Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28

(5) “LET YOUR CONVERSATION BE WITHOUT COVETOUSNESS; AND BE CONTENT WITH SUCH THINGS AS YE HAVE: FOR HE HATH SAID, I WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE.”

The structure is:

1. “Conversation” should have been translated “manner of life.

2. The exhortation is against covetousness in the form of love of money.

3. “Content” refers here to the ability of the Christian who is dependent upon the Holy Spirit, to be independent of outward circumstances.

4. Dependent upon the Holy Spirit, we should be happy with what He provides.

5. The Lord will always come to our rescue.

MANNER OF LIFE

The phrase, “Let your conversation,” as stated, should have been translated, “manner of life.” The word “conversation” today is limited in its meaning to converse between two or more persons; however, in A.D. 1611, when the King James Version was translated, it then meant what the Greek word means, “manner of life, behavior.

COVETOUSNESS

The phrase, “Be without covetousness,” in effect says, “let your manner of life be without covetousness.

Covetousness is a very grave sin; indeed, so heinous is it that the Scriptures class it among the very gravest and grossest crimes against man and God (Eph. 5:3). In Colossians 3:5, the Holy Spirit through Paul classifies it as “idolatry,” while in I Corinthians 6:10, it is set forth as excluding a man from Heaven.

Its heinousness, doubtless, is accounted for by its being in a very real sense the root of so many other forms of sin:

1. Departure from the faith (I Tim. 6:9–10).

2. Lying (II Ki. 5:22–25).

3. Thievery (Josh. 7:21).

4. Domestic trouble (Prov. 15:27).

5. Murder (Ezek. 22:12).

6. Many foolish and hurtful lusts (I Tim. 6:9).

Covetousness has always been a very serious menace to mankind, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament period. It was one of the first sins that broke out after Israel had entered into the Promised Land (Josh. Chpt. 7); and also in the early Christian Church immediately after its founding (Ananias and Sapphira, Acts Chpt. 5); hence so many warnings against it.

A careful reading of the Old Testament will reveal the fact that a very great part of the Jewish Law—such as its enactments and regulations regarding duties toward the poor, toward servants; concerning gleaning, usury, pledges, gold and silver taken during war—was introduced and intended to counteract the spirit of covetousness.

THE MODERN GREED GOSPEL

Never before in the history of the Church has covetousness been given such a place of honor as it has presently. It has been disguised under the heading of “faith,” when it reality, it is pure greed. I speak of the modern greed gospel.

Unfortunately, the far greater majority of the modern so-called “faith ministry”, has sunk to the abominable level of none other than pure greed. Seminars abound on “how to be successful,” with the emphasis totally and completely resting on “money” and the things that money can buy. Righteousness and Holiness are “out,” while money is “in!

One religious con artist, who goes under the pretension of being a Preacher, says over Television, “God wants you to be rich!” And then he adds, “If He doesn’t want you to be rich, then God lied!

Get rich quick” schemes abound over what is referred to as “Christian Television,” by gullible Christians being told, “if you’ll give so much money, you will get ten times as much in return,” or some such like figure. If these religious scams were practiced over the secular media, the perpetrators could expect to go to jail.

So, why do Christians send millions of dollars to such scams, when it is so obviously unscriptural?

Quite possibly, the correct answer is, “covetousness appeals to covetousness!

CONTENTMENT

The phrase, “And be content with such things as ye have,” presents the underlying thought that one should be satisfied with that which meets our need, and that we not desire more than meets our need.

Content” in the Greek is “arkeo,” and means “to be possessed of unfailing strength, to be strong, to suffice, to be enough, to be satisfied, contented.” Taking the word on out to the totality of its Greek meaning, we find the word “self,” which actually means, “to be self-sufficient.

This latter word was used by the Stoics to express the favorite doctrine of the sect, that man should be sufficient to himself for all things, able by the power of his will to resist the shock of circumstance.

In a sense, this is correct in a Scriptural way, but in an entirely different manner.

For instance, Paul was self-sufficient because he was Christ-dependent; therefore, the word “content” refers here to the ability of the Christian dependent upon the Holy Spirit and, therefore, independent of outward circumstances. As should be obvious, there is a tremendous lesson here.

~J. Swaggart Ministry

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