why?

Because I cannot keep it.  Every year…I move a little closer to death…to eternity…to leaving this world…but my money can’t go with me.  You can’t take it with you.

And there’s nothing I can do to keep this step from happening.  When I first put it it in this earth, I am close to it.  I can enjoy it.  I can see it.  It has me, and I have it.  But time passes…I move a step away from it.  And then more time passes…and I move farther and farther.

By the way, Paul said that for him to die was gain.  But for you…as long as your treasure is on this earth, to die isn’t gain…it is loss.  It means losing finally, completely, and foreer your treasure…and yet…there’s noting you can do to keep from dying.

But the Bible offers us a different alternative.  A different scenario.  We don’t have to e like the Rich Young ruler.  We cannot take it with us, but we can send it on ahead. 

Look again at verse 1 Tim. 6:18

Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

So, let’s look at a different scenario.  A brighter one.  A better one.  Suppose that I have this wealth…and every paycheck it grows…and of course, I still have to take care of housing, feeding, clothing, and transporting myself and my family…but instead of putting all that I have into this world…I am intentional about sharing.

God’s Word teaches us to tithe (which means giving 10%) to the Lord…and we saw 2 weeks ago that we’re to give to the Lord first.  It’s the first 10%, not the last.  It’s off the top, not the leftovers.  It’s holy to the Lord.  It belongs to the Lord.

You don’t take care of the housing, feeding, transporting, and clothing your family first and then give if you can.  Put the tithe first…and then just like we saw in Malachi, God says, “I’ll make sure that you always have enough to do whatever else you need.”

Some of you are struggling.  I want to give you the paradox:  Put God first, and then God will take care of everything else that you need.

But there’s something even better that happens when you tithe…When you tithe, it’s like laying up treasure in heaven…

Here’s how it works.  You give your tithe…and it goes to what the Lord really cares about:

It supports missionaries…and it’s as if it’s placed Heaven’s safe for eternity.

It takes care of the poor…and the Lord says, “He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord.”

It is used to provide teaching, ministries, and programs for the children, and the Lord says, “Let the children come to me…and do not hinder them…”

It helps people who are trying to find the Lord come to know Him because there are so many people who have questions…and the Bible says we are to use money to win the lost so that when we get to heaven there will be a great big welcoming partying saying, “Welcome home…I’m here because of you!”

And the Bible says that…unlike the money that’s put down the toilet on this earth, that treasure for us always endures…

Look at this last verse on the screen.

1 Peter 1:4

…an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you,

So, if you want to be prepared for eternity, put your trust in the Lord…and make sure that you are using your time and talents for the right purposes…and put your treasure in the right place.

Listen, it’s not just a matter of supporting our church.  I’ll tell you : That is important.  But it’s a win-win because it is all a part of being prepared for eternity, and I make no apology for helping you be prepared for it.  I owe it to you.

So, here’s what I want you to do.  Inside your bulletin, there’s a tithe commitment card.  If you didn’t get one, there are cards in the pew racks.

All of us, need accountability.  Jacob made a commitment to the Lord, and I’m giving you that same chance.  I’m going to ask you to fill out the card.  And turn it in along with your tithe or offering,.  I’ll be the only one that sees them.  It’s between you and the Lord, but as your pastor, I’m the earthly under-shepherd, just helping you.

There’s one of three responses you could make. 

1.  I already tithe.  I already give 10% and I’m not going to stop now.

2.  I’m making a commitment o tithe.

3.  I’m going to increase my giving.

So, fill it out.  I’m going to lead us in prayer, and then our ushers are going to come and we’re going to receive our offering…


Ushers are here.


[1]Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vine's complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (Vol. 2, Page 245). Nashville: T. Nelson.

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