FOCUS: Jesus is the King
FOCUS: Godliness With Contentment
FOCUS: Honoring Authority
FOCUS: Values for the Family of God
FOCUS: Protecting the Church
FOCUS: The Mission and Message of the Church
FOCUS: Church Leadership
Focus: Men and Women in the Local Church
Focus: Sinners and Saints Like Us
Focus: Sound Doctrine
Can we trust in God’s provision for us? What does it mean to truly be content? In week 10 of our series, FOCUS: A Study in 1 Timothy, Mickey Friedrich teaches through 1 Timothy 6:2b-10, warning us of the dangers of pride and money and showing us why godliness with contentment is great gain.
So far in 1 Timothy, we’ve learned that false teachers have always been in the church and that doctrine and discernment keep us from being deluded by them. We learned that God’s mercy and grace should change our vision and response to what’s happening in the world around us and that God calls his church to be a people who prioritize prayer. Next, we heard about God’s heart to unleash women in the church and learned about the character church leadership should possess. We learned about being a family that rallies around the gospel, and lastly, the importance of protecting the church and honoring authority.
|First Warning||Pride||Unhealthy Craving||Deadly Fruit|
|Second Warning||Desire for Riches||Unhealthy Craving||Deadly Fruit|
Well, good morning, Watermark! I'd like to say a special, "Hello," this morning to Frisco, who is watching, as well as everybody tuning in online. My name is Mickey Friedrich, and I joined the elder team here at Watermark this fall. I am really excited to get to open up God's Word with you this morning.
So we will be picking up again in 1 Timothy 6, so you can go ahead and start turning there in your Bibles. While you do that, I would love to introduce you to my family. Now there are six of us, and at the center are Jessica, my wife, and me. Jessica and I have been married 15 years, and we've been members here at Watermark since 2009.
Adoption is a beautiful part of our story, and two of our kids we came to know through adoption, and then the other two the old fashioned way. We're led with our kids by Mela, who is 15; Bey who is 10; Knox, who is 8, and Goldie, our little wild child, who is 4. We enjoy doing a lot of things together as a family whether it's throwing a ball around at the field or gathering up around an intense game of Catan or Monopoly around the kitchen table.
We have a lot of fun together. One of the things that I love most about being a father is getting to share experiences with my child that I got to enjoy as a child. So recently here this summer, I got to share something that I got to do a lot with my sons, which is rappelling. I was in Boy Scouts growing up. I got to go rappelling a lot with my father. So we got to go rappelling this summer.
I'll just say first off, for those who don't know what rappelling is, you basically tie a rope to something at the top of a cliff, throw the rope down, put on a harness, attach yourself to the rope, and it's just a way to descend the rock. It feels like the most unsafe thing you've ever done, but it is really very safe and it's very fun. It's a fun experience to share as a family.
So my sons knew what we were about to do. They'd never done it before. We carried our gear up to the top of the cliff. As I was tying the ropes together and getting everything set, I was explaining to them what I was doing so that they could understand how safe this actually is. I would tie off one rope to a tree, and I'd say, "Well, I believe in this rope. It's safe enough to hold us, but we're going to tie off to this other tree as well, and we're going to link them together.
When we link these ropes together, we're going to use not just one carabiner (which is just a fancy word for a clip), but we're going to use two carabiners and face them opposite so that our life isn't dependent on any one of these factors. We're going to have some redundancy here." I showed them how to tie knots and how you test the knots. They were smiling big. They put on their gear. It was a lot of fun. Then we got strapped in.
Now my sons were smiling, but as we got strapped in and started working our way to the edge of the cliff, those smiles started to get a little bit more tense. The way that I did this is I hung two ropes so I could go down with my sons. We went down one of them at a time. One of them specifically, I won't tell you which one, had an interesting reaction.
It's a very common experience the first time a child goes rappelling. I'll share a little bit about how it went. As we were backing down the cliff, he was right here and I was right beside him, he was smiling really excited until we started getting closer to the edge. Now at this point, we're past the point of no return.
There was enough slope he had to go down this cliff, but he was now seeing just how far we were above the ground, and his eyes got really big and he looked at me and was just frozen for a second. I told him as we were getting ready, "This is going to feel very unnatural. I'm just going to have you focus on three things. Lean back, take a step, and trust me." So I reminded him of that.
