PRELUDE: At every critical junction in history when a great change has unfolded, you will discover
one of the major results of the change was the unbridled greed of the people.
July 21nd, 2002, Sunday Morning
GOD, not earthly possessions, is life
OPENING: Jeremiah 6:9-21
- Pope Alexander VI of Borgia (1492-1503) was considered the most corrupt pope of the
Renaissance. Catholic historians said that he knew no restraint and his readiness to
abase the papacy
for his own personal ends knew no bounds
- When he became pope at the age of 61, he was able to bribe 18 of the 23 cardinals for their votes, and spent the his remaining years as pope trying to exalt the worldly fortune of his five children
- Schaff says, "the annals of Rome and of the Vatican for more than a decade are filled with his
intrigues, and his crimes."
- Nicolas of Clamangee (1367-1437), the moralist, who graduated from the University of Paris,
attacked the corrupt morals of the priests; the church was drunk with the lust of power, glory and
- Rome was synonymous with
unscrupulous greed; the world shook and changed with greed; judgment is sure to come! We read of another time in the history that GOD's people became very corrupt and it is during the time of Josiah, king of Judah
#1 OF 4: THE DOWNFALL OF ISRAEL WAS BECAUSE OF HER SINFULNESS
- Jeremiah 6:13: "For from the least of them even unto the greatest..."
means that everyone from the homeless and the beggar even as high as the priest and prophet are all
guilty being "given unto covetousness"--and that no one will escape
- Jeremiah 5:13: PROPHETS: "And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them..."
- Jeremiah 2:8: PRIESTS: "...and they that handle the law knew me not..."
- Israel's sinfulness is shown in three ways:
- 1/3: Jeremiah 6:13: Everyone is greedy for gain (no one is exempted from this accusation)
- Romans 1:29: A description of various characteristics of greed:
"...unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,..." Can never get enough...
- The word "greed" comes before "evil" not just in the dictionary; consider that evil does
not lead to greed but greed (if you want something bad enough) will lead to evil
- In Jeremiah's time, people used Christianity and its churches for personal gain
- A child at Christmas plays with a toy gift for a couple hours then loses interest and examines
the other toy gifts the other children receive
- Enron, WorldCom, Tyco...
- Restlessness for more--never happy with what is already owned...
- Isaiah 57:20: The wicked (greedy) are just the raging sea which cannot rest
- Ecclesiastes 2:11: And eventually people will realize that the hard labor
they put forth for material, earthly gain is for nothing
- 2/3: When one tries to gain more and more, they'll deal falsely with you
- 2 Peter 2:3: And in their greed they shall exploit you with lies.
- Notice all the unveiled, true financial reports of companies this year (latter half of 2002)
such as Enron and WorldCom--see how the result of their greed has rippled loss through the stock market and the retirement investments of all Americans
- Proverbs 21:6:
Another biblical reference that the pursuit of earthly wealth
through deceiving others is, in reality, "...them that seek death"
- When greed is your god, everyone else becomes your enemy to your goal
- 3/3: Laciviousness exposed--meaning: no shame in what is done (Jeremiah 6:15)
- Ephesians 4:19: All moral guards are now down. There is no second-thought
to the consequences of what is done in the name of greed.
- If there is no shame, the heart is more hard than you know it; a
callous (which comes before greed) heart leads a person to care for only themselves in any known manner
- ILLUSTRATION: Habakkuk 2:6-7: Those who make personal gain with what is
not theirs will suddenly be plundered from
- Money, itself, is not evil, nor is it bad
- To be rich is not wrong (Abraham and Moses were both rich) and to be poor (which could be a result of evil) does not mean you are OK
- The problem affects both poor and rich--the love of money is the root of all evil
#2 OF 4: GREED IS THE SIGNPOST; THE CAUSE OF GREED IS MUCH DEEPER
- Romans 2:5: Is it a stubborn and unrepentant heart
- The love and desire for money goes from "if only I can get my hands on a little more" to
"I'm going to get what I want and no one's going to stop me" Why? Because no one is of the mindset
"yeah, I've got enough money."
- Genesis 4:8: The "my way" mentality made it easier for Cain to kill his brother Abel than to simply offer an animal sacrifice unto GOD
- Jeremiah 6:10: Stubborn--they don't want to hear
- You have to make an effort to close your ears
- Proverbs 21:2: Unrepentant--man does what is right in his own eyes (not GOD's)--man does not enjoy the truth
- Proverbs 16:18: And to those who will not change, the old saying (which comes from this verse) "pride goeth before a fall" applies
- Why is greed so severe?
- The cause of greed (stubborn heart not wanting GOD's word but man's own) leads to:
1. Disregard for GOD's directives
2. No love for GOD (because if you love someone you will obey that person)
3. Matthew 22:36-38: the breaking of the First Commandment: love your GOD
#3 of 4: GOD ALWAYS BRINGS SEVERE JUDGMENT ON DAYS OF GREED
- Jeremiah 6:11: GOD's reaction to man's attitude is to tolerate it for only so long before He will "pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days."
- Jeremiah 6:12-13: And what is theirs shall be taken from them and given to others (notice in verse 13 that no one escapes this)
- Romans 1:18: GOD's wrath will be directed at those who suppress the truth
- TESTIMONY: Not even pastors escape. Pastor Branson's
retirement savings has dropped by 50% ... 18% in just the last month (July 2002--Enron, WorldCom fall...)
- Matthew 26:14-15: Judas Iscariot sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver
- Acts 5:1-11: The husband and wife (Ananias and Sapphira) who died in church for
concealing some of the money from the sale of a house
- Corporate scandals with greed leading to major failures results in, for example, the
19 July 2002 stock market fall of 390.23 points to 8,019.26
- Baseball players about to go on strike for more money when they make more in two games than
Pastor Branson in one whole year
#4 OF 4: WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
- Jeremiah 6:16: Regardless of the intensity of your business day, just STOP
and consider the lost, good traditions of yesterday ... the saying of "old is bad, new is good" is not
- An example of asking for the "old ways" of yesterday was the prophets of biblical times
with all their warnings to the kings of the lands. Today's example is the church speaking to all the world.
- Luke 16:20-31: Like the king who wouldn't feed the beggar Lazarus and
when the king ended up in hell, he asked for prophets to be sent to warn his sons not to end up in hell, also.
Some say to clean out all corruption you must have a revolution, revolt, or change
out all of Washington D.C. with pure, clean polititians; that's not the solution ... if we did that,
the rest of the world's hearts would not have changed--would it have prevented Enron? WorldCom?
- Jeremiah 18:15: We must look to the "ancient paths"
(meaning you look to the LORD Jesus Christ for your life's purpose) again because
we have left them for greed and vanities, which leads to forgetting GOD
- 1 John 2:4: Don't just look but also walk the path
- AND THE RESULTANT PROMISE: Jesus will take your cares upon him because he can handle
all the world's problems when we can't even handle all of our own! (Matthew 11:29)
UNIVERSAL TRUTH: Individuals who sin not only bring trouble to themselves but result in
GOD punishing all of the land; i.e.:
- Enron/WorldCom's financial ripple effect on all the American
- collapse of the entire Soviet Union for the political leaders denouncing Christ
from all their land)
Money itself is not bad but good -- it's the love of money that is the root of all evil
- SEQUENCE: Love of money -> greed -> "nothing is going to stand in the way" to get it
-> all friends/people in your way become your enemy -> forget GOD -> hurt the entire land
Matthew 11:29: Hope is not in D.C. or in government handouts but in Jesus Christ