“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Five Reasons Why I Don’t Play the Lottery (Ken Weliever)
2) The Anti-Gospel (Doy Moyer)
Five Reasons Why I Don’t Play the Lottery
“With all of the current hoopla about the Powerball, I’m curious on your take scripturally on the lottery,” wrote Heidi, one of our regular readers.
Heidi adds her thoughts saying, “I know many Christians who don’t see anything wrong with it. I wouldn’t want to risk my soul on getting rich quick. I sure could use the money but even $450 million is not worth losing my soul over.”
Like many things, the Bible doesn’t specifically mention gambling. So we must consider scriptural principles to decide whether it is a good thing or not. I realize that some people consider playing the lottery and other forms of gambling as entertainment. It may be so for some. But I believe it is a risky form of amusement.
Here are 5 considerations that guide my decision not to gamble, including playing the lottery.
(1) It violates the laws of legitimate economy.
The Bible recognizes 3 legitimate means of transferring property to others — the law of labor, the law of exchange, and the law of giving and receiving.
We are commanded to work in order to provide for our needs and support our families (Eph 4:25; I Tim. 5:8). The Bible speaks of earning interest on money (Matt 25:27) or making a profit on selling a possession, or investing in real estate (Matt 13:44-45). In addition, both giving and receiving are the result of our work and/or profits from investments (Eph. 4:28; Acts 2:45).
Gambling does not quality as a legitimate area of economy in any of those three ways. Thus, I choose not to play the lottery.
(2) It appeals to greed and materialism.
Jesus warned, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk 12:15). The Bible says that greed is “improper for God’s holy people” (Eph 5:3). In fact, Paul calls covetousness a form of idolatry (Col 3:5).
(3) It undermines faithful stewardship.
Christians are to be good managers of their time, talents and treasure. This is taught in the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-29). The Old Testament book of Proverbs is filled with exhortations to the wise use of money.
According to yesterday’s Today show, your chances of winning the Powerball lottery are 1 in 292,201,338. Not very good odds I would say. In fact, the News Anchor said you have a better chance of being struck by lightning, becoming President of the United States, being bitten by a shark, or dying from an asteroid than winning the lottery!
(4) It sabotages self-control.
Admittedly, not all gamblers are out of control. But it is a serious enough problem that even some lottery ads issue warnings and provide information on gambling hotlines.
The Mayo clinic website warns, “Compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can destroy lives.” These professional experts explain “Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction. If you’re prone to compulsive gambling, you may continually chase bets, hide your behavior, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support your addiction.”
God’s people are to be self-disciplined, with their passions and desires under His control (1 Cor. 6:12; 9:27; Gal. 5:23).
(5) It potentially ruins lives.
Lotteries often tend to victimize the most vulnerable with the lure of instant wealth to those who can least afford to lose money gambling. But even the winners’ lives are often ruined with the problems that come with unearned riches.
The tales of the unintended consequences of winning the lottery are so numerous that a simple google search will provide many sad stories of ruined lives after winning the lottery.
Many go bankrupt. Lose friends. Attract scam artists. Create friction in their families. Become addicted to other vices. And generally find that money does not buy happiness, peace of mind, or personal fulfillment.
I could list other reasons. But these are sufficient. If you think winning a big jackpot would improve your life and put you on easy street, don’t bet on it.
— Via Search for Truth, Volume VIII, Number 1, August 7, 2016
The gospel is rooted in the fact that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). The wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23). Mankind, left to himself, is lost, without hope, and unforgiven. There is no grace without Christ, and no path to God without the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). The gospel message is that we can receive forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus and be born again to that living hope, reserved in heaven, through the resurrection (1 Pet. 1:3-5).
The gospel is also inseparable from this primary message: “repent!” Jesus said, “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). This is a clear kingdom mandate:
“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
God wants all to “come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). He wants the gospel taught to grant “repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25), for godly repentance leads to salvation (2 Cor. 7:10).
Sadly, this message has been rejected in favor of one much more palatable and easily accepted by a world indoctrinated with moral relativism and forced tolerance.
The anti-gospel is the message of non-repentance. This message tells people that repentance is not necessary, that it is good to embrace your own version of self, that those who say otherwise are the haters, the bigots, the ones who need to be shunned and shamed. God made us the way we are, so there is no need to do anything but affirm our own feelings. Modern culture deems that the more enlightened embrace the anti-gospel, for modern understanding is superior to the ancients; and since Scripture is a product of the ancient world, we can see the need to move beyond it as a relic of the past.
The anti-gospel turns the grace of God into a license to sin (Jude 4), allowing for all to continue in sin while affirming this twisted version of grace (Rom. 6:1-2). The anti-gospel preachers proclaim that love wins, that the Spirit is with them, that God understands. In the process, a new idolatry has emerged. God has been reshaped to look just like the anti-gospel message. This god no longer requires repentance and despises those who preach it. This god bends to the whims and desires of those who have shaped the anti-gospel. The standard of the anti-gospel is self-will, not Scripture, though once in a while some passage will be trotted out as support of what has already been decided. Those Scriptures that do not support the predetermined conclusions are summarily dismissed and relegated to the shelf of antiquities, appealed to only as evidence of a world that everyone now knows was backwards.
This message is anti-gospel because it teaches people to affirm their sinfulness, to be proud of their sinful behavior, to march in lock-step with flags unfurled to show solidarity. Grace is perverted and the real gospel is veiled as the minds of the anti-gospel advocates are unable to “see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4), while they preach themselves rather than “Christ Jesus as Lord” (vs. 5).
The anti-gospel shuns the Lordship of Jesus. It mocks those who embrace God’s authority as revealed in Scripture. It manifests the works of the flesh while parading in disguise as the fruit of the Spirit. Because the anti-gospel denies true repentance, it also denies the kingdom of Christ. There is no grace of living waters in the anti-gospel, but only a poison that may momentarily taste of pleasure. In the end, it will become bitter, and it will kill those who drink of it.
“Repent and believe in the gospel.” Only in Christ will true salvation be found. Preach the gospel. Let the foolishness of the cross become the power of the saved (1 Cor. 1:18). Now is not the time to compromise; now is the time to embrace the real gospel with even more intensity. It’s not about politics; it’s about truth.
— Via The Auburn Beacon, Vol. 7, Issue 51, 9/4/16
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)