"All right, just lean back, take a step, and trust me." So he started taking a step and he froze. At this point, his eyes were big. He was focused right on me, looking down, looking at me. Those big eyes just started to quiver, and then they just filled up with these big alligator tears. We've all been there in one activity or another.
The truth is he was trying to figure out if he trusted this rope, those knots, and this gear. He was trying to decide if he trusted me. In a similar way, many of us might be trying to decide whether we can trust God and the provision that he has given us in this life. Because it can feel really scary. It can feel like we're already hanging off a cliff, hanging by a thread.
We don't know how God is going to come through. All we know if we don't know. So it's a question many of us are likely asking, and it's a question that the people in Paul's day were asking. That's what we're going to discuss today. The people in Ephesus who Timothy was leading, and that's who Paul wrote this letter of 1 Timothy to, were asking the same thing about God.
"Can we trust God's provision for us?" Now to this point in 1 Timothy, we've seen a lot of things. We've seen right at the beginning, Paul said, "Hey Timothy, I'm writing this letter to help you lead this church. I'm going to help identify what truth is, but there are many people who are going to walk apart from the truth. There are going to be false teachers in your midst, but as for the truth, let's talk about what the truth is."
In chapters 2 and 3, Paul unpacks, "Here's what it looks like to live faithful lives as believers, to develop leaders to help lead in the church. Here's how to deal with false teachers. Here's how to deal with the least of those who need your help. Here's how to deal with people when they walk away from the truth."
Then here in chapter 6, Paul breaks down the struggle that we have and helps us understand why it is so important we get this right. As the title of this series reminds us, this is a matter of focus, not on the cliff, not on our fears, but focus on Jesus Christ. So let's jump in. We'll be in chapter 6, and we'll start in the second half of verse 2 and read down through verse 10. Paul writes,
"Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."
So whenever I read a passage like this, say I come across it in a Join the Journey, which is what we do as a body to read through the Bible together each year. Say this was my passage this morning in Join the Journey. I would read all of the verses, but we typically remember what we read first and what we read last.
So, typically, maybe my tendency would be to focus on what I read in verse 9 and 10, the desire to be rich. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils." I would think about these. "Well, this is usually how we misquote this. How is this in my life?" I would just go immediately to application.
But Paul has way more to say to us during these verses, and we'll jump into that today. These verses contain two warnings and one truth. It really matters that we heed these warnings. So starting back at the beginning, the first warning that Paul gives us is that pride leads to unhealthy craving that produces deadly fruit.
We see that starting right in verse 3, where Paul writes, "If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing." So Paul is saying these words about a false teacher, but lest we think that this is written to somebody else or just to people who stand up on the stage like this and teach or maybe pastors who are paid at a church, any one of us can be a false teacher.
You see, we're teaching ourselves every day. We're preaching to ourselves every day. So this is a tendency for anybody, no matter how long we've been walking with the Lord, that could take over with any of us. It happens to any of us whenever we choose to ignore, add to, or modify the gospel that we've received. We can choose to teach a different gospel.
In this case, it's to refuse to be content in the provision of God and the sufficiency of the gospel. So how does this happen? Well, Paul lets us know right there in verse 4. This person, this false teacher, us if we go down this path, is "…puffed up with conceit and understands nothing." Now conceit isn't a word that we use commonly today.
The definition of conceit is excessive pride in oneself. Now this isn't the pride of our hometown or the pride of a hard day's work. This is a different kind of pride that goes much deeper than that. It goes to the core of who we are. You see, we can start to question God. We see this all the way back at the beginning in Genesis 3, verse 1, where the Serpent came to Eve, and said, "Hey, did God really say not to eat from any tree in the garden?"
Now Even knew good and well what God said, but she started to doubt, "Hey, can I really trust God's motives? Does he really know the full picture? Does he really care about me as much as I care about me?" So we too can start to question God, and at the root is pride. Where that root leads us is to a place where we can reject God and his will for us and the truth that he has given us.
The psalmist talks about this in Psalm 10:4. "In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, 'There is no God.'" So what's really at the root? At the root, we want to be God. "I mean, God can take care of the universe. After all, he created everything. He can do all the big God duties, but I want the God duties of running Mickey's life.
See, I think that I kind of deserve that right because I live in this body, and I'm the one who has to deal with what's provided for me. I think I deserve to be the god of my life, little g god. I can still worship God. All I want is this territory right here." I think, "Hey, I deserve that. I can do that." This root is a sin. This sin is as old as the human race. It is still just as deadly as it was back at the beginning of Genesis. What happens is because we're not content with the fruit of God, we start to find our own fruit.
We see this in the second half of verse 4, and we see how it turns out in going into verse 5. This false teacher, potentially us, "…has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain."
This is the pattern that our sin will take us down, but why the controversy and quarrels? I mean, if I'm going to be god and control my reality, I'm going to go to Disneyland or somewhere fun. I'm not going to run to controversy and quarrels. But this is the natural outgrowth of us trying to be God. You see, our pride, which allows us to ignore God and reject God, also makes us want to be more superior than others.
Because, "I want what I want, and I'm not as concerned about what you want or you need." So I seek to control. In my sovereignty, in my kingdom, I seek to control the reality that I live in. I seek power over others. I seek to manipulate others because, "Hey, if I can manipulate you, I can manipulate you to help meet my needs and provide the things that I think that I want. Or maybe I just need to manipulate you to get you out of the way so I can pursue what I really want to find."
You see, this was my path for the first 22 years of my life. How I started, it's a significant contrast to how my wife Jessica responded. Her parents told her, "Hey Jess, if you trust us and trust God, it will go well for you." And she largely believed them. Now my parents said the same thing to me. "Hey Mickey, trust us and trust God." But my answer said, "Nope. I think I can find more life for myself. I can find a better way."
So even though I came to know Jesus at the age of 6, and my parents helped to introduce him to me, my grade school and junior high years were increasingly rocky until we got to the place of end of high school and my senior year. I was consumed with pride and believed that I could make all of the important decisions for myself.
So whenever it came down to where I was going to go to college, I didn't use the counsel of my parents. I didn't seek wisdom. I didn't use the counsel of other believers around me. I just thought, "What do I want the most?" and I went after it. Even whenever I went to college… Of course I had many people, wise people who had been down this path, saying, "College is going to be harder. You can't get behind. Those teachers don't care as much about whether you pass or fail."
Well, I did a lot of things my freshman year. I played rugby. I rodeoed a lot. I had a lot of fun with my friends, but I didn't pay near enough attention to school, and I had to bear those consequences. But more importantly, and more seriously, I sought to control my environment in ways that were very sinful.
Through alcohol, I sought power. I sought the feeling of control and empowerment that comes by abusing alcohol. I sought to use alcohol to cope because I knew the choices I was making weren't right. It was not leading to life. I had to stuff those feelings some way, and alcohol can act as an anesthetic.
This life also led me to what we see Paul describing here: controversy, quarrels, strife. My life was filled with fighting, broken relationships, and even, embarrassingly, way too many fistfights. This happened throughout almost the first four years of college until God brought me to my knees, and he showed me the truth of Proverbs 14:12 that says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."
Now I know the death that it speaks of, the real death, was increasingly going to be my outcome. Because I was waking up more and more just thinking, "Oh my goodness, I should not be breathing right now because of where I went, what I did last night." I was even experiencing the aroma of death in my relationships, in my day to day.
Rather than finding life in all of the things I could as god of my universe, all I was coming up with was despair, anger, loneliness, and pain. But it was only at this point in 2002, at the age of 22, that I first began to really understand the goodness and the depth of God's love for me. I learned that his grace does not end.
There is no end to the depth of the things of the forgiveness of God and the things that he will forgive us for. We are never too far gone. In the reality of that truth, God started to root me in him, taught me what it meant to abide in Christ, to join in with a family of believers like this. To have others walking with me to help me whenever it was especially tough.
For the last almost 20 years, I guess 18 years now, he has largely been drawing me to himself and helping me to experience what life with him is like. You see, I learned that only the provision of God is sufficient. The truth is that God is God, and we are not. Rejecting that truth can only lead to controversy and quarrels.
You see, the thing is once I step out and, through pride, reject God and say, "I want to be god." Once we leave the truth, and there's only one truth, there are many falsehoods. The truth is, I'm not the only one who is making this choice. So we have all of these other gods out here with all of these other kingdoms. Our kingdoms are going to run into each other.
That's why we have so much controversy, envy, dissention, and pain. That's the world that we see all around us. It's depraved in mind and deprived of the truth. Rejecting the truth that God is God is a deadly place to be. You see, there is a danger in ignoring the truth. So go back to that opening story. No matter how passionately I believe that I can escape gravity, that those laws don't apply to me, if I walk up to the edge of a cliff without a rope and step off that cliff, the truth is going to rush up to meet me in just a few seconds.
I can live in that delusion for just a little bit, but then I can't ignore the truth any longer after I hit the ground. No matter how much I believe gravity isn't in effect, it is there. It feels like a trite example because, of course, we're all experiencing gravity. That's what's allowing me to stand on this stage and talk to you right now.
But just as real as gravity, rejecting the truth that God is God is a dangerous place to be. Because we can get away with that delusion for a while. We get away with that delusion, or at least it can feel like it, for more than just those few seconds that it would take for me to hit the ground. We can get away with it for decades, or sometimes even a lifetime.
Because it'll look so normal and because there are so many things we can use to anesthetize ourselves. But one day, and most certainly much sooner than we can ever imagine, this truth will also be crystal clear. We have a choice. So I'll just ask right now. Are you playing God in your life? What are you trusting in to give you what you need?
Are we coming to church but trusting in our ability to make Varsity to demonstrate our worth to us? Or are we walking along with our Community Group and going through the motions but really trusting in that next promotion or the size of our bank accounts to give us our significance or give us the feeling of love and accomplishment that we all seek? Do we use conflict in our relationships to seek to control our world?
That can look like different things. It can look like avoiding conflict. It can look like saying that we forgive a spouse, a boyfriend, a girlfriend but really holding on to that because we know that that's leverage. Or it can look like using anger as a way to shut people down because, "You're standing in the way of what I want, and I can use my anger as a tool to get you out of my way."
There are many ways that we seek to play god, and we can get by with it for a long time. So this first warning exposes a pattern. The root of pride creates an unhealthy craving that generates an unhealthy fruit. This is the first warning that Paul gives us. Now we're going to step into the second warning that Paul gives us.
It's the same pattern but a different warning, but it's related. This pattern, this warning, is that the love of money creates a craving that leads to deadly fruit. We see that described here in verse 9, where Paul says, "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."
So we see this same pattern. A root for a desire for riches creates an unhealthy craving, generates deadly fruit. But why is the desire to be rich so strong? I mean, we feel it. I feel it. I don't think I need to convince you of the strength of that desire. I mean, in verse 7, doesn't Paul say…? I mean, he reminds us, "…for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world."
I mean, we have to acknowledge we're just renting space here. So why is this such a big deal? Well, it's because it goes back to that same root of, "We just want to be god." Money allows us not to have to trust God. I mean, God gives us a rope of provisions. He tells us it's going to be all right. Trust him. Abide in him. But sometimes I just want to throw my own rope down, and I want to trust in what I can see and what I think I can get for myself. I want to be god.
At the same time, it gives us a sense of pride and independence from God. "I don't have to pray as much. I don't have to ask as many people for help. I don't have to wait to see how it turns out if I can just go ahead and lock in what I think I need right now." I mean, it gets us back to questioning God, and it leads us down the path of rejecting God.
Because I believe God is going to take care of me, but he may not want to take care of me as much as I want to take care of me. I mean, this time next year? There may be comforts, there may be trips, there may be things I want to do that I just want to make sure I can lock in because God may not come through.
Whenever we make more money, we can make things happen. We can control more of our environment. Now the thing is though, money isn't the issue. It's not money that's sinful. It's the desire to be rich. So even as we work to discern our heart, try to figure out how we're oriented, what we are focused on. What are we worshipping? We have to look at our heart, not at the fruit.
We can't discern this by looking at our or anybody else's financial condition, how much money we do or don't have or the standard of living that we do or don't get to enjoy. No, we have to look at things like, what do we think about whenever we don't have anything at all to think about? Whenever we're in that quiet space in our car and there's no noise, where does our mind go? Whenever we can't sleep, what is running through our mind?
You see, we often see the orientation of our heart by things like, how many hours we are working and what we are willing to sacrifice to obtain the goals that we think are so necessary, and oftentimes they are. The world is there ready to say, "Hey, this is good. Not only is everybody consumed with the desire for riches, but this is admirable. This is what we need to do. This is why you provide for your family, after all. This is the way that we make our way in the world."
But the problem is when what we call a season of 80-hour weeks or what we call working toward a goal all of a sudden becomes our reality. So now we're not in a season of working 70 or 80 hours a week; we're in the reality of always telling my family, "I'm sorry. I can't be there. I'm trying to make a living. We're trying to make this sale. We're trying to accomplish this goal, build this product. There's going to be a time, man, when I'm going to be able to be at your birthday party. You know I want to come to your games."
That season becomes a reality, and then if we don't accept that, we're the one who is deluded. Now it's okay to be driven. It's okay to work hard. It's okay to get gain. I mean, Paul, in Colossians 3, says, "…work heartily, as for the Lord…" If we do that? We should expect to get gains. That's what happens.
We're like the farmer. We plant seeds, we get fruit, and we get to enjoy that fruit. It's not about gain. Paul actually promises us great gain. It's just how we go about pursuing that gain. What are we worshipping? At the end of the day, it's what captures our attention that shows us what has already captured our heart.
How honest are we at being honest with ourselves about what we're worshipping? You see in this desire, just like the first desire, the desire to be rich is also deadly. It's because we are made to worship, and we are really good at it. So if we choose to worship this false god of desiring to be rich, desiring to be in control, then we're going to be really good at worshipping this god.
This desire to be rich leads us to fall into temptations, Paul says, into traps, into many harmful desires where we pierce ourselves with pangs. The truth is that everything that doesn't lead to Christ is leading to death. Jesus tells us that in John 14, verse 6, where he says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
But if we go our own path, it can only result in ruin, destruction, and wandering away from the faith. This pattern is well-worn and deadly. We see John writing about it in 1 John 2, where he says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
In Matthew 6, Jesus makes it clear in the Sermon on the Mount, we can not love both God and money. That's the first place we go whenever we say we want to be god. We want to worship God and money. Jesus tells us that cannot happen. We're going to worship one and serve the other and use the other.
So the desire to be rich leads to a craving that leads to deadly fruit. Because it rejects the truth that God's provision is sufficient. Once again, rejecting the truth is a deadly place to be. Jesus tells us this again in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, chapter 7, where he says at the end, everybody will stand in front of him.
Many of us are going to say, "Lord, wasn't it awesome? We went to church all the time. We had Christian friends. We tried to be nice. We gave to the Salvation Army." Jesus is going to say, "I love you more than you can ever imagine, but I never knew you. You're not mine." The thing is we can wander away from the faith and not know it, not realize it because it looks so normal in this world.
So it comes down to the fact, do we believe the words of God or not? You see, we get to make our choices. We just don't get to choose where those choices lead us. So how are we doing? Those of us who have kids in the home still, how are we doing at prioritizing this time…working hard, being responsible, providing, while also being present? Being present with time. Being present personally, not on our phones, not just glued to a football game.
Because the truth is, we can never get these days back. It doesn't matter if we look 20 years into the future and we made all the money in the world, we can never come back and buy a single day in 2020. I can never have another night going in to tuck in my 4-year-old baby girl, Goldie, after she went to sleep. It's priceless. You can never get it back.
So how are we doing? I'll say to the younger crowd, if your parents made this trade, and said, "Oh I love you. I want to come to your games," but never made it…they never spent time with you, and you're still suffering from that, what decisions are you preparing to make differently in your life to forge a different path?
For all of us who have made mistakes, regardless of our age, how are we doing at being authentic about our choices and the costs? You see, there are likely people around you who are admiring where you're at, what you've done, what you're getting to do, but what they don't see is the cost that you endured to get there.
So just watching you might encourage them to make that same trade. "I'm going to hold my breath, white-knuckle it until I get to that place of success." If they could hear from you the actual cost, the actual lack of oneness with your spouse, the actual moments you missed that now you grieve and regret from getting to spend with your children, it will help them to make different choices.
God forbid that the church perpetuate the lie of the culture that the desire to be rich is to be admired and pursued. Let's not waste our experiences. Share them with those who are waiting to listen to you.
So I mentioned that this section has two warnings and essential truths. So what's the truth? It's back in verse 6, where Paul says, "…godliness with contentment is great gain…" And he goes on to say, "…for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content."
It follows the same pattern. There is a root of godliness now. Rather than the root of pride, rather than the root of a desire to be rich, there is a root of godliness that creates a pattern. Rather than an unhealthy craving, it's a pattern of contentment that instead of leading to all of the things that we saw (pierced themselves with many pangs, envy, dissention, strife, separation from Jesus) this pattern leads to great gain.
So what's different about this godliness? Well it starts with living according to the truth. It starts with focusing on Jesus. We see Paul describe this at the very beginning of 1 Timothy in chapter 1, starting in verse 15, where Paul says, "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life."
You see, God's provision is sufficient because Jesus himself is the provision. Contentment is key. Now growing up, contentment wasn't the most exciting word in the world to me. I used to think it was passive and it was boring. That's because I was just viewing contentment through a lens of containment. I didn't realize the freedom that it would unlock for me.
So in preparation for this, I just put together a definition that I think fits for contentment, and that is contentment is joyful satisfaction in the provision of God. Now it's not just with the provision of God, because it's not like we just need our lunch money from God and then we can go live our lives. No. This is contentment with… This is contentment in the provision of God because it creates a reality, a relationship that we get to live in and walk with God.
So let me say it again. Contentment is joyful satisfaction in the provision of God. So imagine with me for a minute if we can experience the reality of these words. If joyful contentment was a river that did not run dry in our lives and we got to live the minutes, the moments, the hours walking forward in joyful satisfaction.
How would that change how you got ready in the morning? How you experience your work day? How you experience those moments with your kids? What kind of peace might that provide as you watch the news? Or would we even watch the news at all? How boring would looking at the stock market be, the ups and downs, the red, the green if we knew in our heart of hearts that we're trusting in God?
But you see, maybe that's the problem. Maybe we don't want the stock market to be boring to us. Maybe that's an addiction that we're clinging to because we think we get so much life from seeing the green and the gain and the things we can do for ourselves. But you see, we can play that game of "what if," but we don't have to.
This reality is bought. It's paid for. It's available for each one of us right now. Just as the title of this series tells us, we must focus on Jesus. I'll say it again: our provision is sufficient because Jesus is sufficient. His material provision is sufficient. We see in Matthew 6, Jesus says, "Hey, God feeds the birds and clothes the grass. Why do you think he is not going to take care of you?"
We'll say that's true in this body. Nobody in this body who is a member of Watermark will ever go without food, clothing, or shelter. That's the pattern we see in the church in Acts 2 and 4, and that's the pattern that we've seen lived out here for decades. It happens every day, every week here at Watermark, and it will always be true as long as we're the body gathering here at Watermark.
Now what that looks like is if you have needs that you can't meet… Your first level of provision is your family, your immediate family, and then your family around you. Then it's your Community Group. If they can't find a way to meet your needs and help you, then widen the circle. Include your community shepherd, your community director.
We will make sure that nobody here ever goes without food, clothing, or shelter. Not only is Jesus' material provision sufficient, but also is his gospel because it is the provision of himself. We see in 1 Timothy 1 that Jesus explains that he "…came into the world to save sinners…" And that was necessary because we're all sinners.
Romans 6:23 tells us that the penalty for sin is death. Romans tell us not only is that our state, but our state is hopeless. There is nothing we can do to make that situation better. Romans 6:23 says that the penalty for sin is death, but God, but Jesus, gave us provision that is sufficient. Romans 5:8: "…while we were still sinners, Christ died for [you]."
Then "…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." If we believe in that truth, we can take hold of the provision of God and experience the life that he made possible. Then we get to live life with Jesus forever. Eternity is great and is real, but we also get to enjoy that now.
We get to walk through life with faith, hope, and love that we can't know if we're trying to run our own kingdom. We get to, in our relationships, exuding out of ourselves… Instead of living out the fruits, the deadly fruits, we get to live the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We get to experience contentment.
When we're where we're supposed to be, we can't help but be content. We don't have to strive to be content because whenever we're in the place that God has designed for us, experiencing his provision, enjoying his provision, there's not a crowbar big enough in this universe to pry us out of that place. It's only the lie of Satan that cries, "More! More! More!"
When we're content, that's the place we'll always want to be. Our provision is sufficient because Jesus is sufficient, and godliness with contentment is great gain, both in this life and the next. So it all comes down to one question…Are you satisfied with God's provision? With his provision of truth, his gospel, the salvation that Jesus Christ made possible, with life now and forever with him?
Are you content with God's provision with this life here and now? Are you content with the provision of God, the gifts of God that he gave you? Are you content with your intelligence? Whatever opinion you might have of that intelligence. Are you content with your looks? Are you content with your athletic ability? Are you content with the spouse who God has led you to or the singleness that you're still living in?
Are you content with your family, with your kids? Are you content with your education, with your job, with what that job provides? We might cry out, "What I have won't satisfy me! How dare you ask me to be content with what I have!" Well, the truth is those things aren't supposed to satisfy us because our satisfaction only comes through focusing on Jesus.
Jesus freely offers this life to us. He says this in John 7, when he is teaching at the temple. "Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.'" A few chapters before, in John 4, we see Jesus explaining to the woman at the well that what Jesus offers, his waters of life, will never run out. They will satisfy forever.
Jesus says to the woman, "Everyone who drinks of this water…" Pointing to the well. "…will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." You see, it's not about having gain. It's about what we worship.
It's about what we seek. If we seek material gain with all of our heart, with all of our mind, with all of our soul (and this is the way of the world), then it will be our master, and it will be impossible to also have Jesus as our master. But if we seek God with all of our heart, with all of our mind, with all of our soul, this is the greatest commandment. Then Jesus will be our master, and he will meet our needs regardless of our situation. So will you trust Jesus? Will you be satisfied with his provision?
As I wrap up, I want to go back to where I left us with me and my son on the edge of that cliff because it's relevant. We were at the edge of the cliff. He was looking at me, tears were streaming down, and I repeated to him again, "Hey, lean back, take a step, and trust me." This whole thing, this whole exchange took about 10 or 15 minutes.
He was shaking. He would try to lean back. He would try to take a step, and he would freeze. I mean, it wasn't pretty. The snot was coming out. He was frozen. He was just wondering, "How am I going to get out of this situation?" But the only way was to finish what we started. I went down a little bit further, said, "Hey, it's safe. Look what I'm doing."
He slowly was able to take a step. "All right. Lean back. Take another step. Trust me." He eventually made it over the edge, and he was suspended by the rope. What happens is that that lip is the toughest part of rappelling. Once you get over the edge, man, you realize you're not going to die. You are safe, and you can start working your way down the rock.
So we made it to the bottom, got his feet on the ground, realized he was going to live, and just got to experience that euphoria of knowing there's going to be another day. You can see in this picture just the joy that is on their faces. This is both of my sons who learned to rappel that day. They conquered. They overcame. They found the courage to do what I was asking them to do.
They trusted me, and they got to enjoy the fruit. Then they went up again. They got to go down again. It wasn't nearly as harrowing that second time. They learned you can bounce, spin, and go upside down. The next day, we got to go to a larger cliff, a 60- or 65-foot cliff. They got to show off their courage and their ability for their family. I didn't even have to go down with them.
This is both of my sons getting to go down together. It was an amazingly fun day for me as a father and for them as sons we'll remember forever. It was all because they trusted me. They got to enjoy a life they couldn't even imagine because they trusted me. That is what Jesus is saying to us today. Will we trust him? Jesus is saying, "Abide in me. Abide in me. Take a step, and just trust me." We can't fathom the life that he has waiting for us. Let's pray.
Lord, I just thank you for your sufficiency. Lord, I just thank you for your truth, for giving us your truth, helping us to understand it, and giving us these breaths to respond to it, to focus on you. I thank you that there's no end to your grace, that there's no limit to your forgiveness. I pray that you will help move us to action today. That you will help us surrender to you today. That you will help us trust you today. I pray that you would make that happen. Amen